Disclaimer: Do you really need to be told?
Rated for language and sexual themes. This has gone through some major editing lately.
"Lily. You're overreacting."
"Shut up, Remus."
"I think the hallway looks great. Honest!"
"Shut up, Peter."
"Evans, we do this everyday. Stop talking about it and please just do it, it's really not that difficult."
"Shut up, Black!"
"Christ, no need to get feisty."
"I'll get feisty if I want to! It's McGonagall!" She shouts at no one in particular, nervously twirling a strand of red hair around her index finger, biting through her lip. "She's going to know, she's going to know, she's going to know…"
"She won't know if you lie," Sirius drawls, his tone slow and sing-song, as if the solution should be perfectly obvious.
"Lily," Remus cuts in matter-of-factly, looking up from his book and extending his legs over to the coffee table, blocking her pacing path. "Seriously, I need you to relax. You can do this."
"What do you know?!" she snaps, carelessly shoving his legs over and continuing her pacing. Next to Remus, Peter draws his legs tightly into his chest to escape Lily's wrath. "She'll see right through me, I know it!"
Unfazed, Sirius leans back casually on the sofa and lets his head hang back over the side, his tone unchanged and relaxed as ever. "Stop making it such a big deal, love," he says, sighing deeply. "We do it all the time." Without lifting his head back up, he throws his hand lazily towards Remus (who responds with a grimace), Peter, and himself, then jerks a finger up to the dormitories to indicate James. He then proceeds to attempt to also extend his legs over onto the coffee table, but his legs promptly fall dead to the floor upon meeting Lily's eyes.
"That's the point! I'm as bad as you!" She shrieks hysterically, her eyes widening in genuine fear. Pausing for a second, she suddenly gasps, as if she's realized an awful truth. "Oh, God - I've become a Marauder!" She draws in a breath and frowns then, "And don't call me 'love!'"
"Bollocks," Sirius responds flatly, "You need a hell of a lot of misdemeanors than turning a corridor into a pond to become a Marauder, Lily. Please," he says, with an air of finality. "Don't flatter yourself. You aren't half as bad as us. You aren't even comparable. Not even remotely in the same league or ballpark. "
"Enough with the synonyms," she spits irately, "Point taken, you're detention king." She continues her panicked pacing around the room, occasionally stopping to complain and freak out over details, or how McGonagall will be able to trick her into telling things.
After a few minutes, Remus checks his watch. "You do realize," he says calmly, his tone cautiously even, "That she called you to her office three-quarters of an hour ago, and you've been here, complaining about it for the last…" he glances at this watch again, "Twenty minutes. You aren't making a great case for yourself right now."
"Oh, look, there she goes."
"Don't let the portrait door hit your gorgeous arse on your way ou – ouch!"
"Don't poke the bear, Sirius."
"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!" She sprints down the corridor, past portraits protesting her lack of manners. Stumbling, she glares down at her shoe, noticing that her shoelaces have picked this particular moment to untangle from their ever-persistent knot. "Fucking shoelaces," she mutters under her breath, her hair dropping down in front of her in a vivid red curtain as she bends down.
Alright, so the bunny goes around the snake and then twirls to do a little something…what the hell was it…where the hell did the bunnies go? Through the loop? The pond? Her hand is halfway to her jeans pocket before she stops herself. Lily, you're head girl, you can tie your fucking shoes without magic – you're a breath away from being a Muggle for crying out loud! Jesus Chri –
A sudden cough from down the corridor startles her. She knows that cough. She knows that cough even half-way across the great hall. He knows she knows that cough. She knows, that he knows, she knows that cough.
"What do you want?" she demands tonelessly, struggling to get the bunny through the hole and away from the snake.
"Having problems tying your shoes, pumpkin?"
She straightens up, red in the face, both from bending over and running for the past three floors. Finding herself face to face with the one person she truly does not want to see, she scowls and clenches her jaw.
"I thought we'd agreed that you wouldn't call me Pumpkin."
He smiles softly, as if re-living a fond memory. "Yes, I do recall a conversation that had the general message of 'Shut the fuck up, Potter or I'll feed your organs to you.'"
"Your memory is admirable," she deadpans.
"Why, thank you."
"You're welcome. Now, I'm busy, so unless you've got something important to say, which I sincerely doubt – as you rarely ever do – kindly, leave me the hell alone."
