By : Lady Catriona-Arre
AN: for one of my best mates Livvi, who went and grewed up on me. i love you hun, dont ever forget it. sorry im so bad with deadlines. it was supposed to be a goodbye present : )
Sirius could tell without even looking up that James was frustrated. He was flitting about the common room like a dragonfly on speed and was talking with his hands- talking with his hands at a speed far too high for Sirius to follow completely.
James was talking about Lily again. That much was obvious even to peter, who powers of deduction were slim to none at the best of times, let alone when James was talking gibberish about romance and flowers and dress robes and all the rest of it. Sirius repositioned on the sofa and yawned audibly, hoping James would get the hint and either rewind and tell the entire thing again at a suitable pace or slow down enough so that Sirius could pick up the gist of it.
James didn't pick up the hint.
Sirius tossed a cushion at him. He had never been good at subtlety for too long- he didn't have the patience for it, and James didn't have the propensity for it anyway. The cushion however, had the desired effect. James caught the cushion instinctively and looked at Sirius, painfully resembling a stunned rabbit. Sirius jumped to his feet and forcefully sat his best mate into the seat he had recently vacated; using the time while James was distracted trying to figure out why the cushion was in his hands to good effect.
''Mate.'' Sirius said, drawing up to his full height of 6 foot 1, and looking pointedly at James, who incidentally was still clutching the cushion, almost as a security blanket. Either way Sirius was glad James' hands had stopped fluttering because Sirius had a short attention span, and the constant movement was distracting.
'' I didn't catch a word of that,'' Sirius explained drawing out is words so that James was positive to understand. ''You're rattling on like a runaway train and the'' Sirius tried to imitate a miniature quidditch game with his hands, using them to show- exaggeratedly- the movements of ALL fourteen players, all four balls, the audience and the referee simultaneously. ''The hands are distracting me to the point where I'm about to start jumping about, barking and trying to play fetch with my tail''
James raised an eyebrow.
''Yes really.'' Sirius clarified. '' Now, if its all the same to you... What the hey are you talking about?''
James laughed, a little embarrassed, ''you didn't get any of it?''
''Nope- not a word- except the sentiment that Lily is the greatest girl in the history of girls and that you wanna follow her about like a lost puppy and sniff her hands''
''I didn't say anything about sniffing her at all padfoot''
Sirius sighed exasperatedly '' Forgive me for the dog analogies prongs... there's a reason. I swear''
James sniggered, before composing himself, standing again and pacing back and forth in front of Sirius.
''I was saying, that Lily is great and wonderful, and were kinda getting close and I'm thinking, maybe, maybe... now's the right time to press my case again?''
Sirius looked at James for a moment before sitting down, stretching his legs out in front of him and rolling his shoulders around to relieve tension. He looked completely relaxed except for his crumpled forehead.
''How do you propose to do that now?'' he asked, his tone serious.
James frowned ''that's the problem, I haven't the foggiest''
''That's an issue Jamesie my man''
Sirius began to fiddle, moving bits of fluff from one side of the sofa arm to the other, and then trying to build a monument to his greatness with them.
''Hardly flattering'' he mumbled, '' its a monument to one of my less great moments- or...''
Sirius jumped to his feet.
''Moment.'' he shouted. James stared at him.
''Give her a moment''
''What are you on about padfoot?'' James had tilted his head, a sure sign that he was confounded.
Sirius frowned, he knew exactly what he meant but he didn't quite understand how to explain to James, his brilliant, foolproof, proof-and-lily-proof wooing plan; especially with James in the state of mind where one had to use small words and talk very slow before he understood a word anyone said.
'' Give yourself an ultimatum, take her out, promise to have her back by - I dunno - midnight and three minutes and at that exact moment ask her if she wants you at all ever. Let her know that she has the one date to decide. - Then pull the smooth and perfect James act''
James' face lit up. ''One night- one moment. One dream to be forever- it's the line of one of Lily's favorite songs. I could...''
James looked at Sirius his mouth still open ''yeah?''
''Don't sing. Just don't do it, its never worked for you and her before. Last time she threw a Christmas tree at you''
James laughed. ''Maybe not then, but its gonna work - I have a really good feeling this time''
Remus walked into the room laden with all manner of textbooks and looked at James face then at Sirius' and back to James. '' James?''
