Disclaimer: I own nothing

The Staircase of Doom

"Padfoot?"

Sirius slapped the table and stood up from one of the common room chairs, gripping the edge of the wizard chess board. "Advance, I say!" he ordered the chess pieces against Peter's side.

"Padfoot," James recurred. A hand was placed on his hip in quite a girlish manner with a supplementary, impatient foot tap.

"Smite them!" roared Sirius quite viciously, with an added hand gesture of a manly shaking fist.

James knew Sirius was one of those people who would take an inordinate amount of time to pay attention to you since the first day he met him on the Hogwarts train. Even at the age of eleven Sirius had been too consumed in admiring his reflection in the train window and seeing how many chocolate frogs he could stick in his gob to notice three boys –the future Marauders to complete the four- had even entered the compartment. Of course, he wasn't as vain now.

"Padfoot, did you pick up the birthday present for Lily like I asked you?"

Sirius waved a hand, shooing him away. "Yeah yeah," he answered absentmindedly.

"You might answer 'yeah yeah' but did you actually pick it up?" James asked again, just to make sure.

"Yeah yeah," repeated Sirius, not taking his eyes off the chess board. "Merge! Merge, I say!"

"Padfoot…You smell."

"Yeah yeah…"

Sirius' agreement to having a bad pong confirmed James' suspicions. "Padfoot, you're not even bloody listening to me!"

Turning his head, the boy finally took his attention off the game he was thoroughly losing at -against Peter of all people- and sent James a curious look. "What you on about?"

"Lily's present. Did you pick it up from Hogsmeade while I was in detention?"

"Oh yeah," insisted Sirius. "I picked up something."

"Not something," James corrected his friend. "The present. The earrings I saw her looking at when I was spying on her under the cloak."

Sirius snorted at the mention of jewellery, and James revealed a panicked expression. "Well, I thought giving her earrings would be a little boring so I got her something else instead…"

This was not good news to James. He shook his head, clearly in denial. "No..."

"And I even put it in her dorm for you." Sirius patted James' on the back with a grin.

"You didn't, Padfoot," James said dreadfully, even shaking.

"Er…" Sirius eyed his friend with caginess, unsure how to answer. "I didn't..?" he echoed.

"Oh thank Merlin!" James rejoiced, dropping to his knees. In such overdramatic relief, he began kissing Sirius' feet.

"Oh, don't get me wrong. I did do it," Sirius clarified. Kissing of the feet was instantly stopped and James slammed his head with a thud against the Gryffindor common room floor. "I just said I didn't because you told me to say it."

In sudden madness, James flipped and began trying to pull the Sirius' shoes off his feet.

"Hey!" Sirius kicked his feet to avoid James' hands. "Watch it!"

James stood up and tried to restrain his arms as they threatened outstretch. "Hold me back, Wormtail!" he commanded, pinning his arms at his side. Sirius gave James an odd look, not cowering in fear as James would have preferred.

"What?" Peter said, moving forward.

"Hold me back!" James said again. "'Cause I might just kill him!" He made a swipe for Sirius, but Peter, as instructed, held on to his arm and tugged him back. James made another swing but only managed to get a fistful of Sirius' hair, making the boy outcry a loud "Ow! Hair pulling poof!"

"Do calm down, James," Remus said, observing his friends with not much attention as a book was balancing in the left palm of his hand. He had the courtesy to look up from the book when addressing his friend.

"Calm down?" James repeated. "Do you know what dungbrain here's done?" He pointed to Sirius who gave him a look which clearly stated pointing was rude. "He's only put a birthday gift that he chose himself –not even getting the one I told him to buy- for Lily in her dorm on my behalf!"

Remus didn't see what was wrong with Sirius giving a present to Lily and then saying it was from James, though it was technically a little deceitful, but it was rare for Sirius to be in a present-giving mood when he was normally the one demanding them. In fact, Remus was slightly disappointed that he had not received any presents lately.

"My, that's rather generous of you, Padfoot," Remus nodded, looking rather impressed. "Doggy treats for you."

