Five Minutes

Chapter 77

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! Just like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of my reviewers and especially my international readers! It means a lot to have your continued readership and I promise, I will carry on with this story. I am trying to plan the next one after this which runs to their wedding day so that's going on in my head at the minute though you might have to wait a few months. I hope you don't lose interest! :*(

Another special update today for Laura who's birthday it is today, 21st August! Happy Birthday! Thank you for the reviews you've given me! I hope you have a wonderful day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you enjoy this chapter. :)

Here's chapter Seventy-Seven!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Seventy-Seven

James couldn't sleep. He had been ecstatically happy, indescribably so, since he and Lily had worked things out and begun to move past the events of the previous week or so. He had been even happier since he and Lily had told each other that they loved one another, and everybody around him could tell. Anytime Lily was with himself and any of his friends, (and seeing as now she wasn't hanging around with Hestia that was pretty much all the time), his friends, namely Sirius, would come up with new ways to silently pretend to kill himself at the presence of their happiness. These methods went from beating himself up with his own beaters bat to using one of the forks at lunch to gouge his eyes out. Still, James didn't let it bother him. He was happy. He loved his girlfriend and she loved him back. Really he should have slept like a baby, knowing this information as he did, and yet he couldn't sleep. He just had no idea why.

For an hour and a half since going to bed at quarter to twelve, he had been trying to get to sleep. At first he had just closed his eyes, hoping sleep would just take him, only he was kept awake by the sounds of his roommates slumber; Sirius' snoring, Peters whimpering and Remus' heavy breathing. When he realised that his efforts were futile, he decided to read something – a book of gory transfiguration mishaps he and Sirius had found to laugh at in the library whilst trying to hide from Professor Linkedin – but that didn't work either. Soon he began to let his mind wander, mostly to Lily, and found that, when he had snapped out of his daydream, he had subconsciously picked up a quill and started to doodle, (with no ink so really, he was scratching the pages), in the book he still had on his lap. He put down the quill and the book and laid down on his bed, staring at the canopy above his head, his mind wandering back to his own bed back home and the seven or so holes that were in it. From there his mind wandered back to Christmas times. Then to the most recent Christmas time. Then to Lily. He had to forcefully stop himself there.

Eventually he gave up and decided to go for a night time walk. So he swung his legs out of his bed, pulled on a t-shirt and a pair of worn jeans over the top of the boxers he'd been attempting to sleep in, and crept silently out of the room so as not to wake any of his friends who were, annoyingly, all sleeping. He walked down the spiral staircase which led to the common room, his bare feet making next to no sound on the stone steps, until he reached the warm red and gold carpets of the Gryffindor house common room. He expected to be alone but, as it turned out, he wasn't.

'Lily?' James said in a quiet voice, causing Lily to jump, startled at the presence of someone else in the room when she swore she was alone. 'What are you doing down here?' James continued.

'Hestia's being a pain.' Lily sighed, composing herself and returning to reading the Charms book she had with her. She hadn't been able to sleep either and so, unlike James, decided to spend the extra waking hours she had studying for the upcoming N.E.W.T's which were fast approaching.

'Ah.' James said, walking over to where Lily lay on the couch in front of the fire place. He lifted up her feet and sat down, putting her feet back on his lap and stroking her smooth legs whilst she rambled on.

'She's making it really difficult to stay in the same room as her.' Lily said, flopping her book face down into her lap, 'I had to come down here to try and get some sleep because she just keeps glaring at me and I can't sleep when she's looking at me like that and I swear she has no intention of actually going to sleep herself so I came down here.'

'Why didn't you come up to my room?' James asked her with a small crease appearing between his eyebrows. He was looking down at his hand on her leg and so didn't see her expression.

'Erm…well, don't you think that's a bit…' Lily began, biting her lip and stumbling over her words, 'Well…it's a little…erm…'

'There's nothing wrong with it Lily.' James said, noticing her anxious tone and looking up to see her worried face. He smirked. 'We've slept in the same bed before.' he went on.

'Yeah I know but that was at your home and I was…' Lily stammered, 'Well I was-'

'Drunk and trying to have sex with me?' James finished for her, his smirk growing tenfold. He had been thinking about that night upstairs in his sleepless thought. 'Yeah I remember.' he went on, 'I play that night over and over again in my head.'

'Oh god.' Lily whispered, hanging her head.

