A/N: And I'm done! Dear Merlin. It's so late and I just finished editing this and I can barely keep my eyes open anymore, but it's finished. This is the last chapter of "Five Days".
I just wanted to say that I've had a lot of fun writing this fic, working on my writing and letting out some James/Lily OTP feels (you know).
Also, I'd like to say the biggest, most extravagant, most THANK YOU to everyone that reviewed and has read and favorited this. It's so exciting and inspiring to know that people really enjoy what I'm writing. Especially those that have reviewed every single chapter (you guys are amazing!)
I hope you all enjoyed, and enjoy the last chapter!
James' heart felt heavy when he woke up the next day. All of the fight had been kicked out of him, and he just felt sad.
Over the years, he'd received more than his fair share of hurled insults and biting retorts from the girl he'd built up to be the love of his life (and actually found that it was true over the past five days), though the spat they had last night was one of the fights that affected him the most.
Didn't she see that that's why they belonged together in the first place? That all the passion she put into fighting and yelling and hating was the passion she had for kissing and laughing and loving? That she was the only girl he ever wanted, and he was the only boy that could ever really make her feel?
He felt frustrated. He hadn't really meant to poke at her. But it quickly slid into metaphorical meanings, and suddenly it wasn't just about socks anymore.
He sighed, turning over in bed. He honestly wasn't sure what today would bring. Technically, the obligations of their deal ended yesterday, and from Lily's proclamations the previous night, he didn't think the odds were in his favor.
Sitting up slowly and letting the covers fall from his chest, he sighed again. At least he had the memories.
He'd kissed her. He'd shared secrets and laughs with her. He supposed that would have to be enough.
Though he did feel rather guilty about what he said, he was also rather cut up in regards to the things she'd said. Yes, yes, of course he'd been arrogant, mean, spiteful, bullying, and a multitude of other synonyms, but in the past two years he'd really tried to fix that.
James opened the bed curtains and stood up. Thinking back on the year so far, he couldn't remember one instance when he'd maliciously pranked another thing, much less human.
When the Slytherins had taunted him and his friends, he'd only ignored it. When Sirius barreled through the door with newly bought Zonko's supplies and a floor plan, he'd stayed out of it. When Severus Snape tried to provoke him in the corridors and start a duel, he'd responded in a clipped tone and walked away. Couldn't she see that?
He brushed his teeth haphazardly, and considered running a comb through his hair (but the verdict was always the same: why bother trying to tame it when it was only going to stick straight up again within seconds?). He then padded back into the bedroom, where Sirius' bed curtains were omitting faint rustling noises.
Threading a tie around his neck, he absentmindedly inwardly grumbled about the idea of having to wear full uniforms again. The rest of the students who'd left for the holidays would be arriving sometime around lunch, if they were lucky. Breakfast would be sparse this morning, as the house elves were preparing for the others. He doubted that anyone would have even bothered to eat that morning, as the lunch after Christmas break was famous, only second to the Welcome feast at the start of the year.
He checked his watch, seeing that the time was already 11:30 AM.
Buttoning up his white dress shirt and then the rest of his uniform (sans robes, as he was just staying in the castle today), he picked up his wand off the table next to his bed, and left the dorm.
Walking down to the common room felt rather like a death sentence, he mused. What exactly was he going to say to her? He hadn't really thought about it. He wasn't even sure if she would hear him out.
The thought of not even speaking to Lily made his stomach hurt. After all that they'd shared, after all he'd learned about her, after even kissing her, how was he supposed to let it all get away? This was Lily Evans for Merlin's sake.
Lily sat, fully clothed and groomed, at the top of the staircase. She'd gotten ready leisurely, enjoying her last hours with the girls dorm all to herself. She'd been all ready, and now couldn't bring herself to walk down the flight of steps and out of the room.
She was a Gryffindor! She was Lily sodding Evans, for Christ's sake! She wasn't afraid of anything, least of all James Potter!
Yet here you are, still sitting here after what feels like hours, afraid to step outside.
She huffed angrily at herself, pushing off the ground and standing up.
But instead of leaving the room, she turned around and sat down at the edge of her bed, closing the previously open door behind her.
"What's happened to you Evans?" She asked out loud to herself.
"Lily?" She heard James' voice say from behind the door. She glared at the piece of wood angrily, but said nothing. "Are you awake? I was hoping we could talk?"
She bit her lip. She should hear him out.
But still, she said nothing.
She listened to him exhale loudly. "Look, Lily, I know you're awake. I'm not stupid."
All but growling, she got off the bed, opened the door, and descended down the stairs. At the bottom, James Potter was standing, hands in his pockets, looking up at her.
Stepping down hard from the last step, she fully entered the room.
The two blinked at each other, before James coughed.
"Hi." He said.
"Hi." She said incredulously.
His hand crept up and ran through his hair.
She had a quick fantasy of cutting all of it off in his sleep. Stupid berk.
"I just wanted to say that I'm sorry about what I said. It wasn't nice." He said. After he finished, he looked at her expectantly.
"Ok." Lily said spitefully.
He stared at her. "Aren't you going to say anything?"
"Why would I apologize? It's true, what I said." Lily said angrily, not really meaning it.
James huffed, annoyed. "Well, what I said was true as well, it just wasn't nice."
