Disclaimer: If I were J.K. Rowling, I highly doubt it would take me a month and a half to get my creative juices completely flowing…meh, who knows, I could be wrong, but I think not.
A/N: SQUEAL, SQUEAL, SQUEAL!! AHHHHHH. You are all so amazing, no joke! Thanks a million times over to: Coff, I WANT A NEW CHAPTER, sick of waiting, anonymous, toolazytosignin, Summer Magick, Sofia, xshrimpyx, gredandforge924, xBlibberingxHumdingerx, deadandbreathing, RfredandCgeorge, Sprut, Danielle, Jules, UPDATE PLZ, potterlady4691, megstar-shines-bright, Mani, aliana, Chris, AmazingBouncingFerret445, iheartjamesandlily, .Blue-eyesMoon-eyes., oreoxlove4ever, Ayana, Claudita, TheHorcruxHunter, novella07, Cristipotter, -Jeisa-, phoenixgurl195, beinginfinite, MissMarauder4487, Squeak4ever, Mrs Claire Potter, BlackBells, LyLMystikeLf, Violin Ghost, A. Fan, PRONGS-and-LILY-forever, Jessiquie, mistery woman, LILYandJAMESareCUTE, SparklingEyesWithACrazyMind, ccraffigan, gryffindorseeker924, Chocolate Chip Cookie, TwinkieTUTUS, Kikuchi, A-Lady, loonysango, serenity12345, erin, Bellas-lullaby, C San, grayx3eyedsoul, brainchild (friend thing), Cookies94, mae garnder, CelticFairie, berniebotts, rubic-cube, coffee dessert, FollowMyLead, Sprut, starcrossedvoyager, Ali Keys, zozotheterrible, meg, soccergurl1993, Moon Comix, Dollarbanks, tin-tin456, stardust718, tashville007, siabrach, annnndddd forgiveButNeverForget. You guys make me want to get up and do some square dancing! lol
So, first I'd like to apologize for how long it has taken me to update. (Waves nervously to readers) Long time no type...No, but really, I'm sorry. I'm actually quite hesitant to post this chapter because parts of it still make me cringe. However, it's been way too long and I wanted to give you guys something to read. Perhaps later down the road, once my beta has time to read/edit it, I'll repost this chapter. The rest of my author's note will be at the end of this chapter. So, without further ado, have fun reading this incredibly long chapter!
Oh, Darn it. I screwed up again last chapter…Dorcas is SEEKER not CHASER!
Last week (okay, okay, last month and a half) on The Devil Wears Quidditch Gear: "I bet Prongs five galleons that he would lead his Quidditch team to a loss this season."………… "You liked him, didn't you?"…….. Oh, jeez, she really had broken his heart!...Oh, please, Dorcas couldn't be considering that she should actually talk to Potter, could she?... "If you won't do it willingly—""Then we'll dare you."………. Only eleven hours, seven minutes, and fifty-nine seconds until her detention with Jam—Potter! For the love of Merlin, his name was Potter!
Chapter 22: Of Muggle Playwrights, Snitches, and Detentions
"I can't believe—she is so—what gave her the right—bloody hell."
James ran a hand through his hair for about the umpteenth time that evening as he paced back and forth in front of the table in the Hogwarts kitchen. House elves were running hither and thither as they washed away the pots and pans used for that night's dinner like they did every night. Their frantic activity only heightened James's own hysteria, causing him to turn his hair into a tangle of knots.
Overall, it wasn't that great of a look for him.
He winced as his fingers became stuck in his mass of curls and then threw a glare at Sirius who had attempted, and failed miserably, to conceal his snort of amusement.
Padfoot had never been one for subtly.
"Well," Peter stated suddenly as if he we commenting on the weather, picking apart his lemon tart, "I'd say this is extremely screwed up."
Remus thumped the inconsiderate boy on the back of his head and James mentally applauded Moony for his loyal actions. Wormtail really could be an insensitive prat, sometimes even more so than Sirius.
"Ouch…Well, it is!" Peter justified, rubbing his now bruised skull.
Sirius, who was sitting on one of the benches with his feet propped up on the table (because looking cool was just something that Sirius excelled in without trying), raised his finger up in the air, as if he were about to reveal a highly intellectual thought. Ha; intellectual thought…James would give up his wand if Sirius wasn't opening his mouth just to further rub this—lack for a better term—odd situation in his face.
"Extremely screwed up," James' best mate began, "and slightly ironic," Padfoot finished.
Rolling his eyes with his mouth struck open due to his two friends' extreme insensitiveness, Remus looked towards Prongs. "Shall you slap him, or should I?" he asked, the corners of his mouth threatening to split into a smile.
"Forget physical violence; I was going to go with a full out Wizarding duel," James growled lowly, fingering his slender, black wand in his right hand.
"Now, now, no need to be hasty," Sirius said, smirking slightly. "Some friend," Padfoot continued to scoff playfully, "taking out his anger on his mates just because he screwed up with a girl."
This time both Remus and James slapped Sirius upside the head, whose chair fell back on his hind legs with a bang, shaking his feet from their resting place atop the table. "Cripies! It was just an observation…"
The group was silent for a while, save Sirius's continued mutterings of mad lunatics as friends and Peter's slurping of his desert. A vision of red hair suddenly flashed across James's mind (thanks to a bloody apple that a House Elf has just carried past him) and he closed his eyes sharply, rubbing his pupils with the palms of his calloused hands. Godric, Evans could be so complicated sometimes—frequently—or rather, all the time. James placed his hands on his hips, his feet shoulder-width apart, as he desperately faced his friends.
"What do I do?" he asked bluntly, as if they hadn't just been physically and verbally abusing one another; that was the thing with the Marauders. They could have their disagreements, they could poke fun at one another, but in the end they always came back together.
Other people, however…
Honestly, how could Evans ever think that he would just ask her out on a bet? It was so…he didn't even know the word to describe the idiocy of it all. Did she really think that lowly of him? The answer obviously seemed to be yes. Thinking about it made James feel like punching something very hard…which he had done when Sirius had first told him about his run-in with Lily.
