Chapter 43: A Prank and a Broom Closet

"Ughhh! Just leave me alone!"

"Erica, common! Open the door!" Remus Lupin loudly trounced upon the girls' dormitory door after dinner, fidgeting with the door handle in exasperation, "You know I didn't mean to kiss Lily...Erica!"

"Step aside Remus; I'll take care of this." Roxanne brushed Remus away, offering a half-hearted smile and slipping into the room.

"Tell her I'm sorry, ok?" Remus pleaded, contorting his neck in an uncomfortable position to get a glance of Erica when Roxanne opened the door, "Tell her—"

"I've got it Remus! Go!" Roxanne insisted, her brunette locks flipping over her shoulder when she turned, closing the door on a distraught Remus.

Hunched over in defeat, Remus slid down the girls' dormitory stairs and dove face-first into the plushy red couch in the common room, Lily hanging limply over the arm of a chair nearby and Sirius lying on his back before the fire. It was quiet, only the sound of the crackling fire reverberating in the room, for everyone was still down at dinner; probably having a good laugh.

"She won't talk to me." Remus murmured into the fabric, unmoving on the couch.

"She'll come around by the morning," Sirius replied nonchalantly, seemingly deep in thought as he scribbled on a small piece of parchment, his nose scrunched in concentration.

"Fucking Malfoy," Remus cursed, clenching his fists and grunting into the couch, "I could kill him right now."

"Kill? That's no fun Remy, m'boy." Sirius smirked, stashing the letter in his pocket and manoeuvring into a sitting position, "We can do much better than that; we're Marauders, aren't we?"

"What are you proposing we do?" Remus removed his face from the couch and looked at Sirius curiously, his eyes scrutinizing Sirius' mischievous glow.

"I'm proposing we get back at Malfoy Marauder style." Sirius grinned, crawling toward the coffee table by the couch and inclining Remus and Lily, who was staring up at the ceiling emotionlessly, over, "But we need to move quickly."

"We don't usually operate without James—" Remus began uneasily.

"We'll have Lillykins replace him for tonight; after all, she has as much incentive to get back at Malfoy as you do." Sirius announced proudly, turning to a detached Lily, "Evans, get your tiny behind over here so we can plan our prank against Malfoy!"

"Prank?" Lily turned to the two boys crouched on the floor, having snapped out of her stupor, "I'm a prefect, Sirius, I couldn't possibly—"

"Do you want to get back at Malfoy or not?" Remus demanded tiredly, wrinkles creasing his forward when he frowned at the redhead.

"I—yes." Lily breathed angrily, flopping off her chair and over to Sirius and Remus with a new determination, "What shall we do?"

"Do you, Ms. Evans, solemnly swear that tonight you will be up to no good?" Sirius asked acutely, the fire reflecting in his dark russet eyes as he spread a blank, tattered piece of parchment over the coffee table.

"Yes, I do." Lily did not flinch, recognizing the enchanted map James had once showed her.

"Welcome to the group, Lily Evans."

6:30- 30 minutes and counting

"Careful you don't drop that bucket of slugs!" Lily hissed at Remus, a backpack slung over her shoulder as she, Remus and Sirius headed down to the dungeons under James' invisibility cloak; their feet showed ever so often, Remus and Sirius being quite tall.

"I'd like to see you try and carry this!" Remus whispered back in annoyance, grunting when Sirius stepped on his foot, "Oi! Watch out!"

"Shut up, I think someone's coming!" Sirius ordered, the three pressing themselves against the stone wall when the Bloody Barron, a severely frightening ghost dressed in blood-stained, medieval attire, floating by suspiciously.

"How much further until the Slytherin common room?" Lily whispered curiously, anxiety bubbling in her stomach as the three continued through the labyrinth of corridors in the dungeons.

"We're here."

Lily looked around. A blank, damp wall lay before them in the shadowed corridor, the nearby torches barely lighting the grimly stones. There were no portraits or tapestries, just the suit of armour Sirius had previously mentioned.

Remus wrenched the cloak off of the three mischievous sixth years and pocketed it, requiring it for later. Without a word, Sirius pulled a dungbomb from his bag of tricks and placed it in the right hand of the suit of armour, clamping the fingers over it carefully and whispering into the metal guard's helmet.

"He's agreed. Let's hurry." Sirius murmured, smiling at the excitable look on Lily's face, "Shall we?"

"Pureblood." Remus announced to the stone wall, a concealed door immediately sliding open and admitting in the three students.

"Wow." Lily breathed, stepping through the archway and taking in the Slytherin Common Room.

The room was very large and long, having course stone walls and a low-lying ceiling. Green lamps, attached to the ceiling with chains, lit the dreary room and a finely-carved mantle flanked the simmering fire. The furniture was emerald green and black, the couch upholstered in silky velvet and the armchairs in smooth leather. Carved chairs and tables cluttered the space, and around the border of the room was a stone snake with a protruding tongue. In Lily's opinion, it was cold and uncomfortable; nothing like the Gryffindor Common Room.

As Lily and Remus made their way toward the boys' dormitories, Sirius quickly extracted a piece of parchment from his pants' pocket and tacked it onto the Slytherin events bulletin board, it reading:

7 o'clock meeting in the common room. All students not in attendance will be reprimanded.

-Professor Slughorn

"See you two in ten. Don't forget the cloak." Sirius quietly called to Lily and Remus, who nodded, and slinked into an alcove covered by a tapestry near the entrance of the common room.

"The coast is clear. Let's hurry." Remus whispered to Lily, the two climbing the stairs to the dormitories and making their way down the corridors in search of Malfoy's room.

