James Potter entered the Great Hall that morning with an extra spring in his step. He felt that he could withstand anything today. Today he was on cloud nine and didn't expect to come down anytime soon.
Today of all days, James Potter would be escorting Lily Evans off school premises and into Hogsmead.
By her own free will, Lily had said yes to him. Finally.
Sirius had noticed James's ridiculously good mood this morning and had already warned him more than once that Lily was under the impression that James had asked her out as friends. Nothing more.
But James had ignored him. A date was a date, he told himself firmly. It didn't matter that she thought that the only reason he'd asked her was to discuss Head business.
So as James and Sirius walked side by side towards the long Gryffindor table, Sirius whispered, "Remember, it's just as friends. Don't get your hopes up that-"
"Oh fuck off, Sirius," James told him cheerfully as they sat down across from Lily herself and James grabbed a muffin and winked at her. She winked back and laughed.
Sirius waited until James had completely saturated the muffin with butter and it was headed towards his mouth before he grabbed it out of James's hand and stuffed it whole into his own mouth.
"That's actually kind of gross you know, Sirius. At least make it two bites next time, please." Lily said conversationally, watching as he chewed. He wasn't usually like that, "Usually you're much more refined."
"Sorry Evans," he grinned through a mouthful of muffin while she grimaced, "It's just your boy Potter here. He's sressing me out."
She raised an eyebrow and turned to look at James, "Now what are you doing that's stressing him out, Potter?"
But Sirius answered before James could, "Oh, you know me, Evans. I baby him too much. It's probably time I let go, I guess. Let him spread his wings and fly away."
James rolled his eyes as Lily laughed, "I think I remember just a minute ago telling you to kindly shut up, Sirius."
Sirius shrugged. "I don't seem to recall those being your exact words."
"Yes, well, there are ladies present. I can't very well swear at you now. But I can tell you in code that you're a Richard Cranium."
"Right," Sirius snorted. Then he noticed that Lily was reading a letter, and there was a package on the table next to her with her name on it,
"Post come already?" he asked her as James reached for the package. It had already been opened.
She nodded and looked up from her letter and, seeing that they had her package, she said, "You can have some of that if you'd like. It's really tasty."
"What is it?" James asked as he pulled off the lid. It was charred something. They watched as she reached across the table and grabbed some, ripping off a piece with her teeth, and put it in her mouth,
"Seriously, what is it?" Sirius asked, making a face.
"It's jerky. My dad made it for me. He knows it's my favorite."
They stared as she chewed and swallowed, and grabbed another piece.
Sirius and James looked at each other before carefully taking a piece. It was lumpy and hard and gross looking, but it did smell alright, so they put it in their mouths and slowly chewed, "I still don't know what this is. Jerky? That doesn't tell me anything. It looks like burnt meat. S'not too bad though," James said between bites.
Lily smiled as Sirius ate another piece. "It basically is. My dad has a smoker and whatever he shoots, he smokes for me. He's an avid hunter."
"Shoots?" asked Sirius, interested, "Like, we could be eating chipmunk or something? Niffler maybe?"
"No," she laughed. "My dad hunts animals like bear and deer and elk. No chipmunks. In this case, it's deer." She frowned now, seeing James frozen face. He'd stopped chewing and his eyes were wide, "James, it's really not chipmunk."
"Deer?" he asked her in a strangled voice, through a mouthful of jerky.
She nodded, confused. Sirius had frozen as well. James suddenly spit out what was in his mouth and held up the offending congealed mass out to her in his hand. "Are you shitting me here, Evans? This is seriously deer? Like as in stag?" he demanded, his eyes wild.
She was completely oblivious to the problem, and so she nodded her head yes, "Haven't you ever eaten venison before, James? That's a buck my dad shot a few weeks ago. What's the big deal?"
"Stag?" Sirius asked weakly.. He turned slowly to look at James face and said,"You're eating Stag. Cooked stag."
"So are you!" James exclaimed, indignant.
"Yes," Sirius agreed solemnly, "But it's worse for you," he turned to glare at Lily, "You're dad killed a stag and cooked it and you fed it to James?" he accused.
"Yes! But I don't-oh! James what-!"
James had just thrown up into an empty pumpkin juice pitcher. Sirius glared at her again as he patted his friends back. Lily heard him whisper to James, "She doesn't mean it. She has no idea what she's done. It's not her fault, mate."
"Not my fault?" she exclaimed. "I did nothing wrong! Why is he throwing up?!"
"Yes you did!" Sirius yelled, "How could your dad make that damned jerky out of stag?"
"How? He shot it. He skinned it. Then he hung it up by two legs in the garage for a week. Then he cut it up into little-" She was speaking quickly, furiously, because she didn't understand, but she stopped when James made a strangled noise and retched again into the pitcher.
"Shut up, Evans. Now look what you've gone and done. Again. Don't you know when to stop?"
