Disclaimer: No. I am not the great JK Rowling, and I don't own James, Lily, and the gang as much as I want to. :,(
A/n: First fanfic ever uploaded, so please be nice, people. Constructive criticism is welcome, though. :)
James Potter innocently stirs the potion in his cauldron, completely unaware of the fact that he is being observed. He sits a mere two tables in front of me, giving me full access of his back, and part of his face. His eyebrows are furrowed, as he looks back and forth between the cauldron and his textbook, trying to figure out what he did wrong. He is having a hard time brewing this potion, as he usually does with every other one, no matter how simple it is. And it's not that he isn't a good wizard; he's brilliant, but there is just something about James Potter and the precise steps and concentration required of this subject doesn't mix. He stirs the concoction another time, turning it into this dark, bubbly substance threatening to spill over into his workplace, and land him a "P" in this subject if he doesn't do anything about it.
Counter-clockwise! Turn it counter-clockwise!, my mind screams at him, hoping that I possessed secret telepathic powers I never knew of, but he doesn't receive the message, and continues stirring until the potion starts emitting a foul odor and he has to cast it away before Professor Slughorn notices.
Next to him, I can see the infamous Sirius Black having an even harder time, chopping Merlin knows what, and throwing whatever he could find into the cauldron.
My own potion sits in front of me, gloriously shimmering in its perfection. I had finished doing the first few steps a while ago, achieving the silvery translucent color that mirrored the picture in the textbook perfectly. A quick look around the room tells me that everyone else is still stuck in Step 3, except maybe Greta Catchlove, who, though a fast learner, cannot beat me in this subject.
Potions is, and has always been, an easy subject to me; thanks to my own experience in cooking, and a few invaluable pointers I had received from the ex-best-mate-who-must-not-be-named from what seemed like ages ago.
I stir it once, clockwise, waiting for the white liquid to appear around the edges, as it should. All I have to do now is wait. Five long minutes before I can do the next step. So I resume what I was doing before I got interrupted; observing.
James is brewing the potion all over again, double timing to make up for the lost effort. I can see beads of sweat trickling down the edges of his forehead as he multitasks- chopping with one hand and pounding with the other, running around looking for extra ingredients he could scrape off from others. He runs a hand through his soft, shiny hair, ruffling it a bit before going back to work.
I glare at the hand, feeling quite irritated; I had always wanted to touch his hair. Sweet, lucky hand, I think jealously. Bloody lucky hand. So what if you got to touch his bloody hair? I would cut off all my hair just to be in your shoes!
I realize how embarrassingly silly I am, being worked up over his hand. But it has always been that way since I found out I fancied James Potter—weird and un-Lily-like. I would never admit it, but has that effect on me.
I continue staring at him, and wow, Quidditch has been good to him. Really good. I take in his perfectly toned arms, wondering what they felt like wrapped around me. I spend a good 3 minutes gaping, daydreaming, looking intently at his arms before I am interrupted by a giggle.
Irritably, I tear my eyes away from him and look around, searching for the idiot who disturbed my watching session. Sure enough, I spot Marlene, chin propped on her hands, grinning at me maniacally. It takes a second for me to realize it was her, and I start feeling embarrassed. I roll my eyes and turn away, hiding the blush I felt creeping up my neck. Because Marlene, being my best mate, knows everything about me, and unfortunately, that includes my teensy little crush on James Potter. It shouldn't have been a problem, but Marlene, being Marlene, loved to torture me.
She throws a slug at me, and I face her again, wondering what crazy idea she has cooked up this time. She smiles broadly, looks at me, at him, then back at me, and noticeably, quite noticeably, winks. I glare at her, feeling relieved that nobody in the room seemed to notice. She grins, thinking of herself rather brilliantly as I continue to stare her down, forcing myself not to pay attention to my flaming cheeks. I am going to murder her as soon as this class ends.
I stick my tongue out and mouth "Sod Off,"
She smirks back in a way that tells me she will spend the rest of the lesson doing everything but leaving me alone. Sometimes, I wonder what the heck was wrong with me when I befriended the pretty girl who sat next to me in Charms on first year.
I am temporarily saved when her potion starts bubbling, and she is forced to attend to it. Marlene is fairly good in Potions, but nowhere as good as me. Meanwhile, I have my own potion to manage. I glance at my book, throwing two spoonfuls of Pomegranate Juice into the cauldron.
I feel a poke on my arm, and whirl around, almost bumping into Marlene. Bugger. That girl was fast.
