"For fuck sake Prongs, would you shut up?" Sirius snapped, shooting a sideways glare at the other boy. The two of them were kneeling on James' bed, hunched over the antique mirrors they had found over the summer in the Potters' shed while Sirius held an eyedropper full of metamorphosis potion over the sleek glass. It had to be exactly one drop or it wouldn't work the way they wanted it to.
"Sorry," Muttered James, though his anxious expression did not let up one bit.
Sirius' eyes narrowed. "D'you want to do it yourself? Clearly I can't be trusted not to fuck it up."
"I never said-"
"Then shut. up."
James snapped his mouth shut and Sirius took a steadying breath before gently squeezing the dropper. He could practically feel James preparing to pounce and stop any excess potion from falling, and he couldn't blame him. They had been working on their latest project, a set of two way mirrors they could use as means of instant communication no matter where they were, since they returned to school over a month ago and they had already screwed it up twice. One time resulting in shattered glass all over dorm room floor and the other nearly leaving Sirius blind in one eye...
The small drop of silvery liquid finally fell and they both let out the breath they were holding. Sirius leaned in further and gave the mirror in front of James the same treatment. Once that too went without a hitch, they sat back on their heels and waited, staring down at the mirrors. The glass shuddered slightly before shifting into what seemed almost like thick, rippling water. The two boys glanced nervously at each other.
"That's meant to happen," Sirius' voice wavered a bit.
"Are you asking me or telling me?"
"Err..." The glass went solid again and emitted a soft, bluish glow and Sirius smirked. "Yes. Meant to happen."
"Smug bastard." James shook his head, although he himself was grinning proudly as he cautiously tapped the glass of his mirror with his finger to be sure it had indeed taken its prior form again. "Right then, you've got that spell written down?"
Sirius reached into his back pocket for the scrap of parchment he had jotted the incantation onto. "Don't fuck it up."
James rolled his eyes and snatched the parchment from him. He frowned. "This is it? Seems too simple..."
"No, I made it up just to bloody see what would happen."
"Alright, alright. Sheesh. What's with the snippy attitude? Moony not putting out?"
"Our sex life is just spiffy thank you very much. How's your right hand?"
"Low blow, mate." James sighed, using his index finger to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose. He touched the tip of his wand to the glass of his mirror as Sirius did the same to his own.
The mirrors both flashed brightly, making James and Sirius flinch and shield their eyes. After a few seconds, the light dimmed and the two boys exchanged uncertain looks. James cleared his throat and lifted his mirror to eye level. "Er...Sirius?" He said clearly to his own reflection, feeling a little foolish with his best friend sitting only inches away from him. There was a moment of anticipated silence and then -
"HOLY FUCK!" Sirius' horrified scream made James jump and he nearly dropped the mirror in his hand.
"WHAT! WHAT IS IT? WHAT'S WRONG?" He asked, panic stricken as Sirius gaped, wide eyed at his mirror while clutching at his chest.
"I...I just..." Sirius swallowed hard, regaining his composure. "Sorry, I'm just so use to looking in the mirror and seeing this beautiful son of a bitch, and now suddenly there's your ugly mug staring back at me." He snickered as James reached over and swatted him in the back of the head.
"You prat! You made me think you- Wait, it's working?"
Still laughing, and wiping the corner of his eyes with his sleeve, Sirius nodded. "Yeah, mate. Take a look." He brought his mirror up again. "James."
The glass of James' mirror rippled in a fluid like motion and suddenly his reflection was replaced with Sirius'. "Merlin's pants, it bloody works!" He laughed gleefully. "Oy, Pads, go down into the common room. I want to see if it stays connected." He waved his hand towards the door and Sirius practically bounced off the bed with excitement.
Sirius bounded down the stairs to the common room with the silver handle of his mirror clutched tightly in his hand, skipping several steps at a time and nearly knocking over a very confused Remus and Lily when he got to the bottom.
"Where's the fire?" Remus asked, one eye brow raised as he cautiously looked over his boyfriend's expression for any sign of mischief that may be his responsibility to clean up later on.
Sirius grinned. "James and I may have just figured out the mirrors." He turned his attention back to it. "Prongs can you still hear me?"
"FUCK YES THIS IS THE MOST BRILLIANT BLOODY THING EVER!" James' voice responded. "We can talk no matter where we are!"
"I know, mate. It's like we'll never even have to miss each other-"
Lily blinked a few times, her eyes wide and owl like before turning back to Remus. "You're sure it's you that he's dating and not Potter, right?"
Remus sighed and shook his head. "To be honest, sometimes I really don't know."
Sirius scoffed. He was about to come back with a witty comment about Moony's arse being far better than Prongs' any day, but he was interrupted when the portrait sung open and a disheveled and guilty looking Peter stumbled through, tripping in his haste and falling flat on the ground.
Lily, Remus and Sirius all stopped to watch as Peter scrambled to his feet and brushed himself off, a rather silly grin plastered to his round face until he realized he was being stared at by his very amused friends. The grin faded slightly and the boy turned red.
One of Sirius' sleek black eyebrows quirked up and he smirked knowingly. "Alright Wormy?"
Peter let out a nervous squeak of a laugh, his hand darting up to run through his damp, blond hair. "Me? Er...yeah! Great! I...I'm fantastic, really, uh-"
Remus and Sirius' eyes met briefly and they both bit their lip so they wouldn't laugh.
