Disclaimer: Don't own it.
A/N: This is the sequel to Horrible Person, written because my fantastic reviewers threatened to maul me if I didn't. o.o If you haven't read Horrible Person, it's not necessary and you can enjoy this story anyway! Eternal thanks to Absh for giving me the idea for the ending. Enjoy!
James Potter stared at his ceiling, completely befuddled by his missing shirts. He'd asked the House Elves if they'd accidentally misplaced them, he'd ransacked the Seventh Year Gryffindor boys dormitory just in case Sirius or Peter actually did steal them, he'd checked his own Head Boy dorm, and even interrogated the Slytherins. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The missing clothes were nowhere to be found.
And it was incredibly frustrating.
Clothes didn't just disappear! Especially not four pristinely ironed and starched white shirts meant to be the upper half of his Hogwarts uniform. They didn't have a brain of their own to tell them where to hide, they didn't have legs to walk away with, and they didn't have a wand with which to Disapparate. You can't Disapparate in Hogwarts! Lily's voice rang in his head. He grinned. He couldn't escape Miss Evans' corrections even in his own head. Not like that bothered him. He would listen to her any time. Hmm, he wondered if he could get her voice to say his name. James Potter. No—that was Sirius' voice. Curse that Padfoot! Try again. James Potter. Nope—Mum's. At least it was female. James Potter.
Hey, he was getting pretty good at this. What else could he make her voice say?
"JAMES POTTER, ARE YOU COMING OR NOT?" Lily shouted on the other side of his door. He leapt off his bed and ran a hand through his hair before scurrying to open the door and meet his beloved.
"Come where, Evans? Finally agree to a midnight snog?" He mentally cringed. Why couldn't something, oh, say, intelligent come out of his mouth in her presence? Such as, Evans, come where? or You look lovely today, Lily. May I help you with something? or even just Yes?
"Two problems with that, Potter: It's not midnight and Hell hasn't frozen over yet. I was referring to the Prefect meeting you scheduled right now."
Oh. Well, at least he got to walk with the lovely redhead, which was in and of itself an improvement in their relationship. At the beginning of the term she made sure to leave long before him—consequently he missed the first few meetings, but hey, he figured he was doing pretty good considering he'd never been a Prefect. It was hard suddenly adding responsibilities to his life. He still wondered if Dumbledore was off his rocker, making him Head Boy. That would be like announcing that Snivellus was the Heir of Gryffindor. Hagrid would sooner eat a dragon than any of that happening. And yet…he was Head Boy.
But he did get a personal dormitory shared with Lily, theoretically the perfect setting to get her to fall in love with him. Hmm…Maybe Dumbledore knew what he was doing after all…
Maybe the dormitory ate his shirts! It was entirely possible. The fake wall on the third floor in the southwest corner ate Sirius' bag back in Second Year, proving the stone walls of Hogwarts could be hostile. And further proof for building hostility was all the fake stairs! Peter stepped in a new one practically every week!
Well, of all the inconsiderate—James took a deep breath. He'd have to have a talking to with his dormitory.
"Are you feeling okay, Potter?" Lily asked, giving him an odd look. James opted on a smooth and suave reply.
Well, it came out smooth…ish…
"I asked if you're feeling okay. You haven't said anything since we left your room, and for you, that's quite a feat."
She gave him a weird look. "That's new."
"Yes, yes it is. Er, I mean—aw, sod it. We're here." He opened the door to the room the prefect meeting was being held in and half shoved her in. One day he would make his tongue say something intelligent! (Hopefully tomorrow…)
He sat down at the front with Lily and let his mind wander while she directed the meeting. Lily was good at those sorts of things. He was not. Therefore she was in charge and he paid no attention and invariably was called a toerag after the meeting. Huh. Maybe if he paid attention and helped Lily out she would take notice of him. It was a stretch, but hey, you never know what an intelligent girl looks for.
He chose the perfect time to tune in because just as he did Lily asked, "Does the Head Boy have anything he wants to add, or say?"
He meant to say good job with the patrolling, he really did, but his tongue either wasn't listening to his mind or was secretly in cahoots with his mind to make him look like an idiot (not that it needed to do much to achieve that). "If you were a missing shirt, where would you be?" Of all the—he already knew where his shirts were! He decided his dormitory ate them! ARG! Lily would never forgive him.
And he was right. She turned as red as a tomato…
"Meeting dismissed," Lily said, embarrassment lacing her voice. Oh no. She wasn't angry—she was embarrassed because of him! No wonder she never agreed to go out with him—all he did was embarrass her, and she hated public humiliation with such a deep passion it almost rivaled his own dislike of Snivellus.
He felt like less than the dust of the earth.
"I am sooooooo sorry," he said as soon as the last prefect was out of the door. "I am so sorry, and you have every right to hate me and I'm sorry and if it makes you feel any better that's not what I meant to say but my tongue didn't listen to me! And I'm sorry!"
"I'm not mad, James," Lily said wearily, although her blush hadn't died yet. "Just…let's just go back to the dorms. And don't talk to me."
