Disclaimer: I don't own nuffink.

The Wind Through My Hair

They had gotten to the cellar of Honeyduke's and, after some hesitation; Lily finally followed James through the trapdoor and hid behind a large crate with him. Though, of course, James did have to yank her hand up in order to get her to go through with breaking about fifty school rules.

"We could get expelled for this!" Lily hissed vehemently as they crouched together, waiting for the owner of the store to stop shuffling around his cellar.

"We're not going to get caught. Will you cool your jets? And lower your voice. Your current 'whisper' has made me gone deaf," James said. Lily opened her mouth to retort, but he clamped her mouth shut with his hand and became anxious when he saw the shopkeeper begin moving towards the door. They heard a distinct clicking sound, and James hopped up, extending a hand for her to grab. She clasped his hand and pulled herself up and then huffed when she realized he had already started for the door while she was still dusting off her clothes and wiping her mouth on her sleeve; she had drooled a bit when he kept his hand over her mouth to prevent her from talking.

"Hey, wait a second, Mr. Gentleman!" Lily said sarcastically.

"Well, what are you dusting your clothes off for? They were filthy to begin with, so you might as well get them as dirty as you like," he said. He wiped his right hand on his robes, looking disgusted. "Yeck! You drool like a dog, Evans...Come up to the top of the stairs with me so we can dash out the door as soon as I open it...Jesus, you're taking a long time."

"Well, I didn't know we were going out in public, otherwise I would have worn something a bit more tasteful," she said, just as he opened the door a crack, and peered out.

"Go!" he whispered, allowing Lily to scuttle out first, and then following her. He shut the door as quietly as possible, and when he turned around...

"Oof!" Lily tripped and bumped into the shop owner who was on his way to the cellar again. James' eyes widened as the shopkeeper looked straight at him.

"Excuse me, ma'am...sir, what were you doing in my cellar?" He asked. James raised his eyebrows trying to look as if he would have rather been shackled to a raging hippogriff than sneaking around a Honeyduke's cellar. Him? Psh, as if.

"Pardon? I don't know what you're talking about," James said.

"Well...why are you coming out of my cellar? Have you stolen anything?" His tone of voice gained a distinct note of hostility.

"I haven't stolen anything! I've never even been in the cellar...or ANY cellar for that matter!" James said, looking enraged and appalled...also a bit desperate, depending on how you looked at it.

"Then why is your hand on the knob of the door to the storage cellar?" the shop owner asked.

"Er..." James said, glancing at his hand, and then snatching it away from the doorknob, as if it had burned him. "I honestly don't know what you're talking about."

"This is absolutely ridiculous! Empty out your pockets before I call secur..."

"RUN, LILS!" James shouted, pushing aside a gaggle of curious people who had stopped to watch the going-ons, and grabbed Lily's hand. He had to pull her along at first because she had been caught off guard and shocked, but she soon caught on and ran as fast as she could to keep up with him. It was difficult, dodging the displays...

Which is why when James, with his excellent reflexes, dodged an unexpected "Hypnotic Lollipops" stand, Lily, with reflexes not as toned as James, glanced at the stand, and found she could not look away from the swirling confections. She skidded to a halt, and crashed into the display, causing hundreds of black-and-white swirling, Hypnotic Lollipops to tumble down in all directions. They hit the ground, many of them shattering. Lily snapped out of her reverie and glanced around confusedly. James looked upon the scene with and expression nothing short of horror. He tugged at her arm, desperately wanting for her to start running. There was no way they could afford to pay for that much candy.

Lily seemed to agree, and she resolved to start running when she saw the shop owner finally making his way through the chaos occurring in his store.

"Hey, you two! COME BACK HERE!" he yelled, twitching madly.

They finally reached the door, as it was not far away. The shop keeper came right up to the glass door and reached for the handle...

"Colloportus!" Lily yelled, and the door would not open, sealing shut.

James groaned and rolled his eyes. "Right, this is the last thing we need."

"What are you on about? I've trapped the owner inside already!" Lily said, pushing past him outside. "Oh," she said, as she viewed the pouring rain from underneath the overhanging balcony above them.

"What do we do now?" Lily asked him. There was a tiny note of disappointment in her voice; the date might have been a bit fun after all. The door banged dangerously behind them as the shop owner continued to try and open the door without magic. She glanced behind her and bit her bottom lip. They'd obviously have to decide swiftly...it wouldn't be long before the owner gathered his wits and took out his wand.

