A/N: So, yeah, yaoi...This is so not where I expected to end up when I started writing fanfiction a couple years ago. Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed, but I think this is cute and silly. Hopefully, you'll think so too. This began with the first scene as a one-off joke (thus the less-than-conventional pairing), but it quickly became a three-chapter fic with a short epilogue.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The scene depicted in Snape's worst memory is pushed back by a few weeks, occurring shortly before OWLs. This takes place two or three days afterwards.
"Taking a cat nap, Minerva?" Slughorn chortled, settling into one of the numerous chairs scattered across the Teacher's Lounge.
McGonagall glared at him through half-lidded eyes. "No," she hissed.
Slughorn made a mental note to update his will. He flashed an uneasy smile. "Feeling under the weather?"
The woman sighed, collapsing back into her seat. "No. Just exhausted. James Potter and Lily Evans will be the death of me."
"They've only been getting worse," McGonagall groaned. "I wish they'd just get together already and save me the headache."
Slughorn asked, "You actually believe that Evans and Potter are going to date?"
"Of course. We all know Potter's had his eye on her for years. He's like a boy pulling his crush's pigtails, always playing pranks to get her attention. Besides, all that fighting and arguing must come from somewhere."
"I could say the same thing about Potter and Snape," Slughorn pointed out.
"That's hardly the same thing, Horace," McGonagall said.
Slughorn tapped his flabby chin thoughtfully. "I wouldn't be so sure. Potter's always seeking out Snape, talking about him with his friends, goading him. Why, I imagine he spends more time with him than Miss Evans, even though she's the one in his House."
McGonagall laughed. "Have you been dipping into your potion's stores again?"
He smiled in response. "Nothing more potent than a Headache Reliever. Still, I suspect I may be on to something. If those two hated each other even half as much as they let on, I dare say they'd both be dead by now."
"Snape isn't the one Potter's been asking out since third year," McGonagall said.
"Ah, but isn't it the tiniest bit suspicious that Potter – who could have half the girls in the school – would choose the only one who can't stand him? Not to mention the incident last year where young Potter and Black were found in a broom closet.
"Only you would listen to such ridiculous, student gossip. You're over-thinking things, old Slytherin that you are."
A glint entered Slughorn's eyes. "Would you bet on that?"
An excited voice interrupted as Madame Hooch bustled into the room. "Who's betting?"
McGonagall sighed, "No one's betting on anything, Rolanda."
"We're arguing over whether Potter's taken with Snape or Evans," Slughorn said.
"What, Black isn't even in the running?" Hooch cried. "Even after that thing in the broom closet, last year?"
"Enough! We are not going to talk about our student's love lives like a group of fourth years," McGonagall snapped, "and we certainly aren't going to bet on them. It's both unethical and against Albus' orders. You, in particular, should know that, Rolanda."
"Oh, that's only for Quidditch," Hooch said, "and that wouldn't have been a problem if the Defense Professor hadn't started hexing students."
"It's still unethical," she insisted.
"If you win, I'll do all your grading for a semester," Slughorn said.
"And if I lose?" she asked.
Slughorn said, "Well, I certainly can't have you grading my students' work. I taught you, my dear, and I recall your work at potions was dreadful, absolutely dreadful. All I ask is that you owe me a favor."
"I'd take the deal, Minerva," Hooch said.
"Fine," McGonagall huffed, "but only because there's no chance of you winning. Potter and Snape? Honestly!"
Slughorn simply chuckled.
Three Gryffindor girls walked down the busy hallway, chatting on their way to Potions Class. In the center of their group, Lily Evans waved her hands in agitated circles, her red hair in disarray, her uniform and satchel splattered with ink.
"If Potter doesn't let up, soon, I'm going to go insane. He booby-trapped the Girls' Staircase (when everyone knows I'm always the first down in the morning), set all my inkwells to explode, and, then, in Transfiguration, turned my hair into snakes. McGonagall fixed it, mostly, but I think there's still one in there," Lily groaned. "And that's just today! Honestly, of all the partners McGonagall could have foisted on me, why did it have to be that toerag?"
"If Potter paid that much attention to me, I wouldn't complain," Mary MacDonald said.
"That's 'cause you're slutty," Grace Bones chirped.
Lily's lips pinched together disapprovingly. "You shouldn't say things like that."
Grace rolled her eyes, "Don't be such a stick-in-the-mud, Lils."
