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“James! James!”

Lily woke up to Sirius’ screaming out Potters name very early on a morning a few days after the interesting double date. She quickly dressed and went downstairs, not wanting to miss out. James had been avoiding her, and since Sirius spent all his time with James, it had gotten pretty lonely.

She bumped into James on the way to the main foyer where Sirius’ voice was now calling from. She apologised awkwardly, he ran a hand through his extra messy morning hair and smiled widely at her.

“Wonder what’s got Sirius all worked up?” He wondered out loud. “Maybe Mia dropped by last night.”

“He needs to call her again,” she said, looking up at James. She noticed he had stubble. She’d never seen him with stubble before.

“He will, he’s just playing it cool.”

Sirius appeared round the corner.

“We’ve got company,” he said in a dark, dramatic voice.

“No!” James said excitedly, and ran out with him. Lily heard roars of greetings, weirdly distorted as they echoed up the grand staircase. She had some idea who the ‘company’ was and felt a sudden relief that she wouldn’t be lonely anymore.

“Remus!” Lily squealed, bolting down the stairs and throwing herself into his arms.

“Lils, so good to see you,” he said, hugging her back fiercely. “How’s it been so far? James is acting like a perfect gentleman, I suppose?”

“He’s not too bad,” she answered. “Nothing I can’t handle.”

James felt his heart sink. He always felt it was incredibly unfair Lily favoured Remus so much over himself.

“You know, for such a large house, this place is starting to get a little crowded,” James drawled, looking at Lily and Remus. Sirius was the only one that heard.

“Play nice, Prongs,” he said, putting a hand on James’ shoulder and squeezing just a little.

“Lily isn’t a game,” James said quietly, before running over to the other two that rounded out the marauders. “Come on guys, I’ll show you where you’re sleeping.”

They ran off. Lily and Sirius were left in the foyer.

“I’m glad Remus is here,” she said, her excitement bubbling over. “He can protect me from Potter.”

“Don’t lead him on or anything,” Sirius said, walking towards the stairs.

“What? Please, it’s not like that Sirius. We’re just friends.”

“Right,” he mumbled to himself as he climbed the stairs two at a time.

He walked past Remus and Peters room, where they were unpacking in their own way (it involved throwing things at each other) and headed up to James’ room.

“What are you doing?” Sirius laughed, glancing around the room and shaking his head. “Are you...brooding?”

It certainly looked like it. James was sitting at his desk, holding his glasses in one hand a glass full of firewhiskey in the other.

“Yes,” he said darkly. “I’m so tortured right now.”

Sirius barked out a laugh and started wheezing from too much laughter.

“Are you kidding me?” He asked, finding it difficult to talk.

James roared with laughter too, and tackled Sirius, wrestling him to the ground.

“Doesn’t really suit me now, does it?” He asked.

“Well maybe if you actually drank some of the alcohol it would,” he said, trying to get the upper hand in the wrestling.

“Am I...interrupting something?” A quiet voice spoke from the door.

“Moony!” Sirius leapt up and slapped an arm over Remus’ shoulders, pointing his other hand at James. “This man right here needs some serious cheering up.”

James and Remus looked at each other and smiled, though a little coldly. Sirius tried desperatly to lighten the mood.

“Can you get over yourself, Prongs, Remus and Lily are just friends she said so herself.”

“Right,” Remus nodded. “So...drames?”

“Drames!” Sirius cried, looking to James for approval.

“Drames,” he said, nodding.

Peter entered the room, and looked at their three excited faces.

“Drames!?” He asked, bobbing up and down on the spot a little.

“I’ll get Lily!” James made to move out the door, but Sirius struck a hand against his chest.

“I’ll get Lily,” he said. “If we want her to play we’re certainly not sending you to invite her.”

Sirius jogged to Lily’s room, which was one floor up from James’. She was staying in one of the nicer guest rooms as she would be there all summer. When he walked in and saw her reading the Daily Prophet, he wasn’t surprised, until he saw exactly what she was reading.

“Is that...are you reading the sports pages?” He asked incredulously, walking over to her.

“No,” she said, ruffling the pages. “I was just, uh, checking the, uh-”

“Quidditch scores?” Sirius read over her shoulder. “My, my, Lily Evans, you’ve ‘hated’ quidditch for six years. Are you telling me it was all a lie?”

“I’m not telling you anything,” she said, folding the paper sharply. “What do you want, Black?”

“Do you want to have some fun?”

“With you? I’m guessing no...”

“Oh, ha ha,” he said. “No, I’m talking a marauder reunion tradition. Fun drinking games!”

She stared at him as though he was crazy.

“Of course, it’s only been a tradition since we all turned seventeen,” he rushed, not wanting her to dismiss the idea right away. “It’s always a laugh, come on. And you don’t have to drink alcohol if you don’t want to.”

Lily seriously doubted that the ‘fun drinking games’ would have the slightest hint of conviviality but decided to go along with it, she wanted to unwind, just a little.

They started with the classics, fuzzy duck and kings, then moved on to just hanging out and talking. Lily began to get very tipsy, as she hadn’t drunken in excess before. She noticed James was sticking to butterbeer.

“Why isn’t James drinking?” She wondered out loud.

“He’s our designated dueller,” Sirius said, shrugging. “Always a good idea to have one, just in case. And his parents are away.”

“Dueller?” Lily inquired. “Who are you duelling?”

“No one,” James assured her. “Just in case the house gets broken into or something, you know. Someone’s got to have their wits about them.”

"Where are your parents?” Lily said, changing the subject as she felt like James was lying about why he was staying sober. She did realise it was safe to have a non drinker around these days, but not for the reasons James had said.

“Working,” James shrugged.

“What do they do?”

“Can’t say,” he said, smiling at her. "But it keeps them very busy, they’re nearly always away.”

“He won’t tell us what they do,” Remus said. “It’s all very secretive.”

“Our current theory is that they are King and Queen of the merpeople,” Sirius laughed, lifting his glass in a kind of toast.

“It must be hard, having them gone,” Lily said softly, over exaggerating her pitying frown in her drunken state.

“I don’t mind, I know what they’re doing is important,” he answered, his cheeks glowing with pride.

As the night moved on, Lily got progressively more and more wasted. James said he should take this opportunity to ask her out. She immediately looked horrified, and backed away. He followed her.

“You don’t like me at all, do you?” James asked, sadly, pouting in what he undoubtedly thought was an adorable expression.

“Oh, James,” Lily said, wrapping her arms around him sloppily. “Sometimes I do! Sometimes I think we just must be soul mates, we are going to get married and all that...”

James started listening intently.

“Like, you are hot, but so is Sirius, so that doesn’t make a difference,” she had a difficult time saying ‘difference’. “But you are super funny and nice...I totally have a crush on you sometimes.”

“Just sometimes?”

“Well, you know James. Sometimes he’s all sexy and sweet, and other times he’s a jerk. But...I like that he likes me. And, I guess sometimes...I think we might be soul mates.”

“You said that already,” James said softly.

“Oh, did I? Well...don’t tell James. He’d just run around all stupid in a stupid tizzy!!” She burst out in a fit of giggles.

“I won’t tell James,” James laughed. “I think...I think you should drink some water. I’ll get you some.”

“Thanks, Sev. You’re a cool guy.”

Suddenly James felt as though he’d never smile again.

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