"You wouldn't think they'd taste nice but they are rather delicious in Animagus form," Sirius said, keeping on the subject of canine snacks.

"Wait, when I think of a 'gift' from Sirius, all I can think of is dog poo on my bed…" Peter mentioned, wincing at the image.

"Exactly!" James agreed, pointing a finger at Peter to indicate he was in 'the right'. "It might even be that—what is it?" he asked immediately.

Sirius scoffed. "Like I'm gonna tell you!"

At a loss for words because of so much annoyance, James stomped his foot once, twice, and three times in a childish manner, then made a final stomp on Sirius' foot. "Tell me what it is, Padfoot!"

Despite in pain and rubbing his big toe, Sirius laughed a hearty, "No!"

James opened his mouth in gaping, looking at Remus with desperation. "Moony, make him tell me!" he whined.

Remus looked up from his book again. "Sirius, tell him what it is," he droned.

"No."

"I give up." Remus returned back to his book.

"Moony!" James whined again. "I sensed no effort in that."

"Then you sensed correctly…"

"What was that?"

"Nothing," Remus fibbed. He shut his book, knowing he wouldn't get any reading down and gave James his full attention.

"Do you want me to give you a clue, Prongs?" Sirius asked, running a hand through his hair somewhat imperturbably. He discovered a knot in his threads and tugged on it.

"Not unless giving a clue involves telling me what the bloody present is," James gritted through his teeth in a frightening manner.

"No, because a clue is something that helps in whatever you are trying to find out. Merlin, I thought people with glasses were supposed to be smart. Can I get a high five, Wormtail?"

Hesitantly, Peter slapped Sirius' palm on his good use of an insult, although he was aware that James was glaring a hole through both of their heads.

Noticing steam somehow fuming from James' ears, Sirius finally gave in and revealed, "The present is something that a guy normally gives his girlfriend."

Remus arched an eyebrow. "Flowers?" he guessed.

Sirius scratched his chin in thought. "Not unless you can wear flowers…"

James blanched. "Oh God, no. Please be a scarf," he crossed every finger on his hand and found himself kneeling to the floor again, praying. "For the love of Merlin, please be a scarf…"

"One word," Sirius smirked, "Lingerie."

Almost simultaneously, James wailed a "NO! Nuh-ooooooo…" and collapsed to the floor, then began whimpering.

Sirius was utterly confused by his friend's reaction. "I was only doing you a favour…"

"A favour?" James repeated, standing to his feet. "A favour is letting me copy your homework! A favour is sticking a quill up Snivellus' arse! A favour is not sending the love of my life who does not reciprocate the love, bloody underwear!" He massaged his head, trying to steady his breathing, before asking quietly, "Please tell me it was plain underwear. You know, something respectable. Plain black?" he asked pleadingly. "Frilly with flowers?"

Sirius cringed and James automatically knew it was neither of the descriptions he mentioned above. "Er…how's see through sound to you?"

"SEE THROUGH?"

Sirius nodded timidly, cringing. "Very much see through…Transparent, you could say. Wormtail can tell you," he pointed at Peter and the boy shot him a confused look, "he tried it on…on top of his clothes, you perverts!" he quickly rectified.

Peter flushed a thousand reds. "I never tried any lingerie on!" he defended himself.

"Yes you did," Sirius ruffled the top of Peter's head, "I saw you through the window," he spoke matter-of-factly.

"Are you quite sure that window wasn't actually a mirror…"

"Well, come to think of it…" Sirius realised what he was saying and how he'd nearly been tricked. "Moony!" He glared at the occupant of the last witty comment. "Dastardly fellow..."

"Sirius," James rubbed the bridge of his nose as he let off a tremendous sigh, "How did you even get the present up in her dorm with those bloody annoying stairs that flatten whenever an inch of manliness approaches it?"

Sirius was rather engaged, distracted by a rather attractive girl making her way down the staircase. The girl winked at him, which he replied with an eyebrow raise and tip of the head, and followed her with his eyes as she exited through the portrait.