James cocked his head ''yeah?''
''You had the good feeling every other time too. Calm down.''
James laughed. ''But its gonna work this time moony matey mine. I'm not even gonna sing''
Remus rolled his eyes and laughed, ''I'm relieved. Thank you!''
Lily was walking to class when James approached her smiling a little too enthusiastically. She knew what was coming. She always did, shed known him for years, and had (most times unwillingly) spent almost as much time with old Jamesie boy as his own dear Sirius had. It was hard not to notice most of his idiosyncrasies. Like whistling through his teeth, talking with his hands when he was frustrated or nervous, talking to himself while thinking about quidditch, and what each of his individual and unique smiles held in store for herself.
This smile was the im-not-quite-sure-whether-im-excited-or-wetting-my self-scared smile. Generally it marked the re-emergence of one of her least favorite topics: James potters supposedly undying love for her.
It scared her was the biggest problem before. James scared her, he was so sure of himself, what he wanted, who he liked- who he didn't, what he believed in. that confidence scared lily to the point where she had convinced herself he was an 'arrogant toe rag' and not worth her time. Keeping James on his toes for the three years it had taken them to get to the point where they could actually talk for most of the evening without a vocal competition, in retrospect lily now believed that it had been for the best.
James bit his lip ''I need to talk to you''
''What is it?''
''I need a favor''
''A favor? - Like what?''
Lily was intrigued; she hadn't predicted James right at all. It was a new experience.
'' One night- one moment''
''Whatever for?'' lily furrowed her brow; utterly unsure of what James was up to.
''This Friday- says six thirty?'' James asked
'' I suppose, sure'' curiosity bit lily harder than the wariness of James ever had, and lily felt that she had to know what he was up to. He wasn't going to tell her then though. And that, in itself only worsened her curiosity.
''Fantastic, catch you later lily''
James practically skipped into the room, which Sirius, after recovering from the initial bark of laughter- accepted as the sign that James fortunes with his dolly belle, were on an up draught.
''Friday!'' James shrieked, prancing about the dormitory. Had he been a girl in a muggle romantic comedy film, Sirius would have been watching James spin around before flopping onto his bed and seeing the camera spiral up wards, while really really embarrassing instrumental music played out. The situation was almost a little too like some of the muggle romantic comedies he had seen.
James slowed down to a calmer loll, but still moving up and down the room in front of the window, talking with his hands- out of nervousness this time. ''I don't understand why, I didn't do anything different... its like she was scared of me before and now she's not- I don't understand''
Sirius jumped from his bed changing midair into the massive dog that he supposed was his alter ego and then a step later changing back into himself.
Sirius grinned, ''I think you've got a point- I'm going to investigate. You stay here and plan the best and greatest first date you can come up with''
James realized the enormity of the task ahead of him about three and a half seconds after Sirius' abrupt departure and for a long moment he was utterly confounded. To date, Nothing had worked. Every single one of James potters fantastic foolproof win-a-date-with-lily-Evans plans had failed dismally. So this time, the one date he had EVER had with lily, the apple of his eye so to speak, he was a little on the terrified side.
He started talking to himself, a habit that his Remus Sirius, even his mother had been trying to break him of for several years.
''Alrighty Jamesie boy, think. What does Lily like?- flowers, books, class, Remus' jokes, me being nice to people'' James groaned. ''Arggh this is useless. What am i going to do? Walk around and read to her? Drag her along while I apologize to everyone I've ever spoken too for being an 'arrogant toe rag'?''
James 'soliloquy' was interrupted by Remus' entrance into the dormitory.
''James?'' he asked as he set about pulling books from under the bed, the side of his trunk, under his pillow, next to the candle on his bedside table and other various places, which remus seemed always to have filled with books, peter with sweets and Sirius with random toys like the magical yoyo he'd bought two days ago and was still gyrating and shining disco themed spotlights everywhere.
''Yes Remus?'' James inquired impatiently. ''i was soliloquizing, so make it quick''
''Firstly- soliloquizing is not a word...''
''But...'' James protested. Remus rose a hand and he fell silent.
