Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.
Hello reader! I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have reviewed my story and have read it from the beginning and stuck with it! It really means a lot so thank you! :)
Now this is where the relationship between James and Lily starts so the writing will become a little bit more mature, (but not too much), as they are now becoming adults too and certain things need to be addressed or said. It's sort of the second half of the story which is a little bit of a transition for what is to come after Five Minutes has ended and we go onto their lives after Hogwarts. I hope you'll stick with it but if you don't I understand. :)
Here's chapter Forty-Three!
Hope you enjoy it!
The marauders were sat under their beech tree in the grounds of Hogwarts. James was sat in the branches of the tree, leaning casually against the trunk and playing with his snitch. Remus was lying on his stomach under the shade of the beech tree doing the Defence Against the Dark Arts essay that they had been set they day before. Peter was sat crossed legged against the base of the tree, picking the grass and listening to Sirius who was holding onto one of the lower branches of the tree, his feet only inches from the ground, moaning about the fact that they had been given Homework on the first day of school.
'Who does this new professor think she is?' he moaned in reference to the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher that had taken up the post for this year. They had no idea what had happened to their last Defence teacher. It had been rumoured that he had resigned due to stress but there were some students, some of the older students, which speculated otherwise.
It hadn't really come as a great shock to anyone that they had been given another teacher for the supposedly cursed job. It was rumoured, (and so far proven), that the job was jinxed ever since the last permanent Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Merrythought, who had held the job from 1895 to 1945, had retired. Nobody knew what had happened after she had retired to make the job cursed but something had and no other person had been able to hold down the job for longer than a year since.
'I mean homework on the first day?' Sirius continued to explain, 'That's a good way to make some enemies!'
'And I'm sure that Professor Linkedin's first concern is whether or not she's upsetting her students and, and I quote, 'making enemies'.' Remus replied sarcastically in a bored fashion. He didn't look up from his essay at all.
'Well it should be!' Sirius scoffed, jumping down from the branch which he was hanging on and collapsing fluently crossed legged on the floor, 'I just don't think she should have given us homework on the first day.'
'You do realise we have N.E.W.T's this year.' Remus pointed out, flipping through the text book that they had been assigned that year for their Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons.
Sirius didn't answer but instead stuck his tongue out childishly at Remus who took no notice. Sirius didn't want to think about N.E.W.T's. He didn't want to think of this as his last year at Hogwarts. It just meant that it wasn't that long until he, along with his fellow marauders, were catapulted into the real world to face whatever was out there. When they finished Hogwarts, they had to get a job. Now getting a job Sirius had no qualms about, it was just that he knew that it wouldn't be a job he enjoyed, at least not at first. He wouldn't be able to go straight into being an auror as he wanted, he would have to start by doing all the menial and tedious training tasks instead of getting out there and taking down the death eaters like he wanted. Getting a job also meant that he had to grow up and he wanted to delay that as much as humanly possible.
In the spirit of not growing up, Sirius moved over to Remus, who was still doing his essay, and stuck his hand in front of his face.
Remus stopped writing and exhaled in annoyance. He stared at Sirius' hand for a second before deciding to himself that he wasn't going give Sirius the satisfaction of stopping writing his essay so, instead, he moved his essay slightly to the left, ensuring that his face wasn't being obstructed, and continued on with it. However, it wasn't long until Sirius moved closer again and shoved his hand under Remus' face.
'Will you stop that?' Remus said, annoyed.
'Stop what?' Sirius said, knowing exactly what he was doing.
'Annoying me.' Remus muttered through gritted teeth, 'Will you stop.'
'How can I annoy you when I'm not touching you?' Sirius replied cockily, pushing his hand further into Remus' face, a direct correlation to how much this was ticking him off.
'You can annoy me just by breathing.' Remus retorted carefully, his anger flaring up, 'Now I suggest you move that hand if you don't want to lose it.'
Sirius waved his hand in front of Remus' hand. He was doing exactly what Remus wanted; he was moving his hand.
'I meant move it away from my face.' Remus exasperated, rolling his eyes.
'Why?' Sirius continued to say, not giving up in his pursuit to be a child, 'You don't own the air. I can hold my hand wherever I want.'