"Hmm?" Sirius answered dreamily.

James looked back and forth between Sirius and where the girl had left, coming to his own conclusions. "Did you give the gift to that girl to put in Lily's dorm?" he assumed.

"No," Sirius said, "I have no idea who that girl was…oddly," as though he should know the entire female population of Hogwarts.

Again, another girl made her way down the staircase, and the same outcome took place with the familiar winking and eyebrow raising.

"Did you give it to that girl?" James asked.

"Nope."

For the third time, a girl entered the common room, and the same result took place accompanied with the diverse sigh of, "Oh, the joie de vivre," from Sirius' lips.

"Did you give it to that girl?"

"Nope."

James pulled at his hair, looking rather impatient. "Who did you bloody give it to, then?"

"Lily's mate Alice," Sirius lately mentioned. He looked at James peculiarly who was cradling his head in his hands, looking stressed beyond relief. "Jeez, all you had to do was ask."

With new found vigour, James looked strangely alert again, evidence shown in his somewhat insane stare.

"I have to get that lingerie," he murmured, his eyes darting to the staircase.

"We are talking about the lingerie present I got Lily, right?" Sirius queried, returning back to his game of wizard chess against Peter. "Not lingerie that's currently worn by a girl, 'cause I can imagine it being difficult for you, being inexperienced with the slipping off of underwear."

"I need to get that lingerie."

"You can't though," Peter stated, almost laughing. He winced when James' insane stare was now directed upon him.

"And why not?"

"Because of," Peter paused dramatically, looking both left and right before carrying on, as if he were crossing an imaginary road, "The Staircase of Doom."

As Peter pointed a shaky finger, the Marauders followed it over to the stairs leading to the girls' dormitory.

"He's got you there, James," Remus said, shrugging unhelpfully. "No man has ever treaded that deadly staircase, and you know it."

"No, no, no," James refused to believe the facts, "He has not 'got me there'! He has not got me anywhere!" He pushed his glasses further up his nose. "I shall prevail." Puffing out his chest, he marched his way over to the flight of stairs.

"Woah, woah! Wait a second, Prongs!" Sirius jumped up from his chair, trailing behind him. "What the hell are you doing, mate? Have you gone insane?"

"That lingerie will not be the death of me, Padfoot."

Sirius made a low whistle, shooting him a look which said 'It's your funeral', and stood over by Remus and Peter observing from one side of the common room where a small crowd of Gryffindors had gathered.

"So, what's your plan, James?" Remus asked curiously, looking quite amused.

"I was thinking, maybe run for it," he shrugged, though panic was clearly stricken across his face, "You know…James Potter speed conquering all?"

"That's…quite an idea," Remus commented.

Preparing themselves for the fall they were going to undoubtedly witness, the small swarm of Gryffindors watched James Potter run full pelt at the staircase, taking each step with a face full of fortitude.

It was barely seconds until the staircase compressed into a slide and was shooting James down it, dumping him back into the common room on his arse.

"Didn't see much conquering there," Remus said.

James stood up again, determined not to give up. "There has to be a way to beat this thing!" He scratched his chin. "Maybe…maybe quiet, slow steps?"

Remus rolled his eyes, quite certain that idea wasn't going to work either, but nonetheless watched his friend take small steps up the staircase.

For a second, when James reached mid point, it seemed as if his objective has worked.

"WAAAH!"

Until the staircase suddenly decided James was a male, he should bugger off, and turned into that all familiar slide.

James rubbed his backside as he'd been cast off back into the common room.

"Okay…" He winced due to his bruised buttocks. "I'm hazarding a guess that the staircase will only permit femininity to hike across it."

"It would seem that way," Peter agreed.

"New plan." James jumped to his feet and dusted his hands onto his trousers. He looked at the Gryffindor throng and they gazed back at him, looking quite alarmed. "I'm going to need a member of the audience," he informed.

Instantly, the crowd started to disperse as they students shuffled away for escape.

