Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.
With a shattered sigh, James Potter settled himself into an armchair in the common room. (He'd previously mistaken it as empty and accidentally sat on a first year. He was worried exactly how many first years he'd lost up his arse. Occasionally he said "hello?" to his bum just in case there was a response. Remus had called him mad).
It had been a long day—if by 'long' you meant 'short' and by 'day' you meant 'hour without seeing Lily Evans', which was apparently pure torment. Luckily, he'd managed to snag the comfiest seat in Gryffindor tower with the best view...
Of Lily Evans, picking her nose. James didn't know how she did it - well, he supposed he did have some general idea of how picking noses worked - but to him she made picking her nose look - of all things - elegant.
She was sitting on the other side of the room, struggling with her Transfiguration essay. James wanted to offer help but he knew it was safer to spy on her if he wanted to keep his testicles. He watched Lily scratch her ear and let out a gratifying sigh.
"Prongs! Mate! I was wondering if we could have a word—"
"You see, I've got this idea —"
"And I think it might just work—"
James glared at his friend: Sirius was standing directly in front of him, blocking his view of Lily.
"You haven't even heard my idea yet," Sirius said in response to his angry stare.
"I don't have to hear it; all your plans are terrible anyway." James fidgeted in his seat, but he still couldn't see Lily because of Sirius' strangely curvy hips. "Honestly Padfoot, you have hips like a woman," he complained.
Finally, Sirius parked in the seat opposite. James rejoiced; he could now see Lily's hairline if he stretched his neck far enough in that very painful position…
"Are you busy?"
"No you're not," Sirius replied, unconvinced. "You're not doing anything."
"Can your brain only handle one thing at a time?"
"I can smell your trousers burning."
James frowned at his friend. "I beg your pardon?"
"I can smell your trousers burning because they are so obviously on fire because you are so obviously lying." Sirius pelted his friend's face with a cushion. Realizing James' attention was elsewhere, he turned round and spotted Lily in the corner. "Oh dear."
"Oh dear?" repeated James. "What do you mean oh dear? What's with the dear and the oh and the oh and dear together?"
"I just don't think gawking at her is a smart idea."
James scoffed. "It's not like she knows I'm doing it--"
"STOP STARING AT ME, POTTER! I DON'T LIKE IT!"
Lily slammed her Transfiguration book shut and marched up the stairs to her dormitory. James slowly sunk back down into his seat.
"See, totally unaware."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Anyway, now that you've got nothing to look at, you can hear me out."
"I can always look at you instead."
"That'd be creepy. And that's not looking, that's glaring and ow—you're poking me in the shin unexpectedly. Why are you doing that? And stop glaring, you're scaring me. Ow. Ow. Why are you doing that?"
"I don't know, it amuses me," James shrugged. Another poke, but sharper.
"Will you grow up so I can tell you my idea?"
"Can I keep poking you as you do?"
"OW! One more poke from you, Prongs, and I will slap you!"
James tucked his hands under his armpits.
"Your hands will smell after you do that," Sirius remarked. "But anyway, my idea is about raising money to buy a motorbike—"
"OH GOD," James let out a strangled cry and tried to smother himself with the same cushion that had whacked his face earlier. Sirius didn't understand what he was doing.
"What?" Sirius asked obliviously. "What wrong word did I say? Hands? Smell? Money? Motorbike—?"
"That's the one!" James pointed at him. "That's the one - motorbike! OH GOD."
"What's wrong with the word motorbike?"
James removed the cushion from his face to answer. "There's nothing wrong with the word motorbike, there's something significantly wrong with the amount of times you've said it. I tried keeping track but I lost count after SIX HUNDRED. Why don't you just invent motorbike sex and have your wicked little way with one?"
Sirius pulled a face at that. "You make it sound as though I'm obsessed with motorbikes."
"You wrote 'Sirius loves motorbikes' on my arm."
"It washed off after a week, I don't know what you're complaining about. Anyway, out of all the Marauders, I decided that you-" Sirius prodded James in the chest "-would be the perfect candidate for my brilliant plan." He ended on a grin.
James stared at Sirius. "You picked me because I'm pretty, didn't you."
"Maybe," Sirius admitted. "And if all goes well, it'll pay for my beautiful motorbike and make you bloody well rich, if I do say myself."
James blinked at Sirius. "But I come from a wealthy family, I'm already rich—"
"Well, richer, then! Besides, my parents have disowned me so I have no source of income except selling your possessions."
"You've been selling my possessions?" James roared. Sirius didn't flinch.
"Did you still want those magazines under your bed?"