'You know Sirius, there is such thing as personal space and-'
'-and I'm not in yours at all!' Sirius said happily. He turned to Peter, who he knew would agree with him, and asked, 'Wormy. Am I in Moony's personal space?'
Peter looked at Sirius and then at Remus. Looking between the pair of them, he couldn't decide which one to side with or, in other words, which one he was more scared off. Remus was close to a full moon and was sure to get extremely mardy in the next few days though by the look on his face it seemed that he was starting early. Sirius, with his deep grey eyes, scared Peter just as much as Remus. Plus, he was capable of making the other two ostracise Peter for almost a week before they realised what he was doing. He had done that before and it was safe to say that Peter had not liked that one bit. Unable to pick a side, he simply rambled non-words. 'Mugful foe gigue…' he mumbled.
'Ah you're no use!' Sirius tutted at the small boy who hung his head at his words. Sirius then turned to James in the tree for back up on his stance. 'Hey Prongs! Am I in Moony's personal space?'
James didn't answer. Instead, he was staring up at the great castle that was Hogwarts and absentmindedly playing with the snitch he had stolen from the stores the year before.
Sirius tried again, determined that his best friend would be on his side. 'Hey Prongs! Am I in Moony's personal space?'
James still didn't answer. It was as if he was in a world of his own.
Sirius and Remus looked at each other, their view of each other's faces still blocked partially by Sirius outstretched hand. Sirius looked at Remus quizzically who just shrugged his shoulders. He was as oblivious as Sirius was as to why James seemed to be in his own world.
'Prongs?' Sirius said loudly. 'Prongs?' louder still. 'PRONGS!' he practically yelled at his best friend, shocking him and causing him to fall with a thud out of the tree.
'Dude!' James yelled in reply, standing up and rubbing his arm which he had fallen on, 'You could've killed me!'
'Stop being so dramatic!' Sirius laughed at James who scowled at him.
'Like you're one to talk.' James said, shaking his head. He then noticed something. 'What are you doing Padfoot? You know there's such thing as personal boundaries right?'
'Ha!' Remus chortled at Sirius once in victory, 'Now move your hand!'
'Fine!' Sirius said reluctantly. He was outnumbered and he knew it. All he had wanted to do was keep their childhood alive with some childish behaviour and that was all the thanks he got. It was typical. Still, he decided to move on to a different topic. 'So why the space out?' he asked James, putting his feet up on Remus' book so that he couldn't see. He was, as some might put it, killing two birds with one stone, (which he would never do because he swore it was impossible to kill a bird with one stone let alone two. It left people wondering how he knew that though). He was being annoying and childish whilst talking maturely to his best friend.
'Nothing.' James said with a shrug.
'Get your feet off of my book!' Remus said, speaking at the same time as James.
Sirius ignored Remus and continued to talk to James. 'Seriously, you were zoned out! What were you thinking about?'
Remus was looking more and more annoyed and James could see fire building behind his eyes. It wasn't wise to mess with a werewolf this close to a full moon. He looked at his watch and came up with a perfectly respectable reason to save Sirius from Remus and Remus from doing something he'd regret.
'Time for dinner.' James announced, pulling Sirius up and away from Remus book.
'Oh boy!' Sirius said, licking his lips and, needing no more convincing after the word dinner, started off towards the castle. Peter ran after him, tripping slightly as he started to catch up. This left Remus alone with James.
'Why are you doing that homework?' James laughed as he picked up the Defence Against the Dark Arts text book that was lying on the floor.
'Because I, unlike some people, yourself included, care about my N.E.W.T's.' Remus snapped at James.
James gave one solitary nod and raised his eyebrows as he handed the book back to Remus. He knew it was near the full moon but sometimes Remus needed to be subtly reminded to rein his temper in. After all, they were his friends and they were only ever trying to help him. Apart from Sirius who was only ever trying to annoy him.
Remus took the book from James and shoved it in his bag. 'Sorry.' he apologised shortly.
'Don't matter.' James smiled, running a hand through his hair and then putting his hands in his pockets.
'So why were you spaced out?' Remus asked James as they began the walk to the castle, a long way behind Sirius and Peter who had practically ran there.
