James glumly surveyed his reflection in the mirror. "Why did this have to happen today, of all days?" he asked miserably. He had spots. On his face.
Tugging open his dressing gown and pulling his pyjama shirt forward, he squinted down his front, hoping the others had faded. "Blast! Damn! Cack!"
Having unbuttoned his shirt for a better look, the mirror cooed, "Ooo! That looks nasty!" in commiserating tones.
James scowled at it.
"I'm only saying!" it added huffily.
James moved across to the window, muttering, and hoping that some daylight would suggest a kinder diagnosis than the one currently looming over his aching brain.
Nope; it made no difference how he pressed or rubbed, the Sickle-sized marks on his skin refused to disappear. "Moony!" he called, sending himself cross-eyed while trying to peer at his back.
The bathroom door opened. "You wailed?"
Remus was rubbing his eyes when James turned, baring his chest for scrutiny.
"I didn't wail!" he corrected testily. "I -"
"He bellowed, Moony!" Sirius interrupted brightly. "Prongs always bellows. Goes with the antlers you see -all that bone pressing down on his brains. Affects the throat." Then he feigned revulsion, waving a hand at James's exposed chest. "Put it away, Prongs, save it for Evans!"
"Look!" James yelped, jabbing a finger at the various marks.
Remus shuffled closer with Sirius at his elbow, and they both examined the livid red discs that James was indicating, noting the raised centres. Then they exchanged narrow, worried glances.
Sirius nodded solemnly. "I concur."
James glared. "Well? What d'you think?"
"You've either grown another nipple in the night," Sirius said dryly, evading James's swipe, "or…"
"It's Dragonpox," Remus finished for him.
James swallowed and moved back to the window so that the hazy February sunlight could better illuminate the circular mark. "It can't be!" he said, and this time, he did wail. "It can't be Dragonpox! It can't!"
Sirius and Remus watched as James found and scuffed his nail repeatedly over another developing red dot overlying a rib in hopes of removing it. "I should be immune… It's seven months since… It's not fair."
Remus and Sirius swapped another anxious glance.
"Er… James, mate…" Sirius pointed. "That one just got bigger."
James started and twisted to get a closer look. "What? No!" Then, Sirius's twisted sense of humour occurred to him. He stared hard at the wizard he considered his brother, despite their blood-lines. "If you are winding me up, Sirius, I swear…!"
Sirius huffed, hands casually on his hips yet his eyes were as shiny as Remus's. "No -it's the sunlight, pillock. I wouldn't joke about - Got any more?" He grabbed James by the shoulders, turned him round and unceremoniously hauled up his clothes.
"They're on his face," Remus said. "Look; one on his chin-"
"Cut himself shaving," Sirius said, waving this away dismissively.
Remus sighed. "Which might be plausible, except the other one is on his nose, and not by any stretch of the imagination does Prongs need to shave his nose!"
"Unlike Bella, you mean?" Sirius smirked darkly. "Sorry, Prongs, they're on your back as well."
The two Marauders faced the third squarely. "You have to face it, James - you've got Dragonpox. There is no way you can play."
James slumped down onto the floor, stretching his legs out and lolling back against the stone wall. "I'm not bothered about the game," he said, looking wretched, and Sirius and Remus moved as one to put a hand on his forehead.
"Merlin's beard!" Sirius murmured, "now I know he's sick! James Potter is dismissive of Quidditch!"
"Ha-bloody-ha," James muttered, closing his eyes to find relief from the overly-bright sunlight.
"I suppose he is James?" Remus added, squatting on his haunches and hoping to raise a smile. "And not someone pretending to be him?"
"Evans said she'd go into Hogsmeade with me after the game," James mumbled. An unwise observer might have suggested his eyelashes were damp, but Remus and Sirius knew this was only a symptom of Dragonpox. "She finally says 'yes' and I go down with this!" He gesticulated wildly. "Bugger! Just my bloody luck!"
Sirius started to grin but Remus got to his feet, frowning. "Lily…"
"You sneaky devil! You kept that quiet!" Sirius said, ruffling James's hair. "When did you ask her?"
"After Charms last Monday," Remus replied absently. "What's the incubation period for Dragonpox?" he demanded and the note of agitation in his voice cut through Sirius's steady teasing.
James looked up from the floor, scratching. "It varies. Why? You think Lily…?"
Sirius knocked his hand away. "You'll get scars!" he said and raised his face to Remus. "See what it says in Peter's copy of The Healer's Vade Mecum."
