Chapter 7- The Yule Ball (The final chapter)
Chapter summary: In this last chapter of Trading Places, James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and Lily are back to how they're supposed to be. The Marauders have to go shopping, and go to the Yule Ball. Includes an—interesting ending.
A/N: I am a very bad snickerdoodle. I have not updated for a very long time. I am very sorry. I hope you enjoy this. And in this chapter, I didn't know Alice Longbottom's maiden name so I made it up.
For boys at Hogwarts, with the exception of Ravenclaws, procrastination was very common. It was Saturday, the day before the Yule Ball, and a Hogwarts weekend, which was very convenient for four certain seventh year Gryffindors, who had not yet bought new dress robes.
After the Marauders had confessed to the girls that they did not yet have their dress robes, because they, with the exception of James, did not have dates until very recently, and had therefore not bothered looking for nice dress robes. James had no excuse, because he had had a date for a while now.
"What do you mean, you haven't even looked at dress robes yet?" Lily questioned James. "The ball is tomorrow, James!"
"I know," cried James, throwing his hands up in defense. " There hasn't been a Hogwarts weekend to go! Now there is, so I'll get it today."
"There'll be slim pickings," muttered Lily, who was now fastening a scarf around her neck in front of the warm common room fire. "Besides, don't you have any decent dress robes?"
"No," James said. "They're too short, and a horribly ugly paisley color."
Lily grimaced. "Where are the others, anyway?" she asked.
"They're just waking up," said James, struggling with a pair of boots he had outgrown since his last growth spurt. He was stomping about, trying to force his feet into boots two sizes too small that he had owned since fifth year.
"You know, it is nice that they scheduled a Hogwarts weekend for today," said Lily thoughtfully. " For people who need some finishing touches. I was thinking about buying a little handbag, you know. Maybe a broach—"
"Ooh, Lily," said Sirius, emerging from the bottom of the staircase, along with Remus and Peter. "Can I have a broach as well?"
"Well, Sirius," said Lily cheerfully, turning to face him. " If you really want a broach, I've seen this lovely one that would match the light blue color of your eyes very nicely—"
"I was kidding, Lils." Said Sirius quickly.
"Oh, but it would look so good on you," James teased, as he continued jumping around.
"Bugger off, Prongs." Said Sirius, his cheeks slightly flushed. "And I must say, I've never seen someone struggle so much to put on a pair of boots." Remus and Peter nodded in agreement.
"Ow!" Lily yelled as James stomped on her foot, and withdrew her wand from the pocket of her robes. "For heaven's sake, James! Engorgio!"
James was finally able to cram his foot into the boot, just as Rachel, Hilary, and Hannah emerged, giggling and gossiping.
"Ready?" Lily asked the others.
Seven 'yes's' could be heard in the now overcrowded common room. "Let's go, then."
The eight Gryffindors headed for the Entrance Hall, where Filch was tacking off names of the students heading for Hogsmeade. He scowled as he saw the group of Gryffindors approaching.
"Ah, Potter, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. You and these ladies won't be causing any trouble, now would you?"
"No, Mr. Filch," said Lily, putting on a sweet, innocent voice that made the Marauders grin. "We will make sure the boys won't be any trouble. Just picking up some dress robes,"
Mrs. Norris meowed up at them, and James and Sirius both felt a strong desire to kick her.
They joined the throng of students exciting into the grounds.
"So, Lily," said Sirius. "You're gonna make sure we're not any trouble?"
"Yes," said Lily. "Especially James. He's Head Boy, and really should be setting a good example,"
"Yeah, yeah," James muttered. They reached the horse drawn carriages, though none of them could see the Thestrals. Remus stepped forward and held open the door of the carriage as the four girls climbed in.
That carriage was filled up now, so Remus and the others waved and Remus swung the door gently shut. "See you," he called.
As Remus retreated with his friends to find another carriage, he heard Hilary giggling, "He's such a gentleman!"
