Five Minutes

Chapter 69

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 readers!

Just an answer to a question left in a review, (thanks for the reviews by the way! :D ), Linda the house elf died of natural causes. I didn't want to make her death anything to do with Voldemort or the death eaters because I didn't want to do a Dobbyesque death for her. I think Dobby had a hero's death and didn't want to emulate it in anyway so I just thought I'd leave that situation alone. Hope that answers your question. :)

Anyway, heres Chapter Sixty-Nine, and it's only this chapter today guys. Sorry.

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Sixty-Nine

'Shit!' James swore as he skidded to a halt at the entrance to the library. Remus, Sirius and Peter weren't far behind him and as James spotted Lily, so did they.

She was marching up to Severus Snape who was just sat staring at her watching her walk towards him. He didn't know what was coming. Nobody did. Nobody in the general vicinity expected their head girl to stroll up to her ex-best friend and slap him clean across the face leaving a small red hand print where her hand had made contact with his sallow cheeks.

James rushed over to her, Remus, Sirius and Peter hot on his tail. James just wanted to get Lily out of there before she did something she would regret like curse Severus Snape. James was regretting telling her anything in the first place. If it wasn't for that damn look, half the library wouldn't be watching them right now, hoping for a fight.

'You coward!' Lily was saying angrily to Severus as James arrived at the table.

He tried to take her arm to lead her away but she pulled out of his hold.

'You were all too happy to throw him to the wolves but god forbid you actually tell me the full extent of your involvement in this!' Lily snapped at him as Severus threw a glare at James who didn't seem to notice.

'What's going on?' Sirius asked with an urgent tone. He Remus and Peter still had no idea what was actually wrong. They were all heavily curious as to why Lily had slapped Severus. What had James told her that would make her that angry at him?

'Lily, please let's go.' James whispered to her, trying to take her arm again to lead her out but, once more, she pulled away from him.

'You don't know?' she asked Sirius astounded, ignoring James.

'No.' Sirius shook his head.

'Lily come on.' James tried again, 'It's not worth it.'

'Potter trying to be noble?' Severus asked snidely, still glaring at James and earning himself another angry look from Lily.

'No I'm trying to stop this lot from kicking your arse.' James muttered to him through gritted teeth, the ungrateful git.

'What's going on?' Sirius asked again.

James couldn't stop her.

'Snape used that god awful curse he made up on James.' she stated looking at Sirius before turning her head to harshly glare at Severus as she added, 'Twice.'

'Technically once-' James tried to put in.

'What curse?' Remus questioned warily.

'It doesn't matter.' James said with a shake of his head. He had told Lily and she had slapped Severus, but if Sirius knew, Severus would be lucky to live. And it wasn't like Remus or Peter would make any attempt to stop him. Plus, if news of what Severus had done got Remus angry enough, there was nothing to say that he wouldn't lend Sirius a hand, especially as they were quite close to the full moon. He'd still rather they not know. Lily had other ideas.

'The one he used on Avery in potions.' Lily told them.

Sirius, Remus and Peter all looked shocked. James had told them no such thing. The three of them looked to James, unable to believe it as James hadn't mentioned anything. They looked to him for confirmation, as if they'd never believe it if he didn't confirm it for them. When they looked at him though, he didn't need to confirm it. They could tell. All James did was roll his eyes and look away but they could tell. They all looked back to Severus who was looking sickly proud of himself. Double confirmation.

'You git!' Sirius said. He seemed calm but James knew otherwise.

'Remus, Peter, get him out of here.' James instructed his other two friends. They didn't move. Remus looked disappointed in James whilst Peter just looked a little bit scared.

'You could have killed him!' Sirius yelled, the calm that he had been faking disappearing instantly. He looked murderous, a look which wasn't helped when Severus decided to comment.

'Good.' Severus sneered.

'Remus!' James said warningly to Remus who stopped his disappointed gaze long enough to notice that Sirius was getting ready to take his wand out. Remus got there first and took Sirius' wand off of him, chucking it reluctantly to James, who pocketed it, before dragging Sirius out of the library with Peter's help as James wanted him to do.

