or “the college au where lily is a single mom struggling with finishing school and raising a child, and james discovers he quite likes babysitting” (AO3)
(p.s.: thank you to @gxldentrio for being a lovely beta reader!)
She’s just another face in the crowd.
But she stands out.
She’s battling her way through the waves of I’m late-s, I should have gone to bed earlier-s and Why haven’t I started that bloody paper yet-s entangling themselves in people’s legs. They trip, but she bears on.
Her hair is made of flames; they lick their way through the sea of people, turning them to ashes, burning a path for her - James is entranced. Her brow is furrowed with decision, and she doesn’t hesitate to nudge someone out of her way with her shoulder, or to make herself bigger with the size of her backpack which looks like it could make her topple over. She parts the flood with sheer determination in her eyes.
Lily is 11 and she doesn’t like boys. She loves Sev but that’s different. She loves him the way she loves Petunia, the way Petunia doesn’t love her back. She likes the way the the concrete feels in the summer, it burns her feet but she dances on it anyway. She likes pressing her fingers to her veins and trying to feel the magic. She likes the dark blue curtains in her living room that her mum constantly complains about. She likes the funny chocolates they have at school and the way they jump around. She likes running late to classes with Marlene and laughing at Mary’s attempt to cover for why they were not on time. She likes Alice’s soft voice that reminds the rest of them that they have plenty of homework as they lounge in the common room. She doesn’t like James Potter and the way he struts about thinking he’s so grand and funny, she knows grand and funny it’s her and her friends and most definitely not him.
Lily is 12 and she doesn’t like boys. She still loves Sev the same way as she always has but no longer the way she loves Petunia. Petunia makes her heart hurt as she spits out the word freak and makes witch sound like its poison in her mouth. Lily loves Petunia sadly and Sev happily and she thinks she’s okay with that. She likes baking with her mum and licking the spoon and fighting her dad for the bowl. She likes hiding behind the blue curtains after sneaking a frog in Tuney’s shoe. She likes the way her dad can’t stop laughing as he tries to scold her for it. She likes drawing pictures on the window of the train. She likes that her friends all try to guess what it is before she’s done, Alice always gets it right but that isn’t hard when Marlene and Mary are fighting to figure out who can come up with a ruder version of what it is. She likes eating in the great hall and feeling so apart and at home in something. She likes mimicking Marlenes snores with Mary at all times of the day especially in class. She likes quidditch and watching the games but severely less so when Potter is playing. She doesn’t like Potter no matter how good he is at the damn sport.
Lily is 13 and she’s starting to like boys. She likes them differently than Sev. Sev doesn’t make her palms sweat or her stomach do tumbles, he steadies her and lays with her and he loves her- more than Petunia ever has. He’s her real sibling, well the only one that really loves her and Lily thinks she’s okay with that, its better than having no one after all. Lily likes the breeze on her thighs when she wears her skirts. She likes the way the grass feels against her legs as she lays with Marlene in the courtyard skipping yet another divination lesson. She likes making up wild stories of what their futures probably hold including but not limited to, Marlene marrying a giant and becoming a giant queen, Lily sprouting wings and becoming accepted amongst the dragons, Alice turning out to be a unicorn in disguise, which they both agreed would be too plausible for it to be considered actual divination, and Mary one day waking up with a third leg to kick them both with. She likes telling these theories to try and get a laugh out of a begrudging Mary who actually DID go to class and was left by herself. She likes the way Alice dances with Marlene to make Mary smile which eventually leads to the four of them dancing and laughing all night in the common room. She likes the way Potter and his friends are totally bewildered by it asking loudly what the hell had gotten into them, she knows he could never understand the pure joy of dancing with your friends. She likes the way Marlene tells Sirius she’d rather dance with a pig’s privates when he asks if she has any moves left for him. She likes painting Alice’s nails and listening her talk all about how much she loves her little brother and wondering what it must feel like to have an older sibling that not only tolerates you but actually loves you back. She likes chasing Mary’s cat, Sniffers, and complaining loudly when he won’t let her hold him. She thinks she may like Remus Lupin a little more than she previously thought. She’s always liked how kind and smart and quietly hilarious he is but she’s only just realized how cute his nose is and how she thinks she may want to hold his hand. She likes that he’s different from his total gits of friends but remains loyal to them. Loyalty Lily knows is one of the most important things in a friendship, which is why she doesn’t let her friends judge Severus. She likes that she can tell Alice about her crush on Remus without her making fun of her or suggesting that she do something crazy like fling her bra at him to make him love her (something Marlene and Mary promised would do the trick). She likes transfiguration because Remus sits next to her and tells the funniest jokes quietly so only she can hear. She likes that she spends most of the class laughing at him which may be why she isn’t doing her best, Potter on the other hand excels in transfiguration which is something that really grinds her gears, probably because it’s the one class he doesn’t laugh much in, for some reason he spends most of it quiet giving her and Remus rather annoyed looks.