'Just thinking.' James shrugged as if it was nothing of importance. In fact, that wasn't true. He had been thinking about his date with Lily and wondering what he should do for it. He had a pretty good idea but really wanted to ask his friends opinion. Actually, he wanted to ask Remus' opinion. If he asked Sirius, he would give him some cheesy lines that he used on all the girls that he went out with, and then start to mock him about Lily. If he asked Peter, all he would get in reply was a sputter of nonsense as he had no experience in the area. Remus, although he also had no experience in the subject, not unlike James, would give him some reasonable suggestions and advice.
Remus had been a prefect with Lily Evans for two years and was sure to have picked up on something that would help James and, although he had not always been supportive of James' continuous pursuit of the girl who had always rejected him, he would have tried to help James as much as possible to achieve a successful first date. Plus he read lots of books. And not just books that they were set for their school subjects, real books. He read stories that were made up for entertainment. He was bound to have read some great ideas that James could pull off. The only problem was, even if this was the case, James was unable to ask anyone for advice or help because Lily wanted to keep their date a secret. So James would be able to get no confirmation whether his idea for their first date was good or not. He would just have to dive in and hope for the best.
'Oi! Prongs!' Remus said, waving his hand in front of James eyes in a similar way to what Sirius had been doing to him earlier, 'Just thinking or not, something's on your mind. You keep blanking out. What's up?'
James blinked himself back into reality. He had zoned out again. He was stood still with Remus stood at his side. It seemed that he had just randomly stopped. He wasn't doing very well at keeping things a secret. If he didn't stop acting unusually soon, Remus and Sirius and Peter would suspect something.
'I was just thinking about the prefects patrol rota.' James lied quickly.
'Really?' Remus asked, 'Are you ill?'
'No.' James laughed. He knew where Remus was coming from. He had shown no interest in the roll of head boy since he had found out that he would be taking up the post. 'Just can't remember if I put in the right dates for us not to be doing patrol.'
'Ah.' Remus said. He was talking about the full moon, and whether or not their patrols were conflicting with it. Remus hated talking about the full moon and tried to avoid the topic of conversation if he could possibly help it. Of course, he never could because his lycanthropy was a part of him which he couldn't deny but he did like to pretend that it wasn't.
'I should just go check with Lily.' James said as the pair of them approached the entrance hall which had an astonishingly good view into the great hall where everybody was eating. He was thinking that when he went over to her, he could discuss when he wanted their date to be. 'She's got a copy of the rota.' he continued.
'Ok cool.' Remus answered, 'So are you going to ask her out again then?'
James was caught off guard. It took him a moment to realise that Remus was referring back to when they were on the Hogwarts express and what he had said after Lily had hugged him. Quickly getting back to his lies, James, without missing a beat said, 'No and I'm not going too. It's a busy year with N.E.W.T's and everything. No time to chase after someone who's just gonna say no right? N.E.W.T's are more important.'
'N.E.W.T's are more important?' Remus reiterated in shock, 'Who are you and what have you done with James?'
James laughed. 'I care about my N.E.W.T's' he said.
'No you don't.'
'No I don't but my mum does.' James replied, truthfully this time, 'She wants me to get good grades so I can become an auror like dad was.'
They had just entered the great hall and were starting their way towards Sirius and Peter. Sirius was stuffing his face as per usual and Peter looked at a loss at what to eat as Sirius had taken everything worth having. James spotted Lily sat on her own, a rare moment as she and Hestia always ate lunch together, and thought he'd seize the moment to go and talk to her.
'I'm gonna go check the rota with Lily.' James said, 'See you over there and try not to kill Sirius.'
'I can't promise anything.' Remus replied, walking away to where Sirius and Peter were sat.
James chuckled and walked up the opposite side of the table to go and talk to Lily. When he reached her, he saw that she was reading a book. She looked so enwrapped in it that he felt bad for interrupting her story but he only had a limited window of opportunity to talk to her.
'Where's Jones?' he asked straight away to establish how much time he had to talk to her before he would have to shut up about their date.
'She's gone to the loo.' Lily replied, a little shocked at first that someone was interrupting her reading, (no one interrupted her reading), but when she saw it was James she closed her book and turned to face him to see what he wanted. 'What's up?' she said.