James shivered and closed his eyes, huddling up in his night-clothes again. "Is it cold in here, or is it me?"
There was a long 'plotting' kind of silence.
"I'll fetch Pomfrey and you go for Mackie," Sirius said, using the nickname which the Gryffindors used (with varying degrees of affection!) to refer to Professor McGonagall. James felt as though he was turning into an ice sculpture.
Sirius said, "Stay put, Prongsie."
His quiet request was followed by the banging of both doors, and the fading scuffle of hurrying feet.
A waft of cold air encircled James, renewing the shivers. "Padfoot, chuck me a blanket, will you? It's bloody freezing in here."
James drew his knees up to his chest, crossed his arms over his dressing gown and shivered. "Cack! What d'you bet Lily'll think I've done this on purpose?"
Returning to the hospital wing and looking for the absent Head Boy, Lily Evans quelled the queuing grumblers on the stairs, and reassured the younger ones made nervous about the rumours of a Dragonpox epidemic as she excused her way through the crush.
A lively outburst of girlish giggles did nothing for her temper as she hurried around the landing, box in hand. "If Potter is showing off instead of doing Head Boy stuff," she muttered, "I'll be-"
Oh! It's Sirius. And, more unusually, he's alone. Lily frowned and accosted him sharply.
"Sirius? Where's James?"
Turning slightly in her direction, a grinning Sirius jerked his head at the open door, which Lily took to mean the Head Boy was in the hospital wing and making himself useful.
Her temper softened. Funny how he's always 'Potter' when I'm annoyed with him.
Passing Sirius, with his gaggle of giggling hair-flickers, she entered the hospital wing.
Passing the cauldrons of potion that Professor Slughorn had been rousted from his Saturday morning lie-in to produce -- which were now nestled against the wall, for safety's sake -- Lily headed to where the Heads of House had gathered.
She couldn't immediately spot James but the top of the long room was a real scrum. He might be on an errand as well. Madam Pomfrey's voice came to her from behind the screened beds, brisk but calm.
Professor Slughorn caught her elbow, interrupting her search, and breaking off his reassurance to a concerned-looking Professor McGonagall. "Ah, Lily, my dear. You were quick, gracious yes!" He beamed at her. "A regular little twinkle-toes! You found the Galingale? I'd like you to add a pinch -- just a pinch, mind -- to a single dose and take it down to the poor dear boy suffering in the screened bed."
With a final smile, the Potions master turned back to Professor McGonagall. He was actually dabbing his podgy fingers on her forearm as Lily turned to do as he asked. "My dear Minerva, a dose of Gunhilda's Potion, a few days rest and the dear boy will be as right as rain! Let's hope it doesn't completely ruin his Valentine's Day!"
Lily smiled as she dipped out the dose and transferred it to a glass, watching the suspended particles swirl as it settled. Would James be as disappointed that Hogsmeade was off today? He had asked so solemnly, yet prepared for her refusal…
He was different this year; even the boys had commented on it.
Wondering who'd had the misfortune to catch Dragonpox, Lily opened the tightly sealed box and took a pinch of the powered root within. Gunhilda's Potion was tricky stuff to brew because several of the ingredients reacted with metals, requiring it to be concocted in a glass cauldron with glass implements.
Ever since Professor McGonagall had woken her, asking for her assistance in the Potion dungeon, Lily had wondered how someone had contracted Dragonpox while at school. The fragments of dragon eggs used in Advanced Potions were locked away.
Stirring the Galingale round, Lily thought someone should have considered adding it to Gunhilda's Potion before now. Galingale was known for its warming properties. Since chills and Dragonpox went together, she had suggested the addition to Professor Slughorn, and, once again, he had commended her on her 'intuitive grasp of Potions'.
"Oh, Mr Snape! Stop making such a fuss!" Lily heard the matron saying tartly as she headed down the ward, carrying the tumbler with care.
She passed the screens, her soft-soled shoes making no sound and, as the curled-up form became more obvious in the dimmed light, Lily knew she would have recognised that head of hair anywhere.
"James!" she whispered. She stopped dead, her heart going out to the Head Boy, currently shivering uncontrollably and wracked by muscle spasms.
How had James caught Dragonpox? She had expected it to be one of the Muggle-borns not him, of all people! As she hurried closer, her mouth tightened on seeing several pink envelopes on the bedside table; unopened, with his glasses abandoned on top of them. Well, she knew James was popular.