Lily is 14 and she likes boys. Not the way she likes Severus, whom she still loves… despite everything. They’ve been fighting quite a bit lately mostly because he’s been hanging around with scum and Lily can’t understand why he can’t see that they’re scum. They tell him she’s dirty and disgusting and not a real witch and he hangs around with them anyway it infuriates her and he hangs around with them anyway. But even though he has his flaws and can’t see how disgusting his new “friends” are, Lily loves him anyway. She loves him because he brings her her favorite sweets and let’s her hold his hand and listens when she cries about Petunia, even though she’s found she never likes what he ends up saying about Tuney. She loves him because they’re siblings in every sense of the word so she guesses that it’s ok that they argue, after all they don’t argue nearly as much as her and Tuney do. Or did rather, after all petunia hasn’t answered a single letter Lily has sent her this year and she stayed at a friends house during Christmas holiday to avoid her. Lily thinks she’d rather Petunia call her a freak everyday and spit in her tea twice every hour than have her deny her existence, it would hurt way less. Lily likes dancing. She likes stepping on her dads feet as he twirls her around the kitchen. She likes potions. No lily loves potions. She likes to see the magic actually being created right in front of her she likes that she can hold it and see it and it’ll never stop amazing her. She likes Benjy Fenwick and his bright blonde hair. She likes his small smile and big blue eyes. She likes the way her stomach flips when he’s around. She likes the way her friends act more excited than she does when he finally asks her to Hogsmeade. And she pretends not to like the choruses of “Lily and Benjy sittin in a tree”. She still likes Remus Lupin even though she’s over her crush. She likes studying with him in the library and debating and debating about all the injustices going on in their world. Injustices that were really starting to scare her. Against her better judgment she’s found that she also likes Sirius Black and Petter Pettigrew. For completely different and all around confusing reasons. She never really thought much of Peter, he was just one of potters friends. She assumed him to be an intolerable arrogant git and she found herself to be so wrong. It was when she was assigned to sit next to him in charms after causing too much of a ruckus near Marlene. The first day he nearly made her pee from laughing so hard. She liked that he always brought an extra quill because he knew Mary would forget one. She liked how he copied an extra set of notes for Marlene the day she was sick, something Lily herself hadn’t thought to do. She liked how pretty soon he was joining in on hers and Lupins study sessions which would leave them all doubled over laughing. She found that she liked Sirius and that he really wasn’t as much of a prick as she assumed. She liked the way he over dramatized everything and she was actually growing to find him funny. Of course not nearly as funny as he thought he was but funny all the same. She liked that he spent more time in detention than her, (which she’ll admit she was in quite a bit) him James and the rest of their lot always got in trouble for their pranks. But it was their fault they had to boast and let everyone know it was them. Her Mary Marlene and Alice on the other hand pulled off far better pranks with far less the track record, a feat she liked a great deal. She doesn’t like James Potter and the way he arrogantly asked her on a date while she was holding hands with Benjy. (She did however like her response to the question which included several curse words and threats to his well being).