'Especially the part where you took your top off.' James nodded with a grin.

'Oh god!' Lily repeated, louder this time and she banged her book to her head, covering her face and the crimson blush that was creeping into her cheeks.

'Don't do that.' James tutted, reaching over and taking the book off of Lily and putting it on the coffee table in front of them. He took her hand and looked her in the eye as he said, 'You are beautiful. Believe me.' he said, pausing for a few seconds before going on to say quietly, 'Come on. Come up to my room.'

Lily bit her lip again and glanced behind her briefly to the girls' staircase. 'I dunno…' she said.

'It's not like we're gonna do anything Lils.' James said, standing up and sorting out the blankets Lily had over her middle, taking them off of her and folding them up as he continued. 'I have three roommates, one of which is Sirius, we're at Hogwarts, we have classes in the morning and you're obviously not ready for that step yet so stop worrying and come to bed.' he finished, offering her his hand.

'I'm still not-' Lily began.

'I will carry you up there myself soon.' James cut her off, his hand temporarily falling to his side, 'You can't sleep in the common room.'

Lily looked around the common room and sighed. 'I suppose not.' she said reluctantly.

'You suppose right.' James said, sitting down on the coffee table and offering out his hand again, 'Come sleep in my bed and if it makes you feel any better I'll sleep on the floor.'

'It's your bed I can't ask you to do that.' Lily replied, taking his hand and letting them hang in the air for a bit.

'You didn't ask I offered.' James shrugged, squeezing her hand slightly.

'You're so good to me.' Lily smiled shyly at their hands.

'That's because you're my girlfriend and I love you.' James smiled broadly at her, 'It's my job to be good to you.'

There was a slight pause of tangible sickly sweetness and gooiness in the air until Lily broke it with a sudden, 'I used to hate you.'

James frowned. 'Well that's cheery.' he said.

'No I mean I really, really hated you.' Lily went on.

'And now it's awkward.' James said with a small nod, 'Great.'

'You were arrogant and cocky and big headed and silly and-'

'-I'm still all those things.' James interrupted.

'But you were also mean and bullying and kind of sadistic and-'

'You gonna come up to my room or not?' James said over the list of things she used to hate him for. Why she had brought this up now he didn't know. He thought they'd gotten over this. He had changed.

'…Yeah.' Lily said, shaking her head slightly to shake away these irrelevant thoughts. 'Sorry.' she apologised, finally standing up and allowing James to lead her to his room.

'It's ok.' James said with a small laugh, 'I don't even know what sadistic means.'

'Sadistic?' Lily repeated, 'It's-' she began to explain but she was cut off before she could. Only this time she wasn't interrupted by James.

'What are you doing?' Hestia asked, making an appearance in the common room whilst tying the belt over her dressing gown at the presence of James.

'Uh oh!' James muttered to Lily, 'Busted!'

'Where are you going?' Hestia questioned them, directing her words over to James.

'I think the answer 'to bed' is much too obvious here and yet I can't seem to come up with a sarcastic reply…' James said. 'Guess I'll just have to settle for the classic, 'leaving without a word'! Come on Lily.' he went on, tugging her along gently only to be stopped by Hestia's words once again.

'You can't sleep in his room Lily.' Hestia said sternly.

'She's head girl.' James sighed, rudely continuing with, 'She can sleep wherever the hell she likes.'

'James.' Lily reprimanded softly.

He rolled his eyes. 'Well you can.' he muttered under his breath, impatiently looking at the spiral staircase which led to the boys dormitories. He wanted to go to bed now. He was sure he'd be able to sleep this time.

'Well then she can sleep in her own bed.' Hestia said pompously, folding her arms across her chest and giving James a haughty expression. She was really talking to Lily but she wouldn't look at her directly. James couldn't help but think that she shared the same problem as he did when it came to Lily's eyes. It seemed almost everyone did. They were very expressive. It was sort of like a super power. Stuff magic. Get Lily to look old Voldemort in the eyes and just talk to him. That was the way they would win the war.

'I can't when you make it impossible for me to!' Lily said through gritted teeth, completely oblivious to James' plans for wizarding peace that were running through his head, all hinging on her eyes.

'How am I making it impossible?' Hestia scoffed sarcastically, 'It's not like I'm in your bed.'