"Had a nice night with the lovely Miss Emmeline, then?" Asked Remus in the most conversational tone he could muster.
"Oh," Peter stuttered. "The breast- ah! Best!"
There was a loud snort and Lily tried to cover it up with a fake sneeze, although both Remus and Sirius could see her grinning under her hand.
"FUCK, MATE, DID WORMTAIL HAVE SEX!?" Came James' flabbergasted voice from Sirius pocket.
"Y'know what's brilliant about this prank?" Hissed James excitedly. He and Sirius were under the invisibility cloak, which could no longer hold all four Marauders underneath. Not that it mattered, with Remus being busy with his prefect duties and Peter constantly running off to find an empty broom cupboard with Emmeline, it seemed to be just the two of them most of the time these days anyway. "It's inconvenient, but not dangerous. It's bloody hilarious, and to top it off, it will tick Snape off more than anyone else without him even being the sole target." The bespectacled boy snickered to himself as Sirius managed to unlock the door to the Potions supply closet, where they planned to charm the feet of the cauldrons to disappear whenever someone tried to place them over a flame, causing the cauldrons themselves to roll away. Sirius made a undetermined sound that James took as agreement and he went on. "I've got to say, Evans not being friends with ol' Snivelly certainly made pranking the Slytherins a lot easier. Less chance she'll hex me for it, y'know?"
Again Sirius didn't give a committed answer. If James didn't know any better, he would think his best friend was getting annoyed with him. He ignored it.
"I just sort of thought once that greasy git was out of the way she would be more open to maybe going out on a date with me. I mean she-"
This time Sirius sighed, loudly, and James couldn't ignore it anymore.
"Alright, what's wrong?" He asked, folding his arms and staring hard at the back of his friend's head. He saw Sirius' shoulders slump slightly, clearly whatever was bothering him was something he didn't particularly want to say, but it had gotten to the point where he felt he had to. The shorter boy turned to face him.
"Look, James..." Sirius exhaled sharply, rubbing the back of his neck. "Don't you think enough is enough with this whole 'waiting around for Lily Evans' thing?"
James' face fell. His brows furrowed together and he seemed mildly affronted. He opened his mouth to argue but Sirius cut him off.
"It's just," Sirius said slowly, trying to find the right way to break what the rest of them all had been thinking to him. "We're all growing up and pairing off. Frank's finally asked Alice out, Dorcas and Marls are still going strong, Remus and I are...well...y'know...Merlin, even Peter is sticking it to his bird! Don't you want to experience any of it?"
James scoffed and shook his head. "It's only a matter of time, Padfoot! I mean look at how far we've come-"
"Lily can tolerate having a conversation with you that doesn't involve screaming or hexing each other." Sirius said firmly, his eyes baring into James'. "With some more time and being forced to mingle, since the rest of us are close, you two may even eventually be friends. But you won't be if you keep hounding her for dates and writing love poems and acting like a prat."
"Alright, so we become friends and then-"
"Mate, it took her six years to be able to even look at you without gagging. How long are you going to sit around and wait for something that may not even happen?"
James didn't say anything. There was nothing he could say. He knew, of course, that the way he had conducted his pursuit of Lily Evans had been foolish in the beginning. To tell the truth, it had started as a joke. The red head had regarded him with such disdain so quickly in first year, he had thought it was funny to get her riled up with his displays of faux affection.
Somewhere around third year, it had stopped being in jest. Lily was no longer a prissy, stuck up little school girl. She was becoming a smart, talented and fiery young woman who did not think twice before putting anyone, particularly James, in their place. And James found that he rather admired her for it.
Obviously he was aware that if he ever wanted Lily Evans to reciprocate those feelings, he would have to modify his behavior. However, at thirteen, fourteen or even fifteen years old, James felt that there were more important things in his young life that came before trying to impress some bird. Even if he did believe her to be The One.
Sirius needed James more. He needed a partner in crime, a kindred spirit, a brother. He needed the pranks and the jokes to keep his mind off the problems at home.
Remus needed him as a reason to laugh and to feel included and accepted. He needed to be a part of something bigger, to leave his legacy at Hogwarts as more than just a werewolf.
Peter needed him so he was reminded of how useful and smart he was. He needed to know that he was an equal and valued person, and that he could do things that others could not and he was appreciated for it.
The Marauders came first, and growing up for the sake of Lily Evans' attention could certainly wait...couldn't it?
Again he heard Sirius sigh. He turned back around and put a hand on James' shoulder. "You're my best friend. My brother. I want you to be happy." The corner of Sirius' lips tugged up and his face went a very soft shade of pink. "Moony and I are happy. I want that for you as well, you know?"
James snorted. "Sappy git."
"Idiot." Sirius rolled his eyes. "Look, all I'm trying to say is...you don't even have to give up on Evans altogether. Maybe just, y'know, give some other girls a go? Plenty of kelpies in the lake and all that."
James nodded silently and Sirius squeezed his shoulder. "You alright, then?"
"Yeah." Said James, forcing a smile. "I'm fine. You're right. I should try dating a bit, shouldn't I?"
Sirius nodded, a smirk forming on his face. "Only if you don't want your right hand to break off from overuse." He laughed and ducked when James' hand swatted at him.
"You're such a prat." James grumbled. He sighed and took out his wand. "Alright, enough about my lack of a love life. We've got to charm the feet off these cauldron's eh?"