"So, any suggestions, boys?" He flexed his bruised knuckles, clenching and unclenching his right fist, as his three mates looked back at him blankly. Padfoot was in the process of resting his feet atop the table again, Peter was licking his fork, and Remus was actually attempting to look to be in thought, but with the low number of girls that Moony had ever dated James would bet that his werewolf had no clue as to what to do. Pity, since Moony was usually the smart one.
"Give her chocolates," Peter offered after a while.
Everyone fixed him with a rather confused stare. Chocolates? Where the hell had that come from? Since when was Wormtail the first to offer up his ideas? He usually just sat back, keen to let others take the lead and follow along with the plan. Following Wormtail's line of vision, James came to the conclusion that the sight of an abnormally large ice cream fudge sundae had caused Peter to act so abnormally.
"Somehow I doubt Lily will be swayed by candy," James explained dryly with a sigh. Was he the only one who understood Lily's nature? Sweets? Yeah, the day James wanted a bruise for a face would be the day he offered Lily Evans chocolates as an apology.
"Flowers?" Peter threw in again.
"Yeah, how about some nice lilies," Sirius commented sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
"I think lilies are nice," Peter announced. Deep down in his throat James growled possessively for something that was not his. Peter threw his hands up in defense as he squeaked like a nervous rat from the glare James was sending him. "Not like that—what I meant was—I'll stop talking."
There was a moment of brief silence. "A card?" Peter piped up again, thought somewhat hesitantly.
"Merlin," Sirius announced exasperatedly, "this is Lily Evans we're talking about, Wormtail. She'd be about as easy to sway with a nice card as Bella would."
James had simply been leaning his back against the stove of the kitchen—well, until Wormtail had tried to make a move on his woman—as his friends, well, Peter rather, had offered up suggestions on how he could apologize to Lily.
Wait. Hold the owl.
Apologize? What had he done? The only thing that he'd done was ask her out in the hopes that she would reciprocate his feelings that he'd had for the past three years. She was the one who had screwed everything up with her false accusations and ridiculous doubts on his sincerity.
Wow, he felt quite smart for coming up with that deep of an explanation.
Anyways, it was about time for Evans to come groveling to him for once. If she wanted to fix this, if she really did like him like Sirius said, then he'd let her come to him. Boy, how odd did that sound? James wasn't one for sitting back and doing nothing.
"So," Sirius started, picking something out idly from underneath his fingernail, "what are you going to do, mate?"
All of his friends did a double take. "Nothing?" they all chorused incredibly.
James crossed his arms defiantly. "Yeah, nothing. May I remind you that I did nothing wrong."
There was a brief silence. Sirius was scratching his head. "That's a first."
"Especially with Evans," Peter concluded.
Moony, the constant voice of reason in the group of boys, spoke up from the end of the table. "Prongs…I dunno…she's too stubborn to admit anything—I mean, the times that I've confronted her about you—"
"—You did what?" James yelped. So, his friends had been sneaking around behind his back, speaking to Lily. He had expected it of Sirius, the one who had started this whole problem, and the one who would stop at nothing to win the bet. But Moony? What did he have against her?
Remus placed his head in his hands, rubbing his face tiredly. "I thought she was…er…" he glanced off helplessly as he shrugged pathetically, "I thought she was using you."
Surprising the four present in the room, James nodded sharply, exhaling heavily. "Wow, this is ironic."
Sirius smirked as he tried to remain serious—really, no pun intended—for James's sake. "Look, Prongs, it's going to take a lot for Lily to come back to you," Remus continued to share his intelligence.
Yeah, James had thought of that little road block, he just hadn't spent much effort trying to find a way around it. Maybe he should just go through it?
"Not to mention that you're usually the one to take action when it comes to Evans…she's probably expecting you to make the first move…and that was meant to be in a completely platonic sense," Sirius finished, grinning and his dark eyes glinting mischievously.
For the love of Gryffindor, why did everything that ever happened with Lily Evans always end up so complicated? There were always so many unnecessary problems and obstacles; it was quite tiring. However, though it extremely wounded his pride to admit it, Remus was right. Yet this was his test to her—he wanted her to prove she wanted him.
Was that childish?
He glanced down at the Marauder's Map which was spread out regally across the table, like an antique on display for the four boys to take pride in. Almost immediately, as if he had a little Lily-radar engraved in his brain, his eyes found Evans' dot. Instantly he felt a surge of energy, as if his feet desperately wanted to run towards the dot and explain everything.
Blast it. Perhaps his plan wasn't going to work so well.
"I'll see what happens," he offered finally, almost begrudgingly.
A House Elf bustled over towards Peter, a sundae held on their shoulder atop a black tray. "I still think chocolates are a good idea," he said, picking up his spoon.
Lily Evans was determined—determined to find a loophole—determined to find a loophole to this idiotic dare that her even more moronic friends had felt the need to hand out to her.
The problem was time was running out. It was already Monday afternoon and as she sat in Defense Against the Dark Arts she couldn't help but imagine nasty things that could happen to her Transfiguration teacher between now and six that could possibly hinder her incapable of supervising a detention.
As her teacher droned on about something that she'd learned in her fifth year, Lily got the unmistakable feeling that someone was watching her…someone who happened to be sitting two seats behind her. Darn it, Potter! He'd been distracting her with his awkward glances all day; she'd feel his presence, she'd turn to glare at him (just to hide the fact that she really wanted to hug him…or something like that), and he'd promptly be staring out the window as if he'd been doing it all along.
It was obvious that Black had gotten to his mate. Curse meddling friends! Even Remus seemed less hostile towards her; well, at least he hadn't tried to corner her at all today, which was a miraculous feat once she thought about it. Pricks; they were perfectly content with sitting back and waiting for her to make the first move. Well, except for Sirius that is. He kept attempting to make blatant comments whenever she was around ("Hey, Evans, don't you have a cozy patrol with Prongs tonight?"). It was quite—no, scratch that—extremely annoying. Why had she cracked? If she had a stronger resilience neither Sirius, nor James, nor any of the Marauders for that matter, would know about her fancy for Potter.
Sometimes, she really did hate herself.
