Here it is… the final (extremely long) chapter!

Ok, this is gonna be a long author's note. First, thank you so very much to my reviewers. Without you guys, I probably would have dropped this story a long time ago. So thank you!

March150- Thanks! Yeah, that's what I was thinking too.

Firestar007- Thanks so much!

eatcheesecakelikecrazy- Aww, I don't want it to end either. *wipes tear* But don't worry, this is just the beginning of my fanfiction career. I'll have plenty of stories for you to review!

Second, put me on Author Alert, because I'll soon be working on another fanfic, and I need my reviewers! So that will be up soon.

Disclaimer- I in no way claim to own any of the characters… blah blah blah. Do I look like J. K. Rowling?

Alright, I guess that's everything! Drum roll please… Lily and James's final conclusion! Here we go!

VII.

Lily POV

She was sitting by the lake, looking out at the spectacular sunset that stained the sky a beautiful hue of orange, streaked through with pink. Though there was a cool breeze, its glow seemed to warm her, but not nearly as much as the presence of the boy sitting next to her.

She turned to him, and her eyes did the familiar flick upward to gaze fondly at his messy black hair, which stuck up in all directions. Then he looked at her, and green eyes met brown. The look in his eyes was so loving, so caring, that it nearly brought tears of happiness to her eyes, because she could not be this lucky, could not have this amount of good fortune.

He raised a hand, and gently brushed away a strand of her dark red hair to tuck it behind her ear, keeping it there.

She leaned into his touch, closing her eyes briefly. When she opened them, he was leaning in, and she let them flutter shut again, parting her lips slightly, loving this moment, the perfection of it, and she felt his warm breath caress her as she waited…

Lily's seventeen-year-old eyes snapped open, and she looked around the dark interior of the red hangings surrounding her bed.

Falling back into her pillow with a disappointed sigh, she stayed that way for a while before finally getting up, dressing herself, and heading down to breakfast. Alice had already left.

Still feeling depressed, Lily entered the Great Hall, her eyes doing the now-familiar sweep of the place to search for him, and finding he wasn't there, she took her seat next to Alice.

Noticing her friend's obvious dejection, Alice glanced quickly around before leaning in and whispering, "The dream again?"

Lily nodded, and took some toast and bacon for herself without speaking. Alice reluctantly turned back to her own breakfast, and Lily could tell it was taking all of her self-restraint not to start firing questions at her.

She smiled as she remembered Alice's reaction when she had finally entrusted her with the truth. How she'd fallen in love with James, and was at loss for what to do about it. Alice was ecstatic of course, saying how she'd known all along that this was going to happen. When the excitement had worn off though, she'd realized how lost her friend seemed to be and had proceeded to comfort her. Alice was a good friend.

Of course, now Lily had proceeded on to a whole new dilemma. She did love James, she really did. She'd finally accepted that fact. She'd even started trying to be more civilized around him, but that was hard. She supposed old habits were always hard to break.

But her new problem was this: James had hardly spoken to her at all this year. After that day, that one day back in sixth year, when he'd asked her on a date, and she'd considered it, things had changed between them. The few times he had asked her since then, that desperation she'd noticed so long ago seemed to be getting stronger and stronger until he almost had a hopeless atmosphere around him, and it hurt her to see him in such pain, but she just didn't know. Didn't know if she was ready for this or not. She was sure this was the only factor that kept her from accepting his offer, her own misgivings. And she didn't know how to convince herself.

Because there was a part of her that wanted it. Some bit of her wanted to be the one girl in James's life, and make that beautiful dream which had been plaguing her a reality. She would lay awake in bed night after night, just thinking of him, and when she finally fell asleep, she would dream of him. Then her heart would ache, longing for it to be real. But she couldn't do anything, because James was hardly speaking to her, didn't even bother to throw the usual taunt at her, and she was afraid she had hurt him and broken things between them beyond repair.

Suddenly she felt something sliding down her cheek, and reached up to touch it. A tear. Then two. Then three.

