Short one-shot, Lily and James. A quick thank you to Rumer - who goes by paintaprettypretend at the minute, but will most probably change it sometime soon - who helped me with this.

I hope you enjoy the story, it took me a few days to complete and had me neglecting homework for about a week. Not that I minded, really.

DISCLAIMER: anything you recognise is not mine.

Enjoy, and review please. I just want to know what you think of it.


Theft


I was tired. Sick of it. Day in, day out, again and again, over and over. Never stopping, always asking. I was asked, I denied. Asked, denied, asked, denied. Over and over, repetitive. But after a while, it was the norm. It was the same. Then it stopped. And I felt hollow, empty. And it scared me.

...

I missed it, I realised. I missed the attention, the fact that you were always by my side, making smart remarks that would often lead to a smack to the chest or face. And it would always infuriate me when you laughed off my assault, claiming that I only wanted to touch you. Now I wonder if you were right.

...

I constantly want to touch you. I want to brush against your hand as you pass by in the hallways, I want to swipe the stray hair that falls in your eyes away and I want to rake my hands through your hair in the same way that use to frustrate me. I don't know what's wrong with me.

...

All I think about is you. It's never about the essay I'm attempting to write or the friends that are chatting about their latest boyfriends. It's always you. I catch myself writing your name over and over again while trying to write notes in class. It's a wonder no one had caught me, the amount of times it's happened. But I don't know what's happened inside your head that is now keeping you away from me. Whatever it is, for whatever reason, I want it to stop.

...

It hurts me. It hurts when you see me enter a room and immediately turn away. It hurts when you glare disdainfully at me as I answer a question correctly. It hurts when I see you laughing and flirting with other girls, as if you had never met me, as if you had never fawned after me, and now I wonder;

...

Did you ever really want me? Was it just the chase, as I had screamed at you a number of times? Was it my appearance, however plain, or my brains? Was it all a joke, a laugh to be shared around with your friends?

...

Did I really mean nothing to you as a person, some sort of chase because I was the only one who hadn't fallen under you spell. Was there something in my eye or expression that finally told you that I had fallen for you, that the chase was over. Was that why you gave up? Because it was over?

...

I'm watching you right now. I feel like a crazy stalker, obsessing over you constantly, always thinking of you. And now I'm writing about you. Definitely crazy. But I don't know what else to do. I tried moving on, I tried forgetting you, Hell, I even tried dating other people. But you just wouldn't. Leave. My. Head.

...

I just want to know why.

...

Lily sighed as she glanced up from her diary and gazed out towards the lake, where a certain shaggy haired boy was messing around with his friends, pushing them skilfully into the lake. She sighed again.

It had been a full three months since James Potter had spoken to her, other than the occasional "Pass the salt," while at the Gryffindor table. She didn't know what was going on with him – or her, for that matter – but she was determined to forget him. Only, that wasn't quite working for her.

"Lily-Flower!"

Lily jumped violently as a loud voice sounded behind her, and she dropped her diary in surprise. Turning around, Lily glared at the boy before her, holding her hand to her chest as if to steady her heart.

"By Merlin, Sirius, you nearly gave me a heart-attack!" she grumbled at the attractive Gryffindor, though a smile played around her lips. Sirius grinned.

"Oh, Lily, did my gorgeousness stun your heart into a cardiac arrest? I know, I get that a lot," he told her, throwing an arm around her shoulder and inspecting his nails importantly. Lily scoffed.

"Yeah, Black, that's it." She and Sirius had recently made friends, as Lily had gradually moved away from her Gryffindor girl-friends, finding much more comfort in the light-hearted, always joking Marauder, who had since then became her closest friend other than her best friend, Alice Prewett.

Sirius started pulling on her arm pointedly, and Lily snapped back into reality as she saw Sirius' concerned face.

"You alright, Lils? I noticed you have been spacing out a lot lately. Special boy on your mind, hey?" he asked, a mischievous glint coming into his eyes. Lily pushed against his chest as she started for the castle, leaving his behind. Once half way there, she turned around and shouted back to him.

"If there was a guy, I wouldn't tell you anyway, Black!" She could hear his laughter from the castle doors and grinned to herself. No matter what she had previously thought of Sirius Black, he was an amazing friend to have in the way he didn't pry.

oOo

"Ugh! It's not here!" Lily screamed, tugging on her hair in frustration. She was currently lying under her bed, while her sock draw was turned upside down on her bed and her clothes were spread across the room.

At that minute, Alice walked into their shared dormitory, and started as she saw Lily's angry and upset face under her bed.