James turned his attentions back to Lily who looked furious, shaking her head at Severus.

'How could you do such a thing?' she asked Severus, an angry expression on her face, her eyes narrowed in question.

Severus didn't answer.

'Lily leave it.' James said gently, 'He cursed me I cursed him. We're even.'

'He did more than curse me.' Severus spat, finally standing up when James spoke so that he could at least try to level him and stand his ground. He sneered at James, his lip curled upwards at one corner.

'Oh for Merlin sakes shut up Snivellus.' James said in exasperation, 'I'm trying to help you here.'

'I don't need your help!' Severus spat.

'Unless you want to be cursed by and angry red head, yeah you do.' James said in an obvious way, a note of sarcasm in his voice.

'I'm not gonna curse him.' Lily stated defiantly. She wasn't like that. She wouldn't curse someone just because she was angry or upset with them or, as James did, just because they were there.

'Good now let's go.' James replied, taking her arm more forcefully this time and assertively steering her towards the exit of the library and away from all the eyes that were still looking at them.

'No.' Lily said as James pulled her away.

'Lily-'

'No.' Lily repeated, snatching her arm out of James' hold as she had done before. 'I'll say my peace James and then I'll leave.' she continued, turning around and walking strongly back over to Severus who had sat back down in despair.

James sighed. 'Lily it's not worth it-'

'Prongs!' came Sirius' voice from the entrance to the library, 'Give me my wand!'

'Remus! I said get him out of here.' James shouted across to Remus who entered the library after Sirius, trying to retrieve him even before James had said anything.

'I'll curse the snivelling slime-ball!' Sirius yelled.

'Remus!' James said, as Remus grabbed Sirius' collar and pulled him out of the library by it.

James rolled his eyes at the situation he had created. This was exactly why he hadn't wanted to tell anyone. Damn Lily and that look, that very dangerous look of hers. He looked for her now and saw a different look in her eyes. It was one that he had never seen before on her, not even when she had hated him and told him off. There was a different glint in her eye and, although this was definitely not the look she gave James, it was still very dangerous.

'Lily-' James started as he approached where she was leaning over Severus Snape threateningly.

'If I ever find out that you've used that despicable curse on anyone ever again, whether it's James, Avery, a Hufflepuff first year or Voldemort himself, you won't be worried about James cursing you anymore. He'll be the least of your worries.' Lily said in a deathly quiet warning whisper to Severus.

'Lily-' James began again.

'And if he curses me again?' Severus questioned.

'Then take it.' Lily said defiantly, standing up, completely serious.

'What?' Severus snapped.

'What?' James asked.

Lily looked to James. 'Curse him all you like' she said. She turned to look at Severus to add, 'I simply don't care.' before stalking out of the library.

Both boys stood there shocked. Both for different reasons.

James was shocked because Lily had just given him permission to freely curse her ex-best friend. His Lily would never say that. So was she his Lily still, after all this? Did she still want to be with him when she knew that he had returned to his old ways, the ways she had hated? He desperately hoped she did. He would do anything. He knew. He couldn't be without her now. He couldn't go back.

Severus couldn't go back either. For almost two years now he had been clinging to the last dregs of his friendship with Lily, planning, scheming, trying to get her back. But nothing had worked. And his last attempt had failed miserably because James Potter had told her more that Severus had wanted her to know. And now Severus knew. Now he had to accept it. Lily would never be his friend ever again. James Potter had infiltrated her mind, body, heart and soul and she was now intoxicated by him. So much so that Severus knew he would now never be able to draw his Lily out again. Lily was now James Potters. Completely.

'Well Potter.' Severus said, breaking the shocked silent state that the pair of them had been in from Lily's last words, 'Seems like you've won.'

'Won?' James blinked, an appalled expression on his face that Severus would even think that. 'Lily's not a prize to be won Snape.' he said, 'Believe me, this is not winning.'

'But you've finally got your way.' Severus sneered angrily, 'She's no longer my friend because of you.'

