Pudding and Cinderella
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
James woke with a mouthful of red hair. Lily's hair, he realized. He remembered how she had crawled into his bed last night and smiled. He felt truly happy. His worries and fears seemed to wash away at the sight of the redheaded girl curled up beside him. That was how he wanted to wake up every day. Putting all other sentimental thoughts aside, he turned and looked at his clock, it was 7:30, the same time he woke up every day.
They had an hour to get ready and go down to breakfast. Knowing this, James softly shook Lily awake. Her eyes fluttered and her arms automatically stretched and wacked him in the face.
"Ow" he said rubbing his nose and grinning.
"Whoops," Lily replied, a ghost of a smile flashed across her face for a second and her eyes regained their usual twinkle for the same small amount of time. It was a start.
"Want to go get ready and meet me downstairs in half an hour?" he asked while twirling a lock of her hair around his finger.
Lily nodded sleepily and climbed out of the soft bed in a daze, leaving James a bit cold. Her scent was still on his pillow and it made him grin like a lovesick schoolboy. Yawning, he also stood and made his way to his bathroom to shower.
Lily grimaced as her and James walked into the Great Hall. She had forgotten how loud it was. All the students were talking, screaming, laughing, or throwing food at each other. It was pure chaos and made her head pulse with a newly formed headache.
She froze for a minute and looked down at the Gryffindor table. Alice, Marley, and three of the four Marauders were in their usual seats and didn't seem to have noticed her and James standing awkwardly in the Great Hall's entrance. They were laughing about something Remus had said and looked so incredibly normal that it almost hurt. It was what she preferred though. Surely Sirius told them what happened…they wouldn't want to sit with her.
She spun on her heels and strode back into the hallway without another thought. James grabbed her hand before she could get too far.
"Where're you going?" he asked searching her now dull green eyes. She shrugged.
"Kitchens, I guess…it's too loud," she said softly while looking at the floor.
James's heart sunk at how utterly lost and confused she looked. She shouldn't have had to go through all the things that had happened to her. It was enough to make any sane person go crazy. But that spark in her eyes that he had seen that morning told him that she would be able to heal. It would take time, yes, but it would happen eventually and that was as good as anything.
Sighing he followed her down the long twists and turns that would take them to the Hogwarts kitchens, her hand still firmly gripped in his.
After tickling the pear they both walked into the gigantic kitchen. Many house elves bustling about making food for breakfast greeted them, a good portion of them squeaked quick "good mornings". A particularly interesting elf with florescent pink socks and a high squeaky voice asked them if they'd like anything.
Lily only wished for chocolate pudding and a glass of milk while James went for something a bit more "robust". A large plate of bacon, sausage, and fried eggs was set beside him in minutes.
He looked over to Lily's strange serving of pudding and piled some bacon by her side. She had jumped up to sit on the edge of the table and James wondered what her childhood was like. The thought jumped into his head at the sight of her swinging her legs back and forth like any kid would do.
He hopped up next to her and scowled when she pushed the bacon back at him. She was holding her stomach and her face was full of distaste.
"I think I'll stick with my pudding." She said shaking her head quickly.
"Nu huh, if you don't eat at least two pieces of that bacon I'll keep you here for as long as I have too." James replied crossing his arms firmly. Lily frowned.
"Why?" she whined.
"Because you're a stick."
"Am not!" she exclaimed.
"Are too, now eat your bacon." He said sternly.
"Okay, mom." She mumbled while nibbling on the thin strip of greasy, fried bacon.
James smiled triumphantly. He quirked an eyebrow when she scooped a large helping of chocolate pudding into her mouth once the piece was finished.
"What's with the pudding anyway?" he said through a mouthful of egg. She grimaced at his bad manners.
"Comfort food, I guess." She said shrugging while stirring her spoon though the sugary food she had chosen.
"Why pudding?" he asked as he thought of his own comfort food, chocolate ice cream.
Sirius always made fun of him because his comfort food was "girly and pathetic", but James didn't mind because Sirius's comfort food was just as "girly and pathetic" if not exactly the same (vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce).
