Credit for use of characters, etc. goes to JK – all da' way!
All About Ceiling Tiles
Lily Evans stomped down the girls' dormitories staircase so loudly, not caring in the least that everyone might be woken up. Edging her way around the squashy armchairs and sofas, she went to the portrait hole in the far side of the circular Common Room, and stood there waiting with her arms folded across her chest. Her expression was mildly wary, but mostly irritated and angry. Dark circles were under her eyes, but she was resolute on catching him this time.
She waited for what seemed like ten minutes and then retired to the nearest armchair, realizing that this could take a while. She was hidden from the view of the portrait hole, but she could still see it. As she watch the flames of the fire on other side of the wall sizzle and crackle, she wondered to herself why she was intent on doing this. After all, it obviously not the first time that James Potter and his friends had snuck out after curfew to sneak about the Hogwarts castle in search of adventure, mischief, mayhem, and of course…food! They had done this hundreds, if not thousands, of times.
Still, Potter had just been given the title of Head Boy! Lily herself was Head Girl! Wasn't being Head Boy enough to keep him in line? Didn't he realize that he shouldn't sneak out like this now? Lily sometimes had doubted that James Potter, even at the age of 17, realized all the responsibilities and expectations that came with being Head Boy at school. This was definitely one of those times.
Lily sighed. She was just going to confront him and his friends. Of course, she had overheard them about sneaking out of the Common Room at dinner the night before, but she didn't want to believe it. She wanted so badly to believe that James Potter really had changed. She sighed, and speculated about what exactly she was going to say to James Potter.
It seemed like an hour passed as she waited in the Common Room, and she was feeling more and more light-headed and fatigued by the minute. Finally, she heard voices from outside.
A small voice had whispered, "Phoenix tears" – the Gryffindor password. The portrait door slowly swung open and the small thud of footsteps against the ground were heard. Lily couldn't see anybody coming in the hole, but she assumed that Potter would know exactly how to make himself invisible in order to sneak about. Then James Potter and Sirius Black appeared in front of Lily, as if coming out of thin air. James was holding a long, silvery piece of cloth beside him.
"Is that…an Invisibility Cloak?" Lily blurted out, before she could think of anything else to say. Way to go, she reprimanded her self.
James and Sirius jumped. Sirius yelped out like a frightened puppy, and James darted around trying to make out where the voice had come from. His hazel eyes landed about Lily, curled up on one of the nearby armchairs watching him and his friend intently. She didn't look happy.
James couldn't help but smirk. Instantly, Lily felt blood pounding in her ears as she fought the urge to tell him to wipe that stupid smile from his face.
"Well?" Lily added, with a hint of irritation. She got up slowly and walked towards the two boys with her arms crossed. Even with the difference in their heights, she seemed to give off a domineering feeling.
James smiled wider, and Sirius just had a bemused, arrogant sort of smirk on his face. (Obviously, being the best friend of the Head Boy gave him a lot of opportunity to mess about without getting into trouble.) James replied quickly, "Why, yes, Miss Evans. This happens to be an Invisibility Cloak. One of my most valued family heirlooms on my dad's side. And what, may I ask, brings you out to the Common Room so late at night?"
Lily's nostrils flared. "Oh, your father must be so proud, Potter. Using your cloak, to sneak around in Hogwarts at one in the morning!" she spat in a low, sarcastic voice.
James shrugged and smirked. "Well, he doesn't exactly know about this, if you know what I'm saying. And what he doesn't know will never hurt him." In a look of mock seriousness, he added, "You wouldn't dream of telling him, now would you, Lily?"
Lily sighed, exasperated. She raised her eyebrow at Sirius, who was at the moment slowly inching away from James and her, headed for the stairs that led to the boys' dormitories. She cleared her throat loudly. Sirius stopped, and put his hands slowly in the air. "Hello, Lily. Nice weather, we're having, no?"
