Disclaimer: don't own. Don't sue.

Could it be? A Lily and James story where:

James isn't the most popular/ handsomest boy in the school who is also a complete player.

Lily isn't one of the most beautiful girls in the school. And she isn't a 'bookworm' either. Even though bookworms are wicked!

They don't hate each other.

They don't have a ball.

Therefore Lily doesn't have to go to Hogsmeade and buy new dress robes.

The Marauders don't play any pranks on Lily. Even if they might want to.

There are no popular groups who don't speak to anyone else in this fic. That's because in England (at least where *I* live) we don't have such groups. Everyone chats to everyone at school!

Please read on. Thank—you!


"Moony! Moony!" bellowed Sirius Black from the boy's dormitories.

"What?" Remus yelled back from the Common Room.

"Prongsie LIKES someone!"


"Shut UP, Sirius!" yelled James. But it was much too late.

Thump. Thump. Thump. A breathless Remus appeared in the doorway, looking at his three best friends. Sirius was looking immensely smug, Peter was rolling around on the floor, laughing, and James- well, James simply looked extremely embarrassed. He had gone bright red and was staring fixedly at the floor.

"James *really* likes someone? And he admitted it to *you?*" said Remus in disbelief.

"Yup," answered Sirius, grinning.

If there was one thing Remus had learned from being friends with Sirius, it was never, EVER to tell him if you liked someone. Firstly he'd shout the news out in the Great Hall, thinking this was incredibly funny, and deeply embarrassing both parties involved in the process. Then, providing that the girl even *spoke* to you again, he's always turn up at the wrong time with some stupidly crude comment, which embarrassed you even *more.* Then, as a last resort, he might decide to play a few jokes on the object of your affection. Remus shivered. How well he remembered when he had confided in Sirius that he rather fancied Melissa Jones. He was still dealing with the traumatic events that followed.

But it was very surprising that James had admitted he liked someone. He was usually very hush hush about anything romantic. Not that he really had anything to tell, anyway.

"James, *why* in Merlin's name did you tell Sirius?!" asked Remus.

"I don't know! It just sort of came out!" scowled James.

"Aren't you going to tell him who the lovely lady is?" snorted Sirius.

James had started banging his head against the wall out of sheer frustration, but complied. "She's in Ravenclaw… but I only know her first name… I'm too scared to go and talk to her."

Sirius snorted into his pillow.

"Shut up! She's in our Charms class. Lily."

"Lily Evans? The redhead?" asked Remus quickly.

"Yeah! Why, do you know her?" asked James, surprised.

"Yes. She comes to the library quite a bit."

"And since you're *always* in the library…" surmised Peter.

"Exactly," finished Remus. "She's really nice."

"See, Prongsie," said Sirius triumphantly. "She won't try to kill you. You just have to go up to her… or better yet, let *me*…"

"NO!" yelled James, jumping up. "I knew I shouldn't have told you! You'll ruin everything!"

"Only trying to help…"

"But you don't! You only scare anyone we like away! It's alright for you, everyone thinks you're really funny and good-looking! But *some* of us are only human!"

"Well, not all of us, James," countered Sirius. "I'm not sure what kind of animal Snape *is,* but when I find out…"

Remus and Peter snorted. But James was incensed.

"Everything's just a big joke to you, isn't it!" he yelled. Remus was rather shocked; James never lost his temper, especially with Sirius. "You think other people just don't matter! This is not just some girl that you can terrorise like all the others! I've liked her for over *five months,* and I've never even got up the nerve to *talk* to her! So much for the famed Gryffindor bravery! And it's been eating me up inside, so I decide to tell my *best friend,* and what does he do?? He laughs, and then shouts it all around Gryffindor Tower! I wouldn't be surprised if *everyone* knew by now!"

"Well, they definitely will now with all your screaming!"

"Argh! You just don't understand! It's so easy for *you* to chat girls up! I can't help it if I'm shy! I suppose now you'll go and tell her, and make me look like a right idiot, and ruin any chance I might have had! Sometimes you *really* piss me off!"

With that, James Potter stormed out of the dormitory.

A rather sober Sirius turned to the two remaining Marauders.

