A/N: This came into my head when I was experiencing the event that happens in the first few paragraphs. I saw it happen and I was horrified, so enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing... especially not Harry Potter
Capture The Flag
Lily Evans stepped outside on a warm autumn's day with the intention of reading a good book, but her day was going to get far more interesting. She traveled down the grounds, past the lake, down by the Quidditch field and up a hill, pausing for a moment to throw a gum wrapper into an otherwise empty rubbish barrel. She turned around and admired the beautiful view for a moment before seating herself on the slope and opening her book with a small sigh of contentedness.
However, this happiness was short-lived because after only a few minutes of reading, a loud yell could be heard and someone flew right over Lily's head, almost hitting her. She gave a yelp and ducked down, covering her head with one hand and holding her book to her chest.
Lily opened one eye and looked about, and then came out from her cover. James Potter was dismounting his broom, clutching the tiny golden stitch in his hand. He hurried over to her and dropped to his knees beside her, his face flushed with excitement and his hair tousled by the wind. She caught a whiff of his cologne, and she felt a strange feeling in her insides, as if her stomach was doing a back flip; this feeling was not unusual in times like this, and it was the easiest to get used to in comparison to the other emotions she'd been feeling lately towards James.
"Sorry, Evans," he said with bated breath, "Snitch flew over your head."
"That's fine, Potter," she replied, opening her book and going back to her reading as if James was not there.
James stared at her for a moment and then took a deep breath, pondering his thoughts.
"You going tonight?" James said, and Lily looked up from her book.
"Where?" She asked.
"The annual Capture the Flag game," James said coolly, glancing back at Lupin, Sirius, and Peter, who were hovering on broomsticks a few yards away.
Lily set her book down and replied, "Oh, was that tonight?"
James nodded, and Lily yawned.
"Sure. Count me in," she said, and James left her side.
Lily reached for her book, but stopped; she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to read anymore. She crossed her arms behind her head and lay down on the soft grass. The annual Capture the Flag game often resulted in someone getting injured, but for some reason, Lily still found herself returning every year. Last year, Peter Pettigrew disappeared and when they found him, he was strung up by his ankles to a tree.
Lily chuckled to herself and watched the clouds drift by. The game, originated by James Potter in their first year, was played out on the castle grounds, without teacher permission or awareness. The students all meet by the gates at precisely midnight and the teams are picked. More often then not, violence often occurred, though magic was not permitted to cheat in past games.
Lily closed her eyes and inhaled the warm air; yes, this was the perfect weather to play in. Warm air, but with the slightest of breezes. Lily could hear sounds coming from the top of the hill behind her, but the didn't bother to turn and investigate; it sounded like James and his mates had grown tired of Quidditch playing and had moved on to other things. It was only when she started hearing sounds of protest when she became interested in what was going on.
"Let go, Potter, and face me like a man!" growled a livid voice.
Lily rolled over onto her stomach to see James and Sirius at the top of the hill, dragging a thrashing Severus Snape towards the rubbish bin in which Lily had previously deposited her gum wrapper. She scrambled to her feet, snatched up her book, and slipped trying to get up the hill.
"That's what you get for hexing someone from behind!" Sirius roared as they dumped Severus unceremoniously into the rubbish bin and pressed the lid down on it.
The sounds of Severus' muffled bellowing could be heard from inside the sealed barrel as James and Sirius tipped it over on its side. Lily finally got to her feet and scrambled up the hill, but it was too late. With a grunt, the two boys gave the barrel an almighty heave and it rolled down the hill with Severus inside, cursing. Lily gasped in alarm as the barrel rolled faster and faster down the hill, bouncing every time it hit the tiniest bump. She dropped her book and started sprinting down the hill, with the other boys in hot pursuit.