"Whatever are you so busy with?" He asks, raising an eyebrow and smirking, falling into step beside her as she sets out in a steady strut down the corridor. "I find it hard to believe anything is a valid enough excuse to leave me stranded in the middle of this hall with no substantial witty/sarcastic/vindictive banter to enrich my day."
"Did I tell you that you could accompany me wherever I happen to be going?" She snaps back, stepping childishly to the side a couple of feet, putting an extra arms-length distance between them.
"Ah, you see that there," he says amusedly, putting a hand over his heart as if he were genuinely touched, "Who needs a proper conversation when I have blind hatred?" He pauses as he observes the sudden distance between them, "Mature," he adds, "Very mature."
"Don't lecture me about maturity," she says flatly, flipping her hair over her shoulder and stretching the distance between them by a few more feet. "As I recall you were once convinced by your friends to eat a whole Grindilow."
He snorts. "I didn't actually go through with it, if that's what you're wondering."
"Wrong - wasn't wondering," she turns a corner, "Don't care."
They walk silently side by side, down the third floor, approaching McGonagall's room. The sunlight slowly recedes behind the trees in the grounds visible below them through the windows, casting a gentle orange hue across the corridor. Spring air drifts through the openings in the castle windows, and Lily vaguely supposes the scene could be considered somewhat romantic, if not for the small fact that it really wasn't. Given she was walking down the corridors to die at the hands of McGonagall and all that. She silently weighs the ups and downs of slowing her pace and taking more time reaching her destination and prolonging what was left of her miserable life, with the horrible prospect of spending an extended period of time (and possibly what precious moments she had left on this earth) with James Potter, the infamous toerag himself.
"I believe congratulations are in order," he says pleasantly after a few minutes, breaking the silence and dragging Lily's imagination away from the cruel methods of detention McGonagall could potentially give her.
"Well, I'd hate for you to think that I somehow missed that miraculous pond of yours." His face splits into a spectacularly proud smile.
She twitches unintentionally at the thought. "Oh, please, please don't remind me," she says feebly, pinching the bridge of her nose, "I'm horrified enough as it is."
"Honestly, I thought it was bloody brilliant," he says earnestly, drawing a smile from her. "Rumor has it, Dumbledore himself took a dip in it early in the morning. Moaning Myrtle was spreading it around the castle. Apparently his swimming trunks are bright purple with stars. Or farts - " He pauses, confused for a second. " – It's very difficult to understand what she's saying when she's excited."
"Really?" she squeaks, her smile turning into a grimace, now unable to control the pitch of her voice. "Dumbledore? In my pond? Swimming? Really?"
Pedaling back almost immediately, "I'm sure he loved it," he rectifies now, with a solemn expression that exudes confidence in his words, "That old kook loves things like that."
"Yeah," she breathes, distracted, "Sure. Of course."
"Besides," he adds, more forcefully, still beaming with positivity. "I'm pretty sure you almost drowned the Ravenclaw Captain, which is never a bad thing."
"Ah," She says then knowledgeably, her voice thick with sarcasm. "Happy I almost took out your competition, then?"
"No," he replies quickly. "Competition? That twerp?" He lets out an elitist laugh that is much too high to be considered natural and careless. "Puh - lease."
"He is no competition of mine," he shrugs nonchalantly. "No siree."
"I only consider those who can actually balance on a broom competition. Which completely rules him out, incidentally."
"It's because of that ginormous head," he continues, nodding wisely, oblivious to her painfully obvious non-commitance into the conversation. "He can't support it. Hardly on the ground, and not even remotely on a broom."
"I suppose that's why he was drowning?" she inquires, still distracted.
"Yes," he replies, still solemn. "Don't we beat them every time?"
"We do," he confirms, nodding to himself stiffly. "That, we do."
They continue walking in a pregnant silence, both of them instinctively closing the gap in between, and she finds her shoulder grazing his in a matter of seconds. The corridor grows darker as the orange light disappears behind the trees, shadows cast by the castle tracking over the grounds. Their footsteps echo down the hall, interrupted by the occasional appearances of students making their way to their respective dorms, their stomachs' full of delicious food, their conversations light and unburdened. Glaring at them enviously, Lily's stomach growls at the thought of the dinner she refused merely an hour ago.
Perhaps I could ask for some Pumpkin Pie as a last request, she thinks.
As they turned a corner, she sighs in surrender. "I cannot believe I actually transformed a hallway into a bleeding ocean. McGonagall's going to crucify me and display my mangled body in corridors to discourage others from crimes against the school."