'That was because of you.' James reminded him, 'I had no say in that. Lily makes her own decisions in case you've forgotten.'

'You can't say it's not what you wanted though.' Severus replied.

Neither one of the boys had drawn their wands. For the first time in their lives, for the last time in their lives, they just stood their conversing, both too dazed to do anything more than exchange words.

'What I wanted?' James laughed in disbelief, 'If I got what I wanted you'd leave her alone and accept that she's no longer interested in being your friend. She hasn't been for almost two years now. Accept it. She won't change her mind.'

'Again, isn't that what you wanted?' Severus asked him testily his eyebrows furrowing in an angry frown.

'No.' James stated simply, 'If I got what I wanted she wouldn't have ever acknowledged your existence in the first place. In fact if I got what I wanted you wouldn't exist at all.'

'Then do it!' Severus said suddenly, getting his own wand out and offering it to James, 'Give it a go! She's given you permission now.'

James looked down at Severus' wand. It was black and James couldn't help but think it suited his personality. He breathed deeply. He could easily take his wand and curse him with no ramifications except the gossip that would circulate around the school. But he didn't. For Lily.

'I don't need permission and she didn't mean that.' James said, pushing Severus' wand away, 'And I'm not gonna give you the satisfaction.'

James walked out of the library actually proud of himself because for the first time in a while, he hadn't risen to Severus' bait. He had done what Lily had told him to do and he had been the bigger person and walked away. He stepped out in to the corridor and immediately looked for Lily. She was pacing slightly.

'Lily.' he said, capturing her shoulders and turning her to face him. He looked into her eyes with apology and question.

'It's all right.' Lily said placing a soft hand on his cheek which told James not to worry about their relationship.

He closed his eyes at her touch, painfully wondering how close he would have been to losing her if their argument hadn't ended the way it had.

'We're ok.' Lily continued before pressing a soft kiss to his lips and walking away.

James opened his eyes and watched her go. She was still his. They we're ok.

'We're not.' Sirius said from behind him.

James turned to look over his shoulder. All three of his friends looked bewildered, betrayed and beyond disappointed that he hadn't told them about this, all stood with their arms folded over their chests. He looked between these faces and Lily's retreating figure. He looked at the ground and made his decision. He walked after Lily.

A week later, James was sat with Lily and Hestia in the library. He had been hanging around with them instead of Remus, Sirius and Peter having been able to successfully evade them for the past seven days. He still had not explained why he hadn't told them about the curse that Severus had thrown at him and he didn't want to. He didn't fancy being subjected to a load of irritated questions to which they would never like the feeble answers he was prepared to give. He knew that whatever explanation he gave would just be weak and not a good reason for there wasn't any good reason behind it. So he saw no point. He decided to just wait until they seemed like they were over it. Plus, getting to spend more time with Lily was a great incentive to wait his friend's annoyance out, even if the time he spent with her was filled by studying.

Strangely, James wasn't too fussed about studying. He didn't mind it. Sure it was never something he willingly chose to do but, as Lily wouldn't distract him the way he wanted her too, he thought he'd give it a go. And he was actually doing it. Not just pretending like he had done any time previously. At the moment, he was reading his Transfiguration book. If he was going to study, he'd study something he liked.

Lily on the other hand, wasn't studying. Yes it had been her suggestion for them to spend their free period studying rather than engaging in other activities like James had suggested, but she wasn't revising. All because James was. She hadn't actually expected him to study. She thought he'd just sit there doodling, running his hand through his hair as he usually did and occasionally glancing at her with that faraway look in his eyes that she had been noticing more and more these days. Hestia had told her what that look meant but she didn't believe her. She wanted too, it was just hard to think that James…well it was just hard to believe. Nevertheless, the fact that he had actually cracked open a book and was really reading it, for some strange reason, unnerved Lily. It shouldn't have as that was what she had been trying to get him to do since they returned from the Christmas holidays as their N.E.W.T's were only a few short months away, but it did. It wasn't the sort of behaviour she usually saw her boyfriend exhibiting.

'You're studying.' Lily said.

