Disclaimer: Harry Potter and everything related belongs first, and foremost, to JK Rowling, and then to her partnerships with Bloomsbury, Scholastics, Warner Bros., etc.
Author's Note: I have posted a lot of stories on my tumblr and here is where I will compile the AU one-shots I write. Reviews are always welcome!
Summary: 'I need bailing out and I called the wrong number' AU prompt from tumblr.
"I should be asleep right now," Lily repeated for the sixteenth time to Marlene, who had long since ignored these particular words when strung together by her friend. They lied sprawled out along the large sofa in their flat, Marlene mindlessly clicking through the late-night infomercials. Feet away in the kitchen, their other flat-mate Mary was slamming cabinets open in search of her favorite late-night snack.
"It is half past one in the morning," Lily informed them. "I should be sleeping. We all should be sleeping! I—"
Her mobile, which rested precariously upon her overlarge tee shirt, started buzzing, illuminating her features in the darkened room, and successfully silencing her complaints.
"Who the hell is calling at this hour?"
"I don't recognize the number—"
"Don't answer, Lil—"
"PADFOOT! PADFOOT YOU BASTARD!" an irate voice came through the line, causing Lily to pull the phone inches from her ear. Marlene clicked on the lamp nearest her as she sat up straighter.
"Err—hello? What's Padfoot—"
"THEY'VE LOCKED ME UP, YOU PRAT. THIS IS NOT FUNNY."
Lily's eyes widen as she covered the mouth-piece with her hand. "This bloke's in the nick!" Marlene stifled her laughter as she shoved Mary onto the sofa to join in listening.
"Oi!" Lily said loudly, through the chattering of the angry voice. "Whoever you are, this isn't Padfoot! You've called the wrong number—"
"What? For fuck's sake!" Lily could hear the voice soften as the man turned away from his mouth-piece. "I've dialed the wrong number. Can I get another call?" A muffled voice seemed to respond unfavorably, prompting, "Shit! Shit!" Lily waved wildly for her friends' silence as the voice addressed her once more. "Who is this?"
"I'm err, Lily," she answered awkwardly, shrugging pleadingly toward her friends, who looked between each other curiously. "Lily Evans, but I don't—"
"Look I may or may not be pretty pissed right now," the voice told her matter-of-factly, and, though the late hour might have prompted her to laugh under any other circumstance, the seriousness of being this man's one phone call was not lost on her. "Literally and err also literally. But you know what I mean, piss drunk, right? My mates took me out because of bloody Emmeline and then they ditched me down-town and this cop showed up… Anyway, can you tell them for me? Sirius Black or Remus Lupin or—"
A loud voice cut through the drunken slur, but Lily could only make out words like 'time' 'over' and 'done', through the anguished noise released from the first voice.
"All right," the man said curtly, the frustration seeping through each syllable, before turning back to the mouth-piece for his last attempt. "Please, my name is James… call my mate—Sirius Black—for me—"
Suddenly the familiar dial-tone filled Lily's mobile, and she easily pieced together what had happened on the other end of the phone. When she dropped it onto the coffee-table in front of her, she turned to look at her friends, who gaped at her.
"Things like this never happen to me," Lily said, followed by a small 'hah'.
"This is unreal," Marlene responded breathlessly, provoking Mary to nod fervently in agreement. "What are you going to do?"
"Well I have to find this Sirius bloke, don't I?" Lily asked helplessly.
"What's his name? Serious?"
"Hang on," Marlene said, launching herself forward from the couch to reach her own mobile. She impatiently drew her blonde hair out of her eyes as she scrolled through her phone. "Aha! I knew I knew that name. Met that bloke a few weeks ago. He works at that bar down on Fifth. He doesn't live far from here I don't think."
"Well ring him then," Lily prompted eagerly, sitting up straight herself.
"It's nearly two," Marlene said, standing up, suddenly startled by the implications of calling a man this late at night.
"And? If he bar-tends he's used to getting off work at this hour!"
"Do it," Mary encouraged, her smile mischievous.
"Fine. But I'm passing you the phone, Lil." Marlene exhaled before pressing the call button and holding the phone up to her cheek. It rang four times before a gruff voice answered.
Taken aback, Marlene sputtered out, "Err hello, is this Sirius Black?"
"Yeah. Who's this?"
"This is Marlene McKinnon, we met a few weeks ago—"
"McKinnon!" Sirius said, recognition softening his voice. "Little late for a pleasant chat, don't you think?"
Marlene laughed nervously, shooting Lily a get-ready look. "Indeed. It's not really a pleasant chat I had in mind. My friend Lily needs to speak with you…hang on, she'll explain…"
"Hi," Lily said, after catching the phone Marlene had tossed to her. "I'm Lily. Your friend James asked me to—"
"James is with you lot?" Sirius interrupted, before his voice left the mouth-piece, "Oi, Moony! Prongs is off with some birds—"
"No, no he's not!" Lily corrected, having not the faintest idea what Moony or Prongs was. "He's called from the jail, he misdialed me by accident."
Sirius' end of the phone stayed silent for a long minute. "What?"
"He said the cops found him down-town, and he misdialed his phone call. It was really dumb luck that Marlene knew who you were, and—"
"Oh fuck! Listen, I've got to go. Thanks, err—"
"Lily," she supplied.
"Thanks, Lily," he said, earnestly. "You should come by the bar with McKinnon some time. I'll be there tomorrow night if James doesn't murder me first. But, I have to go."
And without saying goodbye, he hung up. Lily silently handed the phone back to Marlene, and it was then she realized that she had been pacing during the brief conversation. Why she was so worked up about this was beyond her. Sure, prison was not lark, but it seemed like it was a minor incident and James' friends would get it all worked out. But what if he had called anyone but her? What would have happened to him then?
