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Chapter 2: Begging for Backup
A/N: Well, here's the next chapter, It's more just continuing the plot, not much happening necessarily, but is easing into the Ball, which is the chapter I'm most excited for!
Nonetheless, I hope you like it! Enjoy all the male bonding that occurs in this chapter ;)
"RISE AND SHINE, PRONGSIE-POO!"
James was shaken awake by his (at the moment, bloody annoying) friend, Sirius Black, MUCH earlier than he would have liked today. Normally, James was an early riser, but after Lily had left last night, he spent the next 3 hours in their meeting room, trying - and unfortunately, failing - to think of ideas for Lily's - er, all of Hogwarts, really, this isn't just for Lily - Masquerade Ball. As soon as he reached the Marauder's dormitory, he all but passed out on his bed.
"Padfoot, get off me right now, or else you will have to change your name to Siriusly Black-Eye."
"Well, aren't we in a chipper mood today?" Sirius replied, though he did carefully detach himself from James' person.
"Lay off him, Sirius. Didn't you see how tired he was last night?" said Remus Lupin (another one of James' best friends), who sat atop his bed, calmly reading his Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook.
"Yeah, Sirius!" chirped Peter Pettigrew, feeling the need to give his opinion, too.
"Oh pish-posh, Moony! We usually stay up much later on our manly marauder adventures," huffed Sirius, practically puffing out his chest.
"Well, I was a little busy trying to plan a ball," retorted James, still bitter and tired.
"A ball, James?" Remus inquired.
"Oh, Prongsie, my dear, if you're having fantasies of being Cinderelf or whatever-her-name-is, you can tell us! We won't laugh...much," snorted Sirius, who surprisingly listened a bit during the fairy tales portion of Muggle Studies, though James still recalled his mate's disappointment when he learned that they would not be learning about the rear ends of said magical fairy creatures (but honestly, Padfoot, it's Muggle Studies!)
"Actually, Padfoot, my deranged mate, the ball isn't for me," James replied, trying to seem annoyed, but his gleaming eyes giving away his true amusement. Though, when he began to continue, they softened and became gentle, as did his voice (though his body always seemed to soften at the thought of her), "It's for Lily."
The three boys gaped at James for the slightest of seconds, unsure of how to respond. That is, until Sirius decided to provide his comical response.
"Blimey, Prongs, you're not even dating and she's got you whipped already!"
James rolled his eyes at his mate, "It's not like that. It was practically my own doing that got myself into this."
"How, James?" asked Peter, always curious when it came to the mighty James Potter falling so easily for his one weakness.
"Well, we were at our Heads meeting yesterday, making the prefect schedules for the month. By the way, Remus, I think you'll be happy to know that I personally arranged you to do your rounds with Lily's friend, the lovely Ella Morgan!"
"Stop trying to change the subject, James," snapped Remus, though he could not hide the blush overcoming his face, "Keep going."
Slightly disappointed at how easily Remus could see right through him sometimes, James reluctantly continued, "Okay, okay, Moony! But don't try to hide your obvious affections for the girl - AH BUP BUP!" yelled James, waving a finger in Remus' face to stop him from talking back. Remus slapped it away," I'm on the subject, remember? Well, after we finished, Lily packed up and was about to leave, which was the obvious thing to do. But for some reason, I - well, I shouldn't say, for some reason, should I? I know perfectly well know for what reason it was, but nonetheless it was rather uncalled for-"
"Merlin, Prongs, just get to the point!"
"I was just about to, Padfoot. Well, she went to leave, but me, being the idiotic, influenced bloke I am-"
"No arguments there,"
"Shut UP, Padfoot!" snapped James, though once again reverting back to his gentle Lily-influenced state,"She was supposed to leave, but I didn't let her. It makes no sense now that I think about it, because, seeing as we're both Heads now, we can see each other quite often. But, I guess it's just Lily herself, that makes me like that, so unhinged, not thinking straight. So I yelled her name, she turned back, and seeing as I couldn't just stand there and stare at her the whole time (though I would if I could-), I blurted out some complete rubbish on how we should do something special in our last year of Hogwarts - Not like that, Padfoot, you dirty-minded prat - and I completely expected her to laugh in my face or snap at me with my vague ideas. But instead, she actually liked the idea. She even had an idea of what to do herself."
