A/N: I had to ;)
"Are you on your period?"
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
It is absolutely the worst thing he's ever said to her. Ever. It definitely trumps the time he asked her if she had gained weight when she had actually been trying to work out, and it's just barely worse than the time he told her she would be better off a lesbian. He's not sure about that one, though – he'll have to debate about it with Padfoot later, because right now, if he doesn't get out of the house, he's probably going to die. Painfully.
He's at Moony's house before he knows how he got there. His wand is whirling patterns in the air, unlocking apparition wards and defensive charms without thought, and soon he's inside, slamming the door. It's three o'clock in the morning and he can see Moony's feet sticking out of the edge of his bed through the open bedroom door, but he really messed up – really, really, really messed up – and he needs to call a meeting. Like, now. Like, five-minutes-ago-now.
He taps his wand to his throat, then booms, "MARAUDERS!"
There is a violent spew of cursing coming from the living room couch and a surprising amount from the bedroom. It makes him grin. He's taught his men well. He summons a piece of parchment and a quill from Moony's study and scratches out a hasty request while he waits for his troops, willing to grab at every straw he's got.
Dumbledore, my man.
I write to grovel for the use of your time-turner. I am well aware of the devastating affects time-traveling may have on men with able minds (as you've reminded me all too often in the nine years that I have been in your gracious presence), but I can say with good conscience – and I am quite sure that you will whole-heartedly agree – that my mind is perfectly unsound, and Past James is well past due for a visit from Present James.
Also, you should probably know that you will be saving the future generation of Potters if you allow me this simple, humble request. Think of the children, Albus.
Sincerely and forever yours,
Your favorite and most talented Gryffindor
(The Pot Man)
"You are mental," Moony grumbles, shrugging into a ragged housecoat as he shuffles down the hallway. "You are absolutely, bloody mental."
His hair is all over the place and he has a healthy growth of whiskers on his chin and he looks quite put out, James notices, but hello? It's an emergency. Moony should've been out of bed the minute – the second! – his war cry left his throat. But the werewolf sits down at the kitchen table like he's going to cooperate, so James isn't going to complain. And really, he's got plenty of time to spare: Lily is likely to be sitting at home, poised right in front of the door, with her wand in one hand and a dull, serrated knife in the other. Lying in wait, he thinks, and tries not to picture her in a little leopard-print thing, because he needs to be thinking about getting out of trouble, not about getting further into it.
Moony's head falls onto the kitchen table. Padfoot shuffles in and he's murderous, but he's also here, so James grins and kicks out a chair for his best mate in the world. "Sit, Paddy!" he exclaims, slight panic rising in his voice.
Padfoot sits. His hair is hiding half of his face, but James is pretty sure he's glaring.
"Good, good," James says, clapping his hands. "Pete's not here?"
"Unghh," Moony says.
"Right," James says. "Quite right. Lot of use he'd be. Okay, men, mates, Marauders o' mine, I have a problem, and if you don't help me solve it, I will be dead by sundown tomorrow."
"Unghh," Moony says.
James starts to doubt this plan and hopes that Moony's owl, Ophelia, is flying faster than she's ever flown before. He also hopes that Dumbledore will actually do him a solid and not be an ornery old bastard like the last time, when he asked to borrow the Sorting Hat and Fawkes for a harmless little Halloween party. The answer was no, of course, and James had to go dressed as Romeo to Lily's Juliet, and while it was nice to make her happy, those tights were God-awful and he never, ever wants to do that to his boys ever again. He shudders at the thought of it and has to repress it to the deepest depths of his unsound brain.
"Listen, Lily and I got in a row – I think it was about socks or something? – and I, uh," he stalls, knowing how bad it is, knowing Moony's going to empathize because he's such a woman, "I kind of maybe asked her if she was on her period."
And yep, there it is: Moony picks his head up off the table (so slowly, like he's rising from the dead, James thinks) and tries to outdo Padfoot's glare. It doesn't work – Padfoot's got Black genes and they would win worldwide glaring competitions if there were such a thing – and now James just has two irritated wizards glaring at him and not doing their damn jobs, so he rubs his face and mutters an, "I don't know what to do."
"It's three in the morning, James," Padfoot finally says. "What the hell were you two doing, at three in the morning, arguing about socks?"
Wasn't that obvious? "We were… arguing about socks."
"I'm going to sleep. I've got duty in about, oh, two bloody hours," Padfoot says, rising to his feet. James grabs his arm when he tries pass by and gets to his knees, because he has no shame and because his girlfriend is going to disown (or dismember) him, and he can't live with that.
