Disclaimer: Characters can either be fictional or non-fictional; that's the way writing works. If the characters in my story were non-fictional, I could not legally own them, because that is considered "slavery," and it is illegal in my country. And even though they are fictional, I still cannot own them, because they are already the intellectual property of one Ms. J.K. Rowling. I'd like to thank her for lending me the names and making it unnecessary for me to provide a back-story or a world for these characters; it truly makes my life much easier. The rest of the words and the plot-ish thing, though, are mine, and I'd appreciate you not taking it for your own use :)

The Everyday Unlearned

They had history. Or History, rather, with the capital "H" that had kept her life interesting for the past six years.

But history is exactly where she wanted him to stay; she had someone now. She had Fabian, and he was wonderful, of course. He was a constant ray of sunshine, buoyant in an intangible and untouchable way. He loved her. And she loved him in her own way. She loved just being with him, holding hands or running her fingers through his red, red hair (her friends made fun – "A ginger with a girlfriend? Who would have believed it!"). She loved Fabian complacently, habitually almost – presently.

And James was History. James was a heated argument in a corridor or near the lake, with the giant squid and half the student body bearing witness. James was the boy who brought her to the kitchens for a midnight snack when he found her staring with glazed eyes at the nasty note Marlene had given her – that one time they fought in fourth year. He was six years of eye-rolling, finger-shaking, unshakeable, irritating, I-hate-you-to-the-very-core-of-my-being fights. He had caused her to cry more times than she could count. He never lost a chance to tell her that she was beautiful. But she was beyond that now. James was History.

"Hey," he said in passing, and she couldn't breathe. She watched him watch her for the rest of the night. Fabian wasn't feeling well, and had chosen to stay in his room and skip the party in Gryffindor tower. But James was there. Lily tried to have a good time, and at least succeeded – she thought – in keeping up appearances. She laughed with Marlene and Alice (and Frank of course; when Alice was there, that went without saying) while sipping Butterbeer in a corner. She danced when her favorite songs came on. She smiled at everyone around her, beaming somewhat false good will and pretending not to notice that his eyes were still on her.

He did his part and pretended not to notice her. Even though he coincidentally was always facing in her direction, was always moving closer as though gravity was pulling him . . .

She met his eyes, and they were much too close. She made excuses to her friends, and quickly walked away, stepping out of the portrait hole and hoping to collect herself. She leaned against the cool stone wall, breathed deeply. The portrait swung open again.

"Hey," came a quiet voice. It sounded more like a question than a greeting.

"You said that already." Lily began to finger her sleeve. Bad habit, she chastised herself, and tried to stop. She looked at him suddenly. "Hey."

"Nice party."

"Yeah." Long silence.

"We have history together, you know." She remained silent. "Third period? Right before lunch?" She started. He smirked a bit at her obvious surprise, seemed to gain confidence, and took a step towards her. "What did you think I meant, Evans?"

"Nothing," she rejoined, too quickly. "Nothing at all, Potter." She refused to meet his eyes.

"Tell me."


"Tell me."

"No doesn't mean yes, Potter. Haven't you learned anything at all since third year?"

"Tell me."

"No, damn it!"

"Tell me."

"Fuck you."

"You know you'd enjoy it." Her retort caught in her throat. He was much too close now, his eyes half-lidded, that damn smirk sneaking across his mouth . . . he tried to block her, but she escaped back to the safety of the common room. Her carefree friends and the claustrophobic party were a relief and a balm. They slowed her speeding heart, numbed the burn she felt.

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They had Chemistry, there was no denying that. He made her palms itch. He made her teeth hurt. It was James who could corner her with a glance, heat her with a word, pin her to a spot on a wall just so she could watch him flirt with another girl.

"What's wrong?" Fabian asked one day in the library, blue eyes deep with concern. She had just caught James staring again, and it froze her momentarily.


