Title: Defying Gravity, and Other Neat Tricks
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: James/Lily, Sirius/Remus
Word Count: 4,010
Summary/Description: Sirius and the other Marauders help James get ready for his first date with Lily. The word, 'help' being used very, very loosely. (Unless, of course, you're using Sirius' definition of the word.)
Warning/Spoilers: Uh… none of either really. There's a smidge of cursing, and some mentions of smut. Maybe some OOC? You be the judge.
A/N: Another product of my inability to write anything in a linear fashion. And don't ask me why James and Sirius are being so snarky with each other today. Also, don't expect much from this fic other than a few laughs, and maybe some typos, because I didn't edit it as much as I usually do. I'm just glad that it's done. I've been writing this since July, damn it.
Thanks to: Rachel and Samara for looking this over.
Dedication: For the belated birthday of dreamscene17. Hope you enjoy it, Mayra, my dear. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, which makes me exceptionally happy, because I therefore don't have to deal with the utter jackasses. (I read The Hidden Dangers in Harry Potter a while back. My annoyance KNOWS NO BOUNDS.)
"Che- wait, why do we need pepper spray, again?"
"Well, this is James' hair we're about to tackle. Never know what could jump out and attack."
"Very funny," James called out dryly from the bathroom. "Now could you three stop playing the arse out there and come in here and, you know, help me? Wasn't that what this was all about in the first place?"
"Alright, alright," Sirius snickered. "Don't get your britches into a twist; we're coming." He turned to Peter, who had his arms wrapped around their supplies. "Do you have everything there that we would need?"
"Everything but a weed-wacker," the smaller boy verified cheerily.
"Good." Sirius turned towards one of the beds, where a thin, lanky form lay, perusing a thick volume. "You coming, Remus?"
"Mmm hmm." Absently, the boy picked up his book, slid off the bed and started towards the bathroom, without ever seeming to stop reading.
"Alright!" The dog Animagus turned and flung open the bathroom door with a decidedly unnecessary flourish. "Commence mission 'Get James' Hair to Lie Flat So That He Won't Look Like a Complete Dork on His First Date with Evans'!"
"Would you three idiots just shut up and get in here?" James' voice had lost all semblance of patience, and now sounded plain irritated.
"Now, now Prongs," Sirius reprimanded, stepping grandly into the small room to brandish a brush in his best friend's face. The bespectacled boy was sitting on a stool in front of the mirror, looking very peevish. "Is that any way to be talking to your best friends, who are about to help you get ready for one of the most important nights of your life?"
Peter, who had come in and dumped the load of stuff in his arms onto the counter, looked rather inclined to agree with Sirius, but out of deference to James, kept quiet. Remus only put the lid down on the toilet, sat, remained quiet, and continued with his book.
James sighed, and ran his hands through his hair, messing it up even more, if possible.
"Sorry," he mumbled grudgingly. "It's just that I'm so damn nervous. I still can't quite believe she actually said yes."
"Neither can anyone, old man," Sirius gave frankly. He clamped his hands down on his best friend's shoulders and gave him a speculative look. "Either Evans is becoming daft, or the standards of charm are dropping despairingly low these days." Cue a dramatic sigh, preceded by a weighty pause.
James glared, failing to be any measure of amused.
"Now, you see, in the stupid pratty world that Sirius Black lives in? Yes, that might be construed as 'helping'. But as for the rest of us – us, you know, sane people? – I believe that that's just about as far away as one can possibly get from 'helping'. Possibly."
Sirius huffed, and as with most things with Sirius, it was a very theatrical huff.
"I fail to see why you are coming down on me for this. It certainly isn't my fault that your imperfect genes cursed you with perpetually unruly hair."
"Oh, imperfect, am I? And I suppose that makes you perfect? Well, let's, fix that, shall we…?"
"Um," Peter squeaked, before the squabble could escalate, "aren't you supposed to meet Lily in the Common Room for eight o'clock? It's almost half past seven."
"Merlin's balls!" James exclaimed, looking at his watch. "It is!"
"Which is why you should sit your arse down on the bloody stool, stay still, and let me work my figurative and literal magic." Sirius always delighted in having the last word, and he snatched it up this time with little ado, manhandling James into the position he wanted on the stool, before turning to bark at Peter, "Comb!"