"She's just upset because she broke up with her boyfriend."
"Severus was not my boyfriend," Lily said.
"Uh-huh, sure he wasn't. You spent every single minute with the guy, defended him for six years against Potter's gang, and cried for hours after you two broke up, even though he was a total arse, because you were friends," Grace said.
"Yes. That's what friends do, they spend time with each other and care about each other," Lily ground out.
Mary chimed in. "Not to mention how you were always talking about him. 'Oh, Sev says, Sev thinks, Sev, Sev, Sev. You used that cutesy little pet name so much, even I almost called him it!"
Lily sighed, running a hand through her hair, eliciting a furious hiss as she hit a suspiciously scaly strand. "Okay, I'll admit that I thought about it last year when you two were so preoccupied with your boyfriends. I even asked Sev out, once, since we spend…spent so much time together, but he wasn't interested. He said I was like a sister to him."
"You're kidding," Mary said.
Grace cried, "Is he gay?!"
"Um…" Lily said.
"Oh my God, he is, isn't he?" Grace said.
"He totally is! Oh, Lily, why didn't you tell us?"
Lily said, "It's his secret, I wasn't going to go telling it to half the school."
After a moment, the redhead added, "And you can't, either."
"Oh, come on, Lils, it's not like you're even still friends," Grace said.
"That doesn't mean I'm spreading his secrets around!"
Mary said, "Yeah, she's right. That would be pretty bitchy."
Grace huffed. "Oh, fine. Still, this is some pretty juicy gossip. I haven't heard anything this good since that thing last year with Potter and Black."
Lily gave a long-suffering sigh. "Are you really still talking about that?"
Mary giggled, gesturing towards the classroom door. "What else are we going to talk about, Potions?"
"At least there's some depth to that," Lily said, hurrying into the classroom.
Long tables stretched across the claustrophobic classroom, two stools set down by each empty cauldron. Lost in thought (mainly concerning her gossipy classmates and Potter's idiocy), Lily was half-way into the room before she noticed Severus Snape at their customary table. He glanced up, black eyes miserable. All at once, she froze, feeling strangely guilty. He was more bigoted and immoral with each passing day, and Lily couldn't stay friends with someone like that. Still, he was Sev, and it killed her to see him hurt.
Averting her eyes, Lily immediately turned and sat at the closest desk.
Grace hissed, "You're in Potter's spot."
She scowled. "Good. I'm glad. That obnoxious prat can go sit someplace else."
Buried in her frazzled locks, a transfigured snake hissed in agreement.
For a moment, Severus Snape was certain Lily was going to sit next to him. Her eyes fiery, she would start ranting about Potter or the impossibility of doing well on her History of Magic OWL with an oblivious ghost as a professor, and everything would be back to normal.
Maybe, if he was particularly lucky, his humiliation and subsequent idiocy would turn out to be a bad dream. Of course, Severus was never so fortunate. Lily's green eyes landed on him and her look of annoyance froze. She paused and went to Potter's desk, no doubt hurrying to the handsome git's side now that she'd rid herself of her pathetic excuse for a friend.
Lily didn't look at him again, though her vapid friends stared as if he were a particularly fascinating insect. He glared back. The MacDonald girl looked down, but Bones had the audacity to wink and grin, as if they were friends…which they were not, nor had they ever been. Severus had only one friend, and he had driven her away. As Severus pondered the decimation of the one good thing in his life, Potter and his cronies sauntered into the classroom – nearly late, as usual.
They were snickering, Sirius elbowing Remus in the ribs. When he noticed Lily perched in his normal seat, James paused in surprise. In a moment, though, the smirk was back on his face and he said, "Why, Evans, if you wanted me to sit in your lap, all you had to do was ask!"
Lily glared. "Shove off, Potter."
"You're the one in my seat. Why should I go anywhere?"
"It's just a chair. You don't own it." she snorted.
Sirius grinned, saying, "He's James Potter. He owns the whole damned school."
"Well, I'm not moving," she said.
James glanced around, his eyes lighting up as he noticed the empty seat next to Severus. He strode down the aisle, calling over his shoulder, "Fine, you win. Sirius, keep the lady company for me, will you?"
Sirius saluted, chirping, "Yes sir!"
He fell into the seat beside Lily, slinging an arm across the back of her chair. Sirius quickly removed said arm when a small snake emerged from her hair to snap at his sleeve.
