Hey, everyone. This is the last chapter of my Lily and James story, and I'm kind of glad it's over because now I can move on to bigger stories that I've spent more time on.
I hope you like this chapter, even though it's a bit short.
Thank you to those who reviewed! :)
"Are you going to Hogsmeade this weekend?"
"I think so. Maybe. I should probably study instead..." Neither of them had brought up their afternoon in the Prefect's common room after their last Hogsmeade visit, and Lily hopes desperately that James won't say anything now.
"Lily, don't you think you could use a break? All you do is study. You deserve at least one day away from the castle."
"I don't want to fail." she says to the stone under her feet.
"Stop." he turns quickly and put his hands on her shoulders. "What's going on?"
"What?" for the first time that evening she looks up at him with her wide, green, almondy eyes.
"Why've you been so...distant?"
"You've been distant for almost a month now. What's up?" she sees concern in his eyes, but tells herself it's an act.
"Nothing, I'm fine." she stands back and he drops his arms, and the two of them look at the ground in between them.
"Is this still about your sister?"
"No, it's not about Petunia. She sent me an owl the day after I wrote back to mum and told me that she wanted me to be a bridesmaid, and that she'd only just found my letter from before. And I can't say no to her, because it would upset our parents. Which means I'm going to have to...wear orange." she shudders, and James chuckles.
"So why are you upset?"
"I'm not, James." she says firmly. "I'm one hundred percent fine."
"Come to Hogsmeade this weekend."
She looks back up to him to give him a long look as she wonders what she should do. Being in Hogsmeade with him would most likely end disastrously. But being in Hogsmeade surrounded by all her friends...could be fun.
"Fine. I'll come to Hogsmeade."
He immediately relaxed and smiled. "But you have to promise to have fun, or else there's no point. Not more moody Lily."
"Just smile more, okay? And at least pretend to listen to my jokes. Your lack of laugh is making me feel bad."
"Sorry. I've had a bit on my mind..."
"What is it?"
"Nothing," she says too quickly. "It'll be fine. I'm fine."
He frowns down at her, but doesn't say anything else, then follows when she starts walking again.
Mary has now gotten Lyla to bother Lily about her situation. Alice and Scarlet are polite enough to stay out of it all, but Lyla considers James to be one of her best friends, and therefore thinks she will be able to talk Lily into it better than Mary had before her.
"Why won't you just give him a chance?"
"I have a choice in this, too!" Lily shoots back, dropping her voice when she hears how loud her frustration's made her. "It's not just him! It wouldn't work. I don't want to be his girlfriend!"
"Lily, James wants you so badly. He has for years. And I know for a fact that he would be the only guy in the whole school that would make the relationship all about you. As soon as you said yes to him, your life would get a hundred times better. Haven't you noticed how much he's changed this year? It's been for you, Lily. Remus told him ages ago that there was no chance for the two of you if he kept acting like he had been the past few years."
Sirius, who had had the nerve to hold Lyla's hand all the way to the Three Broomsticks, takes a seat beside her now, obviously hearing the end of their conversation. He sits his Butterbeer in front of him and points his finger at Lily, who leans back. "That's true. You've ruined my best friend, and I don't want it to be for nothing. Give him a nice, wet snog. You'll see."
"Piss off, Black." Lily scowls as Remus, James and Peter open the pub's door and make their way to the bar.
"Why exactly do you not want to go out with him?" Lyla asks in a whisper, leaning over the table to put her face right in front of Lily's. "What is it about him that you don't like?"
Lily can't come up with an answer in time, and James slides into the booth to sit beside her. She doesn't look at Sirius, Mary or Lyla across from her for as long as she can handle. Twenty minutes later, while conversation is strong between Alice, Peter and Remus, Lily looks up to see that Sirius is drawing a love heart around herself and James with his fingers.
Lily slams her mug down onto the table in front of her and pushes Scarlet until she and Alice move off the bench in front of her, then storms to the door without looking back.
She doesn't go back to the castle. She makes her way to a tree from where she can see the Shrieking Shack and sits underneath it, leaning her head back against it and closing her eyes. Why can't they just leave her alone about it?
After a couple of minutes she opens her eyes and looks around, because she has the strong feeling that she's being watched. No one's around, so she frowns to herself and shakes her head.
"Stupid James," she sighs, rubbing her eyes with the tips of her fingers. School life was hard enough with classes and exams and...certain Slytherins. She doesn't need to make it more difficult by trying to think of excuses to stay away from him.
"What did I do?" a quiet voice asks.