'Well done.' James replied in a quiet monotone, 'Always knew you were smart.'

'You never study.' Lily pointed out.

'Again,' James started with a sigh, looking up into her eyes now with a smirk, 'very observant. If you don't pass your N.E.W.T's it'll be a crime.'

Lily ignored his smirk. She knew him well enough by now to know that he had different kind of smirks and that that particular expression was hiding something. She knew what it was about; his avoidance of his friends. But she didn't say that. She thought she'd give him the courtesy of telling her himself. 'What's wrong?' she asked him, tilting her head to the side.

James looked back down to his book, knowing that if he didn't he would be entranced by her eyes, he would feel that tug and pull sensation and he would be powerless. He didn't want to be powerless. He thought he had lost enough of his pride this week and his ego was bruised enough already because he knew. He knew and it made him weak to her, for her. He just hadn't found the right time to tell her yet. Now was not the time. So he simply replied with, 'Why does anything have to be wrong?' as his eyes skimmed over his text book, taking in none of the words whatsoever.

'Because you're studying and you never study.' Lily said as if it was obvious. And it was. James never studied. He didn't need to.

James didn't answer. He just simply turned the page in his Transfiguration book and couldn't help but think that his suggestion of how they spent their free period together would have been much more fun and a lot less frustrating.

Lily bit her lip, waiting for a reply from James which never came. She looked over to Hestia who, although had got everything set out and ready to revise, had thought that sitting with her feet up on the chair next to her and painting her toenails would be a much better use of her time and the library's facilities. Hestia looked back at her and shrugged, giving Lily no help at all. Lily rolled her eyes and turned back to James. 'You're doing it to distract yourself.' she stated matter of factly.

'I wouldn't need to distract myself if you'd just distract me instead.' James said to her, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips as he glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes.

'But then you'd stop studying.' Lily replied.

'I'm gonna stop studying now anyway.' James said suddenly, closing up his book and tossing it across the table to the space just in front of Hestia who looked up from her very busy agenda of painting her nails to watch the couple in front of her. James then put his arm around the back of Lily's chair and leaned into her so that their faces were merely a couple of inches apart. He looked deep into her eyes. 'Staring at you is much more interesting.' he said in a hot breathy whisper.

Lily's heart started to beat a bit faster and, as seemed to be the norm these days with her. Her stomach swooped as she breathed in the beech wood smell of him. She looked back into his warm hazel eyes, framed by his round-framed glasses. She felt herself turning pink. 'You'll make me blush.' she told him.

'Good.' James said, tucking a strand of her deep red hair behind her ear, 'I like it when you blush. Your eyes become more vibrant.'

'What?' she asked him. Lily's stomach was somersaulting so much she felt as if there was an acrobat from a circus setting up a practice studio inside her. That was a very odd thought. No wonder James kept telling her she was weird. She was weird when she had thoughts like that. Still, he wasn't looking at her like she was weird now though. Not at all. The look he was giving her was turning her pinker, she could tell.

'They do.' James continued, stroking her cheek gently with the back of his fingers before moving his index finger to trace the line of her lips. 'It's something I love about you.' he went on.

Lily's mouth fell open slightly, her breath now tickling James' fingers as he continued to trace the lips. Her heart exploded as he said that. She glanced at Hestia who gave her an 'I told you so' look, but she ignored it and looked back at James who immediately stared into her eyes.

Don't kid yourself Lily! she told herself sternly, He didn't say it about you he said it about your eyes. He's probably said that about lots of people's eyes before. Don't read anything into it.

Still, she couldn't help but wonder. Take one word out of his sentence and he had said it. And that was all Lily needed to realise before knowing herself. She knew. She could also probably pinpoint the moment it had started to happen, the moment she had started to fall. But she couldn't tell him. Not when she didn't know if he felt the same way.

'I've got to go.' James said suddenly, averting his gaze away from her eyes where he had been entranced for the past five minutes, his hand on her cheek, his thumb taking over tracing her lips. He stopped that now and stood up.