James' thoughts switched, as those of a hormonal teenage boy would upon hearing such things. His eyebrows raised and he looked thoughtful, no longer thinking of how to end to worsening war. 'Now that sounds-' he began, stopping himself when he realised both girls heads had quickly snapped towards him in angry shock. He looked guilty. 'Did I begin that sentence out loud?' he laughed uneasily.

There was a pause where both girls glared at him. Lily looked as if she was going to slap him. Hestia wasn't far off. But she soon got the gusto back to continue berating Lily.

'You can't sleep in his room.' she said defiantly, as if her decision was final and Lily would have no choice but to do what she said. However, Lily did have someone else to fight her corner with her.

'She can't sleep in the common room.' James pointed out, recovering nicely from his previous slip.

'And I can't sleep in my room when you're glaring at me all the time.' Lily joined in, pointing out the reason she had been down in the common room in the first place.

'Right.' James said, clapping his hands together, 'Problem solved. To the Owlery!'

Again, glares from both girls.

'I'm not glaring at you!' Hestia said, bouncing back to once again to go toe to toe with Lily about this issue. She wasn't really sure why she was doing it. She didn't care. She guessed she was just angry and wanted to obstruct Lily and James' time together as much as she could. Lily should feel guilty and, to some extent, suffer for not choosing her.

'Granted its cold but nothing a few blankets can't fix!' James continued with his line of unhelpful joking suggestions.

'Yes you are!' Lily replied incredulously, her voice rising slightly. She realised that she had spoken very loudly and hurriedly lowered her voice to say, 'You haven't stopped glaring at me since…since…'

'Since you chose him over me.' Hestia stated.

'Could always use a heat locking charm as well just to make sure-' James said thoughtfully before noticing that, for the third time in less than five minutes, both girls were glaring at him again. 'Did I miss something?' he whispered to Lily who ignored him.

'Hestia you forced me to choose!' she said,' I didn't want to do it but you made me! Don't glare at me and be mad at me and judge me just because I made a decision.'

'The wrong decision!' Hestia retorted.

'It was right for me.' Lily stressed.

'How?' Hestia said at a loss, 'I'm your best friend! I've been your best friend for years and yet you still chose him over me!'

'I love him.' Lily explained simply.

'So you didn't love me?' Hestia replied, pulling Lily up short.

Lily paused and sighed. 'Of course I love you Hestia.' she said softly, 'Just in a different way. This is different.'

'How?' Hestia asked, completely oblivious to the strength of Lily's feelings for James. That is, oblivious until Lily blurted out a sentence which she didn't think she'd be hearing.

'Because I can actually see a real future with James.' Lily said, regretting saying it immediately. She and James had only just told each other that they loved one another. And although that was all fine and dandy, they hadn't exactly discussed a future together; what would happen during the summer holidays, whether they would stay together when they left Hogwarts. They hadn't discussed anything really. Lily hadn't gotten round to asking him about it and now, there was a real possibility she'd scare him away by saying what she did. After all, he was a teenage boy. Was he really ready for a proper commitment? A serious one? One that she was actually looking for? Or was this relationship just a puppy love, the kind you read about in novels where the lovers are head over heels for one another one moment and then, suddenly, hate each other the next? She sincerely hoped not.

'Really?' Hestia asked sceptically.

'Really?' James asked at the same time but with something a kin to hope and happiness in his voice.

Lily ignored James for the time being, (they would talk about this later), and focused her attention on Hestia. She spoke very calmly. 'Hestia,' she said in a measured voice, 'I am more than happy to be your friend but you have to accept the fact that I am with James and that I am friends with his friends.' Lily stressed the last part seeing as that was the root of the problem, the thing that started it all; Remus' lycanthropy. Hestia didn't like it and believed Lily to be the same. That was where the trouble lie. 'There's nothing wrong with those boys.' Lily went on cautiously, trying to start a conversation that would turn Hestia's Attitude towards the marauders around. It didn't work.

'Well…It's a good job we're not friends then.' Hestia said with a small sneer before turning on her heel, flicking her hair obnoxiously over her shoulder as she went, and stalking away back up to her dormitory. Without Lily.

