23 June 1976
"I'm going to kill you, Potter," Lily Evans ground out, sitting on the floor of the greenhouse with her arms folded.
"Hang on, I'm working on something," James told her. "I can get us out soon," he promised. He seemed to be tinkering with something small and shiny clutched between his shaking fingers.
"McGonagall's going to do her nut if I come back from prefect duties late one more time," Lily said, holding her knees close to her chest. "I've already been caught out of bed once this week."
"Talking to Snivellus?" James sneered. Lily glared at him, and he sighed. "Look, no one's going to be late to anything, because Moony and the others'll realize what happened when I don't show up."
"Show up to what, exactly?" Lily asked suspiciously. James came over, removing his outer robes from his uniform and draping it around her shoulders. Lily scowled, but reluctantly tugged them around herself. Despite the warm June weather in the daytime, the nights were still cold.
James leaned against the same table Lily huddled against and tipped his head back. "We had a little project we were working on," he said vaguely.
"What are you doing to Severus now?" Lily asked hotly, facing him.
"Hey, easy," James said, backing away with one hand up defensively. "It didn't seem like you two were such good friends anymore. And he was pretty rude to you the other day, we just wanted to show him that he can't treat people the way he does."
"You can't treat people the way you do, either, Potter!" Lily snapped. "You think you're so great, just absolutely the most wonderful thing to happen to this school in history, but you're just an arrogant arse!"
James scowled, but didn't answer her.
"Now how are we supposed to get out of here?" Lily demanded. "You were the one who grabbed me, trying to hide from Filch, and you were the one who decided that outside was the best place to do that."
"How was I supposed to know the greenhouse door would seal itself?" James asked, annoyed.
"You shouldn't even have gone out of the castle!" Lily told him fiercely. Her green eyes seemed to crackle with electricity, and James had the good sense to slide further away.
"Sorry," he mumbled.
Lily snorted. "What was that? Couldn't hear you," she said disparagingly.
"I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry I got you stuck out here, I'm sorry for everything," James said, not meeting her eyes.
Lily softened. "Okay," she said. "Okay. The world keeps turning, it's all going to be fine."
James nodded. "I'm trying to pick the lock. You know how to do that?"
"Like with a hairpin?"
"Yeah." He held up the metal object he'd been fiddling with.
"Of course, my sis-I used to do it all the time when I was little. It was perfect for getting into the closet where my parents hid the Christmas presents," Lily said. "But I don't see how that'll work here. I imagine Sprout's got plenty of protection on the door. I don't even know how you got us in here." She got to her feet and looked around the greenhouse. She could see stars and the bright crescent moon through the glass roof.
James stood as well. "Yeah," he said. "I was trying to see if I could get an Unsticking Charm on the pin."
Lily's face lit up. "That's perfect! But it needs more than that. It'll take both of us." She began muttering to herself, pacing back and forth. "Alohomora, Unsticking...maybe a Prizing Spell..."
"Separation Jinx," James suggested. Lily pointed at him and nodded, still pacing back and forth.
"Okay, give it here," Lily said, holding her hand out for the hairpin. James dropped it into her palm, and she resumed her seat, knocking into the table. Something tumbled into her lap from the tabletop, and she gasped. "James!" she shrieked.
"Shh!" James said, kneeling beside her. "What is it?"
Lily stared at the little wriggling flower bud that laid in her skirt. It was small and pink, and it seemed to be having trouble opening its petals.
"I think it's a Hungarian Hydrangea blossom," Lily said, picking it up and holding it gingerly on her fingertips.
James frowned. "It's awfully small," he said.
"It's cold, of course it is!" Lily told him. "They're really sensitive to temperature when they're just buds. And I accidentally cut it off, too. Oh, I feel terrible." She looked miserably at the little flower.
"If it gets warmer, will it grow?" James asked.
Lily stared at him. "Yes," she said slowly. "I guess so."
"Then let's set up a fire," James told her with a grin. "We'll let it warm up while we try and get out of here."
"We are most definitely not allowed to do that in the greenhouse," Lily said.
"Well either we light a fire or the flower dies," James told her. "I don't think you want that on your conscience," he said seriously.
"You're making fun of me," Lily said, scowling.
James rolled his eyes. "Oh come on, Evans."
Lily didn't answer, tucking the flower safely into her pocket. She pulled out her wand and began prodding the hairpin with it. The metal began to glow, and after a few minutes, she got to her feet. James scrambled up and joined her.
"I've got it," Lily told him sharply. He stepped back. She slid the hairpin into the crack where the doorknob met the jamb and tapped it twice with her wand. "Abiungo," she said. The door began to rattle on its hinges, and Lily stumbled back, startled. James caught her elbow in time to stop her falling.
With a loud clunk, the greenhouse door swung open and banged against the wall, sending the hairpin flying at Lily and James. Lily ducked, but—
"Ouch!" James cried, clapping a hand to his cheek. He lowered it, revealing a lot of blood oozing from a cut just beneath his eye. Lily grimaced.
"Come here," she said, holding up her wand.
"No, don't touch it," James said, covering the cut again.
"You big baby," Lily giggled. "Come here, I'll mend it for you." Reluctantly, James lowered his hand and squeezed his eyes shut. Lily laid her wand on his cheek, and he felt a warm sensation spread over the cut. When he opened his eyes and touched it, the cut was gone, and Lily was holding out a handkerchief to him.
"Wipe your face off, you look like you killed something," she said, walking out of the greenhouse. James took the hanky and followed her.
"Hey, wait," he called. Lily turned. "Your flower friend." James nodded at her pocket.
Lily pulled out the hydrangea bud and was sad to see that it clearly was not doing well. Its little petals barely twitched.
"Bring it here," James said. He took the bud and carried it over to the pot where its parent flower grew, poking a small hole in the dirt. Gently, he tucked the little blossom into the hole, pulled out his wand, and cast a warming charm over it.
Lily gasped. The petals of the bud opened wide, spiraling outward, until they were the size of her palm. James grinned at her, and reluctantly, she smiled back.
Then she seemed to come to her senses, and her smile vanished. "Let's go back," Lily said quickly, turning and leaving the greenhouse. James hurried after her, closing the door behind him.
Written for Crazy Flamingo's Pair and Plot Competition. Hurray! Let me know if you like it, message or review, either way!