"Well," he said. "He must *really* like her…"

Remus and Peter nodded, still rather shocked at James's outburst.

"So," continued Sirius, a smile creeping onto his face, "any plans to get them together?"

Both Remus and Peter groaned. They just *knew* that this was all going to go terribly, terribly wrong…


Several days later, James was getting slightly suspicious. Sirius hadn't teased him about Lily at all; he hadn't even announced the news in the Dinner Hall. He was being very quiet about the whole thing… a little *too* quiet, in fact…

Just then Remus came through the dormitory door, dumping his books on his bed.

"I just talked to Lily," he said conversationally. James's stomach did a little belly flop, like it always did when he saw/thought/heard about Lily.

"What?" he said, trying to sound cool.

"Yes. Sirius asked me to talk to her about you."

"WHAT?!" James jumped off the bed.

"Calm down, James!"

"No! I KNEW Sirius would do something like this! Now she's going to think I'm a *right* idiot! What *exactly* did you *say?*"

"Nothing! I just mentioned you casually and… sorry James, but I don't think you're going to like this…"

James went rather pale. "Please. Tell me now."

"Well…" Remus looked sheepish. "She didn't know who you were."

"Oh, for Merlin's *sake!* I'm in her Charms class!"

"That's what I said. I just mentioned you, and she said 'who?' and *I* said, 'James Potter.' And she looked at me and said, 'is he one of your friends? I don't think I know him.' So I *told* her your were in her charms class, and then she said, 'oh… I suppose I didn't notice him.'"

James groaned. "Could it *get* any worse?!"

"No, wait James- it gets better, I promise! Then I said that you play Quidditch, and then she knew exactly who you were. Then she said- listen, you'll like this- she said you were a really good flyer."

"What what WHAT?"

"She *said* that you fly really well. She loves Quidditch. There, something you two have in common."

James had a huge and very stupid grin plastered on his face. "She said she *liked* my *flying!*" he said.

"Oh, *Merlin,*" said Sirius, just coming in. "You told him, then."

And all that was heard for the next week in Gryffindor Tower was: "she said she *liked* my *flying!*"


"Oi, James- isn't that your lady love over there in the corner with two of her rather attractive friends?" Sirius asked.

James looked. Indeed it was Lily, looking all pretty and pink-cheeked and laughing over a butterbeer in a corner of the Three Broomsticks. James sighed rather wistfully.

Sirius was looking at him incredulously. "James, why don't you just go over there and *talk* to her?"

"Are you joking? How obvious would that be?!"

"So, basically, you don't *want* her to know you like her."

"Exactly," answered James triumphantly. At last, someone who understood the situation!

Remus, Peter and Sirius all snorted uncontrollably.

"That is actually the *stupidest* think I have *ever* heard," said Remus.

"Look, Jamesie- she's getting up! She needs another drink! Now's your time to swoop in!" continued Sirius.

"Will you stop staring at her!" growled James. "She'll see you!"

Sirius smirked. "That is actually the point," he said.

Lily had just collected a new tankard of butterbeer when she seemed to sense someone watching her. She looked round and saw Remus, who gave her a smile and beckoned her to come over. She smiled back and weaved her way around all the customers to where the Marauders were sitting.

"Hi," she smiled at them all. James couldn't even look her in the face.

"Sit down for a bit, Lily," said Remus quickly, seeing James was steadfastly ignoring her. "Erm… let me introduce you to everyone. This is Peter…"

"Hello," said Peter, blushing quietly.

"…This is Sirius…"

Sirius kissed Lily's hand. "Charmed," he grinned. Lily giggled.

"…and James."

"Hi," James muttered, still looking at the tabletop.

Lily looked at James. "I should be angry with you," she said smilingly.

James's heart dropped in his chest. "Erk?" he managed to squeak.

"You beat Ravenclaw in the Quidditch match!" she explained.

"Oh," said James. "Er," he continued.

"So, Lily," Remus said hastily, to get her attention away from the utter prat James was being, "what have you bought today?"

"Well, I went to Zonko's and…"

Meanwhile, Sirius was hissing at James, "what are you *doing?* This is the perfect opportunity to get her to like you!"

