Day 1 of Jily Week 2017 on tumblr!
Prompt: First Meeting /or/ Pranks.
Valentine's Day at Hogwarts was always a pink and red and fluttery affair, thanks to the hearts hovering all over the castle. Most of the coupled-up people in school loved the decorations in the corridors, the Great Hall, even in every single classroom, while a majority of the perpetual singles hated it. Then there were those who looked at those pink and red hearts fluttering about and saw opportunity.
James Potter and his friends were the sort who saw opportunity; they were also the sort who had an infamous habit of never letting an opportunity pass them by, especially when it was an opportunity for mischief.
And so, on Februrary 13, James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius Black snuck out of their dormitory in the middle of the night to tamper with the festive pink and red hearts hovering all over the castle. They were halfway through with the hearts in the Great Hall when the door creaked open, causing all of them to panic and freeze. It was with an odd mix of relief and dread that James watched as Lily Evans walked in followed closely by a frazzled Remus Lupin.
"I knew you were steering me away from here for a reason, Remus," she said with one arched eyebrow. "And what is going on here?"
"Nothing!" Peter said immediately, lamely attempting to hide his wand behind his back. "We were… hungry."
"Please. I know you're not so stupid as to think the House Elves keep food on the tables between meal times." Lily shook her head with a small smirk as she advanced towards them. "I also happen to know that you all are well aware of the location of the kitchens. Now, why don't you tell me what you're really doing?"
Unfortunately, she chose that moment to step under the heart that Sirius had just finished charming. She frowned when it followed her, looking up before leveling her cool, expectant gaze on the four boys who all looked pleased to find their work successful. "What have you done?"
"It's a harmless prank," Remus was quick to say, drawing her attention to him. "It's just going to follow you for two hours."
"Either that or…" Sirius wagged his eyebrows suggestively at her.
"Until someone kisses me?" Lily guessed, glancing between the four boys.
"Not just anyone," James told her with what he hoped was a nonchalant shrug. "It's got to be someone you fancy."
"Two hours, which would be the standard class period. If someone's got a heart hovering over their head during class, all the more attention to them." Lily's gaze lingered on him for a moment, her expression unreadable. James's hand jumped to his hair and her lips twitched. "That's a bit brilliant."
"Yeah?" James felt himself grinning. "It was my idea."
Sirius snorted at his enthusiasm, but James didn't care – Lily Evans thought something he came up with was brilliant.
"Need some help?" Lily offered, fishing her wand out of her robes. "The less time we spend in here, the less of a chance there is of someone catching us out. With five of us, we'll get it done in no time."
"Really?" Peter asked, eyeing her warily. "You're not going to turn us in?"
"No." Lily rolled her eyes and flipped her hair out of her face. "It's like Remus, said, this is a harmless prank. Just explain to me how you did it and I can start over here."
James watched as she turned to Remus for a quick demonstration and forced himself to pretend he wasn't disappointed that he hadn't been able to show her. He had been the one to concoct the spell – with a little help from Sirius – but he supposed it made sense that she would choose to learn from Remus. He was after all, the only one of the four boys that Lily truly considered a friend even if her opinion of all four of them had improved greatly since the disaster by the lake at the end of last year.
"That's all of them," Lily said about twenty minutes later, looking around as the boys all carefully maneuvered their way through the Great Hall, avoiding hovering hearts as they went. She huffed when they all made it to the door without any hearts over their heads. "Of course I'm the only one to look like a fool."
"You've only got about an hour and a half left. And at least it's the middle of the night," Peter consoled her.
"Or you could fess up and snog the bloke you fancy." Sirius grinned when her cheeks flushed. "Oh, so you do fancy someone! Go on, tell us. It might take some doing, but the four of us could manage to get you into anyone's dormitory."
James frowned and picked at the sleeve of his robe. He didn't particularly want to know who Lily fancied if it wasn't him. He looked at her, saw that she had her mouth clamped tightly shut, and decided to change the subject.
"We've still got the rest of the first floor to go," he reminded his friends.
"And the dungeons," Peter added.
"Wait, you're doing the entire school?" Lily asked, staring around at them in wide-eyed incredulity. When they nodded in confirmation, she shook her head. "You lot are mad. I thought you were only doing the Great Hall."