"Let me guess. Her idea was to have a Masquerade Ball?" Remus deduced.
"Yep," James groaned, "But she said immediately after that it was too silly of an idea and too much work. She actually seemed embarrassed of her idea, as if I was going to be the one laughing in her face. But I thought it was a brilliant idea, and of course I just had to go and tell her that, because I couldn't stand to see her so defeated. And then I went and signed myself up to be completely in charge of the whole ruddy thing. And even when she gave me the chance to back down and stop all this, I couldn't do it," He sighed, and spoke with such hope, "Because, guys, I finally had the chance to gain something more of Lily's, though I'm still not sure what; her trust, her friendship? And after she left, I was thinking it over and genuinely about to back down from all this, when she came back in again. And she thanked me, but in a special way, as if I was making one of her wishes come true. And she had smiled at me, maybe even blushed as well! And... and she almost looked straight into my eyes. So after that, I swore to myself, I would do everything I could to make her Masquerade dream come true."
Once again, James had left the room silent, his fellow Marauders unsure of how to respond. It was Remus that had spoken up first this time.
"James... what are you expecting will happen after doing this? I don't want to be a downer, but I don't want you to get all upset over not meeting certain... expectations, you may have after doing something like this."
"Yeah, Prongs, I know you're smitten with the girl, but I hope that you're not doing this as another 'win-Lily's-heart' scheme," said Sirius, more cautiously than before.
"It's not a bloody scheme!" James barked. They had all been through this before. James' friends liked Lily, but have never been very fond of having to patch up a broken James every time Lily had (unknowingly) crushed his heart. Each marauder had suggested before that maybe it was time to move on (Merlin knows this has been going on long enough), but James would have none of it. There was something about Lily Evans that made James so persistent about her, so determined to have her, so desperate to be with her.
James spoke calmer now, a melancholy feeling overcoming him as he lifted a hand to his hair, mussed his hair, and began to speak, "I've already told you guys, I've given up on those 'schemes' to 'win her heart', but what's so bad about wanting to do something for a mate, to see that mate smile at you, and look at you-"
"Because no one is so desperate to have their mate look at them, Prongs! No one is practically in love with their mates," Sirius said, trying to get through to his mate.
"This isn't good for you, James. The closer you become with her as mates, the more you'll wish it were, well, something more," stated Remus sadly.
James was very ruffled by now, but tried to speak as composedly as he could, "I'll be okay. At least I have her in my life in some way. Please, guys, I can't organize a whole masquerade ball by myself. So I'm begging you as a fellow marauder, as a mate, hell, even as a bloke practically in love, to help me," He pleaded with them all, not bothering to hide the desperation in his eyes.
It is not often that all four marauders are left silent, but it seemed to have happened the third time that morning. They all debated whether to go against his begging, but spare his feelings, or lend a hand to their friend, and potentially crush said feelings later on. This time it was Peter piped up.
"Um.. okay," receiving a surprised look from James, "I'll help. I'm not really that good of a party planner, but I kind of owe you, I guess," Peter smiled goofily. James knew he meant of that time in fifth year when he had to rescue Peter from the girl's washroom (not an easy task by the way. It was a skillful execution involving many exploding dungbombs, a stray bludger and a hefty bribe to a certain Peeves the Poltergeist), and smiled gratefully at his flushed (er, no pun intended) mate.
"Thanks, mate," James said, and then turned to Remus and Sirius, both still seeming to be very pensive, "Come on guys, I can't do it without you two!"