"There's been a lot of 'nothing' lately," Fabian observed quietly, all caution and worry and oh-my-gosh-is-she-having-some-sort-of-breakdown. "Is there anything I can do to fix 'nothing'?" He was truly adorable. It was too bad she was going to have to hurt him . . . No.

"I'm just a little off. I think I just need some extra sleep. It's really not a big deal."

"Ok. As long as you're sure. I'll try not to worry . . . too much, anyway." He wrinkled his nose, and Lily couldn't help but giggle. It made his freckles dance. She kissed his nose, and he matched her smile in return.

"It's nothing. I'm fine. As a matter of fact, I'm going to take a nap right now."

"Good. "

"I'll see you at dinner, ok?"

"Ok." She stood up, kissed Fabian's freckled forehead, and turned to head back to Gryffindor tower. She could feel James' eyes on her as she walked out, and she knew he would follow. But she wasn't doing anything wrong, right? Just because she knew he would follow if she left? It's not as though she was inventing situations in which they could be alone . . .

"I'm not 'nothing,' you know." He had followed her. What a surprise. She kept walking, didn't even look back as she responded.

"Excuse me?"

"Does your boyfriend know what's really bothering you?" With his long strides he easily caught up to her, and they walked side-by-side, though neither made the compromise of looking at the other.

"Eavesdropping again, Potter?"

"Only on you, Evans," he responded flippantly, then continued more seriously, intensely. "Let me ask again: does your boyfriend know what's –"

"Yes, Potter. Sleep deprivation. As you probably heard while you were inappropriately listening to my conversation like the minor-league delinquent that you are." James ignored the jibe in favor of setting up one of his own.

"Sleep deprivation. And is it your boyfriend who is depriving you of said sleep?"

"That's none of your damn business."

"So, no then. Dear Miss Evans, why aren't you getting any sleep? If it's not your boy Prewett keeping you awake?"

"If you must know, Potter, I have insomnia."

"'Insomnia.' Is that what they call it?"

"Is that what they call what, Potter?" They had reached the portrait hole, and he grabbed her arm and spun her around as she reached to swing the painting out. Her eyes met his, and he leaned close to whisper in her ear.

"Lust." His breath was hot on her neck, and she shivered slightly. He nipped her earlobe and drew back. Time stretched like silly putty between them. Their eyes met again. James leaned in and . . .


By the time he raised his hand to trace the red palm print across his cheek, Lily was already upstairs in her bed, trying to hold herself together.

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They had Language. That is, they were both fully capable of speaking to each other, though they were choosing not to exercise that ability currently. Despite the immaturity of the act, they had reverted to giving each other the Silent Treatment.

It was almost worse than when they talked.

His hand brushed hers coincidentally in the corridors when they passed each other. He seemed to almost try to hold on, but she stalwartly ignored him. Every time she turned around, he was behind her, watching. Every time she was alone in a corridor, he turned up. They would walk in silence next to each other, their footfalls on the soft carpeting thudding almost as loudly as her pulse in her ears. And just as quickly, he would be gone.

He haunted her. He made a game out of it; he wanted her to speak first. To break. Because if he did it, it was weakness – if she did, it was a concession to an unspoken truth.

She refused to break. She kept up a stubborn refrain in her head. He's an arrogant prat. His head is the size of the Moon. I love Fabian. I love him – I do. Fabian is kind, and patient, and wonderful, and very not-James. But as soon as she would allow that name into her consciousness, she began to lose her battle. She began to sneak glances back at him. She allowed her breath to catch when she found him walking next to hear. She held herself rigid, arms swinging stiffly by her sides, until he left and she could breathe properly again.

Then came St. Valentine's Day. The night was winding down, and as a prefect, she was supposed to be patrolling the hallways, ensuring that no students had "lost their way" on their journeys back to their respective common rooms. She and Fabian had had another passively wonderful evening, but she felt an itch of . . . foreboding? excitement? . . . as she kissed him goodnight and began her patrol. She didn't have long to wait; the hairs on the back of her neck thrilled on end as she turned into the first deserted hallway.

