It was a calm, sunny afternoon late in the Marauders' fourth year, and the foursome were lying around the lake outside the castle, using up their free time to do absolutely nothing.
Sirius' head was turned towards the other side of the lake where a few teenage girls were laughing together in a game of truth or dare. The sleeves of his school shirt were unbuttoned and sloppily rolled up past his elbows, and his shirt was untucked and partially unbuttoned. A discarded Gryffindor jumper had been carelessly thrown aside, along with his shoes. Lying in the grass near the lake, his hair fell back gracefully from his face, and the shade from the tree he lay under kept him from having to squint against the sun.
Peter was sweating profusely, despite the fact that he was in the shade, and had his shoe-less and sock-less feet in the cool lake water. His slicked-down tan hair was sticking to his forehead, and, had he been alone, he might have plunged into the cold water to escape the heat. His jumper was by his side, as were the socks and shoes.
Remus, his head buried in a book, was wearing every piece of his uniform properly and neatly, and his light brown hair was as nicely combed as he could manage. His eyes were slightly glazed, as they traveled back and forth across the pages of his pleasure-reading. He barely payed attention to his fellow Marauders as he lost himself in the mythical world which he usually avoided except in spare time.
Last, but definitely not least, lay James, his legs crossed and his arms folded behind his carelessly messy black hair. He looked as if he was sleeping, but occasionally, the hazel eyes beneath the round-rim glasses would drift to the girls across the lake, wondering where the one they sought could possibly be. His jumper and shoes had been quickly removed and tossed aside, and the top three buttons of his shirt were undone. The sleeves were rolled up like Sirius', and his untucked shirt was wrinkled and untidy.
They lay there like this for some time, until the giggling across the lake ceased, and was replaced by cheers and squeals of, "Hey, Lils! Where have you been all day?" or "Come on, girl, loosen up and join us!"
James' eyes shot open and he quickly propped himself up on one elbow. There she was: Lily Evans, firey red hair cascading down her back as she stood, contemplating whether or not to accept her friends' invitations. Her green eyes never once glanced across the lake at the four boys who lounged there, but one pair of eyes across the lake never looked anywhere but at her.
Giving in at last, Lily sat down between two of her friends and whipped her hair into a ponytail with the scrunchie around her wrist. The giggling resumed as the girls dared and questioned each other. James laid back down, but on his side, this time, facing the gathering of fourth-year girls. He loved it when Lily laughed...of course, he could never get her to do so on his own.
It went on for some time, until James saw one girl, whose sunny blond hair was frizzy in the heat of the day, turn to look briefly at him with big brown eyes shining wickedly.
James had to wonder for only a short time before he heard the girl, who had turned to Lily, say, "Dare, hm? Alright, I dare you to kiss James Potter over there." She burst into giggles at the end of it, and James' ears perked up. Would she do it? Did Lily Evans play by rules? She barely paid him any attention at all except to tell him what he should and shouldn't do, but...she was freaking gorgeous, and he was pretty sure he'd fallen for her some time around second year...yeah, that time she had caught him doing graffiti on the Slytherin common room door. She didn't exactly hate him, so to speak, but she certainly did not like him.
"Laurie! That's ridiculous, you can't suggest something like that!" A curvy brunette protested, and Lily nodded in agreement.
Laurie seemed to ponder this for a moment, and then said, "My sister dared her friend to kiss a boy two years ago, and she did it. Hey, Lils...I double dare you."
Lily went red as she took a quick peek across the lake. Her blush deepened as she saw that James had most definitely heard.
He had never been kissed before, except by his mother, and if there was anyone he would want to be his first kiss, it would be Lily Evans. Just maybe that wish was about to come true.
"Aw, come on, Laurie, give her a break!" A short blond girl with the biggest brown eyes James had ever seen suggested.
"You guys are mad. It's freaking truth or dare, it has no limits! Bloody Summer here made me sing the school song while standing on a table just a week ago, and now she's saying kissing James is ridiculous?" This came from a bouncy redhead who looked very excited at the prospect of watching Lily kiss James.
"Listen to Kasey!" Laurie cried "So, Lily, double dare?"
Lily looked pleadingly around, but Kasey had silenced all defenses. Her almond-shaped eyes then traveled to James, who was watching her with a perhaps hopeful expression.
Standing quickly, she dusted off her school skirt and said, "Alright, I'll do it."
James had to force himself to stand slowly as Lily made her way to him in long, determined strides. His heart was racing, and she was so close. Obviously she had never kissed anyone before, because she looked lost as to what she should do next. She stood in front of him, her breathing short and nervous.
Sirius had rolled onto his side and was shamelessly watching the two of them. Remus' eyes were on his friend and Lily, though he kept them low to avoid seeming obvious. Peter kept sending looks over his shoulder to see how they were progressing.
She licked her lips nervously, and painfully brought her eyes to meet James'. So this was who she had to kiss, this stuck-up troublemaker. Well, it could be worse, she supposed. Sirius Black was even more arrogant.
"Come on, Lily!" Laurie cheered.
She was standing a mere foot in front of him, and her low whisper for just him to hear was so pleading that he almost forgot they were not alone, "Um, James, I have no idea what I'm doing."
His heart gave a happy leap. This would be both of their first kiss. "Don't worry," he replied, comfortingly, and she could almost forget anything he had done to annoy her.
He reached out slowly and took both of her hands in his before pulling her in and touching his forehead to hers, "Relax, love."
If she hadn't been so desensitized by his closeness, she would have flinched at the term of endearment. As it was, she closed her eyes and leaned in to him, only to feet his warm lips pressed against her own. This wasn't what she would have imagined kissing James Potter to be like.
His lips were soft and gentle, and fit against her own so perfectly. She felt him sigh, and tasted the peppermint on his breath.
James was in ecstasy. The girl he now realized he had completely fallen for was in his arms; he was kissing her, and she was...kissing back? He sighed and released her hands to cup her face in his hands. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and he shivered when her hands touched the skin on the back of his neck.
This felt so right.
Did James know that Sirius was stifling laughter...yes, he did.
Did he know that Peter was bouncing in excitement...that too.
And that Remus was thinking something along the lines of "It's about time'"? ...that, not so much.
But either way, this was like a slice of heaven, and there was no way he was going to let someone else's opinion ruin it for him. He clung to Lily and hoped she could somehow know how much he loved her...that she wouldn't pull away...
He had barely wished the last part when Lily's eyes shot open and grew wide as she realized what she was doing: she was kissing James Potter! Lily jumped back and dusted herself off with what little dignity she had left.
"Eh, so, I did my dare," she said, as nonchalantly as she could through the crimson blush over her entire face, ears, and neck, "Now...I'm so going to kill you, Laurel Saunder!"
She quickly ran back to her group and somehow convinced them to follow her back to the castle, and a speechless James stood right where she had left him.
"I think someone's smitten!" Sirius crowed, sitting up and beaming.
"I would have to agree, Padfoot, he certainly looks smitten," Remus agreed, closing his book and setting it beside him on the grass.
Peter seemed to ponder this for a moment before saying, "Hey, she's probably been wanting to do that for forever...you are kinda popular."
Sirius threw back his head and gave a short, baring laugh, "Kinda? Wormtail, you are so amusing! Evans is probably one of the girls who swoons every time Prongs comes within a hundred yards of her."
James wished that was true...sort of. But, of course, Lily Evans was no such person.
Never mind, whatever his friends said, he intended to win Lily's heart.
This resolution went into effect immediately, but the fruits of his labors were few and far between.