The Sugar Quill
Author: Starsea (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Tiger Lily and the Lost Boy  Chapter: Default
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Tiger Lily and the Lost Boy

Tiger Lily and the Lost Boy

 

You question me “Can you ride anything?”
Lord, do you mean like your mood swings?

“Invaders and traders with the best of intentions

May convince you to go;

They look like pirates from here.”

Boy, I’ve been one for years,

Just keeping my head,

And when I promised my hand

You promised me back

Snow Cherries from France

“Snow Cherries from France”, Tori Amos

 

It wasn’t that Lily didn’t like the other Marauders. She admitted they were all right, and she found their banter very amusing. She liked Remus and Peter for their own sakes, and Sirius was (gradually) growing on her. Nevertheless, she had to admit that she was grateful James was Head Boy, if only because it gave them a legitimate excuse to actually be alone together. Not that Sirius acknowledged this, of course.

 

“Another snogging session?” he sighed as Lily and James got up to leave the room. “Honestly, didn’t you two spend all lunchtime canoodling in that armchair?”

 

“As opposed to you spending all lunchtime canoodling in the broom cupboard?” Lily shot back. “At least James and I don’t change partners every time there’s a break.”

 

Peter smiled nervously, glancing at Sirius, whose reaction was typically dramatic: he collapsed back in his chair, hand on his heart. “She wounded me! Quick, Remus, take me to Madam Pomfrey!”

 

“Bit old for you, isn’t she?” Remus said, making another note for his Arithmancy essay. “I thought Madam Rosmerta was more your type?”

 

Sirius opened one eye and shot him a cool grey glance. “I’m lying here dying of a wound to the heart, and you’re acting as if this is nothing to worry about.”

 

“That’s because your heart is your least vulnerable spot,” Remus replied, looking up with a sardonic smile.

 

“It had better be where Lily’s concerned,” James added, and Lily felt an arm slide around her waist. She looked up. James’s tone was jocular but there was a familiar tension to his jaw that told her she’d better get them out quickly.

 

“Let’s go, James, we really have to make sure that the prefect timetables for next term are co-ordinated,” she said, forcing James to turn with her and walked quickly out of the common room. He let her go first through the portrait hole as always and she waited as he stepped out, with far more ease than her, thanks to those long legs of his. Not that Lily minded James being tall… It meant she was just the right height to put her head on his chest and hear his heartbeat. She reached up and ran a finger along his jaw, smoothing the tension away.

 

He looked down, startled, and then smiled. “Sorry… just sometimes…”

 

“I know,” she said softly. His smile wasn’t quite as easy as she would have liked. “Let’s go outside. We’ve got loads of time before curfew, and it won’t get properly dark until seven.”

 

“Volunteering to wander about with me in the Scottish gloaming, Evans?” he said, waggling his eyebrows. “Next you’ll agree to meet me on top of the Astronomy tower and I’ll know this is a dream.”

 

She poked him in the ribs, laughing and secretly grateful. “Fat chance, Potter, I just know that you start dying of cabin fever if you don’t get outside at least once every day. Now come on, walkies.”

 

“Oh ha ha ha, very funny!” he muttered, rolling his eyes and grabbing her hand at the same time.

 

Lily almost closed her eyes. She pretended to be nonchalant about dating James, as cool as the Easter lilies that she’d been named for, but it wasn’t true. Every time he took her hand, she shivered inside and her heart did a little jump of happiness. James didn’t crush her hand and he didn’t act like it was a dead fish. He kept a firm grip, his fingers long and warm against hers, the skin wind-roughened from all that time spent catching the Quaffle. She had the familiar urge to swing their arms like they were children, but she waited until they were outside before doing a great big exaggerated swoop. He glanced down at her and laughed, cheeks reddening in the cold, and she grinned back, knowing that her cheeks were red as well and they looked like idiots, but she didn’t care, she didn’t care at all.

 

“Better now?” she said, her voice light as they went down the steps into the cool grey of early evening. A quarter moon hung in the sky and flocks of swifts were wheeling through the air as they came back to roost in Hogwarts’ eaves.