James and Sirius chuckled, and Remus's face burned bright red. Peter giggled feebly, and they took the next free carriage before a gang of Slytherins could. Sirius rushed forward, wrenched the door open, and bowed, smirking as his friends ambled in. After Remus had cast Sirius an odd look and climbed in, Sirius followed, shutting the door behind him.
"They must think we're such jerks," sighed Peter. "Not having our robes yet."
"Well, we aren't exactly the only guys buying our robes today," cried James defensively.
"The girls ordered the gowns from Witch Weekly weeks ago," said Remus. "I saw the packages arrive at breakfast one morning."
"I wonder what Lily's gown looks like," said James in a faraway voice.
"Well, I was Lily when the dress came," said Peter. Silence followed as Peter stared blankly out the window.
"Well?" James and Sirius said impatiently.
Peter snapped back to earth. "Oh—it's green. Like her eyes. I didn't get to really look at it—as soon as I had opened it, she snatched it away—"
"What about the others?" asked Remus, looking absently at his hands.
"Hmmmm," muttered Peter, in deep concentration, trying to remember. It looked hard. "Rachel's was black… Hilary's was re- no, light blue, Hannah's was red."
"Did Lily mention which stores we're being dragged to?" asked Sirius idly.
"Gladrag's Wizardwear, I think," said James. "I can't believe we have to spend the day shopping when we could be seeing what's new at Zonko's."
"I hear you, mate." Nodded Sirius. "I never thought the Marauders would have to go shopping for anything but Dungbombs."
"How much further?" groaned Peter as they trudged through snow just below their knees in the bitingly cold winter wonderland that was Hogsmeade. The whole village was covered in snow—trees and the roofs of homes and shops were not even visible, and the windows glowed a pleasant gold through the snow.
"It's just down the road from here," answered Hannah impatiently, sweeping back her brunette hair that was sprinkled with snow.
"There it is!" cried Lily, pointing to Gladrag's Wizardwear. "It sure looks crowded—"
Lily was right. They entered through the mahogany doors and could hardly move an inch after that. The store was packed with students ranging from third to seventh years, all rummaging for some accessories and last minute exchanges. Sales clerks were bustling about, stressed, trying to find a dress a size larger or a hair clip that wasn't missing it's sequined butterfly that really flapped its wings.
"Excuse us," muttered James, pushing his way past a third year who looked close to tears that someone had bought her dress that was supposed to be reserved. "Pardon me, sorry…"
It was no use. The girl's friends chased after her as she ran crying into a changing room. Their empty spot was taken by a group of gossiping sixth year girls. "Excuse us…" Remus shouted, trying again, as he was squished against the wall by some seventh year Slytherins.
"That's not how you do it," said Sirius impatiently. "Oy! You lot! Get out of the way! MOVE IT!" He pushed forcefully past them, using his wand to zap people like a tazor, and they were finally able to walk five feet into the store. Sirius continued his method until they reached the men's clothes, where have the racks were stripped bare, and discarded clothes littered the floor. They heard a loud snap when Peter accidentally stepped on a wooden hanger and cracked it in half.
"There's not many choices," said Rachel to Sirius as she went through the clothes rack, and Sirius stood impatiently next to the rack with James. All of the robes seemed to have missing buttons or stains beyond cleansing, or were just in horrible colors that no man would ever be caught dead wearing.
"Let me see," Sirius skimmed the rack, and grabbed a black dress suit with a sweep flourish of his long arms. "How about this?"
"It has a tear," Lily pointed out.
"No problem," said Sirius drawing his wand. He pointed it at the tear and said, "Repairo!" As though an invisible hand with needle and thread were sewing the robe, the tear was mended. "There," said Sirius proudly. "Good as new."
"Remus," called Hilary. "Do you like this one?"
Remus, who had standing quietly with his hands in his pockets against the wall, moved forward to see what she was trying to show him. It was a handsome enough suit, in a light gray color. "It's nice," said Remus, amazed that he and Sirius had both found decent suits in a store so stripped of clothes.
