The Sugar Quill
Author: Madhuri (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Fortune Favours the Brave  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

L/J drabble

Fortune Favours the Brave

 

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

 

A/N: Many thanks to the lovely Hildigunnur and Soupytwist for beta-reading this.

 

***

 

Lily skimmed the article in Teen Witch Weekly, her eyebrows raised sceptically. The author had meticulously listed all the ‘symptoms’ that teenage boys apparently suffered from when being with a girl they fancied. Any witch, the article insisted, could easily ascertain whether that bloke was interested in them by using these points as a sort of a checklist.

 

The problem with articles like these, Lily thought, was that they never seemed to offer any advice which applied to her situation. Not all boys bragged loudly whenever they were in earshot of the girls they liked, or stalked them, or teased them, or sent them pathetically disguised anonymous love-notes, or spontaneously combusted whenever they saw them with another bloke, a real or imagined rival.

 

She looked up from the article to check up on Professor Hall, who was thankfully still writing on the blackboard, and hadn’t noticed the magazine Lily had smuggled into the classroom. The Professor, as usual, seemed to be blissfully unaware of the whispering, jostling, yawning, and general horseplay that kept going on in class whenever his back was turned.

 

Lily’s gaze wandered, as it so often did, to the boy sitting on the other side of the room. Some boys, she decided, were clever, articulate, confident, level-headed and genuinely funny. They did not aggravate and annoy and bluster and fumble and generally make an arse of themselves every time a girl they liked smiled at them.

 

She watched him chew on his quill and thought, but maybe, maybe that confidence and maturity is just a farce. Maybe inside every man, every self-assured and articulate man, there was a thirteen-year old boy struggling to get out. A scruffy, squirmy thirteen-year old whose favourite pastimes include shoving their own boogers up their best friend’s nose. Maybe all men did act like the article said, in front of the women they adored.

 

Oh, she hated that theory. Because that would mean James Potter barely thought of her at all.

 

Lily twitched her nose and looked out the window. She wondered why she had never really approached James before, with a deliberate intent to snag him. After all, she’d had her eye on him for years. Not really in a mad, passionate infatuation sort of way, more in a sort of distant, oh-he’s-so-admirable, sort of way. Was she afraid of approaching him? She couldn’t be- she shouldn’t be- she was a Gryffindor after all. Maybe it was because his friends were with him all the bloody time, and in particular Sirius Black. Yes, Lily decided, Sirius Black was the reason she hadn’t walked up to James and casually asked, “Want to study for a bit in the library after classes?”, because Sirius Black would be there, and would probably snicker, or smirk, or do some other insensitive, rude thing that always aggravated her so much but made all the other girls sway and swoon like drunken bees. There were two types of males that Lily did not trust on principle- miscreants, and devilishly handsome bastards. Since Sirius Black was the embodiment of both, he was strictly off-limits.

 

Of course, James was a miscreant as well. The ringleader of his little band of miscreants, in fact. But he was different. He was nice. And he wasn’t a devilishly handsome bastard. Lily remained comfortable with the notion that she was the only girl in school who found his thick-lensed glasses and godawful haircut even remotely attractive. She bit her lip. But maybe, maybe some other girl might find James passably handsome as well, and James would turn around, and fall for her like a sack of bricks, thump, for that horrible, long-legged, blonde, bronzed Goddess, whoever she was, that girl who wouldn’t be able to see past his Quidditch captaincy and the centuries of English establishment behind the Potter name. Oh, that would be just horrible, Lily knew. She wouldn’t- couldn’t- be able to stand it if something like that happened.

 

She was gripping her quill so tightly her hand hurt, and staring out the window, when she heard James Potter hiss her name. She turned sharply and saw that he was smirking at her, from his front row corner seat. In fact, the whole class was staring at her.

 

“I’m very pleased to see that you’ve graciously decided to return to Earth, Miss Evans,” Professor Hall was saying.