James nodded solemnly, not willing to push his luck. He really did like her—really liked her—and considering she should be hating him he was willing to do whatever she said to keep her in this…semi-happy…ish…state.
The walk back was (obviously) quiet, and ended all too quickly. Honestly, it was nice walking with Lily and not having her spitting mad at him. He wished he had mastered this art earlier; maybe then she'd look at him like he was human and they'd maybe even be friends. After all, friendship was the first step to building a relationship and he would love dearly to start a relationship with her in any way, shape or form.
Entrance to the Head Common Room had them split off. "Goodnight, James," Lily said as she entered her room. Absolutely stupefied that she had said anything to him, James stared gobsmacked at her door for a few minutes before returning the parting. Not like it did any good, but oh well. On the plus side, at least he said something intelligent. Too bad the plus side didn't make him feel any better.
Once back in his room James sat down to do some homework, seeing as how it was only 7:30 and not nearly bedtime. He tried to be productive, but his mind kept wandering back to his missing shirts and whatever happened to them. Oh wait! Hadn't he decided it was the fault of the dormitory?
"Oy, Dormitory, listen up!" he said. "You're eating my shirts and I want them back!"
"Okay, maybe I should have said please… Lily's always telling me I need manners. Dormitory, o keeper of my sleeping body, would you please return my shirts? I need them and I promised Mum I wouldn't lose them."
"You know, Prongs, maybe the dormitory didn't eat your shirts after all," he mused out loud, which brought him back to the question just where were they? He found himself wishing the Marauder's Map had more than just people's names on it. That would be a useful invention. Then he and the boys would be able to find everything they had ever lost, ranging from Sirius' left shoe back in third year to Peter's fourth lunch yesterday to James' shirts today. Too bad they hadn't thought of that before.
Giving up entirely on homework, James sauntered out of the Head Dorms and found himself at the Gryffindor Tower. He muttered the password (twattlehead) and entered, searching for his fellow Marauders. Spotting then in the corner, he quickly joined them and threw himself down on the couch next to Peter. Opening his mouth to complain once again about his missing clothes, he was cut short by a snap from Remus.
"Don't you even think about lamenting the loss of your shirts."
James threw him a look. "Oi, Moony, what are you getting shirty with me for?"
Sirius barked a laugh. "Har har, shirty! That's a good one, Prongs!" James gave him a look, too, but Sirius didn't pay him the least bit of attention, as usual. "Don't mind Moony, here, Prongs; he's just miffed I occupied his attention so long he missed the Prefect meeting."
Oh. He guessed Remus hadn't been there. James needed to learn to pay more attention to details like that. Maybe then Lily would notice him, and maybe then he would know where his shirts were.
"Nifflers, Sirius, nifflers," Remus ground out. "I missed a prefect meeting because you wanted to discuss the uses of nifflers. Just because you yourself are half niffler does NOT—"
"Really?" Peter asked, eyes wide. "You're half niffler, Padfoot?"
"Why yes, yes I am."
Remus buried his head in his hands. James grinned. He missed living with these boys.
"So what brings you to our lowly neck of the woods, Prongs?" Sirius asked. "Lily problems or shirt problems? Or were you having problems concentrating on homework so you came to find the biggest distraction you knew existed?"
"Ah, I see," Sirius said sagely.
James waited for the rest of Sirius' statement, but it never came. "Er, is that all?" he asked.
Sirius looked up from the Wizard's Chess board he was setting up. "Yes."
Well, that had been productive.
"Did I miss anything at the meeting, Prongs?" Remus asked.
"Yeah, you missed me embarrassing myself."
"I see that every day."
"Okay, so you didn't miss it…But I wasn't paying attention for the rest so I don't know if you missed anything."
Remus shook his head. "Lily's never going to notice you, or at least not in the way you hope, if you keep that up, Prongs. You need to be more responsible."
"Yeah, yeah, Moony, I figured that one out for myself today. Too bad it was a moment too late and my tongue didn't listen."
"Whoa-ho, this sounds like a story worth hearing," Sirius said, abandoning his game.
Ah, best mates. Never there when you wanted them, but always there to laugh at your misfortune. He wouldn't trade his in for anything—except maybe Lily. Good thing that wasn't really a choice, because James was pretty sure Sirius would not appreciate it. Then again, as a best mate it was Sirius' responsibility to make sure James was always happy. He tucked that bit of knowledge away in his brain just in case he ever became desperate (which was, oh, fifth year. Well, one thing can be said about himself: He was a true blue procrastinator).
James told the story of his meeting and took the teasing that followed as best he could. He ribbed them often enough, it was only fair he take his turn, although he much preferred taking the mickey out of Sirius. It was more fun not being the ridiculed one.
After about an hour of goofing off, James happened to glance around the common room and see Alice, Lily's best mate. Now this was a rare occurrence indeed, as Alice was rarely seen outside of Lily's company. James grinned; he was more than happy to exploit this opportunity and weasel information about his beloved out of the one person who knew her better than he did.
