Lily Evans, temporary teacher of Charms at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, flopped back over her chair, her neck bending backwards as she stared up at the hugely arched stone ceilings.
Flitwick had been out with a cold.
As this was the same cold that he'd been out with for the past six months, Lily was starting to get the nasty suspicion that he didn't have a cold at all.
She was sat at the desk of classroom 2E, and because the back of the chair was too tall to tolerate leaning back in, she'd positioned herself with her legs hanging over one arm-rest and her head hanging over the other.
Her robes draped open and down the sides of the chair.
This was her special, self-pitying posture.
She wasn't a whole week into her Auror training, fresh out of Hogwarts before she'd been called back.
She loved Hogwarts, and if she'd been left a little longer outside of it, she'd probably start to miss it.
But she had been dragged back with coercion, bribery and emotional manipulation, and now wished that she was quite literally anywhere else.
She was kept here, rotting in her old high school while everyone else that she knew was moving on and doing things.
It made her feel like a child.
Granted, a child that was teaching her favourite class instead of sitting through it.
There was a knock against the wooden door, which had swung all the way open without her even noticing.
She had a class that started in fifteen minutes, sixth years, the year that she most dreaded.
She dreaded it the most because it contained Remus Lupin, the one and only student left that she regarded as a friend.
She had acquaintances here still, yes, people that greeted her in the hallways and treated her with more friendliness than they extended their usual teacher, but Remus Lupin was her last equal.
This would not have bothered her in the slightest if it hadn't meant tolerating his friends as well.
They were a group of smarmy pricks, and if it weren't for Remus, they'd be in a perpetual detention, hung upside down by that new over-enthusiastic caretaker that they seemed to love tormenting.
Instead of turning to address whoever had knocked on the door at her, she tried to remember what the caretakers name was.
Was it Milch? Mulch? Filch, she decided was probably it.
Her head rolled to the side to look at the entrance to the classroom, it was too early for even the most enthusiastic of N.E.W.T.s students to show up, but there, leaning against the opened doorway as if he owned it, was James Potter.
She wouldn't lie to herself, he was good looking, and she was attracted to him. Or at least she decided that she would be when he was a few years older.
She didn't bother moving, she didn't care if James Potter saw her being unprofessional, staring at the ceiling and moping.
"What do you want?" She asked, no trace of leniency or kindness in her voice.
She wanted him to go away.
She was meant to have ten more minutes of privacy.
His smile was cocky and wide, like he was pleased with himself for annoying her.
"Just thought I'd stop in and say hi." He said, hazel eyes glinting with amusement under his glasses.
"Hi."She said, turning back to look up at the ceiling. "Now fuck off."
Her neck was starting to ache, but the ache was better than having to look at a beautiful and obnoxious seventeen year old.
"Language," he warned, admonishing her as if he was having fun.
"What do you want, Potter?" She asked with a sigh, reaching up to rub her eyes.
James Potter walked toward her, close enough to perch himself up on her desk. He looked down at her in a fond sort of amused way that made her a little uncomfortable.
He was tall, she realised. Much too tall.
Quite a distance taller than she was.
Handsome, too, with a thick smattering of black stubble peeking through the skin over his jaw.
Seventeen year olds weren't meant to have real stubble, were they?
And his eyes were so incredibly pretty, molten gold, downcast liquid cinnamon, and he was so incredibly close, his breath coming out in short little puffs, one of his teeth peeking out to create a divot, a little dimple in his lower lip.
She tried not to let herself be distracted by him.
But she was.
And when she looked up to see his eyes had drifted down the front of her shirt, she realised that he was a little distracted, too.
"Watch where you put your eyes, Potter."
His answering grin was huge and shameless.
"I'm here only for the pleasure of your company."
"Sure you are. What do you want."
"Would you believe me if I said that I wanted you?"
"Not even a little bit, kid." This was a lie.
She was still staring at the ceiling, so she didn't see the way he flinched when she called him 'kid.'
"Well then, I was wondering whether you'd help me with a charm."
"That's exactly what I'm here for." She said, slowly lifting her legs from the arm rest and straightening herself back up with a stretch and a low moan.
His hand gripped the edge of her desk.
"Well, this charm is a little extra-curricular," he said with a wicked grin.
She sighed heavily.
"Sirius hasn't tried to use an engorgio on a certain choice part of his body again, has he?"
"If only. No I was thinking something more along the lines of what they've got up in the Great Halls ceiling. Smaller scale, of course, but same basic principle."
"If you already know what you want to do, why are you talking to me? You could be in the library telling absolutely no members of authority about what I'm sure is a very nasty plan."
He took a slow breath in through his nose, like he was smelling the air. His smile was lazy and just a little predatory.
"Ambiance. The charms classroom is prettier to look at. That and the library's dead boring. Now help me would you, Evans?"
"No." She said, opening her desk drawer and pulling out a single stick of muggle chewing gum, which she tossed in her mouth. "And call me Professor."
He was trying to be charming, she could tell.
It wasn't going to work, or at least that was what she was trying to tell herself.
"If that's what gets you going."
He was interested in her.
She wasn't stupid and he wasn't subtle, he was interested in her in the same way most of the sixth years were.
