It was, without a doubt, a bloody fantastic sight. Pert, toned, and barely covered with the world's tiniest pair of white shorts, Lily Evans' arse bounced enticingly just ahead of him-every bloke's wet dream. Her wavy locks, restrained by a hated hair tie, streamed like a red flag behind her. She turned her head over her shoulder to look at him, her green eyes sparkling mischievously.

"You'll never win from back there, Potter." She taunted, increasing her pace slightly.

James hid a grin, quickening his stride as well. He was, of course, letting her win. His legs were much longer and he was in fantastic shape. If he was determined, really determined to beat her, she wouldn't stand a chance. But he wasn't stupid. Why lap her when he could enjoy the view? As long as she didn't trounce him, too badly, James was content to leave things as they were.

"What can I say, Evans, you're too damn fast." he replied smoothly.

A tell-tale puffing at his side indicated that Padfoot had--finally--decided to catch up.

"Damn!" Sirius exclaimed, staring at Lily's perfectly formed bum.

She clicked her tongue at him, misinterpreting his curse. "One day, perhaps, you boys will be able to keep up with me--if I let you."

"Why," huffed Sirius, slightly out of breath. "the hell would we want to, and spoil such a perfectly lovely view."

James flinched, preparing himself for Lily's outraged retort. She surprised the hell out of him by laughing.

"Perve all you want, Black, I'm way out of your league."

"Admit it, Evans, you want me." was Padfoot's charming reply.

"I'm sorry," Lily said in mock concern. "But I'm afraid all of that running has made you delirious."

Lily tossed her head and took off, as she always did, sprinting for the finish line and crossing well-ahead of the rest.

"Good work, Evans." Mad-eye Moody said grudgingly.

He turned to the rest of the Auror class--all men--with barely controlled contempt.

"And as for you lot! Bloody disgraceful, that's what! I should kick the lot of you out on your worthless arses."

Moody continued to rant but no one was listening. Evans was stretching, her perfect arse high in the air as she bent over to touch her toes.

Sirius was bent over at the waist, panting to catch his breath. James stood next to him, unable to take his eyes off of her. She tilted to one side, shaking her bum slightly as she did so.

"Earth to Prongs!" Sirius said loudly in his ear. "Come in, Prongs!"

James shook his head, eyes still on Evans. "I'm sorry? What was that?" He replied distractedly.

Sirius chuckled. "You, my friend, are so not over her."

James peeled his eyes from Evans and redirected them towards his mate.

"Don't you ever get tired of being wrong, Pads? I gave up on Evans years ago--sixth year in fact. I'm with Christine now, remember?"

Sirius laughed. "You might think you are. You might even tell yourself you are. But every day, when she shakes that delectable arse, you completely space out."

James shrugged. "So? So do you. So do they." James gestured towards the rest of the Auror class, most of whom were ogling Evans every bit as shamelessly as James had. "Doesn't mean I still fancy her, any more than they do. Or you do for that matter. It's hormones."

Sirius cast him a skeptical look, folding his arms. "Right." he scoffed. "Oh, I'm totally buying that."

James sighed. "It's been nearly two years since Hogwarts, Padfoot, and nearly twice that since I last asked her out. I've dated loads of girls in that time. And now I have Christine and things with her are getting serious. I do not, still fancy Evans."

"Ok." Padfoot grinned. "Fine. Then you won't mind if I ask her out?"

"Ask who out?" a mild-sounding feminine voice said behind them.

James and Sirius turned towards the voice.

"Christine!" James grinned, taking her hand and planting a chaste kiss on the back of it. Sirius rolled his eyes.

"Hello, James. Afternoon, Sirius." She replied politely in the same mild tone, as she smoothed down her brown robes.

"Christine." Sirius acknowledged, his eyes flitting over to Evans, who was now sprawled out on the ground, her legs open wide as she leaned into another deep stretch.

"Ask who out?" she repeated, favoring them both with a sweet smile.

"Evans." Padfoot replied casually. "I was telling James that if he's sure he--"

"Thinks that you should settle down." James cut him off hastily. It wasn't as if he had anything to hide--he didn't. But he didn't want Christine to know about his past with Lily. Or rather lack there of. Somehow, he didn't think that even the easy-going Christine would be able to take tales of his past obsession in stride.

Sirius cast him an odd, sideways look. "If he's sure he 'thinks that I should settle down' then I was going to ask out Evans."

"Are you planning on trying to domesticate, Sirius?" Christine said with a laugh, her hand demurely covering her mouth as she giggled.

"For the right girl." He said in a bored tone.

"Then I think you might have set your sights on the wrong one." Christine replied, frankly.

Both James and Sirius turned to her in surprise. It was the closest to insulting someone that they'd ever heard Christine come. She was the sort that actively looked for this good in everyone.

"Not that I mean she isn't a lovely girl!" Christine corrected hastily. "She's very..."