The sandy-haired boy took this as inclination that the proceedings were officially about to start, and raced fumblingly to hand Sirius the requested implement.
Comb in hand, Sirius walked a circle around his best friend, a finger tapping the cleft of his chin pensively. He studied the dark, messy locks of his friend contemplatively, from many an angle, until James started to twitch impatiently, and had to be quieted with a quick, "Stop that; you're disturbing my genius." The other three boys were forced to endure Sirius' pacing and thinking and thoughtful noises for another couple of minutes before he suddenly halted, as if he had found an invisible wall blocking his path.
"Aha!" he cried triumphantly. Whirling to face James, he presented his idea: "How about we shave you bald? It's simple, yet exceedingly clever. If you're bald, after all, there'll be no hair to stick up all over the place, eh? Eh?" He waggled his eyebrows in what he probably thought was an enticing manner.
James pretended to consider the notion.
"Hmm… nah. As wonderful as it would be to turn my head into a reflective surface, I think I'll pass."
Sirius tapped his chin some more.
"Well… we could dump a bucket of water over your head. That should hold it down pretty well."
"Right. And then I'd go outside, catch a cold and die. Thanks, but no."
"Your call. I guess we'll do it the old-fashioned way. Peter, hair spray."
Peter procured from the pile of hair cosmetics a tall thin can that proclaimed: 'Merton's Magical Mane Modifier: guaranteed to transform your unmanageable tangles into sleek locks within minutes!' Sirius accepted it with a nod of thanks, sprayed an unhealthy amount of it into the head before him, gave a final brandish of his comb, and delved right in.
"Ow," James said immediately after the first savage rake through his hair. Sirius was combing back the untidy shock of hair straight back, from hairline to nape, seemingly giving no notice to the fact that every time he combed back a tuft of hair, it sprang back into its rebellious place. "D'you mind? Go gentle on the goods."
"Sorry," Sirius offered, before running the comb through his hair in the exact same manner. James sighed, and resigned himself to a bit of pain.
The quartet was mostly silent for the next few minutes as Sirius worked on his best friend's hair. Peter watched with some kind of fascination, even though there seemed to be no evident amelioration in the state of James' hair after the first five minutes. Remus marked his place in his book with a finger, and looked up to observe the proceedings for a bit. After a few minutes, he raised a brow.
"Sirius, you do realise that what you are doing is exactly what James does each morning when he tries to tame his hair?"
"Yeah," was the offhand reply.
"And you expect it to have a different outcome because…?"
Sirius rolled his eyes and threw a glance Remus' way.
"Well, that seems obvious enough to me. This method has been used before, but it's never been used by Sirius Black. Peter, moisturiser."
"Sirius, your logic makes my head hurt," Remus pronounced, and reopened his book.
"Well done," the hair stylist of the moment replied. "And anyway, we have to start off slow and small, before we can get to the grandiose. Peter, hair spray. No, the other brand. That's the one. James, keep still."
"I'm just trying to take notice of the time," the bespectacled boy countered defensively.
"Keep your bloody knickers on; you'll be on time." Sirius suffixed his remark by sliding James' glasses off of his face; they were getting in his way.
Remus looked up from his book once again, and glanced between the two, seeming to ponder upon something. Seconds later, the book was closed again.
"So," he began casually, inclining his head at James, but not looking at him, "you and Lily are going to be gone all night, huh?"
"Yup." James grinned, and it was not unlike the smile he gave when he had just thought up a particularly brilliant prank. He twisted a little so that he could face Remus. "I've got something special planned for her. She's going to remember this night for the rest of her life."
"She's going to remember how a tuft of your hair stuck up at an unnatural angle if you don't bloody well keep still." Sirius punctuated the irritated remark by turning his friend's head sharply to the right. James reached round awkwardly and tried to clip him on the chin, and the two boys broke out into an impromptu fist fight.
"That's nice," the werewolf commented distractedly as his two best friends tussled. "And you, Peter? Got any plans for the night?"
