smoke and mirrors
(twenty somewhat-related facts about the marauders. and lily.)

1. Until he was nine, James' parents made him keep his hair cut near-bald short, in an effort to control it. So when he got into school, he began waiting as long as possible to see just how much he could piss them off until they tried to shave it. This usually happened just after his mother huffing became unbearable and just before he could put it in a ponytail. It was the exact length that really annoyed Lily Evans.

It was perfect.

-:-

2. The first time he met James, Sirius considered, for a split-second, lying about his last name, but couldn't come up with anything in enough time. So he had to say "Black" and act as if he was proud, or defiant, or stubborn. It actually bothered him when James didn't react.

-:-

3. Remus actually laughed when he got his Hogwarts letter, refusing to believe that it could possibly be true. After the initial shock passed, he became a little suspicious, like this must be some sort of cruel joke, until his father talked to Dumbledore and got it all ironed out. When it was confirmed, when he knew he was actually going to Hogwarts, werewolf or no, he didn't say anything. He took his letter and walked on shaky legs up to his room.

After nearly half an hour of dumbfounded, awed staring at the words on the page, he finally smiled and shouted and cheered for himself, actually going to Hogwarts, actually going to be a real wizard instead of a half-breed, actually going to be around other people. He cheered himself sick, and then the implications occurred to him. He would be dangerous, around a lot of people. He could hurt a lot of people.

He thought about being noble and refusing the letter for the greater good of all the students, but he really wanted to go to school.

He still considers this the most selfish - and best - decision he's ever made.

-:-

4. The first time she saw him, Lily actually thought that James Potter must have been a Greek God - so confident and handsome and charismatic. And then he smirked at her, and she hated him, because she knew that he was someone she could easily fall in love with. She didn't want to love James Potter, and she made a pact with herself right then and there to stay as far away from him as possible.

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5. Peter once found a stash of marijuana on the roof of the Muggle home next to his grandparent's, and put it in his grandfather's salad.

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6. Lily got drunk once. And swore alcohol off for the rest of her natural life when she woke up the next morning, sprawled across the kitchens, surrounded by terrified house-elves and a very amused Sirius Black. He never did tell her what she did the night before, and she was never entirely sure she wanted to know.

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7. She swore it off again the next time. And the next.

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8. Peter had a teddy bear that he had kept with him since before he could remember - the only gift his father had ever given him, before dying sometime before he turned one. It was tattered and ancient, but he wouldn't let his mother magic it back new, because it seemed better, realer, for the falling-off eye and clumsily sewn tear in the back. Somehow more tangible because it was falling apart.

The first night in Hogwarts, Sirius teased him about sleeping with a teddy bear, and so he stuck it in his trunk and pretended it didn't exist. Somewhere between first year and seventh, the little tear in the back reopened and regurgitated the bear's stuffing all over the bottom of his trunk, rendering it unfixable, broken, dead.

He never quite forgave Sirius, and he could never really explain why.

-:-

9. James' father was a seeker when he was at school, but when James tried out for the team, they already had a seeker. So, he became a chaser, bought a snitch, and never told his parents what position he played.

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10. Remus thought it would be pretty cool to be a werewolf the first month, until the full moon.

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11. James was absolutely plastered the first time he kissed Lily Evans, and didn't remember any of it the next morning. He woke up, covered in what might have been strawberry daiquiri, face-up on the floor of the common room, confused. He asked Sirius, but one glance at his best friend's blood-shot eyes and he decided that Sirius wouldn't know the answer.

He tried to ask Peter, but then realized that Peter wasn't really breathing. After several frantic minutes of CPR, he saw that Wormtail was just very, very drunk.

Remus glanced at him and told him that he didn't want to know.

And Lily Evans smiled at him when he stumbled by.

-:-

12. Sirius couldn't actually remember ever hearing the words "I love you" being said to him.

-:-

13. Lily cried when her sister first called her a freak, and considered ignoring the green-ink letter and just going to a normal school for an entire week, until her mother told her that she could never change who she was, no matter how much she ignored it. She's never been entirely sure that she made the right choice.

Public school might have been a lot of fun, being a normal teenage girl, flirting and giggling in the halls.

-:-

14. Remus secretly believed that Sirius was going to kill himself someday, whether on purpose or by accident. He knew that he and James and Peter were his only lifelines, and that if they left him behind...

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15. Remus was the first one to forgive Sirius after he pulled that incident with Snape and the Shrieking Shack, because of this.

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16. Once, Sirius was left alone in his family's huge old manor. It was the summer after first year, rainy and dreary, and he didn't yet know his friends quite well enough to invite them over to his house for a day of mischief. So, left completely to himself for an entire day, he did all the things that he'd never managed to get the guts to do.

He slid down the banisters like he was on a skateboard, he rode a screeching photograph down the stairs, he parachuted off the second-floor landing using a sheet (which ended with a very large bruise and a rather terrified-looking Kreacher hiding under a table), he swung from anything that would allow him to swing, he jumped on beds and danced around in his underwear with a broom-guitar to Muggle music.

In short, it was the best day of his life, not marred at all by the next day, when he had to single-handedly clean up his mess. He considered it absolutely worth every glare and muscle sore from scrubbing.

Even more so because now, his parents had to take him with them to Diagon Alley, because they wouldn't dare leave him home alone.

Which wasn't part of his plan.

Of course not.

-:-

17. James was actually mortally afraid of deer. His friends teased him about this mercilessly.

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18. It started out as a good thing, really. Peter had this great idea that he would play spy. He would be the James Bond, the mighty, brave Peter Pettigrew who set himself into the Death Eater's arms so he could tell the Order all their secrets. He would be a hero, and he would be appreciated, and he would have friends who actually noticed when he wasn't there.

He would prove himself a Gryffindor by turning secret spy for the Order.

Only he never actually told them the information. Which made him a pretty bad spy, and an even worse Gryffindor.

-:-

19. Three weeks after he joined the Death Eaters, Lily, seven-month-pregnant Lily, sat him down and asked him everything was all right, because he hadn't been acting like himself, and she was worried about him. He stared at her for several seconds, and almost - almost - told her everything, about his failed attempt at being a spy, about his clever idea, about his desire to be a hero.

But they had sent Lily instead of coming themselves. Because they didn't care enough to ask him face-to-face. He told her that he had just been having a rough time at work, and wasn't sleeping so well.

When she smiled and hugged him, telling him that they would always be there for him, he felt the baby kick a little, and almost threw up.

-:-

20. James was laughing when he died.
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(A/N: I love writing these things. Review if you like!)