"He's gone down to the prison," Lily told her friends, once she realized they had been staring at her expectantly. "I'm sure everything will be fine."
"Definitely," Marlene assured her, gazing down at her mobile once more, perhaps wistful for a text message.
"He invited us to the bar tomorrow," Lily said, drawing Marlene's eyes back to her. "He said he'll be working… if he is still breathing, mind."
Marlene gave a small chuckle, setting her phone down once more as she stood. "Well let's get to bed then, I'm knackered."
Though never explicitly stated, when the clock struck eight the following evening, the three girls left their flat for Fifth Street. Adorning their favorite Saturday-night attire, they made their way down three flights of stairs and out onto the buzzing street.
Marlene, though unwilling to admit it, was excited at the prospect of seeing Sirius Black again, now that things had completely fizzled out with her ex-interest Benjy Fenwick. Mary, who always enjoyed an adventure, particularly ones involving her friends and their love-interests, had an inkling that Marlene was feeling this way, and was eager to watch the night's events unfold. Lily told herself she wanted to follow through with the phone call she received late the previous night, and intended to ask Sirius about it over a brew.
They arrived at the cozy pub half an hour later, and Marlene, after checking her reflection in the glass window, led the two girls inside. The air was stale with the lingering stench of pipe tobacco, and a faint trace of spilled beer. Mismatched chairs sat around rounded tables, and different size stools sat beneath the bar. As the door clanged shut, a tall man behind the bar's head snapped in their direction, then smiled upon recognition.
"McKinnon," he called cheerfully, abandoning the patron in front of him to walk to the side of the bar nearest the door.
"Sirius Black," she greeted. Lily admired the balance in her voice as she spoke to Sirius. He might have been the best looking bloke she had ever seen: long black hair fell casually to his shoulders, which were broad. His smile gleamed in the neon lights. "These are my best mates. Mary Macdonald, and Lily Evans, who you spoke with last night."
"Ah, pleasure to meet you both," he said, extending a hand to Mary, before turning to Lily. "I'm glad you came by. Wanted to thank you properly."
"It was nothing," Lily said, offhandedly, momently taken aback by the grey eyes in front of her. "If anything, it's your friend who should be thanking me—"
"I couldn't have said it better myself," a voice said behind her.
She spun around instinctively, her eyes coming level with the man's chest. She closed her mouth on the words she was still saying as she looked at him. The voice was vaguely familiar from the belligerent phone call from the night before, but the face was entirely foreign. His hair seemed purposefully messy, scattered in all directions in a handsome disarray very unlike his friend's. Though similar in build, he carried himself a little taller perhaps, and his eyes were striking, even in the dimmed bar lighting. Maybe Sirius Black wasn't the best looking man she had ever seen.
"I'm James," he said, as if to fill the silence. She cleared her throat as she realized she'd been staring. "We sort of met last night."
"Oh, yes… hi, I'm Lily."
"Well, Lily, I insist you let me buy you a drink as a thank you for last night," James said kindly, gesturing behind her toward the bar. "Anything you'd like."
"That's very kind of you," Lily said, glancing at the beers on tap before gesturing to a lager she hadn't tried before. "Thank you."
James shrugged, grabbing the drink from Sirius and handing it to Lily. As Mary and Marlene ordered their own drinks, James led Lily to a small table near them where his own glass was already sitting. "You don't really need to thank me. I'm charging it to Sirius' account."
Lily laughed, grateful he had told her this fact after she had swallowed the first sip of her beer. "I suppose he owes you that after last night, doesn't he? Prat got you locked away."
"That he did," James said, nodding seriously at her; after a moment his lips twisted into a lopsided smile behind his glass. "But you know, I've always considered myself a lucky bloke."
"Yes, quite," James said, setting his glass in front of him as he leaned closer to her. She began to realize how fast her heart was racing, as their eyes locked. "'Cause of all the numbers I could've called, I called you."
"Me? It was lucky you called me?" Couldn't he hear her heart beat?
"Certainly. I'm here now, aren't I?"
Oh. "Oh, so you mean, you were lucky to find the one person who somehow had a mate who had your mate's number? Yeah, I suppose that's pretty lucky."
James considered her for a moment before his lopsided smile reappeared. "That's very true. And I am eternally grateful you helped this drunk idiot. I'm sure most birds would've hung up quickly, had they answered at all. But that's not the kind of luck I had in mind."
"You're welcome, really, it was no problem," she said calmly, silently cursing herself for not having Marlene's ability to balance her voice. "Though, I'm intrigued, what kind of luck did you have in mind then?"
"Lily, I've had Sirius' mobile number memorized since he got it a decade ago. I'd estimate I've called him hundreds of time by memory, and plenty of times more smashed than I was last night, y'know? So then there I am last night – and I'm not even sure what number I possibly messed up, mind you – and I muck up the number, yeah? And who should answer but the most gorgeous bird in London?"
Lily tore her eyes from his, her cheeks flushing as she nervously thumbed off the condensation on her mug. Despite herself, the edge of her lip twisted upward as she met his eye again, "Yeah, I suppose you're pretty lucky."
James smiled, apparently unabashed by his direct compliment.
"Shall I top that off for you, or were you lot just stopping by?" he asked, gesturing to her nearly finished drink; she could sense the hopefulness in his voice, and her stomach lurched pleasantly.
"I can stay for a while," she told him. She smiled brightly at him as he got to his feet and reached for her glass.
"What're you having?"
James laughed, and it was an infectiously joyful sound that she was inclined to join in, even though there was nothing to laugh about. "I'm sticking with water tonight, had enough last night."
"Probably for the best," Lily told him. "I'll take another, yeah. I think could use a little bit of luck tonight."