Meanwhile, James sat down next to Severus, with a sickeningly friendly "Hullo, Snape!"
His jaw clenched, Severus set about ignoring the other boy. James leaned over, frowning. "Hello? Hi? Good morning? Come on, Snape. When someone greets you, it's only polite to talk back."
Severus remained silent, arranging the ingredients in his potion's kit in perfect lines. James snatched a handful of dandelion root, dangling them in front of his face. His smirk exploded into a toothy grin under Severus' glare. "Are these important?"
"Give them back, Potter," Severus hissed.
To Severus' surprise, the brunette did so. With feigned innocence, Potter said "All you had to do was ask."
Severus turned away, attempting to ignore Potter's continued staring. What? Did he want a pat on the head for acting like a reasonable human being, for once?
Before Potter could further torment him, Slughorn bustled into the room. "Hello, hello! Today, we shall be brewing the S…" He paused when he noticed Severus and Potter sitting in the front of the room. "…Amortentia."
Lily called out, "But, sir, isn't that a Sixth Year potion?"
"Indeed it is, Miss Evans, but I'm certain you can handle the challenge. Pair up, now!" Slughorn declared.
Severus growled as the rotund professor waddled past, calling a hearty hello to the infuriatingly cheerful Potter. He glared at his Potions' partner. "You will prepare ingredients. You will not add anything to the cauldron, you will not touch the cauldron, and you will not put your disgusting hands within a foot of the cauldron. Is that clear?"
"Geez, Snape. I'm not that bad at potions."
"I've seen your pathetic attempts at brewing," Severus sneered.
James rolled his eyes but walked off to grab the ingredients. They continued to work together fairly peacefully for the next several minutes, much to the disappointment of several students who had hoped for a fistfight and an early dismissal.
Severus sprinkled powdered pixie wings into the cauldron, quickly stirring the potion six times counterclockwise, before turning his attention to James.
He growled, "Merlin, Potter, you're supposed to dice the apricot blossoms, not butcher them."
He snatched the ingredients away, angrily fixing the ingredients. James quickly found himself with nothing to do. According to the book, the maple leaves should be added after two minutes. It had definitely been two minutes, James thought, and Severus was busy preparing ingredients. Besides, it wasn't like he had anything else to do. Tentatively, he scooped up the three maple leaves and held them over the cauldron. He had just begun to uncurl his fingers when Severus grabbed his hand.
"Don't you dare add those, yet," Severus said. James seemed strangely out of it, even more brainless than usual.
"Oh," James said softly, "Sorry."
Severus quickly released James' hand. "Add them now."
James dropped the leaves, but his hand hovered in the air, his face red. After a few moments of blessed silence from the seat next to him, Severus glanced over. A quiet Potter could only be a bad thing. Finding him frozen, a smile twitching at the corner of his mouth and his eyes staring blankly, he snapped, "Back to work, Potter."
"Yes sir!" His voice was hardly even sarcastic. Potter was being strangely obedient, Severus noted. It was disturbing.
Slughorn bustled through the room, chuckling and nodding. "A little pale, Nott. Bit of a heavy hand with the pixie dust, eh? Otherwise, very good."
He meandered over to Severus and James' potion. "Lovely color," he pronounced. Slughorn leaned into the cauldron, sniffing and surreptitiously dropping something inside. "The scent is off, though."
Slughorn quickly leaned back. "I'd step away from this one. I think it might…"
The potion shot upward, and through the stone ceiling. A yowl echoed from floors above.
He peered upward, shouting "Terribly sorry about that, Minerva!"
Severus stared in disbelief as gold liquid dripped down from the ruined ceiling. "That's impossible! It was perfect…"
Realization widened his dark eyes and he whirled around to shout, "You! You must have sabotaged it."
James threw up his hands defensively. "The only thing I added was the maple leaves."
Slughorn said, "Now, now, I don't believe this was sabotage, just a case of bad ingredients or a simple mistake…"
"I did not make a mistake."
Slughorn smiled. "Then you can brew it again tonight, at eight o'clock."
Severus said, "You're giving me detention over one of Potter's ridiculous pranks?"
"Hardly a detention, my boy, just a chance to salvage your grade, and Mr. Potter will be coming, as well."
James looked altogether too happy at the prospect of being alone with his favorite punching-bag and a bunch of explosive ingredients. Severus said dully, "Joy."