She had kept her eyes resolutely pointing forward throughout the whole lesson, afraid of catching any of the Marauders' gazes, and it was only fifteen minutes before the bell that she realized she had been focusing on Severus Snape's head for the past half an hour.
And there, sitting smack dab in front of her, was her only loophole. Sev. Darn him! It was his entire fault. If he hadn't decided to turn out to be such a lost cause she probably would have dismissed this new dare by kissing her old friend. In fact, if they were still friends, the first dare wouldn't have even been a problem at all.
Yep, this was all Severus's fault.
Oh, who was she kidding? She was just determined to blame somebody for this predicament that she knew perfectly well she had landed herself in. For any normal girl, talking to a guy who, only a week ago, she had snogged and, only a few months ago, had realized that she fancied the pants off the bloke, and, a week ago, she had crushed his dreams into a pulp would be relatively simple.
Well, maybe not. But it was ten times harder for Lily because she tended to have a stubborn pride complex. Admitting that she had been in the wrong, and that she had made a mistake, was about as hard for her to do as it would be for Slytherins to even pretend to be good people.
Chances were slim to none.
It made matters worse that she actually, truly, did want to settle things with James because, though it was like wrenching teeth to admit it, she had, like it or not, fallen for the Quidditch captain. It was those types of thoughts that made Lily hate herself more than she already did.
"Oi! Watch the merchandise," Marlene objected as Sirius grabbed her around her arm as she exited her dormitory. She had been on her way back towards the Great Hall for lunch, after having retrieved her Transfiguration book that she had left under her bed that morning, when Sirius had launched out of nowhere. He had practically tackled her to the ground.
"Okay, McKinnon," Sirius began, once he'd dragged her off to the opposite side of the common room and pushed her backwards into the couch, "here's my proposition."
Marlene narrowed her eyes curiously. "Shoot."
"You're friends with Evans; I'm friends with James."
Good call, genius. Marlene nodded slowly, her elbows resting on her thick textbook that lay in her lap. "Glad to know you're that observant, Sirius."
Ignoring her remark on his intelligence completely, Sirius pushed onwards. "My friend likes your friend," he remarked simply, vaguely.
"No kidding," Marlene said sarcastically.
"But they aren't together."
"We need to change that."
Marlene grinned and chuckled to herself. Lucky for them, they'd already dealt with Lily. "Way ahead of you, Black," she told him as she grabbed the handles of her schoolbag and shoved her Transfiguration book into it. Obviously, she considered this conversation over.
"What have you done?" he asked her, pushing her shoulders again to keep her from leaving.
She glanced at him and smirked. It was quite amusing how they were talking in such quick, terse sentences. Almost as if they were secret agents and absolutely could not be overheard. "Let's just say that Truth or Dare isn't just a child's game."
"Truth or what?"
Ha. Fortunately, Sirius was one hundred percent Pureblood with no Muggle or Muggleborn friends so he had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. So, technically, Marlene hadn't given anything away whatsoever. Quite intelligent.
"Don't worry, Black," she told him, shouldering past him before he could make a grab at her in order to keep her there, "we're on the same side."
To go, or not to go?
She had ten minutes to make up her mind. Should she run for the hills of Scotland, or walk to her certain death? Scolding herself, she slammed her goblet of water back onto the Gryffindor table, some of its contents sloshing over the side and onto the table. She was Head Girl and what kind of an example would she set if she blew off her second detention of the year, or any detention for that matter? Not a very good one, she knew that.
Maybe if she were more like Potter she wouldn't mind so much about skiving off a detention…
"It won't be that hard," Dorcas tried to reassure her.
Lily glared into her plate. Yeah, Dorcas wasn't the one with all the problems, was she? "Easy for you to say."
The sounds of students chatting to their friends about their day accompanied with the sound of cutlery smacking against the sides of plates joyously filled the awkward silence that followed. And then, coming from only two seats down, Lily heard his voice. Simultaneously, her stomach dropped and her heart picked up as she heard him say, "Pass the potatoes, Padfoot."
She really was getting tired of the way he seemed to so easily affect her nowadays.
Trying to block out his voice, she began clanking her fork and knife against her plate rather unnecessarily as she attempted to cut through her chicken leg. In fact, she was just about to make even more noise by striking up a pointless conversation when she heard someone say her name.
"Why not ask Evans to pass you the potatoes?"
Lily's head shot up in the exact direction she knew the voice had come from; Sirius Black was smirking at her in a highly unpleasant way that made Lily want to hex his face clear off his handsome head.
"Maybe because they're right in front of you," James answered with a clenched jaw. Lily could tell that he was trying extremely hard not to look in her direction.
"But Evans' look much tastier," Sirius continued.
Lily's eye was beginning to twitch and she jumped slightly when James threw his silverware onto the table and stood up hastily. "I'm leaving now," he announced to his friends, something extremely crazed in his eyes, as if he were telling Sirius that he better shut the hell up before he ended up with blisters all over his body.
Oh, Merlin. Lily began making useless noise again. He was heading to detention; their detention. Her thoughts jumped back to her previous question: To go, or not to go? Goodness, what an overused line of Shakespeare…she wondered if the playwright had known that his plays would be cited for decades…Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet—forbidden love due to circumstances…
Ha. Funny how she'd thought of herself and James…
Holy Snitch; she'd just referred to herself, and Potter, as a classic love story.
Suddenly her friends began shifting uneasily and nudging her in the ribs, interrupting her horrifying thoughts of Muggle Shakespeare. Marlene even kicked her shin under the table; Lily cried out in pain, rubbing her leg. She was just about to ask who had spiked their drinks with Essence of Ants-in-the-Pants when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
Her stomach seemed to fall out of her butt.
Somehow she knew that touch.
Perhaps it was the way her shoulder was now tingling…She wondered if Juliet ever—
No. Absolutely not. Stop it.
"I suppose we should get going, yeah?"
As if she were expecting to turn and find herself face to face with You-Know-Who, Lily spun on her seat very slowly her eyes closed tightly shut. This was not part of the plan! He wasn't supposed to have waited for her! The less time she spent with him, the better for her prideful ego. Besides, she thought he had left already.
"You could've gone," she told him, opening her eyes and fixing them upon the Head Boy.
