Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.
Hello reader! Sorry this update has been so long coming. Thank you to all the readers who have stuck with me though and to those who have just started to read. I'm thanking you in this chapter but its gonna take you a while to read it... just know it was meant for you! :) Thank you for the reviews to if you've left one. They really do make my day. :)
Anyway, here's chapter Thirty-Two!
Hope you enjoy it!
After the Hogsmeade trip, the next week went by extremely quickly which, for a certain someone, was exactly what he wanted. It was now six o'clock in the morning on Saturday the twenty-seventh of March and James Potter was wide awake. Just like a small child on Christmas morning, or Sirius every morning there was pancakes, he was bouncing on all of his friend's beds to wake them up. He moved from Remus', to Sirius', to Peter's bed many times before they started to stir. Eventually, it was Remus who woke first.
'What are you doing?' he asked, rubbing his eyes. He sat up and picked up his watch to look at the time. 'Ugh!' he sighed annoyed, 'its six o'clock!' he flopped back down on his bed and attempted to hide his face under the covers. He managed to grip it to his forehead for a few seconds before it was ripped back by James. Groaning, he asked, 'Why are you up so early?' As he waited for an answer, he noticed that he had seemed to have stunned James into a silence.
Scruffy haired and wide eyed, James stared down at his friend who was still laid down in his bed. He didn't think that Remus' tired question should be dignified with an answer. Then again, if Remus really had forgotten and James didn't remind him, his day of celebration may just go unnoticed. That was something he didn't want. It was one of James' favourite days of the year. He sighed and, in a very Sirius-like, dramatic fashion, James whispered, 'It's my birthday', with a tug of mock emotion thick in his voice.
Remus paused and looked up at his friend with an unimpressed expression. 'It's still too early.' he moaned, closing his eyes to try and get back to sleep.
'My birthday began at midnight.' James said solemnly, blinking his hazel eyes behind round rimmed glasses. 'I've already allowed you to sleep for six hours of it. Don't waste my birthday Remus. Merlin wouldn't approve.'
At this Remus sat up again, closed his eyes for a couple of seconds and then opened them up again. He shook his head as if trying to get James' comment to register. With no success, he eventually just questioned, 'Merlin wouldn't approve?'
'That's right. He wouldn't.' James nodded casually before once again working up a puppy-like excited stupor. He bounced on Remus bed, poking his arm at the same time and making for a very annoying visitor. 'So what have you planned for my birthday?' he asked mutedly as if he was expecting a huge surprise. 'Tell me, tell me, tell me!' he finished, bouncing once more.
'Ok.' Remus said, beckoning James in to him with an unenthusiastic jerk of his head. He made a big deal out of it and even looked around the dorm room to make sure that no-one who shouldn't be there was listening. He then turned back to James and whispered, 'This is really exciting right but, for at least two more hours, we have planned…' Remus paused to build up the tension and James' visible excitement, '…sleep.' he finished flopping back down on his bed and pulling his duvet over his face leaving James out nodding his head. 'Now go to bed!' he finished, his voice slightly muffled by his sheets.
James turned around and paced around the dorm room thinking, well I set myself up for that. He just couldn't help it though. He did love his birthday. When he was a small boy, his parents had always made a big deal of it. He was so special to them. They had believed that they were too old have children but, by some miracle, Jane Potter fell pregnant with James. It was very unexpected. Still, they were overjoyed and every day since their son was born, especially on his birthday, they had showered him with gifts and told him he was special. He was surrounded with all the material wealth hecould ever desire. This was the probable cause which had led James to become slightly arrogant. However during the course of his last six years at Hogwarts, more so in the last year, James' arrogance had diminished dramatically. His love for his birthday hadn't.
He looked at his friends in turn. Sirius hadn't woken up at all. He was laid with his arms above his head, his head on his side and his mouth open, drooling slightly. James conversation with Remus hadn't seemed to disturb him at all. Peter was curled up in a ball on top of his blanket, his thumb so close to his mouth that James suspected that he had fallen asleep with it in his mouth. He wouldn't have been woken by anything. When he was a sleep he was sound as deadwood. James looked at Remus last. Unlike Sirius and Peter, he was awake but it was obvious he was trying to get back to sleep. He was now attempting to block out the rising sun with his duvet, the only factor now that was intruding on his peaceful slumber. Suddenly, with a disgruntled moan, Remus' duvet flew back from his face and he sat up leaving James with a smug, rhetorical smile.
