Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter in any way, shape, or form.
Summary: At the end of her sixth year at Hogwarts, Lily Evans was kissed by a mysterious boy at Hogwarts' Masquerade party. A whole summer has passed, and she still has no idea who he was. She wants to know, and she'll do anything to find out. L/J, Sirius/OC
Chapter 5: Can You Keep a Secret?
"It was you."
When their lips came apart, this was the first thing from Lily's breathless mouth. "You were the masked boy at the dance." James was silent because he wanted her to finish. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I was afraid you'd hate me. We had just become friends, and I was terrified of losing that." James looked and sounded equally breathless. Lily chuckled in relief. This was something she could respond too, easily and truthfully.
"I never would have hated you. Strongly disliked you, yes. Wanted you to pay for what you'd done and how you embarrassed me, of course. But I...I never could have hated you." Lily smiled briefly, before frowning. "You should have told me. Better yet, you never should have done it at all. You should have just waited for me to come around. I would have, eventually, especially because you changed. I know you did it to impress me, and while that's very flattering, I never actually hated you." James opened his mouth, but Lily continued to speak. "I hated the idea of you. The idea of a cocky, arrogant teenager who felt he could do whatever he wanted just because he was a wizard." She sighed helplessly. "Do you have any idea how much sleep I've lost over you?"
James's lips ticked up in a slight grin, before that smile that Lily loved so much disappeared. James raised his hand and brushed his knuckles across her cheek. She took hold of his hand and gripped it. He held hers as well, his eyes searching for any falseness in her glance. There was none.
"Do you love me, Lily?" he asked hoarsely. His grip on her hand tightened for a moment before letting go, and Lily's arm dropped to her side. "Because I love you."
"How could you possibly love a barking mad redhead with an anger management problem?" she asked, chuckling bitterly. She paused. "Every instinct is telling me to run from you right now - to run and never look back..." she bit her lip, looking away.
"So why don't you?" he asked the million Galleon question.
"I am a Gryffindor." She said with a smirk. James grinned. Lily couldn't help herself - she smiled too, giggling slightly. He leaned in and their foreheads bumped together, the sunset creating a silhouette in the small space between their faces.
"You love me." He said, sounding very sure of it. Too sure. Lily couldn't let him know the truth, not yet.
"I don't recall saying that."
"You implied it."
"You wanted to run. You didn't."
"So what? That doesn't mean I love you. I could just fancy you." Lily argued, breaking away from his embrace and going to sit on his bed. "Don't sit next to me. My brain isn't rational when you're so close."
Ignoring her, James sat down next to her, their thighs touching. Lily's cheeks were on fire and she was saying things she never would have said if she were thinking rationally. Or thinking at all, really. Her words seemed to just be spilling out, without direction from her brain.
"So what do we do now?" James asked a few moments later. Lily sighed, blowing her hair from her face.
"I don't know. I barely know how to process the last ten minutes." She admitted.
"Yeah," James chuckled. "That was crazy, wasn't it?" He looked at her and smiled. Feeling his eyes on her, she turned to look back at him. "Can we do it again?"
Blushing, Lily laughed and nodded, leaning in and accepting the kiss.
After a few more moments of snogging, James pulled away, a smile on his face that could light all of Hogwarts. "Lily, would you do me the honor of going to Hogsmeade this weekend?"
Still red in the face, the Muggle-born witch nodded. Lily momentarily feared that James's wide grin would split his face in two, but those fears and other thoughts disappeared when his lips met hers again.
A while later, the new couple was sitting together in James's dormitory, Lily's head lazily on his chest and his arms stretched behind his head, thoroughly relaxed.
"We have to get up and do work soon," James commented, running his hand lazily through the redhead's wavy locks. Lily moaned in annoyance.
"Do we have too?" she questioned petulantly. James chuckled.
"Well, unless you want to stay like this a bit longer...?" He looked at her hopefully. He still couldn't believe that the she was his. Although they hadn't made it official, he knew Lily wouldn't be so cruel as to lead him on like this.
"Can we stay like this a little bit longer?" she asked, sounding like a child. James smiled.
About an hour later, they were still in their same position, both knowing they had work to do, but also reluctant to leave their cozy cocoon.
"You know something?" James asked, still combing his hands through Lily's hair. He still felt like this was a dream he was going to wake up from. He had finally won Lily Evans's heart. Only it wasn't a game, it never had been, not really. Not after the first time she rejected him, after that it had become something far more significant and life-changing. And James wouldn't have it any other way.
"Hm?" Lily asked, sounding extremely content.
"We should get Sabrina and Padfoot together. Alyssa and Moony too."