"What magazines are we talking about here? The box in the right or the left?"
"The Quidditch ones on the right. Why?" Sirius smirked. "What's in the left?"
"Nothing!" James turned pink. "Now, tell me what this plan of yours is. Are we selling our bodies for money?"
"No, we've done that already."
"We have?" James responded dreadfully.
"Yes! Don't you remember what happened yesterday?"
"No... Come to think of it, I can't remember anything that happened yesterday," James sad, horrified.
"Er, yeah, best not try to remember." Sirius patted his shoulder sympathetically. "So, I was thinking, to rake in the galleons…." He leaned in to whisper the idea in James' ear.
A kiss booth. That had been Sirius' brilliant plan. He thought they were a myth because girls didn't seriously pay to kiss a boy behind a booth... did they?
"I'm not sure about this, Pad." James' brow sweated in worry as he watched Sirius set up the booth on the fifth floor of the castle, whistling merrily.
"Of course you're sure," Sirius replied. "You've snogged girls, have you not?"
"Yes, but not ten girls one after the other! I NEED BREAKS."
"You can have breaks."
"How long breaks?"
"Piss off, I'm not doing this, it's weird." He started to walk away but Sirius dragged him back.
"Proooongs," Sirius whined. "Don't wimp out on me now. It's just like kissing a lot of girls at a party or something…except getting paid for it," he muttered the last part. James continued to squirm, still looking terrified by the idea. "Come on Prongs, Peter and Remus won't do it—"
"I wonder why," James grumbled.
"Plus, we make a good team, don't you think? I'm the Dark and Sexy choice to kiss, while you're…" Sirius looked James up and down, struggling to think of something to say next. "You're…"
"The end of this sentence better be good."
"You're reasonably handsome with glasses!" Sirius concluded with a clap of his hands. "The glasses make you look smart. You're the Intelligent choice."
"While you're the Dumb one."
"Yes! I'm the du—wait." Sirius narrowed his eyes at James for nearly tricking him. "Almost got me there, four eyes." He spotted two girls making their way down the corridor. "Customers! To your station, Prongs." He dragged a nervous James behind the kiss booth.
"Padfoot, I really, really don't want to do this…"
"Shut up and pout those lips," Sirius told him from the corner of his mouth. "Ladies!" he greeted the two approaching Ravenclaws with a handsome smile. "Would you like to pay us for a kiss?"
"I'd like to pay you to get bent," one of the girls snorted with a dirty look, not stopping.
"Sorry, that's not on offer today," Sirius mumbled in disappointment. James snorted from behind his hand. "Wasn't expecting that reaction," Sirius sighed once the girls were out of sight. "I would have sworn the sign would have hooked them in." He pointed to the sign displaying the words: SNOGFESTS GALORE.
"You don't get it, Padfoot," James shook his head. "Girls just don't pay for kisses like in the films, alright? They're far classier than that—"
"I'd like to buy a kiss, please!
Sirius and James stared at each other, before looking in all directions for the voice.
"Who said that?" James asked.
The boys leaned over the kiss booth and discovered a small girl gazing up at them.
"I'd like to buy a kiss, please!" the girl repeated. Sirius narrowed his eyes at her; she looked awfully like a first year...
"What year are you exactly?" he asked suspiciously.
"Third," the girl replied boldly.
"You better not be lying now," Sirius warned her. The small girl flashed an innocent smile. Sirius remained sceptic. "So, er, who would you like, me or James here?" He slung his arm around James' shoulder and James began to roll his eyes, thinking Sirius would automatically big himself up for the girl. "See, if I were in your…tiny, tiny little shoes," he marvelled at her feet, "I would personally pick James here." James frowned confusedly. "James here is marvellous at kissing."
"I hate you," James gritted through his teeth to his friend, realizing Sirius didn't particularly want to be kissed by this girl so he was passing her onto him.
"Who do you want?" Sirius asked again, as the girl contemplated her decision in silence.
"I want…" The girl's finger swirled around before finally settling on a boy. "You."
Sirius squeaked in fear.
"Are you sure you don't want James?"
Apprehensively, Sirius loosened the collar of his shirt, while James snickered.
"Well," Sirius brought out the kiss prices he'd prepared in a booklet. "You have a choice of a kiss on the cheek—"
"I don't want the cheek, I want mouth and tongue," the girl demanded.
"WHAT?" Sirius cried. James was cackling now. "You're thirteen! Your tongue probably hasn't fully grown yet! It's a kiss on the cheek or nothing, missy."
The girl looked clearly unsatisfied, but settled for his offer. "Fine, it'll do."
