Finally got around to writing something from the Marauder era, which is so boss. But be warned: I'm still practicing with the fluff.
"Oi, Padfoot! I need a floating clump of mistletoe, right now!"
Sirius stared as James burst through the portrait hole into the Gryffindor common room. Then he turned back to his game of wizard's chess with Peter, brushing aside the strange request. "No can do, Prongsie. You're not my type," he stated bluntly.
James huffed and plopped into his favorite armchair in front of the fire. "It's not for you, you git, it's for Lily. I mean, me and Lily," he corrected himself hastily. An evil sort of look was already half-formed on his face at the thought of his 'Lilyflower' with somebody else.
"You there, the midget pawn! Smash the queen. SMASH HER, I SAY!"
Sirius didn't seem to notice the glare that was attempting to burn a hole through his head. Peter ducked to avoid getting hit in the face by Sirius's vigorous ordering of his pieces.
"You didn't hear a word I just said, did you?"
"What was that, Prongsie? I didn't – DIE, EVIL KNIGHT!"
"Moony," James whined, turning to Remus. The werewolf had been ignoring his two friends and quietly reading his book. "Tell Sirius to shut up and listen."
Remus looked up, fingers pausing in flipping another page. "It's not my fault if your dog doesn't obey you," he pointed out mildly.
"NO! Why, Peter, why did you eat my queen?" Sirius moaned, his head hitting the chess board with a thunk.
"So I can checkmate you?" Peter replied uncertainly. Up until James's undignified entrance, the fourth boy had been quietly winning against Sirius, who was now banging his head on the common room floor in theatrics.
"Anyway," James cleared his throat at Remus, who was watching Sirius's drama queenery with a detached air. "Moony, tell Sirius to get his face out of the rug," he complained.
"Sirius, get your face out of the rug," Remus droned.
"Yeah, yeah," came the mumbled reply, but it sounded more like "Mshfug".
James frowned. "I sensed no effort in that," he told Remus with a disapproving look.
Remus resisted the urge to burst out laughing, instead settling for, "Then you sensed correctly."
"What was that?"
"Nothing . . ."
Giving up on his case with Remus, James turned back to his problem, which was currently burying his face into the carpet while Peter looked at a loss for what to do.
"Padfoot," James started slowly.
"Do you have mistletoe?"
"I knew it!" James crowed, suddenly excited. "Give it, Padfoot. I need it to charm my Lilyflower into giving me a Christmas kiss!"
". . . you're not hearing a word, are you."
"Padfoot, your arse looks fat."
"My arse is not any fatter than yours," Sirius objected, rolling onto his back but refusing to sit up. "Wait, that's probably not the best argument, since your broom can barely fly under the weight of you . . ."
"It can too! My – How is it that you zone out unless I insult you? Sirius, I need that mistletoe right now."
Sirius cringed. "You can't have it now?"
James planted a fist on his hip in a decidedly Lily-ish way. "Why not? What did you do to it? You made it eat the Slytherins, didn't you!"
". . . Actually, I filled it with itching powder, charmed it to shoot out red and gold sparks and sing happy Christmas songs, and owled it to my mother."
James stared, then broke into a wide grin. "Padfoot, mate, that's bloody brilliant!" he said enthusiasticallly, then smacked himself on the forehead and collapsed back into the armchair. "This is a disaster," he moaned.
Sirius looked offended. "Hey, you try combining four spells on a sorry clump of berries so that you can annoy the –"
"I wasn't talking about the berries, you – you – you gank!" James cried out at last.
"Gank? You're calling me a gank? What in the name of Merlin's pants is a gank?"
"It's a combination of git and wanker, you gank."
"Don't call me a gank, gank! Besides, what happened to the er at the end?"
"You can't use my own insults against me. I dropped off the er. It didn't sound good in my head."
Their talent at carrying on two conversations at once was astounding.
"SHHH!" Peter finally shouted. The two arguing boys instinctively wiped their faces in case saliva landed on them, then each gave Peter a look for intruding into their argument. "Please?" he asked meekly.
