Water

Summary:James Potter, who is terrified of water, goes to a beach party with Lily.

James' P.O.V.

I am a Gryffindor. The brave house. The fighters. But when asked to go to the beach over the summer, all that courage disappears.

The thing is, I can't swim. I don't have some traumatic childhood story – I just hate water. Particularly the sea. I thought Padfoot knew that, but he still invited me to some stupid beach party, which I couldn't refuse. Evans was going, and I'd rather make a fool of myself then not see her at all.

So that Saturday, I dressed in my Chudley Canons board shorts, silently begged that Evans wore a bikini, cursed Padfoot loudly, and Side-Along Apparated with my neighbour to the beach.

The other three Marauders were already there. Padfoot, already making out with some Muggle. Moony, in his out-of-place wetsuit, picking holes in the cuffs. Wormtail, in board shorts like the rest of us, but far too pale to look as sexy as I did. They waved enthusiastically, and I raised a hand half-heartedly, scanning the beach for Evans. I shot a quick glance back at the Marauders, who were all pointing at something. Someone. Evans, in a dark blue two-piece, hair tied up, bright yellow jandals, talking to some boy I didn't know. I skip – in a very manly way – over to her.

"Hey, Evans."

The boy glares at me, and slouches off. Poor sod was obviously flirting with her. Luckily, she doesn't seem to upset that he's gone.

"Hi," she replies, frowning. "Sirius said you weren't coming. Apparently you would only come if 'you were a complete moron'."

I grin. "He lied. Course I came." But I silently promise to hex him when I next see him.

"But why would he think you weren't?"

Godric, she just can't let it go, can she? "I don't really like swimming. Or water in general."

"Why not?" She looks genuinely curious, not like she wants ammo to tease me with.

"I dunno. It's just. . . scary." Damn her and her beautiful eyes.

"Oh. That's a bummer, cause I don't anyone to swim with." She leans over and takes my hand.

Damn her. I hate her stupid, moisturised hands. I hate her sexy togs. I hate the way she's pulling me towards the water, and my idiotic brain is only aware of the way our fingers link together perfectly.

I swear loudly at the sudden coldness. Lily doesn't stop, pulling me further into the water.

"Evans." Merlin, I'm meant to sound manly, not like a little kid. "Evans, can we get out now?" We're just over waist deep, and it's terrifying me.

"Now? But we're not deep enough yet."

I don't know if she's flirting, or trying to kill me. She always says she wants to kill me, whenever I ask her out. And she's not friends with Sirius, so why else would she come to this party? Oh Merlin, she must be trying to kill me. Oh Merlin. Oh Godric.

"Evans, stop." I plant my feet in the sand, and squeeze her hand, hard.

"A true Gryffindor would keep going." Lily tugs my hand again.

"Don't care. Stop."

"I'll go out with you if you stick your head under."

Ugh, I hate her so much. I want to go out with her soooo bad.

"Wow." She sounds genuinely surprised. "I thought you'd be in and out by now."

"Me too. Anything else and I'll do it straight away. I'll jump off the Astronomy Tower for you. I'll quit the Quidditch team. I'll call Snivellus Se- erm, Snape. Anything."

"Why won't you just dunk?"

"I just won't." Why does she have to be so nosey?

"It's easy. Watch." She lets go of my hand, and swims off, leaving me alone, and chest-deep in water.

"Evans! Come back!" I hate her so, so, so much right now.

"Tell me why you won't dunk!" she calls back.

"Because I'm scared of fish!" I scream at her, tears pricking my eyes.

She's an amazingly fast swimmer. By the time I've wiped my eyes, she's popped up beside me.

"Of fish? Really?"

She isn't laughing, but I tell her to shut up anyway. "Just get me back to my mates."

"Sure. Sorry for making you tell me. Sirius bet me all his money that you wouldn't tell me the real reason."

"He's not even that rich," I mutter angrily.

"Sorry," she says again, squeezing my hand.

There's a small pause. "So, I didn't dunk, but..."

She laughs. "Still a no."

But it's the first time she's rejected me while smiling, and without hexing me. So I don't feel completely stupid for being scared that 'the little fishies would eat my toes'.