James and Lily stood in silence for a few seconds. Lily had closed her eyes, hating the fact that her best friend in the world was no longer her best friend because she couldn't cope, and now, didn't like her boyfriend. She didn't want to say it out loud but she always seemed to be losing friends because of James. First Severus, now Hestia. However, she didn't blame him because, when she lost Severus as a friend, she gained so much more; perspective, self-belief, surety, the marauders as friends and James as a boyfriend. She didn't dispute having any of these things in her life. She wouldn't change the way things had happened there for anything. She just hoped that losing Hestia's friendship would pave the way to good things as well. Otherwise it would all be a waste and she couldn't help but worry that she might come to resent James for it even though he wasn't the one who forced her to choose.

'Lily?' James asked cautiously.

'Let's just go to bed.' Lily said with a small, unconscious shake of her head.

James looked concernedly at her for a few seconds before agreeing. 'Ok.' he said softly, taking her hand and leading her up the boys staircase to his dormitory where they would spend a peaceful night, wrapped in each other's arms, and an awkward morning faced with an insinuating Sirius.

Lily was sat in the common room on the sofa where James had found her trying to sleep around four or five nights ago. She had taken over the coffee table in front of her to do her revision for the upcoming N.E.W.T's as she had been unable to find a free table in the library. People in the common room weren't happy that their social space had been minimised somewhat extensively thanks to their head girl but, thanks to her position, (and the fact that James Potter was her boyfriend), nobody said anything. And it was a good job too with the mood Lily was in. She was sure to bite anyone's head off if they spoke to her due to stress and her annoyance at Hestia that didn't seem to ebb away as she had hoped it would. The only person she didn't get mad at was James, and that was only because she couldn't afford to get mad at him. Or the marauders really. They were her only friends now.

The fallout between Hestia and Lily was glaringly obvious. It was clear that they were no longer friends. Glaring being the obvious word as that was the only look Hestia was able to give Lily now. And it was also the only look that the school would give her too. She knew why. Well she didn't. But she did. James had told her. Well he hadn't. But he had. You see, somehow, and it wasn't too surprising seeing as how much of a gossip Hestia was, the school had gotten wind of a reason why the pair had fallen out. Obviously it wasn't the real reason as there had been no effect on Remus and, when she asked him, James had simply explained to her that Hestia had spread a lie. He just didn't tell her what it was. And no matter how much she asked, she was never told. By anyone. No one in the school would talk to her so she couldn't get anyone to tell her what was going round and James refused to tell her because he knew it would upset her. So Lily would never know. She would never find out and, to be honest, she didn't want to know because Hogwarts would soon be over and it soon wouldn't matter anyway. So instead of wondering and wishing she knew what everybody else knew, she threw herself into her N.E.W.T studies and just avoided Hestia as much as possible. This was the reasoning behind her question to James when he came over to join her on the sofa.

'Hey.' he said as he sat down beside her, kissing her quickly on the cheek and relaxing his arm along the sofa behind her.

'Can I stay in your room again tonight please?' Lily asked straight away. It was more of a courtesy to the marauders really, just in case they didn't actually want her staying there that night like she had been doing the past few nights. Not that it really mattered. If James wanted her there then Sirius, Remus and Peter wouldn't argue. And there wasn't a question in Lily's mind that James would want her there although, after his response, she wished that there had been a tiny seed of doubt. She would have been more prepared for his answer.

'Err…you can but I'm not gonna be there.' James said quietly so no one would hear but her.

'Why?' Lily asked, putting down her revision and turning her attention to James, hurt and confusion present on her face. 'Where will you…' she went on, thinking it over into realisation. 'Oh.' she said, her face clouding over with worry instead, 'I forgot.'

'Hey.' James said, tapping her thigh with the back of his hand in slight reprimand, 'Don't look like that.'

'Like what?' Lily sighed.

'Like that.' James went on, pointing at her face, 'Like I'm gonna die or something. You know why I do this. I explained it all to you.'

'I know you did.' Lily said, returning to her revision and becoming slightly wound up, but only out of concern.

'Then why are you looking at me like that?' James asked with a tired and breathless laugh, raising his eyebrows at her

'I can't help the way my face looks James.' Lily replied in exasperation at the exact moment that Sirius walked into the common room and over towards her and James, catching the last part of their conversation.

