Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the amazingly talented J.K Rowling. I'm only borrowing the characters and world that she has so brilliantly created.
"Something in the Water" a one-shot by PenguinBuddy
Thirteen year old James Potter had been happily debating the merits of the English Quidditch side with his mates when all of a sudden a voice behind him had taken him by surprise.
Mary Macdonald was standing next to their study table, having seemingly appeared out of thin air. She was rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet and she was shaking ever-so-slightly. Her voice was high and breathy and her eyes were bright with anticipation.
Sirius leaned back in his chair and pretended that the girl's presence did not surprise him in the least.
James could practically hearthe grin in his best mate's voice.
He knew what was going to happen before it did. In two quick strides, Mary drew closer to Sirius than strictly necessary and planted a hasty kiss on his expectant lips. It was quick and chaste and over almost before James had a chance to blink.
Peter giggled a bit and Remus rolled his eyes in response to the entire situation. James's stomach grumbled loudly in the intense silence that had fallen the moment Mary appeared at their table.
Then, as quickly as she had appeared, Mary had retreated up the staircase to the girls' dormitory.
"That's the second girl that's done that tonight," Remus commented in wonder. "I wonder what's going on up there."
At these words, all four boys turned their heads to look in the direction of the Girls' Dormitories. Peter eyed the stairs with a mixture of hope and fear. Sirius looked well pleased with himself. Remus considered illegal love potions gone terribly awry. James wondered if the girls had any treacle tart up there, and if so, how he could possibly find a way to steal it.
Turning back to each other, they all shrugged in unison.
"I have no complaints," Sirius joked, running a hand through his dark hair and grinning widely. As always, James marveled at his best mate's hair, which always fell gracefully into his eyes in a kind of suave manner that he himself could never achieve.
"Why do you reckon two in one night, though?" Remus asked, his brows knit together in confusion.
Sirius laid a hand over his heart in mock offense. "You doubt my abilities, Moony?"
Before Remus had a chance to answer, a tall second year girl with straight brown hair emerged from the girl's staircase and yelled at the top of her voice, "JACK LEWIS – I FANCY YOU!"
The only sound in the common room was the pounding of the girl's feet on the stairs as she scurried back to the safety of the girls' dormitories. There was a full ten seconds of silence as the occupants of the common room glanced furtively back and forth at one another with shocked expressions, then someone coughed. A flurry of hushed yet excited whispers began softly, then grew louder.
In the far corner of the room, the friends of Jack Lewis, a tall, olive skinned sixth year and member of the Quidditch team, were obviously enjoying the girl's announcement. They were taking the mickey something fierce. Jack Lewis looked rather embarrassed by the display and was currently the color of a ripe tomato.
"Maybe there's something in the water…" Peter ventured tentatively, eyeing the girls' staircase warily.
"But wouldn't we have been poisoned too?" Remus stated reasonably. The mild-mannered boy tended to be the voice of reason in situations such as these.
Sirius snorted in a very undignified manner. "I wouldn't exactly call that poisoning."
"I dunno," James chimed in, tearing his mind temporarily away from thoughts of treacle tart. "I think Peter's on to something. Maybe it's just the water in the girl's dorms. Or something that only affects girls…"
Across the table from him, Sirius's eyes suddenly went wide. A few seconds later, Remus and Peter's eyes also went wide. Remus and Sirius wore expressions of confusion mixed with amusement, while poor Peter looked positively frightened out of skin.
"What?" James asked, feeling more confused by the moment. Rather than answers, he received blank stares.
"Seriously, mate. What is bloody hell is going on around here?" He snapped his fingers in front of Sirius' light grey eyes for good measure. Why he had such rubbish mates, only he knew.
A tap on his right shoulder made him spin around in his seat. Thanks to the stunned expressions of his mates, James had at least expected to see Voldemort himself standing there in the Gryffindor Common Room. Instead, he found himself looking at Lily Evans.
Lily was a spirited and extremely intelligent girl who was also in the third year with James and his friends. James would have been lying if he said that he had never noticed how pretty she was with her bright green eyes and soft red hair, but on the whole, he had never spent much time considering her.
Now here she was, standing before him, looking for all the world as though she was headed to her death. Lily's skin was paler than usual, making her freckles stand out on her cheeks. Her eyes stared dully straight ahead and her hands were clenched in the folds of her pleated grey skirt.
"Yes?" he prompted her when she said nothing.
"I…." her voice wobbled with nerves. She swallowed forcibly then tried again. "I…I…um….that is…."
James watched her with fascination. This Lily currently in front of him who was unable to form a coherent sentence was nothing like the Lily who was always so confident and collected in their lessons. What was wrong with the girl?
"Are you all right, Evans?" he asked warily, not sure he wanted a truthful answer to that question. Maybe she had eaten some gone off treacle tart and was about to be sick up all over his lucky trainers?
She nodded her head in the affirmative, but James wasn't wholly convinced. He tucked his feet under his chair.
"I was…well…I need…" She paused, then muttered, more to herself than anyone, "Idiot…get Alice for this…"
"Bloody Hell!" James finally exploded in exasperation, unable to take it anymore. "Just say it already, Evans!"
No sooner had the words left his lips than her mouth was gently pressed against his own. James couldn't believe that he was being kissed by a girl who, a few short moments ago, hadn't even been able to string together a proper sentence.
