Author's Notes: Had to. It's been floating around in my head and I had to get it down on paper. I hope it turned out all right. I've been having some serious writer's block for a long time – about a month, even – and things just haven't been working. I've started at least five one-shots like this and this is the first I've been able to finish, hurrah. I suppose it's vaguely inspired by I Feel Fine by the Riddlin' Kids. Catchy song, that one.

I wrote it in second person merely because it seemed to be the best way to accomplish what I was trying to accomplish.

Any readers of Silly Love Songs – I'm trying, really. I've had the document open countless times and not been able to add a sentence. I'm sorry. It'll come round, just maybe not by the end of 2004. Apologies.

I'm dedicating this to Katie because she wanted someone to write a fic for her. There you go, dear. 3

Reviews, s'il-vous plait?

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Going Stag

You have to wonder why Saint Valentine got a day, in the first place.

You don't mention that out loud, of course. It isn't because you're sure that if you say something Remus will have the answer like he usually does. He usually has the answer to all those rhetorical questions, and to a degree it's annoying because it's terribly effective at making you look stupid, but for once that isn't why.

You aren't worried Remus will answer the question and make you look stupid because Remus isn't around. He's got a date with a short blonde girl – they've been flirting inconspicuously for months, you realize – and given that it's Valentines and it's a Hogsmeade weekend, the couple has run off to go snog or something. No, no, you realize, knowing Remus, that isn't overly likely.

Or maybe it is.

Actually, the reason you keep the thought to yourself is because there is no one to share it with, anyway. It's Valentines and everyone and their brother is in Hogsmeade, but they're all in twos. It's not that big of a surprise that Sirius has a girl hanging off his arm, but it's a slight surprise that it's the same girl he had hanging off his arm three weeks ago. You wonder, briefly, if he's running out of girls to date or ways to hide the fact that he's just a bit of a manwhore.

Then you wonder if, perhaps, it's because he sees something in this girl he hasn't seen in the others.

Lily's got a date, too. She's off with that Matt fellow. He's a seventh year, one year ahead of you, and you try to tell yourself that you hate him for more reasons than just that one, but the attempt is in vain. As they amble past you, snickering and whispering amongst themselves, you long partly to run over there and shove him out of the way and partly to slip just a little bit further into the shadows cast by Zonko's. She catches your eye, for the briefest of seconds, and those gorgeous green eyes narrow just a bit.

You'd asked her to be your Valentine, of course, and she'd said no, of course. It was the Way of Life.

Through Honeydukes' windowpanes you can see Peter and the girl he's with. You smile – out of duty, mostly, but not entirely – and think momentarily that it's good he's found someone to drag around town. He's liked Alice for ages and it would seem the feeling is mutual. Peter's awkward; he's not used to women besides his mother and when she leans over to peck him on the cheek you swear his face flushes three shades redder. Even though there are thick windows separating them from you, you can hear – without actually hearing – Peter's stammering response.

A change in course takes you to The Three Broomsticks, something you feel a pang of regret for a second after the tinkling little bell announces your arrival. The tables are filled with dates and double-dates and you nearly have a heart attack when you spot Severus Snape and some girl in the back corner. They don't seem to be saying much of anything, and when you take a couple steps closer you realize that it's the creepiest girl in Slytherin. It seems fitting, really, the creepiest girl and guy in Slytherin, and your hand slips into your pocket. You might as well pay them a visit.

You pause mid-stride, however, when the realization dawns on you. Severus Snape has gotten a date. Snape's got a girl and you haven't.

What's wrong with this picture? He is Severus Snape the greasy, loathed, conniving, creepy, Dark-Arts-loving Slytherin. You're James Potter, Gryffindor Quidditch star and captain, top troublemaker, head of the class academically… How on Earth…?

Your hand moves away from the wand in your pocket, closes around some coins as you stride toward the bar to order and you instruct yourself to ignore Snape's presence entirely. It only adds insult to injury.

"Hello, James," comes the voice of Rosmerta, jerking you from your daze. "What might I get you?"

You flash her a brief smile and slide some of the coins onto the countertop. "Just a butterbeer, Rosie."

She crinkles her nose at the nickname – the nickname Sirius had invented during the span of time when he'd been trying to shag her, nonetheless – and takes the coins as she moves back to fill the order. "Just one? Nothing for her?"

"I wasn't aware there was a her," you reply with a bit of an eyebrow raise. You reach out to take the drink and stare at her for a moment as the slightest look of confusion crosses her face.

"Haven't you got a valentine?"

You shake your head, wondering if her slightly shocked look is good or bad. "Nope. Going stag."

And you grin, kind of masochistically, as you take the butterbeer back toward an empty table. You grin, because she can't see the irony and you can see more irony than anyone else realizes.

You sit there, alone at a table and surrounded by loads of couples being disgusting in every way, and you can't help but feel that pang of loneliness and jealousy. Occasionally, one of the couples will stop being self-absorbed long enough to send a quizzical glance in the direction at the top of Hogwarts' food chain sitting alone at a table, at which point they whisper amongst themselves for a second. You flash them a slight smirk, to affirm your position, and take a sip of butterbeer.

It may agitate you that Lily refuses to say yes, that she's seeing someone, that Sirius has a reasonably meaningful relationship now, that Remus is totally smitten, and that even Peter, and worse, even Snape have their counterparts, but there's still that reputation to keep. If anyone asks, it was your decision. If anyone asks, Valentines is a stupid holiday. If anyone asks, you're perfectly content to go people-watching and laugh at the lovey-dovey couples, the held hands and the subtle smiles and the quick pecks. If anyone asks, it doesn't bother you in the slightest that everyone's found that 'special someone' except for you. If anyone asks, you're independent and glad to be free of the hassle that a girl brings. If anyone asks, it's what you want. If anyone asks, you feel fine.

If anyone asks, you're going stag.