Author's Note: So... been awhile! I have about five different full length stories I'm in the process of, so I haven't stopped writing, but I also don't want to post any of them until they're finished entirely. In the mean time... a three-part one-shot! It's stand alone, but it's technically a prequel to The Other Woman and Happy Birthday, Baby in case you were wondering...
The Date: Part One
"Class, remember that your essay is due next Thursday – now, I do not want to hear your incessant whining! That's not the way I want to start the weekend!" Professor Slughorn rolled his eyes at the seventh years. "Sure – you think that just because I've got a few years on you that I'll forget about your assignments – not likely!" he bellowed with a short laugh. "Let me tell you that…"
Lily laughed at her teacher's ramblings. The man was a genius when it came to potions. But other times…
"Quite a character, isn't he?"
Lily turned her head toward the voice. She first noticed a small, gold, Head Boy's badge. As her gaze wandered up, she saw that the person beside her had rather unruly, black hair and a pair of crooked glasses. Instinctively, Lily reached up and straightened the boy's glasses with a smile.
The fact that his glasses had been lopsided didn't faze James in the slightest; it had happened so many times before, that he often chose not to fix them anymore. Instead, James carried on about his business as if nothing had happened. "You forgot to put your things away." He nodded towards the belongings sprawled across Lily's desk.
Lily shook her head and sighed, looking slightly tired. "I lost track of time during class," she explained, carefully setting her potions ingredients into the bottom of her bag. "I was too wrapped up in the notes."
James' jaw dropped. With a small smile creeping onto his mouth, he repeated Lily incredulously. "You lost track of time because you were too busy taking notes?" James let out a loud laugh. "Are you serious?"
Lily narrowed her eyes playfully at him. "N.E.W.T.s are only a few months away," she protested. "I want to be as prepared as possible!"
James laughed again, but this time it was a much more playful sound. "Lily – those tests aren't until the end of May!" He sat on top of the desk beside hers. "Do you know how far away that is?"
The red-haired girl turned her head towards the small window in the corner of the classroom and saw, much to her dismay, that it had begun snowing at that very moment. "Alright, so it might be just a bit more than a few months away…"
"It's November!" James pointed out loudly. The other seventh years that had been in the process of picking up their belongings after class all turned to stare pointedly at James as his voice reverberated throughout the dungeon. "It's snowing outside, Lily – snowing!"
"Alright, you've made your point," Lily quickly cut him off with a smile. She stood from her seat. "But just so you know – there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to study for the N.E.W.T.s early."
James laughed, sliding off of the desk. "Sure," he agreed, knowing that if he didn't, she would have never stopped trying to prove him wrong.
Lily closed her book bag and picked up a pile of textbooks that she refused to put in her bag for fear of squishing her potions ingredients. "There we go," she said, exhaling. She felt her arms strain under the weight of the many books. "Off to Arithmancy…"
James frowned at the pile of books stacked on top of each other. He leaned to the side, peeking around the tower of books in order to see Lily's face. "Do you need any help with those…?"
Lily hurriedly shook her head, denying any assistance. "Nope – I'm perfectly fine. Thanks, though."
James rolled his eyes at Lily's stubbornness. There was no way that she would have admitted that she needed any help – he should have known that!
"Give me that." James abruptly pulled more than half of the books from her arms. "You're impossible…"
"I am not," Lily fought back, silently thankful that James had taken the books even though she had refused to let him. She started to lead him out of the dungeons. "The only reason I appear impossible is because I happen to have my own way of doing things, sometimes…"
"Sometimes?" James echoed with a grin, following closely behind Lily. "How about all of the time?"
"Not true!" Lily continued to argue with a smile. She searched for an example. "How about – that one time when I let you run that Prefect meeting? Remember?"
"Oh, sure, like that counts!" By this point, James was walking directly beside her down the hallway. "If I recall correctly, you cut in every time I spoke to rephrase what I had already said!"
"But I let you lead the meeting, didn't I?" Lily stubbornly pushed her case with a grin. "That's got to count for something!"