Lily is 15 and she hates boys. She’s rocking back and forth and tearing at her hair and sobbing so hard she can’t catch her breath. Because he said it, he really said it. She couldn’t believe he actually said it. Her throat is raw from her screaming into her hands.He became the thing he promised he never would and he said the word. No matter how hard she shut her eyes she couldn’t get the image of his face out of her head. The word was stuck in her ears repeating itself over and over again. Mudblood. She felt like her stomach was in the floor as she laid her head in her knees and sobbed. Petunia still looks through her instead of at her. She had lost both of her siblings. Lily laughed out of the sheer irony of it all, because Severus and Petunia did have something in common after all, they both hated her. She disgusted the both of them and if it wasn’t for her friends she might have began to disgust herself too. Lily likes Alice. Soft and timid Alice who could never hurt a fly, was lying in the hospital wing getting her bloody knuckles bandaged. She was a different kind of calm than Lily was used to, no perky smile or scrunched nose sat on her face. Instead her eyes had this fierce fury, she sat perfectly still and the combination made her look deadly. “He’ll never say that word again Lily” she whispered. Reaching up to wipe her face with the back of her hand she only managed to smear it with blood. Lily likes Mary, who always butters her toast for her because “honestly Lily watching you do it is so slow and painful and look!! You’ve got chunks that won’t taste right just let me do it Merlin”. Lily likes Marlene especially when she’s yelling and fighting with all the professors, “I certainly do not think my skirt length has any effect on my ability to do magic. And if you don’t stop looking at my skirt I’ll show you just how capable I am at charms and charm your foot up your arse!!!” Lily was forced to charm Potters head to his desk in order to get the same two weeks detention that Marlene had gotten for that rant. Something Marlene was quietly greatful for, the two never spent a detention without the other. Lily likes rock n roll. She likes blasting it from her room and complaining to her mum that that’s the way it needs to be heard when she’s chided to lower it. She likes painting her nails black so they look especially badass when she flips Potter off. She likes going for car rides with her parents. And it’s ok that Petunia never comes because she gets to lay down in the back seat and dangle her feet out the window. She likes sneaking out at night with all her friends just to lay on the grass and look at the stars. She likes daring Alice to skinny dip in the lake and loves when she actually does. She likes that it took only seconds until the rest of the jumped in after her. She likes that Sniffers finally lets her hold him. She likes that Alice held her when Benjy cheated on her, she didn’t even like him that much but it hurt all the same. Mary and Marlene had left the common room quietly together and when she asked where they were going they both only shrugged. She liked that after only an hour later they returned with all of Benjys clothes, “we left his stuff from second year for him to wear tomorrow” Marlene said proudly as they all died in laughter. She liked Mary’s loud comments at breakfast the next morning, “Oi! Cut back on the breakfast Benjy looks like you’ve put on a few pounds. Your jumper buttons are ready to burst!” She yelled it while she buttered Lily’s toast with a smile. Lily secretly liked the way Potter threw death glares in Benjys direction mumbling about how he was an absolute fucking idiot, not that she’d ever admit that to anyone. She still didn’t like Potter not one bit, not even now that he’s grown to be so tall.
Lily is 16 and she can’t help liking boys. Not Severus though who she refuses to so much as glance at. Sure he tried apologizing several times but it was just too little too late. Petunia’s actually been civil lately, she made Lily a cup of tea without being asked. It might not be love but lily was sure it was something. Lily likes tea and pouring as much sugar in it as possible. She likes when her mom tells her that she might as well drink the sugar packets instead. She likes when her dad comments on the situation by doing just that and drinking the sugar. She likes the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and loves playing all the music for her dad to hear. She likes that he’ll sit with her for hours and just listen to the songs and talk about them. She loves when he surprises her with band tshirts that she wears until they’re ripped and faded. She likes chocolate and competing with Marlene to see who can stuff more of it in their mouths. She likes Marlene’s signature victory dance she does every time she wins. She likes Alice’s yells that they’ll both get stomach aches and ruin their appetites. She likes sitting up late at night in bed and talking to the rest of them. They can talk about anything and everything and they do. She likes the way Alice bashfully told them that Frank Longbottom had asked her out. But what she liked even better was helping her get ready to go. She liked the way Mary did Alice’s hair as Lily did her nails. Marlene watched them work and told Alice detailed stories about all the sex her and Frank would soon be having and not to worry cus she’d gladly tell her what goes where and how to do what and what boys like. She only stopped because Alice was blushing so hard Lily couldn’t do her makeup. Lily likes Sirius, loves him actually. They’d become very close over the year. She likes the way he gives her piggy back rides to class and his sharp wit. She likes that they can insult each other all day and know the others joking. She likes the way he’ll dramatically fall into a chair in the common room and claim he’s died of boredom. She likes that he understands. When she talked to him about Petunia and about how much it hurt to have a family member not love you back he actually understood. She nearly cried when he told her about his family but she was guiltily grateful to finally have someone who could relate. She likes James Potter now. They’ve decided to become friends. Just friends. That’s it. She doesn’t like him anymore than that. And if she has to say it again to Marlene or Mary or Alice or Remus or Sirius or Peter or any one else in this goddamn school she’s going to completely lose it. She likes that they’re friends he’s actually a very good friend. She likes the way he laughs. He does it with his whole body so his long legs kick up and his glasses nearly slide down his nose. She likes when he makes her laugh which is almost every minute of every day. He’s constantly whispering something in her ear or yelling across the dining hall or sneaking her notes in class. She likes the way he defends his friends so fiercely and loudly. When Alex Benditen made a nasty comment about Peter’s weight James made his stomach grow three times the size. She likes the way he runs his hand through his hair just to mess it up. She likes the way he’s constantly tapping his foot or his pen. It’s as if he just has so much energy it’s ready to explode right out of him. She likes his eyes and the way he looks at her like no one else does. She likes Potter, likes him a lot actually. But only as a friend of course she reminds herself, only as a friend.
