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Jealousy Wears a Green Mask; Chapter 4

“Your room is honestly the most disgusting place…” Mary informed Sirius for what felt like the five hundredth and fifty second time since they had escaped up there an hour prior.

Sirius glared over at her, they were sitting on opposite ends of his bed, piles of books and parchment between them. “You’re the one who got us kicked out of the library,” he said pointedly.

She looked up from her essay and shook her head, “Did not! You’re the one who thought it would be funny to make all of the colored inks in the library explode in rainbow order!”

Sirius smirked, “Who would have thought purple was such a popular color?” Mary had no good response to that; she too had been rather amused by the river of purple that had poured from the previously intimidating Slytherin quidditch captain’s bag.

“Truce?” she offered, and Sirius nodded and leaned over for a long and cumbersome secret handshake.

For another five or so minutes they managed to work in silence; Mary marveling at Sirius’s odd dedication to actually doing work, and Sirius doodling pictures of tap-dancing mice on the page that was supposed to be his Transfiguration essay.

“I wonder how Prongsie is faring,” Sirius mused, giving his fourth mouse a cane and a hat.

Mary snorted, “Miserably.”

Sirius sighed, “I’d like to fervently deny that claim and insist that any friend of mine must have at least some small ounce of charm… but Prongs keeps proving me wrong whenever I defend him, so I’ve given up.  He just didn’t pick up my knack for dealing with the ladies.”

“Cause you’re such a lady killer,” Mary snorted, but upon seeing the challenging look on Sirius’s face, decided it was best to not pursue the matter further.  It probably wouldn’t do to try to convince the boy she really wanted to be with that he wasn’t any good at getting girls.

“Yes, I am,” Sirius responded defiantly, “but Prongs… isn’t.”

“There is something we can agree on,” Mary laughed, “Poor Lil. She finally wakes up to her own feelings just as James manages to convince the world that he’s over his.  You know she organized this whole dance just so he could ask her out?”

“No!” Sirius gasped; tap dancing mice and fake essays forgotten, as he leaned forward “Really?”

Mary nodded eagerly, pleased to have someone listening who liked gossip as much as she did, “Yeah! And then the dumb idiot goes and blows it all by asking another girl out!”

Sirius was pretty sure Mary was insulting James in a loving manner, but he had to at least attempt to defend his dingbat of a best friend, “I mean,” he attempted, “He did ask Marlene out in an attempt to win Lily.”

Mary blinked and Sirius laughed, “Okay,” he admitted, “It does sound really stupid.”

Putting down her quill again, Mary reached over to awkwardly pat Sirius on the shoulder, “S’okay, Lily will knock some sense into James in the end.”

“Poor Marlene,” Sirius sighed, “Has anyone bothered to think about her?”

Mary laughed, “Of course I have.  Remus will swoop in and save the day the second James deserts her.”

Sirius blinked and then turned his gaze away from Mary, over towards the neatly made bed that clearly belonged to Remus. “But Remus is your date,” he said in the gruff mumbling tone of a child who had been denied the last slice of pie.

Mary rolled her eyes, “And why do you supposed I tricked Remus into taking me?” she asked with a slow smile on her face.

“His charm, good taste in chocolate and adorable humility?” offered Sirius.

“All good qualities,” Mary agreed, “but really, it was just because the guy I wanted to go with was already going with someone else.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow, “Don’t tell me you were using Remus to make some poor bloke jealous?” He seemed to straighten up, very determined to make it seem as if he hadn’t fallen prey to that exact trick.

Mary shrugged, “It worked, didn’t it?” and with a smirk at the confused look on Sirius’s face she leaned over so that their faces were mere breaths apart.

“Didn’t it?” she repeated in a softer voice, and Sirius could only nod as she went the extra millimeter to kiss him.

Sirius and Mary might have stayed that way forever; happy despite the forgotten books and quills beneath them.  They would have given up food and drink, and easily ignored the passing seasons… but there are some things that you just can’t ignore.

“What was that?!”  Mary pulled back with a jolt.  Sirius briefly considered lying and saying that there had been no loud shout of “IDIOT!” from the common room, but he could hear footsteps hammering up the stairs.  There was no point trying to distract her.

The dormitory door slammed open and an irate Remus marched in, a glum James in his wake.  Peter brought up the rear and he paused before closing the door, noting the closeness of Sirius and Mary’s faces, a slow smile taking over his previously disgusted face.

“Wotcher Peter,” Mary smirked, causing Sirius to envy her blasé tone and blush a little.

Remus ignored Sirius’s blush, an action which truly demonstrated the seriousness of the moment.  No marauder ever passed up the opportunity to heckle another for blushing. It was simply not done.  This free pass, above all else, drew Sirius’s attention.

“Bloody hell,” he groaned, “what did Prongsie do now?!”

James sighed and flopped down onto his bed, shaking loose a few socks from its end, “I royally bolloxed things up, that’s what.”

