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29 November 2007 @ 11:51 pm
The Enforcer  
Title: The Enforcer
Fandom: Harry Potter
Ships: James/Lily
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Lily becomes sick at a Quidditch match, and James comes to see her (but only after he's done playing, of course).

This is the first Lily/James fic I've written, and it's a oneshot with shameless fluff (or, I suppose, as close to fluff as I've ever gotten). Reviews would be lovely - I hope you read and enjoy! This was previously posted on both lily_centric and lilyandjames.


The Enforcer

Lily Evans broke school rules quite frequently. She just wasn’t stupid enough to let anyone else find out, unlike the other Gryffindor seventh years. That was what probably sparked the rise of her new nickname: The Enforcer.

“Are you kidding me?” Lily moaned incredulously, sprawling over half of a couch in the Gryffindor common room. “The school already thinks I’m horrible for cancelling the Halloween bonfire—“

“That’s because you are horrible for cancelling the bonfire,” James informed her. He was sitting in one of the chairs by the fireplace, smirking slightly as he watched her. “It’s a Hogwarts tradition, Evans. ‘Tradition’ usually implies that the event continues year after year, unless someone incredibly horrible gets in the way. Or a horrible event happens. Or the Head Girl is just generally horrible. Did I mention that you’re horrible?”

“Shut up,” Lily replied automatically, but her heart wasn’t it in. “There was a really good reason to cancel it—you even thought so, you’re just letting me take the blame—“

“There is no good reason to cancel a bonfire. That is, the bonfire.”

Lily propped herself up on one elbow and stared disbelievingly at James. “James, there was a rogue dementor sighting in Hogsmeade.”

“Personally, I think dementor interaction builds character,” James said thoughtfully, studiously not looking over at Lily. “Especially when the dementors are in large groups and very hungry, and then the main attraction of the bonfire can be the sacrifice of one of the Slytherin first years—“

Lily threw a pillow across the room, but James ducked and it hit the brick of the fireplace. “I hate you,” Lily told him. “I really do. And you probably made up this nickname yourself and circulated it around the entire school, along with your asinine inter-house rivalry and my reputation for being a complete bitch.”

“Evans,” James said soothingly, “Evans. I wouldn’t make up a nickname like that for you, would I? I wouldn’t even suggest such an idea to Sirius, who just possibly might take me up on it and start telling everyone in our year, moving down so that even the first years know to watch out for the Head Girl …”

Lily groaned. “You did start it.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

“Did not … really.”

“I give up.” Lily lay back again and contemplated the ceiling. She had resigned herself to a difficult year when she found out that James had been made Head Boy; surprisingly, James was easy to work with, if not easy to live with. His mannerisms still drove her mad, but at least he was now somewhat conscientious about his responsibilites, and he had stopped incessantly asking her out, which was of course a bonus. They’d built up a necessary and tenuous friendship at the beginning of the year, which was now perhaps … a real friendship? Lily liked to think that they would have become friends if he hadn’t been Head Boy, but somewhere in the back of her mind she knew it wasn’t true. The only reason she could find his infuriating habits vaguely amusing now was because she knew that he could also exhibit traits of an intelligent human being. Those she could have only discovered through the extensive amounts of time they spent together on Head duties. Lily didn’t like to think that she was close-minded, but she supposed that she had been, on the subject of James.

There was a comfortable silence for a few minutes. James broke it first. “I could tell him to stop spreading it around, if you want me to.”

“Am I honestly supposed to believe that you would go through all that effort for nothing? There’s no way you have that much control over Black, anyway.”

James considered. “No, probably not.”

“All right then.” Lily continued her contemplation of the ceiling. “Shouldn’t you be out practicing Quiddith, or whatever?” she ventured. “Don’t you have a game or whatever tomorrow?”

“Evans.” James rolled his eyes exaggeratedly. “Evans. Even a stick in the mud such as your lovely self really should know that Gryffindor does, indeed, have a game to play tomorrow, and that I, indeed, have been at practice nearly all day. Since I am the captain and all, and therefore enjoy a heightened sense of popularity—“

Lily snorted. “Meaning every girl in the fifth and sixth year wants to snog you, and you accept nearly every one?”

James continued on, a bit more loudly, “I really think you should be flattered that I am here to salvage your wounded pride, instead of meeting my hordes of adoring fans … and yes, we will be playing Hufflepuff tomorrow. And we will be flattening them. And you will be there.”

Secretly, Lily did like Quidditch games … but, like her frequent floutings of the school rules, Lily preferred to keep that to herself. “I have a lot of other things to do tomorrow morning,” she said airily, keeping her gaze fixed on the ceiling so she wouldn’t laugh. “You know … really important things. Like my Potions essay. And fixing it so that no one is allowed to have any sort of social gathering in this castle, ever again. And I have to clean my room … I don’t know if I really have that much time to come watch your ego get even bigger, Potter.”