Lily's jaw tightened, but she held back her remark. She didn't feel like getting in a shouting match with him so seemingly early in the morning. Besides, she needed to save her patience for when the rest of the school arrived, and term fully started again.
After a pause, James said, "It's the sixth day."
This caught Lily. She didn't think he was going to mention the deadline, but now that he did she had no choice but to acknowledge it. "The bet is done."
The question hung in the air. It floated between them, filling up in the space around the two.
She didn't know what to say. James stared at her, eyes filled with a range of different emotions that washed over her like a tidal wave.
"Um…" She started. She couldn't finish.
And so she did what she always did.
That's how Lily found herself sitting on the floor between the stacks at the library that morning (which wasn't even open, mind you, so technically she was breaking and entering). It was the only place she could think of that James wouldn't go, even if it was closed.
She let her head fall back onto the wall of the castle. She knew it was late (ish) in the day, and that if students hadn't already returned, the train would be close by now. Mary and Marlene might be worried if she wasn't in the dorms when they arrived, but she couldn't bring herself to move from her secluded spot.
She couldn't deal with this. She couldn't deal with anything, much less the fact that the bet was over and it was essentially her move.
Would it be so bad if she lost? What was at stake?
My dignity, maybe? She thought.
But consider your options. You could either be "right" and "win", and not even be friends with him anymore…
Or admit you're wrong, and get to be with the boy who makes your palms sweat and knees go slack, who makes you want to jump into his arms every time you see him, the boy who kisses you like you're the only thing that matters.
The realization should have hit her like a ton of bricks.
But it didn't. She had to stop kidding herself. It wasn't like the feelings (yes, now they'd matured and grown from semi-feelings to full out feelings) had come out of nowhere. If she was being honest with herself, she'd been fighting and pushing down the feelings for the better part of this year (possibly even subconsciously longer).
It was him. It was always him. No surprise, no questions, and no doubt. It was him.
"James!" Peter Pettigrew's voice squeaked through the archway.
James turned and saw his friends approaching, carrying suitcases and other bags, with Sirius in tow. The short and stout blond boy was lugging a heavy-looking bag behind him.
He forced a smile. "Hey Pete. How were your holidays?"
Peter groaned. "Terrible, actually. Boring as dirt, no one except my mum and my cousin who wets the bed. Glad to be back though."
"Remus, what about you?"
Flicking his light brown hair out of his eyes, Remus Lupin smiled back at his friend. "You know, the usual. It was only my mum and I as well, lucky this week didn't include the full moon. Her fussing over me is rather kind, though sometimes it gets a little much." He said.
Sirius, excited to see the both of them, grabbed Remus' bag and started up the stairs, along with the wave of other students returning to their dorms.
Peter and Remus dropped their stuff down, and the four boys took off for the Great Hall.
"So, how're things with Lily? How's the bet going?" Peter asked cheerily. James had shared his plans with the boys before things had even happened, insisting how he was going to win and that by the time they came back from the holidays, he'd have his "flower".
Sirius stared pointedly at him, shooting him a clear "don't ask".
After a pause, James exhaled.
"It's over." He mumbled. "I don't know how things are. I don't think I won, though, so I won't be seeing much of her anytime soon."
A silence fell over the boys as they entered the hall and prepared to eat. Out of habit, James scanned the room for a head of red hair. There wasn't one.
Lily practically flew out of the library doors. She knew what she needed to do.
She ran through the half-empty halls, ignoring the calls of "watch where you're going!". She ran until she reached the Great Hall.
Pausing in front of the doors, she had a miniature moment of panic.
You can't do this! Everything's going to go wrong! You're a complete idiot.
She shook the thoughts out of her head vigorously.
She walked straight into the hall, pushing open both doors with force.
James Potter sat at the Gryffindor table, sandwiched between Sirius and Remus, moving around the food on his plate tiredly with his fork.
The doors made a loud thump as they closed, and practically everyone turned towards the noise.
Looking into hazel eyes the entire time, Lily strode across the room, past Mary and Marlene and many confused looking younger-year students. The entire hall was silent.
Stopping in front of him, she heard his breath catch in his throat. He looked as if he was about to say something, so she interrupted.
"I lose." She whispered, closing the gap between them.
And in front of everyone in the Great Hall, Lily Evans kissed James Potter.
"Ay, get a room!"
"I'm going to lose my lunch!"
"Lily, what the bloody hell?"
"Miss Evans, please stop kissing Mr. Potter, this is completely inappropriate!"
Pulling away from him with a smack, she watched his mouth form into a large grin.
And in that moment, no one else mattered. Not Marlene nor Mary nor Severus nor Remus nor Peter nor Sirius nor even McGonagall, who was currently pressing her lips into a hard white line though looking as if she was trying very hard not to smile.
Just James Potter. Just James.
His heart felt like it was going to jump out of his chest. Lily pulled away from him, wearing a nervous smile on her face, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.
Bloody hell, had she really just snogged him in front of everyone? In front of the entire Great Hall?
To be honest, he didn't know if she'd actually fall for him during the five days allotted for the bet.
He supposed he should have pondered things a little more, considering that the stakes were so high (particularly if she won, he didn't see how he'd survive truly leaving her alone). And yes, he knew that it wasn't actually possible that she'd fallen in true love with him after only the five days, no matter how they seemed like five years.
But she'd given him a chance. And in the end, they'd both won.
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