"Hey Lily," she says, grin still intact. We both know all too well that Professor Slughorn is too busy with the other students to pay any attention to us. Oh, great.
"Oh, hey, Marlene," I say in a falsely sweet voice. "What do you want?"
She smiles back almost too innocently, as if she isn't plotting another one of her crazy schemes.
"Lily, darling, you know exactly what I want," Marlene declares.
"I want you to swallow up your pride and admit your crazy little infatuation with James Potter, so both of can run off and get married and have sexy little Quidditch babies with messy hair and green eyes and make me godmother because I am totally awesome and you love me so much," She adds in a much quieter voice.
My cheeks are burning, turning into the same shade as my hair. I feel too embarrassed to turn around and check if anybody had heard. And then my anger rises up. Marlene's smirk falters slightly under my glare. She knows more than anybody what happens when I get too mad. I want to strangle her. I want to throw myself into the lake, and take her with me. A thousand ways to kill her pass my mind, but I see Professor Slughorn walking close by, and I realize I can't bloody well kill my best mate in front of an entire class without attracting any attention, much less in front of a teacher. Marlene, being the smart girl that she is, notices him too, and makes her escape, retreating back to her seat.
Making a mental note to murder her in her sleep, I return to brewing the potion, glancing at James every now and then. When I finish, the potion is purple. I am about to cover the cauldron and leave it to cool when my nose catches a light, minty scent. I realize it is Peppermint; my most recent candy addiction. I sniff the air again, yearning for more. My eyelids drop, and my mouth waters as I take in the sweet, heavenly aroma. When was the last time I had eaten peppermint flavored candy? It seemed so long ago. I remember myself moaning to Marlene late at night, craving for it; even going so far as to schedule Hogsmeade visits earlier than usual, just so that I could return to Honeydukes, and refill my empty stash of peppermint candies.
I try to locate where it is coming from, my mouth slightly opened, as I breathe in some more. I lick my lips, almost tasting the savory sweet, because smelling isn't enough anymore. My eyes fall on the cauldron, and I lower my head until my face is merely inches from it. Definitely Peppermint, I think wistfully. And then it's all I can do not to drop my head in it and bathe in the pepperminty goodness, because I remember one of the first things Slughorn had ever taught us in Potions; never, ever, drink a potion unless you're absolutely sure of its effects and certain that the person who brewed it has the experience.
I am one of the best students who have ever taken this class. Ever. Slughorn told me so in one of his Slug Club parties. I rarely make an error, and when I do, it's something as insignificant as heating the cauldron a second too long. But as good as I am in Potions, I am still a student, and there is a 10% chance of me getting something wrong. The logical part of my brain debates with the crazy, hungry part, as I decide what to do. I mean, what could go wrong, anyway?
"Everything can go wrong. Don't be silly, Lily. It is one of the most basic rules about Potions, and the most important. Don't take the risk. You could be poisoned!" I hear my voice answer.
"But it's peppermint!" It coos in a completely different tone. "What's a small risk compared to finally tasting the pepperminty goodness you've been missing out on for weeks? And when was the last time you ever got a potion wrong?"
In the end, I decide with a compromise on both sides; taking a spoon, and scooping as much of the potion as I can. Finally. I close my eyes, savoring the minty taste, as it finally comes in contact with my mouth, monopolizing all my senses.
And suddenly, I feel something weird. My eyes flash open, and I have the strangest feeling that something is quite… off. And then a thought hits me; the potion wasn't supposed to be purple.
Shite. shite. shite.
I start freaking out, and bang my head on the table, because a lot of other things I was supposed to notice start becoming clear to me; like how no potion I'd ever heard of smelled like Peppermint.
And everything makes no sense whatsoever until I hear Marlene's frenzied, radical laughter, confirming that she had something to do with this, whatever it was. I get angry, and I mean, really angry, amidst all the confusion.
I make my way towards her.
I am probably attracting some attention now, as I notice some of my classmates looking towards my direction through my peripheral vision, but I am way past caring. All I care about is how to give my best mate the slowest, most painful death, and maybe what flowers she wanted at her funeral.
I am not able to reach her, though, because I am blocked by a couple of boys, brave enough to taste my wrath.
"LET ME GET THROUGH!" I yell. Stupid Marlene, and her faithful set of admirers, who would die before they would allow me pluck a strand of her hair. They were loyal enough to be Hufflepuffs.
"LILY!" she calls, as I struggle with the boys, and I see genuine fear and alarm in her face. And in her hand, an empty vial.