The barrel arrived at the bottom of the hill and the top fell off. Severus flopped out of the barrel and lay motionless on the ground. For one terrible moment, Lily wondered if he had been severely injured or worse, but Severus began to stir. He hauled himself onto his feet, but he lurched, stumbled, and fell; his hair was static and sticking in all directions. Lily ran forward, grabbed his upper arm, and helped him to his feet. However, the moment Severus was standing, he wrenched his arm away from her grip and withdrew his wand from his robe, pointing it at her.
"Don't touch me!" he exclaimed heatedly, backing off a step.
Lily put her hands on her waist and glared back at him.
"Fine! Next time, you can lay there for all I care!" She spat, and turned on her heel to James and Sirius, who were both grinning.
The moment she set her eyes on them, however, their smiles faded into something that could have resembled fear. Peter Pettigrew cowered behind Lupin, who looked exasperated to the point of being fatigued.
"And you two!" she exclaimed, "You're no better than he is, doing that!"
"He hexed me! From behind!" James yelled back, pointing a finger a Severus, who gave him a look of purest loathing.
"Yes, and you proved you're just as weak as he is by retaliating!"
"I am not weak!"
"Oh yeah?" Lily shouted, "Prove it! No, let's bet tonight's game on it! If my team wins, then you leave him alone!"
She gestured to Severus, who began to splutter protests.
"Deal!" Sirius said, stepping up, "And what if our team wins, which we will?"
Lily was silent for a moment as she pondered, and then stepped up close to Sirius so that their faces were a few inches apart.
"Then you can roll me down the hill in a barrel full of trash," she said, pointing her thumb to herself.
Sirius' expression was surprised at first, but then he crossed his arms.
"That's a small price to pay for giving up my favorite hobby," Sirius said calmly, "If you lose, we roll you down the hill, and you go out on a date with James... and let him pay for your meal."
James opened his mouth to protest, the look on his face hesitant, but Sirius held up a hand and he closed his mouth. Lily's mouth opened for a moment, but then she closed it, narrowed her eyes, and backed off a step.
"Fine," she said determinedly.
Severus marched up to Lily and grabbed her by the shoulder.
"Why are you involved?" Severus asked, "This has nothing to do with you, and I don't need your help!"
"I'm involved because I need to be!" Lily replied to him coolly, "There is nothing I hate more than a bully, and if I can get them to stop bothering you, than it will make my life a lot easier. And maybe, just maybe, you will grow up and lay off them in return!"
Snape, Sirius, and even James looked lost for words. Lily smiled sweetly, pinched Severus' sunken, pale cheek and turned, her skirt fluttering about her knees.
"See you at midnight!" She said cheerfully, and walked away.
Severus, James, Sirius, Peter, and Lupin all stood stock-still and silent for a moment before Lupin cleared his throat. The men seemed to realize that they were standing together and turned in their separate ways – James and his friends in one direction, Severus in the other.
"See you at midnight," James said curtly before turning and walking away.
"Yes, I think you will," Severus said tersely over his shoulder before heading for the castle, his robe sweeping behind him.
At five 'till midnight, Lily crept down the stairs and out of the common room, being careful not to make any sounds. She moved with stealth, keen on making it outside without being caught. To be caught sneaking about at midnight was more than just a crime to most teachers, and to Lily as well, for by getting discovered, she would be letting down the rest of the seventh years as well. As well as all of the seventh year Gryffindors, most of the Hufflepuffs, a few Ravenclaws, and even a Slytherin or two wanting to prove himself that met at the gates on this one night. Severus was often the only Slytherin to go, and he did so begrudgingly.
Lily almost chuckled at the thought, but remembered to keep silent. She was the one that had originally pestered Severus into going to the second annual Capture the Flag game. He had not wanted to go, but she had persuaded him with something even he could not pass up – a friend. Yes, for one night, Severus and Lily had been almost friends. Most would say that their friendship was not a friendship at all, for Severus was full of resent, but Lily knew that she had some charm over him, and therefore he followed her once a year down to the gates.
Lily turned a corner near the door when she walked straight into something solid and fell to the ground.
"Watch it! Oh, it's you," Severus said indifferently, straightening his robes and squinting in the darkness.