'Yes?' James asked, his voice lilting with mock question.
Remus looked at James through narrowed eyes and he shook his head. 'Well I can't sleep now.' He swung his legs out of bed and stood up, pointing to Sirius at the same time. 'Get him up. We'll go to the kitchens. They may just bake you a cake.' he continued getting out of bed, still showing some reluctance as he put on his dressing gown and tied it loosely around his middle.
'Awesome.' James smiled, walking over to Sirius bed. He leant against the wall next to his best friend's bed and folded his arms before saying, in an obviously put on loud voice. 'Well, I guess he'll just miss out on the kitchens.
'I'm up.' Sirius mumbled as he sat bolt up-right. He looked around, blinking his eyes fast to clear the sleep away with a dumb smile on his face.
James laughed as he pushed himself up off of the wall. He walked over to Peter's bed and stood next to Remus who had his hand to his chin in thought. Sirius joined them over by the smallest marauder, staying upright only for the promise that he would soon be fed. The three boys, together, looked down at Peter sleeping snugly in his bed like a baby. He looked so peaceful. So, in synchronisation, looked at each other, nodded, grabbed the end of his blanket and, just like a waiter whipping out a tablecloth from underneath some glasses, pulled the blanket out from under Peter causing him to roll off of his bed and onto the floor with a thud.
The three boys cackled with laughter and high-five each other as Peter steadily pulled himself up of the floor with the aid of his bed. He scratched his head and looked at his three chuckling friends. 'What happened?' he asked stupidly.
'It's his birthday.' Remus said in explanation, jerking his thumb to James who was waving like an excited child.
'We're going to the kitchens.' Sirius nodded happily, salivating slightly around the corners of his mouth at the thought of all that food. He licked his lips noisily.
'Oh…ok.' Peter replied softly, standing up fully and following his three friends out of the dormitory in a bit of a daze. His eyes were still drooping slightly but he followed his friends out of the dorm room and down the stairs anyway in fear of being left out.
They didn't bother to keep quiet as they left the common room and made their way down to the kitchens. They didn't even bother to get changed. Not that it mattered though as they didn't manage to wake anybody up. They were all asleep in dorm rooms so, consequently, nobody was about at this time in the morning. The boys enjoyed the freedom though.
Running amok in the empty school, they slid down banisters of moving staircases, swapped some of the ancient portraits around, (much to the distress of the occupants), rearranged a couple of suits of armour so that they were doing handstands and transfigured a couple of buttons on Peters night shirt into wooden sleds and zoomed down the stationary staircases. By the time they had finished with their little games, they had arrived in the entrance hall. To finish their little spree off, they decided to mess around with the hour glasses that kept track of each houses points. After about half an hour of them, (Remus), trying to figure out how the whole thing worked, they split Slytherin's points between the other three houses and hung a modified Hogwarts banner over the place where the Slytherin hour glass was. (It had no symbol for Slytherin on it.)
When they had finished, they carried on down to the portrait of fruit in the bottom corridor of Hogwarts where the kitchen was located. Before they went in, James, the best at transfiguration, returned the buttons from Peter's nightshirt back to normal from the sleds they had created. Afterwards, Remus, with his odd knowledge of stitching spells, sewed them back onto his small friend's night shirt. Sirius, with his patience reaching an end and his stomach grumbling terribly, tickled the pear on the painting of fruit and stepped through the portrait hole into the kitchens. James, Remus and Peter, soon followed.
Straight away, the boys were greeted by several little house elves who welcomed them with an assortment of foods. Sirius grabbed as much as he possibly could and sat down at one of the long tables, digging in immediately. Peter, who even after all this time and all their visits still found house elves a little bit odd, retreated slightly from the crowd making their way towards him. James looked around at the food to see what he fancied for his birthday breakfast. He was just about to choose a rather delicious looking muffin when Remus tapped him in the shoulder and pointed over towards the grand fireplace.