"It's here." Lily stopped in front of a dark mahogany door, the initials LM imprinted on the wood along with those of his roommates'.

Remus silently opened the door and peaked in; it was empty. Ushering Lily inside, Remus closed the door and locked it with the Colloportus spell. Lily observed the room with interest; it was impeccably clean, the walls devoid of Quidditch posters or pictures of famous witches, and barren.

"This room doesn't even look lived in," Lily commented shrewdly, grimacing at the lack of warmth and the sheer cleanliness of the place.

"What'd you say we mess it up a bit?" Remus suggested lightly, opening Malfoy's unlocked trunk and dumping a small container of Flobberworms he's stashed away in his bag in with his clothing, textbooks and materials, "They'll eat holes in all of his clothing."

"That's disgusting!" Lily snickered, excitement giving her an adrenaline rush, "Let's head to the bathroom."

Like the bedroom, the bathroom was incredibly hygienic and cold, the mirrors cleaned to perfection and the tiled floor spotless. Lily took her bag off her back and pulled out a few interesting items; a bottle of powdered shrinking solution, a bottle of exploding solution, and a bar of frogspawn soap.

"Quick, unscrew that shampoo bottle so I can get these slippery buggers in," Remus said, referring to the bucket of flesh-eating slugs he'd appropriated from the garden near Hagrid's hut.

"Are you sure they won't hurt him?" Lily inquired uneasily, extracting a shampoo bottle from the shower, clearing it out, and putting the rest of the bottles away in the cabinet above the mirror, "I mean, they are flesh-eaters..."

"I made sure to only pick infant ones; they'll gnaw more than bite," Remus assured Lily, smirking, "not that I'd care."

Via a funnel, Remus managed to get the slugs into the shampoo bottle. Lily poured three droplets of exploding solution in with the nasty creatures and immediately closed the lid of the bottle, putting it back in the shower, along with the bar of frogspawn soap.

"Shrinking solution and we're down," Lily said, Remus leaving all but one towel in the bathroom and Lily carefully sprinkling the powder in the middle of it.

Remus vigilantly handled the towel and hung it on the rack near the bathroom door.

"Now we wait," Remus said, throwing the invisibility cloak over himself and Lily and waiting by the door, "This should be good."

Down in the Slytherin Common Room, students dressed in green robes filed through the entrance, Sirius hiding nearby.

6:45- Ten minutes and counting...

"Serves those two mudbloods right," Narcissa Black, a 6th year Slytherin with beautiful blonde hair and silver eyes spat, holding hands with her boyfriend, Lucius Malfoy, "I've never seen a more disgusting display at Hogwarts. This place is filled to the brim with muggle-lovers!"

"It's that fool Dumbledore's fault," Rodolphus Lestrange agreed, walking behind Narcissa and Lucius along with Walden Macnair and Evan Rosier, "He'd accept a flobberworm if it showed magical potential."

"Quite bitter, aren't you, Lestrange?" Lucius commented lightly, a triumphant smirk curved on his face, "If it weren't for the blood traitors and muggle trash, how would we have fun?"

"Lucius speaks true; that one muggle, Evans...she is pleasing to look at," Evan Rosier added, Rodolphus barking in acknowledgement, "Pity Lupin didn't manage to get her shirt off."

"You would touch that muggle filth?" Narcissa demanded indignantly, turning toward the animalistic men in utter disgust, "Are you aware she's dating James Potter?"

"She's a pretty thing, but worthless. Use her for my own purposes and throw her away, that's what I'd do," Rodolphus Lestrange continued, Macnair and Rosier smirking in agreement, "and it doesn't surprise me that a muggle-lover like Potter would date her, despite his pureblood heritage. Look at his minister father!"

"I wonder how he'll react when he finds out his precious girlfriend and his half-breed friend fondled one another in front of the school?" Rosier tittered, evilly grinning, "If only he was there to witness it!"

"If I'm lucky, and I usually am, he'll lash out irrationally and get himself suspended again," Lucius said smoothly, coming upon the entrance to the Slytherin common rooms, "Perhaps Black will get in on it too; would that please you, Narcissa?"

"Sirius is a blood-traitor; I care not what happens to him. He was burned off the family tree by his mother when he ran away from home to the Potters," Narcissa explained icily, flipping her hair over her shoulder and grimacing, "He's a disgrace to the Black name."

"I expected as much. Regulus will continue the Black name; he's already displaying great...potential," Lucius replied, fidgeting with the sleeve over his left wrist, "But enough of this, Pure—"

Narcissa screamed and Lucius baulked; brown, smelly liquid dripped from their hair and robes, pooling in puddles around their feet. Rosier, Lestrange and Macnair moved away from the two blonde-haired Slytherins, the stench overwhelming.

"Lucius! My hair, my robes!" Narcissa shrieked in despair, helplessly looking to her boyfriend for direction.

"I know Narcissa. Rodolphus, who threw the dungbomb?" Lucius demanded in outrage, his hair falling in clumps over his face and his emerald uniform damp, "This better not be some sad revenge attempt from Lupin and Black."

"I didn't see anyone throw it," Macnair stated firmly, covering his mouth and nose with his robes, "You two better head to the showers; we'll meet you in the common room and figure out who's behind this."

"Pathetic!" Lucius roared, whipping past Narcissa without a word and marching toward his room, Slytherins inside the common room recoiling due to the smell, "Out of my way!"

Lucius burst into his room and slammed the door shut, ripping off his robes on the way to the bathroom and turning on the shower. Once the bathroom door was closed, Remus and Lily, who were cowering in a corner, took off the invisibility cloak.