Lily frantically scrubbed at her face to wipe them all off, but more and more kept flowing, and soon she was sobbing without anyone's notice. She feared this wouldn't last, so she abandoned her breakfast and fled out of the Hall, back to the common room.

Alice glance up in time to see Lily dashing out the doors.

"Lily?"

~oOo~

She sat in her dormitory, where she'd thrown herself on the floor, tears falling freely now. Lily wrapped her arms around her chest, trying to pull herself together, but she had no leverage, and fell apart all over again.

For how long she sat there sobbing, she didn't know, but after what seemed like a long while, Alice came in.

"Lily?" She rushed over to sit by her friend, and pulled her into a tight embrace. "It's alright, everything's going to be fine."

Lily shook her head. "It won't. I just want so badly for him to know how I feel, but he's hardly spoken to me for weeks! And it's all my fault, and I don't know how to make things right again!"

Her rant ended in a choked sob, and soon she was dissolving into tears once more.

Alice held her out in front of her by the shoulders, and talked in soothing, firm tones.

"Lily. Shhh. Stop. Stop."

Gradually, her sobs turned back into choked breaths, and then to silent tears.

Alice had had enough of seeing her friend look so broken over one person. "Lily. Listen to me. You are a wonderful person. You're smart, pretty, and an amazing friend. If you don't think James appreciates all that, then he's not worth crying over. If you think he really loves you, then he'll get over whatever problem he's got. Just give him time, and I promise that whatever happens, it will be for the better."

Lily looked up. "Do you really think so?"

Alice smiled. "I know so."

The two girls hugged. "Thank you, Alice." Lily said with a small smile.

Lily hoped she looked reassured, she really did. Thankful and grateful though she was to have a friend like Alice, she still didn't think that James could possibly love her enough to forgive her. The hurt she'd seen in his eyes had been to strong for that. She just didn't know what he really needed.

She would just have to wait and see.

~oOo~

James POV

He was wondering the castle, letting his feet take him where they wanted, doing nothing, getting nowhere, all the while thinking of her. The usual.

He supposed he should be with Sirius and Remus, trying to convince them that he was perfectly normal, but he'd given up on that, because it was so obvious that he was anything but normal.

The two were worried about him, he could tell. And he couldn't blame them. He went to class, to meals, to Quidditch practice, but he seemed to be empty. Hollow. Just a lifeless thing doing what it was told. At least, that's what he looked like on the outside.

Because on the inside, his mind was buzzing, his heart was racing, and adrenaline was pumping through his veins. He may have looked like he'd lost his purpose in life, but on the inside, all that kept his mind buzzing, his heart racing, the adrenaline pumping, was his purpose in life. Lily.

Lily Lily Lily. It was a never-ending chorus of her name that went through him all day and all night. By day he contemplated ways to prove to her that she was his life now, and by night he dreamt them. Thinking. Always thinking. That was the fuel that kept him running now, because if he stopped, if he stopped trying, then there was a very good chance that he would never reach his one and only goal: To get Lily to see. After all, this was their last year at Hogwarts, and if he couldn't find a solution by the end of the year, they would very likely go their separate ways, and that was something he couldn't handle.

So he thought. And thought. And thought. All the while he walked round and round the castle, and he thought. He thought of Lily, of the things she did, of the things she was. Lily does her homework. Lily is beautiful. Lily is a Gryffindor. Lily has a friend named Alice-

Wait. That was it. That was it! Alice! Suddenly, as though his mind had been ready to direct his feet whenever he came up with a solution, he was walking quickly to Gryffindor Tower.

Alice was the key to it all. Alice was Lily's best friend. If he spoke to her, possibly she could help him! The chorus of Lily was now laced through with his solution. Lily. Lily. Alice. Lily. Lily. Alice…

When he reached the portrait hole, he gave the password, (treacle tart,) and entered the common room. There she was. Alice was sitting by the fire, as if she had been placed there by fate to help him.

"Alice!"

She looked up, surprised. When she spotted him, her eyes narrowed, as though she were angry with him. "Yes?"