James chuckles at her morbid sense of humour. "I could ask Moony to check if you'd like, but I'm quite sure crucifying is frowned upon in Hogwarts," he quips, his smile turning uneasy as she stares at him in earnest worry. "Oh, come on," he pleads, exasperated. "Where has your sense of humor gone?"
Lily grimaces. "My sense of humor drowned with the Ravenclaw."
He stares, observing her with a rather disappointed, put out expression. "Oh, noo," he suddenly squeaks, shrill and girlish. "Lily's made a pooond…whatever has the world come to?" he opens his arms wide dramatically, turning his head and grinning at her.
She raises a delicate eyebrow, and his grin vanishes.
"0 for two, huh?"
"Honestly," She shakes her head from side to side, chuckling humorlessly. "I don't know what on earth possessed me. I must have been bewitched or something." She pauses, suddenly hopeful. "Maybe that can be my defense?"
"Maybe," He smiles lightly, "That pond was worthy of a Marauder prank, Evans. I think I'm a bad influence on you."
"I know. That's what I said. Black said it wasn't good enough," she whimperes somewhat pathetically.
"He was probably just jealous. Come to think of it, I think your motivation is quite obvious, actually."
"It was, was it?" She asks, stopping in the middle of the corridor and fixing a challenging gaze on him. Her hands cocked on her hips, she surveys him intently, and his mouth twitches into a smile at the action. "Do tell. Enlighten me with that oh so amazing brain of yours."
"Ah," he sighs, "At long last you admit my superior intelligence. But I digress. As for your motivation, I thought I had said it had been obvious."
"Had it been that obvious, I would have caught it by now."
At his complete silence, she frowns and waves an expectant hand, growing slightly impatient. He opens his mouth wide dramatically and cocks his head to the side. "You wanted to be bad."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"You wanted it," he repeats surely, lowering his voice and bringing his face, which now has a smug grin on it, level to hers. "You didn't want to be 'Lily Evans, head-girl, goody-two-shoes for once in your life."
She raises her eyebrows, taken aback at the sincerity and the confidence behind his tone. "You seem awfully sure of yourself."
"I know you well enough, don't I?" He asks haughtily now, challenging. She is surprised at the sudden change in the tone of the conversation. "You wanted to be bad," he drawls out, long and slow, as if she were mentally deficient.
"Yes, you've already said that," she mutters dismissively.
"What's so difficult to understand?"
A glare materializes in her eyes, and her voice turns abruptly cold. "You are a sad, strange, deluded little man. And you have my pity."
He rolls his eyes. "Would you please stop deflecting? Really, I think I can see through your act by now."
"Yes, your act. The act you put on everyday, everywhere, to everyone you know."
She freezes for less than a second; staring back at him, into his unfaltering stare. "I really have no idea what you're talking about." She wheels around on her heels and is prepared to march away, away straight into the den of the she-lion, but he sooner would jump off the Astronomy tower than to have her walk away.
"There you go again," he mutters, distinctly loud enough for her to hear.
"Excuse me?" She is facing him again, furious and breathing through her nose, her fists clenched at her sides.
"Do you really have to accentuate every other word you say?"
"Oh, well, I don't know," she explodes flippantly, throwing her hands up in the air, "Do you really have to be such a pain in the arse every living moment of every day?"
He chuckles, and the sound sends the blood pounding in her head. "Well," he leans back against the wall and crosses his arms over his chest, surveying her over his round glasses. "That is a special talent that I'd hate to give up."
"Do you know what I reckon?" She mutters through clenched teeth, her voice barely audible. "Your talent is going to get you straight into the hospital one day with half of your face cursed off."
He gasps in faux-fear, bringing his hand to his mouth in feigned shock. "Now, now, Evans," he chides, "Is that a threat?"
"Not really," she shrugs matter-of-factly, a cold smile upon her lips, "More of an open statement. A friendly warning, let's call it."
"Ah," he sighs knowingly, "I see. So you're still hell bent on using physical threats as a defense mechanism. It's what you do best, after all."
"You know me so well," she snarls, biting the inside of her mouth to restrain the volume of her voice.
"I'm glad you think so."