James frowned as he looked through his options. There was a pink dress robe. He would never be caught wearing that, he could imagine the humiliation and taunting he would receive. James entertained himself with the thought of Snivellus wearing the hideous gown. Brown, no. Purple, no. Orange? Yeah right.
"Excuse me," a sales assistant pushed past James. "I have a few more items from the back room that just arrived—" The woman put three more robes on the rack, which James and Lily quickly seized.
"James!" Lily cried. "This is perfect!" She held up a midnight blue robe. "What do you think?"
"I think," said James, regarding the suit, "That I just got lucky."
"You sure did," said Sirius. "But James, don't you like the orange one better?" he laughed.
Peter looked quite flustered. "They're all too long!"
"And not wide enough?" Sirius suggested.
"Exactly!" Peter cried. "They obviously don't consider—"
Remus held up the pink robe. "Hey, Pete, I know this isn't exactly an—er—manly color, but it looks like it might fit."
Peter eyed the robe doubtfully. "All right, I'll try it on. I don't have much of a choice, and maybe we can try to change the color later—"
Remus tossed Peter the robe. "Right, we all have something to try on. Let's see if we can find changing rooms—"
Lily looked doubtfully at the lines for the changing rooms. "We won't be able to get in there for an hour at least…"
They stood in line behind a group of Hufflepuff fifth years, and waited. Sirius was looking at the wooden, well-lit ceiling hanging with shiny chandeliers, looking extremely bored. He looked down and spotted a manikin, which he strode over to. Sirius struck the same pose as the girlish manikin, and made all the girls giggle. James joined him in the pose, keeping a remarkably straight face. Several girls in the line started to point and laugh. Remus rolled his eyes. Peter looked quite gleeful. Sirius grabbed a pink hat with a green feather from the manikin's head, and placed it upon his own, making a simpering face and batting his eyelashes. James unwrapped a glittery, feathery boa from the manikin's neck and wrapped it around his neck. James removed the manikin's bright pink high heels, and slipped off his boots.
Remus muttered to a very red faced Lily, "You'd be surprised how often I've seen them do this."
The high heels made James at least three inches taller. Sirius found blue high heels in a nearby clearance rack, and followed James's suit. Before they knew it, they were pulling on random dresses from racks and pulling them on over their clothes. It was quite the sight to see. James and Sirius began parading around the aisles, doing a model strut. By now, Peter was rolling around on the ground laughing, Remus couldn't keep a straight face, and they had caught everyone's attention.
"Look at them!" a sixth year Gryffindor girl giggled. "Always good for a laugh, the Marauders are!"
Lily had gone very red in the face as she surveyed her boyfriend and his best friend. Sure, she was amused. But she was also embarrassed for them—and it felt shameful to admit it even to herself—but she was jealous. She supposed she was jealous that younger girls were looking at them so adoringly, but the real reason she felt jealous was that she was afraid James and Sirius looked better in dresses than she did, even with their robes underneath the dress, though she would never admit it.
"What's going on here?" a middle-aged, obese sales clerk pushed his way though the crowd to see what the sudden up burst of laughing was about. His droopy eyes scanned the room until he found the source of the commotion—James was still prancing and leaping about, and Sirius was doing an odd dance that involved much shaking of the rear.
"OY!" he bellowed, and James and Sirius froze, looking around, and the audience's attention moved to the sales assistant. "What in Merlin's name are you boys doing?"
His eyes passed over the naked manikin and the extra clothes that Sirius and James were wearing.
"We're modeling!" Sirius and James cried together, and the gaggle of girls whispered and chuckled behind their hands. The salesman's eyes went berserk, and he raised a short, chubby finger and pointed it at the door. "OUT!" he bellowed.
James and Sirius shrugged, and stripped off the clothes, tossing them unceremoniously on the all ready cluttered ground. James gave Lily a meaningful look to buy the robes and he'd pay them back later.