"Wormtail, do you have any mistletoe?" James jumped up and rushed over.
"They make me itchy. I touched one yesterday, and then my skin got all red and scratchy."
Sirius looked up, alarmed. "Where did you find that?"
"On the floor of our dormitory," Peter said, scratching the back of his neck.
"Uh oh," Sirius muttered. "I sent my mother the non-charmed bunch. Well, the good news is, Prongs gets his kissing berries!" He smiled brightly.
James stared at Sirius as though he'd just announced he was going to teach the giant squid to fly. "I can't kiss Lily under exploding mistletoe filled with itching powder," he said, like one would explain to a seventh year that Expelliarmus was the disarming spell. "But the singing part might not be a bad idea."
A loud thunk next to them drew their attention to Remus, who had slammed his book shut and hit his head on it. "What is wrong with you? Find some from the rest of the castle! They're going to start decorating the halls tomorrow," he said, exasperated.
"Or get some from Peeves," Peter suggested, earning disbelieving looks from the other three. "What?"
"Pete, when has taking something from Peeves ever been a good idea?" Sirius asked.
"Well, that one time –"
Sirius held up a hand to stop him. "It was a re – redor – red something question."
"Rhetorical question," Remus supplied.
"Yes, that." Sirius nodded vigorously. He turned back to Peter, saying, "That means that the question –"
"Doesn't need to be answered," Peter interrupted, looking proud. "You're not the only one that listens to Moony sometimes."
Sirius looked baffled. "When do I ever listen to Moony?"
"Can we get back to my problem now?" James asked impatiently. He was met with a blank stare.
"The one where you owled a perfectly good branch of mistletoe to your mother!" James nearly shouted, drawing strange looks from the rest of the common room. "Hello, fellow Gryffindors!" he called cheerily to the room at large.
Remus began hitting his head on the thick, heavy book.
"The map says that Lily's going to be here any minute and my hair refuses to be flat!" James cried hysterically, hopping around the dormitory like he desperately needed to use the restroom.
"James, would you mind KEEPING IT DOWN because I'm trying to write my Transfiguration essay," Remus called from behind the drapes of his bed. His quest for peace and quiet had led him to the seventh years' boys dormitory, until James had flown in (not literally) screeching about his hair.
James blinked. "We have a Transfiguration essay?"
"Which is due tomorrow, is supposed to be thirteen inches long, and that you should probably be working on."
"My Lilyflower is more important."
"Your Lilyflower doesn't like a boy – sorry, I just can't bring myself to say man – who has a line of Trolls on his OWLs."
". . . you insult my masculinity."
"Yes, Prongs, I do," Remus said sarcastically. "How do you miss the point of every single thing I talk about?"
"It's a gift, my dear Moony-kins, a gift."
"You'd better throw it out, because I know for a fact that Lily doesn't like that gift." Remus blinked in the sudden light streaming onto his bed as the drapes were thrown open so hard he was sure he could hear the stitching tearing.
"Quick, Moony! Did Lily tell you anything else that she likes about me?" James asked, blocking out the light by leaning into Remus's face in his enthusiasm.
Remus scooted back until his spine was pressed against the wall. "I didn't say anything she likes about you in the first place," he pointed out.
"Whatever. Did she? Did she?" James was bouncing up and down like a child being denied candy.
"No. Why would Lily tell me anything good about you?"
Assuming James was done interrupting his essay writing, Remus drew the drapes back around his four-poster, wincing at the frayed edges and tiny bits of ripped stitching. There was an audible thunk on the floor next to his bed.
"Now I have to go by my instincts," he heard James mumble to himself. "Which are amazing due to my alter ego as a stag!" he complimented himself.
James glanced at the Marauder's Map again, surprised to find that the dot of Lily Evans was already at the entrance of Gryffindor Tower. He scrambled for a comb, which he knew was useless since his hair attacked every sort of hair taming product to ever exist. He'd even broken some of the teeth on his mother's magical hairbrush that way.