She'd had her share of pink envelopes too, including a funny one from James, although he'd disguised his spiky script.
Defiantly, she tucked her hair behind her ears and sneaked up to his bedside. He had several pox marks deforming his face; their fevered redness looked painful. Why weren't his Mum and Dad here, doing the 'anxious parent' sketch? Remus had once let it slip they only had James.
Trying to do as Madam Pomfrey had suggested -- not fight the bouts of shivering -- James relaxed into the mattress as best he could. He hadn't felt this lousy in months. This was not how he had imagined spending Valentine's Day -not even in his worst scenario. He had imagined a hearty breakfast, with Lily sitting beside him and laughing at his witticisms. He had imagined setting up and scoring plenty of goals in the game against the strong Hufflepuff team. He had imagined a fun afternoon in Hogsmeade, pretending people were not disappearing, before walking back to school with his arm round Lily's shoulder, breathing in her scent and -
He was either hallucinating or that woody/herby scent meant Lily was close by.
He heard her gasp. "How did you know I was here?"
The shakes held off long enough for James to smile. "If I t-t-told you that, you'd b-b-be as-"
"I'd be as wise as you?" Lily finished, adjusting the blankets higher one-handed. "Are you cold?"
James did nod but it coincided with another fit of shivers.
He heard a scrape and, peeping through his eyelashes, saw she'd conjured a chair and was perched on the edge. "Potion time."
James's teeth chattered at the sight of the glass and he tasted blood. Mentally cursing, he was glad Lily knew a Charm to heal his lip; she was gentle.
"If you'd changed your mind about going into Hogsmeade with me, all you had to do was say," she murmured.
James's eyes flew open; they were watering and felt itchy as hell. He must look a fright. "No way! Never!" When she leaned nearer, smiling, he realised she was having him on. Would he ever stop making himself look like a complete berk in front of Lily?
"Come on, sit up. You need to take this."
James worked himself up to a propped sitting position, accepted the glass and sniffed tentatively. He knew what went into Gunhilda's Potion but it didn't smell quite as revolting as he recalled.
His jaw tightened repeatedly as he held the glass in both pox-marked hands, staring into it. Suddenly, as though he could take himself unawares, he took the biggest mouthful he could manage.
After the third gulp, he heaved, and leaned forward. Lily jumped to her feet, and the sudden warmth between his shoulderblades could only be her hand.
The potion had to go down and James knew it; clapping a hand firmly over his mouth, he forced himself to swallow or choke. As the struggle between reflex and determination gave him spots before his eyes, Lily continued to circle a gentle hand over his back. It renewed James's determination.
''That's evil!" he spluttered a few minutes later, having managed the full dose.
"I know," Lily agreed in tones of heartfelt commiseration, but James was enjoying her hand still caressing between his shoulderblades.
"I don't suppose you've got anything to take the taste away?" he asked, trying discreetly to get rid of the gritty bits sticking to his tongue. He wished he'd not spoken when she stiffened, snatching her hand away.
Why so suspicious? "I dunno, chocolate, a Bertie Botts bean, a sherbet lemon -anything!"
"Oh," she said. Then, quietly, "two years ago, you'd have seen it as the perfect excuse to demand a kiss."
James blinked as hot wave engulfed him. Now was not the time to confess he would have liked nothing better so he faked a sheepish grin and fell back onto his pillows, still holding the glass out before noticing that Lily was delving under her school robe.
"Yeah. I was a pillock, wasn't I?"
Lily produced a crumpled paper bag, offering him the contents. "Here." She Vanished the glass almost without effort.
Pretending he hadn't noticed the hot spots on Lily's cheeks, James held out his hand. "Choose one and give it to me," he said. "I don't want you catching this."
Lily made no comment, touching a shiny liquorice log to his mouth but regarded him intently. "You seem to be the only person in the castle who's sick. I wonder why?"
A shiver slid down James's backbone that had nothing to do with the Dragonpox. Because, back in the summer, I nearly lost Mum and Dad to Dragonpox. I didn’t want to come back but Mum insisted. Uncle Charlus is still at death’s door... Not something he could blurt out.
As the awkward silence lengthened, Lily chose a stripy liquorice sweet, returning the bag to her pocket. "I'm sure your parents will be here soon."
"Who's playing instead of me?" James asked quickly.
Lily chortled. "I wondered when we'd get round to Quidditch!"