James looked around to see what Remus was referring to when he saw 'Linda?' James smiled in happy surprise. He made his way over to the small house elf that was bouncing with excitement at seeing her young master again, and gripped her hand in welcome.
'Master James.' Linda squeaked with a small bow of the head, 'I is very pleased to see you.'
'Me too! What are you doing here?' James asked her smiling, his hand still holding hers in a friendly grasp. He hadn't seen the little elf since Christmas and he'd missed her. If any other pureblood wizards had been around to hear him say that he would have been extremely unpopular with them. Pureblood wizards didn't approve of such emotions towards the creatures who were supposed to be, in effect, their slaves. But the Potter family, and in particular James, didn't care about such things. They were grateful to have Linda and had no issues displaying their gratitude towards her in public. They didn't care if it was frowned upon by other wizarding families. Or other house elves.
'I has come to give yous your birthday gift master James.' Linda said, looking up at James with an eager smile, ignoring the looks the other elves were shooting at her. Much like James, she didn't care what they thought. It was her family's protocols and she had always lived under these conditions. If this was the way the Potter family saw things, then so did she. She beamed at her youngest master and held out a small gift in her hand. 'It is from your mother.' she said.
James thanked Linda and took the small package out of her hand. He inspected it, shaking it by his ear to see if it rattled. It didn't but he always did this because he loved to try and guess what he had received before looking. He saw no reason to stop this now. The brown paper which his present was wrapped in fell apart as he pulled the string that was tying it together. Inside was a small, unassuming black box, to which he opened carefully, looking shocked at the contents.
'Mistress Potter says it is an exact replica Master James.' Linda squeaked in a hushed voice, allowing her young master to bask in the marvel of his seventeenth birthday present. It was, undoubtedly, the greatest, most meaningful present he would ever receive.
James lifted his present out of the small box, allowing everyone around, marauders and elves alike, to see what he had received. It was a watch. In the wizarding world, on a boys seventeenth birthday, it was tradition that he receive a watch to symbolise the becoming of a man. It was most commonly done in old wizarding families such as James'. If Sirius was still with his family, they too would do the same when it came to his birthday. Usually, especially in those families with money, (not always in those with less), the watch given was specially designed for the person whose present it was meant to be. The watch that James received however, was different. Special.
His brand new watch had twelve golden hands that were designed to look like wands and moved glidingly around the clocks face. Like most wizarding watches, no numbers framed the outside of the watches face. There were however, several little half-moons and a few stars moving sporadically around the edge of the goblin made, silver watch. The thing that made this watch so special was that it was identical to the watch that his father had worn every day for the whole of his life. In all of James' memories of his father, he was always wearing that watch. He wouldn't take that watch off for anyone or anything. It made sense for Mr Potter to be buried with that watch and James had believed that he would never see it again. Until now.
Everything about it was the same. The silver was slightly tarnished and the clasp was stiff as if it hadn't been opened and closed in a long time. One of the moons moving around the clocks edge was cracked just like his fathers had been after he had had a bit of a duel with a black market wizard. Even the third golden hand was sticking slightly so that it moved with considerable effort. To James, despite the visible and obviously intentional flaws, it was perfect. He wouldn't change a thing.
'It's fantastic.' James said plainly. There was nothing else to say. That one word described how much this present meant to him and if his words left any doubt, you could see how much he appreciated this present by the look on his face.
'Can you thank my mum for me please Linda?' James asked the small house elf.
Linda nodded her head, eyes shining. She reached out and clasped one of James' hands in between her two tiny ones. 'Happy birthday master James.' she squeaked finally before stepping back, bowing, and apparating out of the kitchen.
James was watching the spot where she had disappeared from, smoothing the glass of the watch absentmindedly with his thumb. He stood smiling for a couple of seconds before his reverie was broken by Sirius' voice which emanated from next to him.
'I wish we could apparate in school.' he said with his mouthful, bits of crumpet flying in all directions.