And then I understand. I drop to the ground, all my energy lost, as moans escape me. I feel dizzy, shocked, but mostly scared of what I might do. Because Marlene had drugged me. She tipped whatever was in the vial into the potion, adding the peppermint flavor to fool me into drinking it. She went over to my table, saying the things she knew would distract me well enough to keep me from noticing. The worst part of it all; I was fooled. Marlene is a mastermind.
I let out a few more moans, as the horrors strike me. Because I know exactly what Marlene put into the potion; an Intensifier. I remember her bringing it to our dorm a week ago; me asking what it was for; her smiling back in a way that told me I was better off not knowing.
Intensifiers were the newest addition to Zonko's well-known collection of love potions, except they weren't really love potions. It was more like they intensified the feelings you already had.
And boy did I have feelings for James.
Almost instinctively, I look at him; regretting it a second later, because whatever I see hits me with overwhelming force, and everything good I had noticed about him for the past few weeks comes rushing back freshly. And it is all too much for me in that second. I am overcome with the sudden urge to get closer to him, touch his soft, shiny hair, smell his fresh soapy scent, and get closer to him in general.
James stands behind the others, and like everyone else in the room, he is wondering what the heck the commotion is about. I resolve to get as far away from him as I can. But the urge is harder to resist than it looks, as my entire body is longing for him. My hand moves to his direction, and I swat it away. NO. You must be strong, Lily! Looking in the opposite direction, I crawl my way to Professor Slughorn's desk, my target destination being the door.
I'm there, I think. Almost there.
I can't really see how close I am to the table, since looking in front would place James in my peripheral vision, but it's safe to guess that I am somewhere there. And then all I would have to do is tell the Professor that I didn't feel well, and he would send me to the Hospital Wing where I would be taken care of, safely far, far away from James.
Someone makes his way towards me, but I can't tell who it is. I can only hear the footsteps and see his shoes, since I am on the ground.
"Lily! Are you alright, dear?" Professor Slughorn crouches next to me, his forehead creasing with concern. NO, PROFESSOR. I AM CLEARLY NOT ALRIGHT BECAUSE JAMES MIGHT BE BEHIND ME FOR ALL I KNOW, AND I MIGHT ACCIDENTALLY TELL HIM I LOVE HIM IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CLASS.
"I don't think I'm feeling well, sir. I feel dizzy," I groan, trying to look as sick as possible.
"Very well," He says. "You may take the rest of the day off. You obviously need some rest. Working as hard as you do everyday can be very stressing," YES! NOW TELL ME TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL WING!
"James, why don't you accompany Miss Evans to the Hospital Wing,"
I look to the right, and there he is, practically sitting next to me. I think I just might have the most rotten luck in the entire Hogwarts student body. Who else would be unlucky enough to drink peppermint soup, and have it turn out to be a love potion; thus she fakes a sickness so that she could avoid the object of fancy until the effects wear off, and ends up having to be carried by the said object of fancy to the Hospital Wing—which I remind you is fifteen minute walk.
"NOOO!" I yelp, my voice turning high-pitched, as I back away from him. But before I can place considerable distance between us, my head hits the table behind me. See? The most rotten luck ever.
James looks confused, like he doesn't know what he did wrong—which, he didn't do anything wrong. His perfection just does things to me. Strange things that make me mentally instable for a couple of minutes.
"Lily…?" he asks, as he hunkers down and edges towards me. Hearing my name on his lips sounds positively thrilling, and even though I've heard it innumerable times before, my heart starts beating furiously. JAMES POTTER, DON'T YOU DARE SAY MY NAME OR LOOK AT ME THAT WAY. It would be better for both of us if you left me alone and got on with your life.
But obviously, that's not what happens, since my rotten luck will never allow it. He creeps towards me, cautiously, until he is so close that I can smell his clean, soapy scent. And then I lose it. The only thing that smelled better than Peppermint was James. I am stunned by the alluring smell of whatever shampoo he uses. My brain stops working, cutting off all senses except for smelling. I am unable to think, move, or even process anything when James puts his arm on my back; not even able to react when he lifts me up, and carries me out the door—bridal style. No. Only my sense of smell is working, or rather, it is working too well. Everything else is blocked off. In fact, it only starts registering when we are 5 minutes into the walk to the Hospital Wing, and all the other senses start working again.
James Potter is holding you.
I look up sharply, my face almost bumping into his chest. I turn away just as quickly, as blood rushes to my cheeks and my heart pounds furiously against my chest. I hope he didn't notice.
