The Really, Really, Bad Idea. (An Epic Tale of Potion, Pork Chops and Gratuitous Snogging.)...
"You don't have to say it, Lils. I know I'm brilliant."
Lily Evans eyed her friend dubiously. "Annabeth Hortense, I know I've said it before and I know I'll say it again, but this might just be the worst idea you've ever come up with."
The blonde girl pouted, showing off her pretty pink lips. Lily sighed.
"That won't work on me, Bethy. I'm not a guy, remember? I'm just saying, this could actually turn out worse than the time you accidentally cursed Frank Longbottom's eyebrows and they got magically stuck to your a-"
Annabeth interrupted her with a quick hand over the mouth and an expressive eye roll. "Stop being such a wet blanket, Lils! This isn't just an idea, it's a stroke of genius."
Lily sighed again, dropping her head into her arms. Ever since fourth year Bethy had been developing her sense of what she called 'dramatic romance' and what Lily called 'mind-boggling insanity'. Today, it seemed as if everything had finally peaked. Against her better judgement, she was huddled with an incredibly excited Annabeth behind a soggy tapestry of Humphrey the Horribly Disfigured (a wizard who'd been cursed with an unfortunate variation of the Twisting Jinx, leaving him with a body that was eerily similar to a love child of the Giant Squid and a dementor). They were discussing Beth's latest plan to get Sirius Black, womanizer extraordinaire, to fall in love with her. And like the last million, this one was already going spectacularly pear-shaped.
"Let me get this straight," she mumbled, her voice muffled by her hands. "Your brilliant plan is to slip the love potion you stole from Slughorn into Sirius Black's pumpkin juice, wait until he falls madly in love with you, run off into the sunset together and then have hundreds of babies. Is that it?"
Beth pouted again. "Well, the sunset's negotiable... and not hundreds. I still want to keep my figure." She trailed off as she noticed the look of outrage on Lily's face. "What?"
"Hang on. Hold your horses. I can't believe I missed this. You stole the potion?"
Bethy helpfully shut Lily's mouth, which was hanging open in shock. "Well, 'stealing' is such a harsh word, don't you think? I prefer the term 'liberated', personally."
Lily drooped against the cold stone wall, shaking her head back and forth. "No, no, no, no, no, this is such a bad idea…"
Beth shrugged her slim shoulders. "I don't think so."
"That's the problem," hissed Lily, "You never think so! And you seem to have forgotten that this is the kind of potion that only works if the person who takes italready feels something that they're hiding or denying."
"That won't be a problem," sighed Beth happily. "I've seen how he looks at me…"
"Like you're a bug he wants to squish?"
"...like I'm his princess," she continued, totally ignoring the way Lily's eye had begun to twitch. "Now, are you going to help me with this or not?"
Lily sighed heavily for a third time. "Sure. What are friends for, if not to make sure you don't get caught?" A wicked grin spread over her face. "This had better work. I would so love to see Black taken down a peg or two."
Lily peeked around the door to the Great Hall, searching the Gryffindor Table. "There he is! With Remus and Potter." She wilted at the thought of the last name. "This means I'll have to go sit with him, doesn't it?"
Bethy slung a supportive arm around her shoulders. "I'll help you curse him later, if you want," she offered. "'What are friends for' and all that."
"You're right. It'll be over in a minute. Got the potion? Merlin, I can't believe I'm receiving stolen goods, this is madness..."
"Shh. Lily, it'll be fine. It'll be fun!" Annabeth shoved her hand down the front of her robes and fished around for a second. "Ah! Here we go." She pulled out a small vial of a bright pink potion and pressed it into Lily's hands.
Her friend gave her a little nudge closer to the Hall. "Remember," she whispered, "only add my hair just before he drinks it, or it won't be as effective. Got it?"
"Got it. I can't believe you talked me into this."
"Good luck!" Bethy pushed her a little harder, and Lily stumbled though the doors. Immediately, she straightened and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed the little exchange. No one had.
Smoothing her robes self-consciously, she sauntered towards the Gryffindor table, faking a casual air. Hidden in the sleeve of her robe was the tiny vial of precious potion. A long blonde hair was wrapped securely around her finger. She was ready.
"And then Finch's hair turned this brilliant shade of blue and started to whistle. Moony, I reckon you should figure out something to get rid of the whistling - he never would have noticed otherwise, and Wormtail wouldn't be in the Hospital Wing trying to unstick his wand hand from his…" James lost his train of thought and turned a lurid brick red. He coughed. "Um, Lily! Fancy seeing you here!"
Lily suppressed a grin at his reaction and sat down opposite Sirius, who nudged Remus none-too-gently in the ribs. "Told you she'd sit with him eventually," he hissed to the other boy.
With dawning horror, Lily realized that she'd taken the seat in between that nice Thompson girl and Potter. Bethy seriously owed her. Seriously. Ignoring the stricken silence on her left side and the stifled chuckles coming from Remus and Sirius, she focused on the real reason for her public humiliation.
