The Day After
James Potter blinked groggily as he heaved a great yawn. His stomach gave an unannounced pang of surprising joy as he ruffled his hair and blinked away sleep. His chest felt as if it had an overactive flobberworm within it, making him feel oddly excited and anxious. He blinked his eyes again and sat up in his four-poster.
After stretching his arms over his mussed-up head of hair, he threw open the curtains surrounding his bed and squinted his eyes shut as they met the bright light of sunrise. Setting his feet on the cold wooden floor, he couldn't help but notice his stomach seemed to give another lurch of good to come, like the nervous anticipation he always felt the morning before a Quidditch match.
Shrugging the feeling away, he grabbed a fresh pair of robes and the rest of his Hogwarts uniform and headed off to the bathroom to take a hot shower.
Walking out of the bathroom twenty minutes later, fresh, clean, and newly shaven, he squirmed a bit as the feeling inside of him threw in a new emotion to the mix—he had the dreaded feeling that he was forgetting something.
Racking his mind for anything of significance that happened yesterday— and drawing nothing, for the day had been a whirl-wind of a blur—he did his best to try and forget that gnawing sensation. With an added jump in his step that he still wasn't quite sure where had come from, he made his bed—something that was never done—and gathered his necessary books of the day. Dropping down and effectively mussing his freshly made bed, he peered at the clock on his side-table. It was only six forty; he'd give his four roommates a few more minutes of sleep before waking them up.
Giving a contented sigh, he picked up a Quidditch magazine displaying all the latest models and gave it a look over. It only managed to hold his attention for less than five minutes; that odd fluttering sensation in his stomach seemed to have at least doubled when he was freshening up this morning.
Come to think of it, he had taken his routine a step farther than usual this morning. He'd pulled out that bottle of fine cologne (his father had said it smelled too much like "young" and had given it to his son) instead of his preferred product and dabbed some of it on his cleanly shaven neck, which had been done meticulously this morning. He'd even gone as far as to tuck his shirt into his trousers and adjust his tie to the appropriate length. His robes lay neatly over his clothing and gave him a very sharp, clean cut look. This was something new to him. For a fleeting second he contemplated why he had gone to such measures to look presentable this morning, but the thought was quickly pushed away as he heard the stirring of his roommates.
The first to surface was Peter. His hair was rumpled and oddly similar to James's as he groped his way along the walls to the bathroom. He gave a muffled sort of annoyed "mmph" at the sound of James's cheery "hullo and good morning, Petey!"
The next to follow was Sirius. His normally sleek and elegant black hair had a cowlick sticking up along the side and he gave absolutely no recognition at James's chipper "fine morning, Padfoot!", although that may have been because he had yet to open his eyes and actually take notice of James. Sirius found the door, felt that it was closed, and collapsed in front of it, curling up like a dog.
Following Sirius was Finnegan, the only dorm-mate of the five who wasn't a Marauder. "M-m-morning, James!" he said through a yawn, and noticing that it would be quite a while until he had access to the bathroom, nicked the Quidditch magazine right out of James's hands and planted himself next to Sirius. After only a few seconds of lazily studying the newest broomstick models, his head drooped onto his chest and his eyes fluttered shut.
The last to appear was resident werewolf, Remus. He was scratching his head and blinking his eyes rapidly as he made his way to the bathroom door. Tsking at the sleeping forms of Sirius and Finnegan, he turned instead to James for a greeting. "Sleep well?" he questioned, fumbling through his draws for some suitable attire.
"Like a baby," James informed him, watching him struggle with the clothing. "Though I do keep getting this funny feeling," he added thoughtfully.
"Really now," said Remus, discarding a pair of socks on the floor and turning to James in interest. "Do tell."
"I dunno," said James, smoothing out the comforter beneath his hands. "I just woke up with this feeling that I'm forgetting something."
"Like what?" inquired Remus, plopping himself down on the end of James's bed.
"Dunno… it's sort of a nervous-y excited," he elaborated.
"Sort of like the feeling you get when you're around Lily," Remus offered, referring of James's oft reminded emotional state.
"Sort of…" His head jerked up suddenly. "You don't think it's got anything to do with Lily, do you?"
Remus shrugged as his attention was snatched away by the bathroom door being slammed open. Both Sirius and Finnegan were awakened from their sleep with jumps. "With you, James," he said, standing up and gathering his disregarded clothing, "Lily is always a possibility."