James appeared suddenly from behind a pillar and fell into step with her. She tried to muster her strength, her stubbornness, her stiffness again, but it was late, and she was tired, and he was . . . there.

"I hate you, you know," she sighed, breaking their long silence at last.

"I know it." His response was barely more than a whisper: intimate, longing, and sad. Three words that were not those three words, and yet these meant more to her than any time Fabian had . . . No. They continued in silence for some time. "I sometimes hate me, too." There was no self-pity in his voice, only a quiet suffering. She stopped dead in the middle of the corridor as something broke in her fully, finally.

"James!" She realized she was crying only when she heard the jagged edge in her voice. He would not stop, but his voice floated back down the corridor as he disappeared into one of his many secret passages.


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The Math wasn't adding up. She loved Fabian, but not in same way that she hated James. One plus one plus one could not equal two, and so . . .


"Hmmmmm?" He was characteristically engrossed in his schoolwork in exactly the way that Potter wouldn't be. She hated that that was the association to which her mind immediately leapt.

"Fabian, this is important."

"Yes, dear?" He only called her 'dear' sarcastically, and it was somehow even more endearing for that reason. Her heart grew heavier, and the words she knew she had to say grew roots in her throat. She forced them out, digging them from the darkest place inside her. "I don't . . . we can't . . ." the tears started. Fabian's blue eyes grew round.

"Lily – Lily, what's wrong? It'll be ok, whatever it is, I promise . . ." he reached a hand towards her, and she jerked back convulsively. "Lily?" His voice sounded nothing like James's, and it was in that instant that her resolve became glass-smooth and sure, though she could not stop the tears as they streamed down her face.

She told him everything. Haltingly, she searched for words and phrases that would bend to her purpose, that would convey clearly and without corruption, that would reveal but not wound. She cried the entire time, and by the end she was heaving with dry sobs, huddled in the corner of a large chair with Fabian still looking at her earnestly, beseechingly. When he realized she was done, he said nothing; there was nothing to be said. She heard him stand up slowly, heard the rustle of his shirt as he bent down and pressed a kiss to her forehead, and then the painful fall of each footstep as he turned and left. She relived their conversation in her head, agonizing over every word. I can't love you, Fabian. You've no idea how much I want to, how much I don't want this. I never set out to hurt you, or me, or him, I swear it! Fabian, I . . .

She awoke to find a form bent over her. It was dark now, and her eyes were bleary, but she knew beyond the shadow of darkness and doubt who it was that was stroking her tear-mussed hair back from her face.


"I'm here, Lily. You know I'm always here."

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This was getting to be bad for her Health. She had broken up with Fabian weeks earlier – was it a month by now? – and either her guilt over the breakup or James's sudden, prolonged absence was making her ill. Maybe both. Probably both.

Was it possible to suffer from lust withdrawal? She never saw James anymore. His very existence had tortured her into breaking things off with Fabian, and now he was practically nonexistent; everywhere she went she saw only the ghost of his presence, the negative image left after his exeunt. She was forever entering rooms he had just left. He was nowhere and everywhere, all at once. She privately suffered severe symptoms of withdrawal: the finger-shaking, palm-sweating, head-aching symptoms she had read about in books or seen in movies.

Her friends worried about her, but they didn't understand. "Didn't you break up with him?" But they tried to humor her, in their own way, and it only served to make her feel guiltier about the whole mess. They brought her endless scoops of ice cream, a ceaseless supply of chocolate, a hearty serving of gossip. It was a nice gesture, but it wasn't what she needed. It wasn't a fix, a hit, a shot – it wasn't James.

