Disclaimer: Yes, Frank "Bart" is the one and only Frank Longbottom. And yes, that was my disclaimer.
Author's Notes: -cackles- I absolutely adore this ficlet! -huggles ficlet- I've been working on it forever and I've finally finished it! Yay me! Though my comedies always take me a long time, I always end up loving them. I dunno, there's something just so lovable abou this one...
Read and review, please! You know you want to!
Rumors (Of the Good Kind)
James Potter was a handsome boy, no denying it.
At the age of thirteen, he was at the perfect balance of childish innocence and new-found maturity. With unruly coal-black hair, a thin face of soft curves, and mischievous hazel eyes, he was no sight for sore eyes.
He was of average height, not too tall and not too short, with a thin, gangly frame. Though he was an esteemed Quidditch player, the intense sport seemed to put no muscle on his bones, though he was surprisingly strong when need be.
James Potter had but one fault— he wore glasses.
Ask any of the third year girls what they thought of James' glasses and they would say that they made him all the more adorable.
And in truth, they did.
The black thin-rimmed glasses suited his face well and added a certain aura of mystery to his already surprising look of childish handsomeness. They seemed to magnify the intensity of his eyes, making it seem as if he was reading you like an open book.
But those glasses had their disadvantages.
James Potter's best mate Sirius Black would often nick those very glasses and prance around the common room with them on, doing an amazingly similar impression of his friend, much to the amusement of many people in the common room (though much to the disadvantage of James).
But as anyone without glasses knows, it's not often good for your eyesight to try on a pair of glasses when you don't really need them. Your vision tends to get blurry and a headache soon ensues.
And it was no different for Sirius Black.
After flaunting his impressive acting skills and managing to walk into several hard objects — two of which had been very disgruntled people — Sirius found his head to be aching and his eyes to be slightly out of focus. Taking the glasses, he casually returned them to James, who had been frantically searching the common room floor on hands and knees for his missing spectacles.
After getting told by a miffed James, Sirius suggested catching some dinner before trying to break into the prefects' bathroom again. Instantly forgetting the incident not even five minutes ago, a hungry James agreed.
After settling themselves into some shepherd's pie and brussel sprouts, James spotted his current "fancy".
Now James and Sirius had reached an age where young boys took notice of the physical beauty of young women, completely ignoring the mental goings-on of said females, and were quite enjoying it themselves.
You see, James' current "fancy" happened to be a very pretty Gryffindor girl with pale blonde hair, light blue eyes, white porcelain skin, and a willowy figure. In fact, everything about her was gracefully pale. She even had a soft, airy laugh and moved with smooth, gentle fluidity.
In essence, she was the exact opposite of our loud, boisterously colorful James, who was frustratingly outgoing and spontaneous.
There was but one problem— she was a popular sixth year sweetheart, whereas he was merely a foolish third year.
But that did nothing to James' hopeful perseverance.
Pointing with a speared brussel sprout to Clarisse Jeghn, he elbowed his best mate and said, "She's the girl I'm gonna marry someday, Sirius, I can feel it."
Sirius — the noise and light of the Great Hall doing nothing for his headache — looked up in the general direction to which James was pointing. His eyes suddenly blurring over, he noticed a shock of dark red hair a few seats down from where Clarisse was sitting with her multitude of friends. Squinting, he recognized (or at least, he thought he did) the girl he had recently nicknamed as "Carrot Top," though her hair resembled nothing like that of a carrot.
Grinning, he said to James, "I thought you fancied that Elise girl, but if you prefer Carrot Top, why didn't you just say so?"
His eyebrows dipping into a frown, James repeated confusedly, "Carrot top?"
"Evans, silly!" Sirius said, grinning above James' left shoulder (his vision had blurred again). "Lily Evans!"
James' frown quickly melted into that of surprise and mild horror, his ears and neck turning satisfactorily red.
"But I — I do fancy that Elise girl, you dung-head!" he exclaimed rather unconvincingly. He added defiantly, almost as if he was speaking to himself, "I most certainly do not fancy Lily Evans."
