A/N: Talk about a long time coming! This was honestly such a headache to write. I wrote and rewrote it and then rewrote it again and again. I'm still not completely happy with it, but I think it'll do. I think it's just because I don't usually write from Lily's percpective, and also because this was originally meant to be a one shot. It took a lot of asking to convince me to write a part 2 in Lily's POV, so I hope you think it was worth it.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J.K. Rowling. The present-to-flashback format is inspired by a story I read, but unfortunately, I can't remember the title or author.
Part 2- The Capture of the Snitch
The January air is sharp and cold against Lily's cheek, but it's like the summer sun in comparison to the ice in James' eyes. His muscles are stiff, his jaw set, and his eyes hard as he stares down at the redhead before him. Her hair whips around her in ways that make him want to reach out and touch it. Lily feels small, vulnerable and helpless to her mistakes under his guarded and watchful gaze.
Suddenly, she feels as if all the confidence and that spontaneous burst of courage she felt moments before- when she boldly asked to speak to him- has fallen to the ground with the snow that dances around them. James looks weary, confused- and now mildly annoyed. His stance becomes impatient- maybe nervous- and his hand shoots right for his hair, but he plays it off as scratching his neck in that way boys do. He raises an eyebrow at her, and she realizes she has yet to say anything.
Building up every ounce of that Gryffindor courage and swallowing her pride, she utters the two words she never thought she'd say to James Potter.
Her voice is barely a whisper and he almost doesn't hear her, her words lost in the howling wind. Moments pass in silence, and she worries maybe he really didn't hear her. But then he blinks in late surprise, his eyes narrow, and his lip twitch slightly. His shoulders stiffen and she knows he doesn't trust her, even when he nods.
"Is that all, then?" he asks, gesturing behind him to the oak doors leading back inside the castle.
She almost gives up right there. His voice is cold, uninterested, and she nearly lets him walk away. She lets the rejection stab her and hurt her, but not consume her. She almost gives up right there, but she doesn't.
"All right, Evans?"
Lily stifles a groan as she catches the striking black of James Potter's hair from the corner of her eye. She makes no move to slow down and makes no indication of having noticed him, but he keeps pace with her regardless. He sighs, and she almost laughs at how un-James-Potter it sounds. She turns to look at him and raises her eyebrows. He looks perfectly innocent, almost nervous, hands in his pockets. She doesn't know why she snaps at him. It's just what she does.
"What do you want, Potter?"
If her harsh tone affects him, he doesn't show it. He smiles at her. "There's a Hogsmeade trip coming up this weekend. Maybe we could go together." His smile is kind, inviting even. He tilts his head to the side, as if to say what do you say? She sighs. This is the third time this month.
"Is that all, then?"
She can't explain the guilt she feels when her words wipe the smile right off his face. His jaw tenses. His shoulders stiffen, and his eyes darken. He looks at her in silence for a moment, swallows, and nods. His cheerful tone has been replaced by a quiet, defeated monotone when he speaks next.
"Yeah. That's all."
"No, that's not all," she says with quiet conviction, forcing herself to look him straight in the eye. His eyes are distant and contemplative, like he's remembering just what his words took her back to.
"Oh?" He fails to mask his surprise. She nods, brushes her hair from her face, and bites her lip. He watches every movement with interest, noting how carelessly delicate every action is, and he feels that familiar tug at his heartstrings that he tried so hard to quench. He focuses on her lips, full and red and inviting. The breath he lets out fogs up in the air in front of him, and he clamps his eyes shut. Lily follows his gaze, his every movement, and she's aware for the first time how much she affects him. Not for the first time, she feels that wave of guilt that threatens to win out over her mess of tangled emotions, but she reminds herself that she's trying to fix it.
She wants to keep talking, keep him there, and only now does she realize what he felt all those times he shuffled his feet the way she's doing now. She's scared and weary and uncertain, and he's just there. He's there, and he's all easy confidence and beauty and heat and strength and power. Power over her, and over what happens now.
"I'm sorry," she says again, but she knows what she wants to tell him now. "I'm sorry for treating you the way I did. It… I was stupid. I guess I just never realized you meant any of it. I thought you were playing around, like when we were kids," her voice is pleading and her eyes hold his, holding all the apology she can muster. She silently begs him to understand, to forgive her, to give her a second chance.
"We're not kids anymore, Lily. You should have realized that," he says. His voice is gentle, but there's a sharp, almost scolding edge to it. He's still stiff and untrusting, but he's stepped closer to her, and she thinks his eyes are softening around the edges. Her entire body swells with hope.
"Give him a chance, Lily."
It's Marlene McKinnon's voice, and Lily rolls her eyes as she turns to look at her best friend. The comment is completely out of the blue.
"Well yeah, who else?"
Lily huffs in irritation. "Why is everyone trying to push me towards him?"
"Because everyone's smarter than you. Come on, Lil. Just say yes one time, get to know him, and then make your judgment."
"I do know him. Stupid and cocky is not really my type."