James ignored the ritualistic struggle over the use of the bathroom as he contemplated Remus's words.
He took a moment to evaluate his feelings. It was that tingly feeling you get in your chest when you're excited and nervous about something, like that test you know you're going to ace but you're anxious about nonetheless. And he was happy; he knew that right out. But this was a special happy—a happy he reserved only for Lily.
So it must have something to do with Lily then. But what?
He hadn't the faintest clue, he noted as he watched Remus beat the other two to the bathroom, whence he snapped the door shut with a smug smirk. But what better to do that go to the supposed source of the mysterious tingle?
However, before he even had the chance to pick himself up from his four-poster, his best mate and other best mate had made themselves comfortable at the foot of James's bed. Peter still looked quite disgruntled at having to wake up at all, his arms folded across his chest and a yawn on his lips. Sirius, on the other hand, looked like his five-minute nap at the bathroom door was just enough for him. His legs were crossed with his hands resting on his knees, a pleasant grin on his face. They both looked as if they were awaiting something, though Sirius with a slightly more cheerful attitude.
"Morning, Padfoot, Wormtail," he said, some of his previous energy lost.
"So it is," Sirius observed, while Peter just nodded his head in James's direction.
"Have you seen the latest Comet—" James began to say, but was cut off as Sirius adequately decided to skip straight to the chase by saying, "How's it going with Evans?"
Sputtering a bit, James blushed. "I dunno… okay, I guess—but what would I know?—so alright, I suppose…"
Sirius grinned cockily, earning a glare from James in return. Peter merely yawned, as if the whole affair bored him.
"What?" James asked, cocking an eyebrow. "Why you grinning at me like that?"
Sirius shrugged before adding nonchalantly, "You wouldn't happen to remember anything from last night, would you?"
"I dunno, I did Ancient Runes or something… right?" he responded, eyebrows furrowed.
"Or something," Sirius replied, his eyes twinkling mysteriously.
"'Or something' like what?" James said, his eyes narrowed at Sirius, who was twiddling his thumbs in front of him in a very good rendition of Professor Dumbledore.
"'Or something' that might involve one Lily-of-your-eye Evans…," he implied, barely able to conceal his ever-growing grin.
"An 'or something' that might involve Lily Evans and I doing what, exactly?"
"Or something," was Sirius' vague answer.
James raised that eyebrow at him again.
Sirius raised both of his in response. "Let's just say it was an 'or something' that left you running around the common room like a drunkard all night."
"What, did we snog?" James shot back incredulously.
"'Or something'," muttered Sirius, smirking mysteriously.
"WE SNOGGED? ARE YOU SERIOUS?" cried James, launching himself up from the bed.
Peter gave a particularly loud snore from the end of the bed that both boys chose to ignore.
"After seven years of best-mate-ship, James," began Sirius, shaking his head disapprovingly, "you've only now learned my name?"
James gave him his best glare-of-death, to which Sirius laughed heartily.
"I swear, Sirius Black, best mate of mine," said James, glaring heatedly, "you make that wanking joke one more time and I'll kick you so hard in the groin that it'll ensure you're never able to even think of having children."
Sirius scooted carefully away from James and chuckled apprehensively. "Er, right… now where were we?"
"You were just about to tell me all about what did or did not happen last night," James said, some of his anger already beginning to ebb at the thought of Sirius loosing his manhood.
"Well, let's just say it ended with you tripping and Obliviating your own mind," said Sirius, grinning fondly at the thought.
"Obliviated your mind, that's right," said Sirius, eyeing the door handle eagerly as it began to shake.
"Obliviated what, exactly?" questioned James, his eyes narrowed.
"You remember the Quidditch game, don't you?" asked Sirius, who was now coiling his legs up underneath him as to spring from the bed as soon as the bathroom door opened.
"'Course I do," said James, grinning. "We won 290 to 110."
"Everything after that's gone then, I s'pose," said Sirius, his eyes still locked on the bathroom door.
"And what would be included in that everything, eh?" asked James, leaning forward rather eagerly.
But before Sirius had a chance to reply, however, the bathroom door swung open and Sirius sprang from the bed in a great leap. Remus ducked out of the doorway just as Sirius went hurtling past him, rolling in a summersault into the bathroom. Remus shook his head.
"Remus, I Obliviated my mind," said James, marching up to the werewolf. "What'd I Obliviate?"
Remus chuckled. "Probably the most embarrassing and happiest moment of your life, I'd think," he replied, tucking his pajamas into his draws.