"Merlin, Lils, what are you doing under the bed. And why is your underwear handing on my bedpost?" Ignoring her friend's amused expression, Lily rushed up to her friend and shook her. "Alice! My diary, it's gone! Damn it, I can't let anyone read it! You know what it said! Anyone could figure out who I was writing about, hell, even Peter Pettigrew!" Lily babbled as Alice's eyes widened.

Alice was the only other person who knew of Lily's obsession with James Potter, and knew exactly what was in that diary.

Trying to calm her friend down, Alice sought some comfort in a simple fact. "Lily, don't worry, no one will know it was your diary!"

Lily looked at her scathingly. "Alice it was the custom made one you got me for Christmas last year; the one that said very clearly Lily Evans on the front."

Alice's face fell. Suddenly, Lily stopped pacing the room as the answer dawned on her.

"By the lake. It's by the lake!" she told her friend hurriedly before rushing out of the dorm and into the common room that was surprisingly quiet. She had a moment to register that the Marauders seemed to be sitting quietly for once, reading a book of some sort (probably a Quidditch book, she thought), while the rest of the common room welcomed the silence with homework, before she dashed out the room and down to the lake, Alice close behind her.


Lily trudged down to breakfast slowly the next day. Her hour search around the lake for her diary had been fruitless, leaving her in a horrible mood that seemed to have carried on to the next morning.

Sitting herself in the furthest empty spot she could from the Marauders, she grabbed a slice of toast before awaiting Alice to come back from the Hufflepuff table, where she was visiting her boyfriend, Frank Longbottom.

A sudden loud fluttering sounded form above her and Lily glanced up in time to see the morning post fly in. Despite the fact that she had been at Hogwarts for six years now, the post still amazed her. She was surprised when an owl landed before her, as she had only yesterday sent a letter to her parents and wasn't expecting an answering letter so quickly.

Taking a brown package from the beautiful, midnight black owl and feeding it a corner of her toast, Lily glanced at the package in her hands curiously, noticing that the writing the read Lily Evans on the front was one that was familiar but not immediately recognisable. Turning the package over in her hands, Lily slipped her finger under the flap and opened it carefully.

Looking inside she let out a small shriek before taking off out of the Great Hall, leaving behind a trail of confused looks, namely from Alice, who had just arrived at the Gryffindor table.

Dashing through the hallways, Lily waited until she was several stories above the Great Hall to peer into her package again. Inside was her diary. Lily felt a huge wash of relief wash over her, closely followed by embarrassment and confusion. What if whoever had the diary had read it? They already knew it was Lily's; it wouldn't have taken Merlin to figure out who she had been writing about. And why did they give it back? If it was a Slytherin who found it, copies of the pages would have been spread around the school. If it was a Hufflepuff, they would have handed it back to her in front of her, ignoring the fact that Lily probably didn't want everyone to know that she wrote in a diary. If it was a Ravenclaw, they would have found some nifty way of transporting it to her without anyone's notice, and definitely wouldn't have used a mundane way such as owl-ing. And if it were a Marauder ... well, let's just say if would have been ten times worst than the Slytherins.

So that left a Gryffindor. Lily started mentally going over who could have possibly handed her to book as she flicked through the pages. Her breathing stopped as she got to the last page.

Red ink had been scribbled through it, marking out comments about the most recent page she had written, the one about James Potter. Peering closer, Lily read her own writing, taking in the side comments with wonder and a growing curiosity.

I was tired. Sick of it. Day in, day out, again and again, over and over. Never stopping, always asking. I was asked, I denied. Asked, denied, asked, denied. Over and over, repetitive. But after a while, it was the norm. It was the same. Then it stopped. And I felt hollow, empty. And it scared me.

I missed it, I realised. I missed the attention, the fact that you were always by my side, making smart remarks that would often lead to a smack to the chest or face. And it would always infuriate me when you laughed off my assault, claiming that I only wanted to touch you. Now I wonder if you were right. Of course I was right, I'm always right.

Lily started as she read this. If the person who was writing in her Diary was James, like it seemed, she was sure she would die of embarrassment.

I constantly want to touch you. I want to touch you to. I want to brush against your hand as you pass by in the hallways, I want to swipe the stray hair that falls in your eyes away and I want to rake my hands through your hair in the same way that use to frustrate me. I want to replace the book that you hold with my hand. I want to brush your hair behind your ears. I want to catch you around the waist every time you trip on the second stair of the corridor near St Andrew's portrait (at this, Lily blushed, embarrassed to know someone had seen her ongoing fight with the second stair) I don't know what's wrong with me. I know what's wrong with me.