'You need to know how to apparate first.' James said walking over to the table where Remus was sat with Peter eating a plate full of toast. 'Last time you tried to do that you left your ear behind.'
'Yeah but how great did that ear look?' Sirius said in odd reminisance about his splinching, 'Just floating there in mid-air.'
Remus, James and Peter looked at Sirius with raised eyebrows. They were all wondering the same thing. Why was Sirius so enamoured by his ear? It was rather odd. They stared at Sirius for a while until he noticed them. 'What?' he asked.
At about four o'clock that evening, after a long day of studying in the library, Lily returned to the common room to spend her Saturday night with her friends. When she got there, the whole of Gryffindor house was gathered in the room. She wondered what was happening and as she made her way through the throng of students to where Hestia was stood, she noticed a large banner which was strung over the top of the dormitory staircases. It read 'Happy Birthday James'. As soon as she saw it she sighed. She had forgotten it was his birthday. In the past years she had made a point of taking no notice of his birthday, but the one year she had actually wanted to remember it, she had forgotten.
When she had reached Hestia in the crowd of Gryffindor's, she noticed that everyone was looking over towards the huge fire and mantle which occupied most of the far wall. 'What's going on?' she whispered to her best friend, 'What's everyone looking at?'
'You mean who.' Hestia said, looking at Lily and then back to the fire place.
Lily, intrigued by curiosity, also turned her attention to the spot where everyone else was fixated upon. She saw that Sirius was clambering onto the table which most the students did their work on. It seemed he had called for an announcement and had spent a few minutes trying to make himself visible to everyone in the room. Finally he stood tall and Lily gazed at him thoughtfully. What was this about? It didn't take long for her to find out.
Sirius cleared his throat and addressed the house as a whole. With one fist punching into the air, he shouted, 'To the Quidditch pitch!'
Much to Lily's surprise, the common room responded with a cheer of great enthusiasm. She wouldn't have thought that such a small announcement could evoke such a reaction. Apparently it could. Then again, it was James Potter's birthday. If Sirius had yelled, 'to the toilets', the star-struck crowd would have probably screamed for that too.
She shook her head and, as the house piled out of the common room, she made her way over to the table Sirius had just been standing on to carry on with some work. Hestia had left with the crowd. She knew Lily wouldn't come. They had an unwritten agreement about parties. Hestia would go and Lily would study. It satisfied them. There were only two parties Lily had to attend and they were hers and Hestia's, (if they were having one). So she was all prepared to continue with the work she had been doing in the Library that day when she noticed that someone else hadn't gone to the party either.
'Why are you still here?' she asked him curiously, tilting her head to the side and slowing down in her unpacking.
'Why are you?' Remus asked with his hands in his pockets, leaning on the back of the red couch which was in front of the fireplace.
'Quidditch pitch isn't really my scene.' Lily said looking down and checking her books. She was trying to avoid Remus eyes. He looked disappointed in her. She didn't know why. All she knew was that she didn't particularly like it.
'Well, ever think it's not all about you?' Remus asked her, now folding his arms and raising his eyebrows.
Lily looked up in shock, her mouth slightly open and blinking her eyes furiously. 'Excuse me?' she replied in disbelief. Had he really just said that to her?
Remus took a deep breath and shrugged his shoulders. 'It's James' birthday party. It shouldn't matter if the Quidditch pitch isn't 'your scene'.' he started, putting air quotes around his last two words, 'You should be there to wish him well. He'll only turn seventeen once.'
Lily looked at Remus, breathing deeply. She didn't answer him but, instead, began to tap her foot, thinking deeply. That was true. He would only be seventeen once and he did, after all, go to her party to wish her well. It would only be fair that she go to his. She couldn't really believe that she was thinking about this. Technically, a party would be the perfect place for her and James to 'naturally move forwards in their relationship' as Alice put it. Never mind the fact that their relationship didn't actually exist. It was just that she was always so uncomfortable at parties. Really, after saying hello to everybody what more was there to do? Did she really want James to see her like that?
'He'd want you to be there.' Remus said, looking at Lily intently and waiting for her answer.
She lifted her head slightly and bit her lower lip. 'Really?' she sighed, unable to keep a small smile from forming on her face.
