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The Biggest Problems

"You know what's amazing?" Sirius asked one night.

He, James and Lily all laid in the sand at a park near Lily's house staring up at the night sky. It had them all entranced looking for shooting stars and constellations.

"What?" James asked.

"It really did take you more than half of our time at Hogwarts to get Lily to like you."

"It's not my fault she was so stubborn and hot headed!"

"Hey!" Lily said indignantly.

"Well, it's true," James muttered.

"You guys were bullies anyways. I don't understand why people wanted to be your friends so badly."

"We're handsome," Sirius said.

"And charming," James added.

"Too charming for your own good! Sirius, you've got Paula all in a panic because you've been ignoring her."

"Yeah, sorry about that, Evans. She's a muggle though! It was too difficult to be myself around her."

Lily sat up with her mouth open in a gasp. "So just because you can't hold a wand in front of her you can't be yourself?"

"No! It's not just that!" He sat up. "I can't talk about my favorite things like Quidditch, or the pranks we've pulled. I can't even take her for a ride on my broom! All because you can't tell her about our world."

"You can't blame this on me! Can you honestly imagine if I did tell her? She would be too ecstatic and probably start asking us to do things in front of other muggles!"

James joined them and sat up. "She's got a point, mate."

A swing creaked on the other side of the field at the park making the three of their heads turn. It was hard to see in the dark, but Lily knew who it was. She had spent many days in this park with him as a child. But they weren't kids anymore, and with that went any chance of staying friends. Severus sat on the swing and silently swayed back and forth.

"Who's that creep?" Sirius asked.

"I don't know. Lets go find somewhere else though," Lily said wanting to leave before anything started. She stood waiting for them to follow her example, but they just sat there staring. "James, please?"

"Alright," he said dusting off his pants.

"But we were here first!" Sirius complained.

"Who cares, Padfoot. Lily needs to be home in just a while anyways. We can start walking back to her house."

"This is ridiculous!" Sirius exclaimed standing up in a fit. Sand sprayed everywhere and he started to speed walk over to the stranger on the swings.

"Sirius, please don't!" Lily chased after him. Severus turned at the sound of Lily's voice and let out a quiet scoff when he saw Sirius coming towards him.

"Oh, ho, ho!" Sirius let out when he saw Severus's face. "I told you it was a creep, Prongs! Looks like old Snivellus likes to hang out by himself during the holidays."

"Padfoot, come on. We don't have time for this."

"No, it's ok. Let him have a go at me. I dare you," Severus sneered.

Sirius raised his eyebrows at the threat and started laughing. "You've gotten just a little more confident than the last time I hung you upside down, haven't you?"

"Sirius Black do you know how much of an idiot you are being?" Lily hissed.

"I'd rather be an idiot than a loaner," he smirked.

"A loaner is better than an orphan in my books," Severus said, "Least that's what I heard you were from your brother. Seems that your mother blasted your name right off the family tree."

Sirius barred his teeth and let out a growl. His hand was gripped around his wand so tightly that his knuckles were starting to turn white. James was behind him with his own wand at hand, but had his other hand gripping the back of Sirius's shirt in case he decided to take a lunge.

"Severus, will you stop it!" Lily yelled.

"Oh, yeah, Lily go ahead and defend him!"

"Give me one good reason I should defend you. You already gave up defending me years ago."

James was watching them carefully not sure what to do. Seeing Snape that close to Lily was making him uncomfortable. He had heard Snape and many of his kind speak such dirty things against her and other muggle-borns that it made him sick. He knew though that if he voiced the angry insults in head Lily would make him pay.

"You know I didn't mean what I called you," Severus hissed, "I apologized a hundred times and you ignored me every time." He took a step closer to Lily. "You're making the ultimate betrayal by hanging out with them."

"Watch it, Snape," James said sharply.

"They're already better than the friendship I had with you," Lily snapped. "I don't have to worry about them getting nasty tattoos on their arms."

Snape took another threatening step towards her, but James decided enough was enough and interfered putting himself between them.

"I think you'd better go now," he hissed.

Snape growled, but turned and left with his cloak flying behind him. James shook his head and turned on Sirius. "Are you serious?"

