So help me, God, I am not the girl who ruins someone else's wedding.
I don't care how unbelievably awful you were to me for seven years, how painstakingly you went about making the whole day my personal living hell, how many of your husband's relations made not-even-subtle racist jabs at my fiance. You are my sister, and it was your day, and I am not that girl.
And while, yes, it's true that the DJ's set during the reception did mysteriously happen to include every song ever written with the word "magic" in it, I have some caveats to that:
1. You have no proof that was intentional, maybe
a. It was a coincidence
b. The DJ is secretly a wizard himself and he was subtly revealing his true identity, or
c. He's a Muggle who has some sort of fetishistic obsession with magic tricks.
2. As it happens, it was not a coincidence, and the DJ's just a normal DJ, but I honestly didn't know James was going to do that.
3. But no, actually, I'm not annoyed at him in the slightest, because
a. James spent a hundred quid on a present for you, and in return, Vernon asked him where he was really from like he expected him to say Kenya.
b. It was fucking funny.
4. Honestly, Tuney, the fact that you managed to work yourself into a tizzy about song lyrics during your wedding reception, at which I know for a fact you didn't want to dance anyway, says a lot more about you than it does James.
We caused no actual problems whatsoever.
I did not stand up from the pews and scream, "I have an objection! That man is clearly part walrus and this is bestiality!" I did not drag James into the first closet I found and fuck him until we screamed each other's names so loud that the whole party stopped to stare. I did not complain when you broke every rule of wedding decorum to put me and James at separate tables for the luncheon, or hex the sixty-year-old pervert seated next to me who pinched my thigh. I did not levitate every single wine glass in the room to tip them straight onto Marge Dursley's head when she asked Vernon in a stage whisper whether drugs were the reason James was a jobless layabout. Petunia, your wedding was your day.
But a person has a limit. I, it turns out, can sit through two rehearsal dinners (who the hell has two rehearsal dinners?!), one wedding, one wedding reception, one "Welcome Back From Your Honeymoon" dinner, and a "just-the-bridesmaids-plus-Lily-who-we-have-dragged-here-literally-just-to-remind-her-that-she-wasn't-a-bridesmaid-in-increasingly-obnoxious-ways-as-we-get-drunker" cocktail hour. I can handle that, because you are my sister, and blood is thicker than water, and I am a good person, dammit.
But after all that, you show up in my flat and you drag James and me to a dinner party hosted in your honor by Vernon Dursley's drill company that poured thousands of pounds into Margaret Thatcher's campaign, on the one night we have off from risking our lives in a war against the most evil wizard of all time, and you expect me to behave? I think. The fuck. Not.
You can take your 60,000 quid in emotional damages and go to hell. And if, on your way there, you run into Vernon's boss, tell him to keep his fucking hands off engaged nineteen-year-old girls if he likes his body's normal proportions (although I can't imagine why he would).
Your sister, though Merlin knows you don't act like it,
Three days ago.
"You have to go," Petunia snapped, staring at me in the mirror, face pinched, arms crossed, foot tapping unevenly on the floor. She never could keep a beat.
We stood in Sirius's uncle's flat, the one that the Marauders and I had all moved into together after Hogwarts. Luckily for her, unluckily for me, James and Sirius were on mission for the Order, and I'd won Exploding Snapple Jacks last night (it's like Exploding Snap but better because we made it up. Also, because there's alcohol) so I got to stay home while Remus and Pete dealt with our errands. Meaning I had no backup when Petunia cornered me.
"You don't want me there." I answered her for the fiftieth time, trying not to take out my frustration on my eyeliner, which I'd already had to redo three times in the course of this conversation.
"That's not relevant. The entire family must attend the event. Vernon made the mistake of telling them I have a sister. Ergo, my sister must attend the event."
"Look, Tuney," I said evenly, a little of my patience restored since I'd finally winged my liner right and it looked bloody fantastic, "I am happy for you and Vernon and I hope you have a lovely married life together. But I have been to no less than six events entirely designed to tell you that. I have sent the message, loud and clear, and the only answer I've gotten from you is a massive middle finger. I don't have an obligation to go to this dinner, and I'm not going to go."
Eleven hours ago.
The day began, like all the best days, with a hairdryer hitting me in the head. Well, technically it began with James naked in my bed, but that tidbit doesn't really convey the level of sardonic fury that I'm aiming for here.
When I blinked awake, James's eyes were still closed. His long, lush eyelashes brushed his cheeks, one arm lay draped across my stomach and a contented smile warmed his face. I was debating whether to wake him up when the door burst open and my sister made the decision for me.
"How are you still in bed?!" Tuney shrieked, Vernon huffing and puffing beside her like a punctured walrus, Peter bobbing apologetically behind them. "It's eleven AM!" That's when she flung the hairdryer, and it might have concussed me if not for James's Quidditch-trained reflexes. Even semi-deflected, it hurt quite a bit.