James and Sirius turned their backs on the man and strutted out of the shop, smiling smugly. Once they were safely out of the shop, the two best friends burst into laughter, slumping against the wall for support.
Sirius wiped his streaming eyes on the corner of his scarf. "Did you see the look on that fat bloke's face? I thought he was going to explode!"
James nodded in agreement. "Well, we won't be able to get back in there. We'll leave our sad friends to try on clothes. Well, Mr. Padfoot, I suggest that we pay Zonko's a visit."
Sirius smirked. "I would say that that is a very good idea, Mr. Prongs."
The two friends battled their way up the road to the joke shop, which wasn't nearly as crowded. The bell on the door cackled as they pushed it open.
"Good afternoon James and Sirius!" called the Zonko's employee they knew very well, Joe Zonko, the grandson of Mr. Zonko, who started the shop. He was tall and gangly, with red hair that stood straight up on its ends. His eyes had a grazed, mad look, and he wore wide, horn-rimmed glasses. "What'll it be today for our best customers?"
"What have you got, Joe?" asked James in a business-like voice, propping his elbow on the counter as Sirius examined a rack of insulting greeting cards.
"We just got in a new batch of merchandise yesterday," said Joe excitedly, rubbing his hands together. "More Dungbombs and stink pellets, and some new stuff as well that I think are very cool…" Joe busted around the shop, pointing out all the new merchandise. "We've got these apples that you give your teacher. You'll have to have Remus pull off this one. The teacher's won't eat anything you blokes give them. Where are Remus and Peter, anyway?"
"Oh, they're stuck trying on clothes," Sirius said.
"Ah, I see," said Joe sympathetically. "Well, you would have Remus give this to a teacher, see? And as soon as they take a bite, they will be able to say nothing but off-color remarks and profanity for the entire lesson!"
James and Sirius laughed loudly in amusement. "We'll take some of those!"
"Three Galleons a piece," said Joe. "If you like those, then our other stuff will be a real treat… replace the teacher's chalk with this. When they try to write on the board, it will draw crude and insulting caricatures of the teacher who uses the chalk. And if you like that, you have to get the eraser to complete the set. When they try to erase the drawings, it will wipe more chalk dust all over the board. And you can switch the teacher's quill with this, and it will automatically make the teacher give the owners of the quill top marks, no matter how mediocre the work is. And for your enemies we have these tap dancing shoes you can send them and make them look like they're from home. And this potion will make foes think it's in style to wear underwear on their heads and over their trousers."
"We'll take some of each!" said James enthusiastically, pulling out his money bag, and Sirius did the same.
Meanwhile, back at Gladrag's Wizardwear….
"Does this robe make me look fat?" asked Peter, examining himself critically in the mirror. He was wearing a revolting pink dress robe that did not flatter his bulk at all.
Remus shook his head sympathetically. "Of course not, Pete. You look great. I can read up on a spell to change the color, if you would like."
Peter smiled. "Really? That would be great! Thanks, Remus!"
"Or," said Lily smartly. "You can let me try this!" She did a complicated flick with her wrist and Peter's pink robes became more of a maroon color.
"Wow, Lily!" Peter beamed. "Thanks… that's amazing! How'd you do that?"
Lily blushed. "Oh, well, you know…"
Remus smiled warmly at her. "That's really neat, Lily. I'm not surprised, you've always been the best at Charms."
"And Potions!" Peter piped up. "You're always competing with Snape." Lily turned around and covered her face with her hand to hide her smile.
Hannah emerged into the changing rooms. "Come, on boys. You're lucky James isn't here. Stop flattering Lily, and take off those robes so we can pay, get out of here, and find James and Sirius."
"Yes, ma'am," said Remus and Peter together, hanging their heads and tramping back to their changing rooms.
Lily sighed, and muttered, "Boys."