'How's two o'clock tomorrow sound?' James whispered so that no one else around him but Lily could hear.
Lily couldn't help herself and smiled at him. She nodded. 'Sounds great.' she said, 'But-'
'No! No buts!' James continued quickly, his voice still a low soft whisper, 'I've get everything worked out…theoretically anyway. No one will know we're gone.' He guessed that that was Lily's worry that would have followed her 'but'. He couldn't help but notice then that she had used the word 'but' a lot over the past couple of days. He then shook his head of that thought as it wasn't particularly important.
'Ok.' Lily smiled, 'Two o'clock tomorrow.'
'Great. Now get out the prefects rota.' James said quickly.
'What?' Lily replied confused by the sudden change in conversation topic.
'I told Remus that I needed to check the prefects rota so that he wouldn't suspect anything because you want to keep everything a secret so-'
'Ok. I get it.' Lily interrupted in exasperation, grabbing her bag from the floor, 'I'll get the rota out.'
From the other side of the table, a little ways along it, Sirius looked over to where James was sat with Lily who was now rummaging through her bag. 'What's he doing over there?' Sirius asked Remus with his mouthful.
'Checking to make sure that I'm not on patrol during the full moon.' Remus replied, taking the opportunity of Sirius' momentary distraction to take some of the mound of food off of his plate and share it out between Peters and his own.
'Oh right.' Sirius said, taking a great big mouthful of mashed potatoes, 'I thought he was gonna ask her out again.'
Remus looked at Sirius in disgust as he spoke with his mouthful. He really was disgusting. Still, Remus answered him thinking of the benefits that, when he was talking, Sirius wouldn't be. 'He's not gonna ask her out again actually. He seemed deadly serious about it as well. He said that his Mum wanted him to focus on his N.E.W.T's.'
'Well that's true.' Sirius said.
'I know.' Remus replied shortly, 'He just told me.'
Sirius looked up with narrowed eyes. He was thinking of a way of payback for that retort. He was only trying to add to the conversation and his attempts were demolished. So, returning to his childish ways, Sirius punished Remus; he stuck his hand in front of his face.
Lily was sound asleep in her bed, surrounded by her dorm mates who were also sleeping. The room was still and silent except for the occasional snore from Hestia and the odd word or two from Mary MacDonald who quite often spoke in her sleep. Lily wasn't in a deep sleep though. It had taken her a while to get to sleep as she was rather excited about her date with James which was to happen the following day. No, she wasn't in a deep sleep at all, and it was a good job she wasn't.
She subconsciously felt something hovering above her face, the light under her eyelids dimming slightly. She turned over onto her side, hoping whatever it was, her imagination most likely, would stop it and let her get back to sleep but she had no such luck. She slowly opened her eyes to see what the annoyance was and, for moment, believed she was dreaming as she saw a piece of parchment floating just above her face. Then she remembered that this was Hogwarts. Things like this happen every day.
She sat up and rubbed the sleep out her eyes, fumbling for her wand on her bedside table. Once she had grabbed it, she reached out for the floating parchment, ducked under her covers so as not to wake any of her sleeping roommates and whispered, 'Lumos'. The tip of her wand began to glow and she was able to make out some words on the parchment. There were only two; 'come downstairs'.
It was the middle of the night, no time for Lily to recognise anyone's handwriting, so she had no idea who wanted her at this ungodly hour. Still, she got out of bed, put her dressing gown on, put her slippers on, put her wand in the pocket of her dressing gown, popped a mint into her mouth from the little bowl on her bedside table, ran her fingers through her deep red hair and started out of the door quietly. She crept down the spiral staircase with curiosity building in her stomach. Who would want to speak to her so urgently at this time? Her question was soon answered as he was at the bottom of the stairs, leaning against the sofa in his usual fashion.
'James?' she asked tiredly when she saw him, 'What do you want?'
'It's time for our date!' James said happily with a great big grin splashed across his face, 'Sunday. Two o'clock!'
'What?' Lily replied, pushing the sleeve back on her dressing gown to look at her watch. It was two o'clock. 'I thought you meant two in the afternoon! Not two in the bloody morning!'