Remus finally pushed himself from the back of the sofa and stood face on to Lily. He lowered his head slightly so that he was looking up at her. 'What do you think?' he questioned rhetorically.
Lily was now tapping her fingers on the table. He wanted her there. Did it really matter that she would be uncomfortable? Besides, Hestia would be there to 'help her through it' as it were. She could make it seem like Lily was relaxed and enjoying herself instead of being bored out of her mind as she usually was at parties. She hummed under her breath as she looked at Remus, still stalling. 'I haven't got him a present.' she said with raised eyebrows.
'So?' Remus said with a laugh as if this wasn't relevant whatsoever, 'He didn't get you a present.'
Her eyebrows creasing in the middle, Lily frowned in thought. 'He didn't did he!' she huffed with a shake of her head, 'And I didn't even notice.' she finished.
'Does it really matter?' Remus chuckled.
'Yes.' Lily said huffily, 'I like presents!'
'Well James doesn't care so come on.' he replied, jerking his head in the direction of the common room portrait hole.
'Fine.' Lily said, stalking past Remus towards the exit, 'But he owes me a present.'
The pair walked down to the Quidditch pitch, not exchanging any words what so ever. Lily was always a couple of paces in front of Remus who was casually strolling behind her with his hands in his pockets. It took them about ten minutes to reach the entrance hall at the pace they were travelling at and then another ten minutes to get down to the pitch. When they reached the stadium, Lily paused and waited for Remus to lead her in as she had only ever been in the stands and had no idea how to enter the grounds.
He took her around the back of pitch and through the Gryffindor changing room. She had never been in this room before and didn't particularly want to repeat the experience. It was disgusting and it smelt. She supposed any changing room did. The ones she had at her primary school always smelt. She didn't like those either. The two however, did have similar set ups. There was a line of benches pressed against the far wall with seven hooks above them and a cubby hole above each of them. Each hook had a name stuck on the wall above them. She spotted Hestia's and James' names straight away. Hestia's name was peeling off and James' had doodles all the way around it. Opposite these pegs was a freestanding chalk board which, just like his name, had James' doodles on it.
Remus led her through the tunnel which the Quidditch team usually waited in before entering the pitch. They finally came out on the Quidditch green and Lily couldn't help but smile at the scene in front of her. The pitch had been made over to true Gryffindor standards. The goal posts which were about fifty feet in the air on either sides of the pitch had been coloured red and gold; the Gryffindor colours. Around the sides of the pitch there were several banners which had been magically charmed to change between the Gryffindor lion and the words 'Happy Birthday James'. Then there were a few posters which had pictures of James wearing a golden crown and roaring like a lion. It looked fantastic, but the thing that made Lily smile the most was the people and party itself.
It was a giant picnic. There were several large baskets over spilling with an assortment of foods. They were all sat on red and gold blankets. A long table had rows upon rows of pumpkin juice and butterbeer upon it along the far side of the pitch. Then, finally, at the end of the long table closest to Lily and Remus, was a large birthday cake which too, was Gryffindor themed. The whole of the Gryffindor house, all wearing something red or gold or with a bit of Gryffindor themed face paint on them, were either laughing and joking on the grass or having fun in the air, taking full advantage of the location, style and food that James' party provided.
Remus walked away from Lily and she watched him make his way to James and Sirius. James was doing an odd little jig. Part way through, Sirius stopped him and shook his head. He then proceeded to do the jig himself, obviously showing James corrections. Lily laughed to herself and shook her head. Idiots, she thought.
'Lily!' Alice said, running up behind her with Frank, her boyfriend for the past couple of months, in tow, 'What are you doing here? You hate parties!' she finished, hugging Lily as she reached her.
Lily returned the hug and smiled at Frank who gave a one handed wave back to her. The two girls broke apart and Alice held Lily at arm's length waiting for an answer.
'Well I wasn't going to come but then I remembered that I am owed a present.' Lily smiled at a rather confused Alice as she folded her arms.
Starting to nod her head slowly, Alice replied, '…okay…' before bouncing back into a happy stupor to ask insinuatingly 'so how are things going with…?'