Suddenly, a little "prank chicken" — as Sirius had so fondly dubbed them — hatched in said boy's mind. Sirius grinned devilishly.
"Whatever you say, my love-struck friend," he said, reaching discreetly for his wand from his back pocket (which wasn't at all hard to do, seeing as James was busy pretending not to stare at a certain girl).
"As long as you don't insist on proclaiming that you fancy Carrot Top in the middle of dinner," Sirius added, twirling his wand between his fingers, hidden from James at his side.
James looked aghast. "Why would I ever insist on proclaiming that I FANCY LILY EVANS!"
He instantly clasped both hands over his mouth, looked mortified as his cheeks flooded with red.
Sirius howled with laughter at his mate's proclamation as he in no way made to hide his wand, which had preformed the complex Sonorus spell on James.
Biffing Sirius on the back of the head, James got up and made as dignified an exit as he could shuffling quickly from the Great Hall, trying desperately to ignore the catcalls and laughter following him mercilessly.
And so the rumors began.
Sirius — being the very best mate he could — helped it along by whispering it in the ears of giggling, gossiping girls as he passed them in the halls, marking it on the walls of the boys' lavatories, and even going so far as it mention it to a professor whilst serving a detention. Not only that, but it presented a wonderful opportunity for Sirius to mock James mercilessly.
If ever an opportunity asserted itself (and there wasn't a waking moment when it didn't), Sirius would pause from his activities to turn to his friend and say slyly, "You know, I haven't been seeing Carrot Top as much lately. Is she avoiding you?"
Sometimes he would even grin wickedly and mutter a quiet "you fancy Lily Evans" in a sing-song voice just to see the red rushing from James' neck and ears and straight into his face. It was quite enjoyable to torment his friend so; there didn't seem to be a moment when you could find James' ears and neck anything other than pink.
It was much too enjoyable.
And even better were the excuses James came up with, ranging from the plain "I don't fancy her!" to the more creative "I'd rather snog the Giant Squid!" which was, of course, untrue. James would rather not go near enough to have a lip-lock with the lake's most prominent inhabitant. Besides, it was rumored that the Giant Squid was male, not to mention having a sordid affair with McGonagall. No, wait— maybe that was Dumbledore… but either way, that's another story for another day.
But the torment in the corridors took the cake.
The snide sixth year Gryffindor girls (whom James had never particularly liked) would mock him horribly (though why they took interest in a third year's love life was beyond him), and even had the guts to start a rumor that Carrot Top herself fancied James back.
James — though he ardently denied it — was clearly disappointed when he discovered that that particular rumor wasn't true.
The older Gryffindors — particularly the fourth years and a scattering of the older years — consoled him in the middle of corridors with a "good luck, Potter, you'll win her over!" or a "if you're as good with the ladies as you are with the quaffle, you'll have no problems!"
Though these phrases brought Sirius much delight, it wasn't quite the same for James, for though he was exceedingly good with the quaffle, he was evidently not as exceedingly good with the ladies.
And then one day — precisely one week, four days, eight hours, twenty-eight minutes, and fifty-three and a half seconds after James made his impromptu confession, to be exact — said boy simply couldn't take the torment a single moment longer.
He happened to be in the Gryffindor common room with his three closest friends, trying to enjoy the warmth of the glowing fire before Remus Lupin would force him to finish his Divination homework, despite the fact that said boy thought Divination was "a load of codswallop, really." It was hard, though, to enjoy the crackling fire when two of his three best mates found much more pleasure in watching him squirm like a flobberworm.
And did he squirm.
"Someone fancies Car-rot Top, Car-rot Top, Car-rot Top! Someone fancies Car-rot Top, and his name — starts with a J — and ends — with an –ames!" sang Sirius, much to the annoyance of the other occupants of the common room, who had heard the dreaded song so many times during the past two hundred and seventy-four hours of pure torture that they thought they could hear it in their sleep (one girl had already been driven to sleeping in the infirmary to get away from Sirius's pubescent voice).
