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HP stories following Canon but PRE-OotP >> Will you dance with me? by natural_ginger

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.
James Potter stood by the portrait hole waiting for the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately this was merely a friendly endeavour rather than one of romance. He was waiting for Lily Evans, needless to say he loved her and she didn’t feel the same way. They had built a friendship in the last year as James had stopped embarrassing her by asking her out in public. He still did so in private though but nowhere near as frequently. He cringed when he thought the arrogant prat he was back then and didn’t blame Lily for rejecting him. As the Head Boy and Girl they were to stand by the entrance to the Great Hall and greet everybody as they entered Halloween ball at Hogwarts. So they had to be there before everyone else.

Although James had not wanted to go with anyone other than Lily, he knew that she would not go with him, at least not as his date. He had proposed that they go together which had earned him a scowl. He quickly explained that they could go as friends, much to his disappointment, because they would be spending most of the night together anyway. Lily had agreed much to his amazement and then gone to bed. He had stood in the common room with his arms above his head before mentally slapping himself to remember that this was not an actual date.

The common room was empty except for James as everybody, including the boys, were upstairs getting ready for the ball. Lily descended the girl’s dormitory stairs and headed towards James who was stood gaping at her. She was wearing a set of emerald green dress robes which matched her eyes perfectly. He was practically drooling as she approached him, his eyes were glazed over and his hands hung limply by his sides. She loved that she could do that to him. The charming and witty James Potter turned into a babbling imbecile whenever she was around, much to her amusement.

She snickered at his facial expression which seemed to snap him out of his reverie. “You look incredible, Lily.”

She smiled at the compliment and returned it. “You don’t look so bad yourself, James.”

He immediately grinned broadly and offered her his arm. “May I accompany you to the ball Miss Evans?” In the most pompous voice he could manage while doing his best to keep a straight face. She put on her best scowl and upon seeing it he merely rolled his eyes and added, “As friends!”

They both laughed and Lily took his arm as he held the portrait so that she could step through.

“So, dreading this as much as I am?” James asked.

“Absolutely!” she replied with a laugh. The truth was she did have a large amount of trepidation when it came to this dance. Lily was not a pretty girl as much as James told her different. She was the class swot who sat at the front of the class and took notes. She scored top of her class in almost every subject and was the perfect Head Girl. This however, did not mean that anyone would ask her to dance tonight.

James and Lily made their way to the Great Hall laughing and joking all the way. When they arrived the teachers were making the final touches to the Great Hall which looked magnificent with pumpkins floating below the enchanted ceiling.

The students arrived and Lily was being made uncomfortable by some of the girls. They kept staring at James and ignoring her as they made their way into the hall, or even worse shooting her glares. All of the girls fancied James, Lily was well aware of the resentment sent towards her. James hadn’t dated anyone for 2 years because of his feelings for Lily, despite many girls throwing themselves at him. Lily was relieved when her friends arrived. Alice was beaming and clinging onto Frank who was looking apprehensive.

“Hi, Lily! This should be great, I love dancing.” As Alice dragged Frank away into the hall, he looked back helplessly and mouthed towards her and James.

“I hate dancing!”

Julia and Remus arrived next both looking sheepish. They mumbled greetings to Lily and James and went into the hall. Remus tentatively offered Julia his hand and she took it leaving them both blushing furiously. Lily turned and could see that James was also watching the exchange between their two friends. He put his arm around her and giving her a squeeze and a small but meaningful smile which sent shivers down her spine. She felt very comfortable stood there with James and she was glad that they had built a friendship after the unpleasantness at the end of fifth year.

Sirius was the next and last of the seventh year Gryffindors to arrive, disbelievingly without a girl in tow. Peter was always suspiciously ill whenever there was a formal dance event since first year. When Lily commented on Sirius being on his own, he merely said that he didn’t want to break any girl’s heart by picking another girl over her. He then swaggered into the hall smiling, waving and winking at every girl on the way regardless of the angry glares he was getting from the boys who were accompanying them.

