Caramel Marshmallow Cream
Disclaimer: I don't own Lily or James or Hogsmeade or Honeydukes or Three Broomsticks or…OKAY, OKAY! I don't own anything!
A/N: Okay, so I was in the mood for fluff. So fluff it will be!
I stared out the window, my gaze sliding over the numerous figures bundled up against the snow flurries. Practically everyone I glanced at was loaded with bagfuls of goodies.
Christmas shopping, of course. A bit early, in my opinion. I, for one, have always prided myself on getting my shopping done at the very last possible minute—and still managing to make it look picture perfect, if I do say so myself, ribbons and all.
Well, let the early birds do their shopping. Lily and I had our own plans for this Hosgmeade trip.
(And no, it was not a date.)
She was supposed to be here. How could Lily, the perfect Head Girl, punctual being part of the package, no doubt, be late?
It wasn't even a date! Er, a legitimate date. In my opinion, anyways.
I mean, Merlin! I didn't even suggest it. She came up with the idea!
"Tomorrow? No! I can't go to Hogsmeade! And neither can you! The Winter Festival is in TWO days! We don't even have everything set up yet!"
"What is there to set up?"
"What's there to set up? What's there to set up? Are you thick? All the decorations—"
"We can do that tomorrow night. Most of the Prefects have got all the decorations ready to go; we just have to set it all up. After dinner tomorrow, we can ask Dumbledore. We can get Flitwick to help us, too, if you ever get tired of Sticking Charms."
"Oh, shut it. And the food—"
"The house-elves are more than happy to cook all the food…"
"I know that!"
"Well, what about all the candy? You haven't got that, have you?"
Well, I certainly had forgotten about that. Loads and loads of candy. It was part of some silly little fifth-year's idea, and of course all the other sugar-loving, uncontrollably-hyperactive Prefects just had to agree.
I had been tired. Not tired as in, Oh-dear-it's-been-such-a-long-day-and-I-had-double-Potions tired, but tired as in Quidditch-Cup-approaching-and-training-like-no-tomorrow-and-staying-up-in-the-wee-morning-hours-to-finish-that-cursed-Potions-essay tired. And I still had a ruddy Arithmancy number chart to do. Lily was trying to talk them out of it, but we were outnumbered. They all knew the limits of our authority, and teetered on its borders every single meeting.
In short, I finally roared that if they would all kindly shut their holes so we could end the meeting, yes, there would be a fudge-eating contest. I even added, in my utmost haste, that the winner would receive a bagful of candy the weight of all their textbooks.
It was all the Prefect's idea. He was in Ravenclaw, too.
"No, I haven't got it."
"Well, I'll just get it from Honeydukes tomorrow, then! Everything will be fine."
"Oh, no you don't. I don't trust you with that much sugar. You'll eat it all—"
"Or throw it in your dorm and then eat it all—"
"Oh, come on! You trust me enough to get some fudge on my own, don't you?"
So it was settled. Lily and I were meeting at the Three Broomsticks at one-thirty, to "grab something to drink," as she said, before going to Honeyduke's.
I looked down at my still-overflowing tankard of hot butterbeer. The foam was slowly melting away. The foam was always my favorite part. I lifted the mug to my lips, and the warm sweetness trickled down my throat.
I checked my watch. One-forty.
As if on cue, a flash of red suddenly collapsed in the seat across from me.
"Oh!" she panted, gasping from some sort of physical activity. Her cheeks were bright and ruddy, and really pretty. Beautiful even. She always was.
"Tsk, tsk," I scolded, shaking my head amusedly. "You're late! And who would've thought. Head Girl Lily Evans, skiving off on Head duties?"
"Oh, shut it!" she exclaimed through a pant of laughter. "I—I got here as fast as I could!"
"From where?" I asked.
"Well, I'm surprised you don't know!"
I simply quirked an eyebrow.
"Yes, Sirius!" she repeated emphatically, as if repeating the name of my best mate was really supposed to be an excuse for her tardiness.
Rosmerta came by that moment, greeting the two of us with a large smile. Lily ordered a hot butterbeer, handing her some Knuts, and she bustled off, tossing me a meaningful wink as she went. I immediately stared down at my drink, feeling my face grow warm and wishing it was because of the steaming butterbeer.
Did everyone really think that Lily and I were on a date?
I snuck a glance to my right and glimpsed a Hufflepuff Prefect, with her bubbly girlfriends, whispering and giggling. She kept glancing over her shoulder to look over in my direction, and as I caught her glance, a funny little grin erupted on her face before she quickly turned her back to me again, no doubt whispering and giggling some more.