James rolled his eyes, unable to hide a small smile. "Hardly…"
"Alright, I'm sorry," Lily said with a rather sarcastic sigh, rounding a corner. "What can I do to make it up to you?"
James' ears perked up at this statement. "Well, let's see…"
"Oh, you can't be serious…"
"Hey!" James shrugged his shoulders with a smirk on his face. "You were the one that offered to make it up to me."
"But I didn't think you would actually take me up on the offer!" Lily fired back.
He grinned. "You underestimate the mind of a Marauder, Miss Evans."
Lily just shook her head.
"Now," he started, "since I have, obviously, given so much to you, in order to satisfy your hunger for power," James said with a completely straight face, "it only makes sense that you should give something back to me."
Lily snickered at James' formality. "What do you want?"
James chewed on his lower lip as he deeply pondered the question. "Well – " he shrugged, as if he could think of nothing better " – I wouldn't mind having a Butterbeer."
"A Butterbeer?" Lily repeated with a baffled look. "A – Butterbeer?"
James nodded with a small smile. "Yeah, that sounds really good right now – especially with the cold weather and all."
Lily shook her head; she had been imagining something a little different than this. "Well, let me tell you – for 'the mind of a Marauder', asking for a Butterbeer is rather uninventive."
James raised an eyebrow, surprised by her reaction. "I don't know what you're complaining about, considering I could have asked for much worse."
Lily nodded at this statement. "True…"
"But seriously, Lily…" James pulled their conversation back on track as they reached the door of Lily's classroom. "Tomorrow's a Hogsmeade day – what do you say about grabbing a few Butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks?"
Lily stepped inside of the Arithmancy classroom and dropped her books on the nearest desk. She turned back around and nodded with a smile. "Yeah, sure – sounds like fun."
James grinned and put the pile of books in his arms next to the ones on Lily's desk. "Great – I'll meet you in the common room in the morning, then."
"I'll be waiting," Lily responded, waving as James slipped out of the classroom. Once he left her sight, Lily dropped her hand and gently set her bag full of potions ingredients on the floor beside her desk. She then proceeded to look through the stack of books, searching for the correct textbook for the class. In the process of hunting through the mass of books, Lily noticed that her friend had already entered the classroom and was sitting in the desk beside hers.
"Hey, Adette," Lily pleasantly greeted her roommate.
But she didn't get a response. Frowning slightly at this unusual behavior, Lily looked up from her search for her book and analyzed Adette a bit closer than before, sensing that something was wrong. Her long, blonde hair appeared to be lying down perfectly, and her blue eyes were brighter than usual. So she probably wasn't upset about her appearance today…
And then Lily noticed her dropped jaw.
"Oh, no." Lily stood and fished around in her pockets for her wand. "Sirius didn't put that lockjaw curse on you again, did he?"
Adette just shook her head, looking very astonished. "Oh – my god."
Lily raised an eyebrow. She dropped her wand back into the pocket of her robe, but remained standing with a hand on her waist. "What is it?"
"Did I just witness what I thought I did?"
Lily did not have time for these games. She turned back towards her mound of books. "What are you going on about?" she muttered, sounding uninterested in what her friend had to say.
Adette looked floored. "You know exactly what I'm going on about!"
Lily did not look up. She was too preoccupied searching for her missing textbook.
"You," she hinted, "and James!"
"What about us?" Lily asked blindly, clearly not seeing what Adette was trying to get at.
"Well," Adette laughed to herself, "which part should I bring up first? The part where James was carrying your books for you, the part where you were openly flirting with him, or the part where he asked you out on a date and you agreed?"
Lily finally took the time to look away from her stack of books in order to roll her eyes at her friend. "None of that happened, Adette – you're exaggerating everything, again."
"Alright," Adette agreed with a nod, "fair enough. You have a chance to redeem yourself." She turned in her seat to face Lily straight on. "Explain to me why James was holding your books – which, might I add, is one of the most obvious signs that a male is interested in a female."
Lily had to chuckle at this statement. "I had too many to carry," she explained, gesturing to the pile on her desk. "There were too many to hold at once."