"It's important! Girls don't get Quidditch," James grumbled testily, folding his arms.
Lily drew herself up, pinning him with a glare. "The younger years are all terrified because the seventh years are saying this Dragonpox outbreak means Voldemort is using germ warfare to wipe us out, like Hitler and Grindelwald did in the last war, and the sole concern of the Head Boy – supposed to be their shining example – is a kid's game!"
The accusation stung but James didn't rise to it. He kept secrets well. "I know what's out there. I'm of age but while I'm in school, I'll indulge in childish things."
He could see her temper waning, replaced by curiosity as she analysed his reply.
"So? Who's playing instead of me? Have you heard?"
He scraped his thumbnail over the quill callus on his index finger. Hufflepuff were a good team – maybe Tommy Andersen would take his place, he was nimble.
He watched Lily's mouth as she chewed. "I've heard Snellgrove's name mentioned fairly frequently."
James's eyes widened comically. "Grovers?" he repeated, his indignant voice hitting notes it hadn't managed since puberty. "No way!" He got his elbows under him and sat up. "Ooh!" he groaned, putting a hand up to his violently throbbing head, forced to wait until the thick, wet feeling faded.
Lily fielded him back. "Where d'you think you're going?"
"Quidditch pitch! I'll manage. I've had the potion. I can fly. Snellgrove!" James muttered in disdain.
As his paisley-clad legs emerged from under the blankets, obliging Lily to swing aside, James was suddenly glad he'd given up night-shirts and adopted Muggle pyjamas as a result of befriending Remus.
Lily's cheeks had red patches again. "Madam Pomfrey said you should stay put for three days!"
"Yeah, yeah," James muttered. "I'm a Potter; we're made of sterner stuff." He got his feet to the floor, wobbled upright, grinned, and promptly collapsed at Lily's feet.
She was considerate enough not to laugh out loud, for which James's pride was grateful.
"Nice shoes," he said weakly.
"Madam Pomfrey is usually right," Lily said, and the suppressed laughter in her tone brought a smile to James's face.
"Yeah..." You're a hopeless case, Potter! The flagged floor felt particularly unyielding to all the bony bits that stuck out on him and James had a fair few bony bits that stuck out.
"Would you like a hand up, James?"
James could imagine her grin. "Please." There was an icy draught invading his pyjamas, reaching parts that icy draughts didn't generally reach but James had no energy to do anything other than resent it.
His back prickled and then the flags were increasingly unfocused as Lily levitated him up and back onto the bed.
She helped him to roll over and crawl back under the now cool bedclothes. He started shivering again, feeling as wrung-out as though he'd been playing for five hours straight. "Sorry."
Lily leaned over him, easing the blankets around him more snugly. "What for?"
"Being a grade O prat. You should have gone into Hogsmeade anyway." Now that he could see her clearly, James realised she was very close indeed, given his short-sightedness, and felt a fresh wave of heat sweep over his body.
"And have everyone think you stood me up? I don't think so!"
James shivered and examined the twisted weave of his coverlet. "No one would have thought that, Lily. I've made myself rather obvious over the last few years. I doubt anyone in the history of Hogwarts has been more... arrogant about it than me."
When he glanced at her, James didn't understand why Lily was smiling gently at him. "You should have gone out and had some fun, not been stuck in here." With me being boring, he thought but didn't add.
"Professor Dumbledore has cancelled Hogsmeade this weekend. Quarantine, just to be safe. "
James nodded, rolling the last bit of liquorice round his mouth. "Oh, right." Should have remembered that, Potter. Does that mean our trip into Hogsmeade is only postponed, or what?
While he was trying to persuade the drummer practising in his skull to bog off, the door closed with a loud 'clunk'.
James identified the purposefully trotting footsteps as Madam Pomfrey's. She was carrying something. James squinted furiously but couldn't make it out; short sight was a bugger.
"Miss Evans," she puffed the minute she was close enough. "Your date is waiting for you. In the corridor."
What?! But, she said… James transferred his myopic gaze to Lily; frozen in place, she resolutely avoided looking in his direction.
"But Professor Dumbledore has cancelled Hogsmeade-"
"Quarantine. I'm aware." The matron glanced towards the door. "But Havers is still waiting outside, under the impression that he you and he are…"
When Lily faced him, James was delighted to see she was bristling. "Why would Alasdair think that? It was no secret that you and I were-"
"Because I'm conveniently ill?" James suggested quietly. When I get out of here, Havers… He knew the Ravenclaw was determined to have Lily as his girlfriend. After overhearing Havers talk about her, James had wished Lily had overheard him instead; he'd still be under Madam Pomfrey's care.