James and Lily took their seats and ate the delicious meal while chatting with their friends. When they had finally filled up on chocolate cake Professor Dumbledore stood to address the students

“Welcome students to this year’s Halloween ball. I hope you have all enjoyed the food and it is now time for the dance to begin.” There were squeals of delight and groans from around the hall most of which were coming from Alice and Frank respectively. “Now, I hope that you have all remembered the tradition that any lucky boy that is asked to dance cannot refuse. Boys, you should all remember that no-one has broken this tradition in more than 1000 years and I would suggest that you would not enjoy finding out the punishment for breaking this tradition.” Several of the boys shifted in their seats including James, this was going to be a long night for him and the rest of the boys. Dumbledore was clearly enjoying the awkward predicament that this put the boys in. “Let the dance begin!”

With that the house tables and chairs shuffled around the room, several with students still upon them, until they had arranged around the edge of the hall leaving the centre free for dancing. Music began to blare from an unknown source and the floor was soon filled with couples who were spinning and twirling to the music. Alice quickly dragged a reluctant Frank onto the floor and Julia and Remus also nervously made their way onto the floor. This left Lily, James and Sirius and it didn’t take long for James to ask her.

“Lily, will you dance with me?” He looked hopefully at her.

“No thank you, James.” He immediately looked devastated and so Lily reacted. “Maybe later, I’m still full from dinner.” He seemed pleased with this answer until he realised Sirius was watching them with an evil grin. Lily and James both knew that grin too well. He was planning something, usually at one or both of their expense.

“What’s up Padfoot?” He asked suspiciously.

“Prongs, will you dance with me?” Lily spluttered her pumpkin juice out and laughed.

“WHAT!? You can’t be serious!” James looked horrified

“I’m always serious; you should know that by now.” James laid his head on the table; he walked right into that one. “Anyway you can’t say no remember, Dumbledore said nothing about it having to be a girl that asks.” James emitted a long groan and began repeatedly thumping his head on the table. “I won’t leave you alone until you do.”

“Don’t forget about the curse.” Lily added.

“Thanks, Lily.” James said shooting a glare at her as she grinned at him. “Fine, but I get to lead.” He pointed threateningly at Sirius who was looking extremely pleased with himself. He turned to Lily, “Are you going to be okay on your own?” She nodded and they got up and left Lily behind. She didn’t mind as she was kept entertained by the sight of James and Sirius dancing and earning strange looks and laughter from everyone who saw them.

It wasn’t long before Lily was joined by Remus who was supporting a hobbling Julia. Remus was apologising for standing on her foot and helped her into her chair. She said that she accepted and gave him kiss on the cheek, which left him looking as though he had just been confunded and he sat speechless for several minutes.

Lily spent the rest of the evening chatting with Julia and Remus and watching James on the dance floor. Sirius had been dragged away by a group of giggling girls who were now taking turns dancing with him. Needless to say he didn’t look too displeased with the way the evening was progressing. James began to make his way back to the table and Lily felt her heart rate rise as he approached. She sat up taller in her seat and straightened her robes. She suddenly realised what she was doing and shook her head.

She looked back to James who was walking directly towards her and had eyes for no-one else in the hall. He was just reaching the edge of the dance floor when he was grabbed on the arm by a pretty sixth year Ravenclaw prefect called Camilla Johnson. She was smart but used this intelligence to manipulate people around her, which made her unpopular, especially with the girls. She whispered to him and he glanced back at Lily before nodding and moving back out into the floor to dance with her.

Lily watched this happen all night with James looking increasingly frustrated and he looked longingly towards Lily every chance he got as he turned around the floor with whichever girl had collared him this time. Several of the girls came back for another dance seemingly oblivious to the fact that James was not so happy about the way the night was going.

Lily began to realise the strength of James feelings for her as he was dancing with the prettiest girls in the school who were flirting with him outrageously. They pulled him close and he pulled away. They whispered things in his ear and he politely shook his head.