He disregarded this and sat down across from her. "I need your help."

Now she looked startled. "With what?"

Taking the plunge, James told her about his problem, about how Lily just didn't seem to know how much she meant to him, and how if he could just get her to see that, he would be happy.

"And I just… Alice, you know Lily better than everybody. What can I do?"

Throughout his whole explanation, she seemed to get more and more stunned, and less and less angry. James got the impression she was holding back giggles.

"Well, Lily has always been the type to appreciate others; she's always looked at the best qualities in people. Except when it came to you." She smiled.

He hurried ahead. "But what can I do to change that?"

Alice thought. "Just… do something nice for her. Let her see that you're not all bad, and that you can be a gentleman when it comes to her."

He contemplated that. "Something nice… but what?"

She smiled again. "I'll let you figure that out on your own."

He jumped up, eager to get thinking. "Thanks Alice- wait, you really don't think I'm all bad?

Alice grinned. "Of course not, James."

He gave her a smile in return. "Thanks."

James jumped up and dashed back out of the common room.

~oOo~

"Something nice… something nice…"

James had been repeating these words to himself the past few days, trying to think of something. According to Alice, he could convince Lily that he loved her if he did something nice for her… but what?

He was on his way back from the library, where he'd reluctantly put his thoughts of Lily to the side in order to finish an essay for Professor Flitwick. Not his idea of a productive evening.

So now he doubled his efforts, trying to make up for the lost time.

"Something nice… something nice…"

He still had a long way to go to Gryffindor Tower, so he decided to take one of his favorite secret passageways that was a very direct shortcut.

But when he reached the entrance, James heard a strange sound… sniffling? He listened to the sound from behind the tapestry covering the entrance. From what he could tell, it was a girl, and she was crying. He was going to walk the long way instead, but something told him to see what was wrong. He pulled back the tapestry and froze.

It was Lily.

She looked up at him, gasped, and frantically began wiping at her face.

James was confused, and startled to find her there. "Lily? What's wrong?"

Still wiping at her face she replied, "Nothing. N-nothing's wrong."

He stepped forward. "Lily, there's obviously something wrong. Tell me what it is."

She still looked hesitant, and for some reason, guilty.

James placed a hand on her arm. "Here, let's sit down."

They both sat on the ground, their backs against the wall. He turned to her, baffled. What could possibly have upset her so much that she'd been driven to sobbing in the corridors?

"Alright," he said, "now tell me what's the matter."

Lily looked as though she were contemplating something. Then she spoke.

"Well," she said "you see, there- there's this guy."

He was listening intently. "Yes?"

She continued. "And I- I really- I really really like him."

James suddenly felt as though a light inside him had gone out, leaving him cold and empty. The only thing he could feel was a faint numbness creeping through him.

So everything had been for nothing. The endless wanderings around the castle, contemplating ways to make her see how he really felt were all for nothing. Because even if he could make her see, it wouldn't matter in the slightest, because she'd already fallen for someone else. He was too late.

But if this guy made her happy… well, he should do what he could to help her, right? He'd rather not have her and leave her happy then have her and keep her this miserable.

"And?" he gestured for her to continue.

Before she spoke, however, he saw something change in her eyes. The dead, hollow look they'd had seemed to have been replaced. With what, he didn't know, but whatever it was, it had shocked her. He waited for her to continue.

She seemed to pull herself back together. "Well, h-he's asked me out a few times, but I said no because I wasn't sure if I was ready for a- a real relationship."

He'd already been deprived of whatever life there was left in him by her last few words, but he tried to listen and comfort her, because it only hurt him more to see her in this much pain.

"So… so what's the problem?" He was confused.

She went on, still with that unexplained look of shock on her face. "He's h- hardly spoken to me in a while, and I'm afraid that, because I- I've said n- no so many times that he's given up on me, which I don't want, because I've finally realized that I do want him, and I want to say yes, but he just hasn't spoken to me and I think I've ruined things between us for good."

She watched him when she finished, waiting. Though it took every ounce of strength he had to utter these few words, because James knew he was giving her away to someone else, he only wanted her to be happy, and he managed it.

