Jily and #22, please! Your writing is fantastic! xx
i’m so, so honored, thank you so much!! i’m really glad! <3 okay, okay, so, here we go:
22: Muffled, from the other side of the door
They haven’t spoken in weeks.
Lily can almost feel him, standing there just outside the door to the girls’ dorms. Marlene is reclining on her bed, focusing intently on a book. At least, Lily thinks, she’s kind enough to pretend she isn’t eavesdropping.
She’s definitely eavesdropping, though. Definitely.
“Evans.” James’ voice, muffled by the unyielding wood of the door. It’s a barrier between them, solid, immovable. Lily is standing with her spine resting against it, head lowered, eyes trained on her bare feet. “Evans. Lily. Listen to me, just once? Please?”
Lily doesn’t want to answer, so she stays quiet. Her own silence is a stone lodged in the back of her throat. It’s hard to swallow, a little hard to breathe.
“I haven’t seen you in so long. Give me a chance, maybe? And–and, well, Maybe I shouldn’t have done that to Snivellus, after all, but you have to admit, he is kind of a dick–”
“Don’t,” says Lily, “call him that.” She isn’t friends with Severus anymore, not really, but–still. No one deserves to be bullied. Not even the very worst of souls.
Shocked silence fills the space between them, and then James just–bursts. “Are you joking? He called you a slur, Evans, and you’re taking his side?”
“I’m not defending him,” Lily snaps. The sharp edge to her voice surprises even herself. She imagines James faltering on the other side of the door, and doesn’t know if she should invest in a dose of wicked pride or a certain degree of pity. She feels neither. “He’s a dick, definitely, but you don’t need to be a dick, too.” Something else occurs to her. “And–why should I give you a chance, anyway? What for? To do what?”
More uncharacteristic silence.
James isn’t usually like this. He’s loud and boastful and loves himself a little too much. This whole situation is…alien. It’s starting to make Lily’s skin crawl.
“Because.” His voice is strangely quiet. Lily has to strain her ears to listen, and even then, it’s difficult to catch his words. Damn this door. Damn this awful distance between them. “I love you.”
There’s a little squeaking noise from somewhere in Marlene’s direction, but Lily doesn’t care. She isn’t sure she heard James correctly, but then–
He’s saying it again, and again, and again. Over and over and over. “I love you, Lily Evans. I love you. And I think you know that. But I wonder if you love me, too.”
Despite herself, Lily’s fingers inch towards the doorknob. She can’t really stop herself, not when it comes to James. “What?”
“I love you. Merlin, I’ll say it as often as you want me to, Evans, just open the fucking–”
He never gets a chance to finish, because Lily opens the door with a strength she never knew she had. James stumbles forward into the room; she catches him in her arms right before he hits the floor.
He’s gazing up in her, hair even more disheveled than usual, clothes rumpled, eyes shining with something like hope. He looks at her as if she’s the brightest star in the sky, and she smiles and says, “You know, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I love you too.”
Marlene abandons her pretense of reading and stares at the two of them, wide-eyed and disbelieving.
Lily finds she doesn’t really care, because it’s worth it. It’s worth seeing James’ face light up like that. And his laughter–his golden, golden laughter–is worth everything.
Even if–yeah–he is kind of a dick.