The Honeydukes tunnel that led back to Hogwarts was usually uncomfortable for Sirius. With his tall height he had to hunch half way over, and sometimes had the bad luck of hitting his head on the ceiling frequently. This time though, he would have skipped if he could, but instead whistled a jovial tune as he made his way.
His meeting with Jasmine had gone perfectly. They ordered two butterbeers to take back up to her rented room and spent a few hours first talking, and then moving on to what Sirius had dubbed ‘sexy time’.
To be sure that he didn’t get into any trouble, Jasmine insisted that he left with just enough time to get back into the castle before curfew. Sirius had put a fight, practically begging to let him stay for the night, but she knew that she couldn’t risk any of the professors finding out where he had been. It would jeopardize everything she had been working so hard for!
So he went back to the castle, and he entered the Common Room happy to find James back from the Hospital Wing sitting around with the rest of the 7th year Gryffindors.
“‘Ello, all,” he landed himself on the couch.
“Where’ve you been all night?” Remus immediately asked.
“Celebrating of course!” Sirius exclaimed.
“Where? The best party was going on in here,” Peter said looking at him oddly before his eyes went wide, “Were you with someone?” This comment made James look up from the conversation he had been having with Lily and the girls.
“What? No!” Sirius immediately denied, “There’s no better way to congratulate myself than with some fresh sweets.” He pulled out some candy from his pocket that he had snuck from the Honeydukes basement as proof.
“Don’t think I can’t knock you out on your ass again,” James warned.
“I wouldn’t doubt it,” Sirius muttered.
“Not to mention what Jasmine would do to you,” Lily added, “I would love to see that girl duel it out with someone. She was telling me about some classes she took while training for her Charms job and it sounds like she’s amazing.”
“She is,” Sirius nodded, “I’ve been on the receiving end before.”
“That’s what she said,” Peter cackled.
“Wow,” Lisa rolled her eyes, “Good one, Pettigrew.”
“I’ll give you props for that one, Wormtail. I set myself up,” Sirius laughed.
“I thought I was quick about it,” Peter said, “The point though, mate, is that you should’ve at least invited me.”
“We’ll make a date out of it next time,” Sirius winked.
“How did you get those exactly?’ Marie asked, “Dinner finished hours ago.”
The boys all froze realizing that once again they had let slip a Marauder secret and forgotten about all four of the girls presences.
“It’s all about connections, love,” Sirius said, “Maybe one day I’ll give you my source.”
“I’ll find my own connections, thanks,” Marie rolled her eyes, “Anyways, ladies, I was thinking we could have a picnic tomorrow.”
“Oh that’d be perfect! Fall weather is going to ruin everything soon,” Danielle agreed.
“I think it’s going to start ruining it tomorrow, actually,” Remus commented.
“Why? Today was so perfect.”
“Which would usually make sense for it not to rain, but trust me, it’s going rain.”
“Moony has the sense of a wolf. He knows these things,” James winked.
“Stupid October weather...” Marie sulked, “Now I’m going to be pale for the rest of the year!”
“You’re always pale, lovely,” Lisa pointed out.
The boys snickered. “I prefer alabaster, thank you.”
Lily half heartedly giggled at the retort, but was currently being distracted by James’s fingers softly running up and down her thigh. She glanced sideways at him and found it frustratingly mad that he wasn’t even aware of the distraction he was creating. She had been wanting to hug him nonstop since he had gotten out of the Hospital Wing; realizing how dangerous the game could actually get in a blink of an eye had struck a nerve in her.
Instead though, she was forced to just sit there and be teased until-
“James, it’s time for rounds,” she broke into the conversation.
“Yeah, we switched with um...with...Naomi. Remember earlier when we ran into her in the hallway?”
“Ew,” Marie shuddered at the name.
“Oh, yeah? She asked to switch then? I don’t remember...” James said.
“She asked quietly when you thought you were going to be sick. Didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Evans, you said yes even though Prongs was practically blowing chunks everywhere?” Sirius asked.
Lily’s cheeks started to tinge pink. “Well, he usually bounces back from these things so quickly,” she stammered, “Never mind, it’s fine. I’m sure the professors won’t notice if we skip one night.”
“I can go with you Lily,” Remus shrugged.
“Thanks Remus, but it’s fine.”
James watched Lily silently twist her hands and take a long deep breath so that her face could return to its usual porcelain-self. ‘Wait a minute... Did she mean?’
