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“And you’re sure this works?” Sirius Black clutched his galleons in one hand while he inspected a sprig of green in his other. It looked like ordinary mistletoe...
The Hufflepuff he was there to meet looked affronted. “I said it did, didn’t I? It’s an old hybrid. Been in my family for generations. Gram calls it ‘kissletoe.’” The boy rolled his eyes.
Satisfied, Sirius slapped the money into the boy’s hand. With this plant, the help of the Marauder’s Map and a little bit of luck, it wouldn’t be long before he had Drucilla Vane in his arms. No more flirting, no more games. Now would be just the two of them, in front of everyone, sharing a Christmas kiss. Maybe he would even ask her to go with him. She was driving him mad.
In the corridor leading to the library, Sirius conjured a stepladder. He clambered up and carefully tied the mistletoe to a rafter. He had to hurry—Drucilla’s footprints, along with those of her friends, had begun to move on the Marauder’s map, and they were indeed heading this way.
He jumped down, dismissed the ladder with a wave, and then spent a little time practicing all his casual poses, looking for the combination that would make him irresistible to Drucilla. Robes buttoned, leaning against a statue, attitude of vague ennui? Head turned in profile, arms crossed, air of worldliness? Finally, he settled on an old standby: robes unbuttoned, hands in pockets, head in profile, look of troubled introspection. So absorbed was he that he failed to notice when his brother Regulus walked up.
“You look like a constipated wombat.” observed Reg. “Pondering where to procure some castor oil, Lord Byron?”
“Piss off,” said Sirius, distracted. “You’re crowding me. I’m meeting...” The hallway was getting a little more populated. He spied Drucilla down the hall. His friends James, Peter, Remus and Lily were now coming up from behind. The fellows were fairly excited; they had been told of Sirius’ plan and couldn’t wait to see it play out. Lily, playing with a Remembrall as she walked, was oblivious to their boisterous shouts.
Students jostled each other on the way to the library. Nervously, Sirius moved to stand where he could protect the area directly underneath the magical mistletoe. “Drucilla, over here!” he called. “Shove off, you lot,” he growled to his friends.
“And miss your desperate plan?” laughed Remus.
“Not a chance,” added James.
“Why? What’s going on?” asked Lily.
Drucilla eyed the group suspiciously, but began to walk toward them with her friends. One of them jostled Lily, who dropped her Remembrall. Peter went diving for it, accidentally knocking Lily into Reg. She stumbled, and Reg instinctively grabbed her by the arms to keep her from falling against him. They lurched sideways... and just like that, the two of them were ensnared under the magical mistletoe. Sirius groaned.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” babbled Peter. “Is it too late? Can’t we just pull them out and...?”
“No,” replied the Hufflepuff. He alone was laughing. “They’re stuck now, right and proper.”
James gave Sirius a bracing slap on the back. “Better luck next time, Padfoot.”
Reg’s annoyance at his brother’s clumsy friends faded into confusion when he found his feet had become rooted to the spot. Not only that, but his hands were stuck fast, glued through the robes to the upper arms of that Gryffindor girl, Lily Evans. The voices of other students seemed peculiarly muffled to his ears. But one voice came to his ears clearly, like the sound of beautiful silver bells.
“What the chuffin’ hell did you just do?” cried Lily.
He blinked at the girl he held. “Me? I didn’t do anything!”
“My feet! They’re stuck!”
“Regulus Black, you let go of me!” With one hand, she tried to shove Reg by the shoulder. The hand stuck fast.
“Stop moving, dammit. Don’t you see the problem?” he shouted.
“Just need to get... un... stuck.” Lily began to struggle in earnest, turning red in her embarrassment.
“Evans, stop moving! You’re making it worse!”
It took a few moments to calm down and take stock of their situation. His hands still gripped her upper arms; one of her hands was stuck to his shoulder, while the back of her other hand had somehow attached itself to his elbow. There was a distinct muzziness in their ears, making it so they could only hear other voices very faintly. They turned their heads to see James nearly doubled over with laughter, Peter looking troubled and Sirius angry. Sirius reached for Reg, but his hand seemed to hit a magical barrier.