"Shut up!" James hissed back.

Lily was still talking. "I thought that prank you played on Professor McGonagall was hilarious!" she said. "You know, when she had all those little pink ribbons in her hair…"

"Oh, James came up with that one, didn't you, Jamsie-boy?" lied Sirius quickly. James took a huge gulp of butterbeer to steady his nerves.

"Did you?" asked Lily, beaming, "because I wanted to ask you what variation of charm you used, and…"

But James's butterbeer had gone down the wrong way. He started to cough, turning bright red. Sirius patted him on the back. This made it worse. Suddenly, he sprayed butterbeer all over the front of Lily's' nice clean robes. She jumped back, looking very disgusted.

"I'm really sorry!" yelled James, jumping up and trying to rub Lily'' robes for her with the sleeve of his own.

Lily didn't look too pleased, to say the least. "It's really alright," she said, trying to bat his hand away.

"No, really- I don't know what happened!"

"Well… I'm going to go now, anyway," she said. She stood up, gave them all a slight half-smile, and went back to her friends.

The Marauders looked at James.

"The nearest wall is over there, James," supplied Sirius, pointing it out.

"The table's more convenient," answered James, as he slowly started to bang his head against it.


"Sirius- do you think Lily'll *ever* like me?" asked James unhappily as he stared unhappily at himself in the mirror.

Sirius glanced over at him, and saw that this was *not* the time to be making any jokes at his expense.

"I'm sure she will, Prongs," he said reassuringly (at least, as reassuringly as Sirius *ever* got.)

James felt very depressed. He had had the chance to talk to the girl of his dreams and what had he done? Spat butterbeer all over her. *All over her,* for Merlin's sake! What was wrong with him?!

And Sirius had made her laugh! It was alright for *him.* He seemed to have changed into a full-grown *man* practically overnight! He actually had *muscles!* And he was about 10 feet tall! And where had his tan come from? This was Scotland! It was bloody cold! There *was* no sun!

Now he looked at himself, and didn't particularly like what he saw. He may have grown several inches from last year, but that seemed to make him look even *more* gangly than ever. And his hair stuck up in every direction imaginable. He wore glasses. He was, all in all, a complete freak. Why would a pretty girl like Lily even look at him twice?

"Stop moaning about what you look like," commanded Sirius. "You're not *that* ugly. Not hideous, anyway."

"Cheers, Padfoot," said James sarcastically. Gosh, he *really* knew how to cheer you up…


James tried his hardest to avoid Lily after the Hogsmeade incident. Whenever he had though about what had happened, he literally felt sick with shame. Then the scene would play out in his head in slow motion, always ending (of course) with him spitting his warm beverage all over her.

But of course, when you are trying to *avoid* someone, they seem to turn up *everywhere.* James kept walking down corridors, seeing a flash of red in front of him, and have to hide.

And now it was happening *again.* He was just strolling down a corridor minding his own business, when Lily and all her little Ravenclaw friends came walking loudly down from the other end of it.

"Damn damn damn," muttered James, hastily concealing himself in a dark corner behind a suit of armour.

"Lily- you seem to be getting *very* chummy with Remus Lupin recently," one of them said.

*No no no,* thought James, sinking slowly down the wall. *Why?!*

Then, to his absolute joy, Lily snorted. "What *are* you talking about?" she said.

"I thought that you and Remus…" continued the girl.

"Well, you obviously thought completely wrong. I don't even like Remus in that way."

*Hallelujah!* thought James.

"And even if I did, it would never work."

"Why not?"

"Because he's so close to his friends and they *hate* me."

James was gobsmacked. Why would Lily think that?

Lily's friend seemed to think the same thing. "Whatever gave you that idea?" she asked.

"Alright," conceded Lily, "perhaps not *all* of his friends hate me, but James Potter *definitely* does."

James froze in absolute disbelief.

"James the Quidditch player? Why would you think that?" asked another of Lily's friends.

"It's obvious," said Lily triumphantly, but also rather sadly. "He always avoids me on purpose, like he doesn't even want to *see* me. And then at the Hogsmeade weekend, when I went to sit with Remus for a bit, it was obvious he didn't want me there. First he ignored me, and then just to get rid of me he *sprayed* me in butterbeer."

