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HP stories following Canon including OotP >> Underneath the Mistletoe by irish_ginny

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.

Lily Evans stared out her window of the Head Girl dorm. The snow had started to fall once again, covering the Hogwarts grounds with a heavy covering on soft white snow. Lily loved winter, it was the most beautiful of seasons to her. Not to mention it contained her favourite holiday; Christmas. She had even taken to decorating the Head's common room for the festive season to show her enthusiasm, something that had both amused and slightly frightened James Potter, Head Boy.

James Potter, there he was again in her thoughts. Ever since the start of the year he had been there, clouding any other thought once he arrived. When they had found out at the start of the year that they would be working together a lot they agreed to put aside the last six years for the schools benefit and become friends. Well, after Lily had thrown a fit that scared the first years so much they ran in fright. Let's just say she was a little bit surprised at the choice. He was the big-headed prat who had jinxed and hexed almost everyone he came across for six years. What qualified to even make the running for Head Boy?

But Lily had learned over the last three months that James did, in fact, have some good qualities. He was caring, an extremely loyal friend, smart and had actually matured quite a bit since he got the job. Lily noticed this especially when on the train he had asked her to be friends instead of his girlfriend, as he had constantly asked her since first year. She had gotten used to his elaborate proposals over the years, and found now that she actually missed them a little.

Lily shook her head and stood up. She couldn't afford to drift off into that thought again. She had a ball to plan and it needed her full attention. There was plenty of time to think about other things later. She glanced at her watch and saw it was seven o' clock so she decided to head down for dinner. Maybe that would clear her head and help her focus.

The first thing she spotted when she left her bedroom was James. He was sitting at his desk and appeared to be absorbed in whatever work he was doing. When Lily had first seen this she had stood in shock in her doorway. Never had she seen James Potter so much as read a book, never mind sit down and study. But she had grown used to it now. Maybe it was part of the 'maturing' thing he had started, maybe he was going to take his N.E.W.T's seriously. She decided to ask him if he wanted to go to dinner since she knew he hadn't eaten yet.

"Hey James," she greeted, walking over to his desk. James looked up and grinned. Like he didn't know who was there before he looked up. He could pick out Lily's voice in a crowd of a million people.

"Oh hey Lily," He said said with another smile. Lily couldn't help grin back.

"Funny how things work out isn't it? I used to hate that smile," Lily thought. She snapped out of her thoughts again because James was looking expectantly at her as if saying "Did you interrupt me for a reason or just for fun?"

"I was just about to go down for dinner. Do you want to go?" she asked. James grinned once again and nodded.

"Yeah I'm starved! I haven't eaten since lunch, I've been working on this since then," he told her getting up. Lily could hardly contain her surprise. Not only had he been working for more than an hour, but he, James I-Could-Eat-Anyone-In-Hogwarts-Under-The-Table Potter, hadn't eaten in more than six hours!

"What has you so wrapped up that you haven't eaten yet?" she asked as they made their way down to the Great Hall. Was it her imagination or did he look a bit uncomfortable?

"Oh...well...I was just brainstorming for ideas. You know for the b-ball," he mumbled. This time Lily's face registered her shock. He'd been listening when Dumbledore had told them about it? She didn't even think he knew there was going to be one and now he was planning for it?!

"Really?" she asked, mentally kicking herself. She hadn't meant to sound so surprised even though she was. She hoped James wouldn't notcie, but no such luck that James Potter wouldn't notice something about her.

"No need to look so surprised about it Lily," he said with a laugh, though inside he was a bit hurt that she still didn't believe in him. "I told you I was going to take my duties seriously and I am. I'm not going to let you do all the work and just take the credit. I want to help." Lily notcied the serious tone in his voice that showed her he meant what he was saying. She nodded.

"I know James. We'll go back and work on it after dinner is that ok? I have some ideas for it too." James grinned again, his momentary hurt gone. Any time he got to spent with Lily was ok with him! They reached the Great Hall and ended the talk about the ball as they slipped in beside their friends. Since James and Lily had decided to give friendship a chance the two groups had tried it out aswell and joined together. It seemed to go well. Of course they still fought but six years of pranking and being pranked didn't just get erased on a whim.

Lily sat in between her two friends, Amberle and Katie, with their other frind, Gabriella, sitting beside Katie. The four boys sat across from them, already eating hungrily. Lily swore every mealtime they had a bet going on of who could eat the most food. It always seemed to be Sirius, much to Amberle's disgust and his amusement. The eight sat there eating and talking the whole way through dinner and desert. Lily had been right that it would clear her head, but she couldn't help but notice James glances every now and then. She had thought he had gotten over her since he hadn't asked her out or anything this year. Though she would never admit it, it upset her to lose his attention. She glanced up at him and blushed as he looked at her at the same moment. She quickly looked back at her plate and resumed eating her cake. She missed James puzzled look.

***********************************

"Ok, so what ideas do you have?" Lily asked as she and James walked though the portrait hole to the Head's dorm and made their way to the sofas before the fire.

