Lily was still marvelling that Potter had managed to transfigure her rumpled school uniform into a pair of faded jeans and a long-sleeved shirt when a voice interrupted her thoughts.
‘James! Hey, Potter!’ Lily looked up from her spot on the couch next to Black. Katelyn Reid from her dorm was walking over with a mischievous gleam in her blue eyes. She glanced at Black and Lily’s hands and then at Potter who was reading Quidditch through the Ages. Potter’s hazel eyes peered over the top with a wary expression. ‘I just wanted to say thanks for a great time last night,’ she murmured as she sat down on the arm of his seat. She ran her hands through his messy hair with a small smile. Potter sat tensely, almost without breathing.
He tried to focus on his book but gave up, shooting the blonde an irritated look. Oblivious, she slid into his lap and fussed with his collar. Potter blinked in surprise.
It was clear on Potter’s face he thought he was being violated. Black stared at him for a moment and then shook his head slightly. Again Lily wondered if they could read each other’s thoughts. Potter’s eyes flicked around for a possible escape route. He actually looked quite terrified, especially since Katelyn was straddling him now.
‘Reid, what are you doing?’ Lily said angrily. The blonde’s head whipped around. ‘It’s obvious he doesn’t want you there.’
Katelyn sighed and gave Potter a quick kiss on the cheek. She climbed off him and stared Lily down. ‘I was just thanking him for last night,’ she said silkily.
Black barked a laugh but didn’t say anything. Potter seemed to have gotten over the shock of being attacked and had a relieved expression on his face as he watched her retreat back up to her dormitory. ‘She sat on The Seat,’ he mumbled, patting the arm of his chair.
‘I know, mate,’ Black said, sounding annoyed as he glared at the girl’s dormitory stairs. Then he laughed. ‘She sat on you too.’
Potter wrinkled his nose. ‘Please don’t remind me.’
‘Why? Surely it was an enlightening experience for you, Prongsie? She’s not bad looking-’
‘No, she isn’t. But she’s not-’ Potter started to say in a quiet voice.
‘I know she’s not,’ Black said, looking amused and resigned at the same time. Potter smiled sheepishly.
‘So, I’m curious...’ Lily began. ‘Obviously there’s no way Reid was telling the truth about last night.’
‘Obviously. All you had to do was take one look at Jamie’s face.’
‘Thanks, Padfoot,’ Potter laughed.
‘It’s got me thinking. Now that I know she was lying about that... night-time escapade... I’m curious. How much else is a lie?’
Black raised his free hand. ‘Everything you’ve heard about Remus, Pete and me is right.’
She grinned as she thought of one of the more ludicrous rumours. ‘You’re gay?’
Black rolled his eyes. ‘All right, everything except that one.’ He wrinkled his nose. ‘That would be incestuous.’ Potter looked equally nauseated at the thought of a romantic relationship with one of his “brothers”.
After a moment, Black’s smug grin was back in place. ‘Everything you’ve heard about us and girls.’
‘Everything?’ Lily asked shocked. She could easily believe Pettigrew and Black had done everything they’d ever been accused of, but Remus? She raised an eyebrow. ‘I’ve heard some pretty... umm... unusual things...’ she said blushing.
Black shrugged, nodding. ‘Like I said, everything’s true.’ He did have the grace to look a little embarrassed.
Lily grimaced. ‘And what about you, Potter?’
Potter’s eyes flicked to Black’s. They seemed to be having a silent argument. Black let out a triumphant sound. ‘Aha! Got you there, Prongs!’
Potter sighed. ‘Fine. Go ahead.’
‘Nothing you’ve ever heard about Prongs is right,’ Black said, still sounding triumphant. Lily frowned in confusion. Nothing?
Potter sighed again. ‘At the time the guys were beginning to do some stuff, I decided I wasn’t going to fool around with girls.’ Potter made an apologetic face at Black, who grinned. She guessed this was some sort of ongoing joke between them, that Potter didn’t quite approve of Black’s casual encounters, and that Black knew how Potter felt, finding it funny. Somehow, though, Lily got the idea that Black respected his almost-brother for not wanting to “fool around with girls”.
‘I sort of believe you,’ she said slowly, in disbelief.
‘Told you!’ Black shouted, pointing at Potter with his free hand. ‘I told you, I told you! Prongs was wrong, Prongs was wrong!’
Potter stuck his tongue out. Black continued to chant about being right. ‘Control your Marauder, Potter,’ Lily said, annoyed. Black’s voice was giving her a headache.
‘Control your other half,’ Potter shot back, grinning. Lily stared down at her traitorous hand, still stuck to Black’s. She made a face at Potter who looked smug, knowing he had won.
‘Black!’ Lily yelled, hitting his shoulder. ‘Shut up!’
Black was stunned into silence, then, ‘Prongs, she hit me!’
‘But surely something is true?’ Lily insisted, ignoring him. It had to be. If it wasn’t, Lily was going to have to accept James Potter might not be as bad as she thought he was. And that would be difficult.
‘Every girl above third year claims to have kissed you or slept with you.’ Both boys looked surprised she had brought it up again.
‘Rumours,’ Potter said shrugging.
‘Why don’t you stop them?’
Black chuckled and petted her shoulder condescendingly. ‘In case you haven’t noticed, Darling, Marauders have deity status at Hogwarts.’
‘Sleeping around is expected of us,’ Potter said with a scowl.
‘And let’s face it,’ Black said reaching over to ruffle Potter’s hair, making it messier than usual. ‘No-one would believe him if he told the truth.’
Lily stewed on that while Potter went upstairs to retrieve a deck of Exploding Snap cards. He and Black spent the majority of the morning building what seemed to be Hogwarts on a smaller scale. Black wasn’t very helpful when it came to placing the cards but he was decent at giving directions and always had a card ready to pass to Potter.
Potter’s deck was apparently indestructible, so they were folding cards for rooves and bending them for towers. It looked impressive and they had a good portion of the House watching by the time they’d finished. Andy Turpin had run off to get his camera and took a photo of the completed castle just as it exploded. When the cards fluttered down onto the scorched table, they were perfectly straight, as if Potter hadn’t bent them at all.
‘What are you building this time?’ Elizabeth Parkes, a fourth year asked shyly.
‘Nothing for now,’ Potter said. ‘Padfoot and I have very important business to attend to elsewhere.’
The girl and her friends looked rather disappointed but Potter promised them he and Black would build Gringotts next time and they left looking much happier.
‘Important business?’ Lily asked apprehensively.
‘You’ll see,’ Black said, raising one singed eyebrow at her.