All I think about is you. It's never about the essay I'm attempting to write or the friends that are chatting about their latest boyfriends. It's always you. I catch myself writing your name over and over again while trying to write notes in class. So it's not just me that this happens to? It's a wonder no one had caught me, the amount of times it's happened. Sirius caught you once. He didn't mention it to you, though; he was scared he would ruin your friendship. And I didn't believe him when he told me. But I don't know what's happened inside your head that is now keeping you away from me. It's complicated. Whatever it is, for whatever reason, I want it to stop.

It hurts me.I hate that I've hurt you. It hurts when you see me enter a room and immediately turn away. I didn't want to have to look at something I couldn't have. It hurts when you glare disdainfully at me as I answer a question correctly. I hate that you're so perfect. It hurts when I see you laughing and flirting with other girls- I wanted to get over you - as if you had never met me, as if you had never fawned after me, and now I wonder;

...

Did you ever really want me? Yes. Was it just the chase, as I had screamed at you a number of times? Never. Was it my appearance, however plain (at this, whoever had been 'correcting' her diary had scribbled over however plain and written however beautiful. Lily smile slightly.) Or my brains? Was it all a joke, a laugh to be shared around with your friends? Do you think so lowly of me?

...

Did I really mean nothing to you as a person, some sort of chase because I was the only one who hadn't fallen under you spell. Was there something in my eye or expression that finally told you that I had fallen for you, that the chase was over. If I knew, I would have had you as my own long ago. Was that why you gave up? Because it was over?

...

I'm watching you right now. I knew you were. Because I was watching you. I feel like a crazy stalker, obsessing over you constantly, always thinking of you. And now I'm writing about you. Definitely crazy. But I don't know what else to do. Nothing. I tried moving on, I tried forgetting you, Hell, I even tried dating other people. But you just wouldn't. Leave. My. Head. For this, I'm glad

...

I just want to know why.

Meet me tonight at 6, by the Groundskeepers hut.

Lily sat up straighter as she read the last line. Should she go? Of course I shouldn't, she thought, shaking her head. This would be admitting defeat, admitting that she would never have a chance with James Potter and wondering where she ever got the idea from. Plus, what if it wasn't even James? What if it was someone else set on embarrassing her? Or worse, what if it was James set on embarrassing her? No, she shook her head again. No, I won't go.


"I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't..."

Lily was sure she was crazy. Barking mad. Even after convincing herself over and over again that it was a horrible idea and she should ignore the very thought of it, she was still here, at the Groundskeepers hut, waiting for whoever was meant to be showing. She only hoped it wasn't going to be a herd of Slytherins come to laugh at her.

Drawing her coat closer to her, Lily sighed. This was such a stupid idea. She shouldn't have come, she didn't need the teasing and whatnot that was sure to happen, all she wanted to do was be able to wallow in her bed and eventually move on to a guy who would love her back.

Standing, Lily moved towards the castle just as a shadow emerged from the bush around her, causing a muffled squeal to erupt from her, until she noticed who it was.

"Merlin, James, you nearly gave me a heart-attack!"

James simply coxed his head to the side and peered at her curiously. Lily heart sank. She wondered, briefly, if some small part or her – most probably the part that had led her to be here – had hoped for some hugely romantic gesture from him, hoped that he precipitated the feeling. His curious behaviour and lake of response proved he had absolutely no feeling towards her, and Lily almost felt like crying. She pulled it together though, and glanced up at him from under her lashes.

"Why are you down here?" she asked innocently, holding onto the last shred of hope that he was not the one who had read her diary and he was here purely coincidentally. That hope was squashed, however, by his next sentence.

"I read it. Your diary."

Lily let out a huge breath, that she didn't even notice she had been holding, and glared at him, suddenly angry. If he was going to humiliate her or let her down gently, she would have preferred him to do it quickly, not take his time. It was just cruel.

"You shouldn't pry into others business; it's rude." James' lips twitch slightly as she said this, and Lily, if possible, felt even worse than she had before. Spinning on her heal, she tried, yet again, to trudge to the castle, intent on not leaving her room for the next four years. She got about three steps before she heard his voice.

"Lily, wait!"

Oh, no you don't, she thought to herself as she willed herself to keep walking away from him, despite the fact that he had called her back. She had almost made it to the castle before someone gripped her elbow, causing her attempts at continuing to become fruitless, leaving her only to spin back around to face him. He wore an apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry. That was tackles," he spoke softly, and Lily felt her face heat up at the fact that he hadn't yet let go, so their faces were closer together than they had been in a fair while. She was momentary distracted by the close-up view of his eyes. The deep, hazel colour of them seemed to light up his tanned skin, and the gold flecks in them reflected the happiness and humour that was James Potter. Lily suddenly knew she had to escape his hold or end up doing something she'd regret.