'She's got you there Prongs.' Sirius said, climbing onto the table to get to the armchair the other side of it, messing all of Lily's revision up, 'Yikes!' he went on with a laugh as he crossed the table, not looking where he was going but looking at Lily's face instead to see how she took the joke. He wished he hadn't though. 'Yikes…' he whispered in a scared voice at Lily's glower. He quickly scarpered off of the table and making a beeline for the staircase that led to the boys' dormitory instead of the armchair which he had originally been aiming for. But he had learnt enough through spending time with Lily that you do not stick around after she had glowered at you. You won't come off well for it. Especially if you've just gone and messed up her meticulously organised study plans.

'Wuss.' James muttered under his breath as he watched Sirius leap up the spiral staircase, two steps at a time.

'Promise me you'll be careful?' Lily demanded of James as she attempted to return some sense of order to her notes which were now haphazardly strewn across the table.

'I always am.' James said cockily.

'Promise me you won't get hurt.' Lily said, changing her demand.

'I never do…' James lied even though he had actually told her that they had all been hurt at some point or another. He saw Lily's face and changed his answer, but not to calm her down, to tease her. 'Almost never…sometimes…quite regularly actually…'

'James!' Lily scowled with a slight desperate tone to her voice. She hated this. It hadn't happened yet and she could still safely say that she hated this situation.

'I'm kidding.' James replied with a roll of his eyes.

'You might be kidding but what if you do actually get hurt?' Lily questioned, stopping what she was doing, (organising her notes and revision), and actually looking at James to say, 'Then what?'

'Then we do what we've done before.' James shrugged offhandedly. It wasn't a big deal. They knew what to do if one of them was hurt. The worst was Sirius the previous year after a few Death Eaters with the help of a certain brutal werewolf named Fenrir Greyback tried to lure Remus out of the forest beyond the cliff face of Hogsmeade with the irresistible cry of a werewolves call. James and Sirius had barely gotten him out of there before he crossed the border. It was just a good job Peter had sense to stir the centaurs. Still, that was easy compared to trying to help Sirius stay alive after Remus had attacked him back in the shrieking shack. But they had managed it. They had made excuses and stolen supplies and fixed Sirius up well. It was two weeks he was out of school for but no one knew why and they still didn't.

James had wondered why Lily never asked, especially now she knew about the things they did at the full moon, but it occurred to him that she had been ill those two weeks too. She had no idea Sirius wasn't attending classes or mealtimes and James had never mentioned it to her. He had had no need to and he wasn't going to because he knew she would just worry more about him being hurt.

However, thinking back over his last reply to her, he probably should have just lied and said none of them had ever been injured during the full moon. He'd have been golden then. At least more so than he was now.

'And what was…wait.' Lily said, catching on. 'Before?' she asked, 'You mean you have been hurt before? James-'

'Oh look at the time!' James said, looking at his watch and abruptly standing up. 'Time to go!' he said as he crossed to the staircase Sirius had just disappeared up, calling, 'Bye Lils!' over his shoulder to Lily as he ran up the steps, bounding two at a tie like Sirius had before him.

Lily watched him go with a frustrated sigh. Why he insisted on keeping things from her still was beyond him. She already knew the worst of it. It wasn't like she was going to leave him now if he told her anymore. But she guessed she couldn't know everything. Besides James did like his secrets.

'That was fun!' Sirius said with a panting laugh as he, James and Peter ran up the staircase which led to the floor where the entrance to the Gryffindor common room was. Usually they wouldn't have been running but they had seen Mrs Norris' dot on the marauders map just a corridor away from them on the floor below and didn't want to take any chances. Being caught at four o'clock in the morning wasn't something they wanted to experience again, especially as they knew the excuses, 'lost track of time' and 'just going for an early morning stroll didn't work. Neither did, 'I was sleepwalking' because, oddly enough, when three people claimed this was the case all at once, the professors of Hogwarts were not inclined to believe them.

'Dude you ran into a tree!' James pointed out as the stopped at the portrait of the Fat Lady.

'I was dizzy.' Sirius said, shrugging it off. Yes he had walked into a tree that night. In fact, he had walked into a tree only ten or so minutes ago, and he had the imprint of the tree on his forehead to prove it. It was bleeding a little but he didn't care. He'd get Lily to fix it later for him. She was good with those sorts of spells.

'Then stop trying to chase your tail.' James muttered to him as he said the password to an irritable Fat Lady

'I'll get it one day….' Sirius said determinedly.

'Sure you will.' James laughed.