'Did I miss the a.m. off? I'm sorry.' James apologised, shaking his head at his own idiocy, 'But let's go. Time for our date!' he continued. He seemed super excited about this and he should be. He had been waiting for six years.
'But I'm not dressed for a date.' Lily moaned, looking down at her pyjamas and dressing gown. She didn't want to go on their first date dressed like she was about to fall asleep when James looked so handsome. She didn't know how he did it but he always looked good. Smart yet casual. He was in all black. Black round glasses which he always wore anyway, black trousers, black shoes and a black shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Then of course there was his messy black hair but there was nothing anyone could do about that. His hair just grew that way, in a mess, and he took great pride in messing it up further by running a hand through his hair.
'You look beautiful.' James said with a smile down at her, 'Now let's go! Times a wasting!'
Lily smiled and shook her head fondly. She couldn't refuse him because he was all excited like a child. She found it sweet and, truth be told, she was rather excited too. What had James got planned for them that needed doing in the middle of the night when they would be breaking the rules? Also, there was the added bonus that no one would know they were out on a date. Unless they were caught by a teacher or something, but James had measures in place that would ensure that wouldn't happen.
'Ok let's go.' Lily said with a deep breath almost sounding reluctant. This was a big night for her. Her first date ever and with James Potter no less. Plus she was breaking the rules. James sort of brought that out in her.
She followed James through the portrait hole which was the entrance to the Gryffindor common room. They then stopped and James pulled out a ragged piece of parchment from his back pocket and unfolded it. It was the map of Hogwarts which Lily had seen the previous year when they snuck out to Hogsmeade from detention. She glanced over his shoulder and saw that everyone was in their dormitories or offices or bedrooms, leaving the halls free to roam.
James folded the parchment back up and put in back into his back pocket. He turned and smiled at Lily who was looking curiously at him. 'Shall we go?' he asked her, still smiling.
'Where?' Lily questioned.
'Well if you wait you'll find out!' James said.
Lily narrowed her eyes and tilted her head slightly. However, before she had time to retort sarcastically, she was taken completely by surprise when James grabbed her hand and started to drag her through the corridors. She ran with him, laughing as they went. She loved how excited he was and, as he was laughing and laughter was infectious, (especially James'), she couldn't help but giggle as they dashed through the empty school.
'Slow down!' Lily whispered happily as she was pulled down a flight of stairs leading to the entrance hall. 'Where are we going?' she continued to ask as James stopped her just before the large oak doors which hadn't been locked.
He let go of her hand and simply flashed a smile and a wink in reply. He then pushed the door open slightly, taking extra care to be quiet. At least that would be what he would tell you if you had asked why it took him so long to open the door. In truth, the door was really heavy and difficult to move. Once he had opened the door, he did an odd little bow and motioned Lily through the door.
Shaking her head fondly at James' daft behaviour and rolling her eyes, Lily walked out of the castle, followed by James. They walked a little ways down the slope but Lily didn't need to go any further to see what James had planned for them.
She gasped as her eyes took it all in. Next to the black lake was a small picnic blanket, set up for two, lit with blue flames in small jam jars. There was a picnic basket, over flowing with food. As they got nearer, Lily knew that there would be nothing healthy in that basket. No, instead it was filled to the brim with their favourite sweets and foods along with bottles of butterbeer. As lovely and romantic as all this was though, it wasn't what took Lily's breath away. The thing that Lily loved, that could not be topped, was stood next to a tree, glowing in the dark. It was a pure white unicorn with a sparkling single horn atop its head.
'Oh my god!' Lily said in hushed reverence, staring slightly open mouthed at the beautiful creature.
'You like it?' James asked her, standing quietly by her side with his hands in his pockets. He stared at her with a small pleased smile. He liked making her happy.
'How did you think of all this?' Lily questioned in wonder as she walked forwards slowly, drinking it all in, 'The picnic? The unicorn?'
'Well,' James began, 'the picnic because, well, I like picnics. The unicorn because last year when we were making the Felix Felicis potion - which we never got come to think of it – you said that because you didn't take care of magical creatures you never got to see a unicorn and that was something you wished you had done. So, I made it happen.'