Lily stood up and dusted herself off, noticing that Severus' features looked even more angular in the torchlight than usual.
"Shh!" She hissed, "Yes it's me! Do you want to get us caught or what?"
Severus rolled his eyes. Lily held out her arm and he tentatively linked his with hers, and they strode out the front door, which someone had kept open by wedging a pencil into the crack.
"This should be interesting," Lily said conversationally once they had gotten outside into the warm, spring air.
"Indeed," Severus replied in a verifying voice.
They walked down the grounds until they reached the gates, where a large group of people were standing. James came out of the crowd and greeted Lily, seeming to not notice Severus at all.
"You look positively spiffing," James said in a deep, mature voice.
Lily giggled and replied, "You don't look so terrible yourself." She tried to resist the urge she had been suddenly overcome with – the urge to kiss James in front of all these people.
James winked, conjured a platform, and stood upon it so that he towered over the crowd. Immediately, the talking ceased and a strange, anticipating hush came over the seventh years as they looked up at James expectantly. He smiled his charming smile and opened his arms.
"Welcome to the final Capture the Flag game! Well," he paused thoughtfully, "it's our last game, to say the least. I might have to spread the idea onto younger grades for future generations."
He paused again, this time reaching into his pocket and drawing from it two one foot by one foot black banners, one with a red '1' and the other with a '2' on it. He held the flags up over his head and Lily fidgeted with excitement, unlinking her arm from Severus' to tighten her ponytail.
"The rules are as follows: there are two pre-selected captains, the lovely Lily Evans and myself. The captains hide their team's flag on their side of the grounds. The object of the game is for your team to find the other team's flag before they find yours. If a member of the opposing team is caught on your side, you tag them, and they are sent to the team 'jail'. You can rescue team members from jail, and you can't get tagged on your side of the grounds. The first team to find the opposing team's flag wins! Also, as far as magic goes; no magic except for the lumos spell. No transfiguring your flag – it must be visible and in it's normal form. And also, no transfiguring yourself in any way, shape, or form to… blend in better."
James gave Peter and Sirius a meaningful look that no one else understood.
"Team one, my team that is, has half the grounds starting with the lake and half the forest. Team two has the other half, starting at the hut.
He waved his wand and a white line drew itself across the ground where the boundary lay.
"Now, if I may… Evans, please come on up so we can get the game rolling!"
Lily stepped out of the crowd and onto the platform next to James.
"Alright, two captains, check. Now, since this game tonight is based on a bet, Evans gets Snape and I get Sirius. And also, Evans, we've brought you a surprise. Sirius, if you would be so kind…"
Sirius came fourth, grinning and dragging a large barrel half-full of trash. Lily looked at it apprehensively.
"We've prepared this for you, Evans," James said smugly, "And I've booked a candlelit dinner at the Three Broomsticks already."
Lily rolled her eyes and replied sarcastically, "Wonderful."
But for Lily, something was different. Maybe because she had not gotten enough sleep, or maybe it was the way James was so desperate, but she felt a pang of – what? Could it be? Desire to go out with James? Actually go out with him? Lily shook her head to clear her mind and reminded herself of the prat that James was. She was, however, having an internal battle with herself at the moment.
He's a prat!
But a very handsome prat…
He's terrible to Snivellus!
But he's so nice to me…
But you hate him!
Do I? He looks so kissable.
Lily fought herself for a moment before refocusing back on James and the game.
James drew a parchment bearing only his name and Lily's from his pocket and tapped it once with his wand. Instantly, names started filling the columns at random.
"Alright, teams! Let's see here…"
James read off his portion of the list and got half the people, including Lupin. They all lined up behind him as he read off Lily's teammates. Lily got several good players and also Peter, who had not shown any remarkable skill in the game before. Lily called a team huddle.
"Guys, all I have to say is, play hard," Lily said as they all leaned their heads close in, "My fate pretty much rests on this game, so just play hard. Please."
Lily's teammates nodded and some murmured reassuring things to her. She held up her flag with the number 2 on it.
