Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to JKR.

Alcohol Stained Dreams

It's after three in the morning, when she stumbles into the common room. The room is dark, the fire just a few glowing embers. As she carefully makes her way around the scattered furniture, she smells him before she sees him, slouched over on the couch nearest the fire, a half-empty bottle in his hand.

"James?" she mumbles, trying to discern the figure in the dark. He lifts his head, and she sees the reflection of the embers in his glasses.

He lifts the bottle in mock salute, and leans forward, his eyes squinted. "Alice," he says too loudly, still leaning forward.

"Are you drunk?" she says quietly, but the answer is clear by the bottle in his hand and the smell of alcohol lingering in the air.

"I do not get drunk," he says with complete confidence, still talking too loud. He leans forward another inch, and in an instant he is on the floor, bottle flying from his sloppy grip.

"James." She rushes forward and kneels down beside him, taking a hold of his arm. He looks up at her with a grin.

"Or maybe… I do get drunk. When the occasion calls for it," he says with a flourish, throwing his arms wide to exaggerate his point. Alice frowns down at him and he lowers his arms.

"Exactly what is the occasion?" Alice asks him. He goes quiet and stares unseeingly into the darkness. "James…" She places her hand on his shoulder, and he finally turns and looks up at her; he jumps slightly, as if he has already forgotten her presence.

"Your lovely, flower of a friend has decided that she absolutely despises my arrogant arse, and next time I talk to her she will curse my oversized head right off my shoulders." He smiles, but it's forced, fake. "Oh, and she will not go out with me," he says in what is an obvious attempt at Lily's voice. His words are slurred, and that added in with his Lily-voice, is enough to make Alice giggle. And while she knows it's not the reaction that he's hoping for, he forces out a laugh, too.

Pretty soon they are both laughing so hard that they can hardly breathe, and it isn't until she has finally started to catch her breath that Alice notices how close his face has gotten to hers. "I'm sorry about Lily," she says, and starts to pull her hand away from his shoulder, but he snatches it in an instant, his quidditch reflexes showing through even in his drunken stupor. He lifts her hand and gently brushes his lips against it.

"Forget about Lily," he says and smiles, although Alice doesn't fail to notice, even in the dim light, that it doesn't quite reach his eyes. And then, before she realizes what is happening, he leans forward and kisses her lightly on the cheek. "Alice." His voice is soft now, the lightest of caresses, and his breath tickles her face. The scent of it startles her back to reality. Because she's imagined this moment before, – what girl hasn't? – but the scent of him now is a stark contrast to the one that she's imagined.

She turns her head away and leans back before he can kiss more than just her cheek or her hand. "No, James." Her words are a whisper and she hates that they don't sound nearly as sure and confident as she wants to feel, as she knows she should feel. Because morals aside, this is James Potter, and drunk or not, this may be her one chance – the one chance to make James see that Lily is not the only girl in all of Hogwarts.

"Alice?" His voice is softer than before, and she turns her head to look at him. She bites her lip nervously, torn between what is right and what she wants.

This time when James leans his face toward hers, she doesn't turn away – not even when their lips finally meet. Not when James wraps his arms around her and pulls her closer. The alcohol fills her nose, her mind, and she would swear that she's drowning in it, that they're drowning together, just as their lips are moving together. It's the moment she's been dreaming of, and with the sear of their kiss and the intoxicating pungency of the air, she is hardly aware of the startling contrast between her dreams and reality.

She can almost convince herself that it's real, that they are both forever changed from this moment, from this kiss. But when he pulls away, breathing ragged, she can still taste the alcohol on her tongue, and as she looks up into his eyes, it is Lily's face and not her own that stares back at her. And as he leans his face back down to hers, she tries to ignore the fact that he will remember nothing of this in the morning. She lets his lips crash into hers, and tries to forget the world. She loses herself in the moment, ignoring that is nothing more than a stolen, alcohol stained dream.

A/N: I have been wanting to write a fic with these two for quite a while, and then this little idea popped into my head and I decided to give it a shot. Reviews are love. =]