James’ face suddenly appeared directly above hers. “Evans,” he said, hovering in a determined manner right above her, “if you do not come to the Quidditch game tomorrow, I will tell Sirius to spread a worse nickname around this entire school. Stop sucking the fun out of everything.”

“It was you!” Lily managed. His face was very, very close to hers. She couldn’t remember the last time she had ever been this close to James. He was looking at her very seriously, too; his eyes were deep and brown and fixed directly and unwaveringly on hers, and his glasses were a bit crooked. Lily resisted the unmistakable and unprecedented urge to reach up and push them into the correct position.

“That’s beside the point, Evans,” James said haughtily, maintaining his position above her. He leaned even further down towards her and Lily swallowed, unable to move, blood rushing to her head – whatcouldpossiblybegoingonwhatwasheabouttodo – but he just put his mouth close to her ear and breathed, “You know you want to.”

And with that, James stood up abruptly – was she imagining the faint red tinge to his face? – and strode out of the room, his usual bounce returning once he was near the portrait hole. Lily was having trouble breathing, and she was certainly imagining the warm air she could still feel tickling her ear. Wasn’t she?

“Prat,” Lily said loudly, trying to calm her suddenly racing pulse. It really was annoying of her body to react that way, and it was unfair of James to breathe into her ear like that. In fact, it was even more unfair that his best friend was currently tarnishing her reputation. What kind of sick pleasure could he hope to derive from that?

It really was better that they hadn’t been friends until this year. Lily didn’t know how she would have handled six years of James, what with the weird temperature changes he caused in her body and the way he always made her skive off Ancient Runes with him and the fact that she now let the Marauders get away with bloody murder. No matter what Sirius and James said, she didn’t enforce the rules any more than she had to.

-----

Lily woke the next morning with the worst head cold she had ever had. Moaning and coughing into her Gryffindor scarf, she dutifully staggered down the stairs to the Great Hall, where she forced herself to eat at least a piece of toast. The Great Hall was full of chattering students, all too excited about the upcoming match. The Hufflepuff team members were whispering among themselves rapidly at their house table, and the Gryffindor team members were doing the same, but were also making quite a racket in the process. Lily covered her ears, slumped down onto the table, and heartily wished that she were still snug in bed.

“Evans?” came a voice from directly behind her. Lily flapped a hand behind her to get the person to go away, not bothering to lift her head off the table, and closed her eyes. Did the team really have to make that much noise? Weren’t they all supposed to be sneaky so the houses could spy on each other anyway? It was all really rather childish and silly, once one thought about it a bit. And James of course would be in his element, yelling and making some sort of ridiculous rowdy display of himself, somehow involving Sirius, who wasn’t even on the Quidditch team –

“Evans?” the voice repeated, more firmly, and slid into the seat right next to Lily.

Blearily, Lily opened her eyes and looked up. James’ face swam hazily above her. Stunned, she blinked twice and opened her mouth, then shut it. Finally, she croaked, “Shouldn’t you be over there with your ruddy team?”

James grinned and slapped her on the back. “You really do look charming this early in the morning, Evans. Not up to your usual standards? You’re not going to scream at anyone or get them into order?”

Lily grunted and dropped her head back into her arms. Realizing that something was actually wrong, James prodded her arm a bit less enthusiastically. “Evans? Are you all right?”

“Leave me alone,” Lily moaned. She looked up again warily. James was staring down at her, looking extraordinarily concerned. Why was he so close again? It was probably her fever. Her head certainly was warm. She couldn’t seem to think, but she couldn’t remember if that was due to her current state of illness or the fact that James was hovering so close to her again, looking almost … cute. In his concerned state, that was. James was of course handsome, Lily had to admit, but looking at him up so close made him almost – endearing?

“Evans.” James really did sound worried. “You should probably go up to the Hospital Wing or something – you don’t look so good – I mean, you always look good, of course, but you know – oh bugger, I mean you look sick, I mean, I don’t even know what I mean, I’ll take you up, it won’t take very long, and you can get something for your cold right away –“

Lily laughed weakly. “Potter. I have to watch the Quidditch match. I want to have fun, I want to stop sucking the fun out of everything.”

“Evans.” James was completely serious now. “Evans, I’m taking you up to the Hospital Wing. And don’t be so dumb, you’re a lot of fun. I think you’re fun. I mean, you’re always fun – fun in a good way – I mean, I like to be with you, I mean –“

“Stop embarrassing yourself and go back over to your team,” came a wry voice from across the table. Lily looked up briefly, saw that it was just Marlene McKinnon, and closed her eyes again promptly. “I’ll look after her. You have a strategy to plan, or whatever that dance you do is called.”