'How?' Lily said, still in wonder at what he had done for their first date.
'Ah!' James replied, 'That would be telling. You can go and pet her if you'd like.'
'Really?' Lily said in pure excitement. She slowly approached the unicorn and began to stroke her head, careful to avoid her horn.
This was amazing to her. Since she had found out she was a witch and had learnt from Severus when they were eleven that there was such a thing as unicorns, she had wanted to see one. Maybe it was just a girl thing but finding out that the mythical creature from her muggle books was really real excited her. There was just something so enchanting about a unicorn. It was almost as if the wizarding world wouldn't have seemed real if there were no unicorns in it. Something so pure and magical, how could they not exist in a world full of dragons and goblins, witches and wizards?
James went and sat on the picnic blanket that he had laid out just a short distance away from the bank of the black lake. In the light of the blue flames that he had created an hour earlier whilst setting everything up, he watched Lily with the unicorn. She looked so happy he loved it. Her smile was radiant to him and it never faded as she petted the pure white creature. He had to wait ten minutes for her to realise that he was staring at her at which point she kissed the unicorn on its forehead and skipped over to sit next to him.
'I still can't believe you did this.' she said as she sat down beside him, looking back over her shoulder at the unicorn that was still just stood calmly by the tree.
'Well,' James said as he reached into the picnic basket and pulled her out a bottle of butterbeer, 'I did say last year that I am full of surprises.'
'And you do not disappoint.' Lily laughed. She graciously took the butterbeer from James and took a swig. There was a moment's pause when neither of them knew what to do. In the end, Lily voiced this. 'This is a little weird isn't it?' she asked him.
He shrugged. 'Just a little. I think it's because we were friends before and practically enemies before that and this is just a completely different level.'
'Yeah.' Lily agreed with a little laugh at the enemies comment, 'Also, I've never been on a date before.'
'I have.' James said with an absentminded nod, thinking back over it.
'You have?' Lily asked a tiny bit hurt because she had believed that he also hadn't dated anyone before. He had always turned the people who asked him out down, much like she had always done with him.
'Yeah.' he continued, taking a drink of his butterbeer, 'With Sirius.'
'What?' Lily said in shock, her eyes widening and a tiny disbelieving laugh coming out in her voice. That she was not expecting.
'No, no!' James replied laughing also as he realised what he had said and what she obviously must have heard, 'It was Sirius who had the date. I was just sort of…there. So were Remus and Pete of course. I've never had a date of my own. I've just been on lots of Sirius'.'
'Oh right!' she said in relief, 'So what does he do on dates?' she continued to ask, wondering if there was a sort of protocol that needed to be followed.
'Oh I'd never do what he does on dates.' James said with a shake of his head, leaning back on his elbows. He would never do what Sirius did on his dates because, as much as he loved his best friend and basically brother, he did think that the way he treated girls, not just on dates but in general, was mean. 'What he does,' James went on to explain, 'is drags us with him so he doesn't have to be alone with the girl or talk to her. Sit in front of us in the three broomsticks snogging for a while. Order food. Snog some more. Pretend he forgot his wallet. Make the girl pay for his dinner. And then say, 'this isn't really working out for me', and leaves.'
'That's awful!' Lily recoiled. How could someone treat another person like that? It was despicable.
'Yeah it is.' James nodded.
'How can you be friends with someone like that?' Lily asked, extremely intrigued by James' friendship with the other marauders. It was just so strong. It was kind of amazing.
'Just always have been.' James replied, shrugging again. 'I was friends with him before he started to do that. That stuff only started to happen in third year when we were technically allowed to go to Hogsmeade.'
Lily shook her head fondly. She knew what this meant. 'So you'd been to Hogsmeade before we were allowed.'
James didn't answer. Instead he smiled mischievously and raised his eyebrows once, answering her question with that.
'I should've known.' she said with a single breathless laugh. 'So why are you four such good friends?' she continued to ask him, tilting her head to the side slightly.
'What do you mean?' James asked as he rummaged through the picnic basket and handed her a box of her favourite sweets; exploding strawberry bon-bons.