Remus was gesticulating and seemed to be yelling loudly. He pointed up. “Look!” came the voice faintly. “You’re going to have to kiss to get free!”
Shocked, Lily and Reg stared up at the mistletoe. “Are they joking?” asked Lily faintly.
“I don’t know.”
“They must be joking. If you knew them, you’d know they’re awful tricksters.”
“I do know them,” replied Reg grimly. “Believe me, they make my life miserable on a regular basis.”
“How are we going to get out of this?”
“Evans, stop asking so many bloody questions. You think I know?”
“Maybe you do.” Frustrated, she let herself take out her anger on the one person who could hear her. “Slytherins are forever trying to arrange the odds in their favor. And Sirius Black is your brother!”
“Oh, so this is my fault now?” he began to lose his temper at last. “You think I planned to trap us both in some kind of magical kissy bubble?”
“If the shoe fits!”
Passers-by laughed to see two red-faced students in an awkward clinch, noiselessly raging at each other, while the four infamous troublemakers of Gryffindor stood by, helpless. The elusive Drucilla Vane met Sirius’ eye and gave him a sly tsk-tsk before she continued into the library. This did nothing to improve Sirius’ mood.
“I hope these two hurry it up before a teacher passes by,” said Peter worriedly. Sirius glared at him. The last thing he wanted was for Reg to hurry it up and kiss a girl he hardly knew, and then maybe get a proper girlfriend out of it, and lord it over him...
“Alright, alright. Let’s think.” Lily paused to get hold of herself. “If they’re right, we’re under some kind of enchantment that can only be broken with a... erm...” She could not bring herself to say the word kiss, not when she was in the arms of a boy... No matter how handsome he was... Now where had that thought come from? “Erm, that means the sooner we... the sooner we escape. So... it’s only logical that we...”
“That we... what?” She almost got mad again at the mischievous look in his eye.
“Let’s just get this over with,” she said gamely.
"Yeah, alright." He swallowed. “Alright. Here goes.”
Hesitantly, he leaned into her. They bumped noses awkwardly. She could feel his breath, warm against her lips. Suddenly she had a horrible thought, and she gasped and pulled away. A look of disappointment flashed across his features, but she had no time to assess it then.
“Regulus! What if our lips stick together when we...?”
“Oh God, you’re right, I never thought of that.”
They glanced over at Remus. Though the other boy was only a few feet away, the effect of the mistletoe made him seem as remote as the moon.
Remus considered Reg’s pointed stare for a moment. Then understanding dawned. “I think they’re afraid their lips will stick,” he relayed.
Sirius turned and glared at the Hufflepuff, who was enjoying the spectacle from where he stood on the fringes of the crowd. “Hey, kid. Will they? Stick, that is?”
“No! No, no.” The boy frowned. “Well, probably not.”
Remus didn’t believe the boy could be trusted, but there was nothing for it. Regulus and Lily hadn’t heard a word of this exchange. In answer to their unspoken query, Remus shook his head at them and shrugged.
Inside the cocoon of silence, Reg grimaced. “I think they think our lips won’t stick together, but they don’t know for sure,” he told her. The absurdity of what he had just said made him glance away, embarrassed. “I’m going to kill my brother,” he growled.
“Not if I get to him first,” replied Lily tartly. Reg chuffed a laugh, and she smiled for the first time. He marveled at the way her green eyes sparkled. She was actually quite pretty. Now where had that thought come from?
He cleared his throat. “Honestly,” he said, “I don’t know what else to try. I think we should just...”
“Yeah. Okay,” she agreed.
“Okay. Here goes.” His mouth dipped toward hers again, and this time she let him, and she pressed her lips against his...
Soft. Soft and warm and sweet. Lily Evans had imagined what it would be like to kiss a boy one day, but the glorious feeling left all her imaginings behind. Entirely too soon, he pulled away again. She had to close her eyes to keep them from popping out of her head. At least their lips hadn’t fused together; that was a mercy.
She felt his hands tug against her arms. She tried to move her own hands and feet. No luck. She groaned in frustration. “This is not how I ever pictured my first kiss,” she muttered to herself.
