A/N: this required a lot more internet research than you'd think so A for effort to me. Related, the internet in general is (1) skeptical of whether kiss booths actually happen and (2) fairly certain they're a health hazard. There are message boards about this. The internet is magical.
Lily drops onto the bed with a dejected sigh, waits a few moments, and then amps up the dramatics, sighing louder and flopping again, so James' quill stutters across the page. He grumbles, but his lips tick up at the corners, "Yes dear?"
"I have a problem."
"You have many, many problems Evans," Sirius' drawl comes from behind his drawn bed curtains.
James flips him off and Lily kicks her foot until her shoe becomes a projectile and manages to beam Sirius in the head.
Despite Sirius' creative swears and threats Lily remains unperturbed, tilting her head in James' direction. "So my problem. Mum has this ladies' fair."
"And you need my assistance with the ladies-faire," James guesses, wriggling his brows while he tickles her nose with the feathered end of his quill. Lily snorts and bats his hand away, letting her other loafer fall to the floor with a dull thud. "She asked me to do a booth."
Letting his textbook drop to the bedspread, James nudges Lily's ribs with one socked foot. "So you need a plan? You're good with paints. Muggles love painting their faces. Wizards love painting their faces."
"I guess. But that involves a lot of prep time. And it's not a guaranteed win," Lily answers half heartedly, grabbing his prodding toes, "'sides, that will never beat Petunia's tea cozies."
Sirius is already halfway across the room by the time Lily even realizes his curtains are open. "Is this about sibling rivalry? I am now interested in your life, Evans."
"What a guy," James grumbles, wrapping his arm around Sirius' neck and kissing his forehead wet and slobbery.
A low growl, and Sirius is swiping the spittle from his face, before he turns to Lily, "As I was saying. I empathize with your plight –"
"I appreciate the gravity with which you are treating my situation."
"So I will give you an idea," Sirius pauses, grey eyes darting between his two audience members, "that will no doubt win your little familial war."
Sirius shoves James off and lounges comfortably across the bed, feet nudging Lily's knees. "Kiss. Booth."
Lily lets out a groan and James wastes no time in shoving Sirius from the bed with a decisive kick. And yet he is unperturbed, calling out from the floor, "Well I only suggest it because James gives you rave reviews, Evans."
A flush rises on James face and Lily crawls toward him. "Rave reviews? Am I that great of a snog?"
One of Lily's discarded shoes flies from the floor and clatters against the headboard. "Oi! None of that while I'm here."
"Well then stop telling Lily to be a lady of the evening," James shoots back, kissing Lily lightly.
She snuggles close, legs tangling with James.' "Technically, the fair is only from noon to four."
By the time Sirius clambers onto the bed he's already Padfoot, having decided at some point that it was cooler to join cuddles as a dog than as a human. His dark head is pillowed on Lily's belly when she starts, eyes wide. "Sirius you're a genius."
He tilts his shaggy head as if to say 'What else is new?' while James frowns, brow quirked as he awaits an explanation that hopefully doesn't involve Lily snogging strangers for money. Her eyes glint with mischief as she runs her fingers through Sirius' fur. "Dog Kiss Booth."
After a week of unsuccessful guilt trips and various doe eyed pleas, Lily gets desperate and promises unlimited belly rubs for Padfoot for the rest of term. Ever the negotiator, Sirius gets hair plaiting lessons and unrestricted access to her Charms notes before he finally agrees.
By the time the Easter hols arrive, Sirius is resigned to his fate and Lily is fairly confident that this will leave Petunia and her tea cozies in the dust – both proverbial and literal. They're at the train station and Lily's just given James a life changing snog that leaves him a bit dazed, so she points a finger in Sirius' face. "Remember our deal. Otherwise it'll be face paints and degradation for me. Who knows what for you."
Sirius smirks and gives her a casual salute. "I'm nothing if not a man of my word Evans. Enjoy the muggles."
And then they're off for their respective homes, James and Sirius apparating directly, while Lily tromps out to find her parents in the car park.
The following morning, Lily's still warm and toasty in her sun-kissed bed, definitely not dreaming of shirtless James, when she's woken by the doorbell and summoned by her mother. "Lily, you have visitors."
When she peers over the stair rail, it's to find James and Sirius grinning up at her from below while Mrs. Evans bustles off to find tea and scones. James' smile spreads as he tries to subtly take in her mostly bare freckled legs while Lily flushes and Sirius wriggles his brows. "Nice gams, Evans."
Luckily, Mrs. Evans is out of earshot when James calls Sirius a wanker and drags him into a headlock, and is also long enough returning that Lily has a chance to shush them and promise to meet them downstairs soon.