"I'm hiding this when James gives the O.K., and then the game starts. Best of luck to all!"
James and Lily shook hands and then ran off in opposite directions. Lily made it to look as of she were running towards the lake, then backtracked and ducked into the forest and searched for a place to hide her flag. She ran deeper into the forest until she found an area that was relatively open with a large rock sticking out of the ground. The rock was protected on three sides, and she pinned her flag to the rock so that the number 2 was clearly visible. Then she ran back down to the gates, where James was waiting.
"What took you, Evans?" James asked, checking his watch.
"Looking for the best hiding spot," Lily replied, grinning broadly.
"Very well then," James said.
Everyone again gathered over to where James was standing, and he rumpled his hair in the back.
"Uhm," Lily said, "Well, five minutes until game time, everyone! We only have a few hours to play; we have to be back in our beds by four, or else Filch will have our heads."
The two teams went their separate ways and huddled. Lily inspected her team and nodded to herself. Her team could have definitely been worse. In fact, they were about equal with James' team. She began to appoint positions.
"Leighy, Traviston, Morris, Fletcher, Malfoy, Black, you'll be on defense with Macmillian and Jamiston." She said, and the people nodded, "Do not let them get the flag! If you tag them, they automatically get transported to our jail, which is by Hagrid's hut. The flag is in the forest over by that enclosure with the gynormous rock, so keep on it! Actually, some of you patrol the surrounding area and two of you stand guard over the flag itself."
She took a moment to breathe and pushed the escaped strands of hair away from her face.
"Okay, that leaves Pettigrew, Smith, Johnson, Wood, Lovegood, Longbottom, Diggory, Diggle, Snape, and me on the attack. We need to – wait! First, everyone find a partner!"
People immediately sprang together in pairs. Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black were already holding hands. Lily grabbed Severus by the arm and tugged him over besides her. Lily counted pairs to make sure that nobody was left out.
"Stay with your partner," Lily warned, "It's dark in the woods, and I have a feeling that James hid his flag in there. Anyway, here comes Potter. Remember, if you tag someone on our team in their jail, which is near the lake, they're free to come back in the game."
At that point, James approached, looking excited.
"Are you ready, Evans?"
"Yes, and you?"
The rest of James' team, lead by Sirius, came over and stopped behind James on their side of the line. The opposing teams glared at each other, and then James and Lily clasped hands over the boundary line, their eyes glued together. Lily felt butterflies in her stomach, and judging by the way the corner of his mouth twitched, so had James.
"Teams have thirty seconds to hide. Ready?" James asked, his brows raised.
"Ready," Lily replied.
"One, two three, GO!" Everyone counted, and the game was off. People ran off in all directions to hide.
Lily grabbed Severus' hand and pulled him off in the direction on the forest, with the flag guarders, while some defenders went to find other boundary places to hide. The attackers ran off in every which direction with their partners to look for team one's flag.
Lily, Severus, Peter and Tyler Wood all ducked into the forest, unseen by anybody. They wandered around for a while, searching thoroughly for the flag. All of a sudden, several members of James' team jumped out from the bushes. Wood was tagged, and he gave a shout before disappearing into thin air. Peter dove into the bushes and was gone from sight. Lily and Severus turned and managed to sprint out of harm's way before they could get tagged. They sprinted out of sight, their robes occasionally getting snagged on something or their ankles getting stuck in roots. Finally they collapsed onto the ground in their own territory, breathless. Lily clasped her hands behind her head to open her air passages, and Severus was bent double, his hands on his knees.
"Wow," Lily said, "That was close."
"This game is dumb," he sneered, "I can't believe I ever let you talk me into it."
Lily thumped him on the back and he gasped.
"Just because you're out of shape doesn't make the whole game dumb," Lily said, and Severus flushed, "And besides, you're enjoying yourself."
Severus straightened, still breathing heavily.
"Hardly," he snapped in a hushed voice as they started walking again.
