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01 June 2008 @ 01:54 am
The Last Four Years  
Note: Shameless fluff. It might go on a bit too long, but I wrote this in the last three hours and have since lost the capacity of intelligent thought. An attempt to reconcile the events of OOtP with a continuing friendship between Lily/James; what would have happened at the lake and afterward if they were friends in the first place.

Title: The Last Four Years
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG
Word Count: 5,650
Ships: James/Lily
Summary: May 28, 1976 is where it begins; May 28, 1979 is where it begins again. James and Lily have been friends for years, and everything culminates on May 28.

May 28, 1976

Lily hated being in the library on sunny days. Usually, she finished her homework ahead of time or at night, so that she could enjoy the spring weather out by the lake. But for the first time this year, Lily had absolutely no desire to be outside, and she had absolutely no desire to socialize. All she wanted to do was sit inside and sulk, and the library afforded her the perfect place to fume.

There were only a few other people in the library. It was the beginning of the weekend, after all. Even with O.W.L.s unfinished, the weather was too good to resist, and most of the other fifth-years had long ago abandoned any pretense of studying. Lily had her favorite chair to herself, tucked into a section of the library that Madam Pince rarely frequented. She had easily found the book she needed on goblin wars, her favorite quill was miraculously in her bag (and not lost, as she had thought), and there were absolutely no disruptions. On a normal day, any of those circumstances would have brightened Lily’s mood, but today she was determined to be as annoyed as possible.

The complete silence actually made it harder to work—she was so used to the low background chatter that always persisted in the library, despite Madam Pince’s best efforts, that its absence made her fidgety—and thus it was entirely surprising that she didn’t hear the person sneaking up behind her until he had slid into the adjacent chair.

“Hello, Lily,” said Remus, looking grayer than usual.

Lily resisted the urge to straighten the collar of his robes, which was halfway up on the right side. “You know, I really don’t want to talk to you right now,” she hissed, fixing her eyes on her book. “Come back in a few years when you’ve grown a backbone.”

Remus’ sigh was almost inaudible. “I’m sorry, Lily.”

Lily didn’t respond. Her eyes raced across the line of her book—until 1516, when Bagnald the Bitter revived the controversy, dragging in several well-connected clans that—without stopping, again and again.

“I know the others are sorry, too,” Remus continued, “and no one ever meant to bring you into what happened—”

Lily’s eyes snapped up to Remus’ face. “You’re the only one here, Remus. If the others were as sorry as you were, they would have come with you.”

There was silence.

“Look,” Lily said finally, “this isn’t accomplishing anything. If James sent you to grovel, I’m not having it. He can come apologize to me himself.”

“James didn’t send me here, Lily,” said Remus wearily. “I came to apologize to you for not backing you up. I’m the other Gryffindor prefect and I’m, I haven’t been so good at it lately, and I’m sorry. It shouldn’t fall up to you to control the house, especially my … friends.” He exhaled. “And I’m apologizing for James not listening to you.”

“What about what he said to me?” said Lily, furiously.

“What about it?” said Remus, fixing his gray eyes on Lily’s green ones. “As I seem to recall, most of it wasn’t about you at all. And you said exactly the same things back. I remember something about a giant squid?”

Lily opened her mouth to come up with some kind of retort, but couldn’t find one. Remus watched her for a few seconds, then seemed to give up, getting to his feet. “I’ll see you at the prefect meeting tonight.”


The prefect meeting put Lily into a much better mood. Remus sat next to the Hufflepuff fifth-years instead of next to Lily, not saying much, and she ignored him easily. Everyone was in high spirits from the good weather, and it was the beginning of the weekend. There were no complaints when the Head Boy handed out the schedules for rounds, and meeting ended twenty minutes earlier than usual. Things were finally getting a little better. Still pretending that Remus didn’t exist, Lily was one of the first out the door, accompanied by none other than Hufflepuff prefect Alistair Thomas. Lily was so wrapped up in the fact that Alistair was actually talking to her that she failed to see James Potter lurking outside the door of the meeting until Alistair said, “Hey, what’s James doing here?”

Lily’s heart sank. James was, indeed, leaning on the wall outside the room, looking a bit lost and nervous; but when he saw Lily, his hand automatically went to his hair and he started toward her, smiling. Lily rolled her eyes. “Stupid prick,” she said to Alistair. “You heard what he did out by the lake today?”