"Quick, grab his wand!" Lily hissed, still partially covered by the cloak.

Remus broke away from Lily and ruffled through Lucius' soiled robes, extracting a long, regal wand with a snake handle. Remus pocketed the wand, grinned, and concealed himself under the cloak again, he and Lily making their way down the boys' staircase to Sirius' hiding spot. It was difficult to manoeuvre; the common room was filled to the brim with students awaiting Professor Slughorn.

Sirius, who remained motionless in an alcove concealed by a tapestry, flinched when he felt Remus and Lily's invisible bodies beside him. Pocketing the cloak again, Remus and Lily nodded to Sirius, affirming that they had carried out their part of the plan.

"The notice on the board worked; almost all the Slytherins are here." Sirius whispered, a large grin consuming most of his face, "I could smell Malfoy coming in. My brat of a cousin got hit as well!"

"Narcissa?" Remus scoffed, suppressing laughter, "I bet she flipped."

"Would you two shut up?" Lily giggled, peeking behind the curtain, "I think the show is about to start. Remus, take out the camera. Sirius, wand at the ready!"

"Look how prepared Lillykins is!" Sirius mocked comically, flashing his pearly whites, "Enjoying the 'mischievous life of a marauder' more than you thought, aren't you?"

"Be sure to tell James I'm filling his role well." Lily whispered, smiling despite herself.

"Who knows, Lily? Maybe you'll be able to tell him yourself." Sirius deviously winked, causing Lily to cock an eyebrow.


"Look! It's Malfoy!" alerted Remus excitably.

Just on time, 7 o'clock chimed on the majestic grandfather clock nestled in the corner of the common room.

A high-pitched scream resounded in the Slytherin Common Room, alarming the students awaiting Professor Slughorn and causing them to turn toward the boys' staircase. On cue, a towel-clad figure bawled down the stairs into the crowd, his blonde hair askew and miniscule, though plump, flesh-eating slugs dotting his chest, shoulders and head. The crowd of petrified Slytherins gawked and moved away from the crazed boy, who was shouting orders out to his friends.


"Lucius?" Narcissa Black, who was freshly showered, yelped, staring helplessly at her boyfriend, who had a towel wrapped around his lower waist and leech-like creatures all over his sopping wet body, "LUCIUS? My darling!"

"GET THEM OFF! THEY'RE—AH—BITING ME!" Lucius screamed, the Slytherins surrounding him regarding him as if he were a madman, not the most respected student in the House.

"Now!" Remus and Lily hissed simultaneously, pulling back the curtain while the students were distracted.

"ACCIO TOWEL!" Sirius Black commanded, the towel covering Lucius immediately ripped from his body and into Sirius' hands; Remus popped out from behind the curtain and snapped a photo, he and Sirius then diving back behind it.

Lucius stood motionless, forgetting the flesh-eating slugs that were attacking his skin. He turned bright red, a color he only retained when angry, in embarrassment and instantaneously covered his shrunken assets with his hands.

"O MY GOD!" a second- year squealed in horror, covering her eyes as if she'd been burned.

"LOOK AT THE SIZE OF IT!" a seventh- year boy howled, doubling over with the rest of his friends, "SMALLER THAN AN INFANT'S!"

"THAT'S DISGUSTING!" another seventh year girl yelled rudely, her and her older friends backing up and snickering at the disturbing sight.


Lucius, loudly cursing over the incessant laughter, ran back up the stairs to his room, bare buttocks exposed. Macnair, Lestrange, and Rosier awkwardly followed, somewhat embarrassed to be associated with Malfoy. Narcissa had fainted; her friends were attempting to awaken her by lightly shaking her.

Lily, Sirius and Remus saw their chance; they slipped by the hysterical crowd and out of the common room, stumbling into the dungeon corridor, short of breath; Remus chucked Lucuis' wand behind him callously. They ran out of the dungeons, not wanting to be caught by Mr. Filch or the Bloody Baron, and into the now dark and empty Great Hall.

The house elves had finished cleaning up ten minutes ago, the tables having been cleared and the benches being devoid of people. The enchanted ceiling was free of clouds, the stars astonishingly visible against the navy-blue sky.

Firmly shutting the large oak doors behind them, Sirius pulled off the invisibility cloak and collapsed onto the ground, along with Remus and Lily, laughing manically.

"O Merlin, I almost wet myself!" Sirius barked loudly, tears of mirth streaming down the sides of his face, "Malfoy's face and his—o Merlin!"

"Shrinking solution on the towel—genius!" Remus continued boisterously, his body shaking uncontrollably against the cold floor, "Flawless, just a flawless plan! And we've got pictures to prove it!"

"Did you see the way the slugs reacted to the frogspawn soap?" Lily demanded, barely able to speak because of her bout of giggles, "They became ravenous! And he can't change because there are flobberworms eating away at all his clothes!"

"What I would have paid to see that bottle of slugs explode all over him!" Sirius howled, banging on the ground like a madman, "My cousin, my cousin fainted! HAHA!"

"Just brilliant!" Remus proclaimed, catching his breath as he leaned upright against the Hufflepuff table, "Merlin, I wish James could've seen it!"

"Who said I didn't see it, Remus?"

The three friends froze, realizing they weren't alone in the Great Hall. Lily's breath caught in the back of her throat when Sirius ignited the end of his wand and pointed it toward the speaker, who was nonchalantly lounging atop the Hufflepuff table; James Potter.

There he was, dressed in simple, masculine muggle clothing, his eyes glittering magically behind his wire spectacles. He idly twirled his wand in his hand, as if he'd never been gone. Lily could hardly believe it; was he real?

