Summary: "There was an undeniable ease in talking to him, and she began to crave it – to speak to him, to know him, to have him know her." L/J
A/N: If you haven't figured it out by now, songs are a huge source of inspiration for me. And this song is AMAZING. I heard it on Grey's Anatomy (the musical episode!) and fell in love with it. It's incredible. If it doesn't make you feel like bursting into song, there very well might be something wrong with you (or...perhaps you just don't like the musical style...but that's far too a logical assumption). Also, I tested out a bit of a different writing style with this one. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you.
The Story, Brandi Carlile
It hadn't happened on purpose. It had happened quite by accident. He hadn't goaded her, tricked her, or even consciously wooed her (this time). He had before (many times and many, many ways) but he'd only been successful when he'd finally stopped trying so hard.
He was a constant presence in her life as of late: studying with her, walking on rounds together, working on their seventh year Charms project. They would sit up late in their common room; she spread out on the couch, her latest essay half finished as she regaled the happenings of her day. He would sit on the floor, his head resting against the edge of the cushions as he looked up and back at her, listening, even though he was in almost all of her classes, saw her almost all day. He would chuckle at the girlish drama, and scowl at the parts where someone said something rude. He would give her a proud smile when she told him she'd bested everyone in her classes (again). He'd teased her, but only so far as to make her smile (never yell, which was new) and with a sort of sweetness that would make her blush – and not always due to embarrassment (sometimes it was more of a flush). There was an undeniable ease in talking to him, and she began to crave it – to speak to him, to know him, to have him know her.
Though she doubted he could tell the difference. She took precautions, unsure of the new-found revelation that had hit her so suddenly. She kept her banter playful, but distanced, never too flirtatious. She fought every urge she had to lay her hand on his arm, tug on his ever-crooked tie, thread her fingers through his unruly black hair. She adjusted his glasses once, but that was a moment of weakness she refused to talk about (but didn't regret in the least – she'd been rewarded with a grin that had warmed her right through).
She was wary, not to save herself (or so she said) but in order to save him possible harm. She didn't doubt he'd accept her if she went to him. She had half a mind that he would maul her the second he got a chance (which she wasn't exactly upset about). No, she worried her heart was too fickle for him. His infatuation, crush, care and concern - whatever you wanted to call it (love) – was so steadfast that she found it a bit daunting. She felt that hers paled in comparison, and he deserved so much more than weak, half-bloomed feelings. And so she waited, her secret coiled deep inside. A tiny red rose, petals slowly opening to the warm sun.
"Are you listening, Lily?"
"Sorry?" she said, her head snapping up from her scribble of a rose on the corner of her parchment. She dropped her quill, slid another sheet of paper over her drawing. "Did you say something?"
James Potter fixed her with a look. "Am I boring you?"
"A bit," she smirked. "But really, what did you say?"
He smiled at her. "I'm not going to tell you."
"You're about to be," she said, her foot nudging his shin, a warning strike. Also, a prohibited act in accordance with her promise to not get too close before she was sure (it was only one nudge). He nudged her back as he leaned back in his chair, balancing on the back legs.
"Don't start a fight you can't finish, Miss Evans," he said, his grin impish, a mischievous glint in his hazel eyes. She nudged him again (she couldn't be called a pansy). He wobbled, but re-balanced and shot her a self satisfied grin (sigh).
"Careful, Mr Potter," she said, traces of a smirk on her lips, and a blush across her cheeks. She batted her eyelashes (not in a flirtatious manner - that would be against the rules), "You shouldn't underestimate my shin-kicking abilities."
He laughed, a full bodied, free laugh - and it caught her off guard (that, and the sudden images that flooded her head as he leaned back in his chair, a bit more of his neck exposed than usual in the absence of his tie). The sound rumbled across her skin and shivered down her spine. Her foot fell to the floor; her hands went flat against the table. Her face flushed completely.
She cleared her throat, glanced at her watch. "I should go," she said, grabbing her things. He frowned, fell forward in his chair.
"It's late," she said. She rammed her papers into her rucksack.
"It's not even curfew," he pointed out. "The library won't close for another hour."
Lily ran a hand over her hair. "I promised Chelsea and Marlene I'd meet with them to go over our potions essays."
He stared at her, his brows drawing together and his mouth pressed into a frown. But a moment later he relaxed, adjusted his glasses (she was glad. They always sat crooked).
"Alright," he said, leaning back in his chair again, rocking on the back legs. "Go have your bird time."
She rolled her eyes. "I'll see you tomorrow," she said before she left, her hand ghosting over his shoulder.
"Tomorrow," he echoed.
She stayed with Marlene and Chelsea in the girl's dormitory, chatting about everything until the moon rose high into the sky, and the castle fell eerily silent. They drifted off to sleep one by one, all except Lily, who sat awake, staring at her bed hangings (six hundred and fifty-four stitches of gold brocade along the edge of the left panel).
Something tugged at her, making her restless, uneasy. She rolled over, pressed her face into her pillow. Her brain whirred tirelessly, unwilling to pause, even for a few minutes. Her mind rolled over conversations, idle information, and facial expressions. She thought about how Marlene had told her about the latest gossip, and that the Ravenclaws were planning a party for the quidditch captain's birthday. She thought about how Chelsea had figured out that the house elves were planning on serving a special desert for Professor Strumpet's birthday next Saturday. And Lily thought about how she wanted to tell someone all this information (a particular someone). She reasoned that she'd see him at breakfast tomorrow, and she could tell him then. But she didn't want to wait. She wanted to talk to him (it just didn't feel real until she had).
She frowned at the ceiling.
She got up, and padded down the steps to the common room. Embers hissed in the fireplace, giving off a dim light, but it was enough to see that someone was sprawled across the chesterfield in front of the fire. Untidy black hair and crooked glasses, he was easily recognizable (too handsome to be mistaken for someone else). An accidentally heavy footfall alerted him to her presence. He blinked at her.
"Hello James," she said, her voice soft, unnaturally timid (her heart, suddenly taking up residence in her throat, made it difficult to speak with any sort of volume).
"Something wrong, love?" he asked, sitting up. He made room for her on the chesterfield (always a gentleman). She took quick steps to join him, settling next to him and pulling her knees up to her chest.
"No," she said after a moment. "Nothing's wrong."
He scratched his head, a hint of a smile in the lines of his face. "Got something on your mind?" he asked. He stretched out next to her, long legs sprawled out in front, his left arm resting behind her head.
She glanced at him from under her lashes, and tucking her red hair behind her ear, she said, "Just stories."
She smiled then, bright in the darkness, and she set about retelling him of everything she'd learned in the few hours she'd been away from him. The tightness in her chest lessened, a weight lifted from her shoulders. She felt warm, content, happy (as she always did when she was near him). She joked easily with him, shifted closer till her cheek rested on his shoulder as she told him of the latest gossip around the school. And she wondered, in the back of her mind, if this is what love felt like. Just talking, being together, sharing stories. A general ease that overtook the soul when together.
And when James would ask her to Hogsmeade next Saturday, she would say yes (finally).