“Yeah,” said Amos, “sounded a bit awful, really. Are you going to go talk to—”

“Tell me about your exams,” Lily interrupted, steering Alistair in the opposite direction. “Do you have a lot of free time this weekend, or are you going to be busy—”


Lily sighed.

“I’ll see you,” said Alistair, bemused, and sped down the corridor.

Lily kept walking. James caught up with her easily. “Look, Evans—”

“I really don’t want to talk to you right now,” said Lily, keeping her eyes straight ahead. “Really. If I have to talk to you, I’m going to do something drastic.”

“Evans, please, I only want to talk to you for two minutes—”

Lily whirled on him. “Fine. Two minutes. Go.”

James looked shocked for a second, and then the Potter reflex kicked in—he smiled at her, lifting one hand to his hair, opening his mouth.

“Don’t,” said Lily wearily, batting his hand away. “It’s maddening when you do that.”

“Right,” said James, looking a bit lost at sea. “Well, um, I just wanted to come say sorry. So … sorry.”

Lily waited expectantly, but there was nothing. “Is that it?”

“Yeah,” said James.

“You humiliated one of my best friends in front of the entire school and did it just because you don’t like the Slytherins and were being a huge arrogant bully—”

“Snape’s not your friend,” James interrupted, frowning. “A friend wouldn’t call you a Mudblood. Besides, you shouldn’t be friends with him anyway—for God’s sake, Lily, it’s Snivellus!”

“—and you have no concept of right and wrong, how many times do we have to talk about Severus, I'm sick of it, and then you have the nerve to ask me to go out with you—”

“Yeah,” said James, looking a bit more uncomfortable, “there’s that—”

“—it just wasn’t funny and I didn’t like it at all and I don’t know what’s gotten into you this year but it’s so much harder to stomach you—”

“Lily,” said James, looking positively alarmed now, “stop for a second.”

Lily’s shoulders were shaking, and she suddenly realized she was heaving great gasps of air, and then she was crying. James stood awkwardly, his limbs seeming too long for his body, until Lily stumbled forward and buried her head in his chest. James’ arms went around her automatically, one hand in her hair.

“Lily, I’m sorry,” he said. Lily heard him as from very far away—her hearing was muffled by James’ robes, and she was still crying into his front. “I really, really am. I didn’t mean to hurt you, and I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of the entire school, or whatever that was, and, well, you know.”

Lily’s hiccup turned into a laugh. “You are so stupid,” she said. “And you’re terrible with girls.”

“Yeah, well,” said James uncomfortably, still awkwardly standing straight up and down. “Yeah, well, I do want you to go out with me, you know, that’s why I’ve been asking you all year, that’s generally what you do when you want someone to go out with you, you keep asking them, you know, and, well, bugger, you know.”

Lily laughed, sniffed, and stepped back. “You think hexing someone is going to get me to go out with you?” she said. “Besides, you don’t really want to go out with me, you’re just being stupid because I’m basically the only Gryffindor girl you haven’t snogged yet.”

“That’s not true at all,” said James earnestly.

“Besides,” said Lily, “you should be asking out Laura Brendan, anyway, she’s been talking about that asinine hair flip of yours for the last two weeks. Honestly, you should really get a hair cut.”

“No!” James protested, shocked. “How else would I get girls? Besides you, of course, since you’ve so nicely told me that it’s asinine. And anyway, I came here to say sorry.”

Lily looked at him for a second, suddenly aware that her entire face must be bright red from crying. “I’m sorry, too,” she said, finally. “You’re still an egotistical arse, and you shouldn’t be bullying people, and you’re too full of yourself, but I shouldn’t have said that about the squid. I’m sorry.”

James smiled, his normal confidence returning. “Good. Will you come back to the tower with me? Or maybe find Laura Brendan with me?”

“If I have to,” said Lily begrudgingly, and the two walked up the corridor together, their shadows flickering and merging on the stone wall behind them.

May 28, 1977

Lily lay sprawled on the grass next to the lake, her hair forming a red halo around her head. Around her, the other Gryffindor girls chattered and laughed, and the familiar and comforting hum of spring enveloped her.

The sky was a bright vivid blue, a few puffy clouds meandering slowly across it. Lily followed one with her eyes—she couldn’t decide if it looked more like a ship or a very large dog. Suddenly, giggles began from all directions, and the face of James Potter appeared directly above her, blocking out the sky almost entirely.