They crept along for a while in silence, the only sounds being those of owls and occasionally other creatures. They walked out of the woods and into the yard, which was lit only by the light of the half-moon. Lily and Severus dropped to the ground and peered out from around a bush. They could see the lake and the jail, where several members of Lily's team were sitting gloomily. Remus was standing guard at the jail site, a long stick in his hand. Lily watched him for a moment before turning to Severus.
"Here's the plan," she said in an almost inaudible whisper, "It's just Lupin standing guard, so you're going to create a diversion and I'll sneak around the back and tag our teammates."
Severus narrowed his eyes and leaned in closer to Lily as he hissed, "Why do I have to create a diversion? Besides, my hair is darker and I can blend in better."
"Are you kidding me? You're so pale, you're brighter than the moonlight!" she replied acidly, but cowered under his glare. "All right, all right. I'll make the diversion. But first, let's get closer to the jail."
They ran from bush to bush until they were a hundred feet from the jail. Remus was staring around into the darkness, his branch clasped in his hand. Occasionally, he would shoot an apprehensive glance at the moon overhead.
"Ready?" Lily breathed, and Severus nodded. "Let's go!"
Lily picked up a rock and threw it in the direction of Remus. It flew over his head and he spun around, his branch held up like a torch. He narrowed his eyes in the pale moonlight.
"Whose there? Show yourself!" he demanded, and Lily couldn't help but smile.
She ran out from her cover and darted in the opposite direction of the jail. Then, she cut back and ran in front of Remus, who looked astounded.
"Hey Lupin! Over here!" Lily yelled across the lawn to him as she did a cartwheel, "Betcha can't catch me!"
Behind Remus' back Lily saw Severus creep to the prison and tag each of the prisoners in term. The people, now free, darted off in every direction. She was so busy being amazed that her plan had been so affective that she forgot about Remus. She suddenly saw him, almost in front of her, and her eyes widened in shock.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, turning on her heel and tore across the grass; she had not expected Remus to be so fast.
Remus didn't follow her across the yard, for he couldn't leave his post. Though the jail was empty, he sulked back to his spot and resumed pacing in front of the rock. Lily reached her side of the line and collapsed at Severus' feet.
"Have a nice jog, Evans?" Severus asked, not bothering to help Lily to her feet.
"He's faster than I thought," Lily said, looking up at Severus with a frown, "Scared the daylights out of me."
Lily pulled herself to her feet and the pair hurried off into the woods again. They walked until they found a small clearing near the border of their side and hid in it. The area was decently enclosed, and there was an old chain-linked fence. Severus strode over to it and leaned his back against it, his arms crossed. Lily, however, was pacing about, gazing from around the trees and into the dark of the forest. There didn't seem to be any action on their end, and it was unnerving.
"I wonder where James is," she wondered quietly aloud to herself, then turned at Severus with the intention of asking him what he thought James was up to.
She opened her mouth to speak as she turned, but one glimpse at Severus' expression caused her to fall silent. His back was against the fence, with one foot on the ground and one knee bent so that his other foot was propped up against the fence. His right arm was limp at his side, but the other hand was up near his head. His hand was facing back-up and his fingers were intertwined with the fence. It was not just his pose that was strange, but the way his head was turned, staring in the opposite direction of Lily, and his expression was incredibly contemplative.
He must have felt eyes on him, because he suddenly turned and faced her. His cold eyes bore into hers, and he looked angry. This is what gave Lily the chills; being with an angry Snape in the dark of night was not a comforting thing.
"Why did you do it, anyway?" He asked, and she raised her eyebrows at him.
"Why did you have to interfere? Why'd you risk getting stuffed in the rubbish and going out with James Potter for me?"
He dropped his hand and stood up straighter. This was a strange experience for Lily, for Severus usually kept to himself unless he was hexing James or something of that sort. Lily's mouth dropped open for a moment, but she closed it and smiled.
"That's what friends are for, isn't it?" Lily said, shrugging with a grin on her face.
Severus crossed his arms and gave Lily an incredibly skeptical look. His eyebrow raised.
