I've had waaaayyyyy too much sugar.
For Carmel March, who, quite frankly, asked for it. ^_^
On Tuesdays mornings before their daily Auror Practice began at ten o'clock sharp, Mr Sirius Black and Mr James Potter liked to stop in at the Evans' Flower shop.
Miss Lily Evans, who had inherited the establishment after the death of her parents, worked part time in the mornings, and in the afternoons, went to work at Department of Experimental Charms, although few people in the neighbourhood knew this. All they knew was that after two o'clock, her elder sister, Miss Petunia Evans took over her shift and subsequently, business went downhill from there.
One such Tuesday morning, Sirius and James were sitting at a little white ornate metal table, on matching chairs, watching Lily while she re-potted some spider plants. She was wearing a pair of extremely dirty dungarees, with a sleeveless top, that left her arms bare down to the pair of brown gardening gloves on her hands that were, in fact, made of dragon hide, although few people in the neighbourhood knew this. With her hair striving for freedom from her pony tail and her freckles smeared with dirt, it was a little surprising that Mr James Potter thought her positively the most fetching creature on the planet. He had thought so in all situations, in all positions and attires, ever since their days at school together and, for a change, a lot of people in the neighbourhood knew this.
Once she had finished packing soil around the spider plant and given it some extra help to grow (by way of magical fertilizer) Lily put her gloved hands on her hips and blew upwards into her fringe.
'Masterfully done, Lily dearest,' Sirius grinned at her, and before she could reply, the kettle in the back of the shop started whistling.
'Oh! Tea's ready!' Lily said, pulling off her gloves and picking her way over various bags of soil and gravel to the little kitchen behind the counter.
'Do you know, Padfoot,' James remarked, chin in his hand, quietly so Lily couldn't hear, 'I think I love that girl.' Sirius rolled his eyes.
'Prongs, you've been telling me this for the past five months, when are you going to tell, Lily?'
'I don't know,' James groaned, 'It's not the sort of thing you just blurt out is it?'
'Prongs, things that you don't blurt out are things like: "I'm not your real father", "I've been cheating on my girlfriend" and "Will you marry me?". In my opinion, something like "I love you" should be said every single day as soon as you know it.'
'Is that really what you think?'
'No, I was just trying to think what Moony would.'
'Good course of action,' nodded James.
'Look Prongs, I think it's great what you have with this girl,' Sirius said honestly. 'So I just think it's better not to beat about the bush. I mean, if I was to tell you that I loved you right now . . .'
'I wouldn't be surprised,' came an amused female voice from behind them. The two eighteen-year-old boys spun round in their seats to see a redhead carrying a tea tray with a small bright smile on her face.
'No, Lily, it's not like tha-' James paused, 'What do you mean you wouldn't be surprised?' he asked instead.
'Ha, don't you know that all the good-looking boys cycle down that route?' Lily said, giving the boys a coy smile, while Sirius and James gave each other a bit of a disgusted look. 'Honestly James, you know I wouldn't mind. In fact, it would be better than if you left me for another girl.'
She busied herself with pouring tea, while James just gaped at her. Sirius was somewhat frantically gesturing from James to Lily with his eyebrows. James turned to look at him and Sirius silently mouthed what looked like: 'But Lily, I love you!'
James's face took on a faint, slightly confused smile and he opened his mouth.
The bell of the shop door tinkled and Lily turned to see two middle-aged women enter the shop. Sirius tutted in irritation, that was a marvellous opportunity. The women who had just entered were rather well known throughout the neighbourhood, mainly because of the reason that they both wore rather eccentric clothing. Today's ensembles included one the largest straw hats James had ever seen, a bright purple bonnet with a lime green ribbon, a furry, sequined, turquoise coat and a pair of yellow, beaded cowboy boots.
'Lily, my dear!' the shorter, fatter woman exclaimed, as Lily stood up to greet two of her best customers. They came on random mornings, quite often on Tuesdays, to find the very best furnishings for their joint expanding garden, as James and Sirius understood. They also often walked away from the shop with many a bag of gravel, a few deckchairs and several large terracotta pots all stashed safely in the taller, thinner woman's five by five inch carpet handbag, although, few people in the neighbourhood knew this.