‘He could be with any of these girls.’ Lily thought. ‘But he wants me.’ Lily was tremendously flattered by this realisation that James valued her over all of the other girls at Hogwarts, and found she was blushing profusely.

Lily noticed that Sirius was fused with a very attractive, but not overly intelligent Hufflepuff who it would seem had fought of the competition. Alice and Frank were still on the dance floor, and poor Frank was clearly exhausted and was almost being held up by Alice who was beaming. Frank was not enjoying himself but soldiered on because he knew that Alice was. ‘That’s love for you.’ Before she could stop herself she had wondered whether James would do that for her. She was surprised when she answered her own question with an answer that she had always known but denied to herself.

She searched the floor once more to find that Camilla Jones was once again clung to James who was smiling but his eyes were glazed over as though he was somewhere else. Lily wished that she could be that girl in James arms and resting his head on his broad shoulders and realised, with delight that she could be if she just took a chance.

Just as Lily said to herself that next time she would make herself say yes, Camilla took her chance while James was dazed. She brought his head down to hers and engaged him in a very passionate kiss, at least on her part. Lily was angry, very angry and felt as if she run over and hex them both despite the fact that she had no legitimate reason to do so. James was a free agent and could kiss who he wanted. All of this ran through Lily’s head in less than a second.

As soon as James realised what was happening his eyes open wide in shock and he tried to pull away but Camilla was clearly holding on tight. He pushed her away and looked as angry as Lily felt. He said something and took a quick sideways glance at Lily. Camilla immediately turned to follow his gaze which also landed on Lily and her jaw clenched. She turned back to James and pointed to herself and then to Lily, she was offering him a choice. James didn’t hesitate and nodded in Lily’s direction, which was the final straw for Camilla who slapped him clean across the face before storming away. James winced in pain as a bright red mark quickly appeared on his cheek.

James and Lily looked at each other across the hall for a few seconds before he turned to face the table at the back of the hall where Dumbledore was stood tapping his glass to gain everyone’s attention. With great reluctance, Lily also turned to face the back of the hall as everyone fell silent.

“Thank you, I hope you have all had a good evening but I am afraid to say it has now ended and that was the last dance of the evening.” Frank looked ecstatic but had the good sense to put on a disappointed face that matched Alice’s when she looked up at him. “I trust that you will all make your way back to your dormitories without further encouragement, good night to you all.”

Lily looked for James but he was nowhere to be seen and he was not in the common room either when she arrived back. She asked Remus to check the boy’s dormitory for him, but he wasn’t there. Lily needed to talk to him, she felt so stupid for refusing that first dance. Everybody went to get changed and then went to bed except for Lily who came back down into the common room to await James return. Everybody was asleep because it was so late. Lily curled up on the sofa and closed her eyes and soon fell asleep.

“Lily. Come on Lily wake up, you can’t stay here all night.” James was sat on the sofa next to her. His tie and jacket were thrown on the table and his sleeves were rolled up. The top few buttons on his shirt were also undone and Lily’s eyes lingered on this for far too long. She tore her eyes away and looked up and straight into James’ eyes. She stayed silent, but smiled up at him and he smiled back as he brushed a few stray hairs out of her face. Eventually James broke the silence;

“Come on, we’ve got to get to bed. We’ve got Transfiguration in,” He checked his watch. “Five hours! Time for bed I think!” With that he stood and offered Lily his hand which she took without hesitation.

“I’m sorry about tonight, James. I saw what happened.” His smile faltered for a second and his eyes flickered to their hands which were still joined.

“It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault. It was that stupid curse.” He chuckled half-heartedly and they looked into each other’s eyes for the hundredth time that night. He gave her hand a small squeeze before picking up his jacket and turning towards the boy’s dormitory stairs. “Goodnight, Lily.” Lily didn’t know if the curse was still in effect as it was well past midnight but she had to take her chance.

“James, will you dance with me?”

James didn’t know if the curse still active but he didn’t care either, there was no way he was going to say no.

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