I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t write that piece with Jily in mind, nonnie, so thank you for this request! The link to the original post is here, if anyone’s interested.
The first time it happens is at some point in fifth year, and it’s one of the events that riles Lily’s hatred of James and augments his crush on her, so that it builds to the crescendo when they meet at the lake a month or so later.
Lily’s in a rush - when is she not? - and she’s hastening across the common room, pushing through the throng, with her belongings cluttered in her arms and in her bag. She doesn’t notice when one of her papers, her quill, or her textbook drop from the mess in her hands or the jumble on her back.
But James does.
Which is odd, considering that he’s talking animatedly to a bunch of flustered, gushing girls. Perhaps it’s because Sirius is there, firing witty remarks and using his undeniable charm. Perhaps it’s because it’s Lily, and James always notices Lily.
He steps on the quill, catches the book, snatches the paper out of the air.
And, with a yelled, ‘Oi, Evans!’, he summons her attention.
She turns and glares, but when she realizes what he’s holding, she backtracks, bounding down the stairs, and moving to take her belongings with a, ‘Thanks, Potter.’, however grudging.
He hands over her stuff.
Their fingers touch.
And it sends a shockwave through James that settles in his stomach and sends a shiver down Lily’s spine, and for him, it’s a cool sensation, like the metal of Sirius’s lighter, and for her, it’s the burn of a sparkler.
But it only lasts a second, and it was barely even there.
However, it’s enough for them to both look at each other for a drawn-out moment, confused, frozen, and utterly enraptured.
But then James utters some snide remark, and Lily huffs and retreats back up the stairs, and Sirius slaps James on the back and says, ‘Bad luck, mate.’.
The second time it happens, it’s slightly worse.
They’re walking down the hallway - James is with Pete; Lily’s with Mary - and neither of them are paying much attention to where they’re going, because, 'Honestly, Pete, I should’ve called it sooner!’, and 'For Merlin’s sake, Mare, just ditch him, already - ’
Lily’s shoulder grazes against James’s arm, and sparks ignite on impact.
'Watch where you’re going, Evans.’
'Sod off, Potter.’
But they’re both left rubbing the spot where they met, and wondering at the sparks that were in the hallway, and they aren’t the only ones.
Mary blames the light in the hallway, and Pete blames it on the reflection of James’s lenses.
Neither of them say a word.
James blames his poor eyesight, and makes a mental note to clean his glasses. He doesn’t.
Lily blames her decision to stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing chess with Sirius. She does it the next night, anyway.
Either way, they both rub their eyes and keep moving.
The third time is later on in Sixth Year, and things are picking up speed.
They’re more comfortable with each other, now, and it’s punches in the arm (Lily to James), an elbow rested on the shoulder (James to Lily), and leaning against the other’s frame on the couch in front the fire (both of them). It’s passing the jam at breakfast, handing out task sheets in class, 'Hey, have you got a spare quill I could borrow?’, and ’D'you happen to have the copy of the Charms textbook? Seems I’ve misplaced mine…’.
But why are they asking each other?
Why don’t they ask Remus, or Dorcas?
They have a small idea. And they deny it with a burning passion. The same passion, coincidentally, that they feel towards each other.
And the same passion that occurs when they touch.
Because, no matter what it is, sparks are flying.
And it’s getting harder to cover up.
By the time James is standing close to her in Potions, perhaps a little too close, and his thigh brushes against her hip, Lily has to adjust the flame on her cauldron, and double-check her potion, because it’s definitely not supposed to be spitting at this stage, and James, I think you’re going to have to give me a moment to make sure I’ve added the right ingredients, and woah, Evans, you seem to be losing your touch, because if it’s bad enough for Lily to be doubting her potion skills, then something must be seriously wrong.
When they depart at Kings’ Cross at the end of Sixth Year, James engulfs Lily in a hug, and passers’-by think that the wheels of the train are still shooting sparks, even though the Hogwarts Express is stationary.
In reality, Lily’s heart is reeling and spewing out light like a Catherine Wheel, and there’s a bonfire raging inside of James’s chest.
Thank goodness that the hug doesn’t last for longer, although they dare not admit that they both wish it had.
They come back to school, and their feelings are smothered almost as fiercely as the sight of the sparks when they sit next to each other in the Great Hall at breakfast. They put in down to the fact that it’s a sunny day, and blame the enchanted ceiling.
But, when James’s lips brush hesitantly against Lily’s for the first time, it’s like the world has gone up in flames.
And when she kisses him back, and they press into each other with so much longing, so much longing, the world burns down around them, because it’s just them, lost in the middle of the blaze.
Lily sees sparks embedded in her fingernails when she runs them along James’s skin, and he sees fireworks exploding behind his eyes when he kisses her, cupping her face and tangling his fingers in her hair, the hair that resembles the fire raging outside the window.
And when she fingers the hemline of his jeans, and he begins to lift her shirt up, it’s almost as though it’s New Year’s Eve.
When they become intertwined, they’re lost, scalded, consumed by the blaze that is each other, as the world rains down in sparks of gold.
And the glow of Lily’s skin, or the beam on James’s face when they appear the next day, holding hands, is partly attributed to what they did the night before, and has something to do with the fact that the fire has been kindled to glowing embers within the confines of their flesh.
And there’s something about the way that war rages on outside that could be compared to the sparks that issue when they kiss, the bonfire that goes up when they dance, the brilliant sunset painted with the colours of their souls on their wedding day.
They focus on their own fire to ignore the one they battle against.
Because the war is a blaze, and it’s strong, and it’s relentless. It cannot be stopped.
But it’s nothing compared to the fire within them.