'What?' Lily asked. 'Why? Where?' she went on, cursing herself for sounding so needy.

James smiled at her and leant down to press a soft kiss to her lips before standing up to say, 'Bye.' Then he left.

James walked out of the library thinking himself an utter coward. Cowardice seemed to be the theme of the week for him. He even couldn't man up enough to face his friends and just give them his feeble explanations even though he knew they'd never accept them. If he couldn't do that, how was he supposed to tell Lily he knew? It might have been easier for him if Hestia hadn't been sat across from them giving suggestive looks out as if they were sweets. Still, there was no denying it, he had been given an opening, the perfect opportunity and he had wasted it. He cursed himself internally.

You complete chicken! he told himself, It's three words. Three tiny little words. I. Love. You. That's all you needed to say. Lily, I love you. How hard is that?

He shook his head at himself and continued to walk down the corridor, stopping for nothing, feeling like nothing more than a walk in the rain, the gentle drizzle that was settling itself outside in a spring-time shower. He didn't' even stop when he heard Sirius shouting out his name behind him. If anything, he walked faster.

'Prongs!' Sirius shouted after James, he, Remus and Peter speeding up to try and catch him up. 'Prongs!' he yelled again.

Still James didn't stop. He carried on walking, wondering how on earth they had found him. He had the map so they had no idea of knowing where he was. How he wished now he had had the courage to tell Lily how he felt, then he could still be in the library with her rather than being chased down by his friends.

Sirius was becoming irate now, not liking it when James ignored him. So he tried a different approach. 'Oi! James!' he called, using his real name before throwing out a shield charm to the space just ahead of James so that he would walk into it and stop, not being able to go any further until Sirius took it down.

James walked into the shield charm. Twice, just to see if he could pass through the second time. When he couldn't, he turned around to say, 'Dude!' to Sirius in annoyance.

'Well you didn't stop.' Sirius stated, tucking his wand back into his back pocket as he Remus and Peter came to a halt in front of James.

'For a reason.' James replied, pulling his bag up onto his shoulder and shoving his hands in his pockets before walking away in the opposite direction.

'Why are you avoiding us?' Sirius asked him. He, Remus and Peter walked along side James, matching his speed.

'Who said I was?' James answered.

'The fact that every time we've tried to talk to you over the past week you've walked away.' Remus pointed out, 'That's the definition of avoidance.'

'So what?' James sighed, rolling his eyes.

'So why are you avoiding us?' Sirius questioned.

James sighed again as he came to a halt. He hung his head back momentarily before turning around to face his friends, who were stood around him in a semi-circle, and saying, 'Cause I don't fancy standing around whilst you lot gang up on me for not telling you that Snivellus…well, you know.'

'No we don't.' Sirius put in immediately, his irritation with James clear to hear.

Remus, however, was calmer. 'We're not ganging up on you James.' he said smoothly, trying to keep civility in the conversation. Sirius still had other ideas.

'You haven't told us why you didn't tell us what that slime-ball did to you.' he went on as if Remus had said nothing, 'We asked you on the day and-'

'Sirius.' Remus cut in harshly to get Sirius to shut up. James would tell them nothing if he felt like they were badgering him into a confession of sorts.

'What?' Sirius asked arrogantly, 'I want to know why he didn't tell us.' he continued to Remus before turning to James who, surprisingly, was still standing in front of them. 'You tell us everything.' Sirius stated.

'No I don't.' James replied.

'Yes you do!' Sirius combatted.

'No I don't!' James stated in exasperation, 'I don't have to share every detail of my life with you Sirius!'

'Yes you do!' Sirius countered, 'We're best friends!' he said, as if that was the only point that needed to be known.

'Doesn't mean I have to tell you everything.' James replied.

'Yes you do!' Sirius went on, 'We signed a contract.'

James paused, looking at Sirius in confused incredulity. 'No we didn't.' he said.

Sirius also paused. 'Oh yeah…' he said in remembrance before brushing it under the rug, 'Well we should have signed a contract. Complete disclosure.' he ended proudly.