Hannah laughed. "Oh, they're nothing compared to the flattery James and Sirius try,"
"Oh, yeah," Lily sighed. "You remember all of the pathetic love letters and valentines I got from James. 'Your eyes are like great, glistening emeralds, just like the jewel I one day hope to place on your dainty, delicate ring finger. Your hair is like a fire that cannot be tamed,' oh, he was pathetic!"
"Well," said Alice knowingly. "He may have been pathetic, but he got you in the end, didn't he? You should have seen Frank. Remember that time he serenaded me at breakfast? He took that Muggle song for Oscar Meyer wieners and changed the letters for my name. ' My sweetheart has a first name, it's A-L-I-C-E, my sweetheart has a second name it's J-O-N-E-S. I like to see her everyday and when they ask me why I'll say—"
The four girls began to sing along with her, "''Cuz Alice has a way C-H-A-R-M-I-N-G M-E.'" The girls burst into laughter after this just as Remus and Peter emerged.
"I remember that," Remus recalled, his robes over one arm like a waiter would carry a white napkin around. "James, Sirius, and I taught him that song. James and Sirius are quite fond of Muggle television. My mother is a Muggle, and they saw that commercial on our telly. They sang it the rest of the summer after that, and I'm afraid to say I've lost my taste for that jingle."
"I remember that summer," said Peter gloomily. "I didn't get to hang out with you guys all summer because I had dragon pox."
"Oh," said Rachel slowly, realization hitting her. "So that's why you were all green tinted the start of fifth year!"
"Er—yeah," said Peter, looking embarrassed. "The wounds hadn't quite healed yet."
Hilary glanced at her watch. "It's getting late. We have to go pay and find those loons."
They excited the changing room and stood in the back of a line that winded through the store. Lily groaned, "This will take forever!"
"Don't worry," said a voice in Lily's ear. "The loons are here,"
"James!" Lily squealed, turning around. "You're not supposed to be in he—" Lily stopped, surveying James and Sirius with her mouth slightly open. James and Sirius's arms were laden with Zonko's bags. James and Sirius were both wearing wigs. James was wearing a red Muggle clown wig and Sirius had on a long, scraggly blonde wig that resembled the young lead singer of the Weird Sisters. They both were wearing false putty noses that both looked unflatteringly like Snape's hooked nose. James had replaced his square glasses with purple tinted glasses like Elton John's. James was wearing moon boots and knickers, along with a baby blue T-shirt with a yellow duckling. Sirius was wearing a red and white striped shirt with suspenders, like Where's Waldo, and tight, snakeskin pants with combat boots.
"How do we look?" asked Sirius, as he and James struck a pose.
There was a few seconds silence before Remus, Lily, Peter, Hannah, Hilary, Rachel, and Alice burst out laughing. James and Sirius looked most pleased with themselves. "We knew that we couldn't get back in the store," James explained. "So we asked Joe over at Zonko's for disguises. I think he did pretty well, don't you?"
Remus smiled wryly, "It looks like you escaped from a zoo, or a freak show from the circus. Maybe even a mental hospital."
James and Sirius beamed, "That's exactly what we hoped for." Remus noticed that James and Sirius's perfect, straight, white teeth had been covered with false plastic teeth. James had blacked out a few of his teeth so that it appeared as though he were missing several teeth, and Sirius looked like a hillbilly.
Remus chuckled. "I think you can take out the teeth, guys."
"Thank goodness," sighed Sirius, removing the plastic teeth. "It's really hard to talk with these in your mouth." Sirius removed the false teeth, and James wiped the black off his teeth with his sleeve.
"I notice that the line hasn't moved at all," James observed. "We can fix that."
James and Sirius rummaged through their Zonko's bags, extracted some items, and shoved the bags into Remus's arms. "Hold these a minute, will you Moony?" asked Sirius, and he walked away, not waiting for a response.
Sirius held a remote while James put a small speaker in the back of his belt buckle, while holding several small pink discs in his gloved hands.
"What are they doing?" asked Lily, craning her neck to see.