“Hi, Evans,” said James, grinning, his face reddening a little from bending over. “I got you a flower. Because you, of course, are the flower of my life.”

Lily groaned and closed her eyes. “Go away, James,” she said, smiling despite herself. “I’m really busy right now, I don’t have time to humor you.”

“Evans,” said James, hovering in a very determined manner, “I picked this flower myself, and not only did it take a very long time to decide which one to pick, I’m going to be very offended if you don’t accept my offering to your great …” He hesitated, clearly not sure what to say. “Beauty?” he tried. “Grace? Intelligence? Eloquence?”

“The only person I’m more eloquent than is you,” said Lily lazily, letting herself look up at James. The sunlight illuminated only one side of his face, and his eyelashes—long and fine, ones any girl would die for—were clearly defined. And—Lily nearly sat up—was it just her going completely mad, or were his eyes a nice shade of brown? “That attempt was pathetic. You need help in the wooing department.”

Sirius’ head appeared behind James’ shoulder. “Is this man bothering you, Miss Evans?” he asked, uncharacteristically polite, shoving James out of the way. “I can take him away, you know.”

“Thanks, Sirius,” said Lily, smiling and finally sitting up, leaning back on her forearms. “I don’t think I’m done hearing him proclaim his love of my beauty, grace, and intelligence, or whichever one he really meant to start talking about.”

“Evans,” James drawled, “I could wax on about them all, but for now I come to present you with a timeless and priceless gift.” He made some complicated flourish with one hand, producing a flower from behind his back with the other. “For you.”

“Timeless and priceless?” said Lily skeptically, taking it. “You just picked this off the other side of the lake.”

“Timeless,” James said loudly, completely ignoring her, “and priceless. The seeds of love hath been planted in your heaving bosom—”

“Are you really talking about my bosom?” said Lily, amused.

“—and now they shall grow and strengthen!” James ended, and with a bow to Lily, he and Sirius disappeared.

There was laughter from behind Lily. She turned around to face Marlene McKinnon, who was still chuckling. “What?” said Lily.

“Are you serious?” Marlene replied. “He wants to get in your pants so bad, I don’t … ouch! Lily!”

“He’s not serious,” said Lily. “He’s been talking like this for the past four months."

"Probably because you wouldn't shut up about how he saved your arse in Transfiguration," Marlene said, brushing her hair out of her eyes. "I seem to remember you wandering around the tower, telling everyone how mature and smart and amazing James Potter was for saving you and your grade and not even bragging about it - ouch! Cheap shot. Although, come to think of it, you did that for him.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “We are better friends. He’s gotten actually kind of … funny.”

“You’re doomed,” said Marlene, raising her eyes to the heavens and sinking down into the grass. “I’ll be at your wedding in exactly two years from now.”

“Mar-lene!” said Lily, laughing. Marlene went off about James at least once a week, ever since Lily and James had started their faux-flirtatious banter a few months ago. It had started near the end of her failed relationship with Alistair Thomas. She and Alistair had dated for almost all of her sixth year and broken up at the end of April. He hadn’t liked the amount of time she spent with James—but it was true, as she told Amos explicitly, that they were in all of the same classes, were in the same year, and were both Gryffindors. It was natural that they should spend time together doing work and just sitting around in the Gryffindor common room.

What wasn’t natural, Alistair told her, a frown creasing his chiseled features, was how much attention James paid Lily, and everyone knew that he used to have a crush on her. Lily laughed this off. James dated everyone he wanted to and still found time to do ridiculous things like bring her flowers and quote Shakespeare at her. Sirius even joined him sometimes; last week they’d serenaded her in the middle of the common room, a dirtier version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Lily had laughed until her sides hurt.

“You’ll be at my wedding, all right,” said Lily, “and James will be the maid of honor.”

That image was so ridiculous that they both laughed, and Lily flopped down into the grass again, content to sleep in the sun.


The seventh years were done with their N.E.W.T.s, and the fifth years only had one more O.W.L. left. The sixth years, stuck in limbo with final exams that only kind of mattered, joined in the jubilation in the Gryffindor common room. Last year, Remus would have let Sirius and James go to Hogsmeade and get butterbeer and firewhiskey, but some of the seventh years had already managed to get some up in the common room. Lily wasn’t sure if Remus would have let them this year. She would have liked to say that Sirius and James wouldn't have gone, either-but she couldn't be entirely sure.