"My sister and I…we used to sit up in the tree in our front yard and eat pudding when we were little." she said with a wistful grin, her eyes were lost and staring at some far off point, "We'd pull a whole crate of it up into that tree and my dad thought he was going crazy when he would look for a pudding and find that it had all disappeared the day after it was bought…of course he never thought to look in the tree, but it was always there."
James grasped her hand and smiled encouragingly. A flutter ran through Lily at the contact. She looked down at her watch and her face fell. Class would be starting in ten minutes.
She hopped off the table, still holding James's hand, and sighed. She wasn't ready to join the real world yet.
"Don't worry, I'll be right behind you the whole time." James said softly at her obvious distress. He squeezed her hand and pulled her out the door.
It would be a rough day for the both of them. It would be hard for Lily because she would be confused and conflicted. She'd be thrown into something "normal" and it would cause her to struggle. Being around so many people might intimidate her a bit too.
For James he wouldn't enjoy the day because he'd have to watch Lily suffer through it all.
"…And they lived happily ever after." Lily finished, closing the book with a soft "thump".
"A bit gruesome wasn't it?" James asked.
"Some people would do anything or true love,"
"But they didn't even really know him!" he exclaimed angrily. Lily though it was cute that he was getting so worked up over it.
"I didn't write the story!" she replied.
"Oh, right, sorry." He said with the slightest hint of a blush.
They were sitting side by side in the Room of Requirement. The space was a giant library, a creation only Lily could think up. She decided she'd read "Cinderella" to James to occupy their time.
He frowned at the cruelness of Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters and grinned when the fairy godmother appeared.
"I guess muggles know more about us then we thought!" he had said.
He also flinched when the evil stepsisters cut off their toes or the heel of their foot to fit into the tiny glass slipper. James thought that was barbaric. Lily decided she shouldn't have read him the original version of the tale. Either way, it had been nice spending time with him and enveloping herself in the magical world that was "Cinderella".
Just as she had expected, the day had been awful. Whispers and meaningful glances were thrown at her in the halls. No one really knew what had happened to cause the cheerful Lily Evans to so suddenly turn grey and dreary, but the gossip chain was steadily growing because of it. The worst part were the looks she got from her friends. They were all different and it messed with her head more then she cared for.
Alice's look was so pitiful it made Lily wish to cry, Marlene's stare was rock hard and unreadable, Peter wouldn't look her in the eye at all, and Remus just smiled uneasily.
Sirius was the only one who was different though. He acted completely normal actually. His undying humor was just that, undead. It was still there at full force and his bark like laugh was as familiar as always. Whenever Lily caught his eye, he smiled warmly and then raised his eyebrows. She would then shrug her shoulders…a silent response to the raised eyebrows, which was his ways of asking, "are you okay?" . He would respond by nodding his head and smiling in understanding, as if it was okay that she was unsure.
Sirius's silent inquiries and James's constant present were the only things getting her through the day. James was always by her side in the hallways, waiting outside the girl's bathroom, or sitting beside her in class. It was something that confused the population of Hogwarts even further. But, neither James nor Lily minded.
At the end of classes that day and before she went to the Room of Requirement with James, Lily found herself being pulled into an empty classroom. She had been on her way to meet James as he came back from Muggle Studies, the only class they didn't have together.
It was Sirius who had dragged her in and the first thing he did was engulf her in a large hug. This sent her to tears. He rubbed her back soothingly and murmured words of comfort. A silent understanding had come between them. This was Sirius's way of showing he was still there for her.
"Sirius…am I a bad person?" she sniffled into his shoulder.
He pulled back and frowned. He then continued to say the most insightful thing Lily had ever heard come from his mouth.
"I want you to listen to me very carefully, Lily. You are not a bad person. You're a very good person who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn't split into good people and bad people. We've all got both Light and Dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are and Lily, you are one of the most pure people I know…completely full of Light."
"But, I almost killed that man!"
"Yes, but Lily, this just proves my point! You regret it and that's all that matters. The Light in you hasn't gone out." He pulled her into another hug and left her to ponder the meaning of his words.
"Lily?" James asked as she started to doze off on his shoulder a few minutes after they finished reading "Cinderella".
"Yes?" she responded behind closed lids.
"Will you talk to me?"
She sat up and looked at him, confused.
"What do you mean?"