The three boys climbed through the entrance to the Gryffindor common room, the circular portrait banging closed behind them, and made their way to the boys' staircase. James and Sirius didn't bother to take in their surroundings. Sirius was too preoccupied with thoughts of the chocolate frogs he had in the dormitory and James was too busy looking forwards to going upstairs and settling down next to Lily who he was sure was in his bed. If they'd have gotten up the staircase though, he'd have been wrong, and it was only thanks to Peter that they realised this in time.

'Prongs?' Peter said, stopping in the middle of the common room and looking at Lily who was fast asleep on the sofa in front of the fire place. She'd been there for almost twelve hours now; studying and sleeping.

'What Peter?' James said, turning around causing Sirius to do the same. They followed Peters pointing hand in the dim light to see Lily's sleeping form on the couch.

'Ah crap.' James sighed, moving over to her. Sirius followed him.

'What she doing here?' he asked standing over Lily's head.

'Sunbathing.' James said sarcastically.

'There's no sun.' Sirius replied confusedly.

'Moonbathing then.' James said with a roll of his eyes. Sometimes, usually when he was really hungry or tired, Sirius just didn't seem to register sarcasm.

'She'd be better moonbathing outside really.' Sirius said, putting his index finger to his chin in thought.

James raised an eyebrow. 'How do you not fall down more?' he asked in genuine curious surprise.

Sirius shrugged. 'Never mind that.' he said before gesturing to Lily whose eyelids were now fluttering slightly in a dream, 'What you gonna do?'

'Gonna have to wake her up.' James said as if it was the only obvious solution. In all reality, he could have just left her there until morning. It would save him the hassle of having to wake her up and get her to her own bed for, he was sure, she wouldn't appreciate it if he woke her early so that he could go to a Quidditch practice. It would have been different if she'd have been in his bed already but, because she wasn't, he couldn't be sure that she had fallen to sleep at a reasonable hour and would be well rested. After all, she had all her revision down in the common room and he doubted very much that she would have attempted to go to sleep at a decent time. Especially as she was there waiting for him to return. No, getting her to her own bed would be the best option now.

'Ah ok.' Sirius said with a sympathetic nod of his head before turning on his heel and saying, 'See ya!'

'Wait!' James said in disbelief, 'Where are you going?'

'I'm not staying here for this!' Sirius said, turning back to face James briefly, 'She's scary enough when she's fully awake! And I've seen how she comes to that through the waking up process!' he went on, eying Lily cautiously as if she would miraculously spring awake at the sound of his voice which was, in all fairness, naturally loud. He really didn't want to face Lily waking up. He had done every day that week so far. The difference was, on those days, he had at least had sleep himself and, to be perfectly honest, was in the same situation as her. He hated being woken up at the best of times too. Only Lily was a tiny bit worse. Sirius was dramatic. Lily was moody. And a moody Lily was not something he wanted to face after breaking the law and on no sleep. Annoying as he was, Sirius didn't think it was fair Peter face it either so, as he turned back to go up the stairs he said, 'Come on Peter.' and motioned him to follow.

'Coward.' James muttered loudly to him.

'Twenty four seven!' Sirius called over his shoulder to James, bounding up the stairs with Peter trailing behind him.

James rolled his eyes and shook his head at his best friend who, for some unknown reason, was a tiny bit scared of Lily. Well, it wasn't a mystery really. Lily could be rather intimidating sometimes. You only had to look at her hauntingly good skills as a witch mixed in with the fiery temper of a red head and you had a lethal mix. Still, James could handle it, or at least, try to match it. And it wouldn't be a very good relationship if he was scared of his own girlfriend now, would it?

He crouched down next to Lily's sleeping figure and smoothed over her hair as he gently whispered her name. 'Lily?' he said softly, 'Lils? Wake up Lils.'

Lily stirred at the sound of his voice, 'What?' she murmured sleepily as she opened one eye to look at him.

'Wake up.' he said to her, sitting her up and helping her off of the sofa as she still had her eyes half-closed, too much asleep to open them fully. 'Time for bed.' James continued, guiding her over to the girls' staircase and leading her up it, ensuring that he was always on the same step as her so that they wouldn't turn into a slide and send him back down to the carpet of the common room.

'You're back.' Lily mumbled when they were halfway up the stairs.

'Really?' James asked in a whisper, 'Hadn't noticed. Always thought I was front.'

It took Lily a few minute to respond with a confused 'Huh?' and by that time they had made their way into her dormitory.