The Head Boy, Sean McDonnell, was a Gryffindor, so it was only after most of the fourth-years and all of the younger years had gone to bed that butterbeer was even seen in the common room (to make sure none of them said anything about its sudden appearance the next day). Lily was fairly sure that there was firewhiskey somewhere—Laura Brendan was particularly giggly—but it was being hidden well. Over by the fireplace, James and Sirius were leading a particularly rowdy game of Exploding Snap, and everyone around them seemed to be (inexplicably) wet.

Lily sat in the midst of the Gryffindor girls, along with Remus and a few of the seventh-year boys, talking about nothing. The Exploding Snap game looked like more fun, but Lily didn’t know how to get over to the fireplace without it being awkward. And every time Marlene brought up her relationship with James, she felt a bit more embarrassed about her very public flirtation—even if they were just kidding around.

There was a shout and a roar of protest from over by the fireplace; Lily and the others looked over. Sirius’ pants were on fire, and he was capering around the game, yelling his head off. James was crying with laughter, tears streaming down his face, but he still managed to get in a well-placed Aguamenti charm that doused the flames. Sean McDonnell was already on his feet, striding over to the game. All that Lily could hear was a “Sorry, no, Sirius was actually asking to be set on fire. No, I’m not going to set anyone else on fire, that would just be rude!” before the chatter in the common room rose over their conversation.

A few hours passed. It was now after midnight. The older Gryffindors had trickled off to their dormitories slowly; there was still a raucous group over by the fireplace. Lily almost nodded off in her armchair next to Sean and Marlene. The others had long disappeared upstairs. James Potter chose this moment to appear next to Lily’s chair, sopping wet.

“James,” said Lily matter-of-factly, “you’re dripping on my sleeve.”

“Sorry,” said James, grinning down at her. He really was, Lily noticed, completely drenched. There was water running down from his head onto his back, and his shirt was dripping water, stuck to his body. She couldn’t complain about the view, though—James spent most of his time playing Quidditch and playing pranks, and lately Quidditch had superseded pranks. He would never be muscular-he was far too skinny for that-but the parts of his body that his shirt stuck to hinted at a long, lanky figure. With his hair flattened to his head, he looked like a normal human being.

“I like your hair like that, Potter,” Lily said.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” James scoffed. He sat on the arm of her chair, and Lily edged away slightly as he shook his head. Drops of water flew in every direction. “You love my hair the way it normally is, it’s part of the irrepressible Potter charm.”

“If I thought you were serious,” said Lily, barely restraining her smile, “I’d have to hex you. Why are you so wet, anyway?”

“Oh, you know,” said James airily.

Lily waited expectantly, but when she realized that no answer was actually forthcoming, she shook her head in exasperation. “No, I don’t know, actually, which is why I asked.”

“The perils of Exploding Snap with Sirius.”

“Sirius was on fire,” Lily said. “This is kind of a drastic difference.”

James held out his arm. “Smell my shirt.”

“What?” said Lily, not sure that she had heard him correctly.

“Smell,” James repeated, as if she were very slow, “my shirt.” He offered one damp hand. Lily pulled on his arm until he leaned closer to her. His hair dripped on the top of her head. Ignoring the discomfort, Lily gripped his bicep—not bad, Potter—and smelled his shirt with the other. She sat back, disgusted.

“Butterbeer,” she said. “You’re drenched in butterbeer. What a waste.”

“I don’t think so,” James said. “Less expensive than cologne.” He hadn’t moved, so he was still leaning over Lily, his hair dripping onto hers.

“Do you usually put on that much cologne when you go out?” Lily asked, almost laughing. “I feel bad for your dates.”

“Do you?” said James. Lily could hear the rumble in his throat, right above her head. She looked up at him. He was still leaning down, his face very close to hers, and for a moment their faces were inches apart. His eyes were very wide, and she noticed his long, defined lashes. They made him look younger and more vulnerable. Or perhaps that was the expression on his face: a frozen look, like he couldn’t believe the position they were in.

Come to think of it, Lily couldn’t either. It was unnatural. She’d never seriously contemplated kissing James Potter—because why would she want to kiss one of her closest male friends?—and the fact that the thought had escaped into her head made her lean back quickly. “Yeah,” she said abruptly, “yeah, I do.”