"Awe, come on, Prongs. We've gone over that joke and agreed to not use it. It's so cliche," he said to Lily who looked at him incredulously.

"I'm not joking!" he yelled, "We're in the middle of a muggle neighborhood and you honestly thought you could just duel it out with Snape?"

"You heard him talking about my family! You know I can't stand it when people mention them!"

"You should've listened to Lily in the first place and never even come over here!" James grabbed Lily's hand and started to walk to the street.

"Prongs!" Sirius groaned, "Come on! I'm sorry, okay? Its been such a long time since we dueled or done anything exciting!" James didn't say anything back. "I need an outlet for energy!"

James didn't look back, but shook his head and kept walking.

"You aren't going to listen to him?" Lily whispered.

"Not right now. I'm sick of his shit."

Her eyes widened a bit at the remark. She had never heard any of the Marauders speak with such hostility about another.

"You're being a shitty brother, you know!" Sirius shouted.

They heard a 'pop' and Sirius was gone.

"He's such a-"

"Don't say anything. You'll just regret it later," Lily warned.

"Did you ever feel guilty for calling me names?" he snapped.

She brushed off his harsh tone. "Yes." James raised an eyebrow. "Once."

"He just doesn't think his actions through! Of course Snape is going to insult him back! And of course he's going to say the thing that'll cut him the deepest! It's all pretty logical."

"It's just Sirius being Sirius. He can't help but be a git sometimes."

"But he should be able to! What's going to happen when we graduate and he can't control himself? He'll end up in Azkaban and I won't be able to help him!"

"He'll grow up. The streaks got to run out sooner or later."

James stopped and sat down on the curb rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hands. Lily stood behind him and leaned down to kiss him on the cheek.

"It feels kind of weird to be acting like this," she giggled.

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" James muttered. "Oh yeah! Me and Lily are doing great! We're just working on her being comfortable around me."

"Shut up!" Lily laughed, "What I meant is that it's weird to want to comfort and touch you, you know?" She wrapped her arms around his shoulders leaning down and he hugged them.

"Yeah, I know. It's kind of weird to be wanted by you. For once I don't have to trap you against a wall!" Lily gently pulled out of his hold and moved to sit next to him. "I'm sorry Sirius ruined the night."

"Don't be. He didn't. I've been wanting to say that to Severus for a long time now."

"I don't understand," James said, "How can he call you so many things and yet you still call him Severus?"

Lily looked slightyly taken aback by the question. She hadn't really noticed that she still called him Severus. Snape was just such a sharp and cold name...if she called him by his surname it would officially mean that they were enemies.

"I don't know," she mumbled, "It's an improvement from 'Sev'....he had been my best friend for such a long time it almost feels wrong to call him 'Snape'."

They sat there in a companionable silence both thinking about their own demonic friends- or ex friends. She didn't even notice when both she had James had laid back down the watch the stars. The cement wasn't nearly as comfortable as the sand, but they didn't care. They didn't want to think about such petty things like where they were laying. The point was that the everyone was changing, for better or worse, and no matter how hard they tried to get the world to rewind or stop completely they could go no where but forward.

'Forward together...' James thought.

Lily noticed by James's light attitude the next day that everything was okay between him and Sirius. She stood at her register checking out her customers and tried not to look like she had been looking at him when he turned her way.

"Morning, Lils," he said with a sloppy grin.

"Morning," she said with a little stutter in her stomach. She made herself concentrate on her customers, even ignoring James when he had let out a few quiet coughs trying to get her attention. 'No way am I going to let him distract me today!' she thought with a little smirk on her lips.

"Lily," he whispered in her ear.

"Oh!" she yelped. He had come out of no where! "My gosh, James, don't sneak up on me like that!"

"I've been trying to get your attention! You didn't hear me." The current customer was trying to hide her laughter. "Do you have change for a fifty?"

"Oh...yeah...give me just sec."

She finished up with the lady and then counted out fifty pounds in tens.

"Thanks," he said with a wink.

No one else was in her line so she followed him to help bag. She told the customer to have a nice day and then it was just the two of them.

"Sirius is really sorry," He ran his hand through his hair.

"I know," she sighed. "I'm glad he got through to you."

He took a step out from his register and had his arms out to give Lily a hug. "Me too," he said.

The front doors opened and the two split apart.