She freezes, then pulls her hands away from her face. James is sitting, cross-legged, right in front of her with a blank look on his face.
"How the hell did you do that?"
"Appear out of no where."
"Marauder, remember?" he grins, but it doesn't work very well because she gives him a very long, annoyed look. He sighs. "Lily, why don't you just tell me what's up?"
"I don't want to." she pulls her knees to her chest and rests her chin on them.
"Is it about me?"
She nods silently.
"And is it about you?"
She nods again, her eyes sliding up to look at him.
"It's about us?" he asks, so softly most of his voice is a whisper.
She raises her head from her knees and stares intently at a yellow flower sprouting from a tuft of grass a few feet away.
"Why didn't you tell me you still liked me?"
"I didn't not tell you."
"Is it really that bad, Lily? Do I ever get a chance? Or am I just supposed to leave Hogwarts and pretend you didn't exist?" he asks. His voice gets louder and more agitated and Lily bites her lip. "All you ever say is no, Lily! Not once have you ever given me a reason!"
"I had reasons." Lily said softly.
"You had reasons?" James repeats, just as softly.
"What about now?"
"Look, you don't have to ever say yes to me." he said. He fisted his hands, as if they were about to do something he didn't want them to. "But please tell me why you won't. Just tell me. I can handle it."
He waits. And waits. And Lily wonders whether or not she should tell him what she thinks, or if she should just keep him waiting until they have to get back to the castle. Finally she opens her mouth, and, staring at the yellow flower, tells him what's inside her head.
"I just never understood why you liked me. Obviously it's not like what you let on. You can't just like me for no reason whatsoever. You always had those stunning girls all over you, and you still asked me out. So the only reason I can come up with is because you wanted to prove you could get anything you wanted. It's the only reason that makes sense. Because I'm just Lily and I shouldn't have anyone like James Potter, because most people think that doesn't make sense."
"So it's not because you still think I'm an arrogant arsehole?" for some strange reason he is grinning. Lily frowns up at him, and he sighs again and moves to sit beside her. "Lily, not once did I ask you out just because I wanted to prove to the rest of the school that I could get whatever I wanted to. I wouldn't have done that. I'm not that much of a jerk. And I'm not patient enough to chase after you all these years for a stupid reason like that."
Lily rolls her eyes, even though he can't see, and sniffs. She realises she is crying and raises her left hand to her eye quickly to get rid of her tears.
"Hey," he catches her hand and wraps his arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you upset."
"I'm just confused." she says softly. "I don't know why anyone would bother with me." she doesn't pull her hand away, and James feels his heart go crazy and butterflies attack each other in his stomach. He rests their hands in his lap and pulls her into his side tighter.
"Because," he starts matter-of-factly. "You're gorgeous. And brilliant. And you have the funniest facial expressions while you're in class. And when you're yelling at me." he chuckles softly. "I've missed that."
"So...if we were...together. You wouldn't get sick of me straight away and move on to prettier girls in our year?" she says, mentally swearing at herself as soon as the words are out of her mouth.
It takes a couple of seconds for James to reply, because he could have sworn she just said, in some way or another, that she was considering the two of them as a couple. "Lily, there aren't any prettier girls...in the whole of Hogwarts. And I'm not just saying that," he says as she starts pulling away from him. "But no, I wouldn't get sick of you and move on to anyone else. At all. No way. Not ever."
"I think I want to believe you." she turns her head to look at him with her wide, watery eyes. "But it's difficult."
"We could try?" he asks hopefully. There's a long moment where all they do is watch each other, challenging the other to break the silence and speak first. Neither of them do, though, because James leans down and kisses her, so softly, then pulls away, taking his arm from around her as he does. He looks straight ahead and scolds himself, because he shouldn't have done that.
He wonders if she knows how nervous he is right now. He wonders if her heart is beating anywhere near as fast as his own is. He wonders if she usually smells that delicious up close.
Lily's thumb rubs his hand that's still and he looks down at them, then back up at her, and she's giving him a wide, confused look.
She shakes her head. "Ask me."
"Ask you what?"
She waits expectantly.
"Do...do you want to go out with me, Lily?"
She nods quickly. "Yes. I do."
He smiles wider than he thinks he ever has before and grabs her hair and kisses her again, and this time she kisses him back.
Okay, so hopefully that was an alright ending to this story!
I have another story that I've been working on that should be up within the next month. It's a Disney one this time! Yay! So if you like Disney, I'd love it if you'd check it out. It'll mostly be focusing on characters from the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Tangled and Beauty and the Beast.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read this! Hope to hear from you again soon!