“That was your first?” There was a change in Reg’s voice, and she squeezed her eyes more tightly shut so she wouldn’t have to see him teasing her again.
“Oh God, forget you heard that.” She dropped her head, embarrassed. “I mean, I don’t know... the dating pool is a little shallow in Gryffindor and, well, you know. It’s silly, but girls picture these things.” She shrugged. “They picture their first kiss as being...”
“As being special,” he finished. He wasn’t laughing. She opened her eyes to find him gazing at her intently. She found herself captivated by his eyes—black like his brother’s, yet calmer, more thoughtful.
“Listen,” he said. “I... I don’t know much about women. I mean, there are girls everywhere, yeah? Classmates? But I don’t really know them. How you all think. My mother...” He didn’t finish that thought. “But I do know a girl ought to have a proper first kiss, if that’s what she wants.” He hunched a little to look her right in the eye, and gave her a crooked smile that made her heart skip a beat. “Let’s say that first one didn’t count, alright?”
“That’s right. So...” He was whispering now. “Lily Evans, may I kiss you?”
Being this close to Regulus was such a heady feeling, Lily wasn’t sure what she was agreeing to anymore. All she could process was the scent of him, the play of his muscles under her fingers, the way his eyes now smoldered as they stared at her lips. Her whole world was beginning to narrow down to this moment, this boy, and what she suddenly wanted from him above everything else.
“Yes, you may,” she breathed.
Reg’s head began to spin. When she tilted her head, he forgot everything else and brought his lips down to claim hers again. This kiss was not sweet like the first one; it was a kiss of unexplored need, and he was powerless against the sudden force of desire. Under his hands, Lily’s arms had relaxed and she was kissing him back. Her lips opened a little, and he groaned at the feel of it, here in their own little cocoon, where time had stopped. She moved her lips experimentally, and her little teeth scraped deliciously against his mouth in a way that made his heart stop and the blood begin to boil. He growled and forced her mouth open, and she let him, and their tongues began to wage a battle of their own. Her warm fragrance ensnared his senses, and he moved one hand to cradle her head and revel in the smooth texture of her hair, while the other hand traveled to her waist in order to pull her closer. In response, her hands moved upwards and her fingers brushed his neck with the lightest of touches, and he shivered as—
“Oy!” Sirius’ voice, at full strength, penetrated the fog of their ears and startled them out of their reverie. Reg and Lily gasped and pulled away, their faces flaming. They turned to behold Sirius: arms crossed, leaning against the statue, look of unmitigated disgust. “Are you two quite finished?” he asked caustically.
“The spell is broken,” added Remus unnecessarily. James and Peter wolf-whistled, and there were good-natured cheers from the other students.
Reg rounded on his older brother. “How could you do such a thing to a nice girl like this?” he demanded. “I thought she was your friend!”
“I didn’t mean to!” Sirius threw up his hands in supplication. “She was the wrong girl. It was only an accident!”
“Some accident. Do you know what we ought to do to you?”
Lily stepped in and finished that thought. “I’ll tell you what. Detention, Mr. Black!” she said, poking Sirius hard in the chest. The hallway rang with laughter. At last, several teachers hurried down the hall, drawn by the noise, to belatedly restore order.
Reg managed to get hold of himself. He would have welcomed a chance to scrap with Sirius, right here in front of the library, to relieve his emotions from the last few minutes. But Lily Evans, being a Gryffindor prefect, had provided a solution that was more devastating and far more elegant. She really was a singular girl, he thought. In the middle of the crowd, the two of them shared a private smile.
“Hey,” he said softly. “Want to get away from these idiots?”
She quirked an eyebrow at him. “Definitely.”
He took her hand and they strolled away, ignoring the catcalls of the other students.
Sirius strode over to the Hufflepuff who had sold him the benighted little plant that had started it all. “So when is the effect going to wear off, hey?” he demanded.
The boy shrugged negligently. “Dunno. Judging by my parents, I’m not sure it ever really does.”
There was a brief but ferocious scuffle as students fought to grab a little kissletoe for themselves.
Written for the HP Rarepair Shorts winter fest. Comments welcome!
Marauders and Mistletoe by stgulik
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.