Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

For the Staying Up All Night Competition. Chapter 2 won second place!

What would something a Harry Potter character would stay up all night for, and what would they wait to snatch up the moment an opportunity arrives?

Character given: James Potter (I)

AN: I find it quite hilarious that in my fics, Sirius Black and Padma Patil have the same nickname.

"The Nights that Define Us"

Because the only thing James would ever stay up all night for – excluding Marauders and full moons – is Lily. He did so three times.

-JPLE-

"James. It's three in the bloody morning. Gotobed," Sirius mumbled.

"I can't, Pads. I just can't. You don't understand. She said yes, mate! This has to be perfect!"

"Yes, James. We've established that already. About fifty times!" Reluctantly, Sirius slid out of sleep's warm embrace and blearily opened his eyes.

"I've tried to sleep, Pads. Honest." James was looking at him with those wide eyes that made it hard for Sirius to be angry at his best mate. "It's just, every time I close my eyes, I start to think of a million and one things that could go wrong, and I start to worry."

"You've got to relax. Seriously. No pun intended. She said yes, and she wasn't coerced, or threatened, or anything else. She said yes because she wanted to. That means she likes you. Well, the new and improved mature James Potter, anyway."

Sirius grinned, though it wasn't as bright as it would have been at a normal hour.

"All you have to do, then, is be yourself. You let me worry about dragons stampeding through Hogsmead."

"Dragons! Oh, I didn't even consider that!" James went off, completely muttering to himself.

"JAMES!" Sirius snapped. Remus groaned, but fell back asleep. He was used to Sirius and James yelling at odd hours. Peter didn't even budge. That boy slept so deep that the Slytherins had once levitated his bed into the lake, and he hadn't woken up until the Giant Squid started strangling him.

James glanced at Sirius sheepishly.

"That was not a serious comment. It was a Sirius comment. Dragons are not going to be stampeding through Hogsmead. What I meant was that all you need to worry about is charming a pretty redhead. I've got everything me. We all want this to go well." Ifonlysowedon'thavetolistentoyouwhineforyearsafterthefact.

James attempted to smile at Sirius, but it came out as more of a worried grimace.

Sirius sighed.

"Look, mate. I love you, I really do, but now is so not the time to fall to pieces on me. I'm going to bed. She'll love you. You'll get married and have lots of messy black haired green eyed babies. Trust me. Goodnight."

And SIrius rolled over and promptly went back to sleep.

James didn't sleep. He worried. And paced. And worried. And paced some more. When his legs got tired, he flopped down on his bed and stared upward, mind going a million miles an hour.

-JPLE-

"She's going to hate me."

"James," Sirius groaned. "What did I tell you three hours ago?"

James sighed. He got up and paced some more.

-JPLE-

"I don't know how to do this."

"At least it's a sane hour, this time," Sirius muttered.

"This is serious!" He glared at Sirius, daring him to crack the pun he deeply wanted to. Sirius sighed and left it. "I honestly don't know how to do this, and she's honestly going to hate me."

"James, you've taken a girl to Hogsmead before," Sirius pointed out.

"Yeah, but not one that mattered!"

Sirius conceded that point.

"Still, you need to relax. The best of you comes out when you're relaxed."

James nodded. "You're right. I know you're right. I just… I don't want to mess this up."

"I know, Prongs. Trust me, I know."

James's hands shook as he got dressed, then changed, then changed again. Nervously, he attempted to flatten his hair. Needless to say, he was unsuccessful.

"You look great, James," Remus said bluntly as he rolled out of bed, analyzing the situation accurately in seconds. "She'll love it."

Peter sat up moments later, rubbing his eyes. He glanced at James, still fruitlessly trying to flatten his hair.

"Prongs, you've already managed the hard part looking like Sirius used your head for a toothbrush."

An indignant "HEY!" was heard from the bathroom, but Sirius couldn't deny that his bristles stuck out everywhere.