"Right." Sirius took a deep breath. To be honest, he'd expected much better customers than this. "That'll be a galleon upfront, please."
"No way, I want my kiss first! You're not conning me," the girl said.
"Alright, alright!" Sirius said, defeated. "Let's get this over with."
"Padfoot," James whispered, "you're not actually going to do this, are you? She looks about eleven!"
Sirius really needed the money. "Think of the flying motorbike, think of the flying motorbike," he chanted repeatedly. He leaned forward, turning his cheek ready for the girl to kiss as she stood on her tiptoes. "Think of the flying motorbike, think of the flying motorbike, think of—mmmppph!"
The girl had decided she deserved more than a peck on the cheek and turned her head at the last second, kissing him on the mouth. His scream was muffled against the girl's lips as he wailed his arms in hysteria, unable to escape. James watched in mild amusement for a few moments, until at long last pulled the girl off Sirius, who quickly started coughing for air as he regained surface.
"Thanks!" the girl giggled. She waved the boys goodbye, then ran off down the corridor.
"I think my lip is bleeding," Sirius mumbled painfully, staring after her. "Hey--HEY, WAIT! YOU DIDN'T PAY MY GALLEON! COME BACK!"
"Leave her be, Padfoot," James sighed. "You made a little girl very happy today. She might have only been sorted at the beginning of the year." He smiled wickedly. Sirius turned pale.
"I think I'm going to be sick."
Business had been slow for the past two hours they'd been sitting bored behind their makeshift kiss booth. The price of a kiss was now slashed down to ten sickles. Ten sickles for a kiss from Sirius, five for James because Sirius felt like it. Sirius had expected queues among queues of girls lining up eagerly to snog their faces off. He was thoroughly wrong. It seemed like paying for kisses just wasn't popular these days. Since the midget that had stolen a free kiss from Sirius, the only customer they had was Moaning Myrtle who gave Sirius tongue.
"Do you smell today or something, Prongs?" Sirius asked, scraping his tongue with a toothbrush. "Why do they keep coming to me?"
James wasn't complaining. "I can't help it," he shrugged.
"I never imagined this being so degrading," Sirius pondered aloud, sadly. It seemed as though the kiss from Myrtle had crushed his spirit. He never thought he'd french a ghost. "I can't believe we've only made three galleons, James. It's pathetic. Next person that comes down this corridor, you show them some cleavage, alright?"
"I don't know; lift a trouser leg or something. Anything!"
James nodded. He would do this for Sirius. The flying motorbike meant a lot to him.
"Aha, I spot someone coming!" Sirius pointed to the distance. James and Sirius smiled invitingly at the potential customer until they realized…
"Oh, it's you, Moony," Sirius sighed.
Remus' mouth was open in amusement and bemusement. "I can't believe you agreed to this, Prongs." Remus shook his head disappointedly at him. He no longer had any respect for James. He lost any respect for Sirius long ago.
"What can I say? I do my bit for humanity," James said.
Remus was incredibly bothered by the way Sirius was eyeing him.
"Moony," Sirius started carefully, "I know this is wrong on many levels to ask, but heck, I'm desperate. Do you want a kiss for a galleon?"
"I hope you're fucking joking, Padfoot." Remus looked at Sirius with a huge amount of repulsion.
"Come on Moony, I need the money!" Sirius grabbed Remus' collar and pull him forward, nose to nose. "KISS ME!"
"I'll give you the bloody money without the kiss!" Remus shouted in horror. He looked at James for help, but he, for some bizarre reason, had lifted up his trouser leg and was flashing him skin.
"Like what you see, Moony?" James said with a wink.
"I'm going to leave right now," Remus said, turning around and walking away.
"Moony! Oh come on Moony, you know we're friends and we're so confident about our friendship and heterosexuality that we can kiss and not make a big deal out of it! Moony! Moony, come back! Well, at least tell others we're kissing for money, will you? Moony!"
When Remus finally turned a corner of the corridor and disappeared, Sirius turned back to James.
"Yeah, cut the leg-flashing now, mate."
"Sorry." James dropped his trouser leg. "Was getting a bit into it."
"Well done on that, by the way."
"I'm kind of creeped out right now."
"Out of curiosity, though, do you think he would have asked for a kiss from me or you?"
"Oh, definitely you, Pad."
"Yeah, I thought so, too."
Lily had been washing her hands in the bathroom when she spotted in the mirror two classmates bustle into the loo behind her, both giggling. She groaned inwardly, trying to blend in with the bathroom sinks while she prayed they wouldn't notice her.