James felt awful. Was that *really* what she thought?

"I just don't know why, though," she finished. "I've never even spoken to him before. He's never even noticed me until now."

*Ha!* James thought ruefully. *If only you knew…*


"Sirius! SIRIUS!" yelled James, racing up to the dormitories.

"What?" yelled Sirius. As James came into the room, he noticed that Sirius was shaving. He needed to *shave.* He actually *had* facial hair.

This was *completely* unfair. As usual.

"I just saw Lily and she said that I *hated* her!"

Sirius stared at him for a few seconds, clearly puzzled.

"You actually *talked* to Lily?" he asked.

"Well, no… but I overheard her, and she said that that she thinks I hate her 'cos I ignore her and spit drinks at her!"

"Ah," mused Sirius. "Well, you can certainly see her point of view."

"Sirius! You're not helping!"

"Calm down, Prongsie! As a matter of fact, I've been helping you quite a lot. I haven't played a *single* joke on her, or shouted at her at dinner. I've showed considerable restraint!"

"Yeah, I suppose… thanks, Padfoot."

"AND, by getting all cosy with one of *the* most nosy girls in Hogwarts, I found out a bit more about your little flower."

"*Really?* Tell me, go on!"

"I'm not sure you'll like this- but you aren't the only one a little bit smitten with Miss Evans…"

James looked at him in horror. It was bad enough event trying to *talk* to Lily, let alone vying for her attentions with someone else! And he bet the someone else was really cool. And muscular. And had facial hair.

"And even funnier is that he's liked her for two years and has never told her! She doesn't even know he fancies her- sounds a bit like you, actually…"

"Spit it out, Siri!"

"Alright- you'll laugh- it's Snape, James! *Snape!*"

"SNAPE! That greasy slime-ball! He can't like Lily!"

"Well, *you* do, James…"

"At least I'm a relatively normal person! She can't go out with *Snape!*"

"James, I really don't think she's *planning* to… she doesn't even know he likes her!"

"I don't care! I'm going to talk to her! I'm going to ask her out! Even humiliation would be better than letting *Snape* get his claws into her!"

"But James, I *really* don't think she likes Snape in that way… I mean… who would?"

"He'll use a potion on her! I just *know* it! I have to save her!"

With that, James squared his shoulders. He was going to talk to her. Tomorrow, in fact….

Yup. Definitely tomorrow.


A week later, James knew he was *definitely* going to talk to Lily *today.*

James managed to locate the library in the end. He couldn't actually remember the last time he was in there. But he also knew Lily was most likely to be in there. She was in Ravenclaw, after all.

James strode purposefully into the library, but as soon as he set eyes on Lily he ducked quickly behind a bookcase.

*No.* No backing out now. He'd *have* to talk to her. An image of Lily and Snape, holding hands and skipping through a flower-strewn meadow, made his legs start to move. He walked over to Lily's table.

"Hi Lily," he said, and nearly jumped for joy. He sounded so calm!

"Oh… hi, James," she said, sounding quite surprised. Encouraged, he sat down.

"I just wanted to apologise about the whole Hogsmeade thing," he said earnestly. He could actually feel himself beginning to blush. But at least he was looking her in the eye!

Lily looked slightly puzzled, but smiled at him. James's heart jumped.

"It's alright," she said.

"I honestly didn't *mean* to do it," he continued. "I just succeeded in making myself look like a right pillock."

Lily snorted slightly. "You certainly did," she answered. "But just forget about it. Really."

They sat in silence for a few seconds. Lily began to look a bit uncomfortable whilst James was frantically wracking his brains, trying to come up with something else to say. Just then, his archenemy, and (in his opinion) the most evil boy in the school, glided quietly (and, in James's opinion again, very greasily) into the library. As soon as he saw Lily and James sitting together, his features quickly transformed into a fierce scowl. James felt slightly better. His eyes drifted to what Lily was working on. Charms! Of course! He had something to *say!*

"Lily- I was also wondering… I'm having trouble with Charms a bit this year- would you be able to tutor me?"