James flushed red and hit his elbow on the table painfully before managing to escape back to the team’s end of the table.

“Thanks,” Lily muttered into her elbow. Marlene really was a good friend. And had James really been embarrassing himself? She hadn’t noticed. It was quite nice to see him a bit flustered, actually. He was always too sure of himself. “I don’t really want to go up to the Hospital Wing.”

“Lily. You can’t even open your eyes.”

Lily trained a particularly withering glare on Marlene, lifting her head off the table slightly. “Can too. Besides, if you go with me, if I faint then you can rescue me.”

“Do you really want to sacrifice yourself so that you can see James be heroic on the pitch?”

“I’m not going to watch James,” Lily said scathingly, ignoring another voice in her head that was saying the exact opposite. “I’m going so I can cheer on Gryffindor, because I can only go three times a year, and this cold isn’t even that bad.”

Lily could feel Marlene rolling her eyes, but the other girl said nothing. The noise at the end of the Gryffindor table was rising in volume. Lily looked up again apprehensively, only to see what looked like the entirety of Gryffindor dancing toward her. James, of course, was at the front with Sirius. As the crowd drew level with Lily, James leaned over, wrapped his scarf around her neck, and whispered into her ear, “If you die watching me play Quidditch, just try to remember that you ended happily.”

Lily couldn’t even think of anything to say, but she didn’t need to. She was swept up in the rest of the cheering red-gold mass, clinging to Marlene for dear life.

-----

The extra scarf proved to be invaluable. Though the day was clear and the sky was a pure bright blue, it was cold outside. Lily spent most of the game screaming, hunched inside her robes, one scarf tucked into to keep her neck warm and one wound around her head. She looked ridiculous, but at least it was warm. And the game, of course, was brilliant.

James was a great Quidditch captain and an even better player – even the Slytherins couldn’t deny that. He was the backbone of the team and the Chaser with the most goals, which of course meant that the Hufflepuff Beaters spent the entire game trying to hit him with a Bludger. The game quickly turned ugly, since if Hufflepuff lost they would be out of the running for the Quidditch Cup. Lily yelled the injustice of every foul along with the rest of the house, but after two hours had passed and the Snitch had still not been seen, she had to sit down, dizzy and feverish. Though Lily protested feebly, Marlene managed to drag her the entire way up to the hospital wing before the game was over.

Madam Pomfrey was scandalized that Lily had been let out into the cold at all. She promptly packed the Head Girl into bed and drew the curtains around her. “If you hadn’t been outside in the cold all this time,” she told Lily disapprovingly, “maybe this would be over sooner. All I can do is try to speed your immune system along. Drink this and you should be fine after a long nap.” She unceremoniously slapped a bubbling goblet down onto the bedside table, closed the curtains, and left, muttering something about irresponsibility.

The potion tasted horrible. Lily pinched her nose and drank it quickly, shuddering. A delicious warmth spread from her feet to her head, and Lily sank down into the covers, sighing slightly. It was good to be out of the cold, even if she was missing the end of the match. She snuggled under the blanket and pulled thoughtfully on the fringe of one of the scarves. They looked exactly the same – which one belonged to James? Why had he given it to her, anyway? She burrowed her head into the pillow. Yes, this scarf was Potter’s. It smelled like him, like grass and some kind of musky cologne and spice. It was very distinct and very comforting.

Lily drifted off into dreamless sleep, interrupted only by Madam Pomfrey’s shoes clicking on the floor. She wondered if the match was over. Gryffindor had to have won, they were ahead by at least a hundred points when Lily left …

The door to the hospital wing crashed open and several people came in. Lily could only hear a few words of the shouting that ensued: “Move him over here! Just one broken bone!”

Lily tried to sit up, hit by a brief stab of worry; was James all right? Surely he hadn’t broken a bone? And surely Gryffindor had won? She only succeeded in rolling over onto one side, hair spread across the pillow in a bright splash of red. Ugh. If only she could maneuver herself up – but she was so … tired.

Then she picked out James’ voice easily, even through the cacophony that was going on on the other side of the hospital wing. It was low and worried. “Is Lily Evans in here? Is she all right?”

The same warmth that had gone through her after she had had the potion coursed through Lily’s body again, making every part of her body tingle. It might have been the fever, or it might have been the way that James had said her name – she rarely ever heard anything but “Evans” out of his mouth. It was nice. She rather liked it. Feverishly, she flipped over and tried to say something, but nothing came out of her mouth but a dull croak.

“She’s not having visitors,” Lily heard Madam Pomfrey hiss beyond the curtain. “She’s sick and needs rest, certainly none of this excitement now can be good for her, I’ve already fixed that silly boy’s arm anyway. Just get your team out of here.”