“How?” sighed Mary, not bothering to look at James as she carefully stacked up all the books and parchments that were strewn on Sirius’s bed.  She looked around for an empty surface to place them on, but found none.  All nightstands and dressers were coated with wrappers, quidditch gear, old magazines and (oddly) a large amount of glitter. Instead she levitated the stack of books over to the only square foot of clean floor… she’d have to move them again when she wanted to leave through that doorway, but for now they were fine.

“We were doing rounds,” James groaned, tugging at his tie and kicking his shoes off in the general direction of what appeared to be a pile of dirty robes at the end of his bed.

“Sounds pretty routine, harmless,” Sirius nodded encouragingly.

Remus shook his head, “Don’t bother Padfoot, even you won’t be able to spin this one.”

“I sense a challenge in that! Challenge accepted!” Sirius threw his fist into the air.  Mary looked at the amused smile shared between Remus and Peter and knew that Sirius really should never go any place in which he might be tempted into gambling.

James groaned again, “But we did manage fine.  Only yelled at one kid, made it all the way back to almost our floor in silence, which isn’t ideal but…”

Mary and Sirius shrugged.  In their expertise, when it came to Lily and James, silence was always better than yelling.

“And then I decided to break the silence,” James sighed heavily, “So I said her name.”

Mary leaned forward, waiting for James to add on … anything, but he didn’t.

“You just said her name?” she asked incredulously, “James, monosyllabic name-saying is only attractive in the middle of passionate scenes in trashy romance novels.”

“I know,” James glared over at her, “I was going to say something witty but then, I got nervous.  And you know what I do when I get nervous…”

“Wet yourself?” Sirius put in helpfully, earning him another glare from James.

No,” James grumbled, “the hair thing.”

Oh!” Mary and Sirius exchanged a look, “the hair thing.”

“Right,” James nodded, pleased that they were following along, “But turns out, the hair thing doesn’t bother her that much anymore.  And we started… god, we were legitimately flirting.  And one thing led to another and then she’s right here.” He gestured harshly in the air in front of him to show how little space there had been between him and Lily.

“And her hand,” James continued, his own hand unconsciously moving to touch the place where hers had been only a few hours earlier, “her hand was in my hair.  And we were so close.”

“Oh!” Mary sighed, “Sounds romantic.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow, “How could even you have messed that up?” he demanded, “You have been dreaming about snogging Evans since we were shorter than Flitwick, and she was right there…”

“She asked me why I’m taking Marlene to the ball,” James explained dully, swinging his legs off the side of the bed and pulling himself into a ball.

“And you, obviously, replied that you were taking Marlene to make Lily jealous,” Sirius assured James, “because anything else would have just backfired in your face.”

James didn’t reply.

“James…” Mary spoke with trepidation, “What did you say to Lily?”

James didn’t answer.

“He said,” Remus spoke without emotion, he wasn’t sure whether he was more amused or irate, and the two combined into an easily feigned nonchalance, “that he is taking Marlene because she is pretty.”

“No!” Sirius and Mary gasped in unison as Peter slapped his hand over his eyes and slid down the wall he had been leaning against.  Even though he’d heard it before, he still felt as though you couldn’t just hear of this stupidity and not react.

“Yes,” James barely whispered, “It’s been my automatic answer since I asked Marlene, it just… came out.”

“You idiot!” Mary howled, stretching over the gap between Sirius and James’s beds to whack the back of the latter’s head.

“It gets worse,” Peter sighed from where he now sat on the floor, almost disappearing in a pile of quidditch padding.

How can that possibly get worse?”

“In an attempt to save myself,” James sighed, “I said that I wasn’t going with Marlene just because she is pretty.”

“No…” Mary groaned softly, lowering her head to her hands.

Sirius however, looked confused, “Come again?” he asked, “Shouldn’t that have made Lily feel better?”

“No you idiot,” Mary glared over at him, “Now Lily thinks James has more than just physical reasons to go with McKinnon.  She’ll be thinking that he actually has feelings for her!”

“Cripes! Really?!” Sirius took Mary’s answering look to mean that his question had been stupid, and turned back to James, “You really messed this one up, Prongs.”

“Really?” James shot back, irritated, “Thanks Padfoot, I hadn’t noticed.”

“Oi! Don’t get all shirty with me.”

“Boys!” Mary snapped, “Fighting is not going to win any battles with Lily.”

“Speaking of Lily…” Remus said slowly, his face gradually regaining its usual color, “You should probably go check on her, Mary.”

She raised an eyebrow back at him, “And what? Leave you four to your own devices? That’s been going real well.”

“It’s a Marauders’ thing,” Peter offered, a sympathetic smile on his face, “You’re well… not a Marauder.”

“Peter’s right,” Sirius nodded, “This has nothing to do with you.”

“Nothing to do with me?!” Mary gaped at him, “Lily is my best friend.  I’m your best chance at winning her back!”

Remus shook his head, “You’re too close to the situation.”

“And you lot aren’t?! For goodness sakes, James is one of you!”

Sirius offered her a patronizing smile, “Mary, girl, this is man’s work.  You’ll just be in the way.”

Mary was seething, “Some offense intended, you guys are rubbish when it comes to girls!”

“Are not!” Sirius responded, glaring at her.  He couldn’t very well announce about his recent prowess with girls to James; that would lead to awkward questions come the ball.