"I can hardly consider you a friend, Evans," he said doubtfully, shaking his head, causing his oily hair to sway about his face gently. "What would lead you to think so?"
Lily's expression became derisive.
"Oh really?" she said wryly, "Let's see here. I'm nice to you, I made a bet for your well-being on my neck, I bothered you until you came with me to this game and I do it every year, I defend you, I ignore it when you insult me, and to top it all off, I can still stand to be here with you after you threaten me and my friends time and time again! AND, I'm actually enjoying myself here, with you!"
Severus looked stunned. His mouth was ajar and if Lily hadn't known better, she might have guessed that Severus had been confounded.
"Oh," he said dumbly.
After a moment of staring at his expression, Lily burst into laughter and marched forward. She stood on tiptoe and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him downward, as he was much taller than her. She pulled away and beamed at his bemused expression.
"Come on, Snape," she said, lightheartedly slapping the side of his face (he winced in surprise), "We've got a flag to capture!"
Lily's head popped out from around a massive oak tree. Her eyes darted this way and that, making sure that nobody was watching. She was a scout in the enemy grounds, and she was looking for the ultimate prize. She dropped to her knees and began to crawl along to forest floor in the dark when wandlight fell upon her face. She gasped and covered her eyes for a moment, then looked up and saw Severus standing before her with an annoyed expression on his face.
"What are you doing?" he asked irately.
She sighed and got to her feet, dusting off her robes.
"I was sleuthing!" she said, and when he rolled his eyes and began to walk away she shouted, "You're no fun at all, you know that?"
Severus didn't reply. He was looking around for the flag, his wandlight illuminating everything in sight. Lily scurried up behind Severus, not entirely keen on being left in the dark by herself with Sirius running around nearby. He looked down at her with his eyebrows raised.
"So, did you pick me as your partner to protect you?" he joked, and Lily laughed slightly.
"No, but it is an advantage," Lily replied, "You're very tall. Make a nice barrier. What are you, six foot three?"
"Four," he said, squinting into the dark.
There was a rustling sound and Jin Chang jumped out of the bushes at Severus, yelling random words. Severus was quicker, however, and he spun around and raised his wand in one fluid motion. There was a flash of light, a shriek from Lily, and then Chang lay motionless on the ground. Lily gaped up at Severus in horror.
"You're not supposed to use magic!" Lily reprimanded loudly, "What'd you do, stupefy him!"
"Exactly," Severus said, turning back onto his normal path and continuing on as if nothing had happened.
Lily stood rooted to the spot, watching Severus walk off, before drawing her own wand and kneeling beside Chang. She muttered "Ennervate!" and then raced off to catch up with Severus before Chang realized what had happened.
Lily and Severus walked on. Lily knew she must be close to the flag. They had run into several other members of their team and found that the flag was not by the lake or in the grounds anywhere else, which meant that it must be in the woods. And since Lily and Severus had well combed the forest until this point, the flag was undoubtedly around here somewhere.
Lily caught a familiar scent and ceased motion at once, flinging her arm out to halt Severus. He walked into her arm, but got the picture immediately.
"What is it?"
"James is nearby, I can smell him."
"You can what?"
"Shh! I can smell his cologne."
A series of events occurred in a millisecond. Lily took a step forward into some leaves on the ground and gave a shout as she was hoisted up off the ground by her ankle, which had a rope wrapped around it. Severus fell back onto the ground, and then he found himself hoisted into the air in a makeshift net, his wand lying useless on the ground below. Sirius and James jumped down from a tree, howling with laughter.
"Brilliant!" Sirius exclaimed, "Excellent idea, Prongs! I can't believe that I doubted your Muggle trap for one second!"
Gasping for breath with his laughter, James said, "Look what we've caught, Sirius! A couple of fish are stuck in our nets!"
"Nice legs, Evans." Sirius commented coolly, eyeing Lily as he laughed.