"Where did that come from?" Lily questioned. James shrugged, and he sat up. Because of their position, Lily was forced to sit up as well. She swung her legs over the side of the bed, but before she could stand up, James had his hand over hers.
"We know they fancy each other. They're just too stubborn to admit it." He smiled knowingly, and she glared at him playfully.
"While that's true, I still don't understand what brought this on. Normally you're...well not very smart when it comes to love."
"I beg to differ." James grinned, giving her a coy smile. Lily flushed. "And I'm in a romantic mood, sue me." He squeezed her hand and took extreme delight when she squeezed back.
"So what do you suggest?" Lily asked.
James's eyes lit mischievously. "James?" the redhead questioned warily, knowing that look far too well.
"I think it's time to party."
"Professor, please. It's a great idea!" James beseeched his Head of House.
"I agree, Professor." Lily said. "The seventh year students need a way to end their year, and what better than a graduation ball?"
"It simply can't happen, Mr. Potter! Miss Evans, you of all people should understand how these things work. Need I remind you that graduation is less than a month away?" Professor McGonagall said sternly, her lips pressed thinly. "There just isn't enough time!"
"I beg to differ, Minerva." Professor Dumbledore intervened. "I have come to realize that anything's possible with enough nerve." He paused. "...and of course, a bit of magic."
Lily and James looked at each other and grinned.
"I heard that they're dating..."
"No! Really? She finally agreed?"
"That's what Marlene McKinnon told me, and apparently she got it right from Sabrina Craven!"
Lily walked through the halls of Hogwarts that following week, speculations and gossip following her everywhere she went. Whether she was in Charms, or Potions, or even the library, the whispers and not-so secret glances were constant.
Originally it annoyed her, but now she didn't care very much. Did she enjoy having her relationship status as the 'hot topic'? No, absolutely not. Lily had always hated being the spotlight, one of the differences between her and James. However, she knew that as soon as something else just as juicy came around, her newfound relationship with James Potter would be nothing more than a passing craze.
Newfound relationship. The idea made her giddy. James and Lily were two halves of the same whole - one couldn't exist without the other - not really. Ever since they met in first year, they had been circling each other in a seemingly never ending circle of dramatic arguments and denied chances at love.
Days passed, and the preparations for the dance were all Lily and James seemed to be thinking about. They barely had time for each other in that period, and that upset them both, Lily in particular. Her doubts began to rear their annoying selves, and Lily found herself avoiding her boyfriend, much to Sabz's chagrin.
"Lily Rose Evans," Sabz said sternly almost a week after Lily and James had become boyfriend and girlfriend. Lily stopped what she was doing - Sabz only called her by her whole name when she was being serious.
"Sabrina Alexandra Craven," she said, offering a watery smile, knowing that she was caught.
"Go talk to him. That," she gestured loosely to the party preparation that Lily was working on. "Can wait."
"I don't need to talk to him. Everything's fine." Somehow, Lily knew exactly what, or rather who, Sabz was referring.
"Everything is not fine. When's the last time you two kissed?" Sabz demanded. Lily's face flushed.
"Over a week," she admitted. "But we've both been busy with preparation! It's not a big deal, really." she turned her head away, her curtain of hair hiding just how much of a big deal it was.
"Are you telling me my best friend's happiness isn't a big deal?" Sabz asked, crossing her arms at the very idea. Lily suddenly sat down on the floor, as though her legs could no longer hold her, and looked up at the black haired beauty, fresh tears glistening in her emerald eyes.
"I feel so vulnerable, Sabz." Lily whispered. "How can I miss him so much when I used to hate him? How can not seeing him, not touching, kissing, being with him hurt so badly?" Sabz knelt down by Lily and rubbed her back, and Lily struggled not to cry.
"Sabrina, can you...Lily?" A shadow fell over them, and Lily didn't have to look to know that it was James. She swallowed hard, the lump in her throat nearly choking her, and felt a tear slip down her face. "Lily, what's the matter?"
Lily stood, her face shadowed, and took off running. She had no destination in mind, she just needed to get away, to think.
"Lily!" Both James and Sabz cried in alarm. James took off after her.
James's long legs quickly caught up to Lily and he grabbed her wrist to stop her.
"Lily, love, what's wrong?" He pulled her into a strong embrace, and his cologne and earthy scent immediately overwhelmed her. She felt more tears fall, but she couldn't stop them. "Lily," he said softly, feeling her tears seep through his shirt.
"I miss you." she said quietly, almost inaudibly. Another tear escaped her eye. "I feel so stupid, getting this upset because I've barely seen you for a week, but I can't stop myself. You...you bloody prat. Why do you do this to me?"