"Yeah, Wormtail, that's right." Triumphant, James wrest Sirius off of him, and again took up his seat on the stool. "What about that Hufflepuff bird that you had your eye on last week? Ask her out as yet?"
"Well, no," admitted Peter, while Sirius vaulted to his feet, and got back started on James' locks. "Not yet. I want to be sure that she and that Gideon Pringle are over and done with before I make my move. Why'd you ask, Moony?"
The scholar fidgeted a little, pushing his hair out of his face, averting his eyes.
"Well, you see… Sirius wanted me to help him with his Transfiguration homework, and I wanted to have the room to ourselves so we wouldn't be disturbed, because the peace and quiet might do something for his concentration, and you know how noisy the Common Room can get, and the Library is always packed this time of year, and you know, with NEWT's coming up…"
"We're going to shag," Sirius supplied bluntly.
"Sirius!" Remus cried indignantly, his cheeks colouring quickly. Peter made a face, and went, "Euw"; James mock-gagged.
Sirius shrugged, and gestured negligently.
"Well, Prongs and Wormtail already know about us. I don't see the point of skirting around the issue, really."
Remus made a face at him.
"Yes, yes, I know, but haven't you ever heard of tact, Sirius?"
The dark-haired boy made a show of scratching his head.
"Not sure. Is it that thing you use to pin stuff up on bulletin boards?"
"Well, in any case," Peter interrupted hastily, before they could really get going, "I'll find something to do to occupy myself."
"Thanks, mate. Remus, problem solved," said Sirius emphatically.
"Yes, but it could have been solved with much more finesse," Remus said, a tad irritably.
"More finesse? I'll have you know, Remus John Lupin, that Sirius Black doesn't do much of anything without utmost finesse. Peter, brush."
Remus gave an indelicate snort.
"I know that you try to do everything with finesse, but that your outcomes are considerably less admirable than your aims."
Sirius huffed, though he kept his eyes on his task. He began running his hand over James' hair after every sweep of the brush, so that it fell back and stayed back (mostly).
"I'll show you outcomes and aims," he said, arcing a brow into a perfect curve. "In fact, I could teach you a thing or two about coming and aiming."
Peter looked up from where he had been fastidiously arranging the hair-care products, donning a suspicious look as he glanced at the bickering couple.
"Why does this conversation sound like one big sexual innuendo?" he wanted to know.
"Close your ears, boy," Sirius ordered. "James, if you twitch like that one more time, I will hit you."
James shrugged carelessly.
"And I will hit you back."
"Yes, yes, of course, wouldn't be fun any other way. But keep in mind that I'm the one with the metal-backed brush in my hand. Do keep still."
James gave something of a pout, one that had worked wonders on the fleeting sternness of his mother when he was younger. Mitigated by age, though, all it managed was a pitying look from Peter, and a snort from Sirius.
"Well, at least let me see where you've got to so far," he demanded with a scowl.
"I've gotten incredibly far," Sirius informed him. "Your hair looks zounds better."
Knowing better than to take Sirius' word for it, James stood and took a quick peek in the mirror. The look he had as he sat back down did not suggest that he was very impressed.
"Padfoot, my hair is still defying gravity," he informed him dryly in a 'just thought you might want to know' sort of voice.
His best friend gave an imperial shrug, not breaking his stride in running the brush over James' still unruly locks.
"And your virginity is still intact, but if you don't learn to sit still and shut up, that'll never be fixed either."
James' face was the very picture of incredulity.
"How will sitting still and shutting up get me laid?"
"Oh, shut up."
"You bugger off. Not all of us have the convenience of being a shirt-lifter and having a roommate who fancies us."
"Yes, well, not all of us have the convenience of being Sirius Black."
"I remember when this conversation was about James' hair," Remus gave wistfully with a sigh from his perch on the toilet.
"Go back to your book, dear boy," Sirius advised.
"Don't know why I left it in the first place."
"Strange compulsions of your scholarly mind," his boyfriend concluded. "Peter, gel. And the holding spray too. James, how far do you want to get?"
James wore a quizzical look.
"What do you mean, how far do I want to get?"
"I mean, how far do you want to get?" Sirius shrugged his eyebrows in what might have been a comical manner if the expression on his face hadn't been so serious.