"Please please please,* he thought desperately, his fingers crossed tightly behind his back.

"Alright," answered Lily, "but only if you do something for me in return."

James had no idea that he had a rather silly grin on his face. "What?" he asked.

"Well, I really like Quidditch…"

"I know."

"Oh, right. Well, I'm Muggle-born and never had a chance to learn before coming to Hogwarts…."

"Yeah, I knew *that* too…"

"Um, okay," said Lily, looking at him in a calculating manner. James felt himself blush. Had she guessed?!

"And the thing is…" she leaned in closer, and whispered, "I'm absolutely *terrible* on a broomstick!"

"Oh," said James. "I didn't know *that,*" he finished.

"So… could *you* teach me? You're a really good flyer. And I really want to learn now. It's getting ridiculous. I'm supposed to be a fifth-year!"

"Fine," said James, grinning even *more* stupidly, "it seems like a fair exchange. How about tomorrow for the flying? No-one's booked the pitch."

"Alright," answered Lily, "about seven?"

"See you there," grinned James madly. I'm sorry to say that he *did* look like quite an idiot, readers. He got up. "Bye," he added.

Lily smiled. "See you, James," she answered.

James walked out of the library quite calmly. But as soon as he got into the deserted corridor, he started to jump up and down skipping, doing stupid dance moves and singing under his breath. "Yes! Yes!" he sang, flailing his arms about like they were bits of cooked spaghetti.

He then heard a small movement behind him, and turned.

It was Lily. Watching him as if he was completely and utterly *mad.*

James didn't stop to think. He ran as fast as he could, utterly mortified. He soon found a spare bit of wall to bang his head against.

Lily looked after him, shaking her head. "Strange, strange boy," she muttered.

All the Fifth Year boys heard for the rest of the night were James's muffled groans of "Why me? Why me?!"

And he actually had to go through the process again the following night…


"Sirius! For the *last* time! It's NOT a date!" bellowed James.

When he had told his friends about what had happened (concentrating mainly on the conversation and trying not to remember what had followed) they had all jumped up, imitating James's little dance before slapping him on the back. It was for him, after all, quite an achievement.

And now it was 6.30 the following evening. And James was hyperventilating.

He had been quite calm an hour beforehand. But that was before his so- called friends had made him start to worry. They had asked him what he was going to say, what he was going to wear, and if he had thought about doing something to his hair. All in all, they sounded like a trio of 13-year-old girls. James felt sick.

He was looking at himself in the mirror again, wondering desperately if he could do *anything* to his hair, when he realised that it was already 6.50.

"Damn!" he yelped, grabbing his broom before running down the staircase.

"Good luck Prongs! Give her a snog from me!" shouted Sirius.

"For the last time, it's *not* a date!!" was the answer he got.

James raced down the castle steps and onto the Quidditch pitch, arriving breathless and rather sweaty. And his hair was even *more* of a mess now.

Lily was already there, smiling slightly at his entrance.

"Hi," she said.

"Hello," he answered rather awkwardly, "sorry I'm late…"

"No, it's alright- I've only just arrived myself," she answered, walking up to him, "so, where do you want to start?"

James was soon in full Quidditch mode. So much so, in fact, that he was able to stop blushing. Well, almost.

He talked her through hand grips and mounting the actual broom, but found she knew all the theory very well. it was just when she tried to get into the air that everything went pear-shaped.

He then told her to fly around a bit, so he could see what the problem was. She had been right; she was rather bad. But James thought he knew why.

"You're alright on the ground," he said, "but when you get in the air you worry how far you are from the ground and don't concentrate on controlling the broom."

Lily nodded. This made sense. "What can I do?"

James had a sudden inspiration.

"I've got an idea- get on the broom," he said quickly, and Lily obeyed. He then got on behind her and put his arms around her to rest on her hands. His heart thumped painfully. She didn't say anything.

"Are you ready?" he asked, trying not to notice that he was actually *touching* Lily Evans.

"Yes," she said suspiciously, "but what exactly are you going to- AARGH!"

Before either of them had time to think, he had pushed off from the ground and had soared high over the Quidditch pitch. Lily had given a little shriek but was now leaning back against him. Not that he was *complaining,* or anything…

"I'm going to dive now…" he yelled in her ear.

