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James/Lily 1

Fic: That's What Friends Are For

Title: That’s What Friends Are For
Rating: G
Word Count: 2,439
Genre: humor, friendship
Pairing(s): L/J

Summary: After years of humiliation, dogged persistence, and unrequited love, James Potter is finally going on a date with Lily Evans. Life is perfect...right up until the other Marauders decide to crash the date.

A/N: Finally getting some of my fics from this year’s mini_fest posted. This one’s for 2011’s prompt #161. The original can be found here.



Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters, objects, settings, and plots are the property of J.K. Rowling. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise associated with Harry potter. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made from the writing of this fanfiction.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What. Are you doing here, Black?” James hissed, getting right in his best friend’s face.

“Ooooooo,” Sirius laughed, tilting his head back to avoid banging noses with James, the other boy was that close. “Didja hear that, Mooners? He used my surname. He’s angry.”

“Do not call me ‘Mooners,’” Remus muttered over James’s low snarl, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“You couldn’t tell he was angry when he fisted his hands in your shirt and slammed you against that tree trunk? Twice? ” Peter emphasized, his mild tone belied by the delighted grin on his face.

“Shut up, Pete. If you weren’t such a girl, you’d know Prongsie sometimes likes to manhandle his friends.”

“Oi! Who’re you calling a girl?! Which of us was it that pinned the other down and sat on him just last week? And which was it that was pinned down and crying for mercy, hmmm?”

“I have never cried a day in my life!”

“You—”

“Peter, stop; you’re only encouraging him,” Remus cut in. “And Sirius, I know for a fact you cried like a babe when Wanda Wyvern found her one true love at the end of Love Affairs of the Wicked, Witchy, and Well-Off.”

“Moony! I told you that in strictest confidence!”

“You didn’t tell me anything. I saw it happen.”

“And we swore never never to speak of it again!”

Remus smirked. “If you weren’t so indiscreet about listening to Wireless soaps...”

“But!”

“Shut. Up!” James snarled in his angriest tone, shoving Sirius back against the tree again for emphasis. There was instant silence. “Now. Why. Are. You. Here?”

“Why are you abusing me? Moony!” Sirius whimpered. “He’s pushing me. And using the Tone of Serious Anger. Make him stop.”

“Shut up, Padfoot,” Remus hissed.

“Black,” James growled. “Explain.”

Me? Why do I have to explain? There are three of us here, you know. Why does everyone always blame me?” Sirius protested.

“Probably because it’s usually your idea,” Peter told him, chewing absently on a hangnail.

“If it’s not Prongs’s,” Remus pitched in.

“The stuff that gets Padfoot blamed is usually Padfoot’s idea, though,” Peter said thoughtfully.

It was at this point that James let out an inarticulate cry. His friends wisely shut up.

When he was certain he’d finally glared them all into submission, James turned his furious gaze on Sirius.

“I have been trying to get Lily to date me for years. I wanted to take her out before I even knew what it meant to take a girl out. If you mess this up for me, I will destroy you. All of you.” James paused long enough to glare at Remus and Peter too. “Painfully, and slowly, and when you least expect it.”

“Okay, okay. Tone down the Glare of Death, Jamie. Cripes.” Sirius shoved at James until his friend stepped back a pace, releasing Sirius’s jumper. Sirius smoothed the garment down, tugging at the hem until all but the worst of the wrinkles disappeared. Only once he’d fixed his appearance did he turn his attention to James.

“You’ve been all worked up over this first date thing for a week and a half, James,” Sirius muttered. “And after the last six years, trust me, mate, there is no one who doesn’t know how much this means to you, least of all us. We just thought if we showed up and, you know, hung around on the sidelines making funny faces and whatnot whenever you oh-so-gracefully skated by our side of the ice rink, maybe you’d relax a little and have fun.”

“I don’t need—”

“You were stiff as a board when we showed up, Prongsie. Keep that up and she’ll avoid you like the Inferius you are imitating.”

“Plus, we really wanted to see you trip all over yourself every time she smiles at you,” Remus put in.

“If you can get her to smile,” Peter added helpfully. “Which is pretty doubtful judging by how things were going when we showed up.”

“Well yeah,” Sirius agreed. “Those bits go without saying, I thought.”

“It’s more fun to say it and then watch him get all gapey and infuriated though,” Peter mused.

Sirius eyed James speculatively, then threw a wicked grin Peter’s way. Exercising a bit of wisdom, however, he chose not to actually say anything.

“So basically, you’re all here to spy on my date and mock me behind Lily’s back,” James surmised.

“Like a trip to the Muggle cinema,” Sirius readily agreed, grinning.

“How would you know, Pads?” Remus asked “You’ve never been to the Muggle cinema.”

