PenPusherM here.

Congrats! You've found my James/Lily one-shot. Now, before you write this off as just another fluff piece, I must let you know: yes, this probably is just another fluff piece. You have been warned.

This fic was written for a good friend of mine, and also an author here on ff, JewelValentine. She's currently writing a HP ficclet for my reading pleasure, and I was so tickled I decided to let this idea morph into something she might enjoy. (Sorry, dearie, no man-on-man for you. You have the monopoly on good S/R stories; I dare not compete. Love love!)

Anyway, I disclaim any ownership over Harry Potter except for this idea.

Happy reading!

Only Skin-Deep

Lily ground her teeth in annoyance. Normally, she would refrain from such an activity (grinding one's teeth was not only an orthodontic nightmare, but also an unseemly habit) but in this instance, Lily found it perfectly acceptable.

Most of the time, Lily found Professor Flitwick to be a kindly, intellectual man who, despite his short stature, commanded respect. Lily would even go as far as to say he deserved admiration. To be blatantly put, the man had skills.

But today, Lily fumed, today Flitwick was a bloody idiot.

"We've experimented in changing our own appearances, but now the real challenge is to change the appearance of another," Professor Flitwick had hopped down from his stack of books. "This particular charm, Aspectus, deals with feeling as much as intention. The caster will picture the look of the person or animal they mean to change, and then envision a modification they wish to make. However, the charm will reflect the caster's feelings as much as it will reflect the caster's vision of whatever modification they originally intended."

A Hufflepuff in the third row put up her hand. Flitwick had nodded at her.

"What do you mean, reflect the caster's feelings?"

"Well, Miss Genevra, I mean that if you want to change the appearance a loved one to something hideous, the charm may instead make them appear lovelier. Aspectus reflects the inner feelings as much as the outward conviction. Therefore, class," Flitwick had added. "To get the effect that you want, you must banish all feelings while you cast the charm so that they do not interfere with the final result."

Professor Flitwick had ambled to the first row of students, and, waving his wand over Cecilia Hamworth's curly-haired head, said "Aspectus!" To the class' amazement (not to mention Cecilia's) she suddenly was sporting a handsome, salt-and-pepper mustache. Before Cecilia could gather her wits and scream, Flitwick twiddled his wand again and muttered "Retexto!"

As Cecilia's upper lip had returned to its previous clean-shaven state, the rest of the class broke out into appreciative applause. Professor Flitwick acknowledged it with a nod. "Now, we will experiment on rats today. As for tomorrow's homework, I shall assign you a partner, and the both of you must come to class tomorrow sporting a new feature."

Lily had exchanged an excited glance with her girlfriends. The technique was obviously N.E.W.T. level; anything of that status intrigued her. Flitwick had usually recognized the talent of Lily and her friends and placed them together, making the homework much more enjoyable. However, her bubble of euphoria was cruelly burst when Flitwick set a large black rat in front of her and uttered the dreaded words: "Miss Evans, you shall partner Mr. Potter."

Lily had done nothing but stare at her professor in horror. He didn't seem to notice her state of distress and had moved on.

Potter?! Why Potter? She had dragged her eyes over to where Potter and his gang of exasperating trouble-making friends sat in the corner of the classroom. Sirius Black, in his irrepressible perversion, had managed to give his rat a rather large pair of knickers. Peter Pettigrew was turning an interesting shade of magenta while gazing at the overly-endowed rat and Remus Lupin (a boy Lily had always felt a degree of sympathy for) had already covered his face in his hands. James Potter (Lily's stomach clenched in disgust) had been crying from laughing too hard.

Of all the partners Flitwick could have given her-! Lily had groaned, causing her friend Lorraine to look at her. "Lils, what's the matter?"

"Potter's the matter," Lily said savagely, poking her wand towards her rat. "Aspectus!"

"Lily, I think you might be overreacting." Lorraine had said carefully, watching as Lily's rat suddenly grew an afro and a fu-man-chu.

"Overreacting?" Lily stabbed her wand towards her rat again. "Retexto! Oh, shit-!"

"Yes, overreacting." Lorraine said firmly.

Lily had waved her wand again, ceasing the rat's newfound ability to breathe fire. "I can see the train-wreck now! 'Hey Lily, do you want to go out tomorrow? I can give you a third breast, that'd be bloody amazing!'"

Lorraine hadn't suppressed her giggles in time, and Lily had rounded upon her, glaring. "What the hell is so funny about that?"