"I might. If I actually knew what to stop. I still have no idea what's going on!"
James lifted his head then from the puke filled pitched. Lily vanished the contents with her wand as he spoke. "I need to get out of here," he said weakly to Sirius. Sirius nodded understandingly and started help him up. "No," he murmured. "I got it. I'm not dying." As they started to walk away, James turned back to her, "I'm sorry Lily, but I don't think it would be a good idea to take you to Hogsmead today. Maybe another time," and he turned and walked out the doors.
Some minutes later, Remus found her still sitting there.. She was staring at a piece of jerky in her hands, thinking hard. An idea was forming in her mind.
"I thought for sure that if I found you, Lily, I would certainly find James as well. Where is he? I thought you two would be in Hogsmead by now."
She looked up at him. He'd sat down where Sirius had been sitting. She frowned and said in a dead sort of voice, "Well, he doesn't want to go out with me anymore… Would you like some jerky?"
"Sure, thanks," he said cautiously as he took the piece from her outstretched hand. He didn't exactly know what jerky was, but he took a bite, "Not bad," he commented.
"Thanks." She was beginning to piece it together. Right before he swallowed, she watched him carefully and told him, "And by the way, that's cooked stag, you know. What you're eating."
As if on cue, Remus gagged and spit it out into the napkin he'd just placed in his lap, "Stag? What do you mean?"
She ignored the question for the moment, instead asking one of her own,
"Remus, do you remember, at the beginning of sixth year, when I fell asleep by the great lake?"
He nodded, still slightly gagging, "And you saw me going into the Whomping Willow. And you discovered what I was. What does that have to do-"
"And Sirius and James and Peter followed you. I wondered at the time what exactly they were doing, going with you, so I started to pay closer attention to you guys. Your conversations and such. And I figured some things out."
"Yeah?" he asked warily, "Uh, does this have to do with why James isn't taking you to Hogsmead?"
"Oh yes. I discovered a few things. One, that you guys have a special map of Hogwarts."
"And that the other three are Animagi."
"Yes. I won't tell. I only had my suspicions about the Animagi part but it seems as if they really are. And James is a deer. Or a stag, I guess. That's what they kept calling it."
"I'd forgotten about this when I let Sirius and James eat some of my jerky my dad made me. It looked as if James thought he had eaten one of his brothers or something. So now he's sick and he can't take me to Hogsmead anymore." She was actually finding this quite comical, now that she understood.
It took Remus a minute to think everything through, "So you're saying that James ate stag?"
She nodded, smiling. "And then threw it up."
He raised his eyebrows, smiling slightly, "I guess the self-proclaimed 'Hogwarts Greatest Prankster' got pranked a good one. And by none other than the love of his life. Hm."
"You know," she said conversationally, "I'm beginning to think that he really does like me."
"Oh he does," Remus grinned, "But after this little stunt…"
"I didn't realize what was going on! I didn't plan that! You don't really think he'd stop liking me over this, do you?"
"Do you think he'll believe me though, when I tell him that I didn't realise?"
Remus shrugged, "Sure," he said, "You're quote 'the wonderfully perfect and beautiful Lily Evans'.. His words."
She frowned, "That was before I made him eat one of his own. Turned him cannibal, so to speak."
Remus laughed, "This is actually pretty funny, if you think about it. He'll laugh about it later."
"Are you sure?"
"Very. There aren't many things that could keep James away from you."
"What?" he raised an eyebrow, "This is new. Since when is it good that James likes you?"
She shrugged, "It's been a long time coming actually. Not new at all. I decided a while ago that I'd say yes to him the next time he asked me. But he hasn't for a while. So I've never had the opportunity," Remus was doing something under the table while she was talking. Mumbling something to himself and looking at paper, "What are you doing?"
"Finding out where he is. I think now would be a good time to tell him how you feel. Pretend like you knew all along about the stag thing. Tell him it was a prank. He'll forgive you and think it's funny. And I bet he'd ask you out again."
"Were you looking at that map?"
"Really? There really is one? Let me see!"
"No. Marauders' secret. James is in the bleacher box at the Quidditch pitch. Go find him."
She looked at him skeptically, "If you think it'll work…"
"Oh it'll work. Ask him to transform for you. He's been dying to tell you all about it. Now go.."
She didn't need telling twice.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully you thought it was funny. I'd love a review. Or two actually...
I have no plans to continue this. However, if I get enough reviews requesting more, I may just add another chapter or two, depending. Well, I just finished watching the season premier of Heroes. It was interesting. I don't like all the guesswork, though. I just want to know who's bad and who's good and everyone's plans. Is that so hard to ask? And I want to know if Nikki's husband is dead. I really liked him...
Special thanks to NeverAPrefect, my Beta. And Eric, too. Everyone go check out her story, Only If You Go Out With Me, Evans. It's great.