"Well I was thinki-" James stopped suddenly. He had been about to sit down but found he couldn't move from where he stood. "Um...Lily? I think I'm stuck."

Lily turned around to see what was wrong. He didn't look stuck to her, he was just standing there. She rolled her eyes, so much for mature.

"Come on James, we need to get this done," she told him and moved to sit on the sofa James had just been about to take. But, just as James had, she found she couldn't move. She looked up at James baffeled, however James was looking at the ceiling. Suddenly James seemed both very uncomfortable and mad.

"Padfoot you're dead," he whispered threateningly. Lily was confused. She looked up to see what had caused James sudden mood change and started. Mistletoe! Who had planted mistletoe in the Head's room? Whoever it was was dead now, Lily thought to herself. James seemed to have guessed what she was thinking and stopped whispering threats and curses.

"It was Sirius. Must have been his idea of a Christmas joke. It was something we thought of last year. Seemed like a good idea at the time," James said, glancing uneasily at Lily.

"Ok, so it's mistletoe. No big deal is it? But why can't we move?" Lily asked trying to step away again but with the same result. James face was turning red now and he looked extremely uncomfortable.

"Well...you see...the charm that Sirius put on it...it kinda keeps the two people stuck under it until they...well until they kiss," James mumbled, his face flaming now. Lily had turned red aswell. Sirius was so so very dead! But the only way to get out of here to kill him was to kiss James! How could she do that?

"Well you two can't stand here forever! Just kiss him and get it over with!" said the voice in Lily's head. It was right, she had to just grit her teeth and do it. But what she couldn't decide was weither she was nervous about kissing him or just mad that she had to?

"Oh..well ok. I guess we better..." Lily trailed off. James snapped his head up fast. He was sure she would scream bloody murder for a while and he's just have to kiss her and run. Well he was certain the end part was right but he was shocked that she had given in so easily. Did that mean something?

"Woa mate, don't get too carried away. Just do it! You've always wanted to now here's you're chance! But the bloody spell will wear off before you do at this rate and it can't wear off until Sirius dies!"

James nodded more to himself than Lily and leaned forward. Her lips met his half way. The kiss was sweet and brief but James had never had a better one. He pulled away very reluctantly. He felt the sparks that had shot through him as soon as her lips touched his. There was no way he had just imagined that, was there? He glanced down at Lily who was looking up at him, her eyes slightly glazed. Nope, he hadn't imagined it, Lily had felt it too. He took his chance and leaned down to kiss her again but was very surprised when she turned her head so he could only get her cheek.

"James, I can't." She said it so softly James wouldn't have heard it only he was so close to her.

"Why not?" he asked, taking a step back. She had felt the electricity that had gone between them, he was sure of it. That had to mean something! So why was she pulling away?

"I-I just can't," she said looking up at him, her eyes pleading him to just leave it. He knew he should but something inside him was burning. He had wanted her for so long and now he almost had her. But there was something there blocking it, and he had to figure out what that was or he would never have a chance with her.

"That's not a real answer Lily," he told her matter-of-factly. He stared straight at her, trying to find an answer. Her eyes were clouded with so many emotions James was startled she could feel so much. He plainly say confusion but behind that there was sadness and, though he thought he had to be wrong, a small trace of love.

"You felt it Lily, I know you did. You felt the electricity that passed between us. That has to mean something Lily. How can you just turn away from that?" he asked, moving closer to her again.

"I felt it James and that's why I can't. I can't have my heart broken by you," she told him, breaking the eye contact between them. Now it was James who was confused. He didn't get it.

"Why do you think I'd break your heart Lily?" he asked. But something inside Lily snapped and she grew angry at the simple question. How could he not know? Had he ever paid attention to how he treated his girlfriends?

"Oh I don't know; maybe it's because I've seen how you treated every girl you've come by over the last six years? I don't want to be treated like that! I don't want to be told that I'm loved and to let myself fall just to be thrown aside the next week for the next pretty face who walks by!" Lily said, trying hard not to shout but her temper was growing.

"It wouldn't be like that with you Lily! I've told you that. I love you!" James said, his own temper rising with the situation.

"You love me? How can you love me James? You don't know anything about me! You only want me because you can't have me! In a week or so you'll get bored of me and move on! I can't do that! I will not let myself get hurt by you anymore. I don't want to be just another name on your list because I, unlike you, actually have real feelings! Feelings that get hurt when people drop them aside, when people pretend to like you, when people make you fall for them even though you know it's not true! You don't love me James because you can't love someone you don't know!" Lily shouted at him. Her eyes were filling with tears. For so long she had hidden any trace of feelings she had towards James unless they were negative. And here she was now spilling everything in the heat of a moment.