'Never mind.' James said with a fond smile, taking her over to her bed, 'Time for bed.' he said, peeling back her duvet and sitting her down.

'Ok.' Lily yawned her eyelids too heavy to keep open. She fell soundlessly onto her pillow, her eyes shut tight.

'Ok.' James laughed, putting her legs into bed and pulling the duvet over her, crouching down next to her head as he had done in the common room.

'How's your…your thing.' Lily asked him snuggling her head deeper into her pillow and exhaling a deep breath.

James chuckled, unable to resist. 'My thing is fine thank you Lily.' he laughed.

'Good. Good.' Lily mumbled, reaching her hand out and patting mid-air, (mid-air only because James was avoiding being swatted by Lily's feeble smacks). 'Why you laughing?' Lily asked, catching on to James' muffled laughter and allowing her hand to fall limply down the side of the bed.

'I'm not laughing Lily.' James said through a poorly disguised chortle of laughter.

'Yes you are.' Lily replied, her mind allowing her to think that her tone was reprimanding and cross when, in reality, all she had done was mumble sleepily with a bit of a slur to her words.

'Doesn't matter Lils.' James said, pushing her hair back off of her forehead and planting a soft kiss on her smooth skin, 'Go to sleep.'

Even in her sleep stricken state, Lily could tell that James was leaving. He wasn't getting into bed with her as he had done for the past week. But he had been in bed with her because they had been in his bed. If he wasn't getting in bed with her then that could mean only one thing. 'I'm in my room.' Lily said, now attempting to open her eyes. She managed it, (barely), and sat up tiredly, squinting up at James through the darkness.

'You're very clever.' James said with a smirk.

Lily looked around the familiar space and yet, even though she was surrounded by her own things and was acquainted with everything there, it was somehow foreign and oddly cold. 'I don't like my room.' she said with a small pout, holding back a yawn. She was barely functioning.

'Can't say I'm particularly fond of it either.' James shrugged, folding his arms and looking over to Hestia's sleeping form in her bed, 'The company diminishes its appeal.'

'Do you not like me?' Lily blurted out, confusing what James had meant with what he had said which, in turn, confused James.

'What?' he asked.

'You said…the company.' Lily said through a yawn which bit through, despite her attempts to stifle it.

'Not your company Lily.' James whispered with a soft chuckle. He assisted her, or forced her gently, to lie back down on her pillow. He crouched down nest to the head of her bed and once more pushed her hair away from her face. 'Go to sleep.' he said soothingly.

'You sleep with me?' Lily questioned pathetically, not wanting to be left alone in her room only to wake up by the cruel judgemental eyes of her roommate and former best-friend. She always seemed to be losing them somehow.

'Not tonight.' James said with a shattered smile. He was exhausted, as he always was after a full moon excursion. He just needed to collapse on his bed and sleep, without any temptations or distractions. He would only get to do this if Lily was in her own dorm room.

Lily however, was unable to figure this out at this early hour and took it to mean that something was wrong with her. A lack of sleep and an over active sense of paranoia can do this to you so, working off of her sensory instincts of the room, she simply asked, 'Do I smell?'

'No.' James answered.

'Oh…' Lily replied contently, snuggling down further into her bed and closing her eyes, unable to fight the tiredness that was encumbering her. Still, she found a few words to say before sleep took her completely. 'You do.' she managed to mumble.

'Thank you.' James said, leaning over and kissing her on the temple.

'I like how you smell.' Lily continued to mutter.

'Thank you.' James chuckled silently as he stood up and looked down lovingly on her sleeping form, trying to asses if she was asleep yet.

'Like beech wood.' Lily yawned quietly, now voicing a theory which was, in all respects, a little silly and, if she'd have been awake, she would have realised. 'I think it's because you hang out by that big beech tree. You smell like beech wood.' she theorised to a still chuckling James who shook his head and started to make his way out of the room when he hear Lily utter one more incoherent thought. 'I like wood.' she said before falling into a deep sleep.

James stopped and raised his eyebrows for a second before continuing to walk quietly out of the room saying to himself, 'I'm so glad Sirius wasn't here to hear you say that.'

Lily's eyes opened and closed quickly again. She opened them once more and realised what had happened; the curtains were open. All of them. She sat up and rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, moaning a little as she did so for she didn't appreciate being woken up on a day where, really, she was at liberty to have a lie in. She would have usually been granted this if it wasn't for her snarky former best friend who was storming around the room with a face that looked like thunder.