"Lily, I think you're too hard on James and his friends. They're actually quite charming… sometimes." Lorraine had waved her wand at her own rat, which sprouted a beak.

"Too hard on Potter?" Lily hissed. "He's like the pimple that you get on the middle of your forehead that doesn't go away!"

"Madam Pomfry could take care of that in like, a second." Lorraine said breezily.

"You missed the entire point of my analogy." Lily sighed. She looked up, and then gasped in horror. "Oh, Flitwick just told him, he's coming over here-!"

Sure enough, Potter had made his way to Lily's desk, one hand ruffling his hair as he went. "So, my dearest Lily, it appears that Fate has pushed us together once again."

"Yes, well, I've always thought Fate has a cruel sense of humor." Lily had snapped back.

James had brushed the comment off, still smiling. "When shall we meet to do it?" At his last words, he had waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Lily had gritted her teeth. "Noon tomorrow ought to give us time before class to perform the charm."

"Excellent. I shall count the minutes- Nay! The seconds!" With all the drama normally associated his with Marauder-in-crime Sirius, Potter gave a florid bow and turned on his heel, pausing to blow Lily a kiss over his shoulder.

"Kill me now." Lily moaned. Lorraine shook her head.

"Some girls would love to have James Potter blow them a kiss." Her friend sounded a touch wistful, suggesting that she herself wouldn't mind a bit more of attention from the Quidditch Captain. Lily glared again.

"Well, don't count me among their number." She had grated. "The sooner this is over with, the better."

And now, Lily was stuck in her current state of teeth-grinding annoyance. Potter's cocky smile suddenly flashed in her mind, and Lily gave out a low growl, startling a couple of second years passing her. Then, a very delicious thought came to mind.

Why not change Potter into a horrible, disgusting cretin? Hadn't Flitwick mentioned that the charm reflected feeling as much as intent? If that were the case, then turning Potter into something hideous would be terribly easy. Flitwick would surely be impressed by the detail she would pay to Potter's disfigurement, and Potter himself would finally see himself the way she did.

Maybe this project wasn't as bad as she thought it would be.

Later that evening

"-and then I told her I needed to go to the Potions dungeon to do a detention, so she promises to meet me in the Astronomy tower after I was finished. Then, I went and had a perfectly lovely time with Bethany Garret in the trophy room, and as soon as I was finished, met Harriet in the Astronomy tower. She was none the wiser!"

James chuckled at the triumphant look that his best mate Sirius wore, reaching over from his position on the couch in front of the Gryffindor common room fire to tousle Sirius' hair. "You're incorrigible, mate. One of these days a bird will find you double crossing her, and then we'll have to scrape whatever's left of you off of the floor."

Sirius knocked James' hand away, grinning. "None of them have figured it out in the last six years, why start now?"

Remus spoke up, abandoning his book to join the conversation. "You're going to run out of girls to chase at Hogwarts, Padfoot, and then you'll have to start recycling. Then they'll figure out that you're a great dirty man-hussy."

Sirius looked at his werewolf friend in mock horror. "Recycle? Oh, Moony my dear, how you hurt me with your flippant remarks about the fairer race! I only consort with as many lovely ladies as I can because I worship them, in all of their succulent beauty. I would never think to use such profane language as recycling regarding Hogwort's fine selection of womenfolk."

"Have you ever considered going into theater, Padfoot?" Remus asked, amusement dancing in his golden eyes.

"Every day." Sirius grinned. He nudged James, who had lost interest in Sirius and Remus' exchange and had instead begun to gaze into the fire. "Oh, my love-struck little popinjay, come back to earth!"

"Hmm?" James tore his eyes away from the captivating flames to look bemusedly at Sirius. "You say something?"

"You're hopeless, Prongs."

"Says the man who has conquered more women than Alexander the Great has conquered nations." Remus drawled.

"Alexander the who?" Peter piped up.

"Alexander the Great. He was a warlord who captured and ruled much of the known world about 325 B.C." Remus supplied, eyes lighting up in his usual knowledge-induced fervor.

"Moony, you read too much." Sirius interjected. "And Alexander the Great was a poofer."

"Gay power, then." Peter grinned.

"Gay power, hmm, Peter?" Sirius raised his eyebrows. "Is there something we should know about? Or rather, not know about? Don't give me any details if you're shagging other men."

"Rest assured, Pads, Wormtail isn't a poof. Did you see the way he was staring at your rat today in Charms?" Remus laughed.