"There you are, Prongsie!" Sirius sauntered in, giving the map a glance. "Let me guess – Evans is coming and you want your L.E.C.K?" He picked up the Snitch-sized cluster of red berries, tossing it and snatching it out of the air.
"And my hair refuses to not stand up."
"I can help with that," Sirius said grandly, throwing his arms out and nearly dropping the mistletoe. "Oops. I happen to have a wide range of knowledge when it comes to –"
"Hair, bathrooms, and toilets," James interrupted, making a face like he'd smelled dead flobberworms at the last one. "We know, Padfoot. We lived in the same room as you for six years."
Sirius huffed. "Fine." He took out his wand, carefully pointing it at James's head.
James yelped. "What are you going to do? If you blow my head off to try and fix this, I will never forgive you!"
"You'd be dead," Sirius said, replacing his wand in his back pocket. "Hold still, Prongsie, and let me do it the old-fashioned way if you're so sure Evans likes you with your head attached." James stood unmoving as Sirius circled him, eyeing his hair from all angles and muttering strange things about squid ink and bubotuber pus.
Suddenly Sirius attacked his hair, jerking his hand back and forth forcefully on the top of James's scalp to try and squash it flat. He only succeeded in making it stick up as though he'd rubbed a balloon through it. James ducked, tripping over Sirius's trainers and landing facedown on the carpet with a groan.
"What in the name of Merlin's pink knickers was that for?" he said to the floor, clutching at his head.
Sirius leaned over, inspecting the fallen form of James. "I don't know. I was fluffing your hair for you."
"What part of make it flat didn't you understand?" James sat up, narrowly missing hitting his forehead against Sirius's.
"Oh, hey, Evans is going up to the girls' rooms," Sirius said, peering at the map.
The curtains around Remus's bed flew open, revealing an aggravated werewolf pointing his wand threateningly at both of them. "James, out. Your hair is fine. Sort of. Sirius, shut up!"
James carefully picked up the mistletoe, which had only barely survived the hair-fluffing intact. The door slammed behind him, followed by thumps that sounded like James taking the stairs three at a time. And a distant "Oof!" as he crashed into some poor first year in front of the staircase.
Sirius and Remus shared a long look, until Remus just shook his head and pulled the curtains shut again.
Meanwhile, down in the common room –
Lily sighed, pulling down her thick red and gold scarf and taking off her gloves with more force than necessary. Alice nudged her. "Potter, my fingers are frozen and my eardrums are ringing from baby mandrake tantrums. Kindly do me a favor and go away. I think we've established that I'm not going out with you. Ever."
"Not even a little bit?" James asked, sticking out his bottom lip. His arms were crossed behind his back, which immediately made Lily suspicious. The last thing she needed was an early Christmas gift of lingerie or something from James Potter.
"No. We've had this conversation before." Lily turned to the staircase, hoping to climb up before he could do something strange and awkward like touch her, then changed her mind. She didn't really want to be squished under James Potter at the bottom of the staircase slide because he decided to follow her up.
James brightened as she turned back to him with the intent of warning him not to climb the stairs, or at least to try it after she was safely in her dorm where nobody but her roommates could get to her.
"Lily, can you come outside with me?" he asked quickly, before she could start telling him off.
Lily hesitated. The obvious answer was no, but she was getting rather tired of saying it over and over again. Not that she would say yes, of course.
"Just go already," Alice whispered to her. "Give the poor git a break." She was rewarded for her sympathy with a shove from her friend. But since they were conveniently standing just inside the portrait hole, Alice pushed it open and Lily out, laughing and gesturing for James to hurry up. Before Lily could start lecturing Alice on the traits of a good friend, the portrait swung shut.
Of course, the Fat Lady had to choose that moment to sidle into another painting, leaving Lily locked out of the tower with James.