"OH," James clued in. "Well, mate, how far I want to get, and how far Lily will let me get before she inflicts bodily harm are two different things entirely. Why'd you want to know?"
Sirius rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Well, I was debating the gel factor. If you're going to be getting past first base, we'll want to minimise the usage, or else Evans'll be getting a wet, sticky, unpleasant shock if she decides to run her fingers through your hair. If, though, all you two are going to do is hold hands, I can slick back all I want."
James thought about it for a moment.
"Erm… ah, hell, give me some credit, Pads. Little or no gel."
"Okay then, mate." Sirius dabbed a finger in the gelatinous substance, and then covered the container. "You seem to have high hopes."
"No," James vetoed, grinning. "I have high aspirations. But like I said, it all hinges on Lily. I have plans though, to loosen her up a bit before we can get to the good things."
"Really?" Sirius looked a little sceptical as he applied the gel, as well as a bit of the holding spray, and started brushing James' hair again. "But, erm, I don't think her idea of the phrase 'loosen up' contours well with yours. Remember the time we tried to get her to loosen up with the Cornish Pixies? Didn't go well, to my remembrance."
"Euh, yeah." James winced at the memory. "Well, I have something different in mind this time, like her favourite music, and a walk in the garden, and talking about school, and stuff."
Sirius didn't bother to try to restrain his snort of derision.
"You really love this girl, don't you?"
"Hm." The other boy seemed to be mostly indifferent to the proclamation. James, being his best friend, knew better. "Peter, the hair care manual. Where's my wand?"
"…In your pocket." Peter nodded towards it as he handed him the requested book.
"Right. Thanks. James, keep still. Peter, what page is that particular spell?"
"Uh… seventy-eight, I think."
"Eighty-seven. Close enough." Sirius held his wand in his right hand and his book in his left as he read the spell through a couple of times.
"Okay, James," he finally said. "Hold your head straight and still." With a few flourishes and taps of his wand over his friend's head, he murmured a string of Latin phrases, once, twice, and then a third time. The charm ended with a solid tap to James' head that made him feel tingly.
"Alright," Sirius said, pocketing his wand, and giving a satisfied nod. "It's done."
James turned to him.
With a small amount of trepidation, James stood, slid his glasses back on, and took a look at himself in the mirror. He blinked a couple of times, and was speechless for a long minute.
"This," he finally spoke up with conviction, nodding his head at Sirius, "this, you see, this, is why you're my best mate." He looked at his hair in wonder, how it lay sleekly on the curve of his head, curled at his neck and temples. It was neat and slick and… everything it had never been. He seemed almost afraid to touch it, for fear that one wrong move would shoot it all to hell.
Sirius came up beside him, and slung an arm around his shoulders (carefully), smugly studying his handiwork in the mirror. James returned the casual embrace slackly.
"Yup, I have to admit, I did a pretty spectacular job, didn't I? You almost look as good as me."
The bespectacled boy levelled him with a baleful stare.
"We're having something of a moment here, Pads; don't spoil it."
"Wouldn't dream of it," his companion replied blithely, and plodded right on. "Okay, so all that's left to do in the remaining ten minutes is get you spruced up. After you've taken a-" Sirius cut himself off abruptly, eyes widening as if something had only just occurred to him. "Prongs, please, please tell me that you've already bathed. This-" he widely gestured to the finely styled head, "-is not going to survive a shower."
"Well…" James took some time for thought. "I had one this morning, but that was before the Quidditch match…"
"Well, too bad," Sirius interrupted. "One for the day is going to have to suffice. Sponge yourself down if you must; just don't get near any running water with my masterpiece."
"Masterpiece, my arse. It isn't that good."
"It's a regular damn magnum opus, thank you very much."
"Urm," Peter piped up, interrupting them once more. "Ten minutes? Remember?"
"Shit, you're right!" James made a frantic turn or two about the cramped room before seeming to realise that the object of his search was in the bedroom. He hurried out, the others trickling after to help him get dressed for the biggest night of his life.
The Gryffindor Common Room was uncommonly full, especially for eight o'clock on a Saturday night. However, James wouldn't have missed Lily even if a parade had been passing through, orchestra, marching band and all.