The bloke's in question eyes flickered, as if he wanted to glare at her angrily but couldn't will himself to do it. It was almost as if it would be morally wrong to glare at a girl. What a gentleman. Instead he settled for simply turning his back on her. "Coming or what?" he asked her bluntly.
Alice pushed her forward. "Go on," she muttered.
Lily stumbled to her feet before whipping around to fix her friends with the coldest stare she could muster; Sirius snorted from a couple seats down the table. In a huff, she straightened her robes, upon which her Head Girl badge sat, and once again she pondered the ludicrous fact that she was heading off to do a detention…with James Potter…the really bad and completely unrelated version of Romeo.
She really needed to stop doing this to herself.
Speaking of Potter…she turned to face him, expecting him to still be waiting for her, but he had already begun to strut down the great hall, between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables. Something inside of her sparked and she hurried after him.
Hold up…why was she hurrying after him? Stop feet, stop!
"If you weren't going to wait…" muttered Lily, slowing down after she had caught up with him. For some reason that fact bugged her more than it should have. Her nerves were itching, as if they too realized that this was the closest she'd been to Potter in the past week or so. Well, besides that Quidditch practice…and the time when he had walked by her desk, purposefully knocking over her books…and the time—
Oh, screw it.
He turned his head a fraction of an inch to give her a somewhat pitying look; Lily saw the muscles around his mouth twitch. From what, she didn't know. A brief scowl crossed his features before he turned his head away from her. Lily considered this a pretty large Bat Bogey hex to the face. She had figured that, because Sirius had told him about her misunderstanding, he would've softened towards her a little; maybe even he would be the one to bring the issue up.
Bother, had she been wrong. It seemed like James Potter was just as stubborn as she was. Odd, sense he was usually 'all gas, no breaks' when it came to Lily Evans. Scariest part was that she missed it…
No, no, no. There was no way in hell she missed James bloody Potter.
During her thoughts escapade, they had approached McGonagall's door before Lily even had time to register how her whole body seemed to jump with nerves when the voice of their professor called out, "Enter."
One way or another, and Lily really wasn't quite sure how it came about to be, but somehow there ended up being a small, silent brawl over who would enter the room first. Potter had pushed open the door slowly and Lily had made to march through it (because, honestly, wasn't that what Romeo would do? Goodness, she was going off the deep end). Unfortunately, James had made to walk through it at the same time, and well, they had ended up bouncing against each other.
Lily jumped back at the sudden warming contact, rubbing her arm soothingly where he had rammed into her.
"Close the door behind you," McGonagall said briskly.
It turned out that James had won their brief door struggle; this just further proved the fact that he was not her Romeo. Romeo surely wouldn't have been so rude to Juliet. Somewhat red in the face—due to anger and slight embarrassment that she just couldn't shake this clichéd Shakespeare metaphor—Lily readjusted her bag and nodded to McGonagall.
"Good evening, Mister Potter, Miss Evans," the older witch greeted them, peering at both of them in turn with a stern expression. Jeez, what had her wand in a knot?
Oh, right, they had detention.
"Hullo, Professor," muttered James.
"Good evening," Lily replied, much more sophisticated. Ha, take that, Potter! No matter how childish it was, Lily got some joyful satisfaction of gaining these personal steps ahead of James.
The deputy headmistress continued to survey them both for a second; Lily had a sick feeling that she knew about their little door issue. "Never," she began, standing up from behind her desk, "in my years of teaching here have I ever had both the Head Girl and Head Boy in my office for a detention, and this is your second infringement."
Lily heard James's feet scuffling uncomfortably beside her. Well, at least he showed some remorse…or was it because he was within two feet of Lily? Lily was certain it was the latter considering Potter had probably had more detentions than everyone in the school combined. And why was she daydreaming about Potter's suspected repentance anyways, because, quite frankly, she didn't care.
Alright, maybe she cared a little.
Wait, McGonagall was speaking, wasn't she?
"Now, I want you two to clean my desks…what propels a student to draw on school property is beyond my comprehension," McGonagall explained as if the word 'draw' and 'desks' should never be placed in the same sentence.
Something like a grin attempted to spread across James's face. Lily rolled her eyes, knowing perfectly well who was most likely behind the odd designs appearing underneath McGonagall's class desks. He was so…he was so…
Sexy when he was mischievous.
Oh sodding Merlin.
"No magic," Mcgonagall was saying, holding her hand out into which both James and Lily deposited their wands with a look of forlorn. "Your materials are here," she waved her wand and a bucket filled to the brim with soapy water and sponges appeared out of nowhere, "I'll be back in two hours and I expect things to be…in order."
Lily had a suspicious feeling that her professor was talking less about the desks and more about her and Potter's physical appearances. Oh, Merlin…if her own professor didn't have much faith in them then Lily was certain that she was not going to be able to sort things out.
This was ridiculous.
Stupid, pointless, unrealistic, dare that was turning her into a paranoiac freak.
They both turned to watch the Transfiguration instructor exit the room. "Potter," McGonagall hesitated as she paused in the doorway of her classroom, "no funny business."
Ha, typical that she would warn James.
"Wouldn't dream of it, Professor," James replied with a tight grin.
Something inside of Lily growled at his lightheartedness in this situation. Who did he think he was? Funny business…if he tried to do anything funny she would…well, she didn't know what she would do…but he could bet ten galleons that she'd do something…wait, why was she mad at him again?
With a snap that alerted Lily back to reality, the door closed, and for a split second Lily thought about running after McGonagall, grabbing her wand, and making a run for it. She was here, with Potter, alone; she could hear him breathing! Breathing for Merlin's sake! Blood rushed to her cheeks.
What gave him the right to breathe so huskily?
Trying to figure out if she should say anything or not—and also wanting to hide her blazing and sudden blush—Lily bent down beside the bucket of water and grabbed a sponge. James followed her lead. There was a short silence as they both knelt beside the bucket of soapy suds. They glanced at each other.
His hair was still damp from a recent shower and the smell of his aftershave was drifting under her nose every time he turned his bleeding a head a fraction of an inch. His uniform shirt collar was unbuttoned by two buttons, exposing his collarbone and neck.