James leaned back slowly, eyes still trained on her face. “I rather like the butterbeer scent,” he said. “What do you think about that as a new product line? I could make boatloads of money.”

“Oi! James!” Sirius was doing some kind of complicated dance over by the fireplace.

“I can’t really smell it from here,” said Lily. “You’d have to really lay it on to get the scent out, and then it would just make me hungry.”

“Good product, then,” said James, grinning, “depending on the kind of hunger it inspires.” Then he was off the arm of her chair and on the fireplace with Sirius before Lily could respond.

“Two sickles and a knut says you kiss James Potter before the end of the night,” said Marlene, from behind Lily. Lily swiveled to face her. Both Marlene and Sean McDonnell were looking amused and self-satisfied. “Even if he is soaked in butterbeer.”

“I will not,” said Lily. “That’s ridiculous.” Was it? a nagging voice in her head replied, but she pushed the thought away. “James and I are friends, good friends—”

“—who snog,” Sean finished. “I get it. He’s been pining over you for years, anyway—”

“He has not,” said Lily, rearranging her hair, suddenly uncomfortable. “He dates everyone else except for me because we’re friends and I don’t want to mess that up—”

“Lily.” Marlene shook her head. “He dates everyone else because you won’t date him.”

“That’s stupid.” Lily glanced up at the fireplace. She couldn’t even describe what James and Sirius were doing. James was flinging drops of water—butterbeer?—all over the place, and Sirius was making some high-pitched yelling noise and trying to get a noncompliant Remus to join in, while Peter looked on. “That makes me less likely to date him.”

“James isn’t exactly an expert in the art of women,” said Sean, dryly.

“But he does get a lot of girls,” said Marlene, and then the two of them were arguing about something or other.

Lily stopped paying attention. The only people left in the common room were James and his cohorts, as well as two of the fifth-year boys, Laura Brendan, and Lily’s corner. By far the most interesting group belonged to James. He saw her watching them and waved at her from the fireplace. “Lily! Join me in a dance, my buttercup!”

Glancing behind her—Marlene and Sean seemed totally preoccupied—Lily twisted her mouth into a half-grin and got out of her chair. “It’s at least half-past midnight,” she told James, when he had dragged her up onto the fireplace in front of him and Sirius. “We should probably go to bed.”

“I,” said James, loftily, “plan to welcome the dawn with open, reaching arms. I shall be drinking butterbeer and making a total arse out of myself until I welcome the dawn with a dance to the sun god on top of the Astronomy Tower.”

“Is that some kind of oblique reference to your potential hookup?” Lily asked, dodging as he grabbed for her hand. He grasped her wrist instead and twirled her around, once, twice, dizzily.

“Not James,” said Sirius, his voice heavily laced with sarcasm. “We’re not even sure if James still likes girls—oof!” James’ other arm, the one that wasn’t preoccupied with twirling Lily, had shot backwards, connecting with Sirius’ stomach.

“I’m not sure either,” said Lily, laughing.

“You really haven’t proved yourself lately,” agreed Sirius, backing up to prevent another attack. “Shame on the noble house of Potter.”

James’ hand was very warm around Lily’s wrist. She wrested it out of his grasp and took his hand instead. Their fingers interlocked, and James took Lily’s other hand, their fingers fitting together perfectly naturally. “This isn’t a very good dancing position,” said Lily.

“No,” said James thoughtfully, “it’s not.” He didn’t let go of either of her hands, but jumped off the fireplace and pulled her with him. “This is better, isn’t it?” He dragged her off a little, nearer to the radio. He let go of her left hand—Lily nearly protested, but thought better of it—and drew her closer, resting his right hand on her waist. “This is a waltz position, isn’t it?” he asked, peering down at her through the hair stuck to his face.

“I think so,” said Lily, reaching up with her left hand to peel the strands of hair off his forehead. She pushed them back, and for good measure ruffled his hand up a little. She had to stand on tiptoe to do it—he’d gotten so tall after fourth year! “You look more like yourself now. More pratlike. And don’t purebloods have balls and so forth every year?”

“I always escaped them. My mother used to make me dance with all my cousins.” James pulled a face. “Even the ugly ones.”

“Good thing they were your cousins.”

“Yeah, but purebloods marry their cousins.”