She was young enough to look pretty, but old enough to have grown out of adolescent awkwardness, making her a great target for teenage fantasies.
It didn't mean she had to encourage or even acknowledge them.
Suddenly, a group of puffing teenage boys burst through the doorway and into the classroom.
"Prongs, shut up, she's a Professor." said a voice that she recognised as belonging to Sirius Black. "No offence, Evans." He tacked on the end.
"None taken, Black. And look, all of you are here on time for once." She said as Peter rounded the doorway, face red and puffing harder than the other two. It looked as if they'd left him behind once again.
Remus gave her a tiny, sheepishly embarrassed look accompanied by a small shrug.
Next to him, Sirius grinned hugely. The effect was a bit blinding.
"We wanted to get here early. Showing off in front of our fittest teacher." Said Potter with a wink.
Sirius gasped melodramatically "What about McGonagall?"
People had started filing into the classroom, now, turning the 'Marauders' banter into a spectator sport as usual.
"Shut up and go sit at your desk, Potter."
"I will if you stop calling me Potter."
"No." she rejected, pulling her lesson plan from her desk drawer, the class was on its way to being full of sixth year Gryffindors.
She didn't need to make a spectacle of herself in front of an audience.
"Why?" He demanded, his eyes darkening.
"Maybe I like your last name." She said without thinking about it.
"You can have it if you want it."
And the room went silent.
James Potter looked at Lily Evans, and Lily Evans looked at him right back.
Sirius cuffed his friend on the shoulder and forced a laugh. It did not make the situation any less awkward.
"Take your seat, Potter." She ordered.
He turned around and walked down the row to his seat at the back.
He didn't laugh with Sirius. He didn't even smile.
The two of them bent their heads over their desks and started scribbling viciously at a piece of parchment, putting too much enthusiasm into the paper to be paying attention to what she was actually about to teach.
Lily Evans found this good. This way the two of them wouldn't be distracting everyone else the way that they usually did.
Remus, at least was paying apologetically strong attention, as if to tell her that he was sorry for his friends' actions and a little embarrassed on their behalf.
She liked him for that, even if she did get more annoyed every time James and Sirius shoved the note between themselves.
Peter, who was sat on the other side of James, passed his own notes to his friend, trying to join in.
Peter's notes lay ignored at the top of James' desk.
Class ended and Sirius scrunched the note up and threw it in the bin as he dragged James out of the room.
Remus came up to hand in their homework for them.
"I'm going to start giving them detention." She warned him.
He gave her a little smile.
"They deserve it." He told her conspiratorially.
"They're going to be N.E.W.T.s students, they don't need detentions."
"They already get plenty of them, never you mind."
And with that he turned and left.
Once the classroom was emptied, Lily walked over to the side of the room and retrieved the note Sirius and Potter had been passing during class.
She flattened it out
Did you just propose? Creepy, mate. Around her for ten minutes and you turn into a sexual predator, every single time.
She recognised Black's handwriting.
I can't help it.
You've only got two more years to go, then you can be as creepy as your heart desires.
I can't wait two years.
Yes you can, you tactless turd. In fact it's probably for the best that you stay away from her for the rest of these next two years as it is, otherwise she'll never see you as anything other than that one idiot kid she had to teach.
She won't see me that way. We both know I'm irresistible.
You're quite resistible, friend. And Evans seems to be doing quite the job of resisting you. You should stay away from her before you slip the truth. We both know if she finds out what you did, she'll hate you for the rest of your miserable little life.
She thinks I'm stunning, I can tell. She also likes my hair.
Lily Evans laughed aloud at this; she rather thought his hair was stupid. She felt a little guilty about snooping, but was much too curious to stop at this point. That and she wanted to know what he'd done that was so bad she'd hate him for it.
And unless you tell her, she's never going to find out what I did, so shut up you mighty twat.
Just get over her for the time being. Date that Maud bird. She just about drools every time you walk past, its right funny. I could do with seeing her arse more often too, I reckon she must do fifty squats a day.
Her arse isn't that nice.
Slander. Her arse is almost as nice as mine.
It can't be that nice if I've never noticed it.
Have you ever noticed my arse?
No, Padfoot. I have not.
Case and point, bud. You don't notice anyone's arse but hers.
Do you think Evans charms her hair to sit that way? Look at it.
Probably. I don't care, we were talking about arses, don't skip off into the land of Lily Evans and her hair and her 'Beautiful Green Eyes that may Hold a Screen of Lies'
You shut up about my poetry.
I will when you stop writing trash. Bad poetry hurts us all.
You don't have to read it, you know.
Oh, but I do. It's much too funny to ignore. Me and the lads give dramatic reading on Wednesdays when you're in Binns' 6:30 detention.
Moony'd never stand for that.
Oh he usually stands for readings. Sometimes even on a table for all of the common room to hear.
Sometimes I really wish I was.
She scrunched the note back up and tossed it back in the trash, amused, but with her curiosity amplified and then left completely unfulfilled.
She gathered her things and made her way through the castle to her room.
It was much smaller than the Gryffindor girls dorm that she was used to, but she had this one to herself.