"All ready, Prongs?" asked Sirius, his finger hovering over the buttons on the controller.
"Ready when you are," answered James. "So I'll just walk up the line, dropping these whenever you push the button, got it?"
"Right, mate." Sirius answered. "Go,"
James wandered up the line, and bent over in front of a middle aged woman to pick up a Knut he purposely dropped on the ground. Sirius pushed a button on the remote, and a loud fart was heard from the speaker on James's belt.
"Oh my," said the woman, stepping back as James dropped the Stink Pellet—the most powerful and nauseating that Zonko's had. It was designed to make the victims forget their tasks and leave the area as soon as possible.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, excuse me, ma'am," James apologized, picking up his Knut, as a strong smell of rotten eggs and burnt rubber filled the air. Sirius was laughing so hard that he was leaning on a giggling, but pleasantly happy, third year girl who seemed to be enjoying Sirius's presence, despite his odd looks.
The woman and her daughters left the shop looking disgusted, and the line moved forward a few feet. "It's working," James mouthed, giving Sirius a thumbs up. Sirius nodded, his face very red.
James stood in the center of a group of Hufflepuff girls, and began whistling idly, looking in Sirius's direction, and Sirius pushed another button just as James dropped another Stink Pellet. The girls screamed, and threw up their clothes, squealing and covering their noses, and also ran from the shop. James smirked, and continued up the line, wiping out everyone in sight, Sirius tailing him the whole way. One old woman actually passed out when she heard the flatulence. Finally, they were at the front of the line and were able to make their purchases. The same salesman was surveying James and Sirius as they extracted their Galleons. They had all paid and received their clothes bags when the man snuck up behind James and Sirius and yanked off their wigs from behind, recognizing James's unmistakable messy black hair. He grabbed James and Sirius by the scruffs of their necks and wheeled them around. "I thought," he breathed, his breath hot and smelly in the boy's faces, "that I told you to get out of this shop."
"Yeah—right—about that—" James began, glancing at Sirius, "NOW!" Sirius pushed the button and the loudest fart yet was heard, and James dropped the last Stink Pellet. "Run!"
The nine students hurtled out of the store, while the salesman was left wheezing in a cloud of stink. It was very hard to run through the snow, but they didn't stop until they were standing a hundred yards from the Shrieking Shack, which Remus pointedly avoided looking at.
"Wow," Rachel gasped, as Sirius put his arm around her. "That was so—funny!"
"I haven't laughed that much in a long time," said Hannah appreciatively.
"And it shortened the line," Remus pointed out with a small smile.
James and Sirius pulled off their false noses and tossed them carelessly into the snow. "Well, our mischief has been managed, and I believe that we should head back up to the school," said James.
James and Sirius received very odd looks indeed as they marched up Gryffindor Tower.
"What a day," sighed Sirius as he spread out in his favorite armchair by the fire. He and James had just finished installing an invisible trip wire across the entrance hole for their own entertainment, which Remus had strongly disapproved of, but did not rain punishment upon them with his Prefect powers. And James was Head Boy, so what could he do, anyway?
"There's someone coming!" said Peter excitedly.
A first year boy emerged through the portrait hole, tripped, and fell flat on his face, while James, Sirius, and Peter chuckled in the corner. Remus sighed, and strode across the room to help the boy. "Watch out for that step," said Remus, extending a hand to help the small boy up. The boy hurried away, very pink in the face, and Remus groped around in the thin air until he found the wire, and pulled. It materialized, and Remus grabbed it, stuffing it into his pocket.
"Spoil sport," Sirius muttered as Remus returned.
"Where'd the girls go?" asked Peter keenly, looking around.
"They're showering and doing their nails, you know, girl stuff," James replied. "All we blokes need is some hair gel and some aftershave and we're ready. We're simple folk."
"But for you, Prongs," Sirius pointed out. " I believe a comb is also necessary."