Lily rolled her eyes. "I haven't even started with you, Black, so you stay there, until I'm quite done." She turned her gaze back at James. Slowly, she asked him, "What do you think I was doing here in the Common Room, so late?"
James gave her a blank stare. "Counting ceiling tiles?"
Lily looked at him incredulously and then paused. Slowly she replied in a I'm-talking-to-a-crazy-person sort of voice, "Noooo. There are no ceiling tiles to count here." She pointed up to the ceiling, which was flat, plain, and as solid at the walls.
James looked up, and blinked in shock. (False, surprise of course.) "I could've sworn there were ceiling tiles. Just the other day, I was looking up, and – hey, Padfoot, mate, weren't there ceiling tiles up on the ceiling just yesterday?" James looked to Sirius.
Curiously, Sirius looked up, and replied, "Well, I'll be damned, they were there just the other day!"
James looked at Lily with an assuring expression. "I'm telling, just the other day, Sirius and I saw some very decorative ceiling tiles in this very room. Peach colored, I think," he said, as if confirming that the earth did, in fact, revolve around the sun, and not vice-versa.
"Nah, they were coral," Sirius argued.
"Peach!" James said.
"Coral!" Sirius exclaimed.
"The ceiling tiles are definitely peach!" James said angrily.
Lily's green eyes were wide open in disbelief, moving to and from James' and Sirius' face. James and Sirius, on the other hand,stopped arguing. They looked at Lily, perfectly calm and cool; in fact, they looked a bit amused even.
"You're mad, the both of you!" she said through gritted teeth. "Completely barmy. I wasn't counting ceiling tiles, nor was I reading a book, or knitting a sweater, baking cookies, trying to turn my hair pink, or any of the other crazy things that you two knuckleheads might suggest. If it wasn't obvious already, let me inform you, James Potter, I was waiting for you and your crazy mate to come back to the Common Room. Just wondering when you're even going to show even the slightest consideration for rules or conduct. Or when you're going to realize that although you may be handsome, popular, wonderful, smart, talented, excellent at Quidditch, and Head Boy, maybe you should consider trying not to break about a million school rules at one go!" Seething, she had come all the way up to James and was looking up at him (as, unfortunately, she was far too petite to look straight ahead at him or down at him) with contempt and loathing unlike any other.
James said in delight and disbelief, "You just called me handsome, smart, and excellent all at once."
"And wonderful. Don't forget 'wonderful', mate," added, Sirius, coming up from behind him.
Lily instantly blushed, but looked even more furious. "Well, don't go looking as if I was as original enough to make all that up." She narrowed her eyes. "Your fan club has willingly and forcefully imprinted your most distinguishable features in the mind of every single student here! I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't on a Chocolate Frog card by next week!"
James almost frowned, but laughed istead. "That would be…odd and quite unexpected. But I don't know, Miss Evans, maybe I'd like it." He smirked as he asked, "Do you think you would collect my card?"
Before Lily could scowl, Sirius butted in, looking earnest. "What about me? Do you think, that I could end up in a Chocolate Frog?"
Lily, who was speechless for a moment, replied vehemently, "No!"
Sirius looked like a baby who just had his candy taken away from him.
Lily inhaled deeply. The anger and frustration of talking with the two boys were clearly evident as her face was as red as her dark hair. She looked at James and then at Sirius. "You two both need Healers. You are insane! Barmy! Off the wall! But apart from your lack of sanity, you both have yet again, displayed your usual disregard for rules. And for the millionth time, I am here asking for you to please stop! Ten points from Gryffindor!" As an afterthought she added, "I'm tired of taking house points from my own bloody House on a daily basis!"
James looked intently at her and asked in a soft, quiet voice, "Is that what you really want? Is that why you stayed up, to take points away from Gryffindor because we were sneaking out?"
Before she could stop herself, Lily exploded with all her pent up frustration and emotion that had accumulated for the Marauders, especially James Potter in the last seven years – especially this year, in which she was Head Girl. "Of course, it's what I want. You're always doing something out of hand, Potter! I mean, it is one thing to occasionally sneak out of the dorm after hours or for you and Sirius and the rest of your friends. I mean, I'm not completely uptight, I enjoy a joke just as much the next, right?" She asked this in rhetorical way.