''Nor will it ever be. Secondly- Sirius told me about your new plan; I came to remind you that under no circumstances are you allowed to sing. just don't do it.''
''Why does the entire world think I'm such a bad singer?'' James asked petulantly, ''I'm really not that bad- here let me show you...''
Remus looked at him, horrified.
''Fine, I won't sing'' James threw his hands in the air and laughed. ''but ill have it known that I'm a better singer than you''
''You've never heard me sing James''
''Well i can tell''
Remus shook his head and smiled. ''If you say so prongs- good luck with the date. Merlin knows your going to need it''
James frowned. '' it'll work this time moony. She doesn't hate me anymore''
Friday night came and James figured he was as prepared as he was ever going to be. he had suited up into a muggle suit, a contraption he personally believed was designed by women sick of wearing corsets. it felt about as restricting and the tie was making his eyes water a little. however Sirius had said it needed to be that ''closefitting'' to be worthwhile. James wiped his eys and prayed that they'd settle before he found lily. For some stupid reason it had slipped his mind to arrange a place to pick her up. He'd organized leave time, for himself and lily so they could go into the muggle city of London, to see a stage play. Although unless he found lily soon that would all be useless.
Strike one: be late.
It was a quarter to seven when James heard lily calling his name behind him. cringing James turned around.
''Your late potter'' she announced, her voice, not icy but amused.'' James? Have you been crying?''
James stared at her wide-eyed. ''Of course not, I'm no baby, its this wretched suit its making my eyes water''
Lily reached up to his throat and felt the collar. ''No wonder, this is far too tight''
James bit his lip; he was looking like an idiot, and he wasn't liking it much at all.
He reached up to fumble with the bowtie. Lily's soft hands moved his aside ''here let me''
She said softly and deftly retied it, allowing room for James to move inside it.
Strike two: look like a fool who cant dress himself
''So what did you wanna talk to me about?'' lily asked, as James took in the beautiful vision she was in a deep green dress with her hair curling delicately around her face. '' you look amazing'' James breathed. Lily blushed shyly as James took her hand
''i love you lily. i always have, i want to know if you could ever love me? just this date to find out, one night. And then if you want it that way ill drop the subject forever''
'' This is the last? The absolute last'' lily asked, her tone almost nostalgic
'if that's what you want lils'' James looked away, scared that he'd see the excitement in her eyes. if it were to be so, he wanted to wait until the last possible moment to know. ''Just give me this one chance to win your heart please?''
through Dumbledores office they portkeyed to London's theatre district, because ''live theatre was sophisticated'' according to James' mother. and so, James was being charming and wonderful and all the rest of it.
They came out exactly where James had planned, and that- as the first thing to have gone right so far- James took as a sign of hope. Until he looked at Lily's green tinged face. She groaned, and a moment later was regurgitating her last meal into a roadside bin.
Strike three: make her sick.
James pulled Lily's hair off her face and held her hand until she had finished. Delicately lily wiped her mouth and apologized. James stared at his shoes, feeling terrible and as if he had just lost all hope of ever winning Lily's heart.
''Are you ok'' James asked dumbly. Lily smiled weakly up at him.
''I'm ok, portkeys always do that to me, never had the stomach for them i suppose''
''I'm sorry, I really should've asked, we could have floo-ed over or, flown or, I don't know, I'm so sorry''
'' Its okay James, an honest mistake'' lily took his hand again. ''Where are we going?''
'' A play'' James grinned, ''supposed to be funny i hear. a spin off on Hamlet''
''Hamlet? ive heard of it but I've never read it'' lily admitted.
''Oh'' James sighed.
Strike four: take her to a play she won't understand at all.
lily squeezed James' hand reassuringly. '' Explain hamlet to me''
James nodded and explained about hamlet and the ghost and his murderous uncle, his traitoress mother, sweet Ophelia, horatio and rosencrantz and guildernstern, and the many plots, subplots and sub-sub-plots in the play.
''The play were going to see is called 'rosencrantz and guildernstern are dead' from a line in hamlet'' James mentioned as they walked into the theatre and paid their tickets.
Lily's soft laughter bubbled almost as much as James own did and continued almost the entirety of the play, and that James was thankful for. lily was still laughing as they walked out of the theatre two hours later, a little uncomfortable from the theatre seats but thoroughly entertained.