There was a bedroom (bedecked in familiar red and gold) a small lounging area with a comfortable couch and a fireplace (also bedecked in familiar red and gold) and a large bathroom (which wasn't at all bedecked in red and gold, but had a shower with fantastic water pressure instead to make up for it.) The room even had a large cabinet next to the fireplace where she could keep all of her miscellaneous potions and charmed objects.
It was standing in front of this cabinet that she found Benjy Fenwick, who was examining a tiny bottle of veritaserum that she was aging for use on any of the Marauders should they try to lie.
It wasn't technically allowed for use on students, but she remembered at one ball she and Marlene McKinnon had spiked the punchbowl with a rather large dose and it had made for a very fun evening.
She figured that it wouldn't be too difficult to convince another student to do the same.
Benjy, apparently hadn't heard her enter.
He was meant to be back with Marlene- training to be an auror-
She saw him, and dropped her bag.
Benjy's face broke out into a huge, friendly grin.
Benjy had always been good at huge friendly grins, he had an easy sort of nature that made him very easy to like.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, very pleased to see him.
"I came for a visit, now come over here and give me a hug you silly sod."
She did as he asked, and the hug made her feel quite a bit better about just about everything.
"How are you enjoying teaching?" He asked the top of her head.
"It's rubbish. How are you enjoying training?"
He sighed a bit too dramatically.
"It's not all it's cracked up to be, Evans."
"You're lying to make me feel better, aren't you." She said.
"Just a bit, yeah."
With that, she sighed and let go of him.
"How did you get in here, anyway?"
"My special Auror training has given me the skills necessary to-"
"You guessed my password, didn't you?"
"It's your own fault, you always use the same one. Let's go down to the hall for lunch, I'm famished."
"Alright, tell me what you're doing here on the way down." She said, picking up her back to dump it on her already over-cluttered desk.
She made a mental note to change her password to something very long and difficult next time she had the chance.
"So. Why is it that you're here?" She asked as they started down the staircases.
"I missed house elves cooking. I've no idea how they get the outside of the potatoes so crunchy, I've got to ask one of them."
"And why else are you here?" She said, running her hands along the cold railing.
"Alright, old mate McGonagall wrote Marly and me a letter telling us that you were, well, miserable. So we decided to pop down in our holiday to see you."
"Then where's Marlene?" Lily asked.
Seeing Benjy was all well and good, and she didn't mean to sound rude, but of the two of them, she missed Marlene more.
"Well, she was supposed to be here with me, but she got so excited about seeing you that she couldn't focus on training. Mad-Eye's keeping her back a few days to finish up, but she should be here after that."
"And how long are you staying for?" She asked as they crossed the threshold of the Great Hall. The two of them walked past the table that they'd sat at every day of their education, and continued up the plaitform to the table where the Professors sat.
"For as long as you'll have me, I guess." He said, pulling up a chair to the teachers table. "Now this is weird." He said under his breath, looking over at the students from an elevated position.
"I know. It takes a bit of getting used to." She said.
"James Potter is staring at me." Said Benjy as Lily loaded her plate.
"Flip him off then, see what happens." She said, more focused on a rather nice looking bit of roast chicken.
Instead, Benjy greeted the other teachers and tried not to make a fool of himself while eating at the teachers table.
Lily looked over the students to see that Potter was still indeed glaring industriously at Benjy.
"He's still looking at you." She told her friend.
"I know," he smiled. "I think it's sweet. He's still got a crush on you." He cooed at her, taking a bite of sandwich.
"What do you mean 'still'?" She asked, nose scrunching.
"Oh don't be thick, Lily, that boy has worshipped the ground you walked on since he was a tiny little first year."
"No he hasn't," she denied.
"Oh he has. Why do you think he was always such a right little twat whenever you were around?"
"Because he's a shithead?"
"No. because he was an idiot little boy. And that's what idiot little boys do when they're in love with someone who's older than them. He was acting out because he was too short to pull your pigtails."
"You're an idiot, Fenwick."
"I know. But I'm only telling the truth as I see it."
She grinned at him.
"You think it's funny, don't you."
"Yes. But to be fair, that's only because it is. Now what do you think of the Prewetts, because they wanted to come down for a visit as well but no one would give them permission to come back on school grounds."
"Well after the stunt they pulled with the staircases, I'm not surprised. It took the teachers an age to get the antlers off."
"And even longer to get the purple out. Anyway, they're going to be down in Hogsmeade for a week and a bit if you want to go down there and get a drink with them later."
"Sounds good. I've got some detentions and papers to grade first though," Lily said around some bacon that her teeth had pulled all the way out of her sandwich.
"We'll go on Friday, that way we can get properly sloshed and you won't have to wake up to teach the next morning."
"There's a plan. Do you think Marlene will be here by then?"
"You can't just be bloody happy to see me, can you. It's just like seventh year all over again," he mocked kindly with a good natured smile.
"Oh hush. You like Marlene better than you like me as well."
"That's true." He conceded with a bit of a blush.
"Aw, you're blushing. Cute. You made a move yet?"
"You're training to be an auror, a hunter of dark wizards, but you're not brave enough to ask out a girl you fancy?"