 

He sighed. “Yeah… I don’t know what it is with him. I’m sorry, Lily. He was fine when we first started going out.”

 

Lily shook her head. “James, I wasn’t offended. Honestly. I can handle Sirius. If I couldn’t do that then there wouldn’t be much point in me being your girlfriend,” she added, almost to herself.

 

“Lily!” James exclaimed, stopping and turning to face her, suddenly too serious. “If he’s too much, if he’s said something – anything –!”

 

“You’ll what? James, I’ve told you. I can handle Sirius. And if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t come crying to you saying that your best friend and adopted brother is being mean to me. I wouldn’t put you in that position. All I was saying is that your girlfriend has to be willing to accept your friends along with you and that means accepting Sirius and his remarks and the fact he’s not totally comfortable with my position yet.”

 

James opened his mouth and then closed it. His shoulders sagged. “I don’t understand it,” he admitted. “I mean, he was fine when we started going out; he was really happy for me. After all this time, you know…” He looked at her, grinning a little and Lily felt herself blush. James glanced up at the lighted windows. “But ever since Christmas, he’s been… I don’t know, strange. He keeps making all these remarks – not nasty, just pointed. About me forgetting my friends… having more important things to do… settling down, we’re not even out of school yet!”

 

His cheeks burned red, and Lily caught her breath. He hadn’t thought about that, had he? They were still in school, there was a war on, they’d only been going out for six months… She looked down at the ground, confused by her own reaction: the thought of marriage to James Potter (in the future) was not that unpleasant. More than pleasant, if she wanted to be truthful, and something inside her quivered at the admission, like a physical premonition. She pulled herself together. This was no time to get all dreamy, James needed help in understanding his best friend. Lily had never thought she’d have to explain Sirius Black to James Potter, but stranger things had happened. She couldn’t think of them right now but she was sure that they’d happened.

 

“He’s just worried that you’ll forget about him,” she said, taking both his hands and slipping her fingers through his, feeling that jolt of happiness as his grip tightened in reply, linking them. “James, Sirius ran away from home this summer to stay with you, his entire family’s rejected him and you’re all he’s got left. It’s not surprising that he’s getting a bit prickly. He’s afraid I might take him away from you.”

 

“But… but you’re not,” he said, looking adorably confused. “You’re you and he’s him. You’re both important to me. I’m not going to forget about him just because you’re here.”

 

Lily sighed. She reached up and placed her hand on his cheek. “I know, James. I know. And I know that Sirius is a generous person. The thing is… he probably didn’t think we’d last this long – let me finish!” she warned as James’s eyes flashed in anger. “When I finally said I’d go out with you last term, Sirius was happy for you, of course he was, you’re best friends. And everything was fine; he’d had you to himself the whole summer, he was perfectly willing to share you with me for one term. That wasn’t so bad. But now… we’re half way through the spring term and we’re still going out. So now he’s wondering how long it’s going to last. He’s wondering if he’ll have to share you with me in the Easter hols and in the summer hols. He’s wondering if he’ll have to share you with me after we leave school. He doesn’t know what to do, and that isn’t a normal situation for Sirius. He always knows what to do. Like I said,” she squeezed his hands, “I can handle him. He likes me, fortunately. I don’t want to imagine what he’d do if you went out with a girl he didn’t like – Remus would probably stop him anyway.”

 

“Maybe, maybe not,” James said, glancing up at the school again with a strange look. Then he grinned at her. “Love me, love my dog?”

 

“If you want to put it that way,” Lily said, not quite understanding why James found this answer so funny. He was still chuckling as they turned the corner and came into view of the lake. Occasionally they could see small waves breaking on the shore, meaning that the giant squid was hunting.

 

James coughed out the last of his laughter. “Sorry, Lil… private joke.”

 

Lily glanced up at him. “You know, I looked up the name ‘Padfoot’, the one you’re always calling Sirius…”

 

James stopped walking. “You… you did?” he asked quietly.

