Chapter 1 : Lay Back and Think of England (or Why Cherubs Are Always Unadvised)
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Lay Back and Think of England (or Why Cherubs Are Always Unadvised)
It was a Tuesday and Remus Lupin was trapped in the closet.
No, not that closet.
“Prongs, this is stupid.”
This closet was, in fact, a rather cramped broom closet on the third floor of Hogwarts that smelt like the underside of Sirius shoe and looked like it had seen one too many explosions of Mrs. Scower's Magical Mess Remover.
All in all, nasty stuff.
“This is perhaps the most clichéd moment of my life, James. Who hides in broomclosets anymore?”
Did he mention the spiders? Because there were spiders. So many spiders.
“Are you even listening to me?”
This was so unfair.
“Shut up Moony, you git!” James punctuated this with a hard punch to the shoulder.
Remus ignored him, rubbing his shoulder indignantly. “I don’t even know why you insisted I come—it’s not like I’m doing anything.”
“Don’t be daft—you’re my moral support, my right hand man. I’d be nothing without you!” James paused, apparently considering something. “Your stealth skills, though, are somewhat lacking so if you would please shut up.”
Remus sneered. “Oh, sod off—you just want me here in case Lily hexes you. Sirius is rubbish at counter-curses.”
There was another pause. “That too, I guess,” James said, considering the thought. “He really is awful at them, isn’t he?”
Remus snorted. “Why you thought charming gargoyles—”
“I told you, I thought they were cherubs—”
“—to follow Evans around for an entire day was ever a good idea is beyond me, James.” Remus paused thoughtfully. “Has anyone told you that you have an obsessive personality?”
“Merlin’s left nut, Lupin, would you shut up—”
“I really think you should—”
“Bollocks! Shut up, Moony!” However, it was in that moment James really saw Remus’ face. That devilish smirk and those calculating eyes made his blood run cold.
“Moony—no—what are you—don’t you bloody dare—!”
Remus’ smile widened. “You’ll thank me for it later!”
And that was when James was forcibly ejected from the broom cupboard out into the corridor, stumbling out with all the finesse of a drunk being poured out of a bar. With Remus fleeing the scene like a startled bird, James came face-to-face with one harassed-looking Lily Evans, complete with her gargoyles. And not just the metaphorical ones, either.
As his life flashed before his eyes, James thought fondly of England.
“You,” she hissed—not the good kind of hiss, either. She was radiating an eerie calm—the scary calm where one might begin to wonder when her eyes would pop out. James assumed it would be soon, as her left eye was twitching and a red blush was blossoming on her cheeks. The gargoyles behind her screeched manically. “Explain.”
Somehow, James hadn’t envisioned his plan going down quite like this.
“Evans!” His voice was pitchy and he flinched. “What a pleasant—er—surprise.”
Lily’s body seemed to vibrate. “Now.”
“Er,” James spluttered, keeping his eyes carefully off the gargoyles, who were butchering a rendition of Celestina Warbeck’s You Charmed the Heart Right Out of Me rather loudly, over her shoulder. “Explain what, blossom?”
Behind Lily, the gargoyles reached a crescendo. A nearby vase shattered and far off in the distance Remus squelched the urge to howl. Lily’s eye twitched violently. “James.”
James brightened—stupidly, considering there wasn’t an ounce of warmth in Lily’s tone and really, he should know better—at the use of his given name. “Yes, darling?”
Apparently this was too much for Miss Evans. Her eyes bludged from their sockets, her cheeks turned an ugly, blotchy red and James was sure that if steam could possibly come out of her ears, it would.
“MERLIN, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”
James tried to look taken aback, mouth hanging open, eyes wide and confused, like he actually didn’t get it and Lily was going to fucking murder him, she had that look in her eye and fuck, fuck, fuck.
The last thing James remembered from that afternoon was a flash of blue light before he was waking up in the hospital wing with a band new set of antlers.
Somehow it was all rather fitting.