“Oh! I remember now. I heard her ask you. I almost told you no, but I’m good. Lets do it.” He pushed himself up off the couch.
“No, you’re right, lets take the night off.”
“Lily,” James put out his hand, “What would McGonagall think if she happened to be going through the halls and didn’t find us?” he winked.
“Alright,” Lily took his hand.
“Bunch of nerds...” Sirius muttered as they walked towards the exit, “You’re a changed man, Prongs!”
James ignored the comment though and when they walked out the Common Room doors he let a smirk form on his lips. Sirius may think that Lily was rubbing off on him, but it seemed like the completely opposite was happening.
“So...” Lily said, “Naomi didn’t really ask us to cover for her.”
“So...” James copied, “I know. I haven’t seen your cheeks burn that bright since probably the day I was hired at The Market. I knew something was up.”
“What took you so long to catch on then?” she laughed pushing his arm.
“I didn’t think you had it in you to do something like this.”
“Well, I figured with the beating you took today you could use a relaxing bath.” James let Lily walk a little in front of him before throwing a silent fist in the air. “All undergarments are staying on.”
James came up behind her and wrapped his arms around his waist. “I am perfectly fine with that,” he whispered in her ear making shivers run down her neck. “I would pick you up and run there, but my body’s still a little sore.”
“That’s okay.” She hugged James’s arms tight to her body and then let them go so they could finish the walk. “We do need to make sure we don’t get caught by the Prefects though. That could turn into a very awkward situation.”
“Is it really Naomi who’s patrolling tonight?”
“I believe so... I get the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff shifts mixed up.”
“We should be fine then,” James smiled.
James had been inside the Prefects Bathroom before, but this was his first time using it as an official. He saw that the mermaid inside the painting was off swimming around her rock and that the bathtub was dry from not being used. He eyed the faucets that lined it reading each label, wondering which ones would soothe both himself and Lily.
The squeak of a knob of the water faucet made James snap out of his thoughts, and turned to see Lily bent over the ledge of the tub, already down to just her bra and underwear. James’s eyes swept her body, barely even noticing that she still had on any garments. ‘Merlin, that’s some good looking skin,’ he gulped.
“I’ve always been a sucker for the Jasmine scented bubbles,” she said softly.
“Good choice.” He scanned the labels (listed alphabetically) all the way down to ‘J’ and turned it loose to mix with the water. His eyes set on Lily as he stepped towards her. The intensity made her cross her arms in front of herself shyly. When he was close enough, he softly set her arms at her side. “No reason to be bashful, love. You’re beautiful.”
Lily grinned pushing a piece of hair behind her ear. “Thank you.”
James put his hands on Lily’s hips, the smoothness of her skin making his smile grow wider. He leaned down and kissed her at first softly on the lips before skimming his hands up the sides of her body all the way to the sides of her face.
“Ehem,” a voice made them jump apart. “Sorry to interrupt James, but the tub is going to overflow with bubbles if you don’t turn them off.” The mermaid had come back to the surface of her painting, watching the couple as she slowly combed her long blonde hair.
“Merlin’s beard,” Lily gasped out of relief.
“Er, thanks Madison,” James said. He rushed to turn off the water and bubbles and noticed Madison still looking between Lily and himself. “Mind if you uh...give us some privacy?”
“Oh,” she stopped brushing her hair, “Privacy is what you want? My apologies, I didn’t know students with your position needed such things while in a bath together .”
“Wouldn’t you leave just a single student alone to do their business?”
“Not when they look like you,” she raised an eyebrow. She set her coral comb down onto her rock before splashing back into the painting’s ocean.
Lily shook her head as James pulled off his shirt. “You would know the mermaid. How many times did you sneak in here?”
“A few,” James shrugged, “I mean, come on! This tub is practically a pool! Me and the boys like to mess around when the lake is frozen over or too cold.”
She tried to ignore the immediate need she had to touch James’s toned body, but it was so much harder to do when it was all standing in front of her. She put her hands on his shoulders and slowly let her fingers slide down his arms, noticing that she could actually feel the difference between his bicep and tricep muscles.
“So do I have to pull you in there or what?” she said.
“I’d like to see you try,” James laughed. Instead of waiting for her to answer though, he lifted her up into her arms and carried her into the hot water. “Lils, can I ask you something?”
“Sure.” She leaned her head into his shoulder.