"I'm pathetic, I already know. No need to rub it in my face." He said with an eye roll.
"Look, it's easy. Just walk up to her and say 'Hey McKinnon. We're doing dinner on Thursday.'"
"That sounds a bit rude."
"She likes forceful men, you know the sort. Beaters that've had all their brain cells killed."
He looked down at his narrow chest and made a face.
"Look, just shove her up against a wall and snog her. She'll like that."
"Lily, I can't shove her up against anything, do you know how much stronger than me she is?"
"You're making excuses, Fenwick. Do you want to shag her or not?"
"Of course I do."
"Then stop thinking about it and do it. Now I'll see you in a bit, I've got to go teach a group of Slytherins who refuse to listen to me because I'm muggle-born."
Her old friend looked at her for a long moment.
"You've gotten a bit tougher since the last time I've seen you, haven't you?" He said, a small furrow between his eyebrows.
"Nah. I've just got much less patience. It comes with having to deal with James Potter and his shit little gang."
Lily wanted a hug.
Not an awkward, hard hug that someone as skinny as Benjy would give, but a real one.
She wanted the sort that Marlene gave, which were always a little too tight.
She was sat at a table at the Three Broomsticks with a huge tankard of mulled mead.
Benjy was off collecting shots of Firewhiskey at the bar, and Gideon and Fabian were looking at her over the table.
"You look right miserable." Said Fabian.
"Is that a hickey?" Said Gideon.
"You look like you could do with getting properly toasted." Said Fabian, not waiting for her to answer his brother.
"Actually, that'd be brilliant." She said, lifting up her tankard to drink it just a little too quickly.
She briefly fought a gag as she finished the thing.
The twins looked at her.
"That bad?" One of them asked, she wasn't looking, so she couldn't tell which.
She sat the tankard down with a loud thump.
"Just about." She admitted as Benjy arrived with a tray of amber coloured shots.
She took two and downed them with impressive speed.
"You ready to talk about it now?" He asked.
"Talk about what? What happened?" Asked Fabian, seemingly more out of curiosity than concern.
She fell back into her seat and looked at the three of them.
"James Potter happened." She said.
Fabian and Gideon, who had both lifted their first shots half toward their faces, stopped.
"James Potter?" Gideon asked.
"We love that kid."
"He turned Clancy Schumacher's head into a potato when he was in fourth year."
"For absolutely no reason at all."
"It was excellent."
"He pulled my shirt down and sucked on my tit." She said, interrupting them, more than a little inebriated.
The three of them were suddenly in a small, silent bubble while the pub roiled around them.
Gideon gave a long, low whistle.
"Well, Evans, I'm not gonna lie. If my Charms teacher had looked like you, I probably would've given it a go as well."
"I'm a bit surprised you let him, though," said Fabian.
"I didn't." She said as a low snarl. "He was too strong to shove away and I'd left my wand up in my room."
"Well what did you do that for?"
"I didn't do it on purpose, Gideon." She said, drunk enough to forget to be outraged that he was blaming for not being able to defend herself instead of blaming Potter for his molestation.
Fabian took a shot, and then appeared to think for a second.
"Wait, wasn't it him who bought her knickers?"
"It was!" Yelled Gideon, smiling at the apparently fond memory.
"What the hell are you two talking about?" Lily asked. She wasn't quite happy, but she was drunk, which was miles better than what she'd been ten minutes ago.
"We used to nick knickers."
"We were running a nicked knicker ring when we were in seventh year."
"We're born entrepreneurs."
"Hold on," Benjy interrupted. "You stole girls knickers? And then sold them?"
Benjy sounded disgusted. Lily loved him for that.
"Yeah, well we weren't selling them to blokes like you." Fabian said as if it were a defence.
"We were selling them to nasty idiots."
"The bottom of the proverbial barrel,"
"The real scum of the earth."
"Blokes like us."
Fabian hummed in approval.
"They paid a lot, too."
"And there were quite a few requests for your undergarments, dear Lily."
She stared at them, her drunken mind not knowing whether she should yell or laugh.
"We only ended up taking one pair, navy blue lace, very nice."
"We figured we'd tell everyone it was an exclusive and have a bidding war."
"The price got way up there, too."
"James Potter ended up buying them."
"Although we always thought that he'd bought them to keep them out of circulation."
"I don't think he liked the idea of someone else sniffing the thong of his dearest Lilikins."
She stared at them for a long moment.
"I'm probably going to slap the two of you, tomorrow." She told them mildly.
"What, not now?" Asked Benjy, looking a bit bemused.
"Honestly, I'm a bit too sloshed to care."
The twins cheered, and then they all drank some more.
They drank and they drank, and the three boys who all had lodging in Hogsmeade, decided to walk Lily back up to the castle. They sang Maggie May and Moonlight Bay all the way.
(The version of Moonlight Bay was a little augmented from the original and went something like this:
We were strolling along/ Moonlight Bay
We could hear the voices singing/ and they seemed to say
You have broken my heart/ So go away
With your big fat hairy legs/ on Moonlight Bay)
Lily found herself alone in the entrance hall, stumbling drunk on her way to the staircases.
