“That’s not fair!” Lily retorted, incensed. “Don’t take your anger out on me… we both know that’s what’s happening here.” She tried to sidestep him, but James grabbed her arm. She met his eye, surprised and angry.
“Let go of me!”
“You manipulated me,” he repeated coldly. “You manipulated me to get the map.”
“I did not.”
“Yes, you did. You came up there and manipulated me for your own means!”
“I asked you if I could use the map, James! That’s not manipulative! I told you where I was going—Agrippa’s sake, let go of me!” She yanked her arm free.
“You came to me because you knew I would agree!” protested James irately. “You could have gone to Sirius or Peter, but you came tome because you knew you would be able to talk me into giving you the map without telling me the truth!” He was going to regret this, and he knew it. “And you don’t even care! You honestly feel no remorse over the fact that you used me to get to your ex-boyfriend! And then you felt free to wander…!”
“I did not use you to get to Luke, Potter!” Lily shouted. “Furthermore, I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about!”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about!” He matched her volume. “‘I hate asking, James. I really don’t have any right to.' Like you didn’t know you were going to get exactly what you wanted! You knew you could show up looking desperate and helpless, and I wouldn’t be able to resist helping you!”
“I was desperate, James! I was desperate enough to go to you, wasn’t I?”
“That wasn’t desperation! That was craft!”
“You knew I wouldn’t say no!”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about how you feel no remorse using how I feel about you to get what you want!”
And then they were both quiet for several seconds. Lily’s heart raced, and her face flushed, and she wondered why she suddenly felt… terrified. James, however, seemed to have no regrets. His cheeks were red with fury, and his breathing heavy, but when Lily tried to speak, he cut her off without hesitation.
“Don’t look so goddamn incredulous.”
“James,” she began, softer now, “I didn’t…”
“Really?” he asked sarcastically. “You didn'twhat, exactly? You didn't know? Of course you did! Agrippa, I asked you out every week forages!”
“That w-w-was a y-year ago!” Lily managed to stammer.
“You knew perfectly well,” he sneered. “Girlsalways know.”
“James, I swear to God, I didn’t mean to…”
“Of course you did!” He spoke loudly again. “Lily, you've always used people! You used Harper to get over losing Snivellus! You used my asking you out as an opportunity to put me down… to prove a point to Snape…”
“Don’t rewrite history, James,” Lily interjected, the heat returning to her voice. “Your 'asking me out’ was an attention-seeking stunt, and I turned you down because I didn’t fancy you!”
“You turned me down so you wouldn’t lose Snape! And you lost him anyway!”
Lily shook her head, staring at the wizard before her disbelievingly. “You haven’t changed at all, James Potter,” she murmured at length. “You are really that arrogant. Is that honestly what you think? That I turned you down because of Snape? James, I turned you down because of you. Because you were a bully and a git. And for the last year, I thought you were actually changing… growing up, maturing, behaving like a little bit of a human being! But now you’re here, proving me wrong, and I—I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been so stupid! I did not manipulate you, Potter, and the only reason you think I did is because that’s the sort of thing you would do.”