"We are nothing if not thorough, Red," Sirius told her.
"Besides, it wouldn't be as funny if the hearts only got attached in the Great Hall. People would be eating, not snogging," Peter added. "They wouldn't particularly care if there was a heart over them while they ate."
"I don't know. I've witnessed some pretty aggressive breakfast snogging lately." Lily shot Sirius a disgusted look and he beamed proudly.
"Saw that, did you?" He winked at her. "What can I say? McKinnon wanted a snog, so she got a snog."
"We should split up," Remus interrupted. "If half of us get the rest of the first floor and the other half get the dungeons, we should be finished within the next hour."
"Good plan. I'll take the dungeons," James offered. "Who's with me?"
"I'll go," Lily and Sirius said at the same time.
"…with Remus and Pete," Sirius amended quickly, shooting James a wink that he almost missed because he was too busy staring, shocked, at Lily.
Shaking his head, he forced himself to act unaffected. "Okay. Have you got the… er…?" He trailed off with a significant glance at Lily, who looked puzzled by his sudden secrecy.
"Got it here." Remus patted the pocket the Marauder's Map was in. He had taken it with him when he went to join Lily for their rounds so that he could periodically check in and see which area of the school to steer her away from. "You'll be okay without it?"
Remus was the only one who looked slightly concerned for him. Sirius was shooting suggestive glances James's way and Peter was shifting anxiously – they had been in one place too long, longer than they usually spent in one area when they were pulling something like this.
"Yeah, I've got my Cloak if anything happens," James assured them, ignoring the delighted look on Sirius's face at that; he didn't need to focus on the knowledge that if they ended up needing it he and Lily would be sharing a very small space under his Invisibility Cloak.
"What was that about?" Lily asked when the two groups had split up. "That mysterious business about 'have you got it?' and a cloak?"
James was silent, for a moment as he mulled over what to say to her. He sighed. "It's… a secret?"
"What is? It? Or the cloak?" Lily hesitated briefly when he held aside a tapestry and gestured for her to step into the passageway behind it. It wasn't really a shortcut, but James was certain Filch didn't use this particular passageway, so it was safer.
"Both," he said quietly as he brushed past her in the narrow space to lead the way since she didn't seem to know what this passageway was. Behind him, Lily huffed. James looked over his shoulder to find her scowling at his back. He sighed and turned around to face her, walking backwards. "Look, if I tell you about one, will you drop the other?"
Eyes narrowed, Lily studied him. She seemed to be weighing something in her mind. After a few seconds, she nodded. James stopped and reached into his robes to pull out his Invisibility Cloak. Lily kept walking a few steps after he had stopped so that she was quite close to him, her gaze firm on the silvery material of his cloak. She reached out, touched it, looked as if she considered just taking it out of his hands even though he hadn't offered it to her.
"It's pretty," she finally said.
"It's an invisibility cloak," he told her.
"I assumed as much. I've never actually seen one before." She looked up at him and seemed taken aback at the proximity of his face to hers. She blinked and averted her gaze, shoving a stray lock of auburn behind her ear. "How long have you had it?"
"Ever since I started school, so nearly six years now." He wasn't disappointed to see the flash of surprise on her face. Invisibility cloaks were extremely rare and, furthermore his was the only one he knew of that had held up for more than a couple years. Far more than a couple years, really. "It was my dad's before it was mine. And his dad's before that, and so on and so on. Been in the family for centuries."
"You're lying." She squinted up at him in the dim light. "That can't be true."
"It is, though." Something in his face or his voice or his eyes must have conveyed his earnestness because her eyes widened, stunned. His grip on the cloak tightened for a moment and then he held it out to her. "You want to try it?"
Excitement shone on her face as she took it from him. He watched her disappear with an acute sense of trepidation. The only people he had ever let so much as know about his cloak were Sirius, Peter, and Remus – the three blokes he considered to be his brothers – and now here he was letting Lily bloody Evans, who for all he knew may not even particularly like him, wear it.
She reappeared with a delighted laugh behind him and James whirled around. "That's fantastic!" she said, then seemed to notice his wild-eyed stare. "What? What's wrong?"
