Up to No Good
By Rurouni Star
Just a one-shot that came to me in the middle of the night. I thought it would be funny to see just what the map would have had to say to Lily Evans – and it's a pretty good explanation for why she'd ever even think of dating James Potter, after that show in OotP.
Lily Evans sighed heavily as she collapsed into a chair before the fire, glancing only briefly at the clock to check the time.
Two am. Bugger.
She'd really lost track of time, hadn't she? It wasn't an awful thing for her to do – she was, after all, Head Girl, and therefore possessed a few unique privileges which included being able to stay out of bed at late hours. No, the problem was that she would be utterly exhausted in the morning. And to top it all off, she still couldn't sleep.
The girl stared into the flames moodily, watching them flicker with sharp green eyes that followed their every movement. She was wide awake. This just wouldn't do.
Damn him. Damn him and his stupid mudblood fixation- his failed hexes and his determination to stay aloof from anyone who ever wanted to help him. Snape was a slimy bastard, but even he didn't deserve what he was getting. If he would only let her help him instead of throwing names and curses her way every time she got near him…
He knew she wouldn't take points from him, as was perfectly within her rights, and that made it infinitely worse.
Lily sighed again and rose from the chair, pacing, running a hand through her hair in frustration, tearing through the snarls with violent satisfaction. She knew, just knew that Severus Snape was going to come to no good one of these days.
She stopped abruptly as her foot snagged on something on the floor. The Head Girl looked down at it, blinking, before picking the strange parchment up in curiosity and turning it over. Perhaps some first year had left their homework out, it would be her duty to get it back to them and warn them to take better care of their things-
But the other side was blank as well.
The parchment, she realized, was very thin indeed. Because it wasn't just one piece, but a whole array, folded neatly into an almost origami-like arrangement. Had someone been trying to learn to make a leaping frog or some such nonsense? If so, they'd definitely failed…
Frowning, Lily sat down with the parchment in her hand, unaware that somewhere behind her, two people beneath a very special cloak were standing stock still, utterly petrified. One of them was hissing curses, despite the fact that silence was really rather important at the moment, while the other stared in open-mouthed shock and shoved his glasses up on his nose, staring at the seventh year girl as she turned the parchment over and over in her hands.
Finally, deciding it must have been some kind of note with disappearing ink on it, Lily brought her wand to bear curiously, knowing as she did so that it was really very rude to pry like this. Oh well… no one was around, and she could always just pretend she had never read it… she'd put it back on the floor when she was done and go back to bed innocently…
"Aperio," she said softly, tapping it with her wand. "Lily Evans asks that you reveal your secrets…" Her charms were unrivaled, if the parchment had any secret at all-
Standing behind her, two boys were watching with bated breath, fully aware that this would be the ultimate test of their protections, the carefully constructed defenses they had spent over a year on…
Lily frowned deeply.
"Well!" she muttered. "Well!"
James Potter and Sirius Black leaned in closer, hearts beating furiously in their chests…
Sirius stepped back almost immediately, stuffing his fist into his mouth to stop himself from laughing madly. James Potter frowned deeply, looking almost ready to leap out from cover and take the thing back himself.
Mr. Moony would like to say, in the nicest manner possible, that Miss Evans should be in bed at such an atrocious hour. She is, after all, Head Girl.
Lily's face was shocked and slightly humiliated, even as a second, different handwriting appeared on the page.
Mr. Padfoot would like to add that being a knock-out girl hardly makes up for being an insufferably nosy know-it-all.
She gasped out loud. "Why I never-"
Mr. Wormtail thinks that Evans should put this thing back where she found it and go back to her books.
Mr. Prongs very sincerely apologizes for the actions of his friends and offers that Lily Evans is astonishingly lovely and should she ever find herself free on Hogsmeade weekend, she should look him up.
Sirius was in danger of puncturing a lung, he just knew it.
"Hilarious," she snapped to herself. "Oh, I bet I know who came up with this insulting little parchment. Four names indeed…" Lily tapped her chin, irritatedly. "I wonder if I should go up and just ask them what this is all about."
James had stumbled back silently to clutch at Sirius' shoulder, mouth dropping open in panic. "We've got to get up there," he hissed, almost soundlessly.
Sirius was still laughing too hard to do a thing.
Lily was rising from her seat now, though, looking straight through them to the boys' dormitory they'd come from, lips curled downward in an unmistakable frown. "Maybe…"
James elbowed his friend, perhaps a bit harder than was necessary, pulling at him to come up the stairs. Sirius was still laughing, the git.
The red-headed girl chewed at her lip a little, looking down at the last line with a strange sort of smile tugging at her lips. "Hmm. Lovely, am I?"