“After ‘media’ day in Muggle Studies, I made that Muggleborn bloke who’s always hanging out in our common room—the blond boy, you know the one. With the hair?” Sirius put his hands on his head, fingers sticking up in every direction, to indicate the rumpled, uncombed state of the boy’s hair. “Anyway, I made him tell me all about it. So I do know what I’m talking about, Moony,” he added superciliously.

“Stephen Fletcher? Padfoot, he’s a Gryffindor! In our year! How is it that you don’t know his name?”

Sirius shrugged carelessly. Remus sputtered at this response, causing Peter to break out into creepy giggles. James eyed them all furiously, and then gave up with a heavy sigh. “Just stay out of the way and do not, I repeat, do not let Lily see you.”

“I don’t know, Jamie-boy. We’re not really the sit-on-the-sidelines type. I mean, we’re lively young men in our prime. We get bored and restless easily. And we have three pairs of rented skates and only one invisibility cloak.”

“You rented skates?”

Wearing identical grins, all three boys raised their arms to show off a pair of rental skates clutched by the laces.

James groaned. “I hate you all.”

Sirius waved a dismissive hand. “If you’re so concerned that your lady-love will think you love us more than you love her—which is true, I know, but that’s no way to get dates, Prongsie—you’d best get back to it. Your lovely flower is starting to look a little suspicious.”

James threw a panicked glance over his shoulder and then turned back to glare at his friends. “Don’t mess this up for me,” he told them firmly, pointing his finger at each in turn before spinning on his heel and hurrying back to Lily.

If he heard the whip-crack sound Sirius made as he left, he gave no indication of it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Sirius was surprisingly good on ice skates, for someone who’d never been skating before. Lily’s first Marauder sighting consisted of Sirius gliding by, skating backwards and waving with a cheeky grin.

James turned an interesting shade of puce at the sight, but Lily seemed to take it in stride. Sirius nearly fell for laughing when Lily, catching sight of Sirius, merely turned to James, a vaguely curious expression on her face, and James clearly stumbled all over his words in an effort to answer her and apologize for his nosy, interfering friends.

“He is saying some very uncomplimentary things about us,” said Remus, reading James’s lips from across the rink.

“Should we be put out?”

“Normally yes, but I think we’ll give him a pass this time. He’s in a particularly high-stress situation right now, and we did crash his date.”

“Psh. Only because he needs us to make the date work.”

“It’s not really his fault he doesn’t know that, Pads.”

“You’d think after all these years he’d figure out how dependent on us he is.”

“I suspect he’ll figure it out when Lily starts complaining about how their house is never without extraneous Marauders.”

“‘Extraneous’? Moony, really? What did we say about fancy words of four or more syllables?”

Remus just rolled his eyes. “Come on. Let’s skate a bit before we take steps to pretty this date up.”

“What are you talking about? My being here pretties this date up all by itself. I just have to make an effort not to outshine Prongs and we’ll be fine.”

Sirius dodged the swipe Remus took at the back of his head with a laugh and skated off to find Peter. When he spotted his prey, his grin widened.

Unlike Sirius, who was naturally a natural, and Remus, who’d been skating before, Peter was a bit hopeless on the ice. Sirius skated up, sneaky-like, behind his shorter friend, then darted out in front of him and caught him up under one arm, pulling him up against his chest like a ballroom dancer.

“Hey!” Peter screeched, legs going every which way as Sirius caught his free hand in a firm clasp and set off, skating in a strange, slightly wobbly parody of a waltz.

“If you damage me with those skates, Wormy,” Sirius warned, “you will be sorry.”

“Then let me go!” Peter cried.

Rather than obeying, Sirius spun them about in a fancy twirl that had Peter scrambling to stay upright. He grinned at Lily when he caught her laughing at his antics, and twirled them under the pretense of teaching Peter how to dance properly, which Peter protested vehemently.

Eventually, Sirius gave up on Peter, who was persistent in being “no fun,” and went to join Remus. Bored, he secretly began a competition to see who was the better skater. For the first round, he tried to see who was more graceful, then more dramatic, then faster, and so on. When Remus eventually caught on, he threw himself into the competition, watching Sirius just long enough to figure out what they were competing over, and then doing his best to beat him at it. Sirius only suspended the competition once, just long enough to link arms with Remus and swing them both around as they passed Lily and James, making kissy faces at their friend when Lily wasn’t looking.

James’s expression was thunderous, and he made a few very rude hand motions, but there wasn’t much he could do about it just then.

Eventually, though, Remus signaled to Sirius, and the two of them clambered off the rink. Peter joined them moments later.

“So?” Peter asked, out of breath. “It’s time then?”

“It’s time,” Remus agreed. “Everyone remember the plan?”

Peter nodded. Sirius just grinned. “Let Operation Fluffy, Fluffy Love Bunnies begin!” he enthused.

“I thought we’d named it Operation End James’s Whinging,” Peter said with a frown.

“We nixed that title almost immediately, Worms,” Sirius replied, rolling his eyes. “It was all wrong.”

