“Wait a second. Just… wait. Did you just say what you think I said?” Harry exclaimed, waving his glass in disbelief. A few drops of whisky sloshed onto his wrist and he attempted to lick them off, spilling some more in the process. “Damn,” he muttered under his breath.
“Yes,” Sirius replied, slurring the word slightly. He let his head loll onto the sofa’s back. “Your dad kissed Lucius Malfoy.”
“But… but… how?” Harry took another gulp of his drink as he attempted to come to terms with this revelation.
“Well, you’ve got to remember that Slytherin and Gryffindor have always been rivals. And one year, our fifth, if I remember right, your dad came up with a ‘cunning plan’. A way to prove, once and for all, that we were the best.” Sirius’ eyes glazed over slightly – well, slightly more - as he retreated to the past.
“So, you see, there’s just no way any of us will lose. Which means all the Slytherins will be sitting in that circle, with forfeits coming out of their ears!” exclaimed James, a light of sadistic glee flickering in his eyes. He stopped pacing, and stood nicely framed by the fireplace uprights, waiting for their response.
Sirius felt an evil smile creeping onto his face. A very similar one was on Remus, curled in the chair opposite. “I’m with you. Remus?”
“Um, Peter?” James said, peering around as if the other Marauder might appear from behind a stray piece of furniture.
“Must have gone to bed. Never mind, I’m sure he’ll be in. Always is,” Sirius assured his friends.
“Right. I’ll propose it to Malfoy tomorrow.” James said firmly. “You two had better get started on thinking up those forfeits.”
Remus’ smile cranked up a notch. “I’m on it.”
The three went up to bed, feeling the warm glow of an evil plan well laid.
Two weeks later, at midnight, four very nervous Marauders sat in a circle in a deserted classroom with four of their Slytherin contemporaries – Lucius Malfoy, Walden Macnair, Evan Rosier and Severus Snape. The Slytherins couldn’t seem to decide whether to look smug or just as nervous as the Gryffindors felt. Lily was along for ‘moral support’, and she seemed to find the whole thing much funnier than it really was. This was supposed to have been the perfect plan to watch the Slytherins make fools of themselves. They weren’t supposed to be doing any forfeits at all!
The first five or six drawn, while not good by any stretch of the imagination, could have been worse. Sirius was forced to reveal that he had, contrary to popular belief, never gotten beyond kissing. He wouldn’t have minded too much, had not every single one of the Slytherins, even Slimy Snape looked immeasurably smugger at the ‘revelation’. Remus had to strip, and sat there shivering, and muttering under his breath about why they’d had to choose the coldest classroom in the entire school as all the others eyed him measuringly.
Even Lily did, until James turned and glared at her. She coughed, blushed faintly, and turned her eyes pointedly away. James grinned at her for a moment before the worried expression returned.
The Slytherins had their turns too. Malfoy shaved his head with a handy spell and had to swear to keep it that way for a week. He cursed under his breath as he did it. It was a well known fact that the girls just adored it long, although in Sirius’ opinion it just made him look like a girl. Of course, he had nothing to do with the creation of that particular forfeit, or with Malfoy drawing it. Macnair would be singing a selection of popular nursery rhymes at breakfast the next day. And so on.
Then it was James’ turn.
He slowly put his hand out and plucked a piece of paper from the pile. He unfolded it, scanned it, scanned it again. He shuddered, just once. The paper fluttered from his hand, and Sirius grabbed it before Snape could.
Kiss the person opposite you. With tongue. For two full minutes.
Sirius recognised that one. He’d written it that morning, as a last minute addition. He thanked Merlin he'd had the foresight to use a spell to disguise his handwriting. James would kill him if he ever found out. He looked across the circle. Malfoy sat opposite James.
Scratch that, they’d both kill him, just for being a witness. He noticed that Snape looked just a tad nervous too, but he had bigger things to worry about.
James gave Lily an apologetic look. Then he moved, very slowly, onto his knees and shuffled across the circle. Malfoy eyed him warily.
“What do you think you’re doing, Potter?” he said leerily. “That’s your side of the circle, this is ours.”
“This is not my fault,” James said. He put a hand under Malfoy’s chin, tugged his face up and kissed him.
With tongue. For two full minutes.
Sirius timed it.
Then James pulled away, and wiped his mouth vigorously with the back of his left hand. Malfoy looked rather as if he wanted to do the same thing, but seemed content to twist his mouth in distaste.
James crept back to his place and conjured a glass of mouthwash. He gargled vigorously and spit back into the glass as the others watched in bewildered, horrified fascination.
Sirius dared a glance at Lily. She was smiling. He blinked.
Lily walked over and kissed James.
With tongue. For two full minutes.
“And that’s how it happened, Harry,” Sirius said. He couldn’t help smiling slightly at the memory. His own humiliation had been forgotten. Everyone else had been too preoccupied with their own.
Harry looked just as dumbstruck as the others had been that night, and Sirius smiled a bit wider.
“Well, I think that’s enough for one night,” he said firmly, managing to keep most of the slurring out. He lifted his head with an effort to look at Harry. “Time for bed, my boy.”
“Just one more?” Harry pleaded.
“No.” Harry pouted. “Well, okay. Maybe just one more.” Sirius waved his hand, and their glasses were filled from the decanter across the room.
Harry grinned. “It’ll be worth it, I promise. You haven’t heard the story of the time Ron kissed Draco.”
“Well, like father, like son, I guess,” Sirius replied, his head flopping back.
“You have no idea, Sirius,” Harry smiled into his glass.
Sirius’ head shot up again and he stared, whisky slopping unheeded into his lap.