James and Sirius were going to add some sarcastic comment but Lily cut them off.
She continued, arms flailing, and her feet pacing back and forth. Every now and then, she'd point at one of them. "And I do like jokes, don't you dare make that face." (At this point, both James and Sirius had to fight back laughter with such difficulty that their faces were redder than Lily's) "And everyone enjoys a good joke, I completely agree. But you lit Professor Flitwick on fire yesterday! On fire!" Lily was almost screaming at this point.
Sirius was about to explain how that was the fault of the sometimes dim-witted Peter Pettigrew, but James put up his hand to silence him, as he watched Lily with a look of pure fascination and admiration. Not many people stood up to the Maruaders, especially to James. But that never stopped Lily from yelling at him, and this was the angriest Lily that James had ever seen – Well, it was the second-angriest; she had looked her angriest in their Fifth year when James had bullied and mocked Severus Snape in front of a crowd of on-lookers.
Lily continued, "And you just don't know your limits, do you? You just keep on going, breaking rules and pranking people. I mean, if it weren't for Alice Lowell, you two would be in so much trouble and Professor Flitwick would have been badly burned! Luckily, Alice is quick-thinker, and put her out. But what if she hadn't been there! I couldn't believe that type of behavior came from you two, especially! You're both smart, you're excellent wizards, and look at what you do with your magical abilities! You abuse them, that's what you do!"
Sirius said, "Huh?"
"You think that it's so easy, magic. You think it's so funny to walk around with your wand and not have a care in the world! You don't know what it means! You don't even appreciate it! Everyday, at least one Slytherin walks by me, hissing 'Mudblood' in my direction. Everyday, I ignore that, because it really doesn't offend me now that I've heard it a hundred times. But the point is, I'll always be a lesser witch because I'm muggle-born, and that's why I want to prove how I can be a great witch!"
James opened his mouth to say that she already was, but Lily went on.
"No. Just listen. I want to prove that I'm just as able and worthy of being in the magical community as any other witch or wizard, pureblood or not. That means that I have to be better than most other witches and wizards – just to get noticed! And then, you, James Potter, come strutting in as Head Boy having more natural talent at magic and Quidditch than I could ever dream of. And you're a Pureblood wizard, with a spotless family name and background.You just…don't understand how easy it is for you."
Lily could feel tears of frustration in her eyes now, and all she could do was hope that James and Sirius hadn't noticed.
She continued, "And I know that your life isn't perfect and great. Yours, too, Sirius. And I realize, that James, your head has finally deflated, thank goodness. You actually treat me with respect and you've finally stopped asking me out. Hell, you don't even hex random people in the corridors anymore. And you treat Severus Snape with…er…mild tolerance. But my point is, sometimes, you walk into the room, and sometimes I just feel so out of place. Here you are, at the top of your class with me, and still you manage to throw parties for Gryffindor after Quidditch matches, sneaking food out of the kitchens. You are always up to some prank with your friends, even it harms no one. You are just so carefree and laid back. You don't even get into that much trouble. It's frustrating. I feel like an uptight, goodie-goodie around you and I just…don't understand why it infuriates me so much…that you can't abide by the rules…for, for just one night!"
Now she really was crying. She couldn't even look the two boys in the eyes. "And…that's all!" She turned on her heel to walk away but stopped herself.
James reached over and held her by the shoulder. "Oy, Lily. Wait. Let us say our piece now!"
She turned to look, half-expecting them to laugh or snigger at her, but instead James and Sirius looked completely…and ironically…serious.
Sirius began, "We…er…didn't mean to make you feel bad."
"Yeah, sorry," James said softly. "We never dreamed that it would make you feel so terrible." Lily shrugged weakly.