Sirius gasped, trying desperately to muffle it against his hand.
And, surprise of all surprises, Lily Evans folded up the parchment, turning slightly pink, and put it in her pocket. "Suppose I shouldn't bother anyone… it's not all that important, just- just a bit of parchment…"
She walked up the stairs quietly, flushing a little, and just as the door to her dormitory closed, Sirius collapsed on the floor.
"Oh lord- you should've seen your expression- really, Prongs apologizing- I didn't know we made you capable of it! Did you put a failsafe into your personality or something? Wait for Evans to find the thing so you could ask her out?"
James kicked him in the ribs. "Oh come on!" he said irritatedly, pushing the cloak off of them. "It's not that funny."
At the black-haired boy's incredulous expression, though, he ran a hand through his already-messy hair and looked away involuntarily.
"Okay," he admitted. "So it sort of was. Man, do I really sound that stupid-"
Sirius was getting up now, brushing himself off, obviously trying to regain some semblance of seriousness. "Absolutely," he told him.
James was staring up the stairs at the dormitory, chewing on his bottom lip. "You think I ought to- you know- go back and get it?"
Sirius guffawed at him. "You're not serious! Go up to the girls' dormitory? What would you say? 'Oh yeah, hey Lily, that's my alternate personality you've got there. Sorry if he tried to make a move on you, it's just me'."
The other boy frowned at him. "No, smart-ass. I was going to suggest I go up with the invisibility cloak and steal it back."
The black-haired boy shrugged. "Fine by me, mate. I'm going to bed. I'm utterly wiped."
James watched him carefully as he walked up the stairs, making sure he really did go in the door and close it all the way. He wouldn't put it past his best friend to walk brazenly into the girls' dorms at two in the morning just to reveal him and get a good laugh. That was part of the problem with dear old Padfoot's ingenious ideas – they sometimes got turned against you.
"Fine," he muttered, pulling the cloak around him again. "Fine. I'm going, you crazy sod," he said, not entirely sure who he was talking to.
He walked carefully up the stairs, putting his hand tentatively to the door knob. Nothing had happened yet, but that didn't mean it wouldn't – who knew the kinds of wards Dumbledore had seen fit to outfit Hogwarts with in the last year? The man was brilliant, yes, but sometimes very odd as well.
The door opened with very little noise. James snuck in through the crack, closing it as he did so, making his way to the first bed he saw and sneaking a glance inside the curtains.
Eugh. Dansy Clarion in flowery pajamas. There was a sight he hadn't needed to see.
As he checked the next bed, James found himself already lamenting the fact that he didn't have his beloved map. If he had, the whole thing would have been so much easier…
"Figures the last bed I check," he murmured to himself as he slipped through a curtain to see an already peacefully slumbering Lily Evans. Eyes fluttering slightly with each breath- red hair falling across her face- lips slightly parted-
He swallowed and tried to pretend that he wasn't incredibly entranced by the sight. He had to find his map, damnit.
After looking about the bed for a few seconds, checking carefully beneath the pillow, looking on the floor beneath the bed frame and (hesitatingly) through the hastily discarded robes hanging from the post, he still hadn't found it. And James decided then that he had never been quite so edgy as he was at that very moment. Getting caught in the kitchens was one thing, but getting caught in the girls' dormitory was another thing entirely…
His eyes alighted then on her hand, resting just in front of her face…
It was clasping a neatly folded parchment.
James groaned. Worst possible place. Well, he thought as his face colored, not worst possible place, but he highly doubted Lily was the type to store things against her chest (as some of the other girls had begun to do with love letters they thought very highly of).
But he had to get his map back. Absolutely had to. Not just because it was the map, the thing they'd worked on so hard for years and years, but because Sirius was undoubtedly waiting for him to come back in, to ask him whether he'd actually dared to take it back. And James Potter had pride, damnit.
So he slipped his hand toward hers very, very cautiously and put his thumb and forefinger around the parchment, tugging lightly.
The girl shifted slightly in her sleep – her hand let go of the parchment, though, instead of tightening on it, for which he would be eternally grateful.
James pulled it under the cloak with a bit of wrangling and then proceeded to get the hell out of the one place he really shouldn't have been.
But he stopped in the common room before going up the stairs, some unknown curiosity stirring inside him as he opened the map…
Next Saturday, was written in tight, neat handwriting on the map. One o' clock, at the Shrieking Shack.
James stared at it, not daring to breathe, it might disappear-
What a lucky bastard you are, Prongs, came his own handwriting, somehow sour.
He knew he was grinning in an absolutely silly way. "I know."