'Complete disclosure?' Remus questioned.

'Yeah.' Sirius grinned, turning to face Remus, taking his eyes off of James for the tiniest split second, 'Learnt it just for this.'

Remus rolled his eyes and shook his head in exhaustion. 'Instead of doing that maybe you should have been focusing on-'

'Prongs?' Sirius cut in. In the brief moment where he had turned his gaze to Remus, boasting about the new turn of phrase he had learnt, James had quietly disappeared, a skill which he had perfected over the years. 'Where'd he go?' Sirius asked both the remaining marauders; Remus and Peter.

'He walked that way.' Peter stated, pointing in the direction which James had casually strolled away in.

'Why didn't you stop him Wormy?' Sirius snapped, immediately setting off after James, tired of him just up and leaving when he wanted to talk to him.

'How was he supposed to stop him?' Remus asked with a sigh, following Sirius and motioning for Peter to do the same. They turned a corner and came into the corridor which James was walking along.

'Watch and learn.' Sirius said, whipping his wand out, throwing it in the air once and catching it fluently before effortlessly tossing out a sticking charm to the spot where James was walking. 'See.' he continued, summoning James' wand to himself non-verbally, 'Like that.'

James tried to move his feet. He couldn't. He looked over to Sirius frustratedly. 'Take this off.' he told him demandingly.

'No.' Sirius refused, tucking James' wand in his own back pocket so that he couldn't reach it, 'Not till you talk to us.'

'I don't want to.' James replied, running a frustrated hand through his hair.

'Why not?' Sirius pressed on.

'Because I don't want to!' James snapped back.

There was a pause where Sirius shook his head at James with narrowed eyes. If there was one thing Sirius couldn't stand, it was James snapping at him. He was his best friend and when he snapped at him, it hurt his feelings. He could cope with being yelled at, berated, cursed, being given detentions and any dirty looks that were thrown his way by anyone else, but if James did it, it was a whole other level of meaning to it. He didn't like it.

Remus broke the silence. 'James we're not mad at you or anything.' he said in a soothing and mature voice which should have calmed the situation.

'Speak for yourself.' Sirius scoffed, unable to help himself, folding his arms in an annoyed manner over his chest.

'We're not.' Remus said, turning to Sirius and giving him a warning look. James would say nothing if he felt cornered or that they were mad at him. And Sirius needed to realise this so Remus gave him a look to remind him of the fact, a look which ended with Sirius conceding. Remus turned back to James and went on. 'We just don't understand why you didn't tell us.'

'We could have helped you kick is arse-' Sirius said.

'We could have told Dumbledore for you.' Remus put in in an interruption.

'No.' James said, snapping again, 'See. That's exactly why I didn't tell you. I know what each of you would have done.' He turned to Sirius. 'You'd have gone off, hell-bent on revenge.' he said to him. He turned to Remus. 'You'd have tried to get me to tell Dumbledore.' he told him. He turned to Peter lastly. 'And you'd have…well I'm not actually sure what you would've have done.' he ended, a small look of confusion flickering across his face briefly before he turned back to Remus and Sirius to say, 'In fact, if I was going to tell any of you anything, it would have been Wormy.'

Peter looked proud of himself.

'Why?' Sirius retorted in disbelief shooting a slightly disgusted look at Peter, 'He wouldn't have done anything.'

Peter retreated slightly to James' side away from Sirius', as if he needed protection from him and James was the one who could give it to him.

'Exactly.' James said, ignoring Peters move towards him. It wasn't like he could move away anyway, even if he had noticed. He was still stuck to the floor where he was thanks to Sirius' sticking charm. Sirius was good at those. He'd cast a load of permanent ones in Grimmauld place before he had run away. James knew he hadn't cast a permanent one on him but it sure felt like it. It was strong.

'What?' Sirius asked in confusion

'I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to do anything.' James explained, giving out the feeble reason he had to his friends, finally, 'I didn't want to do anything about it.'

'But you hexed him earlier this week. Before you told Lily what he had done.' Remus stated.

'That was for a different reason.' James said with a shake of his head, shrugging it off.