She wondered what it would feel like to…
Bloody Shakespeare had addled her brain!
Quick, say something.
"I suppose we should get started then, Potter," she said, standing up abruptly and taking the bucket with her.
Not that, stupid!
Leaving him slightly confused—she would be too if he had been staring at her for a straight minute and then abruptly told her to start cleaning—she shrugged off her inner conscience and began scrubbing the nearest desk. Ignore Potter, ignore Romeo, ignore Muggle playwrights. There was a very detailed drawing of a Snitch with something inscribed inside…it looked like, letters? There was an 'L'…
Well, at least she found something to distract herself with besides James Potter—
"I'll do that one," James said briskly, pushing Lily's hand away and taking over the desk she had been working on, his eyes obviously diverting her own.
So much for him not distracting her.
Yet she couldn't shake off the goosebumps that had erupted there the moment he had touched her. Darn him! She was meant to be angry at him—for what she wasn't sure…she really didn't have a legitimate reason—regardless, how could he have that affect on her? It infuriated her.
"You pushed me," she said angrily, slapping her sponge onto the same desk, wanting to win it back over simply so that Potter wouldn't have gotten one step ahead of her. He had won at far too much lately.
"Yeah," James said simply, furiously scrubbing at the ink-drawn Snitch, "because I want this one."
How pathetic were they? Fighting over who would clean what desk? Dang, things had really deteriorated between them.
Gah, quit it!
"I was there first."
"Go do that one," he offered to her, pointing to the desk behind the one he was working on.
Argh! He was so infuriating! How in the world was she going to stomach talking with him about their non-existent relationship? Stupid dare…stupid Potter…stupid sponge!
"Why don't you?" she retorted, hands on her hips, her soapy sponge lying forgotten on the Snitch-desk.
"Because I'm here."
"So am I."
Before she could stop him, he'd taken her sponge with his free hand and had chucked it behind him a few seats. "Now you're not."
For the love of Merlin, she wished she had her wand on her…"You, James Potter, are the most—"
She broke off talking, and he stopped scrubbing, as something began to speak from James's back pocket. What in the world—
"Prongs?"Lily plastered James with an accusing stare, for she was sure she had just heard Sirius Black's voice coming from Potter's buttocks. He made a grab for his derriere pocket and withdrew from it a mirror. The Head Boy glanced at Lily before speaking back into the mirror. Yes, the boy was talking to a mirror. What was more, as Lily peered over James's shoulder curiously, was that Sirius's face was the one reflected in the mirror, not James's.
That was not how mirrors generally tended to operate.
She'd always known that those boys were off their rockers.
"Padfoot," James remarked threateningly, his voice low. Despite the hostility, though, James was acting as if this kind of thing happened every day. Now, maybe it was simply because Lily grew up using mirrors to look at herself that she found this strange.
"How's it going with Evans?" Sirius's bodiless voice asked innocently.
For some reason, Lily's heart sped up rather quickly as she watched James give a brief scowl at his friend, as if he were trying to tell Sirius that Lily was right behind him, could hear every word that he was going to say, and that he better not say anything stupid otherwise Sirius would wake up in the morning without a toe. How Lily had interpreted that all from one look was beyond her, but it made her feel quite uneasy.
She frowned herself. If McGonagall walked in and caught them talking to a mirror…an explicit activity, Lily was sure. And who knew what would come out of Sirius's mouth? After all, he practically knew that Lily had fallen for James…had practically been flaunting it for the whole day…
That mirror needed to be destroyed…
Lily gave a cough that demanded attention. "Put that away," she ordered. Somewhere deep down she knew she was being ridiculously immature. If she weren't so determined to push James away until she absolutely had to do her second dare she knew that she probably wouldn't even care that James and Sirius had somehow turned a mirror into a communication device.
But, seeing their current circumstances…
She watched James's back tighten as Black glanced at her from the mirror. "'Having fun, Evans?" he asked her, winking.
Screw him and his winks. She scowled. "Potter, give it here."
"What are you going to do, Evans, give me another detention?" he taunted her, his back still turned to her.
Sirius watched the two with keen interest as Lily made a grab for the mirror. James snatched it back. Both of them were now glaring, the mirror held between them like a life line. "Well, I'll just leave you two to it," Sirius announced with a smirk. Lily and James both shot their gaze back towards the face of the mirror to find a smirking Sirius…eerie; it was as if he thought they were going to—"Don't do anything I wouldn't do," he warned, and with one last wink of his left eye he disappeared.
Now, as Lily looked down into it, her own face as well as Potter's was fixed in the glass. An awkwardness settled between them at Padfoot's departure. "Put it away," she repeated finally, realizing just how close they actually were as she wrenched her hands from the communication device as if it had some disgusting disease. "Merlin only knows what other type of illegal stuff you're hiding."
James's hand tightened on his sponge as he ripped his stare from the redhead's face. "How many people have you blabbed to about me being an Animagus then?" he asked her scathingly, now scrubbing the small ink-Snitch so hard that Lily was surprised the desk was still even solid.
She made sure to kick his foot hard as she made her way to her sponge. "You know I wouldn't," she hissed at him, stung. With much more force than she had attended, she slammed her sponge into the bucket and began working on her own, better-than-Potter's, desk.
For a while, the only sounds were that of their porous cleaning aids squeaking against the polished wood of the tables. Darn it, Potter. How could he be so distracting? She glanced up and over at him; he was kneeling on his knees, his backside protruded in the air as he rubbed away at the bottom side of the desk. His shirt had risen slightly and she had a clear view of a small sliver of flesh on his toned back. Darn him and his distracting ways! How could she even find desk-cleaning attractive?
She wouldn't have been thinking this way if Shakespeare hadn't entered her mind so randomly during dinner.
Lily's head was pounding as she worked away, trying to rub her more than PG thoughts of James Potter right out of head…there was no way she could talk to him…she would just have to settle for kissing Snape.
Wow, she might as well have just announced that she was going to break into Gringotts.