She had to work on her bathroom camouflage.
"Yes?" she answered uncertainly.
"You'll never guess what," one of them said excitedly. "You know—"
"Wait," Lily put up her hand, signalling for her to stop. "If we're going to be gossiping in the bathroom, may I remind you that it makes me very uncomfortable."
"But that's what we do," they chorused.
Lily sighed tiredly in response. "Look, I'm sorry, but your gossip doesn't interest me—"
"It's about James Potter!" one of them sung.
Lily contemplated her answer for a moment. "Alright, spill," she gave in, coming closer to listen.
"Kate and I just saw James Potter and Sirius Black with a kiss booth," the dark-haired girl said.
Lily's eyes burst out of her head. "You've got to be kissing—I mean, kidding me! What floor are they on?"
"Ooo, Lily wants to get in on the action?"
"I do not!" the redhead yelled at once, turning red in the cheeks. "I'm a Prefect. It's my responsibility to shut repulsive things like that down for the sake of Hogwarts." However, the two classmates weren't listening to her anymore, continuing back to gossiping.
"I heard that Elizabeth Donway got a kiss off James Potter and he wouldn't pull off her!" the one called Kate said, making the other girl gasp.
Lily clenched her fists. "What floor are they on?"
"Sorry?" Kate answered distractedly.
"What floor are they on," Lily hissed ferociously again.
"Fifth," they squeaked, cowering at her.
"Thanks." Lily rolled up her sleeves and marched out of the toilet.
"I'm bored," James complained, resting his chin on the palm of his hand. "Can I go now? The grand total of two customers has proved that you are the preferred choice to kiss."
"You're not leaving, I need you for emotional support," Sirius replied. He noticed three girls making their way down the corridor and elbowed James keenly in the stomach. "Looks like things are looking up. Customers! And good-looking ones, too!" He started smoothing down his hair.
James looked up from the floor and spotted the girls, three Gryffindors, rather attractive-looking. He straightened up a bit, coming to attention.
"Hello there," Sirius greeted them with a flirtatious smile. He guessed that the girl in front was the leader of the group; she looked the best looking and the most confident. "Galleon for a kiss?"
"Make it two," the girl replied, resting her elbows on the kiss booth.
"Oooer," Sirius commented in delight. "You're my kind of customer! So, who do you want? Me, kissing extraordinaire," he bragged, "or my pal James here." He pointed briefly to James but kept all his attention all her.
"I think I'll have… I think I'll have the one with the glasses."
Sirius and James' mouths hit the floor.
"JAMES?" Sirius yelled.
"James?" James Potter also yelled in surprise.
"Yep." The girl dropped her galleon on the table and motioned James to draw closer. "Come on, then." She parted her mouth a little and James squeaked in fear.
"Actually," he started shrilly, "I don't think I can do this—mrrrrfphhh."
The girl grabbed him by the collar and pressed her lips to his. At first, James was startled by it all, the idea of kissing someone you don't know, the idea of kissing a stranger for money, the idea of kissing someone who isn't Lily Evans. It wasn't long before he got lost in the kiss, letting off various mental ooooo's and aaaaah's and hmmm this isn't too bad's. It was an impressed wolf whistle from Sirius that made him crash back to reality as the girl pulled away from him at last.
"Enjoy?" the girl asked.
A blush crept up James' neck. "Well—w-wow, really, that was quite—"
His sight hovered over the girl's shoulder and he spotted a familiar hairline…
Her face was white as she stared openmouthed at James, then at the girl who had kissed him who appeared to be gloating with her eyes. James tried to search for a sign of understanding in Lily's face, that he was sorry, and he hadn't initiated the kiss - but it was no use. Her look of hurt showed she couldn't even begin to comprehend what he'd done. Her face twisted in anger, and she turned on her heel and ran.
"Lily!" James climbed over the table of the kiss booth and crashed to the floor. Stumbling to his feet, he ran down the corridor after her. "LILY!"
"Oh dear," Sirius commented to the girls as they stared at the display. "Well, the show must go on. Next!" He slapped the table, expecting a kiss from the other two.
"Uh oh." He spun around and met Professor McGonagall with her hands on her hips, furious. "Professor! How are you?"
"What is the meaning of this?" She picked up the sign and read aloud, "Snogfests galore?"
"Ah, well, you see…galleon for a kiss?"
McGonagall glowered at him.
"It's for charity?"
"My office, now."
"Lily!" James chased her down the corridor. "Lily, will you hold up!" he yelled, beginning to get angry. She finally stopped and whipped round. James drew in a small gasp.