''James?'' lily beamed ''lets play questions?''
James grinned ''why do you want to play that for''
''Well it seems challenging i suppose'' lily answered, before covering her mouth as James chuckled. Lily laughed and ran into his side softly ''i cant believe i missed that one''
''Again?'' James asked.
''Do you want to?''
'' Would you want to if i didn't?''
''Could you beat me?''
'' Do you think... no I've got nothing. You win'' James laughed well naturedly as lily bowed, theatrically laughing herself. The pair were so caught up with the joke that they weren't paying attention to the road and suddenly, James tripped on an uneven ledge on the path. He stumbled for a few steps before crashing into an elderly couple coming out of a fast food restaurant. Hamburgers, cokes and fries went all over the footpath followed by the elderly woman. James' expression looked equally stunned and horrified as he stared at the lady and her meal. Lily nudged him and he stepped forward to help her up.
Strike five: be a public menace
''I'm so sorry ma'am, so very sorry'' James apologized over and over again, not entirely sure whether he spoke to the old lady or lily. The couple reassured them and hesitated to accept the tenner James tried hand to them.
''Please, sir, I ruined your meal. Its only fair I pay for another one'' James pleaded; putting the money in the elderly mans hands.
Eventually they couple accepted and James apologized again for his clumsiness and the accident, and he and lily were able to go along again. James was almost positive as they walked along the street further to find a floo network, that lily was avoiding his gaze. He felt like a great bumbling oaf, clumsy and foolish, next to this perfect sweet but feisty girl, who had stolen his heart and couldn't give it back however much she wanted to.
James had planned to take lily through the secret tunnel into hogsmeade when they got back to hogwarts but lily was already looking tired. James thought better of it as they walked past a muggle florist. Lily was looking wistfully at a large bouquet of roses and baby's breath. James led her into the shop, and holding back the whistle at its price tag, he handed over the money for the flowers lily had spotted, a box of chocolates and a gold lion holding a red heart and tied with a silky red ribbon. Lily inhaled the flowers and sighed.
''You didn't have to do that James'' she whispered taking James' hand again. '' they were far too expensive and they've had to have been sitting in that shop a day already''
James nodded. ''But you can charm them into staying like that for as long as you want them. I've seen you do it''
Lily smiled, ''its a handy little spell that''
James nodded ''It is''
it was only a quarter past nine when they flooed into Dumbledores office. Lily blew the soot off her bouquet and the teddy. ''Hold still'' James said pulling his wand out of his jacket pocket:
The soot disappeared off the flowers and stuffed lion, but Lily's pretty dress was ruined. The hem was torn and slightly singed and ash and soot covered it. Lily looked down and her face fell, ''oh, my dress.'' she sniffed and sat down grumpily to assess the damage.
Strike six: ruin her clothes.
James sighed angrily and glared at the offending fireplace. Nothing was going right, smooth and sweet James wasn't working for him at all. James placed the flowers and lion on the chair next to lily as he knelt down next to her and felt the hem of her dress, if he was any judge of damage- which in a way he was, being closely associated with mischief for all of his seventeen short years- the fabric was beyond repair. James groaned ''I'm so sorry lily, the dress looks fantastic on you and now I've wrecked it- gallivanting around the country like a fool''
it was conclusive- Fate hated him, and James was just about ready to settle down to eternal bachelorhood except that in his despair a thought occurred to him. Peter's aunt was a seamstress- focusing on wedding robes for the well off wizard couple. Lily wouldn't be able to afford it, but James- working a little harder for his father in the Christmas break might be able to.
Lily tried to look like she didn't are about the dress- undoubtedly to try and make James feel better, but any fool could see that she was disappointed. ''its not your fault James, things like this happen, its only muggle material, flimsy as anything'' lily expression was still sad though and James frowned.
''It is my fault lily, and I'm sorry for it. But ill pay to have it repaired- ''
''Thank you - but I can't let you do that James''
''Peters aunts a seamstress and she adores me. It's really no trouble. I'll send it off tomorrow with a money order, and it'll be back by Sunday evening''
''Very well but ill pay''
James inwardly cringed; lily didn't have enough money to do that. Peter's aunt charged a high price, but she was the best and in James opinion that's what lily deserved.