She looked up and watched Potter work for a while once again. He really was quite distracting. The muscles in his hands seemed to pop with strain as he attempted to smash his sponge into the table—well, at least that's what it looked like what he was doing. Perhaps she should just fulfill her dare; at least it would end this insufferable tension…really, all she had to do was tell him that she had misunderstood his intentions; she didn't have to….throw herself at his body, for Merlin's sake. Lily sighed wistfully.
At that moment James snapped his head up and spun on the spot, water flinging from his sponge. Lily was caught in surprise as his gaze met hers. Perhaps she shouldn't have sighed so loudly, or perhaps he'd known that she'd been watching him…how embarrassing.
Nope, she couldn't do it. It was way to humiliating; Lily had never been wrong, had never felt this guilty and depressed, about rejecting or hurting James Potter before. To admit that she had made a mistake would mean she'd have to admit to everything else…she may as well just throw her diary at him.
He looked up, something close to hope in his hazel eyes. "What?"
No, she would feel way too exposed, naked even, to reveal to Potter her inner-most thoughts. "Nothing."
But before she could look down at her soapy hands again in shameful solitude, James had roared a groan of outrage and had hastily pulled himself up from the ground. He looked so torn…so confused…so…angry.
"Why can't you just admit that you were wrong?" he suddenly burst out at her, his fingers that held the sponge balling up into a fist, causing a waterfall of dirty water to spill down onto the floor.
Oh no. He had snapped. She was done for. She felt like a small animal caught in the headlights of an approaching vehicle. Her eyes widened. Get away from the headlights, run away! She couldn't move; pretty soon she'd be road-kill, and her story really would end like Romeo and Juliet's…well, except Potter would still be alive…
No. She couldn't let him live, couldn't let him get ahead of her again. She had let him do far too much of that. And her self-restraint snapped, something that had never been a strong point with her anyways, which caused her to say the first comeback she could think of.
"Why can't you?" she retorted.
Wow, because that wasn't lame at all. Though, she guessed she couldn't really say anything wittier to his accusations mostly because he was one hundred percent right.
He cursed to himself as he stood up and approached her desk. Back away, Potter! One more step and I'll…
Say what, brain?
"Dammit, Evans," he told her, running a hand through his hair, which was a pretty stupid thing to do, considering both of his hands were wet and now tiny soap suds contrasted brightly against his black hair.
Matching his movements—well, not his whole hair-ordeal motion for she liked to think of herself as more poised than he—she scrambled to her feet as well, nearly slipping on the spill from his sponge. "What?" she asked him, her voice high with strain, "What do you want to say?"
"I don't want to say anything!" he shot back.
"Well, then maybe you should just go back to cleaning your desk that you so adamantly defended!"
What was she doing? Someone had answered her prayers by making him be the first one to mention that there was something between them to fix. Why wasn't she taking that advantage? Bloody pride…Gah! This was so pitiable. She just couldn't do it. The only way she seemed like she'd be able to tell him anything is if they were screaming their heads off at each other…yet screaming at each other usually only got her angrier and then nothing would probably ever be exchanged between them except a hex.
Oh wait. They didn't have wands.
Then again, maybe they wouldn't need hexes. Lily had a strong feeling that if things got too out of hand she'd lose herself and do something that would only embarrass her…like launch herself at him.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Lily?" he asked her desperately.
Lily. Lily? When had they agreed to go back to first names? She had never made such an agreement! Her knees began to wobble…argh! Bloody knees, stay strong! All he had done was say her name, for goodness sakes!
"I'm perfectly fine—"
"—No, you're not. You've got…issues."
If he was trying to get a rise out of her…it was working. Her hands were shaking now and her heart was beating like a drum on steroids…those were not good signs. "Issues?" she repeated hysterically—she seemed to be in hysterics a lot these days—"the only issue I have is that you landed me here, in detention!"
He made a weird motion—he half-turned as if he wanted to stalk away from her, but then he swung his body back around. He ended up closer to her than he had started and closer than she had anticipated. Her breath caught in her throat as he grabbed her arms in one quick motion, like he'd just snagged that silly Snitch he used to play with straight out of the air.
Oh, Merlin. She'd just referred to herself as his Snitch. First Romeo, now his Snitch? She was really screwed over now.
"This is not about detention!" he half-shouted at her, "this is about you and your out-of-control pride complex!"
"Like you can talk! You're the most prideful person I've ever met," she countered, quite pleased that her brain hadn't completely melted from his contact.
"Just admit that you were wrong!"
"I wasn't wrong about anything!"
"Yes you were!"
Of course she was lying; she knew it.
And, of course, James knew she was lying through her teeth as well. His grip tightened on her arms and Lily was sure that her blood flow had definitely stopped. For some strange reason, though, she didn't care. She didn't give a Hippogriff's beak that he was to the point of snapping her arms off because right now anger and passion were pulsing through her like never before.
Was she going crazy again?
"Merlin, Lily," he said, pulling her a bit closer.
"Merlin, what?" she cried, getting fed up with everything, "You know what? You are so—mmuphhh."
Somehow Lily found herself unable to speak as something obstructed her only means of communication. That obstruction came in the form of James' lips crashing down onto her own. Great; he had successfully snagged the Snitch. For a split second it was as if neither one could believe that he had actually done it and they were simply standing there connected by the mouth. And then he grabbed her waist possessively and began kissing her like he'd never kissed her before. Her mind was screaming at him—honestly, how dare he cut her off by the use of his lips—but her body was giving into him.
I'm kissing James Potter.
Holy Flobberworm! I'm snogging James-I-think-bets-are-cool-Potter!
There was clatter as, in their haste, they knocked over the bucket of water that had been resting on the floor by her feet. That simple noise was all Lily had needed as, quite suddenly, Lily's mind caught up with her body and she pushed herself away from him. "What," she began, trying to gain control of herself, "was that?"
Oh, no. Oh, no. What did I just do?
He was watching her palms on his chest anxiously—wait, how had those gotten there?— before he looked up at her. "That," he answered, panting slightly, "wasn't the bet."
Lily startled at his words. And then, without any warning whatsoever—and James really would have liked some type of caution sign—Lily brought her hand up and smacked him across the face. "You," she said, "are so useless! A bet? What were you thinking?"