“Oh yeah?” Mary scooped up her books and parchments with one swoop of her wand, voice dangerously low, “They why on Earth don’t you have a girlfriend Black?!”

By the time Sirius realized the implications of her words, the door had already slammed behind her.

Mary had spent five of the past six and a half years mad at Sirius Black.  She knew all the tricks and games that came along with converting her rage into something more… constructive, like plotting.  She had gotten through those five years by plotting revenges on Black.  They had been beautiful, perfect schemes that never failed to leave a lasting impression… but that had been back then.  Back before the stupid ingrate went and pulled the greatest prank of his life and tricked her into falling for him.

“I should have known it was far too good to be true,” she muttered to herself, kicking her dormitory door open with her toe.

One surveying glance around the room told Mary all she needed to know.  Her other dorm-mates were absent.  Whether they had left in a hurry or not was unclear, but also unimportant.  All that mattered to Mary was that the room, at that moment, only contained herself and a tearstained, pacing Lily Evans.

It took Lily a moment to register that anyone else was there; each step required all of her focus; any less and she’d be a puddle of James-inspired tears upon the floor.  She hardly wanted to inconvenience the house elves with the necessity of mopping her up.

“I know you think that you can’t stop pacing,” Mary knew Lily so well, “but, it’s okay to cry over him.  It’s just us here.  You and me.”

“He doesn’t deserve my tears.” Lily’s voice was tight and small.

Mary shook her head, “I think he might Lils. I think… I think he might be just as hung up over what just happened as you are.”

“But it’s his bloody fault!” Lily halted, “Mary, he told me that he isn’t just going to the ball with Marlene because she’s pretty.  He has feelings for her! My life is over!”  She threw herself into her bed, the picture of teenage angst.

Mary narrowed her eyes as she went to perch on her bed, across from Lily, “It isn’t like you to overdramatize things Lil,” she pointed out a tad bit sharply.

“It isn’t like me to cry over James Potter,” Lily retorted, just as sharply, “but here we are.”

“Fair enough,” Mary sighed, “What are you going to do?”

“I dunno,” Lily groaned, rolling over and twisting herself into a ball; hugging her knees tightly.

Biting her lip, Mary weighed the options.  If she were to tell Lily exactly what James had said, would it help?  Would she be doing the cause a disservice? Or… would she be doing her friendship a disservice if she left this out…

“He loves you!” she blurted out, not sure if she was doing a good thing or a terrible thing, but… adults had been telling her since she was a wee one that honesty was the best policy.  It was high-time she tested it out for herself.

Lily blinked, breathed in, and then out, and then snorted, forcing herself to squash the tiny flicker of hope that had swelled upon hearing Mary’s announcement.  Hope only ever ended in pain.

“Mary,” she said deliberately, “I didn’t believe that when we were fifteen and he was chasing me around with sonnets and roses.  I sure as hell don’t believe it now that we’re seventeen and he’s barely acknowledging my existence.”

“But he does,” Mary insisted, “and you clearly love him too.  And that’s supposed to mean something.”

“Then tell me, Mary,” Lily demanded, “What does ‘I’m not taking her just because she’s pretty’ mean?  ‘Cause that means something too.”

“You’re playing the same game!!” Mary cried, waving her hands in frustration.

Lily tilted her head slightly, impressing herself with her own calm, “Huh?”

Mary groaned and slid down onto the floor, intentionally banging the back of her head against the mattress as she slid.  “You’re playing the same game,” she repeated softly, intent upon her fingernails, “You’re both trying to make the other jealous.”

What?” Lily’s calm was wavering.

Mary nodded, and continued as if her friend had not spoken, “That’s what the just meant.  I think he might have told you this himself, but you… stormed off.”

Lily slid down to the floor too, nudging Mary’s foot with her own, forcing their eyes to meet, “Are you sure?”

“Near positive.”

Lily wasn’t sure how to feel about this, Mary had known something so important and hadn’t said anything, “How do you know all this?”

“Sirius.” Mary shrugged, and Lily’s eyes lit up.  Confusion over whether or not she should be angry was abandoned in light of new meat for gossip.

Sirius?” she gasped with a barely concealed smirk, “He told you Marauder secrets?”

Mary nodded, knowing what was coming and wishing she had any way to avoid it.  Lily’s ability to switch gears so rapidly was one of those stereotypically ‘girl’ traits that Mary had obviously missed during development.

“Are you two… together then?” Lily asked, excitement palpable in her voice as she reached over to grasp Mary’s knee.

Mary met her beaming face with eyes that were rapidly clouding with tears, “We were,” she managed shakily, “for fifteen minutes this afternoon.  And then he went and was himself again.”

“Oh Mary…” Lily sighed, sliding over and wrapping an arm around her friend.

“What are we going to do Lils?” Mary asked with a watery sniffle.

Lily bit her lip, and then nodded assertively, “We’re going to wait,” she said calmly, much, much more calmly than she felt, “We’re going to primp and practice.  We’re going to practice dancing and hair and do our nails.  And then, come time, we’re going to go to that ball, and we’re going to make two boys so very jealous.”

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