"Anyway," Peter muttered. "If she agreed to go out with you looking like that, obviously she isn't going to mind you showing up to a date like that."

Sirius poked his head out of the bathroom, said toothbrush sticking out of his mouth, toothpaste all over his face.

" 'i. 'id 'rmy 'us sy smthin is?"

Peter looked at him in bafflement.

"Oi. Did Wormy just say something wise?" James translated.

"Ahh." Peter nodded in understanding. "Hey, wait!" he yelped, offended. James and Sirius laughed, Sirius spraying foamy toothpaste everywhere. Remus emerged from the showers, glanced around, sighed, and spelled away the mess.

"Sometimes, you guys…" All four boys laughed.

-JPLE-

James downed four mugs of coffee at breakfast. This actually came near to what Sirius drank, namely, his typical five. Remus frowned at them both, nibbling on his toast. Peter clutched a mug in his hands, enjoying the scent and the warmth, but drank nothing.

-JPLE-

"Prongs! Oi, Prongs!" James looked up from his forlorn position, splayed across his bed.

"So?" Sirius waggled his eyebrows, flopping down next to him. "How'd it go?"

"Well…" he murmured. "She doesn't hate me."

Sirius grinned like mad.

"She also thinks I'm a hyperactive four-year-old. I knew I shouldn't have had that fourth cup! You! You know what caffeine does to me, why didn't you stop me?"

Sirius frowned. "In what way is you staying up all night, thereby necessitating the fourmugsofcoffee, my fault?"

The corner of James's mouth quirked up. "You sounded like Moony for a second there."

Sirius smirked. "I did, didn't I?" He put on a posh, professor like voice. "Now, my dear boy, the fact of the matter is, you deserve whatever comeuppance you get, for it is thine own fault, for temporarily becoming an insomniac!"

James snickered. "Give Rem some credit, Pads! I don't think even he would say 'comeuppance'."

Sirius laughed. "Maybe you're right. Don't think I've ever heard him say 'thine', either, come to think of it." He thought for a moment. "Eh, well. He'll never know." Sirius shrugged.

"Won't he?" James asked, a mischievous glint in his eyes.

"James Potter, if you tell him, you are dead. Dead, do you hear me?"

"Why?" James asked mock-innocently (or as innocently as James Potter ever could). "You don't honestly think he'd care that you think he's stuffy and professorish, do you?" he drawled sarcastically.

"C'mon, James, last time I imitated him, he wouldn't let me copy his notes for a week! I actually had to… you know…" Sirius shuddered at the memory, "pay attention!" he finished. "It was horrible!"

James burst out laughing. "You know, some people actually do that on a regular basis, Pads."

"I know! It's not my fault I'm a genius who doesn't have to pay attention to ace everything!"

"And so modest, too!"

"You're lucky I like you, Potter!" Sirius growled. James grinned.

"All right, all right. For that flattery, I'll lower my price on not spilling to Moony. You've still got some of Mum's fudge from Christmas, right?"

Sirius gasped. "Not your mum's fudge, Prongsie! Anything but the fudge!"

"It's the fudge, or Remus's notes. That's my final offer."

Sirius sighed and reluctantly dug the prized fudge out of his trunk.

"You suck."

"I know," James chirped. "That fudge is worth it."

"So," Sirius asked casually, "Evans going to give you a second chance, or will you forever be a hyperactive four-year-old forever?"

James sighed, his mood darkening. "She says I've used up so many chances that I don't even have a whole one left. She's giving me half a date, next Hogsmead weekend."

"Halfadate? How in Merlin's name does she plan on managing that?"

"I'm not exactly sure. I think it means I have half the time? Or maybe there's going to be two of us with her? I don't know. The things that woman comes up with, I tell you. She's mad as a hatter."

"But you love her," Sirius said soberly.

"I do."

Neither spoke for a moment, until Sirius couldn't stand the serious anymore.

"Well," he said brightly, "Good thing you're mad as a hatter, too, then!"