been the best prank of the week.”
Sirius declared, falling into one of the common room armchairs and
looking decidedly disappointed. Peter dropped into the chair across from him.
James remained standing. This was probably because he figured his voice would
carry better if he were standing. James thought of things like that. Especially
when a group of pretty girls was seated across the room and that group of
pretty girls contained one Lily Evans.
only those fourth year Slytherins hadn’t gotten in the way.” Peter mumbled.
you see the look on the one boy’s face? Chasen, I think his name was. Good
Lord, he didn’t know what hit him.” James really was needlessly loud. Not that
Sirius was any better, but really, with the two of them in the room—it was
impossible to concentrate.
I don’t think they learn that hex in sixth year, much less fourth.”
Sirius smirked. “Serves him right though, lollygagging around the bathroom in
the evening. I really wanted to see what that Fiber spell would do to our dear
This prank had
been Sirius’ own creation. They had discovered the Fiber Charm for Irregularity
(very high potency, not recommended unless dire need) while looking up health
antidotes for Remus, who was suffering various maladies from the previous full
moon. They had carefully rigged the Slytherin bathroom with other, er,
surprises. It looked to be a very entertaining night. But, alas, some young
Slytherins were unfortunate enough to get in the way. James and Sirius were
forced to hex them into the beyond. This hexing came immediately after they had
used the toilets that exploded. It was quite an awful, inspiring sight.
The fact that they
had just hexed a group of Slytherins for no real reason didn’t really concern
them much. Slytherins, after all, were synonymous with evil. That’s just how
James and Sirius’ minds worked.
tended to disagree. He was absent now, not due to health but because, well, he
was rather angry. With Prefect badge
shining on his chest, Remus had been assigned guard duty but sometime after the
hexing of innocents, he disappeared. James and Sirius hadn’t seen him since.
They assumed he had gone up to the dormitory. He would have to be dealt with
There were females
present. This fact dominated James’ thoughts. A certain red head was sitting
across the room from him, locked in an intense conversation with one of her
friends, probably an intelligent, interesting conversation full of substance
and importance. James was painfully aware of her as he prattled on pointlessly.
He was especially aware of the fact that she hadn’t sent a glance their way
since they’d entered. Finally, when he realized no one was listening, he flung
himself in the chair nearest Sirius and sighed. When he entered a room, the
rest of the student body turned and watched him avidly (most of the time). And
yet, no matter what the performance, he could never gain any more than a
scornful look from her. It made him miserable—not that he’d ever admit this.
But he’d get over
it. He always did. After all, she couldn’t ignore him forever, could she? Not
if he was loud enough, bad enough or brilliant enough.
“Think Remus’ll be all right?” Sirius mused
in a halfhearted sort of way.
“Yeah, sure. We’ll
talk to him when we get up there. Bet he’s not too mad--probably wanted to get
ahead on his Defense essay or something. He’s fine,” James answered absently,
picking at the frayed upholstery.
“I think making the first year bawl this
afternoon was more entertaining than the Slytherins,” Peter giggled loudly,
intruding on James’ world. “Remember her? The little blond?”
“What’ve you been
up to now, Potter?” Dorcas called across the room. “Making girls cry again?”
“No, Dorcas, we
were just having a bit of fun with an ‘ickle firstie.” James grinned in return.
hilarious!” Peter declared. “See, he and Sirius charmed this spot on the floor
to be icy-slippery, right? And we were just sitting back and watching all the
idiots skid across it…” He laughed at the memory. James and Sirius beamed with
“How did you charm
the floor?” A fourth year piped up, evidently awe struck in the presence of
“Oh, it was
simple,” James began, falling into his element again. He sat on the edge of his
seat, his eyes bright with his own brilliance. “I transfigured the floor
immediately in front of the Great Hall stairs into ice, right? A bit of
advanced transfiguration, most people would probably have trouble with it, but
it wasn’t a problem at all. The hard bit came in limiting the transfiguration,
so we had Remus do some Arithmancy research and then Sirius here applied it to
our specific circumstance.”