Lily's mouth primmed. "Really? He'll have a long wait then, won't he? You might be stuck in here, but we can still talk and spend time together."
Her hopeful tone pushed revenging himself on Havers to the back of James's mind and he grinned at her fuzzy face. "Yeah. 'Course. Great!"
Madam Pomfrey, who had bustled off, returned, waving something. "I nearly forgot. I've still got five hundred children to check so perhaps you could dab a little of this onto the poxes yourself, Potter? And no scratching!" She passed it to Lily and hurried away again. During the ensuing awkward silence, Lily unscrewed the lid. "Are they very itchy?"
As is the way of these things, James hadn't noticed until Lily suggested it. He hitched his shoulders about. "A bit."
Lily took a wary sniff. "The usual stuff. Odd colour though!" She held up a dipped finger to show him.
Pox-Be-Gon Potion. "Could be worse," James said. Another burst of heat washed over him the instant Lily's unguent-smeared finger touched his chin. She was very deft and light, leaving small dots on each pox.
"I expected they'd feel hot," she said.
"They don't get hot until the end," James said. "Dragonpox burns you up from the inside out." He closed his eyes as she smoothed it in. Lily looking after him was the stuff of his dreams.
"How d'you know that?"
James remembered the infernal heat radiating from his moribund mother and shrugged. "Reading widely… And, you know, listening. You hear all sorts of – ugh! What the-" Lily's finger had slipped.
"If you don't stop talking you'll end up with a mouthful of this stuff, and while it may look like 'Marmite', I'm betting it doesn't taste like it!"
"You wouldn't do that to me! I'm ill!" James protested feebly, resorting to the 'lost puppy' look that had never failed on his mum.
Lily's smile only broadened. Her finger hovered over his mouth. "Keep talking and try me."
Whatever else he was, James wasn't stupid. He kept quiet. Questions about 'Marmite' would have to wait.
"You're learning," Lily said with a grin.
She tilted his head and treated the pox on his neck, then his throat, and the pox just showing at the wrap of his pyjama shirt. James held his breath. Would she?
"Erm... you'd better do the others."
Vibrantly aware of every itching pox, James didn't dare look at her. Hands on top of the bed, then, Potter.
It was well past lunchtime, and having eaten the sandwiches Madam Pomfrey had provided, Lily had allowed James to Transfigure her chair into a very comfortable armchair. She was curled in it, idly stroking the back of his hand where it lay on top of the bed.
"You shouldn't touch me," James said, hating himself for being 'so bloody noble', as Sirius would have phrased it. Her touch did funny things to him; soothing and agitating at the same time.
She laughed softly. "Stop fretting, James. I've already had Dragonpox." He turned his head sharply as Lily continued, "I had it over Christmas when I was five. That was how we found out I was a witch."
James stared intently at her, needing to know more and easing closer to see her in focus. Her face was pained.
"I was glad to get it over with. It's supposed to affect you more badly the older you are... I remember the Healer saying it was a good thing Dad had been away while I was infectious because it's more dangerous for a man to catch it." She blushed.
Dad was a Cursebreaker, he must have known…That's why he sent the Healer away. James's throat tightened and he looked away abruptly, picking at his quill callus again. "I know," he mumbled.
A minute later, Lily squirmed. "Oh! I'm sure you'll be all right. I mean, the others got you to Madam Pomfrey quickly and you've had Gunhilda's Potion and Madam Pomfrey's bound to, er... There are potions – I mean... It's quite warm in here, isn't it?" she said, very quickly, and jumped up, muttering something about needing a glass of water.
James followed her with his itchy eyes until she became an unfocused blob, wondering why she hadn't simply Charmed a cold drink up. He had never known Lily babble on before but she had just done exactly that. Why?
When she didn't return within a couple of minutes, James began to wonder if she hadn't gone all the way up to Gryffindor tower to fetch it, and pricked his ears when measured footsteps approached the screens.
Remus. James smiled. "Who's there?"
"Can I come in?"
James groaned theatrically as Remus strolled round the screen, Sirius in tow. "How're you feeling now?"
"Okay," James said, sitting up eagerly. "How was the game?"
James flopped into his pillows with a sigh. "As bad as that, huh?"
"We finished ninety points down," Remus said.