This didn't help my face, which was heating up by the moment. I felt like jumping up onto the table and announcing to Rosmerta and those Hufflepuffs and to everyone else in the Three Broomsticks that Lily and I were here on Head business, nothing else. It wasn't a date! It wasn't.
No matter how much I wanted it to be.
I felt my heart break just a bit more at this thought.
But Merlin, am I glad that I don't (always) act on impulse. Jumping on the table would hardly be considered Head business.
Meanwhile, Lily continued talking in her spirited voice, dispelling my thoughts like mist in the morning sun. "He nearly attacked me at Honeydukes! Said something about getting something nice for Dorcas because she was—what was it? Oh, yeah. 'Special.'" Here, her grin spread a bit wider at the memory. I couldn't help but snort at Sirius's actions. He and Dorcas weren't even dating!
"So," Lily continued. "He dragged me around Hogsmeade for about half an hour so we could find something. Said I was her friend, so I should know what she wanted. Well, I finally told him—Oh, thanks, Rosmerta!" She paused in her rambling to take a long draft of butterbeer. "I finally told him that she was complaining about a worn out scarf for some time now, so he immediately hauled me over to Gladrag's, and demanded to know her favorite color."
My cheeks was hurting from laughing at this point. Sirius, dragging Lily into Gladrag's to buy a scarf for some girl that he may actually fancy?
I filed the mental image under "Things to Tease Padfoot about."
"So, that's my excuse."
"Hardly legitimate," I replied.
She stopped suddenly and leaned forward a bit, as if scrutinizing my face. I wondered if I had something in my teeth.
"You have a butterbeer mustache," she grinned, interrupting my hopefully subtle licking of my teeth behind a closed mouth.
"You have a butterbeer mustache," Lily repeated. She suddenly leaned over, and before I could realize what was happening, she rubbed my mouth forcefully with the sleeve of her soft, thick cloak.
I blinked. Several times.
"See?" Lily showed me her sleeve, stained with butterbeer foam that was slowly being absorbed.
"Thanks, mum," I finally countered, rolling my eyes.
She laughed. "Anytime, Ickle Jamesie-poo."
We downed the rest of our butterbeer and were out of the Three Broomsticks by two o'clock. The snow flurries were larger now, whirling and whooshing around in the winter wind. I wrapped my cloak on tighter while still managing to keep my shopping bags snow-free.
"So, what are we planning to buy, anyway?" Lily asked, shaking some snow from her fiery orange hair.
"I don't think the question is what, but how much," I groaned. "I should have never agreed to this."
"No, you shouldn't have," she grinned. "Although it will be most amusing to see how this actually turns out."
"Oh, shut it."
"I wonder if we need to ask Pomfrey for some potions, in case people start feeling a bit…sick," Lily added. She apparently reveled in finding faults in my idea. I mean, that Ravenclaw's idea.
I pulled open the door to Honeyduke's, and we walked into the cheery, sweet-smelling atmosphere of the shop. Lily immediately headed to the fudge counter while I stared at the display case proclaiming, "New product!" Cockroach Clusters, they were. I grabbed one, making a mental note to slip them to Padfoot without telling him what they were. He was deathly scared of cockroaches.
"James!" Lily called impatiently.
I hurried over obediently.
"Er," I managed. There were so many flavors. Thank Merlin that fudge didn't cost that much, but how were we ever going to provide enough for everyone that signed up? (Padfoot included. Maybe I'll stick a Cockroach Cluster in his fudge…)
"What flavor should we get?"
"I don't know," I stated bluntly. We couldn't possibly get everyone's favorite flavor. "We'll just have to get one that everyone likes."
"And if they don't?"
"Well, then…too bad. They just won't participate."
"And just which one is the flavor that everyone likes?" she asked. Merlin, this woman never ran out of questions!
"Er, well, my favorite is Chocolate Crème Toffee Swirl," I offered.
She raised an eyebrow but grinned laughingly, shaking her head. "And you expect everyone to like your favorite? You'll never change, will you?"
Lily always did that to me, take stabs at my former self, teasing me about my old ways. It was all in good fun, I knew. At least it entertained her. At least it showed her that I had changed.
"Fine, what's yours?" I questioned. Head duties—bonding time with Lily Evans, finding out what her favorite flavor of fudge was!