"Of course not Lily. Whoever he is, he must know what he's missing out on, I mean, he's probably just trying to figure out how to-

He stopped there, because he could no longer speak. He didn't realize what was happening for a few moments, but responded quickly enough.

Lily had done something that had shocked him beyond belief.

~oOo~

Lily POV

Lily had only been in the library to check out another book, but when he walked in, her original purpose there disappeared. She stood behind her shelf, watching him through the books, and just the sight of him sitting there, with his quill and parchment as though without a thought in the world, had been enough to push her over the edge once more. She'd fled to her secret passage and sobbed, feeling completely hopeless, and she didn't realize how long she'd been there until he came in.

He'd asked her what was wrong, and sat her down next to him. She'd been terrified at first of telling him what her real problem was, but then came up with an idea.

"Well, you see, there- there's this guy."

He looked her right in the eye. "Yes?"

"And I- I really- I really really like him."

The look on his face was what did it. It was what made her realize that she'd been wrong, she'd been so wrong. This whole time, she'd been wrong about James not loving her enough to forgive her, because this whole time, James had loved her enough to forgive her a thousand times, as long as she saw that. She couldn't believe it.

The very idea of it made her feel tingly with happiness, but she could hardly feel that through the surprise and the shock. And he looked as though he were dreading an answer when he said, "And?"

So she said, "Well, h-he's asked me out a few times, but I said no because I wasn't sure if I was ready for a- a real relationship."

And when he responded with, "So… so what's the problem?" It only added to the shock, because she realized he was willing to help her with her "problem", willing to help her get another guy, even if it caused him pain. She also realized that the look of hopelessness in his eyes whenever she'd denied him had been because he'd only been trying to make her see that, really see for herself that he'd be willing to do anything for her, no matter the personal cost, and she swelled with disbelief at the thought.

So she explained about how she'd feared that she'd ruined things between her and this "guy", saying that she didn't know how to make things right again.

James replied, "Of course not Lily. Whoever he is, he must know what he's missing out on, I mean, he's probably just trying to figure out how to-

Lily stopped him right there. But she felt so cared for, so loved, so happy, that at the moment she just couldn't express her feelings to him with words. She stopped him by leaning in and pressing her lips against his.

She couldn't describe it later. It was perfect, more perfect then any dream she'd had of him, any hope or wish, and when he kissed her back and she wrapped her arms around his neck she was reminded of a wish she'd had back in fifth year, when she'd realized she'd fallen in love with him, when she'd walked in on him and Anthia Vane here, in this same spot, and wished that it had been her in his arms. Now, two years later her wish had been granted, and she couldn't have asked for more.

They both pulled away at the same moment, but stayed in each other's arms.

He looked stunned. "Lily, I- what- why-

She cut him off. "Don't you get it? I was talking about you."

He looked confused at first, then understanding flashed across his features, then blissful happiness. But he still had question in his eyes.

"Lily, did you really think that I would just give up on you?"

She looked down, embarrassed. "It just… didn't seem logical."

He gently lifted her head and made her look at him.

"Lily. Listen. I love you more than anything else in this whole world. You are my life. Do you understand that?"

Lily realized that she finally did. She did realize that he would be willing to do anything for her.

"Yes." she breathed.

James looked her directly in the eye. "Lily, will you- will you go to Hogsmead with me next weekend?"

For the first time, Lily smiled after hearing this. "Yes, James. I would love to."

If she'd thought that he couldn't look happier before, she was wrong. His face lit up with elation, and he leaned in again and kissed her once more.

She loved every second of it. She wasn't sure where this would lead, but she was ready to find out. With him at her side.

Lily never thought she'd say it, but at that moment, and for the rest of her life, she wouldn't rather have fallen in love with anyone else, but James Potter.

~oOo~

There you have it folks! My first ever fan fiction. Please review! Thank you again so much to everyone who read and reviewed, and stay tuned for another story very soon!

Thanks,

BalletDancer14