"Alohamora!" The Honeyduke's shop owner yelled. He opened the door, and, in his haste, knocked down a poor elderly woman standing by it.

"Oh, MY!" She screeched. The shop owner looked down in surprise, and tried to quickly help her up. Many people, who were stuffed underneath the overhanging balcony trying to avoid the rain, watched the scene with interest. The shopkeeper looked frazzled and insane as he searched for the culprits, and did not do much to help the old woman who had fallen. Indeed, the moment he pulled her up hastily and muttering an insincere apology, she had slipped and fallen again. He took no notice, and spotted Lily's bright red hair and began to move towards them.

"Hey, you berk, you're not going to just leave her there, are you?" a young woman in her 20's asked the owner.

"I—well, what?" he asked.

"You can't just knock her down! How rude!" another older woman said, looking very horrified at his barbaric behavior.

The shopkeeper scowled. "I'm a bit busy, I'm sorry you all, but you must—NOW, REALLY!" Another woman had pushed him down on the ground. "How does that feel, hm? You don't like it very much, do you? Before you think to knock down a poor old lady, you ought to think about how it feels!" There was a murmur of agreement among the young and middle-aged shoppers in the area.

"I thought we were past all this female discrimination by now!" another lady shouted.

Lily could not help but snigger as she witnessed the scene unfold. She had her fist in her mouth as she watched the shop owner, who had not meant to knock down anyone, let alone knock them down based on sex, look very confused and not quite sure what to do. He was looking straight at both James and Lily, who both found the whole thing quite hilarious, and was still longing to bust them. The women had formed a sort of circle around him though.

"Really, this is simply...simply ludicrous!" the shopkeeper said, as he got himself together and pushed through the enclosing circle. James' eyebrows shot up as he realized the shop owner had gotten braver, and he grabbed Lily. "COME ON!" he said, running out into the rain. They both stumbled through the soft, muddy path. When Lily looked behind her, she could hardly make out the face of any in particular; only the faint outline of people's bodies could be seen running through the heavy downpour.

When James was sure they had lost their pursuer, he slowed down. They were both already soaking to the bone, so it didn't matter if they stood still in the rain for hours... "Do you want something to eat?" James asked her.

"WHAT?" Lily shouted over the tumultuous noise the rain was making.

"DO. YOU. WANT. TO. EAT?" He yelled.

"OKAY!" she said.

He led her into a restaurant to their right. There was the strong aroma of incense and fried food. There were a few faded Chinese paintings on the wall, and an algae-filled fish tank...that might have contained a few dead fish and some grindylows. The walls were painted with chipped, dark red paint and the ground had grimy wood floors. James led them to a tiny table in the corner, and they both sat down.

"Hello!" a cheery old oriental woman said. She had her graying black hair tied in a bun and wore a traditional outfit of some Asian culture. "What you want to eat?" she said in broken English.

"Um...where are we exactly?" Lily asked.

"Where you are? You at Ling's! Ling serve moogle Korean food...very good. We witches, but we know there no moogle place to eat in hog-meade. So, you want to eat?" She said.

It took Lily a moment to realize "moogle" was the equivalent of muggle. "Have you got fried rice?" Lily asked. She hadn't had it since she was a child.

Their waitress gave a sharp nod, and walked off to make their food before allowing James to place his order. James cocked an eyebrow, but shrugged. "I guess this means she wants us to share."

"I don't know if I want to share with the likes of you," Lily said. James gave her a look, and Lily stared back. It was then that they both began laughing once they finally took a good look at each other and the previous events finally seemed to trigger in their brain.

"I—I didn't mean to knock down th-th-the hypnotic lollipops!" Lily struggled to say. James wiped his eyes gingerly and mussed up his hair, sighing, glad to be able to breathe.

"I don't think Honeyduke's will like to be seeing our faces there again. I reckon he'd shove slugs down our throats, or something," James said.

"And then add salt!" Lily added. The hilarity of the situation only intensified when the waitress brought out their food.