'Well,' Lily began, 'you four have been friends ever since our first year at school. You've kept that friendship going for six years now and even when you did fall out with Black you never really fell out with him because you kept him around. I'm just curious as to how you've been able to do that. I mean, when I first came to school, I was friends with Snape and now I'm not. In my first and second year I was closer to Emmeline than I was to Hestia and she was closest with Mary and Alice. Then it all kind of switched in our third year. We meshed together as one big group but that didn't really work so we all broke off and I ended up being best friends with Hestia from fourth year to now. How did you guys not have as much drama?'
'Well, first off, we're not girls!' James joked, receiving a playful hit on his arm from Lily, 'I'm not sure really.' James continued, knowing exactly why they were able to stay such good friends but also knowing that he wasn't going to be telling Lily that. He may be lying to his friends about going out with her but he would never breech their friendship to the level that he revealed their secret.
'It's like something binds you together.' Lily continued, 'Like you all have a secret that you share in.'
James sighed. 'Not really.' he lied, 'I mean we have the map which was kind of a secret, I have the cloak which was also a secret, but we don't really mind if people find out about those things. If someone needs to use them like we did when we needed to get across Hogsmeade during that battle or out tonight, then we don't mind showing them to people. It's just easier when people don't know. Plus it adds to the mystery of how we pull most of our pranks off.'
'Do you have any other secrets like that?' she asked him, sensing that there was more there then he was telling.
'Now if we did and I told you they wouldn't be secrets anymore would they?' James winked, 'And there'd be no allure for you to keep going out with me.' he added with a smile.
Lily smiled in return, blushing slightly. She couldn't help it. It was just her complexion. She popped an exploding bon-bon in her mouth and felt the familiar popping sensation that came with it. They were her favourite sweets. How James knew she didn't know but, after she glanced over at the unicorn again, (who was still just stood there extremely docile and unmoving), she just thought she had mentioned it at some point and he had remembered.
'So what about you then?' James asked her.
'What about me?' she replied in question.
'Well,' James continued, sitting up and leaning forwards, 'on dates you're supposed to learn about the other person and get to know each other. I mean, I'm no expert but at least I assume that's what dates are for. So, I want to get to know you.'
'You already know me.' Lily pointed out, 'Hi. I'm Lily.' she joked, holding out her hand in a hand shake.
James laughed and took her hand to shake it. After he had shaken her hand though, he didn't let go. He held it and brought their entwined hands down so that they were resting on the ground. 'I meant I want to get to know you better.'
'Oh right!' Lily said in a mockingly sarcastic way before returning to normal, not even attempting to take her hand out of James'. 'What do you want to know?' she asked.
'Well,' James began, not really having any idea of what to say, 'how about your family?'
'Ok.' Lily said.
So Lily began to tell James about her family and he listened to her intently, drinking up everything she said eager to learn more about her and what made her who she was. She told him that she had no aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents and that she lived with her mum, her dad and her sister. She told him that her mum worked part-time at the local post office behind the counter and that her dad worked as an accountant for a small firm which she had never really taken notice of what the name was. (James laughed at this.) Then she continued to tell him about her sister, a subject she could have prattled on all day about if she wanted too. She told him how close they were when they were little and how her sister wouldn't even look at her anymore without a look of contempt. She poured out to him about her sister's upcoming nuptials with her fiancé Vernon and how she still wasn't invited to the wedding and how deeply this hurt her.
And he listened to her. He listened to all of this and asked questions where he could. He asked her more about her dad's job as an accountant because he had never heard of that occupation before. He asked her more about the personalities of her parents to which he got the answer, 'Mum's a softie but Dad's extremely protective and likes tradition.' He asked her about her sister and whether she believed that Petunia would ever forgive Lily for looking at the letter that Dumbledore had sent her. (Lily didn't think so.) Then he asked her about her sister's fiancé to which she rolled her eyes and shook her head in answer. The conversation about her family ended there.
It was then Lily's turn to ask the questions. She asked about James' family to which he was a bit reluctant to answer. He didn't really talk about his family much being a very private person. In the end he gave in to her and did tell her some information about his family but not everything. He only really spoke about his relatives and their personalities along with his childhood. She was blissfully unaware about the Potter's status in the wizarding world and for that, he was truly thankful. That meant that she, unlike half the girls who chased after him, liked him for him and not what his family had. Not that he had any doubts.