She huffed and started on a brisk walk in a random direction; she might as well try to keep warm. The Fat Lady might not be back for ages, and her scarf and gloves had been dropped somewhere in the common room.
"Where are you going?" James asked, falling into step easily beside her.
"Away from you."
"You're being mean," he said childishly. Lily was not deterred.
"Potter, if you're going to try anything, the answer is no."
James frowned, then smiled brightly. "Lily, will you not go out with me?"
Lily, who had already had the word 'no' on the tip of her tongue, made an odd choking sound. "Nice try, Potter. Yes, I will not go out with you."
"But you almost said no," James crowed triumphantly, punching the air in victory. She rolled her eyes at how backwards that was. "Anyway, Lily, I wanted to give you this." He brought his hand out and opened it, revealing a cluster of bright red berries with glossy leaves.
Lily eyed them doubtfully. "It's mistletoe." Her tone made it clear that she disapproved of any actions whatsoever that were supposed to be done anywhere near it.
"Watch this," James told her. Within a few seconds, the mistletoe began rising into the air to hover a couple inches above their heads. If she didn't know better, Lily would've thought that the dark green leaves were acting as wings.
"That's . . . silent wandless magic? Wingardium Leviosa?" Lily asked. "Not bad, Potter. Or did you cast a spell on it before?"
"Er," James answered. Lily was too busy observing the berries spinning in midair to notice his sheepish look. "Lily?"
Pointing to the mistletoe, then at her, and finally himself, James grinned hopefully. "Please?"
Lily looked at him sharply. "You want a what now, Potter?"
James repeated the action, except this time he made sure to point at her lips and his face.
"No," Lily deadpanned. At the sight of James's suddenly dejected face, she added, "It's not even Christmas yet. Wouldn't want to get your hopes up." And then promptly gave herself a heartfelt mental smacking.
"But at Christmas everybody will be kissing, and all the good spots will be taken," James complained, though he had cheered up quite a bit at the possibility of any kissing at all.
"James," Lily said slowly, "we're in the middle of the corridor."
"Don't push it, Potter."
"Pretty you please?"
"What?" she asked, confused.
"Pretty pretty please with a Chocolate Frog on top?"
"You'll be getting nothing for Christmas," Lily warned, giving in. It was chillier in the hall than she had anticipated, and if kissing James Potter was what it took to get her back to her nice, cozy dorm, then so be it. She'd dropped her wand when Alice pushed her, and no way was she going to ask him to cast a warming charm for her. James chose to ignore this fact and nodded eagerly, sparing a quick glance at the mistletoe, now rapidly bobbing up and down.
Lily stood on her tiptoes, so that their faces were on the same level. When their noses were nearly touching, a red and gold streak at the corner of her eye distracted her, which resulted in James burying his nose in her ear and her accidentally stepping on his foot.
"That wasn't exactly what I had in mind," James said, shaking his foot crossly. Lily folded her arms expectantly. "What?" he asked.
Wordlessly, Lily pointed at the Golden Snitch that was zipping up and down the length of the corridor. "Care to explain why that happened, Potter?"
James laughed nervously, plucking the Snitch out of the air and stuffing in his back pocket. "Well, see, heh, it's kind of a long story . . ." Lily's foot started tapping. "Does this mean no kissing?"
"What do you think?" Lily snorted.
"I think yes!"
"You think wrong, Potter. Keep thinking," she tossed over her shoulder, turning around for Gryffindor tower. She hid a giggle at the sound of James scolding the Snitch ("Bad Snitch! Don't you understand what you just did? Huh? Don't you? Bad, bad little Snitch!") behind her.
Yet, five years later, when Lily Potter née Evans found her husband Transfiguring fake Snitches into flying mistletoe, all she did was give him a kiss and promise to inflict her wrath upon him if he tried to turn the owl (which, at James's insistence, had been named Snitch) into a clump of mistletoe too.
Er . . . like I said, still experimenting with the fluff (poor Lily and James, they get to be my guinea pigs). No clue when this was set, either.