"She's a hellcat!" Sirius said affectionately.

Christine's tiny nose wrinkled in disgust at Sirius' choice of words. "She's very passionate. But she's hardly the type to consider settling down and raising a family. Not the type that a gentleman would want to bring home to meet his mother."

Sirius shrugged. "I doubt you'd want to meet the type of girl my dear old mum would be interested in seeing for a daughter-in-law. Besides, lucky for me, I'm no longer constrained by the tedious rules of pureblood society. I can date or shag whoever I want."

If possible, Christine looked even more disgusted. James decided to take control of the situation before things got out of hand and Padfoot said something unforgivably, to Christine's way of thinking, appalling.

"Go ahead and ask her Pads." James said nonchalantly. "But there's no way you stand a chance."

Sirius grinned again. "If you're sure you don't mind."

Christine tucked a loose strand of her light brown hair behind her ear. "Why would he mind?"

"He wouldn't." James said to her smoothly. "He doesn't." He said emphatically, casting Sirius a warning glance.

Again a shrug. "If you say so." Padfoot turned towards Lily, who was now standing and brushing bits of dirt off the seat of her pants.

"Hey Evans!" He called.

"Black?" She acknowledged, walking over to join them.

"You remember James I'm sure..." Sirius said, gesturing.

Lily rolled her eyes. "Black. We were all in the same class at Hogarts. He was Head Boy. I was Head Girl. We've been out for two years in the same bloody Auror training class. I think it's safe to say I remember him."

Sirius smiled, unphased. "And this lovely young bird is his current girlfriend, Christine Miller."

Christine extended a smooth, white hand, smiling at Lily. Lily accepted, shaking firmly.

"Charmed." Lily said, sounding anything but. Christine didn't appear to notice. "So," Lily said impatiently. "As fun as this all is, I'm assuming you didn't call me over for a little class reunion..."

"You. Me. Dinner tonight. What do you say?" Padfoot flashed her his patented make-the-girls-melt grin. It almost always worked.

James hid a smile. Not this time, mate, he thought smugly. No way, Evans will go out with you. She had, after all, refused James loudly and vehemently every time he'd asked her, and Sirius was ten times worse than he was. But to his dismay, Evans didn't look at all offended. She looked speculative. She an oddly flirtatious way.

James felt an odd clenching in his heart coupled with a tightening in his throat, and a powerful desire to punch Sirius' face into a bloody pulp. Desperation took him. He was not...he couldn't even allow himself to think it. Thinking it made it real.

Ignoring the two others, James turned quickly to his girlfriend.

"You brought me lunch, dear?" He said in an overly affectionate tone that sounded fake even in his own ears. "You're an angel."

Impetuously, he grabbed Christine and kissed her. Christine went rigid in his arms--she hated public displays of affection. At this point James didn't care. He had to do something. But Christine was pulling away, annoyance all over her face.

Padfoot and Evans were watching them.

"Sorry." he mumbled to Christine, who looked extremely disgruntled.

"It's quite all right, James." She said evenly, straightening her rumpled robes.

Lily's eyes narrowed. She turned to Sirius. "Sure."

"What?!" James yelped in disbelief, unable to help himself.

Sirius cast him another of those side-long, knowing glances. It annoyed the hell out of him.

Padfoot grinned again. "Brilliant. Seven o'clock then?"

Lily smiled back, a dazzling smile that revealed the dimples hidden in either cheek. James was more than annoyed. Evans had never favored him with one of those. "I'll meet you--" She began.

"At my place." Sirius cut her off. "Number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London."

"Fantastic." She said, turning away.

"And Evans?"

She turned back.

"Wear something sexy." Sirius said huskily, winking at her.

James waited. Surely, surely, Lily would be offended. She'd have hexed his balls off if he'd said such a thing to her...

She winked back, blowing Padfoot a kiss, which he 'caught' and 'pocketed' for later.

What the hell was wrong with her?

Padfoot turned to James, a triumphant grin on his face.

"Boy. You were right mate. That was brutally hard. Took tons of effort and convincing. Sure was tricky there at the end. Thought she'd never say yes."

"Yeah, yeah." James grumbled, avoiding his mate's eyes. He offered Christine his arm. "Escort you, back?"

She accepted, stiffly, still miffed with him about the kiss.

James leaned on the door frame to the loo, his arms folded casually, and watched as Sirius adjusted his tie for the hundredth time, trying to get it just so.

"It looked fine the way you had it." He commented dryly.

Sirius cast him a scathing look. "That shows what you know. Fine won't cut it. Not for Evans. It has to be perfect."

James rolled his eyes. "You're such a girl. She'll never even notice."

Sirius continued his adjustments. "That attitude, is precisely why you were never able to seal the deal with her. I,on the other hand, intend to get laid sometime this millennium."

James eyes narrowed dangerously. "And what, exactly, are your intentions, Sirius?"