"Hey! Hey, you…pygmy!" James pointed to a small first year. The girl squeaked in return. "I order you to give me a piggyback up that stai—hey! Hey, come back! DAMMIT!"

"That gnome would have hardly been able to hold your weight, tubby," Sirius teased James.

"First year, Padfoot. First year," Remus corrected him.

James looked around the common room again and targeted a tall and bulky girl. He approached her, eying her furry moustache and manly muscles bigger than his own. "You, uh, are a she, aren't you?" Her wearing a skirt didn't seem enough evidence.

"What do you want, Potter?"

"Oh, so we've been acquainted with names, then?" He smiled nervously. "Unfortunately I don't know yours. I don't think I would've…forgotten a person like you." He watched her moustache dance across her upper lip.

"What do you want, Potter?"

For that furry caterpillar to be massacred.

"I want you to give me a piggyback up the girls' staircase," James said.

The girl (or she-man, whatever floats your boat) eyed him sceptically. "Five galleons."

"I think the mere pleasure of having me on your back is something you cannot put a price on."

"Five galleons."

James sighed, "Fine," depositing the money into her hand. Tittering, James shuddered when he watched the girl shove the money down her bra; her obvious safety place.

"Ugh, I'm going to regret this in the morning," James said under his breath, climbing onto the bulky girl's back who'd promptly bent over for him.

At such an amusing scene, Sirius got out his camera, indenting to capture a few incriminating snapshots of James riding the girl.

"No, Padfoot," James warned him.

"What speed are we undertaking here?" the girl asked.

"Well, hopefully not fifty miles per hour," James fidgeted uncomfortably on her back, not finding a natural position. It was rather peculiar how he'd enjoyed piggybacks at such a young age but now wanted nothing better than to wring his own neck than mount someone else's back, especially one of a she-man. "Full steam ahead, I say."

James clung on for dear life and prayed to Merlin that this plan would work as they climbed the stairs.

Predictably, after a few seconds of James and his personal donkey she-man disappearing up the staircase, there was a mixture of screams of "WAAAAH!" from the two as they shot down the staircase slide and were deposited at the bottom.

"This is really getting old," James complained, rubbing those commonly known bruised buttocks.

"I have a plan, James," Remus enlightened.

"Do tell, Moony."

"Why don't you tell him after he removes his arse from my face," a strangled voice mumbled.

"Oh, good God! Sorry!" James apologized, lifting himself off the hefty girl.

Checking first if her ten galleons was still nestled in her breasts, she left the common room.

"So, here's my hypothesis. Maybe -and this is taking a long shot- the stairs have eyes-"

"Staircases don't have eyes, Remus."

"No, I don't mean actual eyes," Remus rectified. "I mean, they judge whoever climbs the staircase from their appearance. So, these 'stair eyes'," he air quoted, "saw you climbing them -you who looks obviously like a boy- so did not grant access for you to the girls dormitory."

James slowly nodded. "Riiight…"

"So, perhaps there could be a way of tricking the staircase, possibly deceiving it by your appearance."

"…you're telling me to dress up as women, aren't you."

"Precisely."
---------

Ten minutes later, James was more adequately attired for the staircases so-called wishes. After a little magic, he was now sported in a long haired, rather tacky red wig, accompanied with the girl version of the Hogwarts school uniform; a short skirt gracing his waist and a blouse that left nothing to the imagination, especially after Sirius had shoved a couple of socks under there. Peter had attempted to make-up his face but only ended pasting James' features as though he were a bare wall needing sprucing up with too much paint. James' mug now resembled one of a clown after a long night out.

"I look like an absolute tit," James grumbled, his face not one of glee. It did not help when the same students which had scurried off earlier had returned to laugh at his expense.

"You, er, kinda look like Evans," Peter said, cocking his head to one side and wincing at James' appearance.

"After giving birth to eleven children while failing to recover as a crack whore," Sirius added.

James was not enjoying the teasing. He needed to focus on the objective: the see through lingerie.

"This better work, Remus Lupin," James wagged a threatening finger at his werewolf friend, "Or I swear at full moon: an antler up your sodding arse."