The silence that follows is deafening, the pressure pressing against his ears as he stands on the receiving end of one of Lily's most impressive glares to date. He shrugs it off, however, even surprised himself, at his own ability. Seconds later, a deep, frustrated growl breaks from her chest and she finds herself a hair's breadth away from stomping her foot like a three year old and attacking him with her bare fists. "You're insufferable, you know that? Has anybody ever told you that?"
"Yes," he responds evenly, "Many times. And you're insincere, insecure and deceptive. Don't we make a fine pair?"
She recoils in honest indignition. "I'm deceptive? You and your friends live on torturing people and playing horrible pranks on the world for the fuck of it, and I'm deceptive?"
"The fact that you hide it better isn't something to be proud of."
"Oh, explain it to me," she drones, her tone dripping with disdain, "Enlighten me, Prongs. Explain to me how you're the king of the world, and how everyone, everywhere, is just so inferior to you."
"Sure," he smiles coldly, the corners of his lips barely ascending across his cheeks. "But first answer me this, because I'm just curious. When was the last time you openly and honestly answered a question with your feelings and not some twisted, carefully constructed clever bullshit?"
Of all of the reactions he expects from her, laughing ranks even below bursting into song. "You're lecturing me about honesty?" She snorts incredulously, her tone perilously high and piercing. "Seriously?"
His jaw clenches in agitation, and his next words are bitterly hissed through his teeth. "It's a wonder you don't see the irony in this situation."
She gives him a last, pitying smirk, and turns swiftly on her heel, now considering a meeting with McGonagall a walk in the park in comparison to arguing with him.
"And of course, once again, you storm off when you've got nothing more to say."
"Pray tell if I look like I care in the least what you think right now," she throws her retort over her shoulder swiftly, "God forbid, I might give someone the wrong impression!" Her footsteps had receded and she had almost reached the end of the hallway before she heard his next remark.
"Thanks for proving my point."
She stops dead in her tracks. "Meaning?"
"You're doing it right now. It's really a wonder you don't see it, considering how smart you are on a day-to-day basis."
In less than three seconds, she's back in his field of vision, and in less than five, she's in his face, her cheeks livid, her eyes brimming with fury. "Doing what? I'm not doing anything!"
He smirks. "You're telling me you aren't acting?" he demands, amused. "You aren't fulfilling a role that you've built for yourself, a false identity that you've created? You constantly pretend you're this incredibly independent and idealistic feminist, with holier-than-thou morals, and the I just don't give a fuck attitude while all you are is an insecure little girl who's too scared to actually say what she thinks and do what she wants – and so instead, you just hide behind scathing and sarcastic remarks to distract everyone." He nods, and his tone is bitter now. "And it works," he mutters derisively, "I'll give you that."
She doesn't miss a beat in the conversation. "So I suppose you're here to tell me who I really am, right, Potter?" she says, scoffing, doubtful. "Because you're a master at all things Lily Evans."
"Well, I'd have to be."
"After seven years of stalking, sure."
He is unaffected, because the blow is weak. "I think I know you better than most. The truth is you're a master at lying and acting and all things that come along with it, and I'm sure you'll have no problem whatsoever treating McGonagall exactly the same as you've treated everyone else in your life."
Her eyes narrow, because now he's hit home. She feels strangely vulnerable under his unfaltering, impenetrable gaze. "You don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about," she says, and her voice can cut through ice. She wishes he'd stop staring. "I am what I am because I want to be. Not because I have to be, and sure as hell not because I'm doing it for anyone else."
He nods skeptically and turns his head, chuckling darkly under his breath. Their eyes lose contact, and courage fills her chest. "Are you incapable of accepting the fact that sometimes you are wrong? That sometimes you don't know every fucking thing about me?"
"Doesn't that make us identical?" He pushes himself off the wall he's been leaning on the entire conversation, and begins walking away.
"You don't know me," she stomps after him, her shorter but faster steps catching up to him effortlessly. "You don't know anything. All that we do is throw insults back and forth at each other, and somehow you think that gives you the right make judgments on me."
"Do you let anyone know you, Evans?" He turns around, his expression bitter and his eyes narrowed. He pauses, letting the comment sink in. "Did Diggory know you?," he continues, blow after blow, "Or Trenton? No, because you don't let anyone into your mind long enough for them to, and when they give up on you in the end, you blame them for leaving. You're terrified of anyone knowing you."
"Save your goddamn psychobabble for someone who actually gives a fuck what you think."
"Go out with me."
