Tuesday December 1st

Potter household, upstairs bathroom

3:25pm

- - -

It was the smell that got him in trouble. Ten year old James Potter was sure of it.

If not for the smell, James was sure his mother wouldn't have even noticed. Okay sure, maybe the fact that Lily was a different colour then she had been earlier that day might've tipped her off; because his mum definitely wasn't dumb. Or blind. But with his dad and brother gone to Devonshire to visit family friends for the day, James figured he had at least until supper before he was found out. Plenty of time to switch Lily back to her original colour with no one the wiser.

Except he forgot to factor in the smell.

"James Sirius Potter!!!!!!!!"

A loud, booming voice filled the small bathroom and James winced. It was never a good thing to hear his mother before he physically saw her. Especially when she 'Siriused' him. Schooling his features into utmost innocence, he turned towards him mother with a dimpled smile.

"Hi Mum. Wha-" His mother cut in before James could finish his sentence.

"James! Why is your sister red and green?"

James turned back to the bathtub, to where his six year old sister was sitting, happily playing with her dolls. A usual every day occurrence in the Potter house for Lily liked playing in the bathtub, especially surrounded by her hordes of toys. It was getting her to sit in the bathtub peacefully with the water on that was the problem.

James grinned and re-faced his mother. "Because it's Christmas?" he replied mischievously.

Ginny Potter narrowed her eyes at her eldest son as she folded her arms across her chest, "Jamesssss…" came the warning.

"Okay, okay." James knew he was in trouble when his mother got that look in her eye. It was time to come clean and face the consequences. Otherwise he was going to wind up getting no dessert tonight. Again. And James knew for a fact that his dad was bringing back ice cream sandwiches from Fortescue's. "It was Lily's idea," he began hastily.

"Jamessssssss…" came the warning again.

"Okay, so maybe it wasn't her idea. But she doesn't mind," James turned back to his baby sister, not surprised to see her still playing happily, "Don't you Lil?"

Lily looked up at James and gave him a toothy white grin, the only thing not green and red on her body. James had to admit he did a fine job; with her red hair and green pinafore dress he only had to paint her arms, legs and face. Peering around James's legs, Lily raised a paint streaked doll in chubby green fist and waved to her mother. "Hi Mummy. Look," she pointed to herself and stated proudly, "I'm green."

James saw his mum stifle a laugh. With the paint still dripping down her limbs and her hair bound up in five different ponytails, Lily was quite the sight. And James knew he had to act quickly, while his mom was still finding it funny.

"Look Mum," James ran over to the sink and grabbed the container, "it says child friendly and non washable. Fred used it on Splinter last week. He said it all came off when he rinsed 'em." James passed the container to his mother, not noticing the stricken look that briefly crossed her face at the mention of the word 'non', "Though I wish he had warned me about the smell. It stinks."

"But James," his mother interjected, "you don't paint your baby sister."

"I know, I know. But I'm going to get it all off. Before supper. It's just that Fred told me I couldn't and I told him I could and Albus is still mad at me over the gnome incident so I couldn't use him and you always tell me not to paint walls or furniture and-" Here James paused for a breath. "I'm going to get it all off her before supper. Promise."

As his mother calmly handed him back the box, her upper lip twitched. "Well okay then. Before supper it is then."

James's eyes bulged out. His mother never let him off this easy. Something had to be up. He peered up at her suspiciously. "Wait. If I get it off before supper, can I still get dessert?"

His mother nodded. "Yep."

"Really?"

"If you can get it off."

"That'll be easy," said James to his mother's back as she left the room. Turning towards Lily he gave her his best smile, "Okay Lily Billy, you ready to get clean?"

Five minutes later Lily was still covered in paint.

Ten minutes later, despite much scrubbing, Lily was still covered in paint

Fifteen minutes later, the paint still remained and Lily's lower lip started to tremble as she realized the enormity of the situation. "James," she tugged lightly on his t-shirt as her soft brown eyes welled up with tears, "I don't want to be red and green anymore. I want to be Lily 'gain."

Frustrated, James hollered to no one in particular, "The paint's NOT coming off!"

All he received in response was his mother's laughter as it floated up the staircase.


Author's Note: Written for the 25 days of Christmas Challenge at the HP Fanfiction Challenges Forum. The goal is to write one chapter a day until Christmas. So updates will occur daily. Please don't forget to review. Thanks!