'Err…' Lily said, biting her lip and worrying about Frank's presence in this certain conversation. She knew that he and James weren't particularly close and it was true that James already knew how she felt but, she didn't want any more ears on this topic than there already was. Plus, although he was her dorm mate's boyfriend, she didn't know him that well.
Alice seemed to pick up on this as she turned to Frank and said, 'Can you go and get me a butterbeer please? Oh! And a muffin?'
'Sure.' Frank said sweetly to his girlfriend before walking away to fetch her what she had requested.
Alice turned back to Lily, 'Well?'
'Well I wouldn't say things particularly have a status,' Lily shrugged, folding her arms across her chest, 'We're friends.'
'Oh.' Alice said, obviously deflating as the gossip wasn't as good as she thought it would be, 'Well that's boring.'
Lily laughed, 'Sorry my life isn't as interesting as you thought it was.'
'Well we'll soon find out.' Alice said motioning towards James who was on his way over with a lopsided smile spread across his face. Alice then raised her eyebrows at Lily suggestively before walking away to meet Frank near James' birthday cake.
'Hey Evans!' James said as he reached her.
'Evans?' Lily responded with a tilt of her head in question. He hadn't called her that in a while.
'Sorry.' James said smacking himself on the head, 'Just with my birthday and everything. I kind of revert back to my third year self…which you probably don't like.'
'Well I coped with it for five years I don't think a day will make a difference.' Lily smiled, moving a little bit uncomfortably at his constant stare. It was a good thing she supposed. It wasn't the same kind of uncomfortable feeling she got when Severus stared at her. That was more disturbing. The way James stared at her was, she supposed, blush-worthy.
'Still,' James continued on, not noticing Lily shifting, 'I was an idiot.'
Lily nodded, 'Well I'm not denying that!' she said, exhaling as she did.
James laughed. It was true he had been a total prat for the first five years of his Hogwarts life. He really didn't make any case for Lily to be with him at all. He remembered all the times he had asked her out, (which was a lot!), and in each scenario he could see exactly where he went wrong. For one he kept insulting her then best friend. Then cursing her best friend. Then hexing him and insulting him some more. Jinxing him. And then, just for good measure, insulting him again. Not a good move altogether. Also, he swore at some point he stopped just insulting Severus and started to insult Lily as well. Also not a good move. Then there were the tricks he played on her. And the pranks. And making her look silly in front the whole class and embarrassing her. He really didn't help his case which was probably why it was taking so long now. Still, James always thought it was better late than never. He just had to wait for those feelings to bubble to the surface again.
'So,' James said, bobbing on his heels and folding his arms, 'I hear I owe you a present.'
'Yes you do.' Lily nodded with a smirk, 'And as soon as possible. I like presents and I don't like to be kept waiting.'
James nodded his head in thought, a small lopsided smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. He had to tread carefully here. He didn't want to make too bolder move and scare her off. After her running off in the Owlery when he asked her what she wanted to do, he didn't actually know if she still liked him but, still, he wasn't one for not going after things that he wanted.
'Ok. I can either get you a present from Hogsmeade or I can give you one now.' he said, raising his eyebrows in question.
Lily thought for a moment. 'What would you give me now?' she asked.
'Mmm…?' James replied, pretending to think about it but really judging the situation to see if this was a wise move. He decided to go for it, but not the whole shebang. A taster. 'A kiss on the cheek.' he replied.
Lily's stomach flipped. It took all her energy for her to keep a smile from creeping across her face. She tried very hard to relax herself before answering, 'I suppose that will do.' doing her utmost to be nonchalant.
Lily worked to control her breathing as James took her left hand with his right. He stepped forwards towards her and lent in. She took a breath and inhaled what she called 'the smell of James' which sent her stomach soaring. Softly and gently, she felt him place a kiss on her left cheek. He then pulled away, still holding her hand and stood a couple of feet away from her. They shared a long look, both with hints of a smile on their faces. Who knows when that would have naturally ended? The thing that stopped it was Sirius flying up to James on his broom, James broom in hand, and calling to his best friend.