It was then that Lily realized that her skirt had fallen up and revealed the smiley-face shorts she wore underneath her uniform as precaution. She smiled sarcastically and tried to untie herself from her trap, but the task was nearly impossible with the blood rushing to her head. Severus, however, was already hacking at the rope holding his net together with at switchblade. Three sets of eyes watched him hesitantly.
"Do you… always carry a switchblade in your pocket, Snivelly?" Sirius asked with the slightest bit of concern in his voice.
Lily, who was still suspended upside down by her ankle with her smiley face shorts exposed and her body revolving slowly in a circle, merely crossed her arms and said, "Well, I'm not surprised."
The rope holding Severus in place snapped and he fell to the ground with a thud! He snatched up his wand, took careful aim, and the rope from which Lily was dangling snapped and she fell to the ground with a yelp. She scrambled to her feet and ducked behind Severus. It was then that Sirius and James seemed to remember that they were on a different side and reacted.
"Oi! Wait a second!" Sirius exclaimed, bolting forward with James to tag either Severus or Lily.
His fingers were a half-inch away from Lily's arm when he stopped. His hand flew to his stomach.
"Do you feel –?" He started, but a breeze picked up and they suddenly felt as if they had touched a portkey.
Sirius, James, Lily, and Severus landed on the ground in a heap. They jumped to their feet, looking puzzled. Standing around them was the rest of the Capture the Flag crowd, all looking around as bewildered as the next. Some, like Sirius, looked as if they had been about to grab someone when they got transported. Sirius reached out and touched Lily's arm, but she didn't disappear. He turned to James, who looked more confused than anyone.
"What's going on, Prongs?" Sirius asked.
James looked around at the crowd who had all turned expectantly to him.
"I don't know," he replied, running a hand through his hair, "I mean, I made it so that if someone was to capture the other team's flag, we'd all get transported here, but I don't think anyone could have gotten to our flag."
Lily, who had been marveling at James' impressive spellwork, placed her hands on her hips and replied, "And why not? You don't think my team was good enough?"
"No, it's not that," James said, "I just had my entire team on defense. I told them not to go for your flag until I got the signal, and I thought it would be impossible for anyone to break my lines."
Lily's mouth dropped. So that was why there was a mysterious lack of any action on their side of the line.
"So who –?" Lily started, but stopped as a cheer came throughout the crowd.
Standing in the middle of the crowd, covered in dirt and twigs but clutching the team one flag and grinning broadly was… Peter. Lily gaped for a moment before bursting into laughter and joining in the applause. Even members of James' team were laughing and clapping, probably because this was the most unexpected thing that could have happened. Lily's team hoisted Peter on their shoulders and carried him around while he waved the flag in the air triumphantly.
Lily was walking back up to the castle with Severus after the game. Everyone had been sent off for their dorms in small groups, and Lily and Severus were bringing up the rear. Lily heard the sound of footsteps in the grass and looked over her shoulder to see James, walking by himself, looking gloomy. Lily turned to Severus, who rolled his eyes knowingly.
"Oh go on," he said coldly, "I know what you want."
Lily smiled gratefully at Severus as he shoved his hands moodily into his pockets and hiked off towards the castle, his cloak fluttering behind him. Lily ran back and fell into stride with James.
"Hey," she said softly, and he looked up.
"Hey," he replied half-heartedly, turning his gaze back to the ground.
"What makes you look so gloomy?"
James sighed and kicked a dandelion lackadaisically, not taking his eyes off his feet. He shrugged.
"You won, fair and square. I lose the bet, my right to pick on Snivellus, and…"
His voice trailed off. Lily smiled and ran a hand through his hair good-naturedly.
"So, how about that date?" She said, and James looked up in alarm.
"You mean it?" James asked, his eyes widening.
"I mean it." Lily replied, and shook a finger at him. "But you're still paying."
James' face broke out into a wide smile. Lily found his hand, which was hanging limply at his side, and took hold of it. They began talking as they walked towards the castle, which loomed over them with its many lights twinkling magnificently.
A/N: And there you have it.