Lily is 17 and loves her boys. Not Severus, who she barely even thinks about anymore, but Peter and Sirius and Remus and James. She loves Petunia and she’s starting to think that Petunia just may love her back a tiny bit. But it’s ok if she doesn’t lily decided. She’s finally content with being the sister who waits the sister who loves more freely. Lily likes going for walks at night. She likes grabbing her ratty pair of sneakers by the door and sneaking out. She likes the way the streets look when no ones on them. She likes the peace of it all. She likes the way the night air gives her a feeling of suspense. The night makes her feel like anything is possible and anything could happen at any moment. She likes do laundry with her mum. She likes sitting on the dryer and folding the clothes that her mum passes her while she tells her stories about when when she was younger. She likes the warmth of the clothes and the smell of the laundry and the sound of her mums laugh. Lily likes socks. She likes wearing the ones that are mismatched and the ones that have holes in the toe. She likes stuffing the dirty ones in Mary’s face for her to smell. She likes falling asleep in places that aren’t her bed. This particular habit happens to be one that she shares with Remus. The result of this led to a chart being made by Sirius and Marlene. Next to Lily’s name was, common room floor, Mary’s bed, staircase, great hall, peter’s bed, floor of boys room, floor of girls room, library, and charms class. Remus was the clear winner next to his name he had, every class he has ever taken, common room floor, every seat in common room, courtyard, astronomy tower, quidditch pitch, great hall, Sirius’s bed, boys floor, library, three broomsticks, supply closet, and a few passages. She liked the chart and the memories and teasing that went along with it. She liked napping next to Remus in the common room and the way he looked so peaceful. She likes firewhiskey. She likes the way it warms her all the way from her stomach to her fingertips. She likes proclaiming loudly and often that she could drink anyone who dares under the table. And she liked even better that she actually could, a fact that Sirius still gripes about. Lily liked dares. She liked both getting them and giving them. Her favorite dare to date was the one she gave Marlene the first week of this year. Marlene and Sirius had been loudly and aggressively flirting for the past year and a half and lily was tired of neither of them actually doing anything about it. So one night after a few bottles of firewhiskey she dared Marlene to give Sirius a Lap dance. Marlene was never one to back down from a challenge drunkenly stood up and Sirius nearly passed out before she even walked over to him. The music played and she swayed her hips and not even thirty seconds went by before he grabbed her and the two were heatedly making out. She liked the way the rest of them yelled and laughed and the choruses of finally. She liked the two of them together they were loud and obnoxious and completely in love. She still likes dancing in the common room. She likes twirling so fast that her skirt goes up and laughs at the hoots and hollers of her boys. Lily likes Mary and she couldn’t give less of a fuck that Mary liked girls. She liked that none of them cared at all and instead we’re always in constant search of finding Mary a girlfriend, something that always led to Mary blushing and hiding her face in her hands. She likes when they all play hide n seek like they’re little kids again. She always hides with Peter because he some how manages to find the best hiding places. She likes the way everyone groans that they win every round and the way Peter holds her hand up in victory. She likes Alice and Frank together. She likes watching them talk quietly to each other and giggle. They’re both soft and kind and absolutely perfect for each other. She likes cauldrons. She likes talking constantly about all the different makes and models and the proper ways to clean them and the slight effects each has on every different potion. The only person that will ever listen to her drone on and on about them is James. She likes James more than she’s ever liked anyone else before. She first kissed him after the first quidditch game of the season. James had been very worried before hand and was constantly griping about how essential it was for them to win. Lily showed up to every practice beforehand to scrutinize and give her advice. It usually led to the two of them arguing but she did it anyway. At the last practice before the game she told him that he needed to do a full roll fake out before shooting to avoid a defender. “ I can’t do that do you even know how hard that is?!” He had yelled back at her. “Liam pofcery does it all the time!” She answered arms crossed. “He’s been a professional for ten years how am I supposed to do that?” James had groaned. But at the game she watched from the stands and he did it and they won. She sprinted on to the pitch afterwards jumped onto him nearly knocking him over and kissed him. She liked the way the world stopped for a moment when she did