Padfoot grinned at his reflection in the mirror. "Oh, pure I assure you. It's high time I thought about setting down. Finding a nice girl."

"Padfoot," James said, his annoyance obvious in his tone. "You're barely twenty-one years old. Most blokes don't even consider settling down this early."

Sirius shrugged. "I'll need to settle down early if I want to whelp a litter. And I think Evans might be just the bird to help with that." He grinned at the shade of red James' face was turning. "I'll bet she shags like a minx."

"'Whelp a litter'?" James hissed through clenched teeth. "'Shags like a minx?'"

Sirius grinned broader. "Oh, we don't like that idea one little bit do we? Never mind that we don't want Evans for ourselves..."

"It--it's not that." He sputtered. "It--'whelping' and 'shagging' are not proper terms to use in conjunction with a lady."

"That, my friend, is because you've been with Christine Miller so long you've forgotten what a decent shag is."

James fists clenched at his sides. "Not that it's any of your business, but Christine and I do shag, thank you very much."

Sirius shook his head, a look of pity in his eyes. "Oh, Prongs! Missionary is not shagging."

James flushed, disconcerted by just how accurate Padfoot was.

"Christine is a nice girl!" he defended loyally. "She's a lady."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "She's bloody boring, that's what." Sirius went to work on his hair, which, as always, fell into place with a casual perfection that James always envied.

"She's not--"

"She is." Sirius insisted. "Not that she isn't a nice sort of girl, in her own way. But she's certainly no Evans."

"No." James said quietly, held fast in the in the clutches of the heart ripping sensation that had caused him to grab Christine and kiss her earlier. "No, she's not. But I love her, Sirius. She'll make a fine wife and Mum one day."

"Right." Sirius said skeptically, then he softened. "I'm sure she will, Prongs. But," He paused.

"But?" James prompted.

"But I'm just surprised at you. I mean, Christine is the sort of girl your Mum used to try and fix you up with. All manners, no fire! I hardly know you anymore!"

James shrugged. "Maybe I've decided that Mum was right."

Sirius sighed. "Alright then. You sure you don't mind about me and Evans? I mean to marry her if I can..."

James fists clenched. "No." He managed, in a passable tone. "Not at all. Go for it, if you can, mate. She's more your type now anyway."

"Used to be yours." Sirius mumbled.

"Didn't catch that?" James said.

The bell rang.

"Nothing. Can you get that before Mum wakes up? Don't want Evans to hear that wretched thing shrieking about blood-traitors."

James sighed. "Fine."

Truth to tell, the last thing he wanted to do was see Lily--his Lily--all decked out for a date with his best mate. He could hardly admit it though, so down the stairs to the door he went.

Drawing in a deep breath, he flung open the door. He froze, staring at her, his only thought was 'black dress.'

"E--Evans..." he choked out.

"Potter." Lily acknowledged casually, brushing past him into the foyer without a second glance. His eyes followed her, unable to help himself.

"Sirius is upstairs." He said around the lump in his throat. "He'll be a few..."

She brushed back her tumble of loose waves. "Mind if I use the loo?"

Weakly, he nodded. "Down the hall to the right."

She was gone for only a moment. When she emerged, she was fiddling with the back of her dress.

"Bollocks!" she cursed the stubborn zipper. "Potter? Would you mind?"

He approached her, hands shaking. She grabbed her hair, pulling it over her shoulder and clear of the path of the zipper.

His eyes drank in the sight--her smooth, alabaster skin--as his finger tips pinched the zipper. The zipper was, indeed, stuck. It held fast. It didn't help that he couldn't stop trembling. He'd never been this close to her before. And he'd most certainly never touched her. Yet here he was, his fingers brushing her bare skin, softer than the silk of her dress. He swallowed.

"Well, well." Padfoot said, startling James. "And just what do we have here?"

Lily whirled, turning to face Sirius with another of those smiles that froze James' heart.

"Finally!" She said in relief. "A man who can get the job done." She gestured towards her bare back. "Zippers stuck." She explained. "And Potter is bloody useless."

"Is he indeed?" Sirius smirked, walking towards Lily and placing his hands boldly on her waist, turning her around to examine. Padfoot ran his hands slowly down her spine. James' eyes narrowed, his fists clenched. Padfoot really was awful. He shouldn't be taking advantage!

But what bothered him even more was the fact that she didn't seem troubled in the slightest.

"Hmm." She murmured as Sirius slowly zipped the dress.

"Keep that up, love," Sirius whispered, leaning into Evans. "And we'll be doing the reverse."

WHAM!!! They both jumped, turning to look at him.

"My...hand slipped." He said lamely, rubbing his sore fist. The wall was bloody hard.

"Well." Sirius said shortly. "I suppose we should be on our way." Sirius wrapped his arm around Lily's waist, escorting her towards the door. "Don't wait up."

And then James was alone.