Sirius sniffed and perched on the edge of the bed. "Snellgrove played hard. He's not in your league but he did his best." He glanced sharply at the screens. "Come on, Peter! He's not infectious!" He huffed and jumped up. "We'll visit the kitchens, then. Fancy anything, Prongs? Bowl of Spotted Dick?"
James grinned. "No, thanks."
Sirius left, quietly berating Peter as they went.
"Ninety points... So if we beat Ravenclaw by, say, a hundred and they lose to Slytherin-"
"You're supposed to be resting!" Remus interrupted mildly.
A companionable silence fell.
"Moony, why is it dangerous for a bloke to get Dragonpox? Evans said she'd had it and got all hot and bothered that I've got it. So what's that about?"
"Ah." Remus cleared his throat and, watching him, James thought he looked uncomfortable. "Well, some Healers have blamed the inability to father a child on a bad case of Dragonpox-"
James's strangled yelp was covered by footsteps. That particular side effect had never occurred to him – was that the first thing Lily had thought of?
Did she see him as father material?
He squirmed, wishing the movement hadn't caught the corner of Remus's eye. "M'itchy," he muttered in a strained voice. It was true.
Both wizards jumped at the sound of Lily's admonishing voice, and Remus was quick to hold up a hand. "Before you shoo me off, I can't catch it, Lily. My 'furry little problem' is finally good for something."
Lily's face softened, and James felt a rush of irrational jealousy over the hug she gave the Werewolf. Werewolf… He sat up, ignoring his banging head. "Wait a minute – you know?"
Lily shook her head, smiling. "James! I worked it out in third year. I wasn't sure you knew until last year… That business with Snape."
James wondered how she had learned about that. As far as he knew, only the Marauders, Snivellus, Mackie and Professor Dumbledore knew about that. Even 'Sluggy' was in the dark over it. He tried to catch Remus's eye but he was ignoring their secret signal.
"Yes. Well. I'm sure Padfoot has raided the kitchens by now, so I'll see you later, James." With a brisk nod to them both, Remus ambled away. James barely heard the tall doors close behind him.
"What did he mean – he'd see you later?" Lily asked curiously and then answered her own question. "Full moon tonight. Cack!"
James snorted softly, drawing Lily's attention. "What?"
"You've picked that up off me – saying 'cack'."
Lily smiled mischievously. "So I have."
James smiled at her, smiling at him.
"Oo – I've got a joke for you! How many Death Eaters does it take to tile a bathroom?"
Lily had been drowsing in her Transfigured armchair for what felt like several days when a gentle nudge brought her awake. She uncurled, rubbing her eyes and found Remus crouching at her knees in the lamplight.
"You should go and sleep, Lily… James won't wake until morning and then I'll be in the next bed so he won't be bored. Not that he'd be bored-"
Lily curled her hand over his forearm. "I'll bring you some chocolate dipped strawberries."
Remus smiled as he stood. Lily saw Madam Pomfrey was hovering at the door to her office, waiting for him.
"Remus – before you go? Who does James know that had Dragonpox?"
The sudden shadow in his eyes informed Lily that Remus knew and was torn over confessing. She knew he admired and respected James, and was charmed, though not surprised, that he wouldn't betray his confidence. She would have to wait for James to tell her, when he was ready.
She was about to say this when Remus shook his head. "I'm sorry, Lily. I-I can't."
"I know. I understand," she said quickly and squeezed his wrist again. "I hope it's easy on you tonight."
Remus gave a grim smile and slipped away through the shadows.
Lily stretched and stood up. Going to James's pillow, she was relieved to see the angry poxes were a bit paler. The gunk was working and James appeared to be sleeping peacefully.
"It's been the weirdest Valentine's Day I've ever known," she whispered, with no idea why she was saying this aloud. "But it was a lot of fun, too." She hesitated. "You're a lot of fun."
James's hair was tumbling over his forehead, almost in his eyes. On impulse, Lily eased it back and before she could debate with herself, leaned down and pressed a kiss over his right eye.
"Night, James. Sweet dreams."
Telling herself it was stupid to be blushing, Lily left the Head Boy to his healing sleep.
Lying perfectly still, his cervine augmented senses tracking her progress, James's mouth curved up into a lazy smile. "So are you, Lily Evans."
And any day that ends with a kiss from Lily gets an 'Outstanding' in my book!
A/N: Thanks to A, D, K and S for all their help on this. I appreciate it.