She was standing near the fireplace, talking to whatshername, looking so simple and elegant and fucking beautiful it made his eyes hurt to look at her. She was wearing a very pretty Muggle dress; forest green to compliment her eyes; hair cascading from a knot at the top of her head; freckles made golden by the flickering light cast by the fire. Her friend said something that made her laugh, and the sound was like music. James' hold on the banister tightened, hazel eyes melting at the sight and sound.
"Go on," Sirius said, poking him in the back. The four Marauders were congregated on the steps leading down to the Common Room, just out of sight. "What are you waiting for?"
James cleared his throat, and straightened.
"Right." With one last grin at them, and after some encouraging slaps on the back, he started down the stairs, and headed towards the Head Girl. He heard a couple of whispers around him, ("Bloody hell! What's going on with Potter's hair?" "Damned if he doesn't look good.") but paid them no mind. How could he, when the prettiest girl in the Wizarding world was waiting for him?
She grinned when she saw him, though she did look a bit surprised when she took in his hair. She excused herself from her friend, and walked to meet him halfway. They both came to a halt in the middle of the Common Room, smiling widely.
"Hi," he said in greeting.
"Hi," she returned, smiling shyly.
"You look… you look…" James fumbled, wondering where all his effortless charm had gone. Fitting that it would desert him in the face of such altogether bloody loveliness. Merlin, but she was pretty. "…like you should be immortalised in stone," he finally decided upon, looking at her adoringly.
"Thank you," she chuckled, turning a very becoming shade of pink. "You look very smart yourself," she gave with a smile, taking in the crisp white shirt, and neat slacks. Her glance flicked to his hair once again.
"Thank you, my dear." He proffered her an arm. "Now, shall we?"
"Um, yes, in just a minute." Instead of taking his arm, Lily opened her handbag. "Would you mind leaning down a bit?"
Thinking that he was about to get his first kiss of the evening, James gladly obliged.
However, instead of cool lips against his cheek, or even better, his mouth, he saw Lily take out her wand, tap it against his head, and mutter a quick charm. There was a bit of a popping noise as his hair went back to its normal, haphazard mess.
James would have liked to say something, but found that task hard to manage with his jaw on the floor, so he simply gaped at the girl in utter incomprehension. Sirius, observing from the staircase, would have let out a roar of rage and disbelief if his boyfriend hadn't the foresight to clamp a hand down on his mouth and drag him back up the stairs. Peter squeaked, put a fist to his mouth, and watched with trepidation to see what would ensue.
Finally, James managed to sputter,
"Lily… what… why… my hair… why did you…?"
She replaced the wand in her bag, and closed the clasp neatly before answering very pragmatically.
"Well, I rather do prefer your hair this way. That's not to say that I don't appreciate all the effort you went through to… tame it, but just then, you looked like any other bloke, and that was rather disconcerting. James Potter shouldn't look like anyone but James Potter." She smiled, and reached out with a hand to rumple his hair. "In any case, your hair practically defies gravity. That is quite a neat trick."
James looked like he was going cross-eyed.
"D… uh… em…"
"Do tell Sirius that I'm sorry though," Lily added.
That seemed to snap James out of his stupor. He narrowed his eyes, brow wrinkling.
"Wait… how did you know it was Sirius who did it?"
She wrinkled her nose.
"I recognised the smell of his hair spray."
At that, James gave a little laugh, and ran his hand over his hair.
"Well," he chuckled with a shake of his head, "at least this means I won't have to go through all that buggery every time I'm going out with you." He still seemed a little flabbergasted, but shook it off with a shrug. Threading his fingers through his hair, he flashed her a smile that she readily returned.
"Well, now shall we?" He offered her his arm once again, only to have her shake her head.
"In just a minute. Bend over again, would you?"
He complied, but with a furrowed brow.
"What's the matter? Did you miss a sp-?" He cut off abruptly, as the latter half of the word was lost to Lily's mouth as she pressed her lips to his for a brief, sweet kiss.
When she pulled away a few seconds later, he was still blinking like an owl.
"Now we shall," she said brightly, eyes twinkling as she threaded an arm through his.
A/N: Aww, ain't they cute?