After many long seconds, Remus and Sirius both looked up at James and gave a smile.
"Well, I'm going to be dragged into this, anyway, aren't I?" joked Remus.
"Well, seeing as I am the life of the party, I think I would make a wholesome addition," grinned Sirius.
James looked at all of his mates, beaming gratefulness, "Thank you guys, I'm glad I've got you mates to help me-"
"Oh blimey, Prongs! I sincerely hope that you won't be this mushy the whole time we are planning this ball!" smirked Sirius.
With that, all four Marauders laughed and joked some more whilst getting dressed for the day.
On their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast, the Marauders started discussing ideas for the Masquerade Ball.
"I guess, first and foremost, we should think of advertising. How we're going to get the word out to the students," said James.
"Oh, and are we inviting all years to this? Can we not invite Slytherins?" cheeked Peter.
"Maybe we should think of when and where exactly we're having this dance in the first place," said Remus as they entered the Great Hall.
But, as soon as they had done so, Sirius Black had stepped himself up onto the Gryffindor table and bellowed,
"OI! LISTEN HERE, BLOKES AND BIRDS!" Every student among them (which was basically every student at Hogwarts) turned to look at Sirius, "Thank You! If you'd like to have some fun, or have nothing better to do anyway,- I'M LOOKING AT YOU, SLYTHERINS!- then why not come to our FIRST-EVER Hogwarts Magical Masquerade Ball. This Friday. 6 'o'clock. Right Here. In the great hall. We guarantee you'll have a ball! - Ha Ha Ha, you see what I did there, Moony? I made a pun and a rhyme at the same time! Oh! There I go again, I'm a talented friend! -"
"Just wrap it up, Padfoot," sighed Remus.
"OH! Right! Well, that's about it! BE THERE OR BEWARE. BLIMEY, I'm a right poet, I am! Very well, carry on!"
As Sirius stepped down from the table and went to sit, all of Hogwarts laughed and chatted excitedly over the news.
"See, Prongs? That's what'll get people to come to this ball!"
"Sirius," Remus started, "You do realize that for school sanctioned events, such as this, we need to ask for Dumbledore's permission before doing things like announcing the it to the whole population of Hogwarts."
"Well that is a bright idea there, Remus!" Sirius cheerily replied, standing up on the desks again.
"PROFESSOR DUMBLEDORE!" Every student, teacher's, and Dumbledore's eyes turned to Sirius once again, "Can we er, have this masquerade ball Friday night, at 6, in the Great Hall for all of Hogwarts?" Sirius asked, as if it were just the two of them, instead of the whole school, anxiously awaiting Albus Dumbledore's answer.
The headmaster's eyes twinkled, as he replied quite jolly, "Why, that sounds like a marvelous idea, Mr. Black. I trust you and your friends shall be in charge of said ball. I can't wait to attend, wearing my very best mask, no doubt."
"Yes, yes, thank you, professor," Sirius said in the most professional tone he could muster, but then turned to all the house tables and shouted, "THE BALL IS ON!" which was later followed by a long running stream of applause and cheers after Sirius had already sat down and begun to butter his toast.
"Very good advertisement, Padfoot, but did you have to have the ball so early? That gives us hardly any time to actually get it ready," said James, slightly worried at how this ball would turn out.
"Why not? Better sooner than later! Carpe diem, and inspiring posh like that," he replied, then taking a bite into his toast and chewing quite loudly.
Amongst the applause, he looked down the table, to find exactly who he had been searching for. She was clapping as well, but still looking in James' direction, smiling a dazzling grin. She mouthed the words, "Thank You," still looking at him whilst smiling.
Once again, James had been rendered speechless, but was still able to mutter out two words. They seemed so useless by themselves, but he somehow hoped that Lily could see all the unspoken words behind them, though he already knew she wouldn't, but still, it was all he could say, so he had a smile upon his face that only Lily could ever have him make, as he mouthed back,