"Now you know how I've felt for the last three years," he whispered, but not bitterly, as one would expect. His voice had a different tone, a different affect.
Fondness. Affection. Whatever you called it, there was a definite lack of negativity and a profound abundance of love.
The dance was a huge success. All of the hard work and dedication that the Heads and their friends had put into it had paid off immensely.
Lily and James had gone together, as expected, although what was unexpected was that Sabz and Sirius had as well. After tweaking their agreement, Sirius had convinced Sabz that one date wouldn't kill her.
Late into the night, Sirius had finally persuaded Sabz to dance with him, and to a slow, romantic song no less. The evening was full of surprises, in Lily's opinion.
"Seems like everything worked out." Liss sidled up next to Lily, gesturing to Sabz and Sirius. The pair were swaying slowly, Sabz's head on his chest and his hands securely on her back.
"I won't be convinced until he kisses her." Lily replied.
"Or she kisses him." Liss agreed, and the two friends continued their observation.
"We're being watched." Sirius noted with a chuckle, and Sabz smiled slightly.
"I know. It's just Lily and Liss."
"Prongs and Moony are watching too." Sirius told her, and instead of being mortified, Sabz looked up at him with a mischevious smile.
"We should give them something to see." She flirted, and Sirius's eyes darkened daringly. He leaned down at the same time she leaned up, and their lips met in a long awaited kiss.
Moments later, Sabz spoke first.
"Guess I just can't fight this feeling anymore." She conceded, leaning her head on his chest again. The song was coming to an end, but in that moment, they were in their own world.
"Sabby, are you saying what I think you're saying?" Sirius asked, tightening his grip on her.
"Depends on what you think." Sabz answered, with her never-ceasing wit.
"I think that you fancy me." Sirius smiled.
"I think you might be right." Sabz smiled as well, though Sirius couldn't exactly tell.
Satisfied, Lily and Liss migrated around the room, and Lily decided she was thirsty. She was scooping herself some punch when a hand reached around her waist, pulling her close to a firm body.
"Dance with me?" James's lips brushed against her ear and she giggled, unable to hold it in.
"If you're lucky." Lily replied with a smirk, drinking some of her punch. James smirked back.
"Would you dance if I told you that the punch was spiked?" Lily spat it out in a rather comical spit take. James couldn't help it; he laughed. He knew Lily hated any form of alcohol, which was what made her reaction even more priceless.
"James Michael Potter!" Lily admonished, slapping his shoulder. "That was not funny! I'm definitely not dancing with you now!" she pouted, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Aw Flower, you know I was only teasing." Lily continued to be annoyed, and James snaked his arms around her. "One dance? Please?" he pressed his mouth against her cheek, his voice a mere whisper. "For old time's sake?"
"Oh fine, you incorrigible prat." Lily refused to admit her face was flushed. James chuckled.
"Must I remind you that I am your incorrigible prat?"
"Shut up and let's dance." Lily was still pretending to be angry, but they both knew that she was never really angry at all.
"Looks like everything worked out the way it was meant too." Professor McGonagall said with a fond smile, watching the new couples dance.
"Yes," Professor Trelawney agreed. "I foresee a difficult future for these children though." Despite a peaked curiosity, Minerva kept her mouth closed, just watching and hoping that Sybill was wrong.
Meanwhile, Sirius and Sabz were walking around hand in hand. Lily and James were doing the same, and Sabz grinned and Lily, who smirked back. She nodded toward their clasped hands, and Sabz flushed almost in a guilty way. She made a move to pull away, but Sirius held tight.
"You're not getting away that easily." he said, amused. He chuckled at her awkwardness, he found it adorable because it completely contrasted her usual bravado. Since she had initiated their kiss, he knew that she felt the same way he did, despite her embarrassment.
"So who's idea was the whole 'masked man' thing, anyway?" Lily questioned as they watched the rest of the seventh years dance the night away.
Sirius and James exchanged glances.
"I think it was a mutual idea. Wasn't it, Pads?" James asked, and Sirius caught on right away.
"Yep. Sure was - I think Remus had a hand in it too..."
"What did I do now?" Remus asked, walking up with Liss by his side. Lily and Sabz grinned at her, and she shyly smiled back, pulling their arms forward to reveal clasped hands.
"Nothing, Moony, Absolutely nothing." Sirius said, not wanting Remus to reveal the entire thing.
After all, some secrets were meant to be kept as that. Secrets.
A/N: It's finally done! The story's been up for over a year and I FINALLY finished it! I was going to go into detail about how Remus and Liss got together, but I thought that would be a bit of overkill. If you guys want, I'll post a oneshot about them. :)
Anyway, hope you all enjoyed, and thanks for sticking with me for this long! :D