“Easy work, that,”
Sirius said, smiling languidly from his chair, making several girls swoon. “But
stop lecturing us, Professor Potter and tell the interesting bits.”
hilarious!” Peter squealed again.
“It wasn’t that
great,” James admitted modestly. “Just a bit of amusement. Most everyone’s seen
it already and knew to watch for it. The first years were coming down from
class and slipped a bit, they were really the only ones we caught. It was like
watching the Muggle Olympics, at least the skating bit, anyway. There was this
blond Hufflepuff, she flew across the floor and her books scattered.” James gesticulated wildly. “She flipped
upside down and…all was revealed.”
“Pink polka-dotted underwear.”
“She bawled like a
Dorcas gave them a
reluctant smile, the sort that told them they were idiots, but very brilliant
idiots at that and boys would be boys so she’d let them off one more time
because, after all, they were funny and handsome in a roguish sort of way. “You
didn’t get caught?”
“Peter was on
She snorted and
started to walk away. “You’re hopeless, the lot of you.”
“We try.” James
ran his fingers through his hair, ruffling it so it stood on end, his signature
Just Got Off My Broom look, and turned back to Sirius, who was busy being
a pity how little there is to do around here,” Sirius muttered, twirling his
can I say? Brilliant minds bore easily,” James replied, bored too now that his
audience had lost interest. He gazed across the room. Lily was still sitting
there, looking absolutely gorgeous and perfectly unattainable. He wished someone
would come up and ask him about the big match against Slytherin next week. He
hated the moments of lull between pranks and performances, he felt so empty in
them. Maybe they should do a kitchen raid tonight…
was one of the ones we hexed tonight.” Sirius was barely audible. “They were
all Death Eater Juniors, every last one of them…”
live with me now, Padfoot. Forget about them. Don’t worry about it,” James
whispered. Really, they were quite the cheery pair.
do you understand the Transfiguration homework?” Peter asked tentatively.
yeah. I’ll do it for you in the morning.” James waved Peter away. It’d only
take him a minute or two at breakfast anyway. He didn’t want to think about
assignments. He didn’t know what he wanted to think about, but that was beside
is that Gideon talking to Lily?” Peter said casually.
going to bed, Potter. Have a good time wooing your one true love.” Sirius
stretched himself up and out of his chair and to the dormitory, leaving James
twisting around wildly in order to gape better at Gideon Prewett.
the dirty bastard was--standing there talking to her. Now, James did not
think himself possessive or overbearing. Lily could talk to anyone she pleased.
They could even be male. As long as they weren’t him. His golden locks
were shining in the dimming light, his gray eyes sparkling as he conversed with
her. His teeth flashed white. They were probably talking about something witty
and smart and incredibly profound. They were probably laughing at him. God,
James had never hated anyone more vehemently.
Prewett!” Peter slunk away as Gideon turned around and stared at James. “Isn’t
it a bit past your bedtime? Your teddy bear’ll be missing you and you don’t
want to leave that romance novel abandoned for too long. Reading that is
probably the most action you’ll ever get.”
glared at James, an icy cold sort of loathing glare that made him feel briefly
repentant. Gideon just looked at him as if he were insane. “What’re you on
sneered. “Go polish your broom, Prewett.” He tried not to think of the sick,
twisted metaphor he was developing. Lily was livid now, he could see it in her
eyes, but he pressed on regardless. “Oh, you can’t do that though, can you? You
don’t have a broom. I’m sorry, I forgot. You fly like an anvil.”
shook his head disbelievingly as he backed away. “He’s finally cracked.” He
looked over at Lily and smiled apologetically. James could’ve murdered him.
“I’m sorry, Lily. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She didn’t even
address James. She turned around to gather her things. Most of her friends were
gone already. The common room was nearly empty and dimming quickly. James felt
like he was missing an important opportunity standing there, still disoriented
and vaguely angry.
He said. She paused just long enough for him to be certain she had heard him.