''You can tell me the price when you know it''
James smiled and nodded, knowing full well that he was in no way going to be telling lily the full price.
'' Lets have dessert up on the astronomy towers landing'' James suggested helping lily to her feet and picking up the flowers and lion again for her. Lily accepted them graciously and nodded.
The astronomy tower was perfectly set out as James had told Sirius peter and Remus to do for him. James had them bring up a record player with Lily's favorite song; an old blanket to sit on; candles; custard sauce, apple turnovers and cream for dessert, which knowing Sirius would still be hot. Sirius and food appreciation was a almost perfect match.
The house-elves had outdone themselves on dessert, which again James believed Sirius was responsible for, they loved him more than James' mother loved him, and a word from Sirius at any given time meant a feast and the boys dorm including all their favorite foods, roast chicken for Sirius and James, pork for peter and lamb which Remus would never admit was his favorite food but the boys all understood it to be. Apple pies with ice-cream and custard, red jelly, peppermint chocolate fudge, biscuits and lemon honey tea, pudding at any time of night. The food was one of many perks of Sirius' friendship.
Lily's coughing dragged James' thoughts away from the wonderful feasts in the boy's dormitory and he felt his stomach drop to ashes as lily started turning red. James jumped up and thumped her on the back and a tiny apple seed flung across the rooftop. Lily heaved.
Strike seven: let her choke
''Merlin, i must look like the biggest idiot to you now James'' lily muttered pressing her hands against her forehead trying to calm her heartbeat down.
''Never'' James breathed, flicking the record player on with his wand. ''You could never look like an idiot to me''
Lily smiled slightly and squeezed his hand.
''Dance with me lily'' James asked standing up. The record player was playing Lily's favorite song, Enya's 'book of days' lily looked up at James and laughed, ''I love this song''
One day one night one moment
My dreams could be tomorrow
One step one fall one falter
East or west over earth or by ocean
One way to be my journey
This way could be my book of days
James bit his tongue; unconsciously he had been singing along quietly to the words to the song, his mouth just above Lily's ear, she would have heard him.
Strike eight: you sung, you're out.
The words crashed over his mind and James look up at the sky waiting for the explosion that would signal the absolute death of hope. However lily wasn't pulling away, she wasn't yelling at him, nor was she brandishing Christmas decorations dangerously, In fact she didn't seem uncomfortable at all. James looked down at her, puzzled.
''Lily?'' he asked softly, nervousness making his voice a little uneven.
''James?'' lily murmured into his shoulder.
''Do you like me at all'' James cringed, dreading the answer.
They stopped moving and lily stepped back '' I think I do James.. Well if this is the real you''
James nodded, '' the real me? Clumsy, a bad singer, unthinking, late, unable to dress himself?''
Lily smirked, ''you're only human after all James, and your sweet and caring and funny, and youre romantic, and noble and handsome...''
Noble and handsome?
James liked the sound of that.
Lily squeezed his hand. 'I'm sorry for making you wait for me'
'I'm sorry that I was so pushy' James laughed
'I'm sorry I kept calling you an arrogant toe rag'
'I'm sorry that I kept calling you Evans when in know you hated it'
'I'm sorry for kissing Sirius last Friday'
James' expression seemed to explode 'what did you say'
Lily giggled 'I'm joking. id never kiss Sirius. who knows where he's been?'
'You said you'd never kiss me -' James protested, still not relaxed.
'And to date I've held to that.' Lily interrupted. 'But if you don't mind James- I think id like to take that back'
James grinned and spun lily around 'oh?'
Lily nodded 'kiss me James'
James did so, just as Sirius, peter and Remus climbed out of the astronomy tower to join them. Sirius wolf whistled and laughed 'Well obviously you didn't sing this time Jamesie boy'
James looked up and grinned at him 'I did, actually'
Lily looked from James to Sirius and back again.
'Told you I don't sing that badly padfoot' James boasted wrapping an arm around lily and walking towards his friends.
'Gentlemen- this is her. The most wonderful girl in the world'
DEdicated to : LADY LIVIA- Cause well... shes amazing.
disclaimer: not mine : (