The rice looked like it should have, and appeared to be steaming hot and very greasy. Lily dumped several spoonfuls onto her plate, and then waited for James to do the same. When she didn't she gave him a quizzical look. "What are you waiting for? I'm hungry, but I'm not going to start eating without you. I'll look like a total pig!" James appeared to be staring intensely at the platter of fried rice.

"I...I think I've seen something move in our food, Lils," he said. Lily rolled her eyes. "Look, just because this isn't the best location for a restaurant...and it doesn't exactly look clean...well—that's not reason to be paranoid about the food."

"No, really, Lils, look!" She stared at the food and looked up quickly to tell him she didn't see anything out of the ordinary. However, she immediately snapped her gaze back to the food and squinted—she had seen something move! In addition to that, with a longer inspection, she could spot steaming bugs (beetles, perhaps?) and slimy chopped salamanders mixed in with the soy sauce drenched rice.

"I think there's cooked devil's snare in here as well..." James muttered as he tried to rip the grasp of one of the green chopped veggies from the food. Lily shrieked and jumped up from her seat, causing the chair to clatter onto the ground as she tried to further herself from the crawling crippled wasp that was trying to escape from her plate.

"WHAT? WHAT HAPPEN?" Their waitress scurried over, looking very concerned. "Something wrong?"

"We...uh..." Lily took a moment to catch her breath. "We think you got us the wrong order...I asked for FRIED RICE." Lily said, making sure to enunciate very carefully. The woman looked at their dish confused.

"That is fried rice. You want something other?" she asked. James snorted.

"I don't think that's fried rice," James said.

"It is moogle fried rice! It has the rice and the chicken, and the sausage, and the peas...that what you want, no?" The waitress asked them, pointing to the salamanders, assorted bugs, and chopped devil's snare as she listed the ingredients. They were not allowed a response because Lily once again lost her mind as a slug climbed onto her hand. She let out a blood-curdling scream and shook her hand frantically. The slug hung onto her finger, hanging on until she gave one last jerk of her arm; he went flying onto the waitress's face. Lily stumbled backwards from the force of her arm flailing, and fell onto the table. The rice scattered everywhere, and creatures went crawling every which way.

"WE'RE LEAVING," Lily said in a tone of voice that allowed no room for argument. Not that James would have protested leaving.

She grabbed her bag, looking incredibly shaken, and stormed outside. James left money for the very confused waitress, and jogged after Lily who had suddenly gained a special talent for track. When he arrived outside, it was still raining very heavily, and Lily was sitting on a bench, not able to find shelter from the rain (or choosing not to go into the equally sketchy locations). James walked toward her softly, afraid he might send her into another frenzy. He realized at that moment that Lily looked extremely lonely. She seemed stripped naked of her usual wall of protection, and she looked like the young, scared girl, soaking wet in the rain, that most people expected her to be.

"Are you okay?" James asked.

"I—I'm fine, why?" Lily asked. The previous thoughts James' had were pushed to the back of his mind as the stormy, defiant Lily he knew resurfaced.

"You seemed a bit upset, is all," James said. Lily took offence to the statement more than he had expected.

"Yeah? Well, I'm fine. Let's go back to Hogwarts now, please," Lily said.

"If that's what you want..." James said. She promptly got up and walked ahead of him towards Honeyduke's with her arms folded, looking particularly moody. Lily could not possibly be that unnerved by a few bugs, could she? Something else was obviously bothering her, but he could not think of anything that could have recently brought her down to such a level of sulkiness except for the bug incident. And that was far too simple an answer.

When they arrived at Honeyduke's, Lily stopped and looked at James with trepidation. "Do I just walk in or something?"

"Yeah, it's crowded in there—look," James said, looking at her earnestly. "Are you really okay?"

Her face softened a little and she nodded. "I'm fine, really. Can we just go back home now?"

James nodded. "I'll take the lead and cover you if it makes you nervous," he said, grabbing her hand and pushing through Honeyduke's store. It was still as crowded as ever since people were taking refuge from the rain. James swerved in and out through the entanglements of people. They found no problem getting into the cellar as the shopkeeper had mindlessly left the door ajar and was attending to a large group of customers who were demanding he retrieve the Soybean Suckers from the top shelf.

James opened the trap door and led Lily into the dark underground tunnel back to Hogwarts, somehow satisfied with Lily's short, but sure answer when he asked if she was okay. Still, he did not let go of her hand, even after getting through Honeyduke's safely.