“Ouch.” Lily laughed. The slow sway that James had adopted was comforting. She slipped her left arm around his neck, and they danced in silence for a few minutes. Or, swaying was more like it; Lily didn’t think James, for all of his bluster, actually knew anything about partner dancing. He’d spent the Yule Ball in fourth year snogging one of the Hufflepuff chasers.

The song on the radio faded into the next one. The lights in the common room dimmed. Lily couldn’t even see who else was there, still. She gave into her tiredness and lay her head on James’ chest, settling into his body like it was normal to do so. She felt him stiffen for a moment, then relax, and he propped his chin on her head and let his arm snake around her waist, pulling her closer.


“Mm?” Lily could hear the reverbations travelling down through his chin to the top of her head. He was very solid, very warm, and very real, even though his shirt was now sticking to her and there was an overpowering smell of butterbeer.

There was silence.

“Nothing,” said Lily finally, and they swayed for some time more, until they and Sirius were the only ones left in the common room and she was drooping with tiredness. Then she remembered James picking her up, and then being pushed up the stairs to her dormitory, and looking down the stairs just to see James’ bright brown eyes following her movements upwards, his gaze keeping her upright.

It had been a good year.

May 28, 1978

Lily was lying in her favorite spot by the lake. Her final N.E.W.T. had been the day before yesterday, although some of the other seventh years still had exams. She stretched her arms above her head, dug her toes into the grass, and exulted in being done with school. To top it all off, it was a beautiful day.

The face of James Potter appeared above her. “I think I passed my last N.E.W.T.”

“That would be miraculous,” Lily said, languidly stretching and sitting up. James plopped down beside her, pulling a flower from behind his back and presenting it to her with a half-bow. In a sitting position, the bow looked very odd, and Lily snorted. “Is this a yearly tradition? The end of exams merits flowers?”

“Flowers,” said James, “are good for all occasions. Especially when you’re with someone named Lily, it begs the pun.”

“I thought you had gotten more clever with time,” said Lily, reaching up to brush hair out of James’ eyes, “but obviously not. I’ll have to rethink the amount of time I spend with you.”

“True,” James agreed, “I become less funny the more time I spend with you.” He dodged her halfhearted swipe. “At least, Sirius thinks so.”

They both turned. Sirius was sitting under a tree with Remus, both of them obviously watching Lily and James. They waved and turned away quickly. “They’re subtle,” said Lily, wryly. “Where’s Peter?”

“He found a Ravenclaw girlfriend,” said James, waving this away. “He’s starting to get boring, all he does is prattle on about her and do nothing else.” He lay down, his hands under his head. “Girlfriends are a sobering influence. I mean that in the worst possible way.”

“You don’t need to have a girlfriend, you know,” said Lily, trying to sound nonchalant.

James shot up to a sitting position. “Oh, really?”

"I'm pretty sure two years ago I told you I would rather date the giant squid than you." Lily forced herself to look away from his eyes. "That assumption might still hold."

James coughed. "Last year, I seem to remember you condescending to dance with me. Squids don't dance. The relationship would bore you."

“I had forgotten about that,” Lily lied. “Besides, you dripped all over me. It wasn't very chivalrous of you."

“I know you like the smell of me soaked in butterbeer,” said James, “but I do import this cologne from France, you know, you might as well appreciate it while you can.” He got to his feet and offered her a hand. “A commemorative dance, milady?”

Lily smiled and let James pull her upright. “Let me do this the right way,” he murmured softly into her ear, giving her goosebumps. “Let’s see, right hand here …” His right hand made its way around her waist, creeping down a little, giving her the shivers, and he took her other hand, drawing her closer. “That feels about right.” He wedged her head under his chin and started swaying back and forth.

“James,” said Lily, acquiescing, “this is ridiculous.” But she nestled into his chest anyway, listening to the comforting thud of his heartbeat and smelling the French cologne that she liked so much. He was very warm. His thumb stroked the inside of her palm; she sighed and turned her head up to him. James’ eyes were soft and warm, and he smiled his brilliant, brilliant smile at her.

“I’m a fan of the ridiculous, myself,” said James, his voice a rumble in his chest, and he leaned down and kissed her.

Their lips met, and Lily let go of his hand to put both arms around his neck, leaning into the kiss. His mouth was gentle and questioning; when he drew back, Lily pulled his mouth down to meet hers again. They promptly toppled over onto the grass together.