She hoped that the stairs themselves wouldn't shift too much, because she wasn't sure that her brain, which felt like it was floating unbalanced in a puddle of liquor, could cope.
She managed to get half the way up to her room before she realised that habit had taken her in the direction of the Gryffindor dorms.
"Shit," she said under her breath.
"Evans?" An incredulous voice called out.
She fought the urge to hide when she thought she was going to get in trouble.
Then she remembered that she was no longer head girl- in fact, she was no longer a student at all, and so had licence to be as drunk as she liked.
So she walked away.
She heard rapid footsteps that quickly caught up to her staggering form, steadying her before she toppled over the hand-rail to her death.
The stairs shifted, with both her and her new friend on them.
"Great." He muttered.
She looked over to indentify the speaker, and found it was no other than Sirius Black.
"Hallo, Black." She said.
"You sound too pleased to see me by half. How much have you had to drink?" He asked, actually sounding a bit worried.
"Nothing." She told him.
It was not very convincing.
"How much have you had to drink, Evans."
"Nothing at all." She was adamant.
"Do you want me to go and get James? Because I could call him up in a trice. I'm sure he'd just love to deal with drunk Lily."
She physically recoiled, which was not the reaction he had been expecting.
"Don't you dare, Black." She whispered.
She had meant for the words to come out vicious, but they'd come out as pathetic instead.
"Then tell me how much you've had to drink." He said, trying to stare levelly into her eyes.
Her vision was unfocused, all she could see was a whole lot of smeared grey iris and some black where his hair might've been.
"'Bout half a bottle of Firewhisky. And some mead."
He stared at her for a long moment, assessing how tiny she was, how frail her limbs looked. How little body fat she had to absorb alcohol.
"You really don't do things by half, do you. C'mere, I'll help you back to your room."
Sirius wedged himself under her arm and turned them back in the direction she was meant to be heading in.
"You shouldn't know where my room is." She told him.
"Ah, you forget. I share a room with your dedicated stalker."
"Yesterday," she informed him. "I would've thought you were joking about that. But today I'm not so sure. Is it true that he paid fifty galleons for a pair of my knickers?" She asked, shamelessly curious.
This was when Sirius Black realised how drunk his Charms Professor really was.
"Who told you that?" He asked. He was James Potter's best friend, but he'd be lying if he said he didn't believe it.
"Fabian and Gideon."
"What, the Prewett's? How would they know?"
"They said they were the ones who sold it to him."
Sirius looked up to the ceiling and prayed for patience.
"Well, I think they're having you on." He took a deep breath. "James was acting right weird when he got back from your detention. Did something happen?" He asked, hoping he sounded innocent.
She looked at him, his face a little too close.
They stopped walking.
"Yes, something happened." She said, sounding serious enough that for half a second he thought that she was perfectly sober.
Then whilst perfectly stationary she tripped over his foot and he remembered perfectly.
"And what exactly was it that happened?" He asked.
She squinted at him for a moment.
"How did he say it? What did he say he did? He was 'giving in'." She repeated as if it were poison on her tongue.
"He gave in."
"Has anyone ever told you that you're not the best communicator when you're drunk?"
"Loads. Almost everyone I've ever drunk with. I've come to a conclusion, Black. Several, in fact. Would you like to hear them?"
"I'd absolutely love to."
He was starting to have a bit of fun here.
"I need to get laid."
Sirius Black choked.
"Well, I can certainly think of a willing party,"
"I don't think it would've felt so darn good if I wasn't sexually frustrated."
"I'm sorry, what felt good?"
"And you, Black. You're incredibly clever, you know that already, but when it comes to what's socially appropriate, you're really not so bright."
"You really know how to cut a man down, Evans."
"Mmm. I practice."
He hadn't seemed really hurt by the remark. In fact, Lily had never seen the boy hurt by anything. He was always so cool.
She thought he was dreadfully young to be so hard.
"Have you come to any other conclusions?" He asked. They were at her portrait now.
He'd follow her in to feed her a glass of water and make sure she got into bed, but he was sure that James would hex him half to death if he tried.
"Care to share?"
"Now. I've seen both of your arses, and I'm just going to say, in my humble opinion, that while they're both exceptionally nice-"
She took a deep dramatic breath here.
"Maud's is better than yours."
Then she whispered her password and the portrait swung open.
Sirius stared at her.
"Night Sirius." She cooed, shutting the painting behind her.
"Goodnight, Lily." He said quietly to the closed door.
She was hungover for the entire weekend.
She'd thought that hangovers weren't meant to apply to you until you were at least thirty, but her body, apparently, had other ideas.
She had the sixth year Gryffindors again today, and she wasn't happy about it.
She'd had spent her weekend feeling like trash, and now she was going to spend her Monday feeling ashamed of herself because she couldn't handle her teenage students properly.
So she sat behind the desk in her absurdly tall chair, and waited.
She'd realised that morning that her robes and hair would cover the bruise on her neck well enough that there was no need for a concealment charm, so she hadn't bothered.
Remus was first into her classroom, as per usual.
He came up to her desk with a friendly comforting smile and asked how her weekend had been.