Soon the squeaky voice of one Peter Pettigrew joined in with Sirius's off-pitch tune, adding an equally off-pitch harmony. It also seemed as though Peter had yet to memorize the words.
"Bleeding brilliant, you lot," muttered a thoroughly embarrassed James, who was slowly engulfing himself within the common room couch he was residing on.
Sirius and Peter upped the volume in response and Remus merely turned a page of his book.
After another hundred and eighty-seven seconds of horrid third-year singing, a seventh year stormed over to them. Lowering his face to the third years' level, he opened his mouth and roared, "SHUDDUP!"
Sirius paused for a second and looked thoughtful. "You know what?"
The seventh year placed a hand to his temple and said in a weary voice oddly similar to that of McGonagall, "What?"
Studying his surroundings for a moment, Sirius cupped a hand to his mouth and whispered, "My mate here fancies the pretty little redhead in the corner." He motioned first to James and then to Lily, who seemed to be attempting to hide in the corner behind a very large textbook.
The burly man placed a large hand on Sirius's shoulder and said in a thin voice, "I know, mate, I know." He then walked away, looking on the brink of tears from the pure exhaustion of his patience.
Remus lowered his book to reveal a pale face. "You know, Sirius, you have a truly horrid voice."
"Why thank you, Remmy ol' pal," he said, grinning brightly.
"And it might be a welcomed change if you'd stop teasing James about his fancy," Remus went on, his book now discarded in his lap.
"What, and ruin all my fun?" said Sirius, sounding scandalized.
Remus gave him a skeptical look.
"But it's oh so entertaining to mock him mercilessly about his first real crush," gushed Sirius, reaching out to pinch James' cheeks.
His hands were quickly swatted away by an irritable James, whose cheeks were now permanently blotched with red and an interesting shade of puce.
"As entertaining as it may be— and it's quite entertaining" (James glared at him from within the couch) "it's getting a bit old."
"Not for me!" sang Sirius, bouncing gleefully on his armchair.
"Note the seventh year that was about to beat you to a bloody pulp not five minutes ago," reminisced Remus, bringing his book back up to his eyes.
"Aww, Bart would never hurt me!" said Sirius loudly, waving a nonchalant hand.
"My name is Frank!" came a shout from the other end of the common room.
"Mhmm, sure it is, Bart," said Sirius, wagging a finger at the seventh year. "Besides, Remus, this is the only way to get the word out to dear Carrot Top. Jamsie here certainly isn't going to tell her," he added with a snort.
"Quit talking about me like I'm not here. I can hear you, you know," muttered James from the couch.
Both Sirius and Remus ignoring him, they continued their discussion.
"Sirius, if James wants to tell Lily he fancies her, he'll do it," said Remus, peering over the edge of his book.
"Yeah, I would," mumbled James.
Sirius snorted. "Yeah, right, and Pete here'll end up making the front page of the Prophet."
"Hey, it could happen!" exclaimed Peter, who had been busy playing Exploding Snap with himself.
"Actually, the Peter one is more likely…" mused Sirius, an inquisitive finger resting at his chin.
Remus merely shook his head and buried it within his book while Peter wondered if he'd just been complimented or insulted.
James emerged from the couch with a bold jump after having been tormented long enough, his face a very complementing shade of pink.
"Fine!" he cried, throwing both hands in the air. "I admit it! I fancy Lily Evans! You hear that, Evans? I fancy you!" (Sirius noted her red forehead over the edge of her book.)
"Are you happy now, Sirius?" he added, his cheeks flushed and his hands resting on his hips in a very feminine manner.
Sirius paused for a moment before breaking out into a satisfactory grin. "Very. And don't you worry, mate, you'll thank me someday."
And little did either James or Sirius know, but that is exactly what he would be doing four long years later.
As you can clearly see, not all rumors are bad.