'I won't kiss you, darling,' the woman continued, 'I've got this awful cold,' she explained, waving her hands around as if she were trying to dry her nail varnish, while her companion gave Lily two enormous kisses, one on each cheek.
'It's good to see you Madam Sternhoff, Madam Scope,' Lily greeted them, trying to make up for the less than pleasant welcome that her sister usually gave customers upon their entering the flower shop. 'You had placed an order through the fireplace, didn't you?'
'That's right dear,' the taller woman nodded.
'Let me see,' Lily said, making her treacherous way over to a small, wooden filing cabinet with silver knobs. Her thin, pale fingers crawled through the card until she found the right one. 'Three Mandrakes, two bags of Height Growing Fertilizer and a packets of Popping Poppy seeds?'
'That's the one, dear.'
'I'll just nip into the back and get it,' Lily said and the next moment, she had disappeared. There was a little room at the back of the shop that was packed full of plants and botanical products that one would not find in the average suburban flower shop, although, few people in the neighbourhood knew this.
James only realised he was dumbly watching her go when a sense of a stare caused him to jerk his head to the two women standing beside the small, white table. They were looking at him in a sort of smug way, a way in which an enemy spy might look at you when you had just let something terribly important slip during a conversation.
'How is you mother, Sirius, dear?' asked the shorter woman, a little gingerly.
'Quite frankly, madam, I couldn't give two squirts of Hippogriff piss how she is, if you'll excuse my French,' Sirius smiled back.
'Quite right too,' nodded the woman approvingly, 'Because, quite frankly, we don't wish to know.'
'Here we are.' Lily said, staggering back into the shop under two massive bags of magical fertilizer and three Mandrake pots. James jumped up at once to try and take some of it off her hands and, as the women plus Sirius watched in a slight pity, James, due to his insistence, ended up lugging the products over to the women and helping to put them into the taller woman's handbag, where the weight a volume promptly disappearing into nothing.
Once the customers had paid and left with a few kisses and two merry waves, Lily pecked James on the cheeks with a 'thank you' and sat him down again.
'You're welcome,' James smiled, 'I don't like to see you ruin your back carrying all these heavy things.'
Lily smiled to herself and poured milk into the three cups of tea. Sirius's eyes widened at James.
'I love you too much to see you hurt yourself,' he mouthed, like it was most obvious thing in the world. James, once again, opened his mouth. Lily tutted.
'Ah, I've gone and forgotten the sugar. Sorry about that, Sirius, I know you like about five teaspoons,' she said, getting up. Sirius smacked himself on the forehead with the palm of his hand.
'One, two, three, four, five,' Lily counted out.
'Thank you for contributing to the rotting of teeth, Lily dearest,' he thanked her with a grin.
'I can't be held accountable for your dentist's bills,' Lily smiled back.
'When it comes to Sirius,' James said, 'A lot of people can't be held accountable for many things.'
'Oi,' Sirius said, feigning indignation. Lily snorted, pulled her wand out of the back pocket of her dungarees and summoned the copy of the Daily Prophet that lay on the doormat. She stared at the headlines, her expression suddenly turning a little sad. James knew what would be there, the same thing that had been there for a very long time: stories of deaths, disasters and destruction all due to a man named Voldemort. He could see the picture on the front page, showing the glistening image of the dark mark over some wretched building.
'Some people can be held fully accountable for some things,' she murmured sorrowfully. James glanced at Sirius because he was mouthing something that looked like:
'Like you can be held fully accountable for the fact that James is head-over-heals in love with you.'
James reached over and grasped Lily's pale, freckled arm, intending to say something along those lines.
There was a loud BANG from the back of the shop. All three occupants jumped out of their chairs, Sirius spilling his tea onto the table in the process. Lily seized her wand from the table while the two boys whipped theirs out from under their cloaks.