“We’re doing this now... But what’s the difference between now and like, back in my house when you weren’t comfortable with it?”
James had stopped on the second step into the tub to let her answer. “Well... I guess, it’s partly because last time you had been drinking. I didn’t know what kind of mind frame you would be in. Now it’s more natural. It’s something that’s just happening...despite that I set it all up,” she finished with a laugh.
James smiled down at her and squeezed her in his arms. “Alright.”
He stepped down into the rest of the tub making Lily gasp at the rapid temperature change.
“Too hot for you?”
“It’s fine.” He let go of her legs so she could stand, but her arms stayed tight around his neck. She kissed his dry neck letting her finger tips travel into his hair. James’s eyes closed loving the tingling that her lips left on his skin.
Her lips lined his jaw and finally landed on his lips making them come to life. There was no time wasted before his hands lifted her legs again, but this time wrapped them around his waist so he could walk to the edge of the tub, her back up against the ledge.
“Easy tiger,” Lily said between a kiss.
“Tiger? You know I’m a lion,” he squeezed the back of her thighs. Lily threw her head back laughing in response letting James get back to work by kissing her exposed neck. “Better hold your breath.”
James pushed off the side of the tub throwing them both into the water. The water tidal waved out of the tub and onto the bathroom floor, but they didn’t care. They surfaced with bubbles covering them from head to toe. Lily pushed herself away from James, trying to swim away from him before he could catch her.
It didn’t take long though for him to jump after her, pulling her back down under the water by her waist. When they came back up for air she didn’t try to push away from him again. James’s hold tightened to a point where Lily should have felt like she was being suffocated, but only felt happiness that she was in his arms.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.” Lily nibbled on his ear making him groan and relax his grip. “This is by far the best idea you’ve ever had.”
“Thank you, Potter.”
“Are we allowed to do it after all of my matches?”
“Well, one, if you land yourself in the Hospital Wing again.”
“And if you win.”
“Ha! That’s simple. Next time I won’t even bother with the celebration party. We’re coming straight here.”
“We’ll see,” Lily teased.
“Do you have no faith?”
“Oh no, I have faith in your game skill. It’s keeping you out of the Wing that I’m sure will be a challenge.” James’s eyebrows furrowed knowing it was true. “Do me a favor,” Lily kissed his cheek, “Watch your back better next time.”
“Is that what you’re worried about? Me getting hurt?”
“No,” Lily blushed.
“Lils,” James laughed, “It’s fine to care, but it’s a contact sport. I’m going to get hurt every now and then... Probably more now than then.”
“I don’t like it,” Lily scrunched her eyebrows. She absentmindedly traced a bruise that had formed on James’s arm.
“You never cared before.”
“Well, duh! You could’ve gone into a comma a year ago and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.” James started to dunk Lily into the water, but her squeal of laughter made him stop. “But I’ve seen the light. I think this just proves how much I love you.”
“Eh, it’s a start,” James shrugged, “You’ve still got six years to catch up to my love for you.”
“You can’t hold that over my head the rest of our lives, you know.”
“Sure I can.” He kissed her lips. “If you’ll have me for that long.”
Her head fell to the side, looking at James’s honest face. If things stayed like they’d been going, sure! She’d love to live the rest of her life with James. But things wouldn’t stay this way forever. It was impossible to deny the change that was rapidly approaching them. Graduating from school, moving to wherever their careers took them, and of course any emotional changes that happened along the way.
“We’ll see...” A smile stretched on James’s face. “I said we’ll see, why are you smiling.”
“Because that’s a better answer than I got the last time I brought it up.”
“Alright, alright.” James let out a laugh forgetting the subject. They had a time limit, he wouldn’t ruin their moment anymore with that conversation.
Lily couldn’t help but roll her eyes as she sat in Transfiguration watching James and Sirius soak up the glory of their past victory. They both sat on the top of a desk explaining to the students surrounding that despite their evil opponents, they overcame them with constant vigilance.
“Yeah, that sure looked like vigilance when you got blind sided by a bludger, Potter,” a Slytherin player commented from across the room.
James stared at the boy from his seat, recognizing him as Derek Rhoades, the team’s Keeper. “You didn’t show too much yourself with all those goals we scored on you.”
“Last time I had checked the score, I stopped more Quaffles than your poor excuse of a Keeper before that half breed got lucky.” James and Sirius slid off their table and walked to where the Slytherin was sitting. “What you going to do? Punch me like you did Diggory?”