"Cryptic" was James's only response.
Remus shrugged, looking as if he couldn't care less if he was being cryptic or not.
"And what was the most embarrassing and happiest moment of my life, would you mind saying, 'cos I can't seem to remember it!" exploded James, flapping his arms in the air.
"You know, you look rather like a hippogriff when you do that," mentioned Remus as he chuckled, leaning over his four-poster to draw the blankets up.
"You're avoiding the question, aren't you, Remus Lupin?" accused James, waggling a finger in his friend's face.
"Maybe you're the one avoiding the question, James Potter," shot back Remus, having now successfully made his bed.
There was silence for a moment until— "Please, Moony, you have to tell me!"
"Why not just go ask Lily?" suggested Remus, who was now settling down on his bed with a book at hand.
James attempted to give him doggy eyes. Remus sighed. "You really want to know, do you?"
James nodded in an attempt to look innocent.
"Fine," said Remus, laying his book on his stomach. "You—"
But the very moment Remus was about to reveal the answer to all of James's confusion, none other than Sirius Black burst out of the bathroom in a towel.
"One eighteen and a half!" he cried, waving his hands in the air frantically.
James's mouth fell open in shock at his friend's absolutely horrific timing, rather than the fact that he was again shouting "one eighteen and a half!" while running around the room in naught but a towel.
"One eighteen and a half of what, Padfoot?" asked Remus, already sounding weary.
"It took me one minute and eighteen and half seconds to get in and out of the bathroom!" Sirius shouted joyfully, waking both Peter, who had been draped over the end of James's bed rather uncomfortably, and Finnegan, who had been slouching against the wall. Finnegan got up and hobbled into the bathroom, muttering something about those "twitting Marauders," while Peter shuffled out of the dorm, mumbling something about going down to the Great Hall for some breakfast.
"Moony, Padfoot, I'm only going to ask this one more time," James said slowly, thinking that spacing his words would make them more understandable. "What did I do last night?"
A moment passed as Sirius and Remus exchanged a glance. "Sorry, mate, but we're not budging," said Sirius, shaking his hair out like a dog and showering them both before walking over to his own draws.
James turned to glare at Remus, but his nose was already buried within his book yet again. James gave a defeated sigh and promptly dropped himself on the end of Remus's four-poster as he tried not to act too curious.
And it may have taken twenty-one minutes and much grumbling from James, but the three friends were finally ready to enter the Great Hall. They promptly plopped down next to Peter, who seemed to be in a much more agreeable mood now that he had food in his system. But after loading their plates with eggs and kippers and having a friendly discussion on who would win the Quidditch World Cup that year, the conversation quickly turned to last night's events.
"Just tell me what happened!" James once again complained.
"What happened when?" said a sweet voice from behind him. James froze.
He opened his mouth to say something suave and impressive, but all that came out was: "Erm… hey, Lily."
"Morning, James," Lily said, smiling sweetly at him, before turning to each of his friends and greeting them in turn. He felt his insides melt like butter as she sat next to him… quite close, might I add.
As she loaded her bowl with porridge and toast, she casually asked his friends, "Have you told him yet?"
"Yep," Sirius replied, not even bothering to look up from the determined buttering of his toast.
"About…?" Lily questioned.
"Obliviating his mind, yes," added Remus, who was courteous enough to look up when he was addressing her.
"Oh. Erm… okay," said Lily shortly. After taking a quick breath, she turned to James, who was watching her with wide eyes. "I'm Lily Evans, and I'm your girlfriend."
"You're… what?" he sputtered. He was turning progressively pinker, Sirius's sniggers doing him no good.
"Your girlfriend," she repeated.
"So…" he said, frowning, "I asked you out, and you said yes?"
She nodded, a faint smile forming.
"No joke?" he whispered.
"No joke," she repeated.
"You're my girlfriend. I asked you out. You said yes. AND I CAN'T REMEMBER IT?" He dropped his head down on the table, barely missing Lily's bowl of porridge.
She gave a slight giggle as she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. He shivered at the contact.
"Lily, would you go out with me?" he asked suddenly, raising his head from the table to meet her eyes.
"James, I'm already going out with you," she said, but after looking into his pleading eyes, she smiled and added gently, "but I'd love to go out with you again anyway."
He grinned as his cheeks tinted pink. "Good," he said, and added as an afterthought, "and hopefully I'll remember this time."