"I'm sorry, Lily." Adette shook her head. She tried to appear disappointed in Lily's answer, but couldn't help revealing a small smile. "I don't buy that excuse when I can, clearly, see your bag sitting beside your desk – and it is only half full."
"But I had - "
"Question number two," Adette quickly cut her off, not even bothering to listen to Lily's excuse. "When on earth did my best friend start to flirt so obviously?"
Lily had to laugh at this question. "Adette, I wasn't flirting!"
"Oh, please!" Adette rolled her eyes. She swept back her hair with a toss of her head and pushed out her chest. "'I'll be waiting'," she repeated Lily's earlier comment to James in a deep, seductive voice. And, as fast as she had changed her behavior, Adette immediately returned to her slouched posture and higher-pitched voice just as quickly. "What the hell was that?"
Lily was appalled by this imitation. "I did not do – that," she stammered, rather embarrassed.
"You could have said 'alright' or 'I'll see you there'," Adette pointed out with a smirk. "But you, instead, chose to say – the ever flirtatious – 'I'll be waiting'."
Lily felt her face turn a deep scarlet, feeling as if everyone in the room was now staring at her after Adette's performance. "I did not," Lily mumbled, lowering her gaze and covering her chest with both arms.
"And this leads me to my final question." Adette arched an eyebrow, rather interested in hearing Lily's next response. "What on earth brought you to say 'yes' to James Potter when he asked you out?"
"Look," Lily tried to correct Adette once and for all, "James did not ask me out! I owe him a bit of a favor," she said as nonchalantly as possible, "so he said I should buy him a Butterbeer."
"You don't have to defend the reasons behind it," Adette reassured Lily. "I'm just saying – that sounds like a date to me."
Lily shook her head. "James gave up on that a long time ago, remember?" She finally found the correct textbook and tried to pull it out from the bottom of the pile. "For two years he hasn't asked me out on a date." She finally tugged the book loose, but not without managing to knock the rest of the books onto the floor. Lily grumbled and dropped to her hands and knees. "Do you remember how angry I used to get with him?"
"Oh, I remember," Adette's eyes widened, clearly wishing she hadn't been able to remember. "I seem to recall many nights of nothing but complaints about him…"
"He would ask me out every single day," Lily reminded her friend, as if she hadn't already heard. "And, every time, I would tell him, 'no'! Until, one day – he just stopped."
Adette nodded. "Which is about the time, I believe, when you finally broadened your horizons and realized that you two might actually get along better than you thought."
Lily finished re-organizing her books, ignoring her friend's last comment. "I see absolutely no reason why he would start asking me out again."
Adette shook her head sadly, realizing that it wasn't worth her time trying to push the idea any longer. "Well – in case you're wondering, I'm not upset about it or anything," she reassured Lily. "I like James – I think he's a great guy! I'm just shocked more than anything at this point…"
Lily sat down in her seat and opened her book. "That's great – I'm glad you feel that way," she told Adette, "but it's still not a date."
Adette nodded, turning back around in her chair to face the front of the room. "Whatever you say, Lily."
Lily smiled, glad that Adette had seen it her way.
"Alright, class, today we're going to review the past three chapters for the test next week," the teacher began in a monotonous tone. "If you could please turn your books to page two-hundred and ninety-four…"
Adette felt a sharp poke in the side of her rib cage. She gasped silently, making a face at the pain. She glanced down at her side and noticed that Lily had jabbed her quill into her robes – leaving a small ink stain – in order to grab her attention.
"What?" Adette hissed, leaning in.
Lily did the same thing. However, instead of appearing upset like Adette did, she looked rather nauseas.
"Did I really just agree to go out on a date with James?"
"Lily – don't panic!"
Adette put her arm through Lily's and gently dragged her up the stairs toward the Gryffindor common room. "This isn't a problem – you can handle anything, right?"
"But I – I didn't know!" Lily stammered, looking very scared. "I just thought I was agreeing to get a couple of Butterbeers – not go on a date!"