'What reason?' Sirius demanded.

'Just a different reason ok?' James replied, starting to lose the calm he had forced over himself at thinking about this. Thinking about the mental torture Severus had given him from when he had almost kissed Lily in the library and she hadn't, as Severus had kindly pointed out to James, pulled away. 'It doesn't concern you.' James continued.

'Does it concern Lily?' Sirius asked.

'Yes. Alright.' James snapped, 'And I'm not gonna tell you what it is so drop it.' He hadn't told his friends of Severus' and Lily's encounter in the library, the one they had had the time before, the time before she had slapped him. He didn't want them to know of his jealousy. He had only just gotten over his pride enough to admit it to Lily. His ego wouldn't let him admit anything of the sort to his friends.

Sirius looked at James dead in the eyes and James stared back, both boys being stubborn and wanting the other to give in first, to get their own way. In the end, James won.

'Fine.' he grumbled moodily, folding his arms and looking away huffily from James as if he were nothing more than a five year old.

'So why didn't you want to do anything about him using that curse you before?' Remus said, continuing the conversation from before.

'What would be the point?' James shrugged.

'His expulsion?' Remus suggested, though he knew what James would say to that. Even if it was Severus Snape and he had used a curse on him that could have killed him. James would never want to be the cause of someone's expulsion. He'd much rather be expelled himself, and there were a few time which he had been close to being so.

'No.' James said, as Remus knew he would, 'I wasn't gonna be responsible for that and I got healed anyway so does it really matter?'

'Yes.' Sirius put in, scoffing slightly, 'And that excuse is stupid.'

'Sirius.' Remus warned. He really wasn't helping matters.

'Why didn't you tell us before?' he interrogated James.

'Because I didn't.' James replied, the calm of talking to Remus disappearing and the irritation of talking to Sirius coming out.

'Because of Lily?' Sirius said.

'Yes ok!' James broke, snapping once more at his best friend because he had riled him into a confession. 'Because of Lily.' James repeated, 'Because I worked so hard to get her to be my friend that year and I didn't want anything to ruin it.'

'You telling us wouldn't have-'

'Yes it would have.' James breathed bringing his hand to his forehead, 'And even if it didn't, I didn't want to risk it at the time and afterwards it seemed pointless.'

'Not pointless.' Sirius muttered stubbornly.

James brought his hand down from his forehead. 'She used to be his best friend.' he spoke slowly, emphasising a point which he hated to admit, 'That doesn't just go away. And if I had told you and you'd have got Snape back and you'd have told Dumbledore, if we'd have gotten him expelled, who's to say that she would have still gone out with me this year?' he challenged them. A question which was impossible to answer for no one knew the answer and short of a very special time turner which could take them back months, they would never find out.

'But you've told her now.' Peter said meekly, contributing his first words to the conversation.

'And you're fine.' Sirius continued.

'You've not broken up.' Remus pointed out.

'I know that.' James said through slightly gritted teeth, trying desperately to ensure he didn't lose his cool again. But Sirius didn't make it easy.

'If you could tell her why couldn't you tell us?' he asked of James demandingly.

'She asked.' James replied simply running a hand through his hair.

'We asked.' Sirius retorted.

James shook his head. 'You don't get it.' he said.

'No I don't. Sirius replied plainly.

'She asked.' James blurted out, pushing his glasses into the bridge of his nose repeatedly, 'When she asked…I can't…I'm…ahh…'

Sirius leaned over to Remus. 'I think he's gone mad.' he whispered loudly.

'No.' Remus began, clicking into what was really going on with James now. He looked at him questioningly before carrying on with, 'He's in-' before being cut off by a look from him.

James had shot Remus a warning look, not to finish that sentence. He hadn't told Lily this yet; he didn't want to tell anyone before he had told her. So he wasn't going to let Remus blurt it out to Sirius and Peter, Sirius especially who would most likely make fun of him for being in love in the first place, let alone what it did to him. James could be the strongest person in the world with the most amazing will power but being in love gave him a weakness. A weakness for Lily which Sirius wouldn't necessarily understand and until James knew if Lily felt the same way, then he didn't wish to share his weakness with Sirius. Or anyone for that matter. He obviously had no control over Remus though. Remus was too perceptive sometimes.