'What time is it?' Lily asked, her voice cracking slightly as it was the first she had spoken that day.

Hestia didn't answer. Instead, she walked over her wardrobe, opened the door, pulled out her Quidditch gear and slammed it shut again in a temper.

'Fine.' Lily sighed, knowing that Hestia wouldn't reply to her now. She hadn't expected she would but, just as there had been when she had first stopped being friends with Severus, there was a small flame of hope inside her. With Severus it was hope that she had imagined what her had called her, what was said and what had happened out near the black lake. A part of her had wished it wasn't true but she had been there. She knew it was. With Hestia it was hope that she would realise how judgemental she had been of Remus' unfortunate condition, that it changed nothing and that all James had tried to do by keeping it from her was to protect the people he loved from prejudice and danger. She really hoped that Hestia would see the situation for what it actually was and stopped making it into something it wasn't. But, again, just like it had been with Severus, she knew this wouldn't happen. At least not for a while.

Lily rolled her eyes at Hestia's childishness and reached for her alarm clock. It was only half past eight. Not particularly a time you want to see when you are on a lie in day. Then again, as Lily was thinking to herself, she probably wouldn't have gotten a lie in anyway between Hestia's irritableness and James' early morning Quidditch practice which, as they were all dutiful friends, all of the marauders would attend. She could get the idea out of her head that she would have had a better night and morning if she'd have been in James bed like the nights before. Still, she was oddly shocked to find that she missed her own bed. Sharing a single bed was actually quite cramped and very hot.

Swinging her legs out of bed, Lily stretched and found her slippers with her feet. They were in the same spot she had left them over a week ago. She slipped them on and stood up walking the short journey to her wardrobe and taking out a white cotton summer dress and a brown waist belt. Just by the sun beaming into her eyes, she knew it would be a hot day. As she walked over to the drawer in her bedside table to get out some underwear, Alice walked in, making no attempt to mask her surprise at Lily's sleepless state.

'You're up Lily?' Alice questioned with a laugh at the unusual occurrence, 'How'd that happen? It's eight thirty in the morning!'

'Sun was in my eyes.' Lily said simply, shrugging her shoulders like it was no big deal. Her eyes betrayed her though. They had briefly flitted over to Hestia which clued Alice into what had really happened.

'You opened all the curtains when Lily was still sleeping?' Alice asked incredulously. It was kind of mean. 'Couldn't you leave at least a few closed so that she could sleep?'

'Didn't realise she was actually here.' Hestia replied snootily, reminding Lily eerily of her sister Petunia and how this was the sort of thing she used to do when they lived together. Only it would be over something even more trivial like Lily getting out a packet of crisps to eat, putting them on the side whilst she made a sandwich and turning around only to find Petunia eating them and claiming, 'I didn't realise you'd got them out for yourself' before stalking away.

'What?' Alice challenged, feeling an overwhelming need to fight this battle for Lily. Lily wasn't particularly fighting it anyway and it just really ticked Alice off that Lily didn't think what Hestia was doing was out of order. Or if she did, not doing anything about it.

'In her own bed for a change.' Hestia went on bitterly, plonking herself down on her bed and pulling on the long socks she needed to wear for Quidditch.

'Oh for Merlin's sake Hestia, grow up.' Alice muttered with a roll of her eyes at Hestia's behaviour. She turned to Lily, 'You gonna watch the Quidditch practice today?' she asked.

'I dunno. Are you?' Lily countered, putting a brush through her deep red hair and pulling it into a loose and slightly messy plait which hung over her right shoulder, the flyaway strands, and the ones that didn't reach the plait, falling down around her shoulders.

'Was going to if you were.' Alice responded. 'Frank wanted to go.' she continued in an explanation as she didn't really go to watch the Quidditch practices.

'Ok then.' Lily nodded her head, 'I'll get dressed.' she went on to say, grabbing her clothes and walking into the bathroom for some privacy whilst she changed.

'Cool.' Alice said as Lily shut the door. She was still seated on Lily's bed and began to ask Hestia what time the Quidditch practice actually began out of necessity, but found she was gone when she turned around. She had left without another word.

Hope you enjoyed it

Happy Birthday Laura! :)

Update on 27th August. Almost at the end now! ;)

Galindaba

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