 

“Yeah, seems it’s another name for the Grim; not very funny, really, James.”

 

James burst out laughing again. “Oh… yeah, right. Not funny. You’re right…” He rubbed his eyes. “Talk to Sirius, he’s the one who chose it, he’s the one with the morbid sense of humour.”

 

“That would actually require him to tell me something about himself,” Lily said dryly. “Sirius doesn’t talk about himself much… not to us mere mortals, anyway.”

 

James looked at her in surprise. “Are you kidding? Sirius talks about himself all the time, McGonagall’s always telling him off for it. Lily, you’ve been in the same house as him for seven years –!”

 

“Oh yeah, he talks a lot about himself, but he doesn’t say anything, there’s a difference, James,” Lily corrected him, hugging herself as a cold wind blew across the lake.

 

James frowned a little and looked down. “I suppose you’re right… sorry. I just forget. It’s because of his family… I mean, nobody would want to hear about them, Lily. They’re…”

 

“I’ve heard about the Blacks, James.” Lily took a breath, deciding to keep silent about what she’d heard. “I know Sirius’s family is pretty unpleasant, given that most of them are in Slytherin, and he ran away from them without waiting for his birthday to make it official. But he doesn’t need to tell people about them. Sharing a little personal information isn’t the same as letting someone know your deepest darkest secrets.”

 

James ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it. “I’ll talk to him.”

 

“No! James…” She took his hand, pulling it down. “That’s what you musn’t do. If Sirius thinks you’re trying to change him because of me…” She shook her head. “He just needs to see this is something permanent. That I won’t just… vanish. I’m sure he’ll open up once he sees that.”

 

“Yeah.” He smiled down at her, his eyes lighting up. “That’s him. That’s him through and through. Thanks, Lil.”

 

“Don’t call me that,” she said, pulling away. “I’m small enough without you shortening my name, James.”

 

“I like you being small,” he protested, putting an arm around her shoulders and pulling her against him. “It’s nice… makes me feel all big and strong,” he confessed, flushing a bit. “Not that I think you’re weak but… I feel like I can protect you.”

 

Lily was surprised. She’d always seen her size as something negative, a lack. She’d never thought being petite might be an advantage, be attractive. “I suppose it’s because Petunia’s tall,” she said eventually, leaning against him. “I always wanted to catch her up, I wanted to be able to look her in the eye. And lilies are tall flowers… they’re never small, ever.”

 

James squeezed her. “I like you the way you are,” he said. “Besides, whenever I think of you, I never think of those white ones that people use for funerals. I think of tiger lilies.”

 

“They’re even taller,” she laughed, rubbing her head against him. “But they are nicer than normal ones.”

 

“You’re tall in spirit even if you’re small,” he said, looking down at her fondly. “Or you wouldn’t be a Gryffindor. A lioness.”

 

Lily grinned, liking the sound of that. It was as if his words made her grow inside. “A tiger and a lioness. Better watch out, Potter.”

 

“So you wouldn’t mind Tiger Lily as a nickname?” he asked, not scared for a moment, his teeth white in the gathering dark.

 

Lily paused, smiling a little. She looked up and saw that the stars had begun to appear. “There was a girl called Tiger Lily in a Muggle book Dad read to me when I was small.”

 

“Yeah? What was she like?”

 

“She was a squaw, the daughter of the chief. It was a book called Peter Pan. He lives in Never-Never Land, this enchanted island. You can only get to it by flying: second star to the right and straight on until morning,” she recited softly.

 

James looked up as well. “Muggles do write wonderful books,” he said, hugging her closer. “What happens to Peter?”

 

“Well, he never grows up. He doesn’t want to become a grown-up and do boring things, he wants to stay a little boy forever. That’s why he lives in Never-Never Land with his companions, the Lost Boys.”

 

“Lost Boys, huh?” James grinned. “I think I’d like these Lost Boys.”