 

Lily quickly stuffed the magazine into her desk and widened her eyes innocently

 

***

 

She was in the common room, that afternoon after classes, aiming to relax a bit and maybe take a little nap in her armchair. But he was sitting alone. Lily could scarcely believe it. She didn’t think she had ever seen him without someone else in his company. So she pretended to be intensely admiring the view out the window, a window that just happened to be right behind his head. She didn’t mean to stare, but she couldn’t help it, really. She wondered if his messy black hair felt as soft as it looked. He has such long legs, she thought lazily. Such long, lanky, lovely legs. Go and talk to him.

 

Her eyes flew open at this unexpected suggestion from some corner of her mind. An unexpected, but perfectly reasonable suggestion, of course. Why shouldn’t she go and talk to him? This was the opportunity she’d been waiting years for— he was completely alone. And he was doing homework. Homework! Lily thought. How wonderful. How perfect. How adorably nerdy. To be doing homework on a gorgeous spring afternoon like this, instead of getting stoned by the Greenhouses like everyone else. Lily just knew that she had to talk to him now. She half got out of her chair, and then sat down again.

 

Curse you, Lily Evans, she told herself angrily. You don’t even have the courage to do something as simple as start up a conversation with someone? Weren’t you brave enough last week when you plunged your hand into the toilet in the Prefect’s bathroom and removed the dead frog that had been messing up the school’s plumbing system? Weren’t you brave enough yesterday when you threatened to hex those Slytherin girls into oblivion? Weren’t you brave enough to go into the Forbidden Forest to get the Prophylaxis root when Greta panicked over her late period last month?

 

This was nothing. She just had to talk to James Potter. She was brave enough.

 

But what would she say?

 

“Oh, it looks like you’re doing homework. Ah, Transfiguration homework. Yes, the Transfiguration homework that McGonagall gave,” Lily would say.

 

“Um, yeah,” James would say, looking at her like she was mental.

 

Hmm… no.

 

“Ah, James!” Lily would say perkily, a huge, cheerful smile on her face. She would sit across from him and punch him playfully on the shoulder. “How’ve you been, old mate?”

 

“Um, I think I’ve got Quidditch practise. Or detention. Or disembowelling. Or, um, see you later!” James would say, a panicked expression on his face, as he would get up so fast his chair would topple over.

 

No, not that way either.

 

Lily closed her eyes, concentrating hard.

 

“Hi James,” Lily would say, smiling. “I’m having a bit of trouble with my Transfiguration homework, do you think you could help me out?”

 

“Of course!” James would say. “Have a seat.”

 

Bingo!

Lily opened her eyes, grinning, ready to Seize the Day, be as it may be, when she noticed that someone else was sitting with James now.

 

She panicked, and then quickly relaxed when she saw who it was. Only Peter. She smiled shakily, feeling very relieved. It was only Peter. And… and, this was perfect! Peter could be her buffer! She would go over to their table, apparently on her way to somewhere else, when Peter would say, “Oi, Lily! Come sit with us for a bit,” and Lily would smile in surprise and nod graciously and sit down, and Peter would introduce her to James, saying something like, “James, you know Lily Evans, of course. She gets top marks in Charms and enjoys Thai food,” and James would smile and nod and put down his Quill, and Lily would delight them all with her witty double-entendres, with Peter laughing at the appropriate places (Peter always laughed at her jokes, that’s why she liked him so much), and eventually Peter would excuse himself from the table (“I beg your pardon, I must attend to urgent business elsewhere,”) and James would scoot his chair a little closer to Lily’s, and they would have the most marvellous, enthralling, animated conversation, at the end of which James would say, “Lily Evans, I—”

 

James suddenly got up from his seat, and left the common room through the Portrait Hole.

 

Lily couldn’t move as she watched his tall frame disappear behind the circular door. She had never felt so deflated in her life.

 

Peter ambled over to her, his hands in his pockets. “Hey, Lil. Fancy a game of Gobstones?”

 

Lily looked at him blankly. “Do you think I’m a brave person, Peter?”

 

Peter looked confused. “Well,” he said. “You’re in Gryffindor, aren’t you?”

 

Not the answer she was looking for.

 

***

)
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