After running a brush through her hair and dragging on the first shorts and t-shirt she can find, Lily hurries into the sitting room and settles a respectable distance from James on the love seat. But still close enough that she marvels at the headiness of his scent and how quickly it has her wishing for an empty room and hours to themselves.
James is apparently on the same page, his fingertips just brushing her freckled knee when Mrs. Evans returns with her tea tray. "Well I know James of course. Lovely to see you, dear. But I didn't know his brother."
Lily gapes while James simply rolls his eyes when Sirius proceeds to lean forward, offering his hand with a gentlemanly tilt of his head. "Quite lovely to meet you, Mrs. Evans. May I just say, you have a lovely home. Lily here is borrowing my dog for the fair."
They make small talk until the scones are well and truly devoured and Mrs. Evans excuses herself, leaving them to do 'what young people do.' She smiles as she lifts the tray and moves from the armchair. "I trust Sirius will act as chaperone for you two."
James barely manages to stifle his snort, but Sirius manages a cordial nod. "Not a worry, Mrs. Evans."
Once she's gone, Lily lounges back on the couch and props her feet on the table. "So what's the deal Potter? Couldn't keep away for more than twelve hours?"
Sirius doesn't give James much chance to do more than blush as he groans comically, "That's about right."
Lily snickers and James shoves Sirius violently enough that Lily fears a brawl may erupt so she stands, tugging James' hand. "Come on, before you destroy my parents' house."
Somehow, Lily manages to wrangle both boys into the garage and set them up with muggle tools, holding her breath that they'll make it through the morning without a trip to hospital. And aside from a couple bruised thumbs and some yellow paint stains, they make it through lunch and complete the kiss booth remaining relatively unscathed.
It's just before supper and Lily's ushering the boys from the house with orders to ice their bruised limbs when she finally realizes what she missed. "Wait – how did you get here?"
Sirius smirks and pats James' shoulder before disappearing in search of 'Lily's darling mother,' leaving a sheepish looking James in his wake. He ruffles his hair and leans awkwardly against the door. "Would you believe we walked?"
Lily blinks twice.
She folds her arms.
James grimaces, "How about we go with the Knight Bus and you live in blissful ignorance."
Her scowl breaks and Lily lets her arms twine around his middle, nuzzling at his ear. "At least if the Wizengamot calls me to testify I'll have plausible deniability."
He hums against her hair, using one hand to tilt her face toward his, nose brushing along hers. "Least I could do."
Lily presses her lips to his once, twice, three times. "Always the protector."
The kisses deepen until Lily pulls away breathless, fingers grasping the front of his shirt as she wags one finger in his face, his eyes crossing as they follow the digit. "You'll not snog the curiosity out of me. I'm just giving you a reprieve since you built that booth today. I expect an explanation within the week," and when she sees James' mischievous grin, Lily clarifies, "an accurate explanation."
Sirius chooses that moment to return, tin of fresh baked biscuits in hand and ruffles Lily's hair. "So, Prongs told you all about my motorbike?"
Despite his protestations, Sirius does not seem surprised that James hadn't managed to deliver that truth yet and simply smirks as James groans and drops his head back against the door. "I will kill you."
"Get in line, mate," Sirius laughs.
They volley back and forth for a few minutes before James realizes Lily hasn't reacted beyond narrowing her eyes to slits. He pokes her cheek experimentally. "Alright, Evans?"
She blinks rapidly, mouth opening and closing a few times before she finally speaks. "Can I ride it?"
After a ride around the block with a pouty James in side car, the boys leave with promises to return the day after next, bright and early. They agreed one day exclusively spent with family would be considerate, but James still can't resist walking up to the closest phone box after lunch and dialing the number Lily'd scribbled across his hand last summer, eyes bright and cheeks flushed. The line rings three times before Lily answers brightly, "Evans residence. Who's calling?"
He can hear her smile along with some rustling as she shouts to someone in the background. Eventually, she sighs and clears her throat, "Sorry, wanted to claim Dad's study."
James grins, "What'll you do with me now that you've got me alone?"
"Nothing too risqué. Mum could still pick up the line," Lily answers, laughing lightly.
"How's family bonding?" James asks, jingling the muggle change in his pocket.
She laughs a bit more, "Well it's not. Since I'm with you."
"If only," James sighs dejectedly, his head dropping against the wall.
Lily hums and they sit in silence for a handful of moments, breaths quiet along the line. She clears her throat. "So tomorrow?"
"Bright and early," he slides another coin into the phone.
"Not too early though. You're a monster," Lily clarifies, chuckling.
Someone tries to enter the phone box, but James' scowl manages to put them off with minimal grumbling. "Getting up anytime past eight is a waste of daylight, Evans."
Lily snorts. "I'll convert you somehow."
James' eyebrows shoot up, "Really? Care to elaborate on your plans?"