 

“I think you would, too!” she retorted. “They just hunt and play all day long and never do any work. But they don’t have parents. None of them have parents because they all fell out of their prams when their nurses and mothers weren’t looking and the fairies stole them. So Peter comes to our world to find them a mother. And he hears this girl, Wendy Darling, telling her brothers John and Michael stories about him. Peter’s completely full of himself, so he thinks this is marvellous and he decides to take Wendy back to Never Land with him so she can be mother to them all. She persuades him to take John and Michael as well. So they all fly to Never-Never Land and Wendy plays mother and takes care of them all…”

 

“You actually liked this?” James asked, looking disgusted. “Doesn’t sound like Wendy has much fun.”

 

“She doesn’t, really,” Lily agreed. “Petunia thought she was wonderful – all Petunia wants to do is find a businessman and get married as quickly as possible. Wendy would definitely be a Hufflepuff, now I think about it. She’s very sensible and organised and very good at making sure things get done. And Peter would be a Gryffindor: he says that ‘to die will be an awfully big adventure’.”

 

James laughed a great big ‘Ha’ up into the night sky. “Definitely a Gryffindor,” he agreed. “But what about Tiger Lily?”

 

“There’s an Indian tribe on the island, and she’s the daughter of the chief, like I told you. She seems to have more freedom than Wendy; she goes hunting sometimes. She’s also very beautiful.”

 

“Mm, like someone else I know,” he said, looking down at her with a small smile. Lily blushed and looked down, not knowing what to say. She knew that she was attractive, of course, other boys had said so, but when James said things like that, it was different. She wanted to hide her face in his robes just like she’d hidden her face in her father’s coat when she was little.

 

“Thank you,” she said quietly.

 

“I mean it, Lily,” he said, one finger sliding under her chin and gently tipping her head back so she looked into his eyes. “You’re… amazing. Everything about you. Sometimes I still can’t believe you’re finally going out with me. You could have gone out with anyone.”

 

She felt her blush deepen. “James…” She grasped his fingers, fumbling for words that would express the warmth and happiness inside her. “They wouldn’t have been you.”

 

James’s eyes darkened and he bent towards her. Lily lifted her face, trembling in anticipation. She’d always scoffed at such phrases before she’d gone out with James and now here she was, forcing herself to be still as their lips touched. Their first kiss was always soft, almost an introduction; then his arms wrapped around her, shutting out the world and time. James was never cold; even on winter days, his lips were warm, he was like a fire and all she wanted to do was get closer to that fire. Lily curled her fingers into the tufts of hair at the base of his neck and he hissed at how cold they were, pulling her even closer. She could feel his hips through the thickness of the winter robes, his chest pressed hard against hers. The fluttering inside her was turning into something stronger, a shaking.

 

“Lily,” James breathed, bending his neck, and she felt his lips touch her jaw and then her throat, kissing her pulse and making her gasp. She felt like the fire had been kindled inside her now, roaring inside her chest. It was almost unbearable, she had to do something or she’d explode. But his kisses were so distracting and it seemed like every one shut down another part of her mind… Lily reached up and rubbed one finger over James’s collar bone, distracting herself. It was the perfect compromise: it was skin, his skin, but it was above the waist and there was nothing, absolutely nothing erogenous about the collar bone. Then he trailed his fingers down her throat and she looked up, startled. His eyes were dark.

 

“Lily,” he whispered, making her name sound like a prayer, an incantation, something holy and sacred. His hands cupped her face, slid back into her hair and his mouth came down again, harder, fiercer, and Lily realised that those so-called erogenous zones were a bit misleading. James could tap her on the arm and she’d light up inside. So although she thought rubbing his collar bone was perfectly innocent, to him it would feel like…

 

His hands slid down her back to the curve of her waist, pushing her even closer at the same time his mouth opened. Sensory overload created a moan at the back of her throat. They were going too far but it felt so good, so wonderfully good to be pressed against him – if only these damn robes didn’t get in the way, she thought, pressing her hips against him…

 

James gasped as if she’d Stunned him and pushed her away. “No, Lily, we… we shouldn’t. We can’t.” His face was screwed up as if saying these words was physically painful. Lily looked down and suddenly realised that might not be too far from the truth. She felt herself go bright red and took a few steps back, not sure where to look.