As if it was possible not to hear him. “Care to go out with me?”
heard a couple of people mutter something about ‘There he goes again.’ as they
too slunk out of the common room but he chose not to pay attention. If he asked
her enough times, her defenses were bound to break down and she’d eventually
say yes. It was as simple as that.
saw her back go rigid. She stopped gathering her books and looked up at him.
She took one deep breath. Two deep breaths. James had no idea how stupid he
wouldn’t go out with you if you were the last person on the face of this
earth.” Her words were measured.
me than Gideon!”
burst. “GIDEON IS A PERFECT GENTLEMAN! Who do you think you are, telling him
off like that! You have absolutely NO authority! I can talk to whoever I want,
whenever I want and I shouldn’t have to worry about your stupid, immature
tirades. Don’t think I haven’t seen you sitting there, watching every move I
make. I see things, I know what’s going on and it’s sickening, James. Just
SICKENING. You have absolutely NO RIGHT…”
“It’s not my
fault. It looked like you were about to hump right here in the middle of the
common room. I didn’t want to see that and neither did anyone else.” James
defended himself. “Gideon is a horrible, snobbish, wretched bloke…”
“And what would that make you? An angel?”
Lily snorted. The few people who remained in the common room now vacated in,
not wanting to be present for the showdown. “I can’t STAND you, James. You come
in here bragging about how you assaulted some INNOCENT fourth years and expect
us all to WORSHIP you! Well, I just won’t do it. It’s WRONG. You’re
nothing but a petty bully…”
WERE SLYTHERINS!” James shouted. Slytherin and innocent were not words that
MADE A LITTLE FIRST YEAR BAWL!”
WAS A PRANK!”
CRIED!” Lily took a few brave steps forward, still livid. “How can you
not understand that? You hurt people! That’s not attractive! You’re
nothing but a scrawny show off. You’re nothing but a bully. I wouldn’t go out
with you on my life.”
was one of the few people who could make James feel like the dirt on the bottom
of her shoe with just one look. And that’s how he felt right now.
was right. She was right just like Remus was right. And he did feel guilty. He
hadn’t meant to make that little girl cry; it was just a joke. But their bullying
pranks weren’t funny anymore and James was just beginning to see that.
“I’m going to
bed.” She said briskly, looking at him with obvious disgust.
understand.” James tried boldly. “How can you take mercy on the filthiest of
scum? How can you look at all the Slytherins, all those Junior Death
Eaters and be compassionate toward them, even defend them and
yet I don’t get a snowball’s chance in Hell? I don’t understand that. You’d
rather take Snape for a date than spend a minute with me.” He tried to sound
confident and self-assured but he could barely manage it.
More than once, Lily had come to Snape's aid against
James and more than once James had wondered why she would do such a thing. They
were worthless. They were evil and cruel and…they were all the things she
accused him of being and yet, she favored them. He didn’t understand why.
“If it helps, I
would never go out with Snape either,” She sneered sarcastically.
“You know what I
mean,” James spat.
“I can’t believe
we’re having this conversation.” She gave a disbelieving laugh. “Fine. Fine
then. Give me one reason why I should go out with you. One real, concrete
reason and maybe I’ll consider your offer.”
It was James’
The thing was,
despite all his strutting and bragging, James knew he had very little going for
him. He was a Potter, sure, but even he knew that blood meant nothing. He had
Quidditch talent, but where did that get him in the big scheme of things? She
wouldn’t give a whit whether he could shoot a goal or not. He could crack a
joke, of course, but that meant nothing except that he was a sarcastic smart
ass who couldn’t take anything seriously. He briefly considered telling her
that if she went out with him, then he would never ask again but even James knew
that answer was stupid, pointless and immature. And it was terrible that it was
the best and only reason he could think of. It said volumes about him, really.
He was worthless.
James knew he didn’t deserve Lily. He could never deserve her.
He hated that he
couldn’t think of something witty to say. He hated that she was seeing him
vulnerable. He didn’t say anything for a long time.