"You're early, mate!" Sirius grinned from ear to ear, his explosive laughter echoing in the Great Hall, "I wasn't expecting you for another couple of hours!"

"W-What? You were expecting James and you didn't bother to tell me?" Lily shrieked indignantly, the shock melting off her face when she turned away from James and glared at Sirius, who sheepishly smiled back.

"It was supposed to be a surprise!" Sirius retorted happily, "So...surprise!"

"Why did you come early, Prongs?" Remus beamed up at his friend from his spot on the floor.

"When I got Sirius' little note I decided I couldn't miss such a juicy prank," James said to Remus, though his warm eyes were trained on Lily and only Lily, "Did you miss me, Lils?"

Lily felt her heart brutally pounding against her chest—a feeling that had been absent since James' initial departure. She felt like jumping on him and screaming, perhaps squeezing the life out of him to be sure he was real, kissing his face off...but she held back, remembering Sirius and Remus were in the room and that they weren't open about their official relationship yet.

"Not really. It was a welcome break." Lily drawled, her face proving contrary, displaying utter joy, "Besides, Sirius and Remus here have kept me busy."

James, who, if possible, had become more handsome in a month, got up off the Hufflepuff table and closed the distance between he and Lily, roguishly grabbing her around the waist, closing his eyes, and crushing his lips against hers; he wasn't afraid to display his affection for the girl in front of his friends.

"Well apparently he missed you!" Sirius whooped, exchanging an animated look with Remus as he watched his best friend take charge, "When do Remus and I get our hello kisses? Do I have time to go and grab a breath mint?"

"You're a prat," James murmured between kisses to Sirius, smiling when he pulled away from a breathless and flustered Lily.

"J-J-James!" Lily mustered, blushing profusely due to Sirius and Remus' teasing, ecstatic expressions and her and James' close proximity, "Would you two stop smiling already!"

"Finally you two idiots have come out about your relationship; took you long enough!" Remus grinned stupidly, James mirroring his ridiculous expression, though it was hard to see in the dark, "So no, I won't!"

"I've already called godfather to your children," Sirius said matter-o-factly, crossing his arms proudly, "You should name you're first son Sirius, I think...or at least the middle name, or—"

"If you two don't shut up she might break up with me." James scorned sensibly, squeezing Lily's hand and turning to her, "You wouldn't do that to me, would you?"

"If dating you means putting up with these two every day, I just might." Lily calmly joked, smirking at Sirius and Remus' appalled faces.

"Girls in this school would die to be around us, I'll have you know! You should be honoured and flattered that we even let you be in our presence every day!" Sirius stressed, Remus nodding his head in fierce agreement; they both broke into silly grins.

"You two are full of it." Lily giggled, feeling James' eyes on her and looking up, "I still can't believe you're here…what'd you say we head up to the common room? It's getting cold in here—not to mention creepy."

"Let's go," James agreed, snapping up Lily's hand and following his two best friends out into the main foyer and up the enchanted stairs, "Merlin, it's good to be back."

Lily was asleep on the common room couch, the fire in the grate slowly dying as the hours ticked by. The Marauders had headed off to their dormitory to catch-up—which Lily had insisted upon, James reluctant to leave her—and Lily had fallen asleep waiting for James to return. It was quiet, almost eerie, all the Gryffindor students having retired for bed.

There was a mirror, dusty and dark, mounted on the wall across from her. She reached out to touch it...whispering something under her breath...but she felt nothing; just a handful of air. Where was her reflection? She stumbled forward, falling through the hole in the wall...

I can't...I can't...I don't know how...I need help...I can't breathe! I...where are you? I going to get to you, don't worry, I'm coming, but I—I can't see...

Open the door with these...

Lily cried out, startling herself awake and finding she had projected herself forward into the arms of a warm body. Her eyes momentarily remained closed, cold sweat beading on her forehead. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes, finding James beside her on the couch, silently staring down at her, his chocolate orbs clouded with worry and his arms wrapped firmly around her.

"What was it? A nightmare?" James whispered softly, the fire casting dancing shadows on his face as his eyes locked with Lily's confused, almost fearful ones.

"I don't know; a vision, maybe," Lily sighed wearily, taking comfort in James' embrace and burying her head in his shoulder, "I have to show you something."

Lily gently broke away from James and extracted a small, flawless stone from her pocket, placing it in the palm of his hand, "The Aqua stone. I retrieved it only a few days ago at the mermaid palace...Kanool seemed to be expecting me...he called me daughter and brought me straight to the stone."

"Where did you go…?"


"Atlantis…that was on the map we found up in the tower, remember?" James whispered, his eyes clouded in thought and worry, "It's…real?"

"It's all real, James."

James' eyes flashed in disbelief as he turned the stone over in his hand, appearing distressed as he looked back up at Lily, "This is why Sirius and Remus found you by the lake...they told me you'd almost drowned and you weren't speaking to them. They didn't know what was happening to you...I was worried out of my mind, Lily. After that letter...I begged Dumbledore to let me back early, but I didn't tell him why. don't know how relieved I am."

"What could I tell them, James?" Lily whispered, gulping back tears of frustration and emotion, "I could tell they thought I was depressed because you were gone, and because of Derek...I've just spent so much time on finding the stones and the key chamber...I was lonely."

"I'm sorry I wasn't there for you," James bore into Lily; his eyes looked intense, even conflicted, "First that fucker Derek Mitchell, now these stones..."

"I don't think you know how much you've already helped me," Lily whispered softly, depositing the stone on the table and gently running a hand through James' hair, "It scares me how much I missed you; just having you here to talk to makes me feel better."