"James Potter, if you even *think* about doing that I'll- EEK!"

James had gone into a tremendous dive, soaring towards the ground before hurtling back up again. Lily wasn't screaming anymore; she was laughing hysterically. "This is even better than a rollercoaster!" she yelled.

"A what?"

"Never mind! Can you do a loop-de-loop on these things with two people?"

The next twenty minutes were spent with James performing every trick he could think of whilst Lily yelled encouragement. Finally he took them to the ground, where they landed bumpily, both laughing.

"That- that was so much fun!" gasped Lily, "I see now that you have to just forget the broom is there, and – thank-you so much!"

James was also chortling; he wasn't really sure why. He got off the broom and Lily turned round to look at him. Her hair was windswept, there were tears of laughter in her eyes, and a huge grin on her face.

"You're gorgeous," said James without thinking. Half a second later, he realised what he had said and went bright red. "Er… I mean…"

Lily just laughed, looking only slightly embarrassed. "It's alright," she said, "very nice of you to say so."

"Um," said James. They stared at each other for a few seconds, before Lily turned away. She didn't look angry or anything, though. They walked up to the castle in a comfortable but rather hopeful silence, before stopping in the Great Hall.

"So…" said James, scratching his head.

"Yeah," said Lily, blushing slightly. "Um- is Thursday alright for Charms tutoring? At six?"

"Yeah," said James, grinning stupidly *again.* He was wondering if now was the best time to fall on his knees and declare his undying love. Rather luckily, he decided against it.

Lily looked at him. "You seem rather happy to be doing extra work," she said, "you're a very strange boy, James."

"Strange in a good way?" James wanted to know.

Lily just laughed. "I'm not sure yet. See you," she said, and began to walk away. Then she turned. "James- if you're going to do your little dance again, perhaps it would be better if you did it when I leave. Night then."

James decided now was definitely *not* the time. He had learned from experience that you never knew who was watching.


The next few weeks were very happy for James, but rather sickening for his dorm mates. He kept coming back from flying and Charms tutorials sighing, with a very stupid grin plastered across his face. Then the Marauders had to put up with James going on and ON about how great Lily was, how she twisted her hair when she was thinking, how she held her quill in *such* a *sweet* way…

But there was only one thing Sirius wanted to know.

"Have you kissed her yet?" he would ask repeatedly. At this James's face would always fall.

"I'm not sure she even *likes* me," he would answer slowly. All the Marauders would roll their eyes.

"GET SNOGGING!" Sirius would yell.

And then the Terrible Event occurred. Now, whilst James was getting all flirty with Lily, Sirius had decided that he needed some action of his own. He had started going out with Sheila Smivvens, a Hufflepuff fourth-year.

Now Sheila was quite a nice girl. But she was also the *worst* flirt in the history of Hogwarts. She especially loved flirting with her boyfriend's friends. Sirius didn't mind this really, because… well… Sheila was *such* a good kisser. And it *was* really all in fun.

She had already flirted outrageously with Peter and Remus. And now it seemed it was James's turn.

He was sitting in an empty classroom waiting for Lily to turn up when Sheila waltzed by, saw him, and decided that it was the time to get stuck in…

"Hi James," she said seductively at him, fluttering her eyelashes in what she obviously thought was a *very* sexy manner.

James looked up, and when he saw who it was a look of panic (rather like a trapped animal) entered his eyes. "Erm- hi," he muttered.

Sheila came and sat right next to him, moving her chair *very* close to his. James jerked away.

"You know," Sheila breathed, leaning in and showing rather a lot of cleavage and putting a hand on his arm, "it's simply *amazing* how attractive *all* of Sirius's friends are…"

James was now frantically trying to use a rather large Charms textbook as a human shield.

"…and you're his *best* friend," she continued, leaning closer to him. James leant back, which turned out to be rather a mistake. Sheila seemed to just *drape* herself all *over* him.

"Ah- HEM," said a voice, and James looked up to see Lily in the doorway, a *very* stony expression on her face. He immediately turned bright red, making him look even *more* guilty.