'I hate customers.' James thought bitterly. He heard Lily groan and turned to look who had come in.

It was a girl who didn't look too far off from their own age. Her face was long and narrow with blonde hair stopping at her chin. She looked around for a second and seemed to shares Lily's groan when she saw the pair.

"Hey!" she yelled, "Where's my mum and dad?"

"Excu-" James started to say.

"Our parents aren't here anymore. They left an hour ago."

"Our-?" James asked his face scrunching up.

"Well, great. I drove all the way down here for nothing."

"Oh please, Petunia," Lily put her hands on her hips, "I hardly think a ten minute drive was out of your way."

"You're right," Petunia smiled in a sick sweetness, "At least I can drive."

Lily bursted out with laughter. "Yes, I am so upset that I can't drive. If only I had never gone to Hogwarts and then maybe-"

"Don't mention that place," she hissed eyeing James.

"Oh, don't worry about him. He knows all about it. He's my classmate."

Petunia's face went tight and slowly paled. "You both...he can..."

"Yep. He could turn your pretty little tea cup into a rat too." Lily smiled in victory. She knew she had won the fight when Petunia stormed away. "Love you too, Pet!"

James started laughing as soon as Petunia was out of the door. "You've got to be kidding me." Lily sighed shaking her head. "That's your sister?"

"The one and only!"

"Wow," he was still laughing. "You know maybe this is good. I was afraid if she was like you, you would both start fighting over me."

"Ha! In your dreams."

"Oh, it is," he mumbled. She promptly smacked him in the gut. "Kidding! I'm kidding!"

Lily shook her head and leaned against the register. "So. You've been lucky enough to meet my two biggest problems in twenty four hours. Anything you'd like to warn me about?"

James grinned lopsidedly. "A have one or two...You won't have to meet them until school comes back around though."

"Let me guess. The James Potter Fan Club and Quidditch?"

"Something like that..." he ran his hand through his hair. "I'll explain it to you another time. Ma'am are you finding everything okay?" he moved out from the register and walked over to a customer leaving Lily confused.

She just couldn't help it. One minute she and James were trying to clean up spilt whipped cream the last customer of the night had dropped. The next they were having a food fight with it. And then they were on the ground kissing ferociously.

He had her arms trapped above her head with one hand and was using the other to move her long hair away fro her neck so he could nibble.

"This hair is always in my way," he mumbled.

"Move it," she said impatiently.

"It's all stuck to you," he started laughing. He gave up and started kissing her all over her face. "You're cute when you're sticky."

This made Lily laugh. "You're not so bad yourself." She reached up and licked some whipped cream off his cheek. "You taste better too."

There was a loud banging on the door.

"What the-?"

Lily immediately jumped up and started for the door muttering, "The sign says we close at nine."

"Lily, wait!" James yelled. He had the feeling in the pit of his stomach, knots turning and tying in a million different ways.


"Sirius?" Lily cocked an eyebrow. She got her keys and unlocked the door quickly.

He barely gave her enough time to really open it before he got in and slammed it shut behind him.

"We've gotta go, man. They're coming."

"What?" James froze in his tracks.

"They're coming," he said slowly.

"Who's coming?" Lily asked.

"Where are they?" James asked, focus coming back to his eyes.

"I'm not sure, but flying this way as we speak."

"WHO?!" Lily demanded.

James turned to her and mentally noted how long it had been since he saw her face get red. He missed it in a way...but knew he had replaced it with something better.

"It's too difficult to explain right now. I promise to explain once they're gone."

"But James-" He cut her off with a deep kiss taking in every taste of her mouth.

Sirius let out a frustrated breath. "You'll see her tomorrow, mate! Lets go!"

"It's one of our biggest problems. That's all I can say. Call your mum and tell her to come get you. I have to go with Sirius."

And with that they ran out of sight from the store leaving Lily breathless, clueless, and thoroughly confused.

edt. 10/12/10

Author's Note: Hey everyone! so this chapter is actually arriving extremely late bc first when i turned it in at first it just wasn't good enough you know? secondly!! it got rejected for some lingo. sooo had to make those changes for the story and anyways it's here now and i already have the next chapter written so enjoy!!!
thank you for reading! don't forget to review!!


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