“Ow,” James complained, pulling her up to a sitting position. “I think you’ve broken—mmph, s’not fair to—” He shut up and kissed her back, hard, shifting her into his lap.

They were interrupted by a wolf whistle from across the grass. James broke the kiss, panting, and made a rude gesture in the direction of Remus and Sirius.

“James,” said Lily, fondly, “is that really necessary?”

“Entirely,” said James, and then they were kissing again, and he was bending her backward, much to Lily’s chagrin, but it probably looked good from across the lawn, and if James Potter was about anything, he was about looking good.

May 28, 1979

Sirius had far too much wine at the reception. The moment that he opened his mouth to make his best man toast, Lily almost covered her eyes. She glanced over at her parents, stiff and respectable in their Muggle attire; but her mother caught her looking and smiled such an open smile that Lily was reassured. No matter what crazy world—or what crazy man, Lily thought, glancing at James next to her—Lily chose, they were always right behind her, supporting her decision.

Sirius was slurring something about “dogged determination” and “foolheaded pursuit,” and James was turning redder, but smiling. Then something about “I Want to Hold Your Hand”—Lily started giggling too, she couldn’t help it—and the end of his toast broke down into incoherent mumblings, the rest of the reception party concealing smiles. James stood up to make the toast for him.

“Sirius,” James announced, “is a fine, fine best man, but his tolerance is much lower than mine, since I am in fact the better man—”

“Only today, Prongs,” Sirius slurred.

“—and am marrying,” said James, looking directly into Lily’s eyes, “the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am the luckiest man in the world. I’m turning this toast into one to Lily. Lily Potter.” He raised his glass to Lily, and she smiled radiantly back.

“This reception had better not last very long,” Lily whispered into James’ ear, as soon as she got the chance. They danced slowly, using the entire floor, James taking the time to dip her and spin her, his entire face lit up with happiness. Lily felt the small amount of wine she had consumed flood her with warmth, and her entire body tingled—but she knew that wasn’t the wine.

“Oh, it won’t,” James murmured into her ear, running his hands up and down her sides. “You look beautiful in this dress, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to look better—”

“Good thing you’re allowed to say things like that now,” said Lily, laughing, and let him dip her, her back arching, swanlike.

“And I intend to say them as often as I want to,” said James, and brought her up to kiss her.
Current Location: Pi Beta Phi DQ
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Falling Slowly // The Frames
in_excelsis_deain_excelsis_dea on June 1st, 2008 10:10 am (UTC)
Aww. I like how you used the incident with Snape to actually get them talking to each other, and how you you showed each year as just a snippet. Great job.
Emily: harry potteroverdramatise on June 2nd, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Sara: Carelessly Growing Up // The Hush Soundbrite_city on June 1st, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
Really nicely done. I like the concept of seeing them on the same date and seeing how their relationship changed.
Emily: harry potteroverdramatise on June 2nd, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
daysandweeks on June 1st, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
Loved it. This was so well done and adorable!
Emily: harry potteroverdramatise on June 2nd, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
lily_terracelily_terrace on June 5th, 2008 08:14 am (UTC)
that was so brilliant :D
Starbuck: hugs v-lillyworldwasasong on June 13th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
Oh! :Flails: So beautiful! So, so beautiful and sweet and well-written, I'm just melting over it. Especially the end. I love the different events on the same day -- cool framework! My favorite parts were the butterbeer-soaked dance (guuuuuuuh), Marlene saying she'd be at Lilly's wedding (eee, love the foreshadowing there! :)), and the last dance at the wedding. Cool symmetry with the many dances and the flowers. I love your James; he's so sexy and so much more real than most fic writers write him. And your Lily is lovely too... their banter really makes the fic. I'm glad I found this fic. Good job!
Cait: flying highcoralia13 on June 24th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC)
I am giddy! This was so, so wonderful, I agree with everyone above: absolutely melt-worthy! Thank you, thank you for posting! I think my favorite is the party in the common room - it felt so real; just like those awkward parties in high school where you really want to be dancing with someone the whole night, and then it happens and it's perfect. And alcohol-drenched. Wonderful!
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Mr. Comatosecastielsouls on August 6th, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC)
creative. this is the first stories I read with Lily/James as friends before seventh year. VERY cute at throughout!