"So you made a mistake!" Adette shrugged. "Big deal – everyone has at some point in their life, right?"
"Not like this!" Lily stumbled up the last of the stairs and turned the corner towards the Gryffindor entrance. "This is not something that people would normally mix up!" Lily stopped in front of a portrait of a large woman, turning on her friend. "Have you ever done this?"
Adette nodded. "Of course I have!"
Lily said a word to the lady in the picture and the frame swung open to reveal an opening. She put one hand out to hold open the portrait, and then turned to glare at her friend. "When?"
"Well…" Adette twisted the long strands of her blonde hair around her finger as she thought. She finally dropped her hand, looking at Lily apologetically. "Alright, maybe I haven't quite done what you have - " Lily threw up her hands in frustration and turned to enter the hole behind the portrait " - but I've still made loads of mistakes! Lily? Lily!"
Adette chased her friend through the opening and into the Gryffindor common room. "Lily – stop making me chase you around the castle!"
Lily did not stop walking. "How could I have been so stupid?" she scolded herself. "It was so obvious – why didn't I just pay attention?"
Adette darted around Lily and cut her off before she could reach the stairs leading up to the girls' dormitory. She knew that if she let Lily walk up those stairs in this mood, she most likely wouldn't come down for days.
"Listen to me," Adette calmed her friend. She put both of her hands onto Lily's shoulder, holding her in one place. "This isn't the end of the world."
Lily exhaled, dropping her head onto her chest.
"Right?" Adette prompted. "It's one day," she told her. "You can get through it without a scratch. All you need – " Adette dropped her hands and straightened her posture " – is a little help from moi."
Lily let out a small giggle. No matter the circumstance, Adette always found a way to make her feel better.
"And who on earth would ever want help from you, Foster?"
Judging by the look on Adette's face, Lily knew that the person standing behind her was someone that Adette did not get along with. And that could only be one person.
"No one asked for your opinion, Black," Adette coolly responded, stepping around Lily. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the boy.
"I was only looking out for Lily's best interest." Sirius held his hands up as if he had done nothing wrong. He grinned and tossed his dark hair back, out of his face, but a single lock of hair fell back down and covered his eye. "I don't want Lily to be disappointed when she realizes that getting help from you was the stupidest choice she ever made."
Lily's thoughts immediately flashed back to her conversation with James earlier. "I've made worse choices…" she mumbled.
"Look, Black," Adette spit out his surname, "why don't you run along and have those secret meetings that you always have with your little club."
Sirius looked highly offended. "Club?" he choked out. "The Marauders are not a – a club!"
Adette raised an eyebrow. "Then what would you call it?"
Sirius could not come up with an answer quickly enough. "That's beside the point," he stammered, trying to appear superior.
Adette made a show of rolling her eyes. "Come on, Lily." Adette took her friend's hand and pulled her up the stairs. "We're done with this conversation."
Sirius breathed in through his nose, furious as Adette sauntered up the stairs to the girls' dormitory without a look back. She had just walked away from his taunts without flinching!
With as much strength as he could muster, Sirius slammed his hand into the brick wall.
He instantly regretted it.
"How you doin' over there, Padfoot?" Remus asked casually over the top of his book when he heard Sirius' howls of pain. "Did everything go as you planned?"
"No it did not, Moony," Sirius growled, joining his friend on the couch in front of the fire. He analyzed his hand, looking for injuries.
Remus smirked behind his copy of Hairy Snout, Human Heart. "I told you not to go over there…"
"Sure," Sirius grumbled, massaging his fist. "Rub it in when I'm in pain. Some friend you are…"
Remus calmly marked his spot in his book and closed it, smiling. "It's hard to feel any sympathy for you when I told you not to go over to Adette in the first place."
"He's right, Padfoot," James cut in, shrugging.
"You wouldn't be saying that if she put a spell on your silverware to stay glued to the table at lunch, would you?" Sirius kindly pointed out.
James sat back in his comfortable arm chair with a smile. "Just give Adette a chance," he said. "Those girls – they're not so bad…"
Author's Note: Part two should be up in a few days!