He made a grab for the second hand, and held it to his chest, afraid that perhaps she would decide to slap him again. Lily's chest was rising and falling as she herself seemed shocked that she had just hit him. They were a mere quill's length apart.
"What were you thinking? You were content to string me along!" he retorted.
"I did not—you don't know—that was before…" It seemed she was once again unable to put together more than three coherent words to form an intelligent sentence. She bit her lip and looked down at their chests that were so close to touching.
She tried glaring at him. "Before you invaded my delicate mind!" she blurted out. "With your stupid bet—" she poked him in the arm, "—and your stupid charm—" she jabbed him again with her forefinger and he staggered backwards slightly, "—and your even stupider friends."
It was like she was on a runaway broomstick and was just unable to stop the speed at which her confession was flying from her motor-mouth.
"The bet had nothing to do with you."
She bristled. "Well, it could have."
"But it didn't."
"You better bet it does."
Bet? Merlin, she really did hate that word. "Shut up," she snapped loudly, completely fed up with everything now.
He looked at her carefully and took a confident half a step towards her. "Make me," he challenged.
He was staring at her in such a way that made her brain freeze. In fact, she was positive that if he hadn't been holding her arms she would have stumbled backwards into the desks behind her. Not only would that have looked extremely foolish and hurt a lot, but it would have caused her to step away from James Potter, something that right now she wasn't even considering an option. His hazel eyes were narrowed ever so slightly and his breathing was long and deep.
"Make me," he told her again.
"I don't have my wand," she told him.
Wow, how stupid had that sounded?
Whatever she had said had been the complete wrong thing to say, because James dropped her and turned away from her, his hands lost in his hair yet again. She shivered for whatever reason. "Why'd you do it?"
"What?" she asked him, even though she knew perfectly well what he was talking about. She had just hoped she wouldn't have to tell him.
"Why did you do everything that you did?"
An odd sensation overtook Lily. It was like some invisible force was pulling at her naval. She had heard that traveling by Portkey could do this to a Witch or Wizard, but seeing as she hadn't touched anything that could potentially teleport her somewhere…Bugger. It was the dare. She wasn't quite sure how she knew, but she did. Had she waited too long to complete it or something?
It was either now or later.
And later would probably be too late. She really didn't have an itching to give Snape a kiss.
"Dared." She answered.
She would have liked to think it was the dare pulling her to do this, but seeing as she hadn't remembered ever putting such a spell on the Truth or Dare parchment…James was simply getting to her.
He turned back towards her. "What?"
"I was dared, alright? It's a silly Muggle game that children play; tell someone to do something and they have to do it…" she realized that her motor-mouth was back so she quickly shut it off.
"So, you pretended to like me?" he accused.
Well…that was certainly one way of putting it. Jeez, it sounded so much worse when he said it. In her defense, though, she had thought that he was doing the same thing. Too bad that she knew that excuse wouldn't get passed James; he lived too much in the present to consider the past. Perhaps that's why he'd never let any of her refusals get to him.
His face fell somewhat. Dear, that had come out wrong. "No," she said rather quickly; she mentally slapped herself, "I mean, yes and no—well at first…"
It was no wonder that James was watching her blankly; she had made no sense at all. Godric, she was bad at this. Her friends better appreciate the torture they were putting her through with this dare…but would it really be that torturous if she fixed things with James? Well, at the rate she was going…
And then James began to nod his head, as if he really had understood what she was trying to say. He shoved his hands in his pockets nervously—though Lily wondered what he was nervous about. It made her quite nervous as well.
"I'm going to ask you something, and I want you to answer honestly," he said.
Oh no. What was he going to say? There were so many things he could potentially ask: Why are you such a (insert obscene word here)?—Do you expect me to still like you? (Godric, she hoped so)—Do you fancy me? (Gulp…yes)—What's your favorite type of vegetable? (Green beans). Okay, so she had no idea why he would ask the last one, but really…Did nerves make her ramble, or what?
Ironically, of all the question she had thought of, he asked her the one she hadn't been expecting.
"Evans," he shook his head and looked at her again, "Lily, Hogsmeade, next weekend?"
The feeling that took place in her gut was the same type of feeling she got whenever she made a fifty foot dive on her broom, or whenever she nearly avoided a careening Bludger and was congratulated on her fantastic dodge by her team, or whenever Potter—no, James—annoyed her, pushed her, made her want to hex the life out of him. Every single one of those times made her fear for her life, or sanity, and that was what she was feeling when she opened her mouth.
But nothing came out.
It felt like someone had shoved a Bludger down her throat and she had been too darn prideful to go the Hospital Wing to get it removed.
She looked at James helplessly who was watching her with a rather odd expression on his face, one she couldn't quite place. If she had to, she would explain it as the look her sister wore whenever Lily caught her snooping around in her school trunk when she came home for vacations; of course, Lily never said anything when she caught Petunia in this act, but the look was always one of un-attainability; magic was right there in Petunia's grasp, yet she was unable to have it.
And then James uttered a word that quite fully summed up their whole situation. "Damn."
He said it so quietly, almost as if he hadn't meant for her to hear it. In a slow movement, he bended down and picked up his discarded sponge. "Let's finish this before McGonagall comes back," he continued, turning from her.
Something inside of her lurched at the sight of him leaving. "No," she said quickly, the word scraping past the ball still lodged in her throat; it stung. He stopped for a fraction of a second. "I mean—that's not what I—Merlin, bloody vocal chords," she said angrily more so to herself than to him.
Why couldn't she just scream yes in answer to his question, jump into his arms, and snog him until McGonagall entered by which time they would have to spring apart and attempt to look like they hadn't just been pertaining in a visual display of PDA? Why was this so freaking difficult? Why couldn't she block out her rational mind which was repeatedly telling her that this thing between them would never work? It would work. It could work.
Darn it all. She was a horrible excuse for a girl.
It took her about ten seconds to realize that Potter had been watching her with a rather afraid look on his face the whole time she'd been inwardly fighting with herself. Nah, maybe afraid was the wrong choice of word—worried, maybe. Nope. Still wrong…
Godric, he's looking at me oddly again. Stop fighting brain, stop!