"Oy, Prongs, what's with the madman gleam?" Sirius demanded.
James pointed. "Prey spotted. On the prowl. Be back with hopefully a tasty tidbit on my red fox." Sirius gave him a huge grin, and, feeling supremely confident, James headed towards Alice.
"Hey, Alice," James said, sitting down next to her. The petite girl looked up and smiled at him.
"I'm surprised you're talking to me without Lily around," she said, her eyes sparkling.
"There is no better time to talk to you than now," he replied, adjusting himself on the sofa to get more comfortable. "Lily usually tries to glare me off before my backside touches down. Not very conducive to research, you see."
"Research?" she asked, amusement painting her face. This was going well. No open hostility from the best mate spoke well for him. Perhaps Lily was beginning to accept him as a real human? Or maybe Alice was simply above the Evans Poison? Ooh, that one was depressing. The Evans Poison: infects everybody around Lily on how horrible James Potter the Prat really is. Lethal to said Potter's reputation. He cringed. "Er, I was unaware that simply question caused you discomfort."
James brought his attention back to Alice. "It doesn't. I was just pondering Lily's hatred for me in between my speaking moments."
Alice frowned. "Lily doesn't hate you, James."
James quirked an eyebrow, a trait he'd picked up from Lily. It was quite useful, especially since Sirius hadn't accomplished it yet. "Do you spend time with her, Alice? Her very demeanor screams loathing."
"Mm-hmm," Alice said skeptically. "James, do you really think Lily hates you?"
James bit back the yes he had almost let out. Reflecting on Lily's behaviour before he spoke, he realized Alice had a point. Lily didn't hate him. "She just really dislikes me. But she likes me on average one day a month, a big improvement over last year."
Alice burst into laughter. "That's why I like you, James," she laughed. Wait, what? What was why she liked him? And who cared what Alice thought! I want Lily to like me! "I have a suggestion, James. Go talk to Lily. In fact, the best time to catch her would be just as she's going to bed. She tends to tell the truth and be less snappish when she's sleepy." Checking her watch with a suspiciously wicked smile, Alice continued, "In fact, that time would be right about now. Run, boy! Shoo! Go on!"
James stared at Alice, positive she had gone mental during their conversation. What part of Lily did not want him to talk to her today did Alice not understand? Oh, wait, he hadn't told Alice about the prefect meeting. But even so, shouldn't it be painfully obvious to Lily's own best friend how she felt about him?
"James, stop staring at me like I'm mental and go before she falls asleep and you lose your chance!" Alice hollered. "GO!"
Well, James had already made a fool of himself in front of Lily once today, so once more couldn't hurt all that much. And considering his former track record, twice in one day was quite a feat—he usually resided around the number ten.
Slipping out of the portrait hole before his friends could see him leave, James sauntered towards the Head Common Room. Alice had indicated to run with all speed possible, but he was more interested in having something intelligent to say to Lily and dashing was not conducive to thinking. Although he wasn't having much luck with his leisurely stroll, either. What could he say? "Oh hey, Lily, I know you told me you don't want to see my ugly mug again today, but your best mate told me you don't hate me and I should talk to you about it right about now. In fact, she practically pushed me off the sofa and said run."
Yeah, that was going to go over well.
By the time James reached the Head Common Room and found himself staring at Lily's door, he didn't have anything better to say. Great. This day wasn't turning out to be so hot.
Rapping lightly on Lily's door, James waited patiently for her to answer. A minute passed and there was no response. He knocked again, this time just a wee bit harder. Another minute went by and still no response. Darn, it looked like Lily was already asleep. What a pity. Turning to head to his room, he froze in his tracks when the door behind him slowly opened.
"James?" the sleepiest voice he'd ever heard yawned behind him. With a gulp James turned around and tried to remember what he had decided to say to Lily in the first place. Something about liking him…no, hating…Alice…ugly mug… "James, did you want something?" the tired redhead asked, her eyes mostly closed as she leaned against the doorframe for support.
"Er, uh, Lily, I…Alice told me…" he stopped. He blinked. He blinked again. Wait a minute here… "Is that my shirt?" he asked, staring at the Head Girl.
Lily became ramrod straight and her eyes widened until it appeared they would pop out. Her face matched her hair perfectly as they stared at each other. Slowly a grin spread across James' face. He opened his mouth to say something, but Lily spoke first: "Goodnight, Potter," and slammed the door in his face.
James grinned. Evans had his shirts. Groovy.
With a little hop, skip and a jump he headed back to his own room. Well dang, maybe Alice did know her own best friend.
Slipping into his own pyjamas, James got into bed and couldn't remove his foolish grin from his face. This day had been perfect. And to think he had worried it was his dormitory that had eaten his clothes when the missing articles had been taking up residence in the room next door all along. He didn't mind the thought of Evans wearing his shirts…didn't mind it at all…
I wonder if she'll go out with me now, he thought as he drifted off to sleep…
A/N: I'm having so much fun, that I might write a sequel to this story just to satisfy me. If you have any ideas, feel free to share. Thanks for reading!