"I sorry I didn't write more often. My sister and I were in Belgium with my grandfather, he's quite ill with dragon pox," James asserted, lying down on the red couch and pulling Lily comfortably on top of him, her chin resting on his chest.

"Will he be alright?" Lily scrunched up her nose, her eyes shining with worry.

"There's no cure for dragon pox...he'll be with us a bit longer," James said bravely, looking away momentarily, "There's nothing that can be done, and I accept that. Hopefully I'll see him on Christmas break—but enough of that, tell me about the stone."

"It's strange actually..." Lily began, resting her head on James' chest, "It all started when I got a note from you, telling me to meet you down by the lake."

"What?" James sat up, looking confused, "I never sent you a note."

"I gathered as much," Lily rolled her eyes, then frowned, "I have my suspicions somebody else knows about the stones and is trying to guide me."

"Someone pretending to be me..." James muttered, restlessly running his hands through his hair, "We don't know who is sending you notes, therefore we can't trust them. It's too dangerous. From now on if I ever send you a letter, I'll sign as 'Prongs', ok?"

"Ok," Lily sighed, rubbing her eyes despairingly, "I'll tell you the rest of the details tomorrow; I'm tired."

"Then sleep. I want to stay with you a little longer." James agreed, innocently smiling at Lily, who looked unconvinced, "Just sleeping. I swear."

"You better behave yourself, Mr. Potter." Lily yawned, finding a comfortable position beside James and letting him wrap his arms around her, "Wake me in an hour so I can go up to my dorm, ok?"

James, resting his chin on the top of Lily's head, mumbled an incoherent "yes" and closed his eyes, drowning in the smell of Lily's hair and letting the warmth of her body sooth him.

The second stone…it affirmed Lily's task; everything was beginning to piece together—the map, the stones, the four founders of Hogwarts. For the first time in awhile, James was scared—not for himself, but for Lily.

"James Potter is back!"

"I heard a rumour Dumbledore let him come back because he's secretly cheering for the Gryffindor Quidditch team..."

"Are he and Evans official?"

"If they are I am going to cry myself to sleep every night until they break up!"

"She's such a lucky bitch!"

"I think he's gotten better-looking since I saw him last..."

"Well I think they're cute together!"

Lily, feeling groggy, sat up and opened her eyes, the noise level around her seeming louder than normal; however, instead of waking up in her warm bed and seeing the slumbering figures of Roxanne and Erica, a group of giggling fourth and fifth year girls met her tired stare.

"W-What?" Lily stuttered stupidly, looking around and realizing she and James had slept on the couch overnight, "James, wake up!"

"Ten more minutes," he muttered tiredly, refusing to open his eyes and pulling an embarrassed Lily back down to his level.

"Seriously James, wake up!" Lily shook him roughly, trapped between the couch and his body, absolutely mortified that she and James were caught sleeping together in the common room; more Gryffindors walked over, some of them James' team mates.

"Only if you kiss me," James demanded seductively, slightly sitting up, eyes still closed, and trailing kisses down Lily's neck.

"James!" Lily hissed, struggling against his strong arms.

"What?" James moaned in annoyance, opening his eyes and allowing Lily to sit up; he looked surprised and unimpressed to see they had an audience, "What are you lot of perverts doing staring at us? Scram before Lily takes away house points!"

James' fan club immediately scurried away and out the portrait hole, some giggling and commenting on how attractive James looked in the morning, others horrified James believed them to be perverts. Lily visibly relaxed when the common room cleared out.

"I can't believe we feel asleep down here, what will people think?" Lily panicked, fixing her messy hair into a ponytail and untangling herself from James, "What was I thinking—?"

"You were thinking, 'Merlin, I'd love to spend the night my good-looking boyfriend!' That's what you were thinking," James stretched lazily, rolling his eyes at Lily's flustered look.

"You're not that good-looking." Lily muttered in exasperation, attempting to fix the front of her shirt, which had mysteriously unbuttoned itself, "Good Lord, look at the time! I need to shower before classes."

"Mind if I shower with you?" James asked innocently, running his hands along her back and the hem of her pants, grinning because of her stubborn glare.

"I think you've caused enough trouble this morning." Lily announced, getting up off James, who tried to pull her back down and failed, and heading toward the girls' staircase.

"I'm a Marauder, it's what I do!" James protested, jumping up off the couch after Lily and grabbing her hand before she ascended, "You owe me a kiss, Ms. Evans."

"Go get changed and meet your friends for breakfast." Lily ordered, not unkindly, "I'll see you in Potions."

"Kiss?" James asked hopefully, leaning forward and planting his hands on her smooth waist.

"Nope." Lily winked teasingly, wiggling out of James' grasp and running up the stairs, "See you in Potions!"

"Bitch!" James playfully yelled after her, attempting to follow her but forgetting about the charm on the girls' staircase.

Relenting, James bounded toward his dormitory in need of a cold shower, sexual frustration nearly driving him to madness.

"My girlfriend is such a witch." James moaned, tiredly plunking down next to Sirius for breakfast fifteen minutes later, his head resting on the Gryffindor table.

"I think that might've been why she was asked to attend Hogwarts," Sirius replied cleverly, immensely glad to have him back, "Potatoes?"

"James?" Roxanne Dewey nearly spit out her toast, looking up from her copy of the Daily Prophet at the messy-haired boy in disbelief, "When did you get here?!?"

"Oh, hi Roxanne," James smiled tiredly, his eyes threatening to shut, "Just last night—and no potatoes, thanks."

