Toil and Trouble

by She's a Star

Disclaimer: Surprise! Harry Potter is J.K. Rowling's. Crazy, I know.

Author's Note: Darn me and my penchant for posting. This is going to be a chapter fic – a rather short chapter fic, but a chapter fic. So, yeah. You have my permission to send me angry (but nice angry. I'm a sensitive soul) emails if I don't update for months and months, as I am aware of the fact that that sort of behaviour is a bit maddening.

Anyhow, onto the fic.

I haven't written much Marauder-era stuff, but I felt randomly compelled to after reading Miss Puppylove's absolutely wonderful R/S fics.

This shall have a L/J and R/S outcome, so . . . yep. If you don't like slash, then press the back button. Unless, of course, you are such a rabid fan of my fantabulous works that you're willing to compromise your fanfiction pairing beliefs all in the name of SHE'S A STAR!

. . . er.

I'm not mad. Honest.

Chapter One

            October had been, James Potter decided, entirely unsatisfactory thus far.

            Quidditch season had yet to begin, and he was bored out of his mind. Occasionally, he and Sirius would go out on the pitch in the evenings – his Chaser skills had to be honed somehow, after all – but beyond that, it seemed that excitement was nowhere to be found. Instead, there was homework. Lots of it.

            Being in seventh year, he determined, was vastly overrated. Yes, there was the glimmering sparkle of hope that was graduation, but to get there, it meant you had to survive the year first.

            James wasn't so sure he'd be able to manage that part.

            Not only that, but the fact that this was their last year at school also meant that it was his last year to convince Lily Evans that she was desperately in love with him. 'Cause she was, James had decided back in his fourth year. She just hadn't figured it out yet.

            And regardless of how hard he worked to attempt to prove it to her, she was helplessly daft about the entire matter.

            As a matter of fact, she seemed to be under the impression that she hated his guts.

            But that wouldn't stop James. Oh, no. Theirs was a great and everlasting love. He just had to wait for her to realize that.

            Problem was, it had been nearly five years, and he was getting a bit impatient.

            To say the least.

            And so when an announcement was made during their Monday morning Transfiguration lesson, he was overcome with joy that the opportunity had presented itself.

            "There will be a Halloween Ball this upcoming Saturday in addition to the annual feast," Professor McGonagall announced to the seventh year Gryffindors and Ravenclaws. "Professor Dumbledore feels that a bit of excitement is necessary after the-" she pursed her lips disapprovingly, "-mundane start to the school year."

            A chorus of excited chatter immediately rose in the classroom, but James paid no mind as Hestia Jones and Veronica Smelthley began to squeal delightedly and about three fourths of the females in the room immediately fixed hopeful stares on Sirius. Oh, no. He only had eyes for Lily, who was sitting next to Auriga Sinistra and – he couldn't believe it – talking about last night's homework assignment.

            She really was a bit mad.

            And damned if he didn't love her for it.

            She looked up and caught his eye; he thought for a fleeting moment that maybe he should look away, but then decided against it and instead ran a hand through his hair and grinned at her.

            In return, she gave him a sharp and exasperated look that he'd come to lovingly refer to as The Lily Evans Glare of Death, Destruction, and All Other Things Unpleasant.

            But James wasn't discouraged. Oh, no, not in the least.

            This was his opportunity. This time, Lily Evans' heart would be his.

            He was so lost in his inspired reverie that he didn't notice Sirius lean close to Remus and mutter, "He's never going to give it up, is he?"

            Remus shook his head. "It doesn't seem so."

            Sirius sighed regretfully. "Poor git."