"… and Merlin, Lily! You almost gave me a heart attack there. Don't go dropping to the ground like that. You shocked the living daylights out of me. Old Sluggie almost fainted."
I am kind of surprised when I find out the words came from James. How long has he been talking to me? All I can catch are his last strings of words. I try to give a decent response, but the best I can come up with is "Uh… yes?"
He laughs, and I am amazed at how it doesn't sound forced at all. I think the potion is wearing off, since the urge to grab James and snog him senseless isn't as powerful as it used to be. I might actually survive this.
"What happened, anyway?" James asks, and I glance at him, our eyes meeting.
"Not telling you," I answer in a slightly annoyed tone, trying to hide my embarrassment. "And put me down. I can walk now."
He smirks, and tightens his grip on me. Of course. James will never do anything you tell him to.
"Where would be the fun in that? Besides, we can't take any risks. I can't have you faint again, can I?"
My cheeks turn into a deep shade of scarlet, or that's what it feels like, at least. "I did not faint!" I protest.
"Oh? Tell me what you were doing five minutes ago," he replies, grinning smugly, because he knows he has won this one.
"I was… thinking," I say unconvincingly. I look away from him, and cross my arms in front of me.
We spend the next few minutes in silence, his footsteps being the only sound audible. The silence is deafening, but both of us are too stubborn to start a conversation. Eventually, James gives in, and I smile a bit to myself secretly.
He double takes, surprised by my sudden use of his surname. We had been on a first-name basis since the start of the year.
"Back to Potter, now are we? I preferred James," he grumbles, and I can't help but wonder why it is so important to him.
I laugh. "Fine. James, then. What?"
He brightens up considerably, and I try not to let the delighted grin on his face affect me.
"Well, Lily," he says. "I was wondering what happened at Potions there."
But he isn't getting anything from me. There is no way I'm going to tell him that I accidentally drank a love potion. The entire ordeal was embarrassing enough.
"No. Why is it so important to you, anyway?"
"Because," He answers, like it is the most obvious thing in the world, and it would explain everything, which- it doesn't.
"Because? Because what?"
"Because I want to know!" he replies irritably.
"That's not much of an answer. You're acting like a girl."
"I asked first, now could you please tell me why you fainted?"
"I did not faint! And… no, I don't think I will," I say slowly, and I can feel him getting more and more irritated by the moment.
"Please? Is it that hard to tell me? I—"
But James is interrupted by our sudden arrival at the Hospital Wing. I didn't think we'd get here so soon, and a part of me feels sad that our walk is over, and James has to put me down.
"Oh. We're here," I say, hoping that the disappointment doesn't show in my voice. On the other hand, I'm relieved that I can finally be left alone, and James can't pester me anymore.
Madam Promfrey walks over to us, her eyes popping when she notices me.
"Hi Poppy," James greets briskly. I had forgotten how he got sent to the Hospital Wing on almost a weekly basis back in the days when his pranking was at its peak.
"No. It isn't me this time," he answers in response to her questioning glance. "It's Lily!"
The school nurse looks at me in a concerned, endearing way, and asks, "What's the problem, Lily?"
"Not much," I reply, smiling back. "Just the stress. A bit dizzy. Professor Slughorn says I need to rest. It's all really a minor…"
"MINOR!" James bawls, looking scandalized. "She fainted!" He says accusingly.
"I did not!" I insist.
"You did, too. You won't even tell me why!"
"You don't need to know. And you can put me down now. I can walk fine on my own."
"And risk you fainting again? Ha!"
"How many times do I have to tell you? I didn't faint!"
"Ehem," Madam Promfrey clears her throat loudly, effectively shutting both of us up.
"Anyway, James, you can set her on the bed now. At the farthest end of the room."
"Er, yes, ma'am," he replies awkwardly, carrying me until we reach the last bed. Then, he slowly puts me down.
The effects of the potion have worn off, but I still feel a bit tipsy. James doesn't know what to do next, and in the end, he settles on sitting on the chair next to my bed.
"What are you still doing here?" I ask.
"Making sure you're okay, obviously. But if you don't want me here, then—"
And then, before I lose my nerve, I reach out to hold James' head, feeling the soft, smooth hair I've always wanted to touch. I bring his face close to mine, and kiss him lightly on the cheek.
The last thing I remember is saying, "Thanks," and seeing James' shocked but smiling figure next to me.
And then I promptly fainted.
A/n: Please do Review, Review, Review! How can you say no to that shiny new review button below? :)