"I don't get it," he said quietly, studying her face. "Why are you crying?"
Lily looked down at her feet as she answered truthfully, "I don't know."
Stepping forward, James mustered up the courage to wipe away the tears on her cheeks with his thumb at a risk of her pushing him away. But she didn't. He didn't think she'd ever speak to him again, until she did.
"Did you like it?"
"What?" James whispered in response.
"Did you like it?" she asked again, avoiding his eyes. "That kiss back there with that beautiful girl?"
James knew his answer was important. He couldn't screw it up.
"Maybe," he shrugged lamely. "It was kind of nice."
He knew he'd said the wrong thing.
"You idiot," she hissed, .
"What?" James barked.
"That's not what you're supposed to say," she snapped at him.
"I'm sorry, but what the hell is going on here? Why are you even upset? I'm the one who likes you, remember?" James paused. "Remember?"
It looked like Lily was about to say something but she held back, biting her lip.
"Prove me wrong," James said suddenly. He took her hands in his.. "Prove me wrong, that the kiss back there isn't the best kiss I'll ever experience—"
She slapped him hard across the face, so much that his head turned completely to one side. James felt his cheek burn.
"I don't have to prove anything to you, you insensitive prick."
She practically threw his hands out of hers and sprinted down the corridor, while James clutched his cheek and thought: idiot.
Lily sat in the Gryffindor common room with her head in her hands. The incident with James had happened at least six hours ago and she had thought of nothing but him. She'd tried studying to keep her mind off things, but it was no use, and she slammed her Transfiguration textbook shut and shoved it off the table in frustration.
She looked up from the floor and spotted Peter Pettigrew standing shyly in front of her. Kindly, he put her Transfiguration book back on the table and she thanked him in embarrassment.
"What is it?" she asked concernedly. Peter rarely spoke to her. It must have been important.
"Have you seen James? None of us can find him and it's almost curfew. Sirius said he hasn't seen him since he, um, chased after you."
Lily's stomach filled with dread. "Don't worry, Peter." She got up from her seat. "I'll go get him."
"What are you doing?"
Lily had been right about her inkling of where James was. It was dark, only a small amount of moonlight streaking through the windows of the castle. James hadn't moved from the same corridor they had argued in, still in the same place, his head even turned to the right from the position she had slapped him earlier. He was no longer holding his cheek. It still looked red.
"Have you just been standing here the whole time?" Lily sputtered.
"Pretty much," he mumbled shamefully. At least he'd turned his head now, but Lily found it difficult to look him in the eye.
"I'm sorry for slapping you; I was out of line—"
"Nah, pretty much deserved it." His voice was croaky and hoarse. Lily figured he was still in shock from the slap, though it had been at least six hours. "I'm sorry," he said.
Lily didn't understand why he was apologizing. He'd only kissed a girl, yet that had infuriated her to no end. She wasn't supposed to be angry; she was supposed to feel nothing.
"I don't think I can prove you wrong," she said finally. "That kiss you had earlier from that beautiful girl... I'm not sure if I could do better. Merlin, you'll probably marry her one day." She smiled painfully at him. "Guys like you marry girls like her."
"What do you mean by that?" James enquired sadly.
"Pureblood marries a Pureblood, right?"
James couldn't believe his ears. "I can't believe you would ever say something like that."
"I can't believe I would ever be jealous of you kissing another girl," Lily said, and James sighed and cupped her face in his hands.
"I'd rather marry Slughorn than that girl," James joked, then added seriously, "I'd rather marry you." He stroked her face. "It's always been you. You're the only girl I've ever wanted to be with, and you always will be."
Lily just looked up at him with her twinkling green eyes, until she said breathlessly, "Kiss me."
James kissed her in the dark. The second his lips touched hers, James made a noise at the back of his throat and had to hold onto the nearest bit of wall for support. His kiss with Lily blew the kiss with the paying customer entirely out of the water. From that day onward, he would kiss her everyday. He'd kiss her every hour. Hell, he'd kiss her every minute. Seconds went too far. As he'd told Sirius: he did need his breaks. He didn't want the kiss to end, but it did. Still, they remained wrapped up in each other's arms.
"Wow. Just…wow." James needed a moment to get his breath back; for his mind to wrap around what just happened. "That was amazing, Lily. You definitely proved me wrong."
Lily blushed hard. "Yeah?" she replied coyly, pleased she hadn't disappointed him.
"Yeah." He laced her fingers with his and kissed her hand, and she giggled, and then let out a groan, because she sounded like the girls who gossiped in the toilets.
"So, where's my galleon?"
"Don't push your luck, mister."