She smiled and lied and asked him how his own weekend had gone.
After a long moment of polite conversation, he returned to his seat. He had wanted to ask her a question, she could tell that much, but apparently he hadn't been able.
He moved to sit by Sirius and James, who had filed in and sat down while she wasn't watching.
She squared her jaw and stared at them both, daring them to say something.
She was determined not to feel ashamed, not to falter or crack in any way.
She most certainly wasn't going to let James Potter think he'd got to her.
She could see Potter pointing his wand at her under the table, no doubt trying to remove the concealment charm he thought she must've placed on her neck.
This put her in an even worse mood.
So instead of teaching something fun, which was what she'd planned on doing when she'd written out the lesson plans last week, (she'd been in a much better mood back then,) she prescribed class reading.
She started to mark the homework that had been given to her last week when she felt a hot shiver wash its way over her skin and an odd tingle of awareness at the back of her neck, in her fingertips, and in her belly.
A moment later she felt the same thing rush and pool in her breasts, weighting them down and making them overly sensitive.
It was like every nerve in her body was calling out to be touched.
The spot between her legs started to throb, and she pushed her thighs together as if to make it stop.
It didn't work.
She looked up to see the hazel eyes of James Potter, shining behind his glasses.
He didn't seem to have shaved over the past few days.
She wondered what his stubble would feel like between her thighs.
And then she wondered if he'd slipped an aphrodisiac into her pumpkin juice.
He licked his lips, just a quick swipe of his tongue to draw her attention.
And draw her attention it did.
He raised his hand.
"I need to borrow a text book."
"Share with Sirius."
"He's a notorious book hog."
"Share with Peter."
"He's scribbled in his so much I can't tell what it says."
She sighed and tried to pretend she wasn't affected by how goddamned deep his voice was.
It was too smooth to belong to a seventeen year old. It reached down and scraped at something primal in her.
"You can use mine." She said, pushing it forward on her desk and then looking back to her marking.
She was aware of him standing, and she could feel every step that he made toward her.
When he made it to her desk, he leaned forward until his lips pressed ever so lightly on the outside shell of her ear.
He enunciated every word carefully, making sure his mouth dragged, warm and soft over her skin with each syllable.
"I want to strip you, lick you, and fuck you numb. Right here, on this desk." He whispered.
Her insides heated, clenched, and then melted.
She may have whimpered a little, but her brain had suddenly become too fogged for her to be certain.
"I have my wand on me this time, Potter. I suggest you get back to your seat."
He cracked a half a smile, like he knew exactly what he'd done to her poor, abused heart.
He went back to his seat all the same, but it did nothing to calm her nerves.
Then, much to her relief, the back door of the room slammed open, breaking the intensity and his stare altogether.
In the open doorway stood the tiny, blonde figure of Marlene McKinnon, her wide blue eyes focused on Lily.
Lily stood with such speed that the tall chair behind her nearly toppled over.
Marlene ran forward, launched herself over the desk and into Lily, whom she clung to with both her arms and legs.
Lily clung back, supporting both of their weight and smiling into her friends' hair, stumbling forwards.
"I missed you I missed you I missed you I missed you!" Marlene crooned, shifting her arms around Lily's neck.
"I missed you too." She admitted.
The two of them stood like that for an indefinite period of time.
"My god, Lily Evans! Is this a hickey?" Marlene squealed after finally shifting back.
At this, all of the class but one sat to attention.
The three spare Marauders looked to James Potter.
And then they saw that he didn't look upset, but rather pleased with himself instead.
"You fiend." Remus accused.
Lily cleared her throat, her best and closest friend still wrapped around her like a pretzel.
Marlene was almost strangling the life out of her, but it was in a nice sort of way. At any rate, she was blocking the hickey from class view.
"Last weeks homework on my desk, and you can have the rest of the lesson off." She said through a screen of blonde hair after a very long moment.
The class was only too eager to comply.
Once the room was empty, Marlene lowered herself down and looked Lily straight in the eye.
"Did sixth years always look like that? That Black boy is a goddamned dish- and what on earth happened to James Potter? He used to be so scrawny, but now, my god I could spread him on a cracker. Does he still follow you around like a little lost puppy?"
"No, he's graduated to assaulting me in empty classrooms."
It was later that night when Marlene had passed out on her couch, that Lily pulled out the homework she was meant to be grading; that she found a crumpled piece of parchment that had been torn in half.
It had fallen from inside of Sirius Black's scroll of Charms revision.
Look at how happy she is to see her friend, Prongs.
Shut up. I feel guilty enough.
What are you going to do if she starts crying?
Take a running jump off the astronomy tower.
You should've just waited two years like any regular sane person would.
Regular, sane people don't have access to my fathers money.
Look at how miserable staying here is making her.
When did you start caring so much about Evans?
Then, suddenly, Sirius' handwriting became heavy, agitated and splotched through with messy ink.
DID YOU ACTUALLY SPEND YOUR LAST DETENTION SUCKING YOUR CHARMS PROFESSORS NECK? ARE YOU SERIOUS, MATE. THIS IS GOING TO END SO TERRIBLY. THERE'LL BE HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE RAINING FROM THE MOTHERFUCKING SKY, I HONESTLY CANNOT BELIEVE HOW BADLY YOU MANAGED TO FUCK UP HAVING A CRUSH.