“It was your idea! And I distinctly remember that being the na—”

“Enough, children,” Remus interjected. “Padfoot is right, Wormtail, we changed the name ages ago. Not that it matters,” he added with a pointed look at the triumphant Sirius. “Because regardless of the name, the goals of the mission are the same. So if we’re done fighting over operation titles, let’s get on with it already.”

“Right.” Sirius caught sight of James and Lily stepping off the ice on the far side of the rink. “Phase one then.”

Sirius collected all three pairs of rented skates and hurried along the edge of the rink, heading for the skate rental hut. When he reached it, he edged in behind Lily and James, who were queued up to return their own skates, and snuck a small wad of Muggle bills into the palm of James’s free hand.

James threw a startled glance over his shoulder. When he met Sirius’s eyes, he gave him a puzzled frown.

Sirius jerked his head toward a nearby street cart, where a man in a pastel pink apron was selling roasted nuts and hot drinks. James, still looking confused, glanced at the cart and then back at Sirius.

The bewildered expression did not change.

Sirius huffed in frustration and jerked his head toward the cart more emphatically. James widened his eyes and shook his head, throwing in a little shrug to emphasize his continuing confusion. Or his idiocy. Whichever. Sirius bared his teeth and then, after a quick glance to make sure Lily still hadn’t noticed their little interchange, he leaned in close to James’s ear.

“Take the Muggle money, Jamie, and buy your lady love some hot chocolate,” he whispered.

James frowned some more. “Why?”

“Because it’s romantic, you berk!” Sirius flung the skates he was carrying down on the counter, never mind that he was cutting the queue, and stalked off.

Of all the stupid, dense, ungrateful...

He felt a little gratified when he caught sight of James taking Lily’s hand and leading her toward the street cart. But James still owed him so big for his patience.

Sirius watched James and Lily purchase their chocolate from across the ice. When the couple headed for the park adjacent to the outdoor skating rink, slowly sipping as they walked, Sirius held up two fingers and waved them at Remus.

“Phase two,” he mouthed.

Remus nodded, then nudged Peter, who was too busy trying to open the packaging on some snack or other without taking off his thick woolen gloves to pay attention. Peter looked up at Remus, then followed his gaze to Sirius, nodding when the brunette repeated the hand gesture. He climbed clumsily to his feet, and still holding his snack with one hand, began searching his pockets for his wand with the other.

Sirius rolled his eyes and performed a slow, sarcastic clap when Peter finally found what he was looking for. The shorter boy waved the wand threateningly in Sirius’s direction before turning his attention to phase two.

Peter was the one who whispered the simple weather charm a few minutes later, causing big, fat flakes of snow to drift slowly down around their friend and his date.

It was Remus who found the switch for the Muggle fairy lights and turned them on, whispering a light amplification charm that he and Sirius had spent four days inventing so that the lights would be easily visible in the daylight.

Then Sirius added the finishing touch: soft sweet music to accompany his favorite couple’s snowy, romantic walk. He set the Muggle radio—amplified and made wireless with magic and spelled to self destruct so that Muggles would not discover it—in some nearby bushes and charmed it to be invisible before creeping over to join Remus and Peter.

Sirius was smiling when he reached them. “I think he’s got it for now, lads.” Sirius clapped a hand to each boy’s back as they watched Lily sway into James’s side. His smile widened as Lily tilted her chin up and James leaned his head down to meet her.

“Let’s leave them to it.”

Comments

(Anonymous)

What a wonderful story! :) I think my favorite thing about your stories is how well you manage to portray the Marauders and their friendship in any situation. They may tease each other but in the end you can clearly see the love and appreciation they have for the other three.

This one-shot had me laughing all the way through. Sirius was probably my favorite with all of his titles for everything: "Tone of Serious Anger" and "Glare of Death" and hehehe "Operation Fluffy, Fluffy Love Bunnies." XD

As soon as Sirius announced that Operation Fluffy, Fluffy Love Bunnies was about to begin, I imagined some sort of big, splashy attempt that would piss James off but ultimately make Lily laugh. I love how you took the other route and just had Sirius, Remus, and Peter be behind the scenes and doing little things to help make the date better. It really helps protray the support they have for their friend.

Anyhoo, I didn't mean to ramble this long. Can you tell I loved this story? Adding it to my fic collection for sure! Thanks for writing it and I can't wait to read more of your stories! :)

Btw...has All Tied Up been finished? Thanks!
Wow, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun, as I'm particularly fond of writing Marauder fics. The banter and silly humor between them just flows. And I definitely don't mind long comments; in fact, I pretty much think your review is brilliant! ^_^

As for All Tied Up, no, it's not finished yet. It's actually got a ways to go yet, according to my outline. I sincerely apologize for the long delay in updates--the 8 months or so of real life has been hectic and a bit stressful, so I've been struggling with time and writer's block. But I'll get there, I promise!