“What, aren’t you
going to tell of your great merits in Quidditch? You can fly faster than anyone
on the team, you won the Quidditch Cup last year…No, not good enough? Going to
tell me about your brilliant pranks, how hilarious you are, how absolutely
brilliant? You’ve got all the teacher’s charmed and most of the students too,
aren’t you going to brag about that? Come on, Potter. Silence is so ill fitting
on you.” Lily hissed. “WELL?!”
right. I don’t have a reason.” James admitted. He felt completely broken. Never
before in his life had he felt this…this….there wasn’t a word for a feeling
like this. It was emptiness. It was…a void. He didn’t want to be in her
presence anymore. He turned away and started toward the Dormitory door. It
probably showed on his face; he didn’t want her to see his face.
If James had felt
that it was acceptable for a bloke to show emotion, he might’ve choked up or
even cried. But, as it was, he just felt empty. Terribly, horribly,
“Oh, you pout now,
James but I know you. Tomorrow you’ll just be chasing another skirt. It’s all
an act with James Potter, he’s never attached to one girl for long. You can’t
fool me.” She taunted.
James closed his
eyes and turned around. “For being so observant Miss. Evans, so
all-seeing, you’re incredibly blind. I haven’t even looked at any another
girl for nearly two years now.”
The dormitory door
slammed behind him.
And Lily Evans was
left standing, bewildered and alone.
Had James Potter,
egotistical, arrogant, bullying, smooth, cool James Potter looked about to…cry
The next day, James laughed. He laughed because it
was what he was supposed to do and there was no alternative, really. He was
normal, after all. It was just another normal day. So he laughed with Sirius
and joked with Peter and Remus and made snide, inappropriate comments about the
Divination teacher. And he was happy, generally speaking, in their company.
There were even moments where he could almost convince himself that his whole
reason for being hadn’t just rejected him and crushed his heart viciously into
tiny, microscopic pieces, making it only a shadow of its previous, great glory.
James had a penchant for drama.
But he never once talked about his heartbreak. He
never once indicated in any way that he was upset. He just kept laughing,
because that’s what James did. But in certain unguarded moments, he could be
caught staring off into space in a decidedly melancholy manner and in those
moments he looked positively miserable, just as he felt. In those moments he
looked positively un-James-like.
Professor Flitwick pranced about the room, prattling
on about something—James had no idea what. He wasn’t listening. Sirius was
slumped over asleep beside him, threatening to slobber on their desk every once
in a while. James pushed him absently. Remus was taking precise, neat notes
ahead of them, Peter fervently copying every word. And in the second row, third
seat down, sat Lily. She was writing something, James couldn’t tell what. He
loved the way she wrote. Her hair fell from behind her ear like a dark red
curtain but she ignored it, continuing to write in her neat scrawl.
He’d get over her. It was just an infatuation, after
all. James Potter was more resilient than this…
Who was he kidding? This wasn’t just a crush—a crush
would’ve ended after two weeks. James had loved Lily for nearly two years now.
She was too good for him, anyway.
Sirius was slobbering on their desk again.
“Padfoot!” James hissed, shoving Sirius violently. “Clean up your spittle, you
“Nergh.” Sirius brushed James away.
“You’re so pleasant when you wake up.”
“Remember, class!” Professor Flitwick squeaked.
“Tomorrow your essay is due! Three feet, seven inches at least!”
The bell echoed through the castle and James picked
up his rucksack, smacking Sirius encouragingly. “Come on you prat, we’ll be
“You’re actually concerned about being late? James,
James spun around at the sound of a female
voice to find Lily standing behind him, smiling sheepishly.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.”
Sirius began to snicker. James kicked him non-too
gently. “N…No, that’s fine. I mean, I wasn’t startled or anything. Wha…” James
broke off. His eloquence was ever so amazing. At least he stopped himself
before he said ‘What do you want?’ That would’ve been just great.
“I just wanted to give you this.” Lily hesitantly
offered a neatly folded piece of parchment. “That’s all.”
She nodded and drifted away, blushing slightly as if
she were embarrassed to face him after last night’s incident and didn’t quite
know how to act. James stared after her and then looked at the note in his
hand, awe struck.