SHE GRADUATED, YOU FOOL.
YOU WERE JUST MEANT TO LET HER GO.
YOU WERE MEANT TO BE SAD, AND THEN YOU WERE MEANT TO MOVE ON.
YOU WERENT MEANT TO BRIBE THE GODDAMNED AUROR ACCEPTANCE BOARD.
YOU WERENT MEANT TO BRIBE FLITWICK FOR FUCKS SAKE.
AND YOU SURE AS GODS GREEN DICK WERENT MEANT TO ASSAULT HER IN AN EMPTY CLASSROOM YOU INSANE LITTLE SHIT.
Lily Evan's hand was shaking.
Apparently, so had Sirius'. There was a lot of uneven lettering, and even more angry splotches.
What on earth is wrong with you? You thought it was funny last week
THAT'S BECAUSE IT WAS FUNNY LAST WEEK.
And it's not now?
NO. NOW IT'S RAPEY.
I'm not rapey. I didn't do anything she didn't enjoy.
Lily put the parchment down.
She felt hot, angry tears in the back of her eyes.
Flitwick had asked her to do this as his best student.
The auror acceptance board had sent her the forms for re-application, telling her that the next entry date available to her was in two years.
She was going to kill him.
She was going to kill him.
She was going to leave her room, right now, march over to the Gryffindor dorms, she was going to knock until someone let her in, and then she was going to strangle the life out of him as he slept.
But first she was going to use every single unpleasant hex she could think of on his idiotic fucking body. She was going to make him bald for the rest of his life.
She was going to make him sob and beg for mercy.
"You're shaking, Lily." Said Marlene, snapping her out of her trance, bringing her out of her fantasies of turning James Potter into a giant root vegetable and back into reality.
She picked the parchment back up and thrust it at her friend, the paper trembling in her fingers.
Marlene held it close to her eyes as she read it.
Her face creased in deeper outrage the further she got through it.
She looked ridiculous, tiny, blonde, wearing pyjamas twice her size and filled with personal outrage.
"Are you going to take this to McGonagall?" She asked.
"I'm going to take this to motherfucking Dumbledore." Lily spat. "And Mad-Eye. And Potter's dickwit of a father."
She started pacing around the room, planning the twelve-dozen angry letters she was going to write, and every individual she was going to write them to.
And then there was the one, singular thank-you note that she was going to send to Sirius Black, and she was going to send it with a basket of muffins.
He had left her that note on purpose, so as far as she was concerned, Sirius Black was now her favourite student.
Before she departed she was going to go through his old results and ace him in every single test he'd ever taken.
Marlene stopped in front of her and rested a hand on her arm.
"Don't." She said.
Lily almost spat fire.
"What do you mean, don't?"
"I mean, you're not going to get much of a chance for personal revenge if you alert the higher authorities."
"I also won't be able to leave this shit-hole and get started on my auror training if I don't alert the higher authorities."
Lily knew that the term shit-hole was completely incorrect, but she was angry and wanted to yell a bit.
"You won't be able to start your auror training until the beginning of next year as it is. So consider this; instead of telling everyone what a boysenberry flavoured fucknut James Potter is- you stay quiet, submit an early application to the Auror acceptance board, and spend the rest of this year getting paid to make Potters life a living hell?"
Lily, upon hearing this, calmed down entirely.
Her pacing halted, and her angry, laboured breathing slowed down.
And then she spoke.
"How do you feel about teaming up with the Prewetts?"
James was somewhere under his invisibility cloak, and Sirius could damn well guess where.
Apparently charms today hadn't gone on long enough for James to get his Lily fix.
Sirius ran through the corridors, hoping that his friend had gotten peckish and decided on the kitchens instead, when he came across a cat.
The cat stood in the centre of the corridor, and if it were any bigger, it would've blocked his way.
It brought Sirius to a complete halt.
He forgot that he was looking for his friend; in fact, he forgot everything that he was meant to be doing, and the urgency he was meant to be doing it with.
He looked at the cat.
The cat looked at him.
"I think you'd look good in a hat." Said Sirius.
"I owled them, okay, they'll be here any minute." Said Lily, sitting in the Three Broomsticks, which was unreasonably crowded for a Monday night.
Marlene had put on a thick cloak over her pyjamas and was now drinking butterbeer from a bottle.
"Are you sure you want to bring the twins into this?" Marlene asked with narrowed eyes as if this were a bad idea and she was of questionable sanity for even considering it.
"Not at all." Said Lily, who was nursing a drink a little stronger than butterbeer.
Lily was trying her hardest not to spontaneously combust. While she looked calm outwardly, she was bubbling with rage, and obviously wasn't following the rational, logical, and mature thought processes that she should've.
She wasn't acting like the adult she almost was.
She was acting like a child with a vendetta, she was making decisions in anger.
She knew she'd probably live to regret all this, but she couldn't find it in her to care.
The twins sashayed into the pub, Gideon sporting pink hair, and Fabian with sparkling tusks coming out of his nostrils.