He told her that he was an only child with no grandparents but one uncle on his mother's side who had passed away. He told her that he was very close with his parents when he was younger and that they had spent as much time as possible together because he was so special to them. He went on to explain after this that they had thought they couldn't have children in case she thought he was just being arrogant again. He then told her that they had grown apart when he started Hogwarts and that his parents had dove into work because of Voldemort's uprising. He continued to say that they had stopped dropping him off to platform nine and three quarters and had stopped picking him up in his third year and that when he returned home for the summer, he was lucky if he got to spend any time with them at all apart from a hello and a goodbye in the morning. After this he told her about his dad's death last Christmas to which she had nothing but sympathy for.
Just like he had with her, she listened to him and she asked questions about things she was curious about. She asked him what his dad used to do and what his mum does now. He told her that his mother was a healer at St Mungo's and that his dad used to be an auror. From this they both learnt what the other wanted to be when they left Hogwarts; Lily wanted to be a healer and James an auror. Lily was relieved to find out that he had actually got a profession in mind. She did wonder whether he was just going to become a full time prankster. She then asked him about something she had been extremely curious about; Sirius Black living with him.
James told her how that came about. Not the extreme details of what went on in Sirius' home with his family because he had told him that in the strictest confidence and the last thing he wanted to do was betray his confidence. All he told her was that Sirius had come to live with him and his parents for the summer on his sixteenth birthday and then officially on his seventeenth birthday. He told her that they had welcomed him with open arms. He also told her that he wasn't going to tell her any more than that because it was Sirius' business not his and definitely not hers. She fully respected this and respected James for it as well. It showed that he was a trustworthy person.
After they had covered their families they went on to just talk. James asked Lily questions which she answered truthfully and vice-versa. They discovered each other's likes and dislikes from the obvious, (James loving Quidditch and Lily enjoying school), to the just plain weird.
'You don't like cereal?' James asked her as he helped her up. The sun was rising now and they had to get back to their dormitories before anybody noticed they were gone. He waved his wand and everything jumped into the picnic basket. They had eaten and drunk most of what James had packed so everything fit in neatly now. 'I'm sure I've seen you eat cereal before.' he continued as he picked the picnic basket up.
'I've got no problem with cereal it's the powdery stuff at the bottom of the box.' Lily clarified with a smile.
'That's odd.' James laughed good-naturedly, loving her little quirks, 'You might want to go tell the unicorn she can go. Unicorns don't really like men.' he added on a different note.
'What?' Lily questioned as she walked over to the unicorn, told her to go, watched her gallop off and walked back to James, 'I have two questions there. One, you really consider yourself a man? And two, how did you get the unicorn here if they don't like men?'
'Well,' James said as Lily walked back over to him, 'you answered the first question yourself and I'm not telling you how I got the unicorn here. I need a little mystery!'
Lily laughed as James took her hand and the pair of them walked slowly back up to the castle. They carried on talking as they strolled through the school, taking as long as they possibly could. They had both had such a good time they wanted to prolong the end of their date as long as possible. They hadn't stopped talking the entire night. Their conversation had never lagged or dropped and by the time they reached the common room, at the bottom of the spiral staircases that lead to their dormitory's, there was only one question left to ask.
'So,' James began, looking deep into her emerald green eyes, 'are we going to do this again?'
Lily took a deep breath and nodded. 'Definitely.' she said, 'But I still don't want to tell anyone yet.'
'Fair enough.' James replied, 'We'll keep it a secret until you decide you want to tell.'
'Thank you.' Lily said with a beautiful smile. Then it was slightly awkward. Ends usually are. 'So…good night.'
Their hands were still entwined and James smiled in return to Lily. With his free hand, he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear, leant forwards towards her and gave her a simple kiss on the cheek. When he pulled back, he saw that she was blushing and beaming. 'Good night.' he said as she turned, still smiling, and walked up the spiral staircase to her dormitory. He watched her go, his spirits elated. For him, and for her too, (he hoped), this had been a perfect first date.
Thanks for reading!