“Can I see her? It’ll be quick, I promise.”

Lily shivered involuntarily and closed her eyes. Dancing on her eyelids were sparks of fire, and then James’ face swam into view. It wasn’t healthy to fancy the Head Boy, was it? It certainly wasn’t healthy to fancy James Potter. She was sure that she didn’t. It was just the fever talking. Odd things happened when one was sick, after all.

Outside, the commotion subsided. Madam Pomfrey seemed to be shooing people out. Lily heard the curtain around her bed gently draw back, but she ignored it; Madam Pomfrey was probably just checking to see if she was still asleep. She remained with her eyes tightly shut, cheek pillowed on James’ scarf.

The chair by the bed squeaked, and someone sat down. There was silence, and then just heavy breathing. The rest of the hospital wing had quieted down finally, and Lily relaxed back into the pillow, taking a tigher grip on James’ scarf.

“Lily?” the person in the chair whispered, and involuntarily Lily twitched. It was James, of course. Who else would it have been? He was probably here to tell her how much fun she had missed out on, as usual. It was just odd to hear him call her something other than Evans. She rather liked it, actually; the way he said her name made goosebumps rise on her arms. Why had she never noticed that his presence made her jittery, even when asleep?

Was this really the fever talking?

“Lily …” The voice paused. Lily was too busy enjoying the delicious sensations that the sound of her own name caused, keeping her eyes closed, one hand tightly gripping the scarf she was partially sleeping on. “I really hope you’re okay,” James continued. “I didn’t mean to drag you down there, of course, but it’s Quidditch, for Merlin’s sake.”

Lily managed not to laugh.

“And …” James’ voice lowered, and there was another pause. “I’m really glad you took my scarf. Mostly because it probably saved you from dying of pneumonia, and therefore I saved your life—“

Lily had to make a conscientious effort not to snort.

“—but also,” James continued, unruffled, “because it’s mine and I played better knowing that you were wearing my scarf.”

Lily held very, very still.

“I know you’re asleep,” James said, after a brief pause, “and you can’t hear me, but … I’m glad we’re friends now, Lily. Even if I don’t get to say your name, and even if I don’t get to hear you yell at me every time I ask you out, I’m glad I get to be around you, to make you wear my scarf even when you don’t know what it means to me, even when you don’t know how I feel about you still …”

That was when Lily felt James tugging slightly on the end of his scarf. Dazed, Lily shifted slightly in the bed. She couldn’t even begin to contemplate what James was saying, and he wouldn’t say that when he was awake, or when he was looking at her with those eyes, very close to her …

Dear God. She was so gone.

James’ hand made its way up his scarf, up to where Lily gripped it tightly with one hand, and he hesitated slightly before running his fingers up the outside of her hand, slowly, tenderly.

Lily gasped involuntarily and opened her fever-bright eyes to look up into James’ shining ones. He was looking down at her fiercely, stroking the outside of her hand now in circles, taking her hand and turning it over, tracing something on the inside of her palm, leaning closer to her –

“I knew you were awake,” James whispered.

Lily nodded. She couldn’t look away. His eyes held hers, and dear God his hand was holding hers, and she was warm all over and so happy and life was easy, and now he was leaning down even further, his face inches from hers, very serious, and then his nose was brushing hers with something like an electric shock –

“James,” Lily managed, before her brain stopped processing what was happening at all. It did process the use of his first name. James seemed to process that, too. His eyes lit up, even brighter, and then his lips were on hers, kissing her softly and lingeringly and pulling away, his eyes fixed on hers and his face reddening.

That just seemed stupid, so Lily let go of his hand, grabbed him firmly by the back of the neck, and pulled him down again, kissing him as James let out a shuddering breath and then his mouth was moving gently over her lips, her eyelids, her forehead, her neck, and the Lily that he whispered in her ear made her want him to be not so gentle.

But then Lily realized something very important had yet to be resolved.

“Did you win the Quidditch match?” she blurted.

James sat up, startled, and then a grin spread across his face. “Maybe,” he said teasingly. “Maybe I’ll tell you. Or maybe I won’t.”

“Or maybe I’ll report you to Madam Pomfrey for unnecessarily harassing her patients,” Lily shot back.

James rolled his eyes. “You would not. Enforcer.”

Lily laughed and reached out to pull him down again. “I hope you get sick,” she said, against the warm skin of his neck.

“If I don’t get sick, I’m going to be very disappointed in you,” James agreed, but he didn’t have time to say anything else. Because Lily had found that, just as she secretly liked to break school rules and secretly enjoyed Quidditch games, she also very, very much enjoyed kissing James Potter. Though perhaps that didn’t have to be secret. And with the way that James was kissing her back, it didn’t seem that it would be secret for long.
 
 
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