"Yes," she suddenly blurted out, having not meant to at all. Why did he always make her so obnoxiously nervous? He probably wouldn't even take her anyways, now knowing that she was, quite possibly, on the verge of schizophrenia.
His eyebrows hitched together and met in the center of his forehead. Dear Godric, he thought she was bonkers.
"Okay…seriously, are you alright?" he asked her bluntly, a trace of annoyance evident in his voice.
"No," she answered. Her heart began pounding frantically and a random surge of adrenaline swept through her body, alerting all of her emotions, dislodging the Bludger in her esophagus, and making her arms jumpy with the repressed desire of throwing them around James's neck.
His left eye narrowed as he peered at her. "Okay then…"
He obviously didn't have a clue what was wrong with her, and to be completely honest, neither did she. All she knew was that some source of energy had sprung from inside of her, like newly released Quidditch balls at the start of a game. Perhaps it was because she was about to begin a new game as well.
All of this talk about Quidditch; Merlin, she'd turned into a regular broomstick fanatic. All thanks to him and his pathetically cute hair, and his bloody arm pads, and stupid Starshooter…
"I need my Beater bat," she finally said.
If she had thought that James couldn't have looked more confused than he had before this, his facial expression now would have just proved her wrong. "Er…sorry?"
"Knock some sense into my head."
A small grin spread across her lips despite the muffled attempts of her brain screaming at her to stop. "Because," she glanced at him with a defiant gleam in her eyes, "I just agreed to go on a date with a Quidditch player."
And just as James made a grab for her, and their lips were about to meet, a stifled sound came from James's pants. They paused and looked at each other confusedly. It sounded like someone had thrown a wool blanket over a miniature rock concert.
"Padfoot!" James accused as he and Lily looked down into the face of the small, hand-held mirror that James had procured from his pocket.
It seemed as if the other mirror, belonging to Sirius, had been left on a bed because the only view that James and Lily had was that of a white ceiling and bit of a mahogany bedpost. James was shaking his head in amusement as whoops of joy and clapping could be heard.
"Hand over the sickles, Pettigrew," Marlene's voice called out from somewhere that was just beyond the visual range of the glass.
Lily's mouth dropped open in horror. What the—
"Rotten luck, mate," Sirius was saying as a flicker of gold flew across the mirror and over to the other side of the bed it was lying on. "I tried to warn you that Prongs' charm would overwhelm Evans' immediate desire to strangle him."
James's eyes narrowed at the thought of his friends betting against him.
Lily's hands clenched at the thought that her friends had put money on her relationship with James after her known hatred for everything to do with bets, gambling, or galleons!
"Padfoot!" James shouted into the mirror, "I'm going to give you ten seconds before I come hex your hair green."
Suddenly Sirius's face appeared upside down in their viewing glass. "You should know, Prongs, that I was always rooting for you."
"Always?" Dorcas cried happily, "You were moaning just three hours ago about how you wouldn't have a best mate at the end of tonight , Black!"
"Did I say always? I meant for the past three hours."
James shook his head. "One…"
"Oh, I'm so scared," Sirius mocked.
"Merlin, mate, who taught you math?"
"Have fun with him, Evans," Sirius said quickly, saluting her, before he disappeared, as did their view of the boys' dormitory plastered ceiling.
It was slightly ironic that McGonagall scheduled the two for another detention later that very same week for 'not using their time wisely, deliberately abandoning their cleaning materials, and engaging in inappropriate behavior during a time of punishment.' The irony wasn't so much in the fact that the Head Boy and Girl would be serving their third detention that term, but by the fact that they had both been punished the first time for bickering with each other, the second time for trying to get revenge on the other, and the third time for getting caught in a lip-lock moments after they'd been about to rip each other's hair out.
Needless to say, neither one minded the prospect of spending another night in detention with each other; especially since McGonagall had sentenced them to polishing the school brooms, Quaffle, Bludgers, and Snitch for the next upcoming Quidditch semi-finals.
Lily and James were of the same opinion that their Head of House wanted all of the sports' supplies to be up to their best ability so Gryffindor had the best chances of winning the House Cup. Perhaps that's also why she ended up cancelling their detention so that Gryffindor's captain and Beater could attend their Friday night practice. Not to worry, though, because ex-Beater and personal hater of Lily Evans was caught placing a tripping jinx just outside the seventh year girl's dormitory, and it would be that poor soul who would have to spend four hours scrubbing the various balls, brooms, and shoulder pads.
And before they exited the castle to enter the changing rooms in order to put on all of their Quidditch gear, Lily and James shared a quick kiss, ignoring Amelia Evans as she strutted by the pair, muttering about how there should be a law of separation between school relationships and Quidditch.
Awww, I'm so depressed now. Well, perhaps it isn't the end, seeing as I'll most likely come back and post an edited version. Anyways, despite how unedited and cringe-worthy I feel it to be, I hope you enjoyed this chapter which just so happens to be the last one. I really owe the success of completion to all of you guys, because if you hadn't reviewed and pestered me into writing chapters this sotry probably would never have been completed! So, thanks a zillion times infinity.
Oh and I liked all of the responses I got to "who is your favorite HP character?" Mine are Ron, Fred and George. Basically the Weasleys rock...and saying Harry sounded to cliched. Speaking of cliche, I tired to make this chapter as sap/cheese free as possible, though I think it was a bit impossible to eliminate it all.
Anyways, feel free to review with any comment you desire. Thank you so much for reading this entire story! Oh, and I think I may be starting a new story--so here's the rough summary of what it might be: No on at Hogwarts knows who the Marauders are; the students' only clue is an emblem left after every prank that incorporates four differnt types of paw prints. While Lily isn't so impressed with a certain James Potter's attempts to woo her, the one and only Mister Prongs has indeed caught her attention by the mysterious notes he leaves her after every prank.
Yeah, so that's basically what it will be about and how Lily reacts once she pieces the clues together and finds out that Potter and Prongs could very likely be the same person. Tell me what you think of this idea...I don't know if it's ever been done before and I don't want to rewrite something that's been done a million times, so give me your thoughts! If you have another idea, feel free to tell me!