"I do know you Lily. I may not know everything like where you went on holidays when you were ten, or what you got for your birthday from your parents, but I know who you are. I know you're smart, that you give your all to everything you try. I know that you get highly stressed when exams are coming because you want to do the best possible even though you can do that without any work. I know you want to please your parents so they can be proud of you even though they can't identify with you being a witch. I know you feel you have to prove you belong in the wizarding world, to show muggleborns are just as good as purebloods. I know you're kind and helpful to anyone in trouble, no matter how they treat you. I know you have a temper that could tear down this castle at it's peak. I know when you get mad at something your eyebrow furrows and your eyes flash just like they're doing know. I know that you love the colour green in any shade, your favourite class is Charms, you struggle with Transfiguration but are too proud to ask for help, you love to read muggle books to help you relax and your favourite is 'Alice in Wonderland'. I know you love your friends more than anything in the world and would risk anything for them just as they would for you. I know it upsets you how your sister doesn't talk to you even though you say it doesn't matter anymore. I know you still love your sister and wish she would accept you being a witch. I know you look at Hogwarts as a home where you can feel accepted and safe, like you wish your real home could be like again. I know you have a guarded heart. I know you're afraid to let anyone too close to you because you're afraid to get hurt. The only people you've let in in six years has been your friends and even they don't know everything about you. I know you get rid of any boyfriend before they can get too close so they don't break your heart. I knew nothing like that about any other girl I ever dated, Lily. You are the only one I took the time to get to know. Maybe if I actually wanted to go out with other girls I would know the same about them. But I didn't and I don't ever want to. You are the only one I've ever wanted and ever will want. Everytime you rejected me I would start dating the first girl that walked by me afterwards, hoping that she could heal the pain that was caused by knowing I couldn't have you yet. Maybe I would fall in love with her and could forget you? But it never worked. It took a long time, nearly six years, to see that there wasn't anyone else. Only you Lily, just you. But you wouldn't let me close enough to show you that because you were afraid I would get too close, that I would manage to break through the defences you built to keep everyone out!" James stopped and looked at Lily. She had tears streaming down her face and for the first time she looked vunerable to James. But he couldn't help himself he had to say it, he had to let her know everything he felt for her.

"James please stop," she begged quietly, tears still falling silently down her cheeks.

"Why Lily? Because you know I'm right? Why can't you just accept that I do love you?" he asked, his voice dropping again. He didn't like this Lily. A Lily who was weak, upset and vunerable. It wasn't who she was. He wanted more than anything to just hold her and stop her tears but he knew he had to break through to her. He couldn't just leave it here. As much as it hurt to see her like this he needed her to understand. She needed herself to understand.

"Because I was scared James, ok? I was afraid that if I let my feelings for you come out that you would break my heart. I've liked you just as long as you have me, but I hid it. I had to! I saw how other girls got treated by you. I see now that you did it because you really didn't feel anything for them. But how do you know it won't go like that for us? How do you know you won't break my heart? How can you be so sure we'll work?" she asked, looking him straight in the eye. So this was what it was all leading up to. She wanted assurance that he wasn't ever going to hurt her and they could be together forver, and she knew he couldn't give her that. There was never any guarantees. It was a risk.

"You know I can't be sure Lily, no one can. That's what love is, it's a risk. You put yourself out there for the people you love and hope to god it will work. Nothing comes easily Lily. People have to work on it. But that's when you see what true love is; when people don't just give up on each other when things get hard. That's how I know I love you Lily, that's how I can tell I'm not going to hurt you or leave you after a little while. I've chased you for six years and never did I give up. I thought about it, I was told more than once to because it was breaking my heart in pieces. But I didn't. I decided you were worth it, that it was worth the risk and the pain if I could succeed at the end. I can't tell you everything is going to be ok and we'll live happily ever after with no problems because I can't tell you that truthfully. But I can tell you that I love you and I always will. I'm never going to get bored with you Lily, it's not possible. Your a bloody mine of emotions and moods!" he said. He saw Lily's mouth twitch upwards into a smile. That gave him confidence and he took a step closer, bridging the gap that had formed through their fighting and yelling.

"All I'm asking, Lily, is for you to give me a chance to show you that I'm not lying, If you say no then I will walk away and never bother you again. But if you say yes I promise you I'll make sure you don't regret it. I-" but he was cut off by Lily's lips pressed firmily to his. It didn't last much longer than the first one but it left James speechless.

"Ok Potter, you've made your point," she told him with a grin. She braced herself and looked up into his eyes again, to make sure he could see she really meant it. "I love you James."

James stared, speechless again. He had dreamed for so long about Lily saying those words to him, but now she had he had to make sure it wasn't just another dream. But the look in her eyes, the real love, it had never been there in the dreams. It was just empty words. But this was different, this was real.

"I love you too, Lily. More than you know," he told her. He leaned in once again and kissed her. That one kiss contained all the passion and heat that had been shared between them that night. James had no idea how long they stood there and he didn't care either. The clock chimed twelve and James stepped back.

"Merry Christmas Lils," he whispered and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her again.

"I guess Christmas really is a time for miracles."

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