James seemed to forget the fact that Remus had a particularly nasty bite, but Remus did nothing but smile in return.

Walking uncomfortably in the high heel shoes, James made his way up the staircase, looking oddly like a penguin as he waddled in the skirt. With every step he took, more hope grew in the bottom of his stomach.

"I think it's working," James said, growing more excited. He started to speed up his steps until he fell forwards, knocking his nose onto one of the steps. Before James could mutter a profanity, the steps disappeared; turning into a slide, and he was zooming down it again.

Unfortunately, he landed rather ungracefully, displaying his frilly knickers (which Sirius insisted he had to wear in order for Remus' hypothesis to work) to the common room.

"Moony!" James exploded, obviously unhappy that his theory had not worked.

"Don't blame me!" Remus put up his hands in defence. "Blame the hypothesis!"

"I'm going to shove a broom up your-" James stopped, looking suddenly alarmed. His friends wondered if he had gone so barmy which had lead to the abrupt pause of silence. "That's it!" he cried.

"What? What's it? Prongs?" Sirius sighed as he watched James mysteriously shoot up to the boys dormitory.

After a few minutes, James returned to the common room again, dressed in manly clothes much to everyone's relief. What was puzzling was the thing James was holding over his shoulder.

"A broomstick?" Peter said, admiring James' pride and joy that was his flying instrument in his grip.

"Uh oh. Run for it, Moony!" Sirius warned Remus, elbowing him. "I think he was being serious about shoving pointy things up ones bottom."

Remus had thought of a rather more logical explanation to the broom. "You're not seriously going to fly that thing up there, are you? In the castle!"

"Like I say: when in doubt, use a broom," James said proudly.

"I don't think you can use that phrase to resolve every dilemma, you know," Sirius said. "Say, if you'd run out of toilet roll. I don't highly recommend using a broomstick-"

"Stop being vulgar," Remus cut him off.

There was the sound of a creak as the Portrait of the Fat Lady opened, and James quickly turned pale. Alas, Lily Evans had chosen this specific moment to change blouses, which would inevitably lead to her going to her dormitory.

"Oh bollocks," James cursed.

Just when Lily was about to take a first step on the staircase, James shoved her aside, blocking entry. She looked startled at such an action.

"Potter, move," she said simply.

"I'm afraid I can't allow that."

Slowly, Lily raised her knee in a threatening matter.

"Alright-y then." James stepped aside, gesturing a hand for her to move forward. He watched her (with much focusing on her bottom) as she climbed the stairs.

James scratched his chin. "Would it really be so bad if Lily Evans kneed me in the groin…?"

"Prongs," Peter interrupted his perverted thoughts, "You're letting Lily get away." James looked at him vacantly. "The lingerie," he reminded James.

"Bugger!" he remembered. He took his broom of his shoulder and made it hover in the air.

"James, you cannot be serious," Remus said in disbelief, "You can't fly up there! It's too narrow!"

Unfortunately Remus' sensible statements were ignored as James hopped onto his broomstick and shot up staircase.

He let off a variety of curses, bumping into the walls because of how it was narrow, desperately trying to direct the broom at such difficult angles. Once he spotted the seventh year girl's dormitory where the door was luckily open, he rocketed through the opening and nearly collided with Lily inside, falling off his broom and landing -once again- ungracefully on the floor.

"I am so sorry," James quickly started, scrambling to his feet and expecting an expression of horror on Lily's face to her present of underwear.

Instead, Lily was smiling, holding a pair of earrings to her ears.

James was floored.

"I can't believe you got me these," she said with great surprise, still lingering the dangly emerald earrings to her ears.

James blinked, many times, noticeably bewildered. "But-…he said…you can't wear those on your breasts," he stated.

Lily narrowed her eyes. "No, er, you can't," she agreed, rather disturbed by that comment. James watched her cross the room and stand in front of a mirror, examining her reflection with her earrings held to her ears. "I fell in love with these when I first saw them in Hogsmeade," she said softly. "They're beautiful…I really can't believe you got me these."

