Lily was never playing another drinking game with Severus again.
Of course, she never really would let Sev down. Over the (many, many) years preceding their foray into uni, Lily bore witness to countless maudlin ramblings. Severus, for all his grumpiness, had the strangest proclivity for drinking games of all manner. Beerpong, Mugs, Slaps – the whole caboodle! There was hardly anything he had not dragged Lily into.
Unfortunately, Sev was a whiny drunk.
"Soddin' bastard 'at Potter is, yeah? Fancies he's king of everything 'cos he'll be specializin' in ruddy Aerrr… Aeerrro – Lily, how d'ya say it?"
"Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering," Lily grit out, barely suppressing a groan. She eyed her friend's scarlet complexion warily. "Sev, I really think you should be getting to bed."
"Sev!" he said, throwing his skinny arms in the air. "Severus. S'my name. Not… not fucking Snivellus…"
Lily truly couldn't put up with the Chemical Engineering student's obsession with a certain James Potter. Honestly, she was growing to hate Potter just as vehemently. Not that she'd ever met – or seen - the bloke. Her college was on the opposite end of the campus from Sev's, which was adjacent to Potter's.
Well, even so, Lily supposed, Mary and Em have many a pleasant thing to say about Mr. Potter's arse.
Sev, however, whined with the fury of a million chucked girlfriends. Whenever Lily came over to visit Sev, the conversation was unidirectional: how James Potter, Unbelievable Slacker, managed to top every class. How James Potter, Football Wanker, hit on all the pretty girls. How James Potter, Filthy Toerag, dared to call Sev Snivellus.
There was no other option than to hate the poor sod.
Sometime amidst Lily's silent musings and Sev's drunken rant, the latter had passed out. On her shoulder. In the garden bench outside the dorm building.
Brill. How am I going to move him?
There no way in hell Lily was going to call for his roommates, especially not at this time of night. She had no intentions of facing Mulciber's or Avery's condescending sniggers, especially not when she was halfway pissed.
Being halfway pissed, her thoughts deviated quite amicably from her predicament to the gorgeous bloke she'd come to notice at her favorite campus coffee place.
Lily studied at the oddest hours. Save for the post-party mornings, she always found herself up and about by five in the morning. Which was the same time the genius little coffee shop opened! 5:30 AM, sharp – Lily was there. Thirty minutes later, a sexy, bespectacled, tall, dark-haired mess was there, too, always in the innermost seat, farthest from the window.
Coffee Guy, as he was named in her head, was not the darkly handsome type. Not the pretty boy at all. (Though the guy that eventually dragged him away was) He was… naughty-looking. The guy you snogged in empty classrooms. The boy who stole cookies from the cookie jar. The prankster.
Boyish, Lily thought. But not un-manly.
Not with his broad shoulders and narrow hips. Or his toned forearms, which were revealed inch by delightful inch as he got more absorbed in his work, pulling up his shirtsleeves. Or his sensual lips. God, his lips.
Lily wondered if he ever actually noticed she was there. There were a few other people who haunted the shop, after all. Maybe she just blurred into the rest of the crowd. Another person, another morning. She had yet to catch him looking her way. Yet there was nothing she wanted more than to find all the colors in his eyes. Strangely enough, she wasn't sure what color they were. Sometimes they looked green, other times brown. On more golden mornings, amber.
"Absolutely marvellous, Prongs!"
Lily flinched, startled. Sev's head started drooping towards the ground accordingly. With a soft "bugger", Lily gingerly rearranged his perch on her shoulder.
"Naturally. Hey, man, I'll be stopping by here for a bit. Frank needs something for the report."
"I would've passed by earlier if you hadn't been so pushy, you git."
"Poor Prongsie, getting all cranky!"
"Oh, sod off, do, Padfoot. S'later."
Judging by the timbre of the voices and the approaching footsteps, Lily assumed with copious amounts of hope that it was a boy headed this way. With a hand cradling Sev's head, she leaned forward to peer at the corner.
A few seconds later, a tall figure, silhouetted by the lamplight, appeared. Definitely a man's figure.
"Hey!" Lily called out. "Uhm, help?"
The figure fell into the light. "Yeah?"
Oh god. This wasn't happening.
"W-well," Lily said, hoping she didn't sound like a complete idiot. "My friend here – " she gestured over her shoulder – "kind of. Yeah. Uhm. Room 203?"
He laughed. His eyes looked golden in the lamplight. "I reckon you need me to bring him there?" Without waiting for an answer, he reached down, slinging one of Sev's arms over his shoulder. "Needed to get in there anyway."
Lily tried to stand, but swayed on her feet. Coffee Guy laid a hand on her shoulder, guiding her back to the bench.
Such a warm hand.
"You're not going anywhere, beautiful," he said. "I'll just get this bloke up there and see you in a bit, yeah?" He winked, before, Sev in tow, heading off to the building.
God, was he sexy.
Lily rolled her head back, looking into the night sky but seeing nothing. A few minutes later, she heard Coffee Guy's easy shuffle.
"I was hoping you wouldn't disappear," he said. He elegantly threw himself into the seat beside her. The momentum left his glasses crooked. "Where are you spending the night?"
"Dorms?" Lily said weakly.
Coffee Guy raised an eyebrow. "That's on the opposite end of campus, Miss Evans."