"So what's she done?" Remus inquired casually, yawning from across the table and shovelling pancakes onto his plate.

"She's being a stubborn little—er, well, I'd rather not talk about it amongst present company," James stopped awkwardly, realizing that venting about his sexual frustration in front of his girlfriend's best mate wasn't the smartest idea.

"Girlfriend? What girlfriend?" Roxanne immediately piped up, swallowing hard—had James gotten a girlfriend in the little time he was gone?

"You're daft." Sirius announced, smirking at the clueless girl.

"No I'm not!" Roxanne lamely retorted, narrowing her eyes at the handsome Marauder, "How am I supposed to know James went and landed himself a girlfriend while he was gone?"

"You may know her." James mused foolishly, laughing when Sirius snorted loudly, "She's tall, long red hair, green eyes, almost as good-looking as me...complete bitch though."

"I... don't believe you." Roxanne's eyes went wide with the possibility of James and Lily being an official couple, "I mean, you didn't ask her, did you?"

"Before I was suspended," James smirked at Roxanne's abashed look, "We figured we wouldn't mention it until I returned."

"You're kidding!" Roxanne yelped, her mouth open wide, "I can't believe she didn't tell me! I've got to tell Erica, I've—"

"Oi! Potter!" the tall and broad Gryffindor Quidditch captain, Gerald Smith, interrupted, clapping James hard on the back, almost making him spit out his eggs, "I'll be scheduling an emergency Quidditch meeting now that you're back. Oh, and I heard about you and Evans in the common room last night! Good on you!"

"You've got it wrong, Smith—" James began in an aggravated tone.

"What did you hear?" Roxanne cut in harshly, directing her question at the startled Quidditch captain, "Tell me."

"Just that—er—that Potter and Evans got a little—erfrisky last night in the common room—" Smith began awkwardly, wincing because of the death glare Roxanne had bestowed upon him, "I'm going to go—"

"JAMES POTTER! YOU HAVE BEEN HOME FROM ONE NIGHT AND YOU'VE ALREADY SEDUCED MY BEST FRIEND?" Roxanne shrieked in outrage, Gryffindors sitting near the Marauders turning their heads toward them in interest, "I CAN'T BELIEVE—"

"Silencio!" Sirius Black swiftly pointed his wand at Roxanne's throat and quieted her, shaking his head at the girl, "Do you need to announce it to the whole Great Hall, you loudmouth?"

Roxanne was practically spitting fire at Sirius, her mouth moving but no words coming out. She violently gestured for him to lift the spell, but he shook his head.

"Not until you hear James out—not that it's any of your business." Sirius calmly replied, stuffing a piece of toast in his mouth and looking away from Roxanne, "James?"

"We fell asleep on the couch together last night, that's all." James insisted, though somewhat despondently, "We both awoke to half of Gryffindor tower staring at us."

"Welcome home, Romeo," Sirius smacked James on the back, grinning, "You've already got Hogwarts gossiping about you. You'll give Remus and me a nice break; we were tiring of all the attention."

Remus snorted loudly and Roxanne smacked down on the table angrily, gaining Sirius' attention. She rolled her eyes when a group of giggling Hufflepuff girls passed by the Marauders and waved flirtatiously.

"I don't know, Roxanne...I rather like you better when you're not speaking," Sirius began nonchalantly, casually leaning forward on the table and smirking at her, "You're much more pleasant."

Remus muttered the counter curse under his breath a second later, providing Roxanne with the ability of speech before she castrated Sirius.

"You are such a prick!" was the first sentence Roxanne uttered, gently massaging her throat with her hand and glaring at Sirius.

"See? Much more pleasant when she couldn't speak," Sirius threw up his hands in defeat, frowning at Remus, "Thanks, Remus."

"Anytime." He smiled back cheekily.

"Hey, where is Erica, anyway?" James inquired curiously, looking to Remus, "I thought she was a nutcase when it came to breakfast like you, Remy-boy?"

"Uh...I don't know? Maybe she's sick?" Remus suggested awkwardly, looking to Roxanne for help, "Roxanne?"

"Er—sleeping in, I expect." Roxanne replied without blinking, smiling despite James' disbelieving look, "She was up quite late last night cry—uh, reading."

Remus dropped his fork, looking troubled. Sirius, wanting to postpone telling James about dinner last night looked about the Great Hall for any means of conversation.


"Oi, James, Remus, look at Malfoy this morning!" Sirius joked loudly, pointing to the blonde-haired Slytherin, "HAHA! Nobody will even sit beside him except his cronies and my dear cousin! We've got to get that film developed!"

"He looks miserable!" James added, his deep laugh heard from the Slytherin table, "That prank is going down in the books."

"Prank? What prank?" Roxanne inquired eagerly, straining her neck to get a glimpse of Malfoy, "I hope you got him good for what he did—I mean..."

"You never told me Malfoy did anything, Sirius." James' grin slightly faltered and his face became etched with curiosity, "What did he do to deserve your prank?"

"Time for potions! Let's go!" Remus exclaimed over-enthusiastically, picking up his things in a mad dash and pulling Roxanne to her feet, "We don't want to be late!"

"We've got a good five minutes, Remus," James cocked an eyebrow at his friend's strange behaviour, "Anyway, Sirius, what—?"

"He's right. Let's go!" Sirius bounded to his feet and joined Roxanne and Remus, leaving James alone and intrigued at the Gryffindor table.

He picked up his school things and followed, his face contorted in confusion. Since when does Sirius care about getting to class on time?