But when she turns away, she accidentally catches his eye from across the common room. He flashes her a smile- it's kind, warm and genuine. She can't help it when her lips form into a returning smile. Automatically, he runs his hand through his hair, and for whatever reason, she's not irritated by the action. She laughs and turns back to Marlene, the image of his shining eyes burning like an iron in the back of her mind.
And for a moment, she sees just what everyone else does.
So maybe she had seen it all along. His eyes and his smile had always been a giveaway of his heart, even through his mean jokes and cruel pranks. She'd always known it, but she never let herself accept it.
"I know," she says. "I should have known. I guess I was the immature one, eh? I couldn't let go of our childhood. But I know you've grown up… and I've grown up too, James.'
James doesn't respond, but she can see him taking in her words and letting himself believe them.
"I never gave you a chance, but- and I know you have no reason to- I need you to give me a second go," she pleads.
"Evans! Hey, Evans!"
She's just lost her best friend, her first link to the magical world. She is in no mood for James Potter and his infuriating, ever present, arrogant smirk. She ignores him, but he is persistent, as always.
"Evans, just hold on a second!" It's the impatience in his voice that makes her angry enough to turn around.
"Go away, Potter. I'm in no mood for you to throw what just happened in my face. You were right about Snape and I was wrong. I know."
James blinks in surprise. The common room has gone quiet, anticipating another battle in the ongoing Potter vs. Evans war.
"I was just going to apologize."
She doesn't know how she knows, but she knows he's telling the truth. She doesn't care.
"I don't want your apology. You're an arrogant and selfish pig, and I want nothing to do with you. Do yourself a favour and leave me alone."
Right away, she feels bad. She's taking out her anger at Severus on James and she knows it, but pride stops her from righting her wrong. In the back of her mind, she realizes this is the only time she's ever felt genuinely sorry for her behavior towards James Potter.
She watches as his eyes flare with anger and hurt and something deep and strong that she can't identify. She watches the fight in them build up… and then subside. He doesn't fight back. He doesn't promise he'll try again. He utters a single word and then he walks away. She can't explain why her heart drops to her feet as she watches his retreating figure.
"I do have a reason," he whispers. He's moved closer and she can feel his presence prickling on her skin, the heat radiating off his body.
His eyes have that look again. Hurt and anger and something powerful she can't explain.
He hates her. He hates her for what she's done to him and he hates that he still loves her anyways, but he doesn't hate her enough to quench that something in his eyes. And now he's hating her less and less with each breath that fogs up in the air between them, thick with emotion and a spark of something that neither one of them can name or ignore.
He kept his word. He did leave her alone. She doesn't know why there's a void- like losing something you never really had. Hadn't she wanted this? Hadn't she hoped for years that he would leave her alone?
She had wanted to see if he really would. It had been something subconscious, something that was there, but she didn't recognize. She'd hoped that he would keep coming back. It was a selfish thought, but that couldn't be helped. No one ever stayed, no one but James, and now he had left, too.
It's a little bit more than just a longing for someone to stay, she knows. It's something bigger. She thinks life is cruel to them both. Why is it only now that she realizes what everyone else had tried to convince her of all along? Why now, when he had given up on her?
That lazy confidence, arrogant smirk, and those eyes that spoke louder than words had to win out at some point.
How had a careful, reserved, orderly girl like her fallen in love with a boy like James Potter?
"What reason could you possibly have?" she asks. He cracks a smile, as perfect and intriguing and inviting as ever.
"I dare you to figure it out."
The tips of his hair brush against her forehead and breathing becomes a difficult task. Beauty and heat and strength and power.
His eyes- close enough so she can see the specks of green and gold in them- scan her face. They take in every freckle that dots her nose, linger a little too long on her lips, and bore into her eyes. James Potter always had beautifully angry eyes when he looked at her, but they're a thousand times more beautiful with that anger gone.
She has no time to respond, no time to say she'll try, no time to breathe before his lips are on hers, soft and warm, gentle and careful. He cups her cheek, kisses her like he's waited his whole life for this moment.
His scent- mint, soap, and something sweet- overwhelms her. His hands are on her face, trailing her arms, tangling in her hair, and his lips are telling her everything he can't say. She's holding on to him, holding on like her life depends on him. She's melting in his arms, like he's the only thing that matters, and nothing has ever felt so real and right to her.
They turn heads when they walk into the Great Hall, hand in hand. Sirius, on his way out of the hall, freezes a moment before a barely there smile creeps onto his face. He reaches into his pocket as he approaches them, barely sparing Lily a glance as he takes something out of his pocket, enclosed in his fist.
Sirius is right in front of James when he finally opens his hand, and James' Golden Snitch flutters out. The two boys look at each other, as though they're having a private conversation only they can hear, sharing some sort of inside joke. James grins. He reaches out, grabs the Snitch, and pockets it.
James' low chuckle almost drowns out Sirius' words as he passes.
"One-fifty points to Gryffindor."
A/N: Ahhhh. I'm nervous about this.
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