They spent the evening playing Exploding Snap and Wizard's Chess, while reliving the day's events. The girls never returned downstairs. Sirius idly suggested that the seventh year Yule Ball was like a wedding—the groom couldn't see the bride until the day, and they couldn't see their dated until it was time to escort them down the staircase.
James and Sirius snuck into the kitchen, and were gone about an hour, before returning, looking very smug, with eight bottles—four butterbeer and four Firewhiskeys.
"Toss me a Firewhiskey, Petey boy!" yelled Sirius, as they sat cross legged in the Boy's Dorm. Frank and Alice were off for a moonlit stroll, so they had the dorm all to themselves.
James took a swig of Firewhiskey. "You wouldn't believe," he said in a slurred voice. "How greasy Snape is. I mean, we've been over this a hundred—thousand times—but still ruddy—great balls of fire—he is grrrrreasy! I mean, has he ever heard of shampoo?"
"Or sunlight?" Peter suggested.
"Right, my man!" James continued. "He's more pale than you, Moony! Meanin' no offense, mate. But he's like a—a – vampire! Do you think that's possible, Moony? Could he be a vampire?"
"I think that is highly doubtful, James." Said Remus, tapping on his butterbeer bottle thoughtfully.
"No, I think Prongsie has a point," said Sirius, hiccupping loudly. "He looks like a ruddy vampire to me."
"And do you know what I think?" asked Remus.
"What?" said James, Sirius, and Peter together.
"I think," said Remus, slowly and clearly, "That we should call it a night."
Sirius sighed dramatically. "Whatever you say, Moon Man."
"Can I borrow your comb, Moony?" James called. "I lost mine,"
"Oh, I have it," said Sirius, tossing the comb to James, who jumped into the air and caught it triumphantly.
James combed his hair and applied generous amounts of sleeking solution. His hair looked somewhat tamer, but James knew that he would never get the desired look.
Sirius buttoned the cuffs of his sleeves, and surveyed himself in the floor length mirror, looking satisfied. Peter was frowning at his pudgy reflection next to the over confident Sirius. Remus was examining the numerous scars on his face with disdain.
"Look what these women have done to us," laughed Sirius. "We are actually caring about our appearance."
"Yeah, she's amazing, isn't she?" said James dreamily from the bathroom sink.
"Who, Lily?" Sirius called back.
"Yeah," said James, it the same, faraway voice.
"Yep," said Sirius. "You've been womanized."
The four Marauders and Frank stood with the rest of the male population of Hogwarts, age fourteen and up. James was looking wistfully up into the staircase where Lily was about to emerge from. He had a bouquet of roses hidden behind his back. Sirius carefully pulled one elegant rose from the batch and held it behind his back, knowing James was in too much of a daze to mind.
"Look, look!" said James excitedly. "There she is! Isn't she gorgeous?"
Amongst the flock of girls heading down the staircase, Lily could be easily spotted. Her dark red hair was in an elegant bun on the back of her head and several curly strands of red hair framed her face. She was wearing purple eye shadow that brought out her green eyes and made them brighter than ever, especially with her green gown. Rachel, to Sirius, looked stunning. Her black hair framed her pale face, her dark blue eyes were shining, and she was wearing a glittery black gown. Remus's mouth went very dry when he saw Hilary in a pale blue dress with white, elbow length gloves, her hair was pin straight and down to her waist. Peter smiled in disbelief when he was Hannah, the date he never thought he could get, in a vibrant red gown, her dark brown hair in curls.
They each joined up with their dates. James presented a blushing Lily with a bouquet of eleven roses, but she, and James, didn't seem to notice the missing rose. Sirius presented Rachel with the rose, smiling charmingly. They each linked arms with their date and joined the line of couples entering the Great Hall, which had been converted into a winter wonderland. Enchanted snow was falling from the ceiling, and real, glittering fairies floated trough the dimly lit atmosphere, landing in heavily decorated trees. The five tables in the hall had been filled with many round tables, each candlelit, and covered with a glittery white table cloth.
