Le Parfum de l'Amour Part 2
A Love of Kings and Thieves
James breathes in deeply, the scent of all his favourite things blending together and making him feel a happy sort of warmth flooding through his veins. It's Sirius' turn to guess what James smells from the Amortentia and James is sure he'll get them all, because they're basically two halves of the same whole, know each other inside and out.
"Summer," Sirius pronounces, with all the confidence in the world and James grins. Sirius is right, of course he is, and summer smells like swimming in the pond, like staying up late and chasing every adventure. James couldn't describe the smell if he tried, but he knows, the second he gets a whiff of the Amortentia, that it's summer, his favourite season of them all.
James has always been more a summer boy, long nights running wild, endless blue skies, warm wind in his hair. There's a freedom in summer James can't put into words, a sense of endless possibility, reckless courage and friendship, his three very best mates. He thrives in sunshine and he doesn't know why his heart beats louder for summer, but it does, always has.
Sirius knows all of this of course, knows James better than he knows himself.
Sirius rolls his eyes, smirking as he guesses the next one and James won't be ashamed.
It's custard and there's no deep meaning here, just that custard is amazing, the scent already making his mouth water.
Custard is simply delicious, the very best food of them all.
(or maybe it's his mother deciding to teach him how to make it when he's young, forcing him into the kitchen for weeks on end until he gets it right. maybe it's all that time spent with her, laughing, talking, succeeding)
(maybe it's his father coming to help, rolling up his sleeves and helping James make an absolute mess. maybe it's his father smiling in pride, gushing about how delicious it is, even when it wasn't. maybe it's that praise, that easy happiness)
(maybe it's not those moments specifically, maybe custard is just a physical call back to the love he has for his parents, not tied anymore to a specific memory, but coming to represent all of it, the years and years of smiles and love and joy, all stirred into one lovely dessert)
(except there's no maybe)
The third is easy, a given, totally predictable.
"Quidditch," Sirius says without a moment to think about it, because of course.
Quidditch, the smell of broomstick polish, of mud, of fresh air and leather balls. The smell of sweat and a metal trophy, shined as bright as the sun.
Quidditch is the smell of victory, of pride. It's the smell of hard work, of success, of exhilaration. It's triumph and elation, it's the support of every Gryffindor cheering his name, the weightless bliss of flying.
Quidditch is James in his element, confident and determined. It is James without worry, without concern, James focused and resolute. It's a James that belongs to something bigger, an entire House relying on him, a team that looks to him for guidance, a head of House hedging all her bets on him.
Quidditch is a James that is brave, inspiring, fighting for others, a James that will never, ever give up.
Quidditch is James Potter at his very best.
James is a little embarrassed by the fourth smell, wishes Sirius wouldn't say it even though he knows he will.
"Evans," Sirius scoffs and James hopes she doesn't hear from her spot in front of them. It's stupid, isn't it, to smell a girl who so publicly rejected him last year? And yet, still, James can smell her, that soft floral scent and he doesn't know if it's perfume, soap or maybe shampoo, just that it's Lily.
Lily who is brilliant, fierce, compassionate and not always pleasant. Lily who is forgiving, strong, incredible with her wand and who may never fancy him back (and that's strangely okay). Lily who is occasionally petty and so very stubborn. Lily Evans, beautiful, determined, courageous and unstoppable.
He is sixteen and would never say he loved her, doesn't even realize he does, but she has taken over his heart, written her name all over it and she'll never leave, never move out of the spot she's claimed inside of him.
James is a boy growing up, growing out of stupid behaviour and growing into a better man. He is a boy changing, not entirely, not completely, but enough.
Some things won't change though, some things he won't grow out of. He doesn't know it yet, but Lily Evans is one of those things, something, someone, he'll only love more as the years go by.
He smells it now and thinks it's a stupid fancy, something he probably should have moved past when she said no in front of most of the school. Sirius would agree with him if he said it out loud, would say those very words, but here's something they both don't know.
You don't smell silly crushes or passing fancies in Amortentia.
You smell your heart.
(but never least)
No one says it, but maybe he also smells a little bit of wet dog mixed with Sirius' cologne. Maybe he smells his best friend, his brother, the other half of himself.
But then, maybe they don't need to say it, because it's a given.
Lily may be the love of his life but Sirius is just as much his soul mate, just as much a part of his heart. They're best friends, they're brothers and no one needs to say it, the world already knows it.