Lily's head whipped up. "You know me?"
He ran a hand through his hair. Yes, yes, yes. "I think every self-respecting bloke on campus knows you, Lily."
Lily gave a dry laugh. And ignored the breakneck speed her heartbeat had taken on. "Funny. Right."
Coffee Guy rolled his eyes. Leaning down, he scooped up the abandoned, empty bottles of Jägermeister. "I didn't take you for a Jäger bird."
"Sev's favorite," she said, shrugging.
From his lazy position in the bench, Coffee Guy hurled the bottles into the nearest bin. He didn't miss once. "So, you and Snape, eh?"
Lily shook her head insistently. "No, no. Known him since I was ten."
He grinned devilishly. "Absolutely nothing, then? Not even a pre-pubescent kiss?"
She groaned. "No, not at all. Unless the cheek counts."
Coffee Guy brightened. He stood, the manic grin never wavering. He stretched his arm towards her. "Come on, let's get you back."
Lily's jaw went slack. "I'm not totally pissed. You don't have to take me back." She attempted another stand. And collapsed helplessly into Coffee Guy's arms.
He smelled nice. She couldn't really pinpoint a scent to compare it too. But it was warm. Masculine.
Coffee Guy righted her so that, while most of her weight was on him, she was able to walk. He slung an arm around her shoulder, tugging hers around his waist. "I'm not leaving the campus beauty all alone, hardly able to walk straight." He gave a mock grunt of pain. "Imagine all the terrors Cambridge's male population will unleash upon my poor, unsuspecting self!"
Lily laughed. When she looked up at him, his expression was smug. (She hoped.) "What brought you by here, anyway?"
They started walking. "Frank Longbottom, you know him?" Coffee Guy said. When she shook her head, he continued. "Working with him for a report next week. He's at this college, too. What brought you here, drinking?"
"Sev wanted to try out a new drinking game."
"Just the two of you?"
"Mm, Sev prefers that."
They reached the road. Coffee Guy set her on a bench, whipping out his mobile. He sat down beside her and made a call.
"Yeah? I need a taxi on…"
Lily lost the rest of what he was saying. His glasses had fallen further down his nose, leaving his eyes clearly visible. The bright light of the cars passing by lit them up spectacularly.
Hazel. His eyes are hazel.
It took her quite some time to realize he had already ended the call. He was staring back at her.
"Oh," she mumbled, turning away. "Excuse me."
They were close enough that she felt his chuckle rather than heard it. "No need. I've always wanted you to do that."
On a good day, Lily would have given Coffee Guy a decent, witty reply. As it was, she was halfway pissed. "I always do that."
Coffee Guy stiffened. "No, love, you're drunk. You've never seen me before tonight."
"No!" Lily insisted. "Every morning… 6:00…"
Coffee Guy was silent. Lily chanced a glance. He had the funniest expression on his face – a little wry and a little wonderstruck – and his hand was yet again caught in his hair. "Really?" he said finally.
Lily blinked. "Yeah. You're fucking sexy." Then gasped. "Shit, I – I didn't –"
Coffee Guy was laughing. Uninhibitedly.
It was the most beautiful sound she'd heard in a long, long time. Not since Tuney broke her music box two years ago. Lily reddened, torn between admiration and mortification.
A few minutes passed before Coffee Guy calmed down. Lily had turned away, tears burning in the corners of her eyes.
Something settled on her head. "Hey."
Lily's gaze remained resolutely away, a pout settling on her lips. The weight on her head drifted to her chin – his hand, Lily realized. Coffee Guy tugged her head to face him. "Don't be ashamed," he whispered, almost reverently. His eyes were wide and pretty, and she thought she might've started melting. "I'm just… happy." He let out another chuckle. "To think, all this time, I couldn't find the courage to walk up to you. Say hello. Anything. Padfoot, my roommate, kept telling me I was hopeless and…"
He trailed off, just staring into her eyes. Neither spoke for a few moments. It could have been seconds, months, years . Over all those mornings, Lily had reckoned she had his every feature memorized. But the angles and curves were so different – better – up close.
The honk of the taxi stirred them both back to life. With an awkward grace, Coffee Guy looped his arm around the small of her back. He drew her close and supported her as she rose.
"Will you go out with me?"
The taxi driver began honking more insistently. Lily giggled. "I'm half-pissed, you know."
"I'm taking my chances," he said, steering them towards the taxi.
"… Yeah. Tomorrow at 6:00?"
Coffee Guy laughed as they settled into the taxi. He flippantly gave the taxi her college. The vehicle began to move.
His arms were still around her, as if he had conveniently forgotten he'd left them there. She hoped his lapse in memory persisted.
"I have something better in mind," he said, continuing from her joke. "How's Saturday?"
Lily nodded. "Okay." After a beat, she said, "Oh! I… I didn't catch your name."
Coffee Guy instantly withdrew from her. (Lily barely held back a whimper.) He straightened and arranged his collar. After a dignified clearing of his throat, he introduced himself.
"My name is James Potter, and I fancy you terribly."
James Potter, Lily thought. What a nice na—
SON OF A -
A/N: Written for the museme87's Lily/James comment fic-a-thon over at Livejournal. Head there if you haven't already! ;)
Unedited and rushed, but I hope you enjoy it! :)