"Please," James begs, "Please, Padfoot. I want to be able to sleep in my own house without fearing for my appendages. Think of the children!"
Padfoot stops and sits back down. Moony's head is on the table again, and James makes a note that the next time they have a meeting, he's going to bring this sleeping thing up. It's lazy. And doesn't Moony want to save his best mate? James' girlfriend is violent, and if she is on her period... Well.
Moony has telepathy. "James, go home. She's not going to kill you. We all have work in the morning, and I'm not sure if you remember, but the moon was full two nights ago and I am a werewolf."
"Unghh," Padfoot grunts, and goes back into the living room.
"She's going to kill me," James says, urgent now that his caucus is dispersing before he's gotten any advice. "She didn't even say anything, Moony. You know that look she gets? When her face goes all blank and her hair looks like it ignites? She just – she just kind of pushed me out of the bedroom and shut the door."
"Did she slam it?" Moony asks, picking his head up and leaning back in his chair.
"No!" James crows. "She just shut it! And it was the loudest fucking click in the world. Click! She just shut the door. She does this to me on purpose, Moony, I swear to God, because she knows it drives me insane. And she's going to be waiting when I get back, with a knife, and –"
"She's not going to be waiting with a knife," Moony assures him with the patience that always irritated him when he was eleven. And twelve. And thirteen through this very second. Moony is such a damn woman and, well, that's probably helpful right about now, because sometimes he and Lily have conversations that James isn't allowed in, so maybe Moony's right.
Moony's chair makes a horrendously loud screeching sound on the floor when he gets up. James cringes. "Blimey, Moony, couldn't you be a bit quieter?"
Moony glares like a Black, and James grins, because hot damn that's pretty impressive on Moony's scarred up face. James watches him shuffle back down the hallway, turning the lights out as he goes, and when he gets into the bedroom, he shuts the door – click! James gets to his feet, shuts the front door behind him – click! he thinks, rolling his eyes – and relocks the apparition wards and defensive charms behind him. He doesn't want to go home, but he's tired and they do have work tomorrow morning, so he apparates quietly and sneaks into the house quietly and breathes quietly when he realizes that she's not waiting to jump him in the dark.
There is a blanket laying on the arm of the couch, though. He gets the message. Kicking off his shoes, he stretches out on the cushions and tries to make himself comfortable on Lily's lumpy, home-made throw pillows. His eyes fall shut. It's quiet.
And then there's a creak on the stairs.
James holds his breath. It is the longest ten seconds of his life. Her feet pad softly on the floor, and when he can't hear anything at all, he knows she's standing right over him. Maybe there's a knife in her hand. He almost screams – ALMOST – when her fingers land on his arm.
"Shove over," Lily whispers, and the weight on his chest lifts when she squeezes onto their little couch with him. Technically it didn't, because she's half on top of him and her knee is jabbing painfully into his thigh and he's afraid that she's going to roll right off onto the floor if he adjusts anything, so he lies there, letting her get comfortable even if he's still afraid she's going to kill him at any second.
When she's still, her fingers twirling patterns on his chest, he tentatively wraps an arm around her waist. No knife, no glare, no click! He wants to wonder why she's not shouting at him, but he's just glad he's still got all his faculties running and her hair is not on fire.
"How'd the meeting with the boys go?" she asks, and he swears there's a bit of teasing somewhere within that question.
Still, he's treading carefully. "You knew?"
"Of course I knew," she says, shaking her head. "Dumbledore owled me. Not that I needed him to, because you always go to them when you're in trouble, but he was afraid you were going to do something drastic. So? The meeting?" she asks when he doesn't say anything.
He's floundering. What's he supposed to say? They're talking about her period, for God's sake. "Uh, it went good –"
"'Well,'" she corrects.
James inhales. "Really, Lily? Really? You're going to fix my grammar?"
"Mmm," she says.
He kisses her forehead. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," she says, nuzzling her forehead into his neck. Her little sigh is lovely, James decides, and he pulls the blanket down over them so she has to snuggle closer in. They're silent for a while, so when Lily starts shaking against him, James has to look down to see that she's trying to hide a giggle.
Here we go, James thinks. "What?"
"I'm sorry, too," she says. "I didn't mean to throw the laundry basket at you. Well, I did, but you hadn't folded the socks and I wanted to put them away. And I am on my period."
James closes his eyes in triumphant victory. "I told –"
"James," she warns.
He shuts his mouth. Little victories are okay, he thinks, and really, why would anybody doubt him? He's James Potter, and he's brilliant. He knew that little mark on the calendar she hides in her purse had to stand for something.