He had no friends, Lily wouldn't even look at him, and his Friday night would be spent with an obviously plotting Potter. Severus wondered how his life could get worse.
James paced the Fifth Year Boys' Dormitory, whistling and occasionally throwing high kicks at the air. Sirius leaned back as he tossed a mock punch in his direction, and a particularly clumsy move left the brunette nearly falling onto Remus where he lounged on his bed.
Remus chided from behind his Transfiguration book, "You're going to put a hole in the wall."
"So what? If I do, I'll fix it with magic," James said.
"Or we could put a glamour up and hide things in it," Sirius said.
"Ooh, good idea."
Remus set the book aside, suspecting it would be some time before he could get back to studying. Being the only responsible one in the dorm could be a pain, sometimes. Peter was level-headed enough, but the boy was terrified of conflict, leaving Remus to talk his other friends out of their worst schemes. "You're not putting a hole in our wall. If you're so bored, then study."
Sirius laughed. "You're no fun, Moony."
"This isn't about fun; it's about not failing our OWLs," Remus sighed. It was a pity Peter was in the Library to find information about boggarts for their Defense essay. He would have lent Remus his support, albeit mostly through nods and mumbles.
He continued, "Can you at least stop bouncing around? It's distracting."
"Can't," James said, "too excited."
"Over that detention you got with Snape?"
James grinned, whirling about as he reached the door to continue his pacing. "Yup, I'll get to see him for hours. Also, he spoke to me today without me having to prank him first, and he held my hand."
"You are such a girl," Sirius said, "and Snape, really?"
James said, "It's been five years. How are you not used to this, by now?"
"Because he's Snape!"
Remus interrupted, hoping to avoid a rehashing of that argument, "James, he only grabbed your hand so you wouldn't ruin the potion."
"I know that! But he held on for five seconds. It definitely counts."
"A total girl," Sirius declared.
"Ah, shut it, Padfoot." A mischievous glint entered James' eye. "Unless you want me to go down to the Common Room and tell them what really happened in that broom closet?"
"We said we would never speak of that again!"
"Actually, you said that. I never agreed."
Remus inquired, "Just what did happen, anyway? I've heard some crazy rumors."
"None of them are true," Sirius said, "and I'm not talking about it."
"I won't, either, if you shut up about the Snape thing," James said.
"You first." James glared in response, and Sirius huffed. "Fine, but I still think you're crazy."
Remus nipped the reoccurring argument in the bud. "I think you're both crazy."
If he had to hear Sirius and James debate the romantic merits of Snape one more time, he would go crazy. At James' mock offended look, he said, "and, James, you'll be late to the detention if you don't hurry up."
James cast a Tempus, cursing when the golden numbers showed the time. He scrambled over to his bed, grabbed his potions' book and supplies from where they'd been haphazardly thrown (along with all his other class materials), and shoved them into his bag.
He split his attention between fastening the clasp and sending last-minute instructions to his friends. "Sirius, you know that nice little surprise we left for Evans?"
"The explosive one?" Sirius replied with a predatory smile.
James winked. "It'll go off at nine sharp, so be in the Common Room, and see if you can borrow Frank's camera."
Remus frowned, discomfort at his friends' actions gathering in his chest. "You shouldn't be so hard on Lily. What is this, the third prank today?"
"Fourth," Sirius chirped.
Remus winced. "That's just cruel."
"She hurt Snape," James said stubbornly.
"You hung him upside-down so that half the school saw his underpants."
"And I feel bad about that," he said, "but at least I didn't pretend to be his friend only to leave him."
"You're just jealous he likes her better than you," Sirius snorted.
"Broom. Closet. Incident," James hissed.
"Woah, no need to fight dirty, Prongs. Never said I didn't approve. Evans is stuck-up and her reactions to pranks are hilarious. I'm behind you one hundred percent."
Remus couldn't resist poking fun at his friends. "You're behind him? Is that what happened in the broom closet?"
James laughed, lingering in the doorway. "Bye, guys. Remember to take lots of pictures of Evans screaming."
"See ya, James. Try not to faint if the git's hair drips grease on you!"
Remus waved absentmindedly, picking up his book and studiously ignoring Sirius' shouts. Hopefully, he could finish the chapter before Sirius dragged him down to watch their latest prank.
Merry Christmas! And remember that reviews, favs, and follows make the best presents. :)