“Read it, you wanker,” Sirius prodded.
“Right. Right.” Still in some kind of shock, James
unfolded the parchment to see Lily’s neat script. He read:
Reasons Why James Potter Deserves a Date
- He shows signs of being something resembling human.
- He is handsome in a I-Need-Grooming sort of way.
- I wouldn’t have to worry about making other girls
jealous, as no one else will have him.
- He is brilliant in a stupid, misdirected way. If only
he could learn to use his powers for good instead of evil.
- He’d make me feel intelligent because, of course, I
am more intelligent.
- He worships me. Worship is good.
- When he believes in things, he believes in them
passionately and wholeheartedly. Hopefully he still believes in me.
- He’d make me laugh.
- He challenges me.
- I want to give him a chance.
See, there are
reasons to go out with you.
The fact that I have offered this olive
branch does by no means mean that you are my one true soul mate nor does it
mean that I am entitled to reciprocate any emotions you may have developed for
me. I’m not vowing my eternal love for you.
I can’t help what I feel and you have been an enormous prick over
the past seven years, you must admit. Considering your transgressions, I should
be able to safely despise you forever.
said; I’m sorry about last night. And don’t think this is some sudden turn of
opinion for no reason at all. I have always prided myself on being fair and
judicious, if nothing else and last night you showed me that I had grossly
misjudged you, someone who I thought I had figured out. You showed me a side of
you that I never knew existed, a vulnerability that I had thought you incapable
of. It made me think. And I thought all night long and all today too. Is anyone
evil? Does anyone deserve to be hated and despised? I don’t think so. As much
as I hate to admit it, you were right.
deserve at least as much of a chance as I give anyone else. And though I
wouldn’t ever accept a date from a Slytherin, I’ll make an exception for you
even though you’ve done as much bullying as the best of them because, after
all, if you’re nothing else, you’re persistent and that counts for something,
James--let me get to know you. Show me you can be more than a petty bully, that
you really can redeem yourself and change your ways. Everyone deserves mercy no
matter who they are; I know that—you showed that to me. And please, James, I
want you to be the one to give me a chance now because I have wronged
you in that I underestimated you. Show me mercy and we’ll start out on equal
footing. If you agree, I’d love to see you at the front doors at five for the
Hogsmeade trip. Please, consider my offer and accept my deepest apologies.
P.S: Obviously no
one’s told you but I believe it’s important for you to know—Gideon Prewett is
gay. See, there was nothing to worry about anyway. Oh and by the way, it would
be polite if you would apologize to him for your rude comments.
James looked at
the letter and laughed. He laughed because that’s what James did when he was
hysterical with giddiness and glee. “Lily!” He shouted. “Lily!”
She turned around,
smiling still at something one of her friends had said, no doubt. Her green
eyes were shining with mirth as James trotted up to her. “You have an answer
She smiled. One of
the most amazing smiles James had ever seen in his life. “That’s the answer
“I was hoping
you’d say that.”
James fell into
stride with her, too ecstatic to consider whether Sirius and the others would
miss him. “So…what’s this about Gideon Prewett being gay?” He asked, grinning.
She rolled her
eyes. “Honestly, you had to have been thick not to notice.”
“Is that supposed
to be some kind of insult?” James asked.
“I don’t know, you
decide.” She flashed that smile again, that dazzling, beautiful, captivating
again. He couldn’t believe it. She had asked him out. His wildest dreams
had come true. And she was so beautiful and so perfect. He couldn’t remember
“Can I kiss you?”
He asked suddenly.
“No,” she said
“That was rather
cold,” he teased.
She shook her head
slyly. “We’ll work up to it.” Lily smirked.
They would have
plenty of chances, yet.
A/N: Does Lily love James now? No.
It’ll take a while before she falls for our dear Potter’s charms and that’s the
way it should be, really. She took a great risk in giving James a chance and
James took a great risk in asking her what he did. Is anyone evil? Does anyone
deserve to be despised? No, Lily doesn’t think so and I don’t either. James and
Lily…it’s a beautiful, complicated thing.