Every time he tried to breathe out through his nose it led to a bubbling farting sound, which sent both twins into fits of laughter as they walked through the crowd to where Lily and Marlene were sat.
"We have a proposition for you," Marlene sat as the pair of them tried to balance their laughing arses on the bar stools.
Gideon held up one finger to indicate that the two of them should wait, and then Fabian attempted to give a rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic through nothing but his nose farts.
Marlene and Lily did not laugh, they just sat and waited for the boys to finish.
"What? Nothing?" Fabian asked, sending the tusks away with a quick wave of his wand, a little disconcerted that they didn't produce a single laugh.
"Lily's looking for a partner in crime." Said Marlene.
Both girls in that moment would've sworn that they saw real fire light up in their identical eyes.
"Are you serious right now?"
"Because if you're pulling our leg with something like this, I doubt we'll ever forgive you."
"What is it that you need?"
"What do you hope to achieve?"
"Do you have a specific goal in mind?"
"Do you want to coat all the toilet bowls in the school with repelling charms?"
"Do you want to paint the Great Hall with jam?"
"Do you want to fill McGonagall's desk with pickles?"
Marlene forgot the task at hand long enough for her brow to crease in the middle.
"Why the hell would she want to do that?"
There was a little bit of silence as Lily gave them a look.
Fabian's grin collapsed.
Under the joking, to some degree, the boys cared.
"It's Potter." Said Lily stiffly.
At this, the both of them tensed in their seats, Gideons hair fading from pink back to its regular colour with great speed.
"What's he done?" Gideon asked.
"Did he touch you again?"
"Don't tell us he took it too far this time,"
Lily made a little snarling sound in the back of her throat.
"Oh, he took it too far this time."
"God, don't tell us he-"
"No." She interrupted them swiftly. "No. He didn't do that."
Fabian seemed to relax a little in his seat, but Gideon leaned forward, as if he were curious what they were going to say next.
"Lily here has recently found out that dearest darling James Potter is the reason she's not in auror training on account of he's bribed just about everyone with his fathers' money to keep her in Hogwarts."
Fabian choked on a laugh.
"Oh you can't be serious."
"I'll assure you I'm perfectly serious. And I'd like help from the both of you to get him back for it."
"Alright, sounds like a laugh." Said Fabian, looking pleased enough with this as a request.
But where Fabian looked happy with the way the discussion had gone, Gideon had developed an unpleasant glint in his eye.
"Course we'll do it. There'll be a price though." He said, prompting Fabian to jab him with an elbow. Fabian glared at his brother as if willing him to shut up.
"What do you want?" Marlene asked, looking amused.
"I want a date with the pretty ginger for my comrade Fabian here."
"Mighty Merlin, murder us all." Muttered Fabian under his breath, hiding his face behind his hands.
He'd gone beet red.
Marlene briefly choked on her tongue.
"But he's a pig," she said, sounding shocked.
"That doesn't mean he doesn't have feelings." Said Gideon as though having feelings for Lily was the obvious direction feelings would take.
"You want to take Lily out on a date?" Marlene asked, sounding as if this were the most ridiculous thing she'd possibly ever been told.
Fabian mumbled something in the back of his throat, his face getting even redder.
"If that's a yes to the date proposition, then we'll meet you up at the castle at four."
"I thought you weren't allowed back up into the castle?" Lily asked, finally calm enough to manage a bit of conversation on her own.
"We're not." Gideon winked, and with that, Fabian fled, pulling his brother out of the old pub behind him.
Marlene and Lily looked at one another.
She finished the remainder of her drink in one.
"I guess I've got a date."
Sirius got back to the common room cold.
His blood felt frozen, and he was incredibly glad for the cozy luxury of red and gold living space.
He made a beeline for the fireplace, pleased with what he'd accomplished in the evening.
The fire exuded a huge radius of heat, which seemed to scorch the outside his skin a little, but warmed him inside in a nice sort of way.
"Did you find Prongs?" Asked Remus.
Sirius jumped, not having seen his friend in his rush over to the fire.
"You got distracted, didn't you?"
"I ran into Mrs. Norris, do you blame me?"
"What was I going to do if I found him anyway?" Asked Sirius, completely annoyed.
"You were going to explain to him that you told her. Jesus, Padfoot, do you ever think about the consequences of your actions, or do you just dive in thoughtless and unprepared every time? You made a decision that was going to affect more than one persons life,"
Sirius rounded on his friend, suddenly silhouetted by raging flames that cast his face in dramatic, flickering shadow.
"I wasn't the one who made a choice here, I was just the one who exposed it." Sirius mocked.
"I know. I know what James did was wrong. But he didn't just bribe people, Sirius. He bribed government officials. Do you think he's just going to get a slap on the wrist? He could get arrested, why did you think I didn't tell Lily myself? This isn't just about some girl and what she thinks of him anymore."
"He attacked her. He's always been a hopeless fucking cockwomble where she was concerned, but he attacked her. If we leave him like this, what do you think he's going to do next time he's left alone in a room with her?" Asked Sirius, the levity of what he'd done to his best friend smashing, heavy over his skull.
"Well I guess we'll never have to find out."