"Praline French Vanilla," she promptly answered. "Not Caramel Marshmallow Cream, as you assumed in fourth year. I'm surprised it isn't your favorite." Lily looked up at me with a teasing grin and a mischievous sparkle that reminded me all too much of Padfoot. "I didn't even like marshmallow back then. But, I mean, Merlin, five pounds of it?"
"Shut it," I mumbled through a blushing grin, bumping her shoulder in physical teasing back. The embarrassing Caramel Marshmallow incident three years ago was something I really did not want to remember. "And it was my favorite flavor before that happened. Haven't eaten it since." I folded my arms in imaginary crossness.
Lily laughed, both at the memory, and my reaction to her mentioning it.
"Well, we'll never get out of here if we can't decide." She lapsed into silent pondering, staring at the huge hunks of fudge. I looked at the fudge for a bit, then at her, catching a slow smile grow on her face.
"What?" I asked.
"What do you mean, what?"
"You have an idea," I accused. I knew that expression all too well.
Lily turned back to me, about to say something, then changed her mind and walked to the counter. She bought loads of Classic Chocolat. I knew it. Of course Lily would go with the classic, traditional flavor. That was, after all, what fudge was. Chocolate.
I purchased my own box of the Cockroach Clusters and decided to hold off on the fudge. I'd get more than enough of the sight of fudge at the Winter Festival, after all.
Lily waited for me at the door, and of course, I, being the chivalrous bloke I am, carried the fudge for her.
"Walk me back to Hogwarts?" she asked in a light, airy tone, looking straight ahead and not meeting my surprised stare.
"Wh—sure," I bit back my shock and simply grinned. This was the best Hogsmeade trip yet, and the closest I would ever get to dating Lily Evans. I crushed the disappointment the thought brought on as I watched her brush away a stray lock of orange, glittering with white powder.
I couldn't help noticing all the glances students were throwing us—or rather, me. But I didn't care. Lily must have noticed too, but she didn't seem to care either. She started talking about the sheer silliness of the Fudge-Eating Contest and its possible outcomes.
"Are you participating?" Lily asked.
"Nah. I'd hate to have you clean up all by yourself," I answered. "Besides, it's not my favorite. Classic Chocolat? Where's the fun in that?"
"You know it was the practical choice," she defended, waving a hand absently. "You can't have everyone eat your favorite, Pig."
I stuck out my tongue and "Hmph"ed for lack of a witty reply.
"Oh, come off it." Lily suddenly halted and dug into her bags, emerging with a wrapped piece of—yes, it was!—Caramel Marshmallow Cream fudge. I groaned and laughed as she pulled off a gooey chunk.
"Here, eat, you pig," she grinned and shoved it up to my nose. It smelled delectable. "No more complaining about not eating your favorite flavor."
"I told you, it's not my—" I was silenced by the sticky sweet forced in my mouth.
Mmm. I had forgotten how good it tasted. I closed my eyes and swirled the fudge around in my mouth. When I opened my eyes, she was standing there, looking entertained.
"Not your favorite, huh?" Lily teased.
"Well…" I grinned. "Maybe."
"Thought so," she said in a triumphant tone.
And there we were, just standing there in the snow, having a moment with the Caramel Fudge. It was good. And I was going to prove it to her.
"It is my favorite now. I'll show you why." I grinned before leaning down, heart thumping violently, and pressing a very quick kiss on her lips.
I couldn't help it. I really couldn't. She'd been flirting with me since Honeyduke's, maybe even before that. How much was I supposed to be able to stand? I had the perfect opportunity to kiss her, then and there. So I did. I took my chance.
Face burning, I stepped back a bit, in case she decided to fly into a violent rage. But she didn't. Lily was looking down at her shoes, and my fear of physical violence morphed into a fear of hurting her. I had acted too rashly.
Bloody hormones. I can blame it on them.
"Lil—I—I'm really, really sorr—" I managed to blurt before stopping at her smiling face. Her cheeks were a deep pink, but she was smiling.
She was smiling.
I had just kissed Lily Evans, and she was smiling. The sweet Caramel Marshmallow Cream was disintegrating on my tongue.
It was heaven in Hogsmeade.
"Don't be sorry," Lily said, still smiling. I blinked. No words popped into my head. I never dreamed that anything like this would ever happen to me. So I just stood there, grinning like an idiot.
"'Cos I just discovered my new favorite flavor."
A/N: That was really, really a bit too sweet. Like fudge. Yes, and I know the ending was really sappy. I hadn't originally intended for James to actually kiss Lily. Rewrite ending? Please review. All comments, opinions, and criticism welcome.
I made myself hungry writing this. Off to eat!