She laughs, this time honestly amused. "You're taking this as an opportunity to ask me out Potter, really?" Her laughter recedes and the remaining smile turns into a furious grimace. "You make me sick. You are the single most unbearable, most intolerable, most disgusting piece of man shit on this planet."
"Finally," he declares frivolously to no one in particular, "Ladies and Gentlemen, here's some real emotion!"
He raises his eyebrows in feigned surprise at her outburst. "Oh, swearing! Even better!" he proclaims, gasping. "Have I hit a nerve? Made you doubt your superiority for one bleeding second? Angry, are we, Head Girl?"
He steps forward, and now he's towering, their bodies inches apart, his stare challenging. The closeness doesn't bother her, because it is not sexual – it's a show of authority, an attempt to frighten her off, a territorial battle of wits. She closes what distance is left between them, and now they're touching, and she feels heat radiating off of him in waves, now hitting her chest, her arms, her stomach, her legs.
"Hardly," she breathes, and her breath washes over his face. "I'm simply trying to understand why the hell you're analyzing my life. It appears you have nothing better to do."
"I'm trying to help," he says quietly, his arrogant smirk and the resulting purr of his chest sending a shiver through her body. "Think of it as a service to the school."
She waits. She waits, staring at him – waits for something, anything, an apology, a plea, maybe even a snide remark. Nothing comes – he stares at her with an unintelligible emotion in his eyes, while she stands in her place, wishing him bodily harm. Neither back down. It appears as though they'll stand there, together, for all of eternity. Just as she begins to consider, seriously, whether she should blow him up into smithereens, or drown him viciously in excessive amounts of his own hair gel, he notices her hand twitching beside her wand, itching to grab a hold of it and blast a Potter-shaped hole through the ceiling.
"Stop smiling," she threatens, "This isn't funny."
"Oh, I find this hilarious," he disagrees, progressing into a chuckle.
"You find it hilarious that I want to kill you?"
"I find it hilarious that agree with me. I am right. And that terrifies you."
"Who said that I agree with you?"
He raises an eyebrow. "Don't you?"
"Well," she says tonelessly, her voice devoid of expression, "Apparently since I lie all the time, I'm thinking it would be out of character to tell you."
"Right," he laughs, "Naturally."
"I'm late," she states.
He shrugs. "I have nowhere else to be. On the other hand, you really should be getting to McGonagall's office right about now. You'll do brilliantly. Just be Lily," he smiles, sardonically. "Whoever that is."
"You think you know everything," she mutters, cocking her head to the side and glowering at him. She feels an idea materialize, and reminding herself of the last twenty minutes, she finds more than enough reason to follow through.
"Makes two of us," he responds with ease.
"You think you know me. You think you know what I want."
"That I do."
"I disagree," she shrugs vaguely.
She moves forward in one fluid motion and slams him against the wall beside McGonagall's office, pressing her lips hotly against his. He tenses immediately, his cover of nonchalance blown, taken aback by the one thing she could do that could surprise him. Aggressive, her hands grab a hold of his neck and she pulls him closer, deeper into the kiss, as he collects himself and responds just as forcefully, grabbing her waist and flipping her around, now pressing his body against hers, with her back to the wall.
She feels her mind swimming, her clever theories, her ideas, vanishing, morphing into incoherent jumbles of pointless arguments, words and letters. He is hungrily exploring her body – one hand is up her shirt, the other has grabbed her leg and hiked it around his waist. A yearning awakens in the pit of her stomach and she suddenly wants nothing more than to kiss him, just like this, just like they're arguing, fighting, throwing hexes with their lips, forever, until the cows come home. He dives into her neck, and she grabs a hold of her slipping thoughts, clutching onto the reason, the purpose for what she has just done, the boundary she has just broken.
Smirking into his lips, she tears herself away, the hands on his chest pushing him off. He misinterprets, and grins devilishly, attempting to recapture her with his mouth, but she tilts her head away.
"I wanted that," she says in a business-like tone, untangling herself and straightening and flattening her skirt at the same time. "Could you tell?"
His mouth agape, he stares at her, open mouthed, his lips flushed and swollen, severely intellectually compromised. Her smile becomes genuine, and she presses her lips against his for a last time, licking his bottom lip teasingly, and turns on her heel, her hand on the door of McGonagall's office.
"Thank you for the support. It was enlightening."
The door clicks shut behind her, and as she walks towards the desk of the Gryffindor head, she isn't frightened.
On the other side of the door -