She blinked back tears (again), and forced her eyes to refocus on the page in front of her. She was holed up in an unused classroom, having been effectively chased out of the library by memories of Fabian – it was unquestionably his territory after the breakup. She was trying to study. She was trying to recall how studying worked. She was trying to remember how to be Lily Evans, how to be the perfect prefect, the shoo-in for Head Girl next year, the bubbly redhead with the perfect Seventh-Year boyfriend whose heart she had just shattered . . . She felt torn between an abyss of guilt and an unfulfilled desire that would not abate.

The classroom door opened behind her and she stiffened, her pencil freezing in its aimless wanderings across the parchment. Efficient footsteps made their way across the room, stalled at a chair nearby. A mass larger than hers settled into the chair.

"Are you ok?" It was James's voice – of course it was – and it entered her consciousness as sweetly as the first sunlight streaming through her windows in the morning. She didn't turn, but she felt a corner of her mouth lift. The voice continued nervously. "You look a bit of a mess, to be honest."

"A bit of a mess. Yes."

"Everyone's worried about you. Even Fabian, though he'll never say it now."

"Even Fabian . . ."

"I was giving you space."

"Giving me space."

"Damn it, Lily, I'm worried about you! Will you give me a straight answer?" He reached over and grabbed her chin, forcing her to turn her head and meet his gaze. Damn these tears.

"I hate you, you know." He sighed with relief.

"That is not an answer to my question in any way. But at least things are back to normal." She laughed a rather wet, hiccuping laugh. He was here, he was right there, and she wanted him so badly, and she was finally allowed to admit it to herself, and . . . he was leaving?

"Where are you going?" She didn't want to sound desperate, but knew that she did.

"I was just checking on you. I'm trying to give you space."

"You're giving me space . . . now?"

"I pressured you into your breakup." His tone took on a brittle quality; he looked as though he were undergoing an Inquisition.


"By manipulating your feelings for me."


"It has been made very clear to me by certain . . . parties . . . that – "

"By Remus, you mean. And probably Fabian's friends." He ignored her, but she could tell by his grimace and the bruise on his cheekbone that her guess was spot-on.

" – That I have behaved inappropriately. Abominably, actually. And that, no matter what I feel for you, I have no right to ever expect, that is, I cannot be allowed to . . ." He trailed off when she approached him, mess that she was. She reached a hand up and touched his bruise as he fought to continue: "To . . . touch you. Lily, I –"

"But James, I want you." The simplicity of her admission galvanized him. Before she could continue, she found her back suddenly against the wall, his hands gripping her waist. Their breaths mingled in short gasps as the moment coalesced around them. Her hands twined slowly around his neck.

"Lily, you have no idea how long –"

"Of course I do."

"I'm a terrible person for what I made you do to Fabian. He didn't deserve that. You didn't deserve that. I'm so sorry; I'm not good –"

"You're right. You're not good for me. You're terrible for my health, James. I need you too much. But I choose every second of what is to come with you. With you."

And finally, finally, he kissed her. It was not a perfect first kiss; her eyes were red with crying, his hands trembled as he held her, and lips and teeth and tongues did not mesh perfectly – yet. But they would learn.


Obligatory Author's Note:

Hi people! This is the first writing that I've published on any forum, ever. Also I've never really written fiction before. I appreciate any and all feedback that you have for me, as I fully intend to use it to better my writing to the best of my ability.

Some (potentially) interesting factoids about this story:

1) It is based off of experiences taken from my own life (whoa - a writer writing what he/she knows - shocking, to say the least!).

2) It was not originally written as fan-fiction; I am also currently writing what I hope will eventually be a book, though I'm not sure I'd ever publish it. I write mostly for my own amusement, and to get the ideas to stop bothering me. Anyways, this was originally intended to be part of the book, but I decided I liked the format better as a short story - that way I got to add the continuity of having "subjects" (History, Math, Language, etc.) and using the word "Learning" in the title of the story.

3) I'd like to thank boredom and caffeine for inspiring me to actually make an account and publish stuff :)

Thanks for reading!