She pulled her arm out of his hold hurriedly, and put a metre distance between them, missing the hurt look that crossed his face.

"Lily, just listen. I ..." James stopped, raking his hand through his head nervously and Lily got lost in the movement momentarily, visions of her pulling on his hair while she covered his lips with hers flashing through her mind before she shook her head, and focused on what he was trying to say.

"I ... Lily, I read your diary and I ..."

"It's okay, I get it." James looked relieved as she said this, and Lily stared at the ground, trying to hide her hurt.

"You do?'

"Yeah. I understand that you could never like me, I get that I'm plain and I study too much and that I could never meet your standards. I get that there probably is another girl out there who you like, or even love, and I know that you would never consider me. So, if you could just keep this to yourself – because I don't particularly want this to go around the school – then I promise to-"

Suddenly, she was cut off at James grabbed her by the arm and pulled her against him, crushing his lips to hers. She stood frozen, as he moved his lips against hers softly, massaging a moan out of her as he wound his arms around her waist. Slowly, she moved against his lips, threading her hands into his hair and tugging on it softly. She was completely submerged in his feel, memorising every inch of his body on hers, enjoying the sweet smell of musk that surrounded him. But, as she felt his hands slide up to hold her closer to him, the reality of the situation hit her, and she pulled away breathlessly.

James leant his forehead against hers with a content smile, his lips tugging into a smile as he stared into her confused eyes.

"Lily, you were right. I do love someone," Lily's heart beat faster as he said this, but she still refused to allow herself to believe he was talking about her, even if he had just kissed her.

"And I know I've been a complete arse the last few months, pretending that I didn't care about you, but the truth was, I cared about you too much. Every time I looked at you, I saw your beautiful eyes staring at me with repulsion, and I couldn't take it anymore, I couldn't handle the fact that you saw me in the complete opposite way that I saw you. I decided to distance myself from you, so that I could hopefully get over you as it was clear to me that you would never reciprocate the feeling. When Sirius told me that he was you writing my name over and over again while you were supposably taking notes, I screamed at him, angry that he was trying to talk me into believing I had a chance with you. We fought for so long, and it eventually ended in him telling me he was going to do anything to prove to me that I had a small chance, that you may love me back.

"And, Lily, I love you, I really do, and I'm so sorry for letting you believe that you were worthless for all that time, that you didn't deserve my love, because it's more likely that I don't-"

This time, it was James that got cut off by a pair of lips, as Lily managed to break out of her frozen state and attack him with her lips, pushing him slightly up against the castle wall as she did so. And yet, she couldn't have been any less embarrassed about her bold moves, as she was to ecstatic that he returned her feelings, that he loved her and didn't consider her a chase of any kind.

Pulling away slightly, she leant up towards his ear and soft whispered, "I love you too, James."

Smiling, James took Lily's hand, and they started walking into the castle together. Suddenly, she stopped, seemingly lost in thought, before snapping her gaze up to James.

"Did you say that Sirius was going to do anything to prove that I love you too?" she asked abruptly, and James nodded his answer, still confused.

"Would 'anything' apply to scaring the wits out of me so that I'd purposely forget my diary and he could read through it?" Lily's eyes darkened as James face became suddenly guilty at the fact that he had ratted out his friend, even if he had only slightly hinted at it. They didn't call Lily Evans the brightest girl of his year for nothing.

"I'm going to kill Sirius!"


Lily stormed into the Great Hall the next morning, startling many of those having breakfast, all of who turned to watch the showdown that was most likely going to happen. No one got on the wrong side of Lily Evans without paying for it.

Stomping over to where the Marauders sat, Lily slapped her hand down beside Sirius, who jumped at the sound.

"What of earth? Lily! How are you this fine-" Sirius cut off suddenly as he saw Lily's enraged face just inches from his. Shrinking back into Remus' side (who was watching the whole episode with an amused grin, as was Peter), Sirius' face was a picture of terror as Lily leant in further, snarling in his face.

"If you ever," she started, making Sirius shake slightly, "steal from me again, I will make sure that the next time you try to cast a spell it rebounds and bat-boogie hexes you so many times your unconscious for a week, Got it?"

Sirius nodded hurriedly, before Lily grinned, startling him more, if that was even possible.

"But, thank-you," she concluded, leaning over to give Sirius a quick peck on the cheek before sliding into the seat next to James, who tossed his arm around her.

Sirius grinned, despite the shaking he had just been doing. He was an awesome matchmaker.