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Chapter 1 : The Bet
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I woke up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. My hand slid along the bedside table, searching for the wire rims that would turn the blurs of color into the defined edges of my Hogwarts dormitory. Oh wait! I kept forgetting that I wasn’t in the dormitory anymore. Now I had my own Common Room…my own Common Room, all alone with the lovely Lily Evans.
Speaking of Evans, as soon as I got my glasses on, I heard a knock at the door. “Are you decent?” She called from outside.
“You know Evans,” I answered, busily pushing back my mussed hair. “If you wanted to see me in all my glory, all you have to do is ask. Don’t bother making sordid excuses.” I smirked, even though there was no one there to see it.
I heard her grumble. “I’m coming in you great buffoon, and if any part of you is exposed, I am hexing you.” I heard her inch the door open hesitantly, as if expecting to see me standing there completely nude no matter what threats she made. Actually, she was lucky I did happen to be wearing some clothes. If I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to heed her threats anyway. It was my room after all! She didn’t have to barge in. Hmm...maybe she knew me better than I thought…
Seeing I was in fact clothed, Lily opened the door more forcefully, and marched in carrying a stack of papers. My face drained of color. “Oh my God,” I said dramatically. “Term hasn’t officially started you know, Evans. Can you hold off on the nerdy-nerdiness until then at least, eh? And if you do have to get wrapped up in it, could you please leave me out of it?” I looked at the papers uncertainly.
“You moron,” she accused. “This isn’t schoolwork. Honestly James, we haven’t been to class yet, therefore I have nothing to get ahead on. This is a list of everyone in the school, along with their pictures. I requested it special from Dumbledore.”
“Er…why in the name of all things holy would you ever do that?”
She looked at me as if I had done something to severely disappoint her. “I cannot believe you,” she said incredulously. I looked at her blankly, and she signed despairingly. “Unfortunately, you have been appointed Head Boy. I don’t know what delusions Dumbledore was under when he chose you over Remus, but this is the way it happened. As such, you have responsibilities you need to perform.”
“I know!” I said indignantly. “I’m not that stupid.”
“Then why aren’t you listening?” She was speaking as if talking to a kindergartener, and I did not appreciate it.
“I am listening, you psychotic witch! You haven’t said anything yet! So you have these absurd lists…so what?”
“So we need to memorize them,” she said matter-of-factly. “As Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts, it is our duty to know all of the students.”
“Actually, it isn’t.”
She glared at me. “They chose me to be Head Girl because I don’t settle for the bare minimum. On that note, I cannot fathom why they would ever choose you.”
“Would you stop it?” Lily looked up at me, surprised. I had never yelled at her like that before. I had never yelled at her before period. The harshest words I had ever directed at her were those beseeching her to accept my offer of love. “You just talked for five minutes straight, and most of what you said entailed how incompetent I am. Get over it, Evans. Face the facts: Moony isn’t here, I am. So just accept it!” I spared her one last glare, and left her sitting bewildered on the floor in my room, her papers spread out around her.
In my pajamas, I marched up to the Gryffindor Common Room. Term still had not started, and students were sleeping in while they still could. Thankfully, not many people were out, and therefore didn’t see me. I entered the Common Room, and slammed the portrait hole behind me. I looked up to see one of my best friends Remus sitting in a chair reading a book. Except now he wasn’t reading, he was looking at me with surprised etched across his features.
“You going to tell me how incompetent I am too?” I snapped at him.
“Nope,” he said calmly, looking back at his book. “Actually, I very much understand why they picked you instead of me, Prongs.”
His words, plus the use of my nickname, calmed me down considerably. “You do?” I asked softly, sitting down beside him. “Mind enlightening me?”
Remus studied me thoughtfully. “You have influence, James.” I raised an eyebrow. “You do,” he insisted. “People want to be you. They look up to you, they act like you. I’m sure Dumbledore saw that and wanted to utilize it. Plus, you have potential to be responsible whether you recognize it or not.”
I scoffed. “I’m a Marauder,” I said, as if that negated his statement. “The Marauders only have room for one responsible person.”
Remus shook his head, smiling. “You must have noticed James. When a certain someone is in your vicinity, you suddenly get very well behaved.”
I shook my head. “It’s news to me,” I said incredulously. “Wait…you don’t mean…”
Remus was nodding. “Yeah, Lily. I think it’s because you are still trying to impress her, and win her over. You want to show her you aren’t just a shallow Marauder.”
“Hmm,” I murmured, still skeptical. Well that certainly hadn’t been the case in the Head’s Common had it? “Whatever. Oi, is Padfoot still upstairs? I need to borrow some of his robes because I am not going back to the Commons.”
“He’s not.” Remus carefully avoided asking me why I wasn’t inclined to go back.
“He’s already down at breakfast?” I was surprised. Sirius was never exactly an early riser.
Remus shook his head. I could tell he was trying to hide a disapproving grimace. “He never came back the dormitory last night,” he practically whispered. I could see that his lips were pressed into a thin, disapproving line.
“What do you mean he never came home last night?”
He looked up at me meaningfully. “I mean that he never came home last night!”
Realization hit me like a freight train. “Oh,” I said. “Oh! Well…in that case, I’ll just steal some of his stuff.”
I turned to go upstairs but Remus caught my arm. “James,” he insisted. “This is happening too often. It’s not healthy.”