"I'd be happy to –"
Two sharp raps at the door and Lily's voice is muffled for a second before she comes back. "Sorry James. Got to clear the line because Vermin is calling."
His laugh is loud and sharp, drawing a matching one out of Lily and James cuts in, "I thought it was family day. Whale boy isn't family."
Lily sniffs as her laughter calms. "Can hardly challenge Petunia given my current phone friend, eh?"
James sighs long and dramatic over the line. "We're talking business, Evans. Business waits for no man."
"Right," Lily surrenders, low laughs muffled behind her hand, "Well. Make sure Sirius has a bath tonight. Got to have that coat nice and glossy if we're going to destroy Petunia."
"And if that isn't sisterly love, I don't know what is," James snickers.
"She started it," Lily says simply.
"So long, James."
"'til tomorrow, Lily."
After she hangs up with James, the rest of the night is fairly uninteresting – mainly just helping with preparations for the fair and devouring her mum's delicious shepherd's pie the house elves can't even compete with.
The following morning at ten-o-seven, James and 'Padfoot' disembark from the Knight Bus a few blocks down and hurry toward the Evans' canary yellow house. Lily's already got Mr. Sadler's beat up pick-up parked in the drive, tailgate open and waiting. "Morning boys."
She squats and scratches behind Padfoot's ebony ears while his pretends to be aloof. "You look absolutely lovely, dear."
As Padfoot flips onto his back silently asking for a belly rub, James saunters closer, rolling his eyes. "Feckin' diva you are."
Proving James' point, Padfoot tosses his head and flops at James' feet, earning a light kick to his side. Snickering, Lily drags James toward the garage and they manage to load the booth and themselves into the truck, which – despite James' begging – is driven by Lily and given no magical 'add ons.'
It's not far to the primary school, the colorful signs and bunting directing them toward the lot once they're within a few blocks. Set-up is fairly straightforward and they're done early enough that between the three of them they wheedle first tastes out of the women running the most delicious smelling booths.
When the children begin arriving, sticky and gleeful, it's like they have radar for dogs and almost immediately clamber over to Lily's booth. And she's fairly nice person, so she only smirks at Petunia once. Not that she has time to do much else with their endless stream of patrons. Every few 'kisses,' Padfoot ducks beneath the table and drinks from his water bowl, usually doing his best to swish and spit as a canine before glowering balefully at Lily and returning to his waiting public. Although he does seem to enjoy their lunch break, when Padfoot spends his half hour in the small park across the road doing what can only be described as 'frolicking'.
Still, giving puppy kisses to a bunch of rosy-cheeked kids isn't as bad as things could be – Lily briefly considered a dunking booth – a point which is driven home quite effectively in the last few minutes before four when one Marge Dursley sets her sights on Lily's booth. "Oh shite."
James jolts, shoving the muggle novel Lily'd brought to keep him occupied under the table. "More sticky kids? How do they get that way?"
Lily shakes her head and grabs his shoulders, pointing him in the correct direction. "Marge loves dogs."
Padfoot growls low, baring his teeth, as Lily attempts to plot a course through the fair that will get them back to the truck unscathed with little success.
After a moment, with Marge getting ever closer, shoving aside various children and elderly persons to get to the booth, James stands and rounds the table. He fishes a few pounds out of his pocket and stuffs them into Lily's overfull jar and leans in close to Padfoot. "Never say I don't love you," he glances at Lily, "Four minutes of dog kisses please."
"Should I be jealous?" Lily asks with a snicker.
"Don't watch, it'll ruin your god-like image of me," James moans.
At this point, Marge has arrived, waiting impatiently behind James as he leans in for a good ol' puppy snog and Lily chuckles. "You do realize I saw you in Martin Miggs footie pajamas last Christmas, yeah?"
A huff from behind reminds them of the interloper and James leans forward for his three minute best mate bonding session. Lily pauses the stop watch with a flourish and shoos James playfully, "Enough now, you've gotten your kisses," before turning to Marge, "So sorry Marge. Seems the fair is over. Can't overstay our welcome."
And before the blustering woman can do more than scoff, Lily and James gather up their scant belongings and tote the booth back to the borrowed pick-up, Padfoot in tow.
It's comfortably suppertime once they've finished with unloading and returning any borrowed items to their proper owners and Sirius is splayed across the front lawn. "You owe me dinner, Evans."
James drops down next to Sirius and nudges his shoulder, "Don't get greedy Sirius."
"No physical contact for a month James Ignotus. Can't have you getting attached."
Lily snuggles into James' side completing the strange tableau that Petunia will be glad she missed. "I always knew you'd steal him away, Black. Didn't know you'd have the gall to do it right before my eyes."
Before James can do more than groan, Sirius answers, "I guess just have some Sirius animal magnetism."