 

“Yes… we really should go and do those prefect timetables… like I promised,” she stuttered. So much for sophisticated and sexy. The fire had gone out, leaving dirty ashes and all she wanted to do was hide. Thank God for school duties.

 

He looked at her. His cheeks were also red but his eyes had cleared. “It’s okay, Lily,” he said. “I’m not mad, I… hell.” He reached out and hugged her, pulling her back into the warmth. She closed her eyes and rested her head against him. “When you did that,” he said, his voice rumbling under her cheek, “I wanted… so many things. Too many things. I mean, I’ve thought about them, dreamed about them but when you did that – I knew they could be real. And I didn’t want that, not yet, but at the same time, I wanted it so much.” His hand cupped her chin, lifting it up and she gazed into the bright hazel eyes. “I wanted you, Lily.”

 

And everything was all right. The fire was back again, manageable in its grate. Lily smiled, thinking she could stand like this for quite a while. “I wanted you, too, James.”

 

He blinked, looking absurdly happy, and she wanted to laugh and hug him and ruffle his hair all at the same time. “Really?” he asked.

 

“Yes, but don’t let it go to your head, opinion is still subject to change,” she said, grabbing his hand and leading him back to the castle. James didn’t resist, letting her pull him along until she grew tired of it and dropped back to walking beside him, proud of this tall, slender boy by her side. He seemed to be thinking, and she left him to his thoughts, knowing he’d say something if it was important.

 

As they neared McGonagall’s office, he cleared his throat. “Lily… what happens to the Lost Boys? Do they… are they ever ‘found’?” He tried to smile but she could see that it wasn’t real. She was beginning to learn the small signs in his body language. Before she’d been more concerned with the big gestures, the public persona; now she was getting to know the boy – the man – underneath that bravado.

 

“Peter kicks them out. They get too big… you can only reach Never Land by flying and people get too old to fly. So when they get too old to fly, he sends them back down here. I think people do find them. They must. Someone will find you if you want to be found,” she said, thinking out loud.

 

“You found me,” he said softly.

 

“I got the impression that was what you wanted,” she answered, smiling up at him. “A few hints here and there…”

 

He grinned and kissed her on the cheek. For some reason, that struck her as more bold than what they’d done outside. They were on duty now, they were Head Boy and Head Girl, not just James Potter and Lily Evans. He was taking a risk and he knew it, but he didn’t care. Neither did she.

 

Gryffindors through and through.

 

“What about Peter?”

 

The question startled her and she looked up at him as McGonagall’s door appeared at the end of the corridor.

 

“What about him?” she repeated.

 

“Does anyone ever find him?”

 

Lily shook her head. “No… he never grows up. He just gets a new mother every so often. I suppose you could say he’s lost forever… but then, that’s the way he wants it,” she added with a shrug. “He is the Boy Who Never Grew Up.”

 

“Growing up isn’t so bad,” said James, as if he’d just come to that decision. “As long as you’ve got someone else to help you.”

 

“And you need all the help you can get,” Lily retorted with a laugh before seeing the look in his eyes. “There has been a definite improvement,” she quickly added. “I look forward to future developments…”

 

“You and me both, Evans,” he said softly, lifting his free hand and knocking on McGonagall’s door. “You and me, both.”

 

Disclaimer: I do not own James Potter, Lily Evans, Remus, Sirius or Peter. They all belong to J.K. Rowling, who kindly lets us mess around with her characters.

 

Author’s Notes

Many thanks to dark_branwen for the title, and to my pre-beta godricgal and my beta Jo Wickaninnish for looking over this and giving me general pointers. I hope all the James and Lily fans like this story, there aren’t enough James/Lily stories out there.

 

If you need to e-mail me, please use halli_meda@yahoo.co.uk or use the SQ messaging system, as the e-mail on my SQ Author’s page no longer works. I have e-mailed Madame Pince about it, but received no reply. So if you’ve sent any e-mails, I didn’t get them! Sorry about that.

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