"Isn't it romantic?" Lily gasped, clinging to James's arm as she noticed the live band playing on a stage.
"Shall we dance?" asked James, taking her small hand and leading her gently to the dance floor. He, somewhat awkwardly, placed his hand on her hip, and she put her hand on his shoulder, and they held hands with their right hands, and slowly danced to the peaceful lute solo.
"Would you like to dance?" asked Sirius to Rachel, and he led her smoothly to the dance floor.
Remus shyly looked around the room, anywhere but at Hilary, but he couldn't avoid her any longer when he felt her gloved hand close around his. He turned slowly, and stared into her eyes, trying to find his voice. "W-would you like to dance?" he stammered.
"I'd love to," Hilary replied, and they followed the other couples to the dance floor.
Hannah sighed, seeing the look Peter was giving her, and joined Peter and their friends in the center of the dance floor.
Sirius sighted Remus dancing nearby with Hilary, winked, and gave him a thumbs up. Remus smiled weakly in response.
The song came to an end, and a much faster song began. The eight friends all joined in the middle of the dance floor, and many couples were moving forward, to get the pre-poured drinks from the punch bowl.
"I'm thirsty," Lily said, using her hand as a fan to cool her face. "We're going to go get drinks, okay?"
"No, wait!" exclaimed James, grabbing her wrist. "Just one more dance, please?"
Lily smiled. "All right, James. But let me get some punch first."
"I need a drink, too," said Rachel to Sirius. "I'll be right back with Lily."
"Please, Rachel—stay here, you can wait a song, can't you?"
Lily's eyes narrowed in suspicion, and Remus's eyes widened with realization and shock.
"What did you do to the punch?" asked Lily in a deadly whisper.
"Nothing," said James quickly. "It's just—like – the color of blood! You wouldn't want to drink blood, would you? I'm sure it tastes horrible—"
"You know what," said Lily, waggling her finger at James. "If there's nothing wrong, I'm going to go get a drink."
"No!" James cried, grabbing Lily's shoulders. "Don't drink it."
"What did you do to it?" Lily demanded, but she didn't have to wait for an answer. All around the hall, there were flashes of light, and couples were falling to the ground, shaking.
"Uh-oh," Remus whispered, staring in shock at James and Sirius, "You didn't…"
"We did," said Sirius, in answer to Remus's horrified look, as couples all around began to rise to their feet, looking confused.
Comprehension dawned on Lily. "You two spiked the punch! You put the rest of that potion in there, didn't you?"
James and Sirius nodded guiltily. "So that's why you were at the kitchens so long last night!" Peter piped up.
"I believe we have a confession, Professor Dumbledore." Said Dumbledore as he approached them.
"Oh, really, Minerva, I think it is somewhat brilliant of these young boys," chucked McGonagoll. "A very amusing joke…"
"Dumbledore and McGonagoll switched places!" James whispered to Sirius, laughing.
"As did the rest of the couples. I recall that you turn into the person you stand across from," said McGonagoll. "I once pulled a similar stunt in my years at Hogwarts… brilliant, brilliant…."
All the couples in the hall looked most confused. The girls were boys and the boys were girls. Filch sat in the corner, meowing.
"I think we should be considering a punishment, Albus, not congratulating them," said Dumbledore sternly.
"Oh, I believe they've somewhat learned their lesson, and are now trying to teach it to the rest of the school. This confirms my suspicions about their odd behavior in the past month. They all switched places in the last month. In fact, I think this is a brilliant experiment. The boys and girls have traded places, and will get to find out the true meaning of empathy! Brilliant, boys! Extraordinary! This will help me to understand how the mind of Minerva McGonagoll works, which has always been a mystery to me…"
"I think he's off his rocker," Sirius muttered to James, who nodded.
A/N: Did you like it? I am finally done with Trading Places, and it sure took me a while to update, I know! I hope that you enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I liked writing it. Would anyone else like me to write a story similar to this? Any requests?
Please read and review!