"Nothing." He ran a hand through his hair roughly, frowning; he wasn't used to feeling this way. His heart was racing, his palms a bit sweaty. Anxious. He was anxious. He hadn't liked watching her disappear, was more than a little wary of her knowing one of his secrets – not even close to his biggest secret, but a valuable one nonetheless. He accepted the cloak back from her, folded it carefully, and tucked it back inside his robe. "Please don't tell anyone."
Lily studied him for a moment and seemed to realize that him sharing this with her was a big deal. She shook her head slowly. "I won't."
They continued walking and, right before they reached the end of the passage, Lily spoke again. "If it's such an important secret, why did you tell me?"
He shrugged. "The cloak is mine; it's only my secret. The… other thing… it's not mine. It's ours. I couldn't tell you… or anyone else… without their permission."
"But you didn't have to tell me anything," she pointed out. "You could have told me to bugger off, or lied. I wouldn't have known."
But she would have known. Lily Evans, as much as she might not want to admit it, knew him. She knew when he was plotting, when he was nervous, when he was truthful, and when he was lying. They weren't friends – not exactly – but they weren't enemies and never really were. They had been orbiting each other ever since they had met, had paid so much attention to one another – maybe not always in the best ways – and they knew each other.
"I dunno, Evans," he said. "I guess I figured I had to tell you something. And you are helping us out with this, so…"
He shrugged. After studying him for a moment, she nodded and let it drop. This time when he held the tapestry aside for her, she moved past him without hesitation, muttering a quick, "Thank you."
It wasn't all that awkward, really, being alone with Lily. They worked in a comfortable silence, moving quickly through all of the dungeon classrooms and corridors. He was relatively certain that they were going to finish before the others and would be up in the common room long before them. He finished charming the last of the hearts and surveyed the room they were working on to make sure they hadn't missed any.
"All right, I think we're done," he said and froze when he turned to find Lily standing a few feet away watching him. "Are you okay?"
"I just realized." She looked up and James noticed that there wasn't a heart hovering over her head. "It's not following me anymore."
"Must have been an hour," James told her. "Just be careful to avoid any of these tomorrow. Should be do-able."
"No, I…" She shifted her weight on her feet and flushed.
He raised an eyebrow at her.
"I was thinking… it might have been interesting… to kiss it away." She took a step toward him.
"You're so confusing to me, James," she told him, her voice timid. "I don't know how I feel about you… It would be nice to know."
"You think… you think you may fancy me?" His voice cracked on the word 'fancy,' but he didn't really give a damn. Lily Evans just said she might fancy him! "Go on. Step under another and we'll figure it out."
He moved closer to her and didn't notice the cluster of pink hearts between them until he was already standing under them. The hearts came to life above him and began orbiting all around his body.
"Shit! What the hell?" He stared up, horrified to find glitter pouring down on him, and realized quite suddenly that Lily was cackling, all but doubled over next to him.
"Oh my God, was that ever easy!" She clutched at her side, her breath wheezing in uninhibited laughter.
"Evans, what did you do to me?" It was a stupid question that didn't require an answer; it was pretty damn obvious what she had done. Ever the Charms prodigy, she had out-pranked him and improved the charm he had created.
"Good luck getting rid of that," she said when her cackling had subsided into giggles.
"I can handle this for two hours." He hoped he sounded confident even though he felt less than. He was sure he made quite the picture standing beneath a cloud of pink mist raining chunky red glitter on his head and surrounded by fluttering pink hearts. If something happened and he needed to use the Invisibility Cloak… well, being invisible wouldn't help with all this surrounding him.
"Not one hour," Lily giggled. When he shot her a horrified, questioning look, she grinned at him. "Twenty-four hours."
He just stared at her. How in the hell had she managed to so spectacularly get one over on him like this? If he were being honest with himself, it sort of made him fancy her even more. He watched as she skirted around him and started to run up the staircase away from him, her laughter echoing behind her.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Potter!"
This was written very quickly, so it's not my best work but it was pretty fun to write! Hope you enjoyed it!
I'm jilyyall on tumblr if you want to come talk to me!
Thanks so much for reading 3