James decided in that moment that the whole kissing thing was rather nice. Strange at first, but nice. Now he understood why Sirius was looking so keenly at the girls' staircase. Just as James began to kiss her in return, Lily suddenly pulled away from him.
As James watched her practically sprint up the stairs, his mind whirled with the events of the last thirty seconds. The fact that he had distinctly tasted treacle tart on her lips was the foremost thought in his thirteen year old mind, followed very closely by the fact that he had just received his first kiss from a girl he barely knew.
Turning around, James saw that all of his friends were sitting poker straight, eyes wide, mouth slightly agape, and looking as though they had each been hit with the full body bind curse.
James opened his mouth, but no words would come out. He had always vaguely wondered what it was like to be hit by the Confundus Charm. Now he felt that he had a pretty good estimation of the feeling.
Remus was the first to regain the use of his vocal chords. "Maybe there is something in the water…"
"Gotta be…" Sirius finally said after a brief pause. "I mean…Evans…Blimey, mate."
When James failed to comment, Remus and Sirius exchanged worried glances.
"James?" Remus promoted, poking him hard in the shoulder to get his attention.
"I knew they had treacle tart up there," James muttered softly, his eyes glazing over.
"Sorry?" Sirius asked through a barking laugh. "What was that about treacle tart?"
James felt his face flush red and he scowled at his friends. "Nothing," he huffed. He crossed his arms over his chest for good measure.
Peter glanced at the stairs again. "I still think there's something in the water."
The other boys followed his eyes. Each boy's expression held varying degrees of confusion. Remus looked less confused than the rest. James felt as though he might be entering a catatonic state. Not that he had any previous experience with catatonic states, but if he had to guess what they felt like, this would be it.
"Maybe they've gotten a hold of some firewhiskey from the older girls?" Sirius offered weakly.
Lily Evans had kissed him…kissed him….kissed him….kissed him…
Remus shook his head thoughtfully. "Did Lily smell like alcohol, James?"
"Nnnngghh," was James's incoherent reply as he relived the kiss over and over in his mind, thoughts of treacle tart rapidly fading from his mind in favor of a vision of a pretty girl.
Sirius and Remus exchanged worried glances.
Sirius was the first to speak. "You don't think…what if there is something in water on the girls side?Do you think Evans could have poisoned James?"
The trip to the hospital wing was a long one, seeing as how James had no intention of going to see the school nurse. Just last week, Madam Pomfrey had adamantly told him that she had better not see him again for a good long while. Considering that was the week in which he had gone every day to see her for one remedy or another, he felt that trying her patience wasn't in his best interest.
However, through a combination of force and bribery, in which James was promised the sum of chocolate very nearly half of Honeydukes, the four boys arrived intact at the Hospital Wing.
Peter explained to a skeptical looking Madam Pomfrey all about how Lily Evans had kissed James and how they suspected poisoned water was involved. She listened with an expression that was neither concerned nor amused. After Peter had finished expressing his worry, the nurse looked in to James's eyes, down his throat, and finished by giving them all a brief yet stern lecture on practical jokes and reminded them that hospital wing was for those who were actually ill.
During the long trip back to the Common Room, James tried to limit the number of "I told you so's to a minimum. He finally stopped altogether when Sirius threatened to go back on on his promises of chocolate.
As the four boys readied for bed, they hypothesized about what could have caused Lily's uncharacteristic actions.
"Maybe she was forced?" Sirius suggested weakly.
Peter was unmoved. "I still reckon there's something in the water. Maybe James wasn't affected, but she was. It would explain why he's fine and she's gone loopy."
"She's not loopy," James snapped hastily, eager to defend Lily's actions. "Have any of you lot considered the possibility that maybe Evans fancies me?"
There was a brief pause, then Sirius said in a voice slightly choked with laughter, "I think it's more likely that there's something in the water, mate."
"What's so funny about Evans fancying me?" James challenged, feeling rather miffed by the fact that all three of his good friends were now openly laughing at him and his ideas.
"E-every-t-thing," Sirius managed through peals of laughter.
Even Remus was having a good-natured laugh at the idea, his eyes crinkled at the corners and his head shaking with mirth.
Feeling very put out by all of this, James climbed into bed and drew his curtains closed with a snap. He pulled his covers up to his chin and attempted to get comfortable.
"This won't be the end of this," Remus's whispered words floated through the curtains.
"It's only bound to get better," Sirius agreed with a smothered laugh.
James lay awake in his four-poster bed that night reliving the events of the evening, particularly the part where his lips had been in contact with Lily's. Why had he never paid her more notice before? She was quite pretty, with her wavy auburn hair, her pale and freckled skin, and her bright green eyes that sparkled with hidden humor.
Tomorrow, he decided, he would ask her out. She could hardly turn him down. After all, she had been the one to kiss him - and in front of the entire Common Room no less! There was a Hogsmeade trip coming up soon. James's heart raced as he thought of spending an afternoon in the village with Lily. They could get some treacle tart and butterbeers. Maybe the afternoon would end with another kiss.
The mere thought made James feel a bit giddy. And with these highly agreeable thoughts swirling around in his head, James Potter finally drifted off to sleep amidst the snores of his roommates.
As for Lily Evans, she was lying awake in her own bed, unable to sleep. She was not speaking to her best friend, Alice, and had vowed never to participate in another game of Truth of Dare as long as she lived.
Thanks for reading! Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome! :)