"Tell me what you've been thinking…what's on your mind. I want to help you." He said softly. She sighed, there was no way getting around it and maybe it would help.
"Have…have you ever felt alone, James? Like truly alone?" she asked.
"Lils, you aren't alone,"
"No James, I'm asking you." She cut in almost harshly.
"I don't know, Lily, maybe, what's this about?"
"Shhh, let me talk. I felt alone when my parents died because I didn't know anyone else who was in the same situation or felt like I did. When I became friends with Sirius, I felt a little bit better, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, but some of it was still there.
When I found out about the memory charm, I sunk further into that pit of loneliness, but that time there was no one to help reel me out, even if only a little bit. It got worse when I felt all that power, when I hurt that man. I am so alone that it hurts physically. I am the only one who had been through all that I had and I can't stand it," Her voice was burning with passion and tears ran down her face and dripped off her nose. She continued,
"Then there's that other type of alone, the worst one. I feel like no one loves me," she said as her voice cracked and her shoulders shuddered involuntarily.
"Lily," James started hugging her to him.
His heart was broken, almost beyond repair. Did she really think that? Had he not already proven his love for her? Had he done something wrong? He understood that Lily was alone in some of those ways. It was awful, yes, but she wasn't, under any circumstances, alone in that way.
"No James, be quiet," she shushed, "I have brilliant, wonderful friends who, who'd do anything for me, b-but, no one who loves me. Not really. My mum and daddy, they were the ones who did love me…for real. They made me feel that too. And now they're gone." She sobbed into her hands, but she wasn't finished,
"When I hurt that man, almost killed him, death eater or not, I felt like I threw every bit of love my parents had for me out the window. They don't love me anymore because I know that they were watching me somehow. Why would they love their daughter when she could potentially be a murderer?"
"Lily, Lily look at me!" James said shaking her shoulder lightly and turning her to face him.
"I don't want you to ever say that again, do you understand? Never." He was almost shouting the words.
Lily bowed her head, but James pushed it back up with his hand. His hazel eyes seemed to be burning a hole into her, that or trying to read her mind. They were calculating and widened in shock.
They sat there in silence, just looking into each other's eyes for the longest time. Neither made any move to do otherwise. It was like silent showdown, both challenging the other to either a) look away or b) say something. James gave in first and what he said made the words echo in Lily's ears.
"Lily, I love you."
It was so soft that she was barely able to understand him. But she did, and it made her sobs return. He had fooled himself into thinking that, as much as Lily wished it to be true, she would have to tell him otherwise.
"No James, I don't think you do!" she cried
"What makes you think that, Lily! TELL ME WHAT!" he yelled jumping off the couch in a rage.
His hands trembled at his side and his face was red with fury. Why didn't Lily believe that he could love her? What was making her not understand that his intensions were pure and truthful? He got his answer.
"ISN'T IT OBVIOUS!" she screamed also jumping up. "I'M JUST YOUR PITY CASE, POTTER, NO MATTER HOW MUCH I DON'T WANT TO ADMIT IT!" her voice then dropped dangerously quieter, almost a whisper, "I've pushed it to the farthest corner of my mind, but no matter how hard I tried it always popped back up. Just admit it, James, before you break my heart even farther."
In three large strides, James was right in front of her and Lily flinched back thinking he was going to hit her. What he did caught her off guard.
Wrapping one arm around Lily's waist and pressing one against the back of her neck James leaned down and smashed his lips against hers, moving in a frenzy.
Lily dumbly stood there, not pulling moving away, but not responding. It took several seconds for her to comprehend what was happening and finally kiss him back.
Built up tension was being released into it. Their lips molded together like a puzzle piece. It was nothing like the soft kiss James had given her over Christmas break. This one gave her weak and wobbly knees and a limited supply of air.
Pulling back the two sucked in the needed oxygen and went in for another. Lily curled her fingers around that messy black hair she loved and let her conscience wander far away so she could focus on him. James pulled back again, looking down into her eyes.
"I love you, Lily Evans."
This time she believed him.
Ta-da! Ya'll got that kiss you've been begging me for :). I'm sorry if it wasn't up to your standards…considering I'm only thirteen and can't even date until I'm sixteen, I don't have much (I don't have any actually) experience haha. PLEASE REVIEW!