"Actually, Black, I wanted to talk to you."
The tall boy looked down his nose at her. "So talk," he replied indifferently.
He'd never really forgiven Lily for the way she continually snubbed his best friend. She'd never really forgiven him cursing her shoes to tap dance her to classes for a week. Sometime in the middle of last year they'd reached an uncomfortable truce, but neither was very sure it could hold much longer.
"We were wondering - I was wondering - what you thought of Annabeth Hortense?" Lily asked smoothly, the practiced words rolling off her tongue with ease. She waited for the look of barely disguised lust that usually appeared on male faces at the mention of her friend, and was vaguely surprised when it didn't appear.
Sirius shrugged. " She's hot enough, I guess."
Lily rolled her eyes. This was not how it was supposed to go. "Wouldn't you like to get to know her better?" she pressed. She noticed Remus' white-knuckled grip on his knife with interest. Maybe he was interested? She'd have to mention it to Beth...but it didn't matter right now. She looked up, waiting for Sirius' response expectantly.
He disappointed her by shrugging again. "Not really."
Remus' death-grip on his cutlery loosened, but Lily barely spared him a glance. Desperate times called for desperate measures. On the pretense of reaching for the sandwiches, she spilled a flagon of pumpkin juice all over the table and everyone sitting at it. In the resulting chaos, she managed to slip the contents of the vial into Sirius' cup. No one paid her any attention, too busy Vanishing the puddles of pumpkin juice closest to them.
"Sorry!" she said brightly, fighting the urge to giggle. The precious hair was still wrapped around her finger - she'd have to use some kind of charm to get it into the cup just before he drank.
As she idly flicked through her mental list of appropriate charms, Remus performed a drying spell on his longish hair and then shook his head, trying to make it sit neatly. Lily watched in stupefied horror as a loose hair came free and wafted into Sirius' cup of pumpkin juice. Jaw fixed firmly to the floor, Lily could only watch as he brought the cup to his lips and gulped down the contents. He made an appreciative face.
"Tastes nicer today. Kind of like...chocolate." He finally noticed Lily's disbelieving expression. "What? Do I have something on my face?" He turned in his seat. "Moony, is there something on my face?"
Remus rolled his eyes. " No, Padfoot. There is nothing on your face. Your manly dignity is intact."
"Thanks, Moony-baby. Knew I could count on you."
At this exchange, Lily became even more slack-jawed. Could it be...Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were flirting? With each other? She fought the urge to pinch herself, or bang her head on the table until everything made sense again. The potion wasn't meant to work on two people at once!
Remus reached across the table for her hand, concerned. "Lily? Are you quite alright?"
She came back to the present with a jerk. "You? And Black?" she said weakly.
He flushed an unexpectedly adorable shade of pink. "I thought you knew," he mumbled. " I mean, you figured out my - ahem - 'furry little problem', didn't you?"
James carefully put an arm around Lily's shoulders. She was too stunned to pull away, and his face split into a wide grin. "This, Lily, is why our Pads didn't want to get to know your girl any better. He's already got one- Ow! Moony, that was my shin!"
"I know," growled the boy opposite him. "I am not the girl in this relationship."
"Well, I'm certainly not," replied Sirius. "I'm sorry, Moonycakes, but you'll have to accept your womanliness one day."
"Look, Padfoot. I'm a monster - I turn into a rabid uncontrollable beast once a month."
"Exactly. You're definitely the girl."
Amid Remus' indignant sputtering and the howls of laughter from James and Sirius, Lily rose and left the table in a daze. She walked unsteadily towards the doors and was hauled into the shadows by a bouncing blonde shadow.
"Well?" hissed Annabeth, barely managing to keep her voice below a shriek, "How did it go?"
"I - I mean - he took the potion, but -" Lily still couldn't quite form a sentence. How had she not picked up on this before? The signs were all there - significant looks, touches, jokes that hadn't quite made sense...
"So...does he love me yet? Has he broken into rapturous verse about my beauteous fingernails? Is he picking out baby names?" Bethy's impatient voice broke into Lily's reverie.
"Not exactly," she hedged.
"What do you mean?"
"It's kind of hard to explain…come and see for yourself." Lily hooked her friend by the bony elbow and all but dragged her into the Great Hall, which had fallen into a deathly hush.
Remus Lupin had pushed Sirius Black backwards into a platter of pork chops and was lying on top of him, pinning him to the table. Neither boy seemed to care very much that everyone else in the Hall was watching them with expressions varying from amusement - "About time they got together!" - to disgust - "Filthy half blood has no business coming near a Black." - to outright jealousy - "D'you think they'd let me join in?"
Their ignorance probably had something to do with the fact that they were snogging the living daylights out of each other.
A/N: So, what do you think? Not that I'd stoop to bribery or anything, but if you review, I'll give you a cookie. (Cookies are made of your imagination. Just so we're clear.)