Author: Queen Nightingale

Rating: M (For Safety)

Pairing(s): JPLE, SBMM

She wraps an elegant arm around him, stroking his shoulder and causing his shaggy, handsome head to turn towards her and crack one of his infamous smirks. He leans in closer to her and whispers something naughty in her ear, and her feral smile widens, laughter escaping out of her in small, quiet tinkles. She edges even closer and drapes her body over his, slyly rubbing herself against him, and from across the room, you swear that he shifts for a second and then pulls her closer.

You blush when you see her hand slip into his pants.

They're Hogwarts' Golden couple, no matter how much you and Potter will be titled that in the future. Both of them are tall, and lean, and courageous, and beautiful, so painfully beautiful that when they are both combined together your eyes might as well burn from the beauty of it all.

He's got a perfect nose and a chiselled chin, but is lean and built like a swimmer, tall and strong, with carved muscles of gold. He's got thick, black shaggy hair decorating the top of his head, and whenever he moves it seems to wave and smirk at you on its own.

(He consistently looks like he's just emerged from a broom closet after fucking some random girl.)

His eyes are slanted and stunning, with dark brown pools of liquid chocolate widening your soul. He's got the perfect boy ass too. Hogwarts' robes just seem to drape off of his toned and muscular body, and yet you don't think you've ever seen him break a sweat doing anything.

She is a feminine version of his perfection, beautiful and catlike and lithe, with long limbs and thick black hair. Where a smirk might adorn his perfect, persimmon lips, hers are more often curved up into a scandalous bedroom smile, with hints of pearly white teeth. Her eyebrows are shaped in a way that would put anyone to shame, and when she walks, her hips sway indiscriminately – enough for the boys to stop and stare, but not enough for the girls to call her names behind her back.

He was always a troublemaker – in class, the riotous one with the barking laugh that even teachers had a crush on (you swear he's gotten into McGonagall's pants somehow, since she puts up with so much), and she was always silent and graceful, gliding into class and arranging herself beside him, hiding cruel laughs when he got out of hand (as he was ought to).

You sat in the row beside them, and often saw her reach down and entwine her hands around his.

They were perfection to the tee.

And oh, how you envied them.

You weren't long or lithe or beautiful, not dark-haired and sultry. You were graced with a small frame of 5"4, and red frizzy hair that exploded around your head at any given second. You didn't walk with a natural elegance, but stumbled along from class to class, laughing too loudly at jokes and snorting from behind your palm with Emmeline and Dorcas.

Beautiful Marlene was always in front of you, strolling beside Sirius and owning the world with him.

When you were thirteen and fourteen, and all the girls were going through puberty along with you, you would pull the curtains around your bed and weep at the fact that your body would never be long and subtly curvaceous like her's, not rounded like Dorcas' and not even perfectly thin like Emmeline's. You were graced with a relatively flat chest, and although you were skinny, your shoulders were slightly too large and, although you had hips, had no skill of swinging them seductively.

You walked confidently, but was always painfully aware of the beautiful couple in front of you.

(You were always an afterthought.)

So you went back to just being another regular Gryffindor girl.

Potter was never like Sirius.

He was tall, too, and people would say that he was handsome, but he never had the same fan-club as Sirius. He was gorgeous, in all honesty, but Sirius' perfection seemed to eclipse that whenever Potter was around.

Potter was tall, that was for sure, but was built thicker and more muscular, with wide set shoulders and boy veins running up his tanned arms. His hair was shaggy like Sirius', but was wavier and seemed to have been hit by a hurricane rather than a hormonal girl. His round glasses added a debonair air of sophistication to his face, and you always smiled when you saw or thought of him.

The two of you were like oil and water – you never ever mixed or agreed on anything. The first time you noticed him you were in first year. He was a tiny little thing back then (being one of the boys who goes through an insane growth spurt around second year) and walked with a swagger and an easy smile on his face, always ready to help out anyone. But you two got into a fight in Potions class over whether or not he should drop in Boomslang skin (you were, in fact, correct), and over the years your arguments with him would become legendary.

Whenever he was angry, he would muss up his hair even more and shove his eyeglasses up his nose, and you would slap his hand away from his hair and scowl at him because you told yourself that you hated that.

By third year Potter and Sirius and lovely Remus Lupin and quiet Peter Pettigrew had formed the infamous Marauders, and were officially the coolest kids at Hogwarts, with their swaggers and laughter and fun. You sat in the back of Transfiguration, one row in front of them, and you always envied the way that boys could act. The way they sank into their seats, the way they didn't have to worry about their reputations, the way that they could talk back and be admired. The way that they could be pure assholes, and be allowed to enjoy it.

You hated them, just a bit, back then.

In fourth year you caught Marlene snogging Sirius out in the gardens, and was so flabbergasted by it that you ran and told Emmeline and Dorcas.

Dorcas cried over it for nights and wouldn't talk to Marlene for a month, since everyone knew she was enamoured with Sirius.

And then their relationship grew so much that your former best friend was now going on strolls with him in the gardens instead of giggling in her pajamas with you at slumber parties, and was making out with him in broom closets instead of snickering with you in class at the Marauder's antics.

And you hated her then, just a little bit, for having a boyfriend and being beautiful where you were only plain.