“Of course it’s healthy,” I answered. “He’s a seventeen year old male.”
“You don’t do it,” he countered. “I don’t do it, Peter doesn’t do it.”
“I’m saving myself for Lily,” I shot back defensively, and Remus rolled his eyes. “I am! You’re too noble to do it, and Peter…well Peter can’t get anyone to do with him,” I finished with a smirk.
Remus looked on at me disapprovingly, but he let me go upstairs without stopping me again. I reached the dormitories and was filled with an unexpected nostalgia when I opened the door. All of the corners of the room looked lived in, except the one that had belonged to me, which stood strangely empty. Peter was still asleep with his head buried in his pillow, and I tiptoed so as to not wake him.
I rifled through Sirius’ things until I found a clean robe. Or at least, I hoped it was clean. That was the good thing about being the same size as your best friend. You could take his clothes and nobody would be the wiser. A few summers ago, Sirius and I had gotten a bit wrapped up in one of my mother’s muggle soap operas, where we had seen women trading clothes with each other like it was candy, or a good book. After the soap opera glamour had worn off, we made a pact to never tell anyone about that embarrassing tidbit of our lives, but had also resolved that blokes could trade clothes just the same as women. Sirius and I had gotten into many embarrassing situations together. Like that time we had popped our heads between the cage bars at the zoo to see the hippos closer up and got them stuck in between the bars. Panic ensued, as our heads were exposed to the animals, but a few minutes and a few yanks and tugs later, we were both free.
I went down to the Common Room to keep Moony company, and as soon as Peter joined us, we went downstairs to the Great Hall to have breakfast.
“Lily wants me to memorize the names of all the students in the school,” I complained through bites of food.
Peter bobbed his head up and down, calling Lily crazy and basically agreeing with everything I said, like always. But Remus shook his head a little. “I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “It adds a personal touch, lifts you above and beyond the rest.”
I narrowed my eyes. “That’s exactly what Lily said,” I told him suspiciously.
He raised his eyebrows, as if surprised. “Is it?” He asked, too innocently. “How strange…”
“She recruited you?” I asked accusingly. “For her crazy mission?”
“She didn’t recruit me,” he said defensively. “She asked my opinion on whether it was a good idea, and I said it was.”
“Why you—” I started. I was interrupted by someone coming in the Great Hall, causing quite a commotion, I might add. I looked over to see Sirius strolling toward us with his signature gait, one hand in his pocket.
He slid into the seat next to me with a satisfied smile. Remus was glaring at him, and Peter was looking on admiringly. “What did I miss?”
“Nothing at all,” I said quickly. “So who was it now?”
“Sofia Langston,” he said, drawing the name out.
I raised an eyebrow. “Really?” I asked, smiling. “Nice, she’s hot.”
“Are you trying to sleep your way through everyone in our year, Sirius?” Remus asked, shooting Sirius a glare. “More like the entire school.”
“Not the guys,” he joked with a lopsided grin. Peter laughed loudly, but Remus still glared. “Jealous, Moony?”
“Concerned,” he clarified. “It’s like you have an addiction.”
“Nope, I’m drug free,” he said, spreading his hands. “Never touched one, never even seen one.”
“I mean addicted to sex, you idiot.”
“Am not,” Sirius shot back childishly. “Just because you like to eat cake, does that mean you are addicted to cake? Nope. I can quit eating cake whenever I want.”
Remus shook his head. “I don’t believe you.”
“I can,” Sirius insisted.
“Alright,” Remus smirked, folding his fingers. “Are you willing to make a bet on that?”
“Of course,” Sirius said confidently. “This will be easy; it’s like taking candy from a baby. I might even feel a little guilty for winning this bet with so little effort.”
“Why don’t we just see about that?” Remus said diplomatically. “I bet that you cannot stay chaste for one hundred and fifty days. If I win, you have to do all of your homework from here to the NEWTs, be my personal servant for two months, and also another thing that I cannot say in the present company.”
I looked around the room to find that there was no one in the vicinity but myself, as Peter had run off to get his books or something from the Common Room. “You mean me?” Remus nodded, and I rolled my eyes. “Fine,” I said, moving away. “Make your little ‘secret’ stakes.”
As soon as James was gone, I told Sirius the other thing he had to do if I won. His face drained of color, and his mouth dropped. “I can’t do that,” he hissed at me. “I couldn’t do that to him.”
“Think about it this way,” I said evilly. I hardly ever got into mischief beyond what I was prodded into doing along with Sirius and James, so this was fun for me. “Win and you won’t have to worry about doing it!” I raised my eyebrows. He wouldn’t win. I knew he wouldn’t. He would end up having to be a good student for once, be my servant and doing that other thing that James wouldn’t like at all…which would hopefully teach him his lesson.
Sirius put his head in his hands, but when he reemerged, he had a wolfish grin on his face. “Fine,” he said. “But if I win, on the first Saturday after my victory, you have to walk around the halls all day in nothing but pink boxers; and you also have to that horrible thing you said to me.”
My heart skipped a beat in my chest. That meant that within the next one hundred and fifty days, one of us would have to do that thing that would anger James so much, and if Sirius somehow did manage to hold out that long, that person would be me. And that would not be good. I had to win this. I would have to call in the big guns for this one. I smiled toothily and shook his outstretched hand. “Deal.”
A/N: Thanks for reading! I hope that you are enjoying it sof far! Please leave your thoughts in a review!!
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