"We're not that mean, Lily. Hate to see you cry," Sirius added. "It's just that sometimes things get out of hand, like that thing with Flitwick. That was a complete accident. But we'll try not let that sort of stuff happen again."
James continued, "And we'll try to cut down on the…erm…rule breaking. We promise. But we can't change who we are. After all…" he paused. "We're Marauders."
Lily replied, "I know. And thank you for at least making an attempt."
Sirius said cheerfully, "Yeah, and I promise, we'll try not to, er, light any other teachers at Hogwarts on fire."
Lily bit her lip, trying to fight back a smile.
James grinned. "Yeah, and I'll try to take my Head duties a bit more seriously. But I can't stop our pranks. After all, we all need a few laughs sometimes." He added, looking mischievous, "And you can smile if you want to, which I know you want to. Go ahead, see. I see it coming! Come on, you can do it, Lily!"
Lily couldn't help it. She felt her grin spreading across her face, as she looked straight into his eyes. James stared back, and instead of wearing his usual smirk, he had a genuine, warm grin on his own handsome face.
Sirius coughed a few minutes later, trying to end this staring contest. "Hem hem." He smirked, as the two looked away rather quickly. "Right so…I'm off to bed. Lily, it was wonderful being yelled at by you. Good night. Prongs mate, don't forget your eyeballs when you come up." At this, James blushed furiously. Lily just looked at her shoes.
Leaving the two Heads in the Common Room, Sirius pranced dramatically up the stairs, making a great deal of noise.
James shrugged. "Sirius is so subtle, no? I don't know where he gets it from."
Lily laughed. "Yeah."
They stood there, in the awkward silence, when Lily just burst out, apprehensively. "I'm really sorry, for passing judgment on you and Siriusso hastily. I guess, I really don't know you, and I have no right to say some of those things."
James replied casually, "It's ok. I used to be like that, so I know where that came from."
Lily said rather quickly, "It would be really nice, I guess, if maybe, we could, be…or at least, we could try to be – "
"Friends" James finished.
Lily looked relieved. "Erm. Yeah." She held out her hand to shake and asked, "I'd really like to get to know the boy who took part in lighting our Charms professor on fire, and still managed to become Head Boy. Maybe there's something I don't see." James nodded.
James took her hand, almost following his impulse to kiss it. Instead, he restrained himself, and shook it, surprised at how strong her grip was. "Yeah. I think it'd be great if we actually got to know each other."
"Maybe it'll even stop me from yelling at you and Sirius so much," Lily added jokingly.
"I can only hope," James replied happily. "By the way, you underestimate yourself. I think you're the best witch in this whole school" he said, sincerely.
Lily felt her jaw drop and her cheeks redden. James only smiled and said in a mysterious tone, "Good night then, Lily. My friend."
"Night." Lily said half aware that he was already at the top of the stairs. As she tried to fall asleep that night, she couldn't help but think: He's really not that bad.
The next morning, Lily awoke early, because she heard a great deal of commotion coming from the Common Robe. Putting on her nightgown, she went to see what was going on. Instantaneously, she walked into a room of color, as different lights were flashing about the circular room giving the effect that she was walking into the middle of a disco. She saw that different boys and girls from her House, of different ages, were staring and pointing up at the ceiling. She looked up and let out a loud laugh.
The ceiling, which had been just a wide, round pane of plaster, had been enchanted into thousands of star-shaped ceiling tiles. Each of these tiles were arranged to flash different colors, which included purple, yellow, blue, green, orange, red, gold and most of all - coral and peach. In the middle of the ceiling, three sparkling silver words were glowing:
"Told You So."
So what did you think? I wrote this a while ago, but I finished it today. It's a lot of fun writing Sirius Black. I'm jealous of JK Rowling. She gets to write all these characters!
Anyway, this story is a one-shot, and it is a cross between serious and comedy…although, I find myself writing less funny stuff, and more serious stuff. If you think that some of this stuff wasn't funny, be sure to tell me. And also, thank you for reading, because, if you're here by now, there's a good chance that you read this entire thing!