'Infatuated with her.' Remus said to finish his sentence, obeying the wishes James had conveyed to him silently, 'He's infatuated with her.' he repeated to make his point stronger.

'What does that mean?' Peter asked.

'It means infatuated Peter. Just let one go for once.' Sirius snapped making Peter cower back towards James slightly who was trying to move his feet.

'Do you know what it means?' Remus asked Sirius.

'Well no but-'

'Will you take this damn charm off of me or at least give me my wand back so that I can do it!' James suddenly hissed at Sirius, looking extremely frustrated and angry that he was unable to move.

'Not until you tell us why you could tell her but not us.' Sirius said pedantically.

'Look I didn't actually want to tell her anything either.' James admitted, 'I didn't mean to lead her into the question. I was more than happy to take this to my grave. It's just when she looks at me like that I can't deny her anything. If she asks me something I have to tell her the answer. I can't lie to her.'

And then suddenly, they were no longer talking about why James hadn't told them about Severus cursing him. It was suddenly a different conversation all together. A more serious one as well.

'Does that mean you've told her?' Sirius whispered, lowering his voice to talk about this topic. They were in an open hallway after all, one where anyone could walk past and over hear them. They all needed to be careful now.

'No.' James replied, looking at his feet. 'I haven't told her that. I won't tell her that.' He paused. 'At least I don't think I'll tell her that.' he continued, looking up cautiously to Sirius.

'Prongs-' Sirius started, taking on the warning tone Remus usually held for him.

'If she asks me outright I don't know if I can lie to her.' James explained. And it was true. If in some way, Lily actually asked the question, 'is Remus a werewolf' or 'are you an illegal animagus' or something similar using that look of hers and how he now felt about her, James had no idea if he would be able to be strong enough to deny it. There was a lethal combination to it.

'You're gonna have to.' Sirius stated as if James had no choice in the matter.

'I don't know if I can.' James said slowly.

'Let's just hope we never have to find out.' Remus, who had stayed silent when this topic had been brought up, put in.

James looked over to Remus, begging for him to understand his position. 'Remus-'

'Look I say we just forget about all of this now anyway.' Remus interrupted, clapping his hands together once in a final sort of way and looking away from James, 'Forget about all of it. It's done now and who's to say we'll ever find out about the other?

They were returned back to Severus Snape's curse.

'So we all agreed?' Remus asked, 'Just let it go?'

There was a pause where Sirius and James looked at each other. It was all down to those to really. They silently agreed but Sirius said out loud, 'If anything happens again-'

'I'll tell you.' James agreed.

'You'll tell us everything?' Sirius questioned.

'Not if it has something to do with Lily.' James said, creating a boundary, 'Lily's off limits. Anything to do with her is my business, not yours.' he finished, making it very clear that he meant it. He wasn't going to stand for their privacy as a couple to be invaded by his friends just because Sirius wanted to know everything that was going on. He was going to ensure that he and Lily had personal space, especially now. He didn't want things with her to be up for discussion. Ever. If he decided to talk to them about it than that was a different matter. But they just couldn't expect him to tell them everything. Sirius couldn't expect him to tell him everything.

'We respect that.' Remus said with a nod of understanding.

'Yep.' Peter chimed in.

Sirius paused, thinking it through. He sighed eventually. 'Yeah sure.' he conceded, 'But everything else ok?'

'Whatever.' James said with a roll of his eyes. 'Now take this damn charm off of me.' he demanded, trying to move his feet unsuccessfully.

Sirius, once again, thought for a moment. One thought ran through his mind. Punishment. He looked at Remus and Peter to follow his lead. 'Nah.' he said, and led the other two boys away with him leaving James stuck to the floor in the middle of deserted corridor without his wand. He would be there for a while.

Thanks for Reading

Update on the 26th July

Galindaba

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