You eventually got over it, and realized that you'd just have to make do with what you had. You acknowledged the fact that you would never be beautiful like Marlene, and never be as popular or cool as the Marauders, and you smiled and dealt with it and spent a lot of time with Severus, who never seemed to change and always loved you for who you were.

(You could see it in his eyes.)

At least you thought you could see it in his eyes, until Potter beat the truth out of him and Gryffindors burned him so much that he turned his back on the light.

You wept for days.

One night, when you were quietly snivelling to yourself alone in your dormitory (ironic, since Potter often called him Snivellus, you just never realized it would apply to you), Potter came into your room. He stood in the doorway and stared at you, with your puffy eyes and frizzed out thin hair, and your small shaking frame.

You screamed at him.

You leapt out of your bed and pounded your arms against him, and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed because he ruined the one friendship that you loved and cherished more than your own relationship with your sister. Because he took away the one boy that actually mattered to you, the boy who made you feel whole.

And Potter stood there and took it, his cheeks flushing with his internal struggle to not roar back at you.

You told him that you would never forgive him, that he was lower than scum, that he was a bully and a cruel-hearted person.

And then you stood a foot back from him and let the tears drip down your face, off your nose and trickle onto the floor like tiny shooting stars. And you said that you were sorry, and wept a bit harder, because you didn't mean to hurt his feelings and because you were just that weak.

Then you sat on the floor and clutched your legs to your chest and buried your head away from him, your scarlet hair the same colour as your face, and you honestly think that your heart stopped beating in that one, horrible moment, when he just stood and looked down at your crumpled body.

Then you took a deep breath, and shakily stood up and got ready to tell him to never come back and talk to you. And you would have said it, you SWEAR you would have said it, but at that exact moment that you opened your cracked, bleeding lips, you spotted a tear trickle out of the corner of his eye and your green eyes met his hazel ones.

And, standing there in silence, you realized that he honestly didn't mean to hurt you. So then you gripped your forehead, trying to stop from tearing up again, and turned your back on him, heaving in deep breaths of air. And you wobbily made your way back to your bed, where you crawled in between the sheets and curled up into a small ball.

He was still standing there as you sobbed.

And then you heard him pad over to where you were lying, and clamber into the bed and hold you.

You realized, in that one moment, as he buried his face into the crook of your neck and tears ran down your face, that you loved him more than you hated him, and for some reason, Merlin knows why, he loved you back.

You don't actually acknowledge that you love him until Defence against the Dark Arts class, when you produce a deer patronus and he makes a stag. And you two make eye contact across the room when your patronuses start chasing each other, and a huge, innocent, wide smile spreads across his face in delight. And you laugh out loud and under your breath curse the fact that yours is a deer, because now you know that you'll never forget him.

And across the room, Marlene's is a fox, and Sirius' is a dog, and they look quite happy themselves, but in that moment they stop eclipsing you and James just for a bit.

You love him, actually.

You love how he makes you bad, and you two sneak breathlessly out of the Gryffindor Common room into broom closets, oh the broom closets, where his touch makes you feel like you could fly.

You love the way that his hair is messed, and you secretly love making him mad, because you know that no matter how mad he gets, he'll never leave you. So you enjoy pushing the boundaries, and like watching his face redden with anger.

You love how he's jealous, no matter how much you scream at him for it, because you've always wanted a Prince Charming who would fight for you. And considering the amount of broken noses and black eyes he's given various boys who have even looked at you, you've found yours.

You love that when he takes you on dates, and you walk down from the girl's dormitory, he always is standing at the bottom, looking awestruck at you, making you redden and slap him. Then an argument starts, with you blushing and getting angry that he sees you as an object, but really inside, you're thrilled that he thinks you're pretty, since even you can't see that.

You love the way that his warm hand clasps around yours, and you like the way that during Hogsmeade trips, if it's a bit cold in October or November, he'll take off his jacket and let you wrap yourself in his scent.

But most of all, you love the way that he's just plain out not perfect, and you love that you hate him just as much as you love him, and without him you're worried that you'll never be on fire anymore.

She wraps an elegant arm around him, stroking his shoulder and causing his shaggy, handsome head to turn towards her and crack one of his infamous smirks. He leans in closer to her and whispers something naughty in her ear, and her feral smile widens, laughter escaping out of her in small, quiet tinkles. She edges even closer and drapes her body over his, slyly rubbing herself against him, and from across the room, you swear that he shifts for a second and then pulls her closer.

You blush when you see her hand slip into his pants.

Then you look down at James, whose head is resting in your lap as he browses through a Quidditch magazine, your hand playing with his messy locks.

"I think we're more beautiful, because we're real," you whisper under your breath, looking down at this beautiful, imperfect boy who loves you with his entire flawed body.

"I love you too," James says, smiling up at you in the way that makes your stomach ricochet back and forth with a thousand tiny butterflies. You freeze, since neither of you have ever said the L-word yet, and your heart stops for a second. Then a shy smile climbs out of your mouth and paints itself on your face, and you can't stop a little ecstatic giggle from escaping from your soul.

"I love you, James," you say slowly, looking down at his face as a blush creeps up yours, and then he's sitting upright and he's grabbed your face and the world has faded into black because oh MERLIN his lips his lips his LIPS.

And you finally realize, wrapped in this boy's arms, that beauty does come in all different packages and shapes and sizes, and you would never exchange the one tangled in your arms for any other type. Not for nothing, not even the world.