'Lily, please, stay here,' James whispered, grasping her arm again, for a moment and stepping in front of her.
'OK,' she whispered back, nervously. James and Sirius made their way silently towards the magical storeroom where the bang had come from. They stationed themselves, one on either side of the door, and Sirius, closest to the doorknob, stealthily turned it and sharply pushed open the door.
'Petrificus Totalus!' James shouted, inserting his wand to his side, pointing into the small room. There was not a single sound in reply. As one, the two boys spun into the doorway, wands raised. Two sighs of relief escaped into the storeroom.
'Lily! I think you'd better come look at this!' James laughed. Lily jogged over to them and emitted and light laugh.
'Oh Merlin,' she sighed, 'my only Russian Hydrogen Cactus! How many times have I told Petunia? Only water it with vodka, or the spikes start growing inwards!'
'Bloody hell, is your sister trying to kill us of fright?' asked James, unconsciously pulling Lily into a one-armed hug.
'Wouldn't put it past her,' Lily said against his chest, surveying the small, orange pods that had exploded all over the storeroom. 'I suppose I'd better clear this up, and that tea.'
'We'll take care of the tea,' Sirius said.
The tea only took a second of magic to clear away, after which James sunk into one of the chairs, elbows on the table, face in his hands.
'What's wrong with you?' asked Sirius, not unkindly.
'This is mad, Padfoot, completely insane,' James murmured through his hands. 'When I heard that bang, I didn't think who it could be, I didn't think what I could do, all I thought was that I would never be able to forgive myself if anything happened to her.'
Sirius stayed silent all through this admission. James took his face out of his hands and put his palms together.
'That's it,' James continued determinedly, 'this is what I'm going to do.'
The door to the storeroom opened and Lily emerged, putting her wand back into her pocket. Sirius quickly poured himself some more tea and sat back to watch the show.
James had jumped up as soon as his girlfriend had opened the door. She seemed a little startled when he rushed out of his seat, over to her and, with one movement, swept her up into a very passionate kiss. Her emerald eyes widened, then closed as her arms found their place around his neck.
Sirius smiled and swallowed a mouthful of tea as his best friend nearly swallowed his girl whole. When it finally all ended, James had his hand on her cheek as she peered at him curiously.
'What on earth did I do for that?' she asked.
'You made me fall in love with you,' James answered, quite earnestly. If it was possible, Lily's eyes widened even more. 'I love you,' he told her, 'more than anyone, more than anything, more than the life I have, more than anyone could love anyone else.'
'No,' Lily said, shaking her head. James frowned. 'Because I think I love you more.'
All of a sudden, Sirius felt that he'd put entirely too much sugar in his tea. James had just leaned down for another kiss when Lily gasped.
'What?' James asked, startled.
'You're late!' Lily exclaimed. 'It's quarter past ten!'
'Ah, who cares?' muttered James, raising a hand to hook a lock of hair behind her ear.
'Go, go!' Lily cried, fighting her boyfriend off while Sirius catapulted out of his chair and summoned their coats. The boys slipped out of the back door, into the small garden where they could apparate without arousing muggle hysteria.
'Bye Lily, have a good day!' Sirius said, pecking her on the cheek and disappearing out of the door. James stole another kiss while he was half in, half out of the door.
'I love you,' he told her with a smile.
'Love you too,' she replied, mirroring his expression. He jogged over to Sirius and Lily closed the back door, sighing in a bit of a contented way. She walked over to the table and started clearing the tea things away, only to look up at the click of the door.
'Did I mention that I love you?' James's head asked, peering round the door. Lily reached for a nearby shovel.
'Yes you did, you pillock!' she yelled, grinning in spite of herself, 'Now get out of my shop!' James blew her a kiss and caught the apple that she threw at his head.
Once she had heard two tell tale pops form the garden, Lily sat down and absent-mindedly dipped her finger in the sugar bowl, licking the grains off and tasting the sugar on her tongue.
She was the luckiest girl in the world, because James loved her. Yes, James Potter loved Lily Evans, and within a few hours, a lot of people in the neighbourhood knew this.