Sheila knew when to cut her losses. She jumped up, gave both of them a little smile before flouncing off. James looked nervously at Lily, before saying, "that- that wasn't anything, Lily. She just likes to…"

"It's really alright, James," Lily interrupted quickly. She looked at the floor, "I can understand if you like Sheila- she's very pretty. I just thought that you… well, obviously I was just being stupid." She gave a forced half-laugh and looked very embarrassed. Then she said, "um… I'm not feeling very well. Can we do this another time? See you."

"Lily, I…"

But it was too late. She was gone.

"WHY?! Why me??!"

James had spent the last half an hour banging his head repeatedly into the wall of his dormitory. His friends gathered around him.

"Look, Prongsie- plenty more fish in the sea!" said Sirius at last.

James turned to look at him. "Not for me," he said. "I actually think I was falling in love with her."

Sirius smartly drew back as if James had just announced he had a deadly and very catching disease. A Marauder? In love?!

"But- you didn't even *kiss* her!" spluttered Sirius, quite flabbergasted.

"I don't care," said James miserably, "I can feel it *here.*" He tapped his chest.

Then James felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked round and into the eyes of Remus. "If you love her," he said quietly, "tell her. Life's too short to waste."

And James knew he was right. Well, he usually was.


The Marauders tramped down to breakfast in silence. James had been up half the night worrying about the Lily Situation. And now he was going to take action. Decisive action. Right here and now, in fact.

Halfway through breakfast, James stood up. He took a deep breath, and stood on his chair. Then he took *another* deep breath, and stood on the actual *table.* No-one really noticed. Gaah! Sirius was better at this kind of thing than he was. But it was too late now. A glimpse of Lily sitting glumly at the Ravenclaw table spurned him on.

"Excuse me, everyone…" no-one heard him. He cleared his throat. "OI! EVERYBODY!"

People looked up with interest. James continued. Now that he was actually doing it, he could not *believe* that he had agreed to adopt such an embarrassing move. Why did Remus have to come up with such a thought- provoking statement last night? And why had Sirius come up with this absolutely *ridiculous* plan??!

"Erm… I'd just like to say…" he could actually *feel* his face begin to heat up, "that Lily Evans is the most beautiful, funniest and cleverest girl in Hogwarts…"

"Awwww!" cooed all the Hufflepuff girls simultaneously.

"…and I think I'm falling in love with her…"James continued.

"Ooohhhh," said all the Ravenclaw girls, nodding at each other knowingly.

"…and I would be honoured if she would go out with me."

Catcalls from the entire Gryffindor table. Shouted insults from the Slytherins. Except one, who was remarkably silent, watching Lily's every reaction…

James himself looked over at Lily. She looked… well, sort of torn between slapping him and giving him a big hug. The anger won, at least for the moment.

"JAMES POTTER!" she yelled, jumping out of her seat and hurtling towards the Gryffindor table, "get down RIGHT NOW!"

James sheepishly got down.

"How could you embarrass me like that?! Come ON!" she yanked at his arm and pulled him out of the Great Hall. Wolf whistles followed.

Once they were out of the way of the prying eyes of the entire school, Lily turn to James. "Why did you do that?! You could have just told me in private, you know!"

"Erm…" said James very eloquently. "For effect?" he added hopefully.

Lily stared at him. "You are the strangest boy I have *ever* had the misfortune of meeting, James Potter," she said.

Then she flung her arms around his neck and gave him a rather fantastic kiss.

"It's lucky for you I find strange boys rather attractive," she told him when his senses were working again.

"Erm, Lily… so you don't think Snape is strange then?" asked James fearfully, when he had finally got his breath back.

"Shut up, James! You're treading on thin ice here!" she yelled, getting mad again. She continued, "I'll go out with you…" James's worried face broke out into a smile, "…if you do a repeat performance of that lovely little dance you did outside the library… complete with the singing."

James's grin faded. It was lucky that he *really* liked Lily. Otherwise I'm not sure Harry Potter would be here today.

As he complied, the Marauders, hidden under the dancer's extremely handy invisibility cloak, took quite a few pictures that came in *very* useful later on.

But that's another story *entirely.*