it. All the people screaming seemed to blur for a moment and all she could see was him. She was kissing James. She liked his stupid face of surprise right before she did it. She liked the way he immediately kissed her back fiercely and intensely. She liked the way he grabbed her tight as if she might let go or change her mind and pull away. She had no intention of doing that because she liked the way he kissed way too much. She likes kissing James. After the first one it all started to rush into place. She could finally admit to herself all the things she liked about him. She liked his eyes and how they were always bright as if he just told a joke. She liked his hands and how they were big and rough from holding a broom. She liked his hair and the funny way it stuck out at all ends. She liked how fucking tall he was and how she had to pull his tie for him to lean down and kiss her. She liked laying with him at night and hearing him breathe. She liked pushing him off the bed when he snored and laughing when he tickled her in retaliation. She liked the way he exasperatedly yelled her name when she made him mad. She liked that he’d twirl her in the common room and on the quidditch pitch and in the astronomy tour and anywhere else he could think of. She pretended not to like when he constantly went around and told everyone she was his girlfriend. She liked that he was bestfriends with her friends and she with his. She liked how everything was perfect. Even when it wasn’t. Peter served detention four times for cursing Slytherins who threatened her. Which was three less than the 7 times Remus served for doing the same thing. Mary and Marlene both were in the hospital wing twice with broken knuckles. But nothing beat Sirius and James’s 10 detentions and 3 hospital wing visits in the matter of four months. Lily yelled at all of them that she didn’t need their help that she could take the insults and threats just fine and handle herself perfectly on her own. But she liked the way they all rolled their eyes when she screamed. She liked that when the letters from the Order came they all said yes without hesitation. None of them needed a second to think or consider it. They were all ready to get out of school and start actually doing something to help. They were all ready to fight. She liked the way they spent their last few days in school. They broke out every night and drank and danced in the courtyard. She dared Alice to skinny dip again and soon they were all freezing and splashing and dying from laughter. The world was fucked up and the war was coming but for those few nights they were kids in love. In love with their friends, in love with the night and the stars, in love with the laughter that gave them aches to their bones, in love with the naive idea that they’d all be ok that this and them would all last forever. She liked remembering those nights and that feeling right before she went to sleep. She liked sleeping with all of the blankets wrapped around her, a fact that always led to James complaining. She didn’t like James Potter at all. She loved him.
<b></b> -Sirius picking the playlist which means it basically consists of rock anthems<p/><b></b> -Lily demanding at least one Beatles song per hour<p/><b></b> -James and Remus being designated drivers because they're the only ones who somehow managed to pass their drivers test<p/><b></b> -Peter being in charge of snacks and always making sure he had everyone's favourite treats<p/><b></b> -This means an incredible supply of chocolate<p/><b></b> -Lots of sunglasses and checked shirts<p/><b></b> -Lily having an insane blanket collection<p/><b></b> -They drive around in an old 1960s hippie Muggle campervan<p/><b></b> -Said caravan was decorated by Lily<p/><b></b> -This means feminist slogans EVERYWHERE<p/><b></b> -On Halloween she makes it look like the mystery bus from Scooby Doo<p/><b></b> -There are a list of rules which continuously grows longer<p/><b></b> -The need for these rules is basically Sirius<p/><b></b> -At least half of them are about nudity and how it is not allowed in the car<p/><b></b> -They have a tent in the boot which they take out and set up for star gazing<p/><b></b> -James pretending to have an extensive knowledge of constellations to impress Lily<p/><b></b> -Jily and wolfstar fighting over the backseat which is the best spot to cuddle<p/><b></b> -In the end they all stuff themselves in there, with Peter<p/><b></b> -Marauder cuddles ensue<p/><b></b> -Remus being the on road doctor<p/><b></b> -"No Prongs you can't just walk off a 40 degrees fever"<p/><b></b> -Lily making flower crowns and braiding the boys hair because let's face it they didn't bother cutting it on the road<p/><b></b> -They never take a map and so always end up in the most random but beautiful place<p/><b></b> -One of these places is a lake with honey coloured trees<p/><b></b> -This is where James pops the question<p/><b></b> -When Harry is born they buy a car seat<p/><b></b> -These road trips become an annual affair<p/><b></b> -One day 20 years later after the second war Harry finds the van<p/><b></b> -Ron's in charge of snacks this time<p/></p>