'Oi Prongs!' he yelled from the air.
James turned around, dropping Lily's hand, (her face dropping too and looking up at Sirius in annoyance), and looked towards his flying mate. 'Yeah?' he asked, putting his hand over his eyes so he could see him in the light.
'Come fly with me!' Sirius continued to yell, 'Bet I can beat you in laps!' He threw James broom to him, James catching it with ease and efficiency with no effort at all.
'You wish!' James yelled back. Laughing, he got onto his broom and ran a hand through his already messy hair. He looked at Lily one last time, who smiled at him in return, almost as if she was allowing him to go. He winked at her with a wonky smile and then zoomed off to join Sirius in the sky.
Lily watched him go. She found it hard to contain her joy. It may seem like a small thing to someone else but to her, this was a big step. Things were finally progressing naturally. It was what she had been waiting for to happen and it was what Alice had advised her to do. At the minute, all she wanted to do was jump up and down and do a little victory dance but she stopped herself. It would have been embarrassing. Lily couldn't dance.
'How sweet.' came a voice from beside her.
Slowly, knowing exactly who it was and the smug mickey-taking she would receive from her, turned to face Hestia in exasperation.
'You do realise that everyone here hates you now.' Hestia said, with a look that said she was definitely enjoying herself.
Lily looked confused, 'Really?' she asked, 'Why?'
'They want him he wants you.' she shrugged as if it was obvious, 'You are the envy of every girl…and a few boys.'
Lily gave a single breathless laugh, not believing Hestia at all, but still looking around her to make sure. When she did, she was shocked to see that people were actually glaring at her. A group of girls sat having a picnic. Some near the drinks. Some near the cake. Pretty much every girl in range. She looked back into herself and stared at the ground, going slightly red under the hot gazes she was receiving.
'I wouldn't worry about it.' Hestia said, passing Lily the butterbeer she had brought her, 'It's not like you asked for this attention from him. You denied it for five years, let's face it.'
Lily turned her head to smile at her best friend. 'You know,' she began, 'He's not exactly who I thought I'd be with.'
Hestia looked from side to side in confusion. 'Err… Lily?' she whispered, proceeding cautiously. She didn't know what state of mind Lily was in at the minute. 'Hate to burst your bubble but you're not actually with him.'
Lily looked up slowly and turned to Hestia. 'I do know that.' she said.
'Just checking.' Hestia replied, holding her hands up in the air.
'It's just,' Lily began, the thought occurring to her because it was James' birthday, 'I'm older than he is. Isn't that odd? I always thought I'd end up with someone older than me. And he's not.'
'Look at it this way,' Hestia shrugged with a growing smile, 'You'll always be the boss.'
'Shh.' Sirius hushed his fellow marauders.
'We don't have to be quiet now.' Remus replied at full volume.
'Oh yeah!' Sirius laughed, smacking his forehead with his hand in stupidity.
The four boys had snuck out of Hogwarts, down the passage behind the humpback witch with one eye, out of Honeydukes and into the main street of Hogsmeade, all with the hope of going to the Three Broomsticks for James' first drink as a legal wizard. Much like in the muggle world, there were restrictions as to what age you had to be before being allowed certain drinks. In the wizarding world however, the restriction was lifted when a wizard turned seventeen. Most restrictions in the wizarding world were lifted at this age. So, as James was now legal and ready to roll, they decided to go and get him the drink that every teenage boy in the wizarding world wanted to try; fire whisky.
It was a surprise to many people that the marauders hadn't already tried the coveted drink. Many people thought that they had. It was a common assumption at Hogwarts. They weren't stupid boys. They knew exactly what people expected them to be like; the bad boys who followed no rules at all. But they really weren't like that. Yes it was true that they freely broke the school rules, but when it came to the law, they stuck to it. They didn't want to do anything illegal…besides the animagus thing. But, that was different and the situation, to them, superseded any law in place.