"I know it's not your fault and I'm being stupid, but it was hard to watch." Erica explained to Lily on the way to the dungeons, hugging her potion textbook close to her chest, "I'm glad you got Malfoy back, though. You better show me that picture when it's developed!"

"I'll show you...but it might scar you for life!" Lily returned, sticking out her tongue in disgust, "How Narcissa finds him attractive, I'll never know."

"Does James know yet? About the...incident?" Erica asked carefully, wondering if he was handling it as well as she was, "If he beats up Remus I'm coming after you for letting him!"

"No...not yet. What makes you think James could take Remus? He's brilliant at Defence Against the Dark Arts!" Lily joked brightly, walking into the bustling potions classroom and taking a seat at the front with Erica, no seats available near the Marauders or Roxanne, "And I don't think James with overreact—"

"Oi! Redheads!" Sirius Black called flamboyantly from across the room, garnering Lily and Erica's attention, along with half of the class', by waving about his hands, "Way to sit with us!"

"Way to save us seats, Black!" Lily retorted teasingly, catching James' eye and smiling; he returned her smile with a seductive grin.

"Good morning, class!" Professor Slughorn cut in as he entered the dungeon, balancing books on his rotund belly and sporting a cheery smile, "Let's get right to the lesson, shall we? I have a good friend of mine coming 'round for tea—maybe you've heard of her, Gwenog Jones of the Holyhead Harpies; always spoiling me with free Quidditch tickets!—so I don't want to be late,"

"Puddlemere United all the way, eh Jamie?" Sirius eagerly nudged James, who was daydreaming whilst staring at the back of Lily's head, "Uh oh, what are you dreaming of, eh? Something kinky with your little mugglebumpkin?"

"Shut up!" James quietly demanded, glaring at Sirius, who had his fist stuffed in his mouth to keep from laughing, as a blush crept onto his cheeks, "You're a prat—"

"Mr. Potter?" Slughorn called out, turning around from the blackboard, which had chalk independently writing the instructions for the potion they would be brewing that class on it, "I'm thrilled to have you back, but I do require you to listen as opposed to talk."

James caught Lily, as well as the rest of the class, looking at him curiously; he cleared his throat and plastered on a charming smile, "I do apologize, Professor. Sirius and I just couldn't contain our excitement about Gwenog Jones. We're big fans, you see."

"No they're not." Remus whispered out of the side of his mouth to Peter, who snorted.

"Is that right? Well I'm sure I can arrange a meeting between you and ol' Gwenog, Mr. Potter! Perhaps even your father, the Minister, can attend!" Slughorn enthusiastically suggested, the prospect of befriending the Minister of Magic by favouring his son a juicy opportunity, "But we shall discuss that more later. Back to the instructions for the Befuddlement Draught,"

Lily cocked an eyebrow; James mouthed the words 'I am going to kill you' to Sirius, who snickered, and flippantly opened his textbook, uninterested in listening.

Like usual, the class partnered up after Slughorn's lesson and gathered the ingredients—scurvy-grass, lovage, and sneezewort—for their next potion; the Befuddlement Draught. They were allotted an hour to finish, Slughorn taking a sample of each potion at the end of class and bequeathing grades.

"Back there in the Great Hall, you never told me what Malfoy did," James casually said to Sirius after spending half an hour chopping sneezewort, looking up from his task and scrutinizing his best friend, who appeared uncomfortable, "What are you hiding from me, Black?"

"It's nothing, really; just forget I even mentioned it," Sirius replied unflappably, awkwardly coughing and avoiding eye contact with James, "pass me that knife, would'ya?"

"Nice try. Tell me." James demanded shortly, narrowing his eyes behind his glasses and digging the silver knife Sirius requested into the chopping board, "Sirius!"

"Ok, ok!" Sirius threw up his hands in defeat, looking slightly scared of his best friend—rather, what his best friend might do when he found out about Lily and Remus, "It's ridiculous, really. Remus and er...Lily had a bit of a run in with Malfoy yesterday. They ended up cursing him, so, naturally, he wanted revenge."

"What did he do?" James whispered brusquely, his eyes becoming terse-looking.

"Well..." Sirius looked uneasy and gulped, "He slipped this love potion into Lily and Remus' goblets at dinner and, they kind of made-out in front of the school..."

"WHAT?" James roared loudly, his eyes practically bursting from his skull when he accidentally knocked over the potion he and Sirius had been working on, alarming those around him, "What do you mean, made-out?!?"

"Would you keep it down?" Sirius hissed, Remus looking up from his potion at James and Sirius in mild interest, "No need to lose your head! They didn't mean to—"

"Remus bloody Lupin made out with my girlfriend?" James spat in disbelief, snapping his head to where Remus was sitting, watching, "Is it true?"

"What?" Remus asked blankly, his jaw slackening.

"You and Lily? In front of the whole school?" James demanded angrily, his face steadily growing red; those sitting around the Marauders stopped brewing their potions to witness the exchange.

"O...that." Remus pulled awkwardly at his collar, looking to Sirius for support, "We didn't mean to, I would've never—Erica is giving me hell like it's my fault—I mean, I'm not even that aggressive with Erica, and—"

"Aggressive?" James spat hoarsely, subconsciously grinding his teeth as he regarded his cowering friend, "What did they do, Sirius?"

"Er—just kissed...uh, passionately I guess, and he almost had her shirt off—" Sirius began, Remus opening his mouth in horror behind James' back.

"Make it worst why don't—!"

"You almost had her shirt off?" James spun around and looked close to hitting Remus, "You've bloody gone further with Lily than even Ihave, you fucking—!"