James let his friends' conversation wash over him, not really taking in any of what they were saying. He was overjoyed with the chance to work one-on-one with Lily, and also perplexed. What would he change about Lily? More importantly, what could he say to make her see him as someone worth dating?

He had tried for the last six years to make Lily Evans fall in love with him. Despite all of the offers he had received, James had only ever wanted Lily. And yet, she was the only girl who would ever refuse him in all of Hogwarts.

He sighed. He would have to improv tomorrow, because any brilliant ideas concerning either of his problems were currently eluding him. He returned to the other Marauder's conversation, not really surprised that they were discussing how Peter would explain to his parents that he was seeing a busty female rodent.

Next day, about twelve 'o' clock

"Good afternoon, Lily."

Lily sighed as James entered the empty classroom, steeling herself for a trying encounter. "Good afternoon, Potter. Let's just get this over with, shall we?"

Lily had stayed up most of the night thinking about what she would do to James' handsome face. She had actually written her ideas down, culminating in about a two page list. She had covered most every disfigurement from boils to pock marks, ingrown hairs to harelips. Normally, Lily wasn't the vindictive type; however, six years of exasperation had led to an uncharacteristic amount of nastiness.

Another thought had begun to worry her, though. She hadn't been kidding when she had predicted that James would end up giving her a third breast or something else particularly perverted, but she couldn't help but wonder what James would want to change about her. His constant, unwanted affection was certainly wearing, but over their years at Hogwarts Lily had come to expect it. She had never grasped what exactly James found so attractive about her (unless, of course, he was a masochist, and her constant spurning was actually a part of his attraction.) A part of her- a small part, mind- had always been flattered by his admiration. James, in short, made her feel beautiful.

And now he had a chance to change something about her appearance. Would he make her more slender? Taller? Would he change her face to make her more attractive? Her insecurity, though not very strong, gnawed at the back of her mind.

It's not like I care how James Potter feels about me, Lily thought dismissively. It's his own problem if he wants to change something about me that doesn't fit to his liking. That would just prove that he's a big, bleeding jerk.

"Would you like to start or shall I?" Lily tried to keep her voice neutral, mentally running over her list in her mind.

"You can. Ladies first, and all that." James' cocky grin was back.

"With pleasure." Lily raised her wand, and gave it a wave. "Aspectus!"

James' handsome face slowly began its transformation. One eyelid drooped, and hair sprouted from both ears at an alarming rate. Pock marks dotted his pale skin, and his lips bulged unpleasantly. His nose appeared as if squashed and puss-filled zits began to pop up over his chin and forehead. The stubble that had so enticingly shadowed his chin before her charm turned into a greasy, curling, and patchy mess. Lily bit back laughter. The overall effect was ideal- completely sickening.

"Shall I conjure you a mirror, Potter?" Lily couldn't help the touch of malice in her voice.

"No thanks, Lily." His voice was still pleasant, warm even. "I'm sure I'm perfectly disgusting to look at, so I might as well spare myself."

"All… All right." Lily fidgeted a little. She had wanted to see his reaction; she wanted him to get angry. But he was acting so calm… "Um, go on, then."

"No thanks. Let's head to class, then, shall we?"

Lily frowned. "What? Don't you care that Flitwick will give you detention?"

She couldn't be sure that James was smiling at her underneath all of his disfigurements. "Lily, I have been in so many detentions, one more won't kill me."

"But… Can you not do the charm, or something?"

"I can do it."

"I don't understand, then. Why get a detention you can easily avoid?" Lily told herself she didn't care what Potter's rhyme and reason was behind any of his actions, but her curiosity got the better of her.

"Why would I do the charm when there's nothing I would change?"

His answer caught her off guard. "Pardon?"

"There's nothing I want to change about you, Lily. And like Flitwick said, if that's the way I feel it wouldn't matter what I tried. So, why even bother exerting the effort?"

Lily was stunned. James, master of the perverted jokes and innuendos, had managed to say something nice? Sweet, even.

Who would have guessed?

James was smiling again; Lily could tell, because his lips had returned to their normal size. As she watched, her heart thumping strangely hard, James' blemishes began to fade. Within moments, his face returned to normal.

"Well… aren't you going to ask me something?" Lily heard herself saying, her face feeling peculiarly hot.

Now it was James' turn to look confused. "What?"

"I said, aren't you going to ask me something?"

Then, James smiled. "Next Hogsmede… Would you like to go with me?"

Lily smiled. "Why yes, yes I would."

The End

Pen here.

Hope you enjoyed it (I did warn you, it was just another James/Lily fluff piece!)

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