@jilychallenge February'22 || @yumanichan vs @maraudersftw
Prompt: "Kiss me again—but don’t stop this time"
Short, sweet fluff for my sweet babies 💖 Writing this felt therapeutic, for some reason. Read on AO3 or below the cut!
He’s slightly out of breath as he slows to a halt several feet from me. Cheeks stained red, dark hair characteristically disruptive, eyes more brown than golden to the backdrop of October’s orange sunset. My heart—characteristically—gives a lurch. “You’re… alone.”
Wry amusement makes me arch a brow, like I don’t notice the tension that has yet to completely slacken from his jaw, from my own fingers. “Really, now? You came all the way from the castle to tell me that?”
James rubs the back of his neck, frowns, looks lost. “I thought—there was—”
His hand twitches involuntarily, here, and my gaze is drawn to the piece of folded parchment in his grasp; old, familiar, deceptively innocent.
“Ah,” I say, stealing a moment to take a drag of the cigarette dangling between my fingertips. I stub out the rest on the ground next to me, pull my legs more comfortably under, and slowly puff out the smoke, not ignorant to his impatience. The motion calms the restless beat beneath my ribcage, somewhat. “They left.”
“They left?” There’s incredulity in his tone, and when I look up again, it’s like he’s ripped me open with that knowing stare. “Just like that?”
“I made them leave,” I amend, “Same difference, really.”
James moves at that, and before I can prepare myself for the dangerously soothing warmth of his body, he drops down next to me on the ground. Every cell inside me stands on alert at the proximity, but I’m forcing myself to look at ease still, shoulders resting against the sturdy tree trunk at my back. Steady, Lily. He’s just a boy, I tell myself, and then almost laugh at the absurdity of the thought.
He’s not just anything.
“What did they want?” he asks, voice quiet enough that I have to wonder whether he’s afraid to scare me off.
I shrug, pick at the grass near our feet. “The usual. To get to me, I suppose.”
“That’s a non-answer if I’ve ever heard one.”
I smile at his petulance. “I can fight my own battles, James.”
“I know,” he acquiesces easily, shoulder bumping against mine, “But you shouldn’t have to.”
“No.” I glance sideways. “I suppose not.”
“Wow, you actually agreed with me,” he laughs. “Should I be concerned?”
“Just don’t get used to it, yeah?”
“Never.” He grins.
Silence stretches around us like a comfortable blanket, and I feel my limbs truly relax for the first time all evening. The thought to tell James about what Avery had said all those minutes ago—“It’s Mudbloods like you who are responsible for the deaths of Blood Traitors. We’ll be out of here soon. Potter better watch his back”—crosses my mind fleetingly. But I feel the reassuring weight of him against my side, recall the determination in his gaze as he’d walked across the grounds to come find me, and realize there are no facts to inform him of; he knows it all just as I do. He chooses it all, even when I can’t.
My eyes close, orange bleeding behind lids, and it aches a little like love.
In what feels like no time at all, a warm brush of fingertips on my cheek prompts me to blink blearily. “Hey,” James whispers, body angled to face mine, glasses sitting crooked on his nose. He’s closer than he was before, and I watch a new sort of softness linger in his gaze. “It’s getting dark. Want to head back inside?”
“Okay,” I say, and the traitorous haze of sleep loosens my inhibitions, makes me drop my eyes to his mouth. I wonder, distractedly, if they’ll be just as warm as the rest of him.
It’s only when he parts his lips, slow, that I slam back into myself, the skin around my face and neck scorching with mortification at having been caught staring.
But James’s hand, still brushing against my cheek, shifts gently, knuckles skimming over the redness, burying almost hesitantly into the hair at my nape. He tugs, just as lightly, and I only have time to let my eyes fall shut again before his lips cover mine.
And it’s soft, this kiss—soft and sweet, and warmer than I’d expected, like he’s determined to chase away any remnants of cold that may be residing in me. A breathless relief crawls up my throat, colours spangling behind closed eyelids at the rightness of this moment, of feeling his pitch-dark hair slip like silk between my fingers. I sigh that satisfaction into him, all but melting to fit against him better, the tree trunk at my back all but non-existent, the ground beneath our feet all but irrelevant—
And suddenly, devastatingly, he’s pulled away.
“Sorry,” James huffs, out of breath, eyes wide. “I didn’t—I don’t know—I shouldn’t have just assumed—”
“Shut up.” I wrap his tie around my fist. “It was about time you assumed. Kiss me again, Potter—and don’t stop this time.”
His half-awed, half-amused, fully grinning response tastes like sugar against my lips when I bring him back to me with an impatient pull. “Okay, since you asked so nicely—”
I could roll my eyes, but pushing him back onto the grass and losing myself in him wins out as the better alternative by a long stretch.