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Chapter 16 : Whipped
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I plop onto the Common Room couch, sending James a smirk. He looks up from behind his Transfiguration book and raises an eyebrow in response.
“You’re whipped,” I tell him, wrinkling my nose. “Completely and totally whipped.” He frowns at me, making a face.
“Am not!” He protests, glaring.
“Are too,” Pete says, plopping down on the rug and sending me a smile. “Can I talk to you for a second, Padfoot?” I eye him warily but nod, standing. He looks at Prongs. “We’ll just be a moment,” he apologizes, “And besides, you’re doing your homework. Do you mind?”
I’m touched at his sensitivity. I grin at him and make a cough that sounds suspiciously like, “Whipped!” I clear my throat. “Ready to go, Pete?” He nods, and we head out of the Common Room. I stop in the hallway and arch an eyebrow. “Well?”
He sighs, scuffling the floor. “Look, Sirius—I’m sorry. About what I said earlier. I know you’re not like that, and I—I was just…I was jealous, okay? I mean, you, James, and Remus…you guys are really great; handsome, smart, funny—and I was just sort of thinking; what about me, you know? Anyway,” he finishes, blushing, “I’m sorry.”
I stare at him for a moment, and then pull him into a gruff, manly hug. “First off, you don’t have to apologize. You’re a Marauder, okay? We’re all idiots; we do stupid stuff. And it goes without saying that I forgive you—you’re one of my best friends. And secondly, Pete—all that stuff you said? About Rem, Jamesie, and I? You’re all of it, too. I know sometimes you feel like you’re in the shadow, but…I mean, you’re not. That’s the thing about being in a group, Wormtail. We’re the Marauders. Not James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus. Just the Marauders. One, you know? So there is no shadow for you to be in. I mean, you’re the one making the shadow.”
He gapes at me for a moment, and then grins. “Thanks, Padfoot,” he whispers hoarsely, and then blinks. “So are you as whipped as Prongs yet?”
I laugh, punching him lightly on the arm. “Not quite as far gone, Wormy my dear. Honestly. I can’t believe he’s working on his homework. I mean, it’s not due until tomorrow morning!” I scoff, rolling my eyes as we climb back through the portrait. I wait for the familiar sound of the fat lady (Note To Self: What’s her name, anyway?) swing shut, but hear instead the sound of someone crying.
I whip around, as does Peter. We stare at the gargantuan woman in the portrait before us, sobbing her heart out. I arch an eyebrow at Peter, who quirks one right back. “Erm—Miss Fat Lady, Ma’am—ah—are you—ehm—okay?” He stutters, and I hide a grin.
She nods, wiping her eyes. “I…” She smiled wetly at us. “Ooooh, you two!” She bursts out, sobbing again. “That—that—little s-s-speech was s-s-so s-s-sweeeeeeeet…”
I catch Pete’s eye and we groan. “Thanks,” I mumble, and we make a dash for the Common Room. “By the way!” She calls after us, tears still in her voice, “Tell that darling James boy that I’m glad some girl finally got him whipped!”
Potter slams his book shut. “I! Am! Not! Whipped!” He shouts angrily.
“Lily!” Lupin calls as he strolls down the steps. “You’re boyfriend’s going psycho!” The girl’s dormitory door opens to the sound of giggling girls and Lily sticks her head out.
“Is it serious?” She asks, looking annoyed.
Peter rolls his eyes. “No, Lily, your boyfriend is James.” She makes a sound of annoyance and retorts, “I meant, ‘is he really going insane and do you need my help or are you just calling me to tick him off even farther?’”
Prongs let out a snort. “I’m right here, you know. No need to talk about me like I’m not!”
“Well, Lils, he refuses to believe you have him whipped. And you must, because he’s doing his homework. Without encouragement.”
Lily stares for a moment, then flings open the door, hurls herself down the steps, and flings herself onto James’ chest. He stares stupidly for a second and then wraps his arms around her middle. “Ehm…hello, Lily…”
She shuts him up by kissing him deeply on the lips. “You’re doing your homework,” she breathes happily, bringing his head down again. “I love you.”
Prongs falls stupidly back onto the chair, gaping. Lily smirks and gives us a wink. “Yep, definitely whipped.” She starts back up the steps when Potter suddenly leaps to his feet.
“Hey, Lily!” He calls. She turns, eyebrow arched. “I love you, too.” She grins, blowing him a kiss. He smiles back, and when he turns around, the remaining Marauders all chorus a merry, “Whipped!”
“Well then, Mister Black, what do you suggest we do today?” Jules links her arm through mine and grins energetically up at me, her eyes twinkling. I smile in amusement; it’s like now that she has someone to understand her, she’s pouring herself out without ado. “Quidditch pitch? Or the lake? Or an empty classroom?”
I look at her sharply, and she’s looking at me with a teasing smile. “Empty classroom, I suppose,” I say nonchalantly. “Might as well.”
She smirks, pursing her lips playfully. “Care to snog me senseless, then?”
I eye her in mock-sternness. “Are you flirting with me, Juliet Overly?”
She smiled mockingly. “So what if I am?” My heart melts and it’s all I can do not to go all puppy-eyed. Oh my sweet merry Merlin, she’s flirting with me, it’s intentional, maybe she likes me, I don’t know, does she, maybe? I can’t tell, maybe she acts like this with all guys, what do you think, dear Gods someone HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Meep,” I squeak, and then look away hastily, feeling ridiculous. “I mean—er—” She laughs, and the now-familiar tingling starts up in my stomach. She laughed, Gods she has such a bloody pretty laugh, is this what James went through, Sirius get a grip, I can’t, I can’t, oh my sweet Merlin listen to that laugh…breathe, in, out, in out, come on you can do it—“Then—then you should—”
The sweet, graced angel that is Lily Evans descends her heavenly hand upon my shoulder. “Then by Gods, girl, snog him!”
Jules blushes and then grins, pulling away. “Eh, maybe later,” she smirks, taking a step back. “I see your buddies coming this way, and I’d hate to be on the receiving end of the famous Marauder temper.” She winks and strolls down the hall, leaving me staring helplessly.
Lily dissolves in a fit of laughter. “Gods, man, get a hold of yourself! You looked like you were going to wet your pants! Can't handle a little friendliness?”
I scowl at her. “Yes,” I snap. “I’m just—that was—I don’t feel—er—well.”
James throws his arms merrily around Pete and Remmy’s shoulders. “Well, boys, what’s the verdict?”
Lily, Remus, Peter, and the boy who pretends to be my best friend all smile.
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