"Neither can I," James admitted, wondering what on earth was going on.

Hesitantly, Lily stepped over to James and stood in front of him, looking oddly timid. She took a tiny step forwards, but almost simultaneously took it back again. The foot stepping dance repeated many times.

"Lily," James couldn't handle it any longer and shut his eyes, "If you're going to hit me, just get it over with."

He let off a "Holy mother of Merlin" when his eyes snapped open, witnessing Lily lean over to kiss him gently on the cheek.

"Thank you," she mumbled, blushing furiously in the face.

"Hmm?" was all James could form from his mouth.

"You better get out of here before the female population of this house start calling me a tart for having a boy in my room, and so I can write in my diary how stupid I was for touching your cheek, with my lips, without being cleansed first."
-----------

"Prongs!" Sirius called from the couch, spotting his friend enter the common room once more. He patted the seat next to him which James took while he caressed his cheek, which Sirius was thoroughly worried about. "Why are you groping your face like that?"

"Do you think if I never washed my face again, I would get acne?" James asked dreamily.

"Prongs, what happened with the lingerie?" Peter pressed.

"Oh," James remembered the object he'd been trying to get for the past half an hour, "I don't actually know. I mean, I…I got her earrings? The earrings were there. I didn't see any lingerie." He suddenly turned on Sirius. "You bloody lied to me…d-dumb bum!"

"Dumb bum?" Sirius snorted.

"I'm not my usual witty, creative self when it comes to verbal abuse since I've been kissed by an angel."

"It seems you're not your rare masculine self either…" Sirius said low under his breath.

"Padfoot, I'd appreciate it if you didn't lie about giving lingerie to Lily so I'd have to ride mannish girls for your amusement."

A look of confusion came across Sirius' face. "I think you've misunderstood the situation here, Prongs. I got the earrings AND the lingerie."

"POTTER!"

James was frozen to the couch, practically stupefied. "Oh, my God…" he squeaked.

"POTTER, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?"

A furious Lily entered the common room, enraged and on the verge of hurling furniture. She grabbed James by the collar and pulled him to his feet.

"What was this doing under my pillow?" Lily hissed, waving the gauzy lingerie with a look of repulsion.

James glared at Sirius who cringed and grabbed Remus to use as a shield. James hoped never-ending apologies would win her round and prayed they wouldn't have the same effect as his never-ending pleas of "Go out with me, Evans?" which were, for some uncanny reason, turned down.

"I'm really, really, really, really sorry—you're wearing the earrings I got you."

Lily had momentarily forgotten she had put on the earrings and reddened. "That is beside the point!"

"Look, I'm really, really, really sorry!" James put his hands in prayer position for even more pathetic forgiveness. "Tell me what I can do to make it up to you."

Lily took one look at the lingerie in her hand, then James, which was then followed by a smirk.

"Potter," she leered.

"Evans?" James answered nervously.

"Potter," she recurred.

"Evans?"

"Potter," she growled.

By now James had figured out what Lily was going to make her do. "Evans," he whined.

Soundlessly, she shoved the lingerie into his hands.

Gritting his teeth, James slipped the underwear on, while the Marauders and the rest of the inhabitants of the common room either laughed or vomited in their own mouths.

"Do you forgive me now?" James queried, reddening the most unimaginable colour and trying to muster a dignified pose in the women's underwear.

Lily merely scoffed. Using her wand, she poked James in the man boob and clapped her hands. "Now dance!" she ordered.

"What?"

"You heard the lady!" Sirius quipped.

With a deep sigh, James slowly raised his arms into the air and began moving them rhythmically in what could be called a dancing motion. Gritting his teeth, he shook his hips a little and added a few unenthusiastic pelvic thrusts.

"Wahey, sex-ay! I've got an empty dormitory and two sickles with your name on it!"

"SHUT YOUR FACE, SIRIUS."

Those emerald earrings draped Lily's ears every day until the 31st of October, 1981.