So, tonight, just as they had done on Remus' birthday earlier that month, and Sirius' birthday in the summer, the four boys snuck out to buy the birthday boy his first firewhisky. Truth be told, James was a little bit nervous about tasting the drink after watching Remus' birthday disaster. It could have just been the werewolf in him but, that drink had made him do some crazy stuff. Things Remus wouldn't want to be caught dead doing and as far away from his usual personality as possible. It had made the three other boys laugh so much whilst their friend's drunken rampage continued but the next morning Remus was the moodiest that they had ever seen him. He was even crankier than he was on the lead up to the full moon and that was saying something. It was just a surprise that nobody else had noticed. Sirius' birthday wasn't that bad. He had tried the drink once and didn't quite acquire the fondness for it. He had sworn the other marauders to secrecy about his dislike for the drink as he thought it made him less of a man. He hadn't had a firewhisky since and he didn't want one.
They entered the three broomsticks and waved to an extremely young bar maid by the name of Madam Rosmerta. She waved back, no qualms at all at the fact that it was nearly midnight and four school boys had just casually strolled into her bar. A couple minutes after she had seen them sit down she approached them and took their drink order.
'One firewhisky and three butterbeers please.' James said with a wink.
'Just turned seventeen have we?' Rosmerta asked James as she wrote down what they wanted in a little notebook, 'I'll bring you a goblet of pumpkin juice as well with that fire whisky.' she finished, returning James' cheeky wink and walking away.
'So what's it actually taste like?' James asked Remus seriously. Sirius pretended to barf whilst Peter tuned in to listen as he was still under seventeen with the trace on him. If he had a firewhisky, the ministry would know.
'You'll have to try it.' Remus said, determined not to give anything away.
'I'm gonna try it.' James nodded, 'I just want to know what I'm gonna be trying.'
Remus thought for a minute before saying with deliberate concealment, 'It is a taste you will never forget.'
'Awesome!' James replied, Sirius nodding his head sarcastically in agreement.
Madam Rosmerta soon returned with their drinks. Three butterbeers, one firewhisky and one pumpkin juice. She placed them on the table in front of the boys, who thanked her graciously before leaving them to their drinks.
James picked up the goblet with the drink which seemed to be emitting smoke, up of the table. Peter leant forwards in anticipation, wanting to know exactly how it tasted so that he could look forwards to his turn. He wouldn't be having firewhisky on his birthday. His mother wouldn't let him. He knew she wouldn't. Sirius was blowing bubbles in his butterbeer, not paying attention to what was happening. Remus was the only one out of the three boys who sat back in his seat and relaxed. He knew exactly what was coming. He was able to handle it though thanks to the fact that he was a werewolf. It was why Sirius hadn't been able to handle it either. He wasn't a werewolf and neither was James. And this was going to be funny.
James took the goblet to his mouth and took a sip. He brought it down from his lips and placed it on the table, his tongue moving around his mouth to savour the taste. He nodded his head in agreement. He liked it. Why had he been so nervous? If only he had seen Remus start to count down on his fingers from five, he may have thought differently. Two seconds later, he brought his hands to his throat and was gasping for air. He stuck his tongue out to allow some cool air to touch it but it made no difference. He spluttered to Remus to pass him the pumpkin juice. When it came his way, his grappled for it and gulped it down as if he hadn't had a drink for weeks.
When he had finished, he slammed it down on the table and heard Remus laughing.
'Why didn't you warn me?' he asked him faintly, his mouth burning.
'Now what fun would that be?' Remus laughed, taking the half drunken goblet of firewhisky.
'It's like my mouth is on fire!' James coughed, taking Peter's butterbeer and gulping it down also.
'Really?' Remus said, unimpressed with James' lack of inspiration to make connections, 'I would never have guessed that firewhisky tastes like a fire in your mouth.' He finished in a monotone before sipping the remaining drink that James hadn't finished.
'How come you're drinking it?' Sirius asked, drinking his butterbeer and wondering why his friends actually liked the putrid liquid.
'I'm a…' he started before thinking twice about what he was going to say as he was in a public bar, 'Because of my furry little problem, it doesn't affect me as much as it affects you. And I had five on my birthday and it's an acquired taste.'
'Well then,' James said, holding his hand up to madam Rosmerta for another round, 'Let's get acquiring!'
Thank you for reading!