Sirius looked like he was considering the suggestion, but James beat him to the punch line. “No. Ten points from Slytherin for bad mouthing, and detention tonight.”
“You’re joking, right?” Rhoades scoffed.
“Do I look like I’m joking? I’m Head Boy. You got your punishment. Meet with Slughorn to discuss your duties.”
James turned to go back to his table, fighting himself from going back when Rhoades added, “Never thought I’d see the day when James Potter turns down a fight for pride.”
‘That makes two of us,’ Sirius thought.
To make sure he didn’t do anything else, James sat himself next to Lily who had been in a tug of war with herself over whether or not to interfere with the boys. “Proud of you,” she whispered to him.
McGonagall strode into the room minutes later in her usual black robes and tall witch hat, deciding to ignore the tension between the Slytherins and Gryffindors assuming that it was solely from the match.
“Open your books to page 530. We’ll be discussing some different properties of complete object transfigurations...”
The class passed by with mostly note taking, except by Sirius whose eyes had glazed over in deep thought. Watching James turn down a fight had awoken him from the long truth that he had been refusing the accept.
Sure, he always made fun of James for becoming Head Boy and following some of the rules, but a Slytherin had actually insulted him and their team. Like Rhoades had said, that was a thing of pride- something that a Marauder never allowed to be compromised.
It also made him think of Jasmine and her current situation. She wasn’t fighting off boys from a different House. She was fighting off an enemy within their entire society, something so much more than a rivalry.
Where did that leave him then? He wished more than anything to fight alongside Jasmine, but he didn’t want to lose his youthful ways before he had to. Hogwarts was a place where his rebellion could reign with only detentions to serve as a penalty. But watching James turn away.... It made him see that maybe it was his time to follow suit. Learn to control his pride and dignity, his anger and competitiveness with other Houses. Maybe he could learn to pick and choose what battles are worth fighting...
A ripped piece of parchment hit his face and fell to his desk. He rubbed his eyes before realizing that McGonagall was glaring at him. “Thank you Mr. Pettigrew, I now know that Mr. Black prefers being hit by something to wake up instead of my yelling his name.”
“Just doing what I can to help Professor.”
“Mr. Black, can I please see your notes?”
Sirius almost rolled his eyes at the irony. There he was day dreaming about becoming more mature and already he was being yelled at by his professor. “No.”
“And why is that?”
“Because I haven’t taken any.”
“Then how do you expect to pass your N.E.W.T. when it comes? These properties are essential to the art of Transfiguration.”
“Sorry. I’ll start now,” he smiled and gave a wink.
“I know you won a hard game yesterday, but that’s no excuse. Shape up or I’ll have you miss the next match to study.” Sirius raised his hands in defeat and diligently began to label his parchment. “Much better.”
After class Peter couldn’t stop from laughing about the incident. “You were all in La-La Land while she was practically screaming your name and then bop! your wake up.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t hear ol’ Minnie,” he agreed.
“As entertaining as it was, if you miss any of the matches I’ll have your head,” James said.
“Yeah, yeah. In other news, Halloween is approaching soon. I think we should make it a good one seeing as how it’s our last.”
“You thinking a House party?” asked Lisa.
Remus shook his head, but a smile on his lips said he approved. Lily was stuck between wanting to make the most out of her last year and her responsibility to the school.
“There’s no way everyone would fit in our Common Room,” she said.
“What if it wasn’t in the Gryffindor Common Room?”
“What are you suggesting?”
“If I’m not mistaken, you and James have a full, private Common Room at your expense.”
“The Head Dorm? No. Madame Lae would report us to Dumbledore!”
“She’s a statue, Evans, how would she unless someone comes to ask her? And no one would ever think to ask because you’re Evans!”
“But James is James.”
“Not the same James when he’s with you, and McGonagall knows it.”
Lily felt the pressure to say yes. James’ eyes begged for her approval so he could second it, Lisa’s lips twitched with excitement and Sirius smiled smugly seeing Lily’s desire to follow the rules crumble.
“Fine. But only fifteen people are allowed.”
“Fifteen! That’s five people from each House, more than enough.”
“Fifteen, and that’s final!” she yelled. “You’re lucky I’m even allowing this. Now stop pushing your luck!”
She stormed away from the small group leaving them all in a shock.
“You just got Lily Evans to agree to having a party. You guys are really rubbing off on her,” Lisa said.
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