"I didn't know what I was doing, I-I-I—!" Remus stuttered in panic, his friend looking close to having a nervous breakdown, "I swear, James, I—"

James leapt up from his seat and stormed across the classroom in Lily's direction, leaving Sirius, Peter and Remus in his wake of disbelief.

"You are a moron!" Remus angrily punched Sirius on the arm, making him recoil in childish pain, "telling him I almost had her shirt off! Way to fan the fire, Sirius!"

"They've only got the first base...that's interesting," Sirius mulled indifferently, balancing his chin on his hand as he ignored Remus.

"Wanker." Remus sighed, turning around and banging his head on his desk.

Meanwhile, Lily and Erica were making progress on their potion, the consistency being correct and the colour a shimmering yellow. Lily cleaned off her lovage-stained hands and smiled at their product.

"I bet we'll earn at least an E on this one," Lily smiled optimistically, letting her hair loose out of her ponytail and closing her Advanced Potions textbook.

"I'm partnering up with you more often...Roxanne and I never manage to procure anything that doesn't resemble sludge," Erica laughed, bending over the potion and taking a whiff, "It even smells correct."

"It does look a little off, though," Lily commented, scrunching up her nose as she observed the simmering surface, "It looks more gold than yellow, don't you think?"

"Uh oh."

"Don't worry, we'll still do great." Lily replied smartly, looking up at Erica, who was distractedly looking over her shoulder, "What?"

"Remember how you said you didn't think James would overreact?" Erica mumbled, still looking over Lily's shoulder in distaste.

"Yeah...?" Lily answered casually, giving the befuddlement potion another stir while absentmindedly scribbling a note on a long piece of parchment.

"I think you might be wrong." Erica frowned, crossing her arms and sighing.


"You and I are taking a walk," James Potter said through gritted teeth, coming up behind Lily and grabbing her arm, causing her to drop her spoon into the cauldron of bubbling potion before her in surprise, "Professor Slughorn? Lily and I need to step out for a moment."

The class turned to look at the couple, including Professor Slughorn; Remus groaned in the back.

"Uh...yes of course, Mr. Potter!" Slughorn barked merrily, though he looked perplexed, "Not too long, now. I'm assuming this is to do with prefect or Quidditch business?"

"Certainly. We won't take long, Professor." James plastered a fake smile on his face and dragged Lily out of the classroom without another word, many Gryffindors and Slytherins raising eyebrows due to their departure.

"What are you doing?" Lily yelped when James wordlessly dragged her up to the first floor and down a familiar hallway where the lavatories were located, "James Potter! I'm not supposed to be in here! James!"

James promptly pulled Lily into the boys' lavatory, scaring two first- years out due to the sight of him, an infamous Marauder, and a female. James picked Lily up around the waist, despite her protests, and sat her atop one of the sinks against the wall so that their eyes were at the same level.

"Why didn't you tell me about you and Lupin?" James narrowed his brown eyes at his girlfriend, his hands pressed against the wall around her, preventing her escape, "You didn't think I was going to find out?"

"Don't you dare do that again, James Potter," Lily breathed angrily, her emerald orbs flashing dangerously, "I'm not some plaything of yours that you can drag around whenever you feel like it."

"Did you hear a word I just said?" James inquired sceptically, though his tone considerably softened, "Why didn't you tell me, Lily?"

"I was going to tell you later! We haven't exactly had a lot of time to talk," Lily said irritably, crossing her arms and stubbornly looking away from James, "You didn't have to drag me halfway across the school."

"Look, I'm sorry about that," James attempted apologetically, his eyes sincere as he gently turned Lily's face towards his again, "I let my temper get out of hand—not to mention jealousy."

"Jealousy? You have nothing to be jealous about." Lily frowned ruefully at James, her anger slightly dissipating as she slide her arms around his neck and let him hold on to the sides of her legs, "Remus and I hadn't any idea what we were doing because of that jerk Malfoy."

"So…so you didn't…like it?" James asked awkwardly, colour rising in his cheeks as he tentatively looked for Lily's reaction, "I mean, Sirius said—"

"You're crazy. Last time I checked I was dating you, not Remus." Lily broke into a teasing smile, rolling her eyes when James visibly relaxed, "Shall I let you in on a little secret?"

"You better." James pointed out, immediately dropping the subject as his eyes flashed seductively and he carefully parted Lily's legs, allowing him closer access to her torso.

"Well," Lily's eyelashes fluttered as she arched her neck and moved to the side of the sink, mischievously smirking at James as her hand grasped the spout of the sink behind her, "I just wanted to tell you that you are very, well…it's a little embarrassing."

"Tell me," James demanded huskily, moving closer to Lily, his lips almost touching hers…

"You're… very sexy when wet!" Lily shrieked playfully, turning on the water in the sink and covering the tap with her hand so that the water gushed straight into James' face, causing him to recoil and fall back on his hands, water droplets beading on his glasses.

"Lily!" James sputtered loudly over her impish cackling, his messy hair sticking to his face and his uniform soaked, "I'm going to get you for that!"

Lily shrieked playfully and went barrelling out of the boys' bathroom, a very wet James Potter hot on her tail, "TELL ME IM SEXIER THAN REMUS! TELL ME, YOU WITCH!"

"NEVER!" Lily humorously yelled back, screaming girlishly when James caught up to her and dragged her into a broom closet…

Being James Potter's girlfriend wasn't so bad so far.

Author's Notes

I updated ridiculously fast this time! You've got to admit! I'm supposed to be studying for five university exams right now—but instead I updated just for you lot! Haha! Please review, it would make me feel a lot better about postponing studying! )

-pratty prongs princesse