For the record, I dry my hair with magic. I think she brought the thing from home just to chuck at my head.
While I rubbed my forehead, James laid a protective hand on my arm and sat up, abs rippling as the blanket pooled at his waist (no, that isn't the point of this story, but I like what I like) (and by the way, I saw Tuney like it too). "Petunia," he said through gritted teeth, "what the fuck are you doing in our room?"
Peter turned beet red. "I tried to tell them you were—"
"NAKED?!" she all but screamed it, as if she wasn't an adult woman who had barged into another adult's bedroom without warning. "This is utterly indecent!"
"How dare you expose yourself to my wife?!" Vernon joined in, turning puce.
"Expose my…" James and I exchanged a dumb-founded look. I pulled myself up to a sitting position, head still throbbing slightly, very glad I happened to be wearing one of James's t-shirts. He immediately wrapped an arm around my shoulders and tucked me into his side, touching the emerging bump with his other hand. "You okay, Lil?" I nodded, then winced when my head ached again. James's jaw clenched.
Petunia looked a little sorry. I think she meant to miss, but she's always been a crap shot.
"What are you doing here?" James repeated, voice now openly hostile.
"Don't pretend you don't know. Dinner?!" Oh, no.
"What dinner?" Oh, hell.
"You didn't tell him?!" Oh, buggering fuck.
"I, er, I meant to, but…" I reached for James's hand, and my voice shook a little. "She told me three days ago." He understood. He kissed my hair and traced his thumb over my palm.
"And you only have event planning meetings biweekly?" Petunia sneered. This was a bit rich, I thought, coming from a woman who selects her underwear a week in advance.
"And we had more important things to talk about," I answered. "Like the magical fascist dictator we're at war with."
She glared at me and then at the clock, which now read 11:20. "Yes, I can see you're hard at work defeating evil."
I opened my mouth to point out that fighting Voldemort isn't exactly a 9-5, but she bulldozed over me.
"It doesn't matter. This dinner is being held in our honor, and as the sister of the bride, you will be in attendance. Dinner begins promptly at seven at 137 Pembrooke Road. You will arrive at 6:55 and find our car—"
"Red '79 Lexus," Vernon put in. "Newest model. Can't miss it."
"—Where we will give you the socially acceptable gift we have purchased for you to present to them at the door—"
"—For which you'll pay us back, naturally."
"Naturally. You will dress appropriately, behave properly throughout dinner, and you will give no indication of your…" her lips pursed, if possible, even tighter… "condition." At long last, her tirade came to an end, and we stared at her with undisguised awe.
"Well, that sounds fantastic." said James at length, "We'd love to. Except, wait a second…I'm remembering something…oh, yeah: we've already been to six bloody events to celebrate your godforsaken union, and you just assaulted Lily. You can get the fuck out of my house right now, and we will not be seeing you at dinner."
"We? What makes you think we want you there, boy?" Dursley snapped.
I saw red and leapt up. I forgot my wand completely; I was going to slap Vernon Dursley across the fucking face—then James caught me around the middle and pulled me back. I struggled fruitlessly against him, but it didn't matter. Remus had appeared in the doorway too (what a party this was turning into), and both he and Peter pointed their wands squarely at Dursley's face.
"Do not call James 'boy' ever again," Remus said, voice polite and pleasant and very, very dangerous.
Dursley faltered. His face couldn't decide between purple for furious and white for terrified. It landed on lilac for twat.
"I—" he blustered, "Are you—don't you threaten me with…"
"Vernon," Petunia said sharply, and his mouth closed. Even Mrs. Twat knew he'd crossed a line.
The lads lowered their wands slightly, looking to James for guidance. He was taking the whole thing very much in stride, however, far less concerned with the insult than with running his hands over my skin now that he'd pulled me practically into his lap, and oh, he was good at that. Hesitantly, Remus and Peter lowered their wands.
Seeing that the immediate danger was gone, Petunia began to speechify: "Potter has to come. We told Clive that she's engaged, so..." she was still talking, but James brushed his lips against my ear and I stopped listening.
"Clive," he murmured. I could hear his grin. Clearly, he had forgotten Dursley's insult, and when he pinched the inside of my thigh, I forgot it too. He was still very, very naked, and his naked, hard body was pressed against me everywhere now that he'd pulled me into his lap. "What do you think Clive's wife's name is?"
"Mmm…Gertrude," I murmured back.
"Doris," he offered.
I barely smothered my grin. "Clivetta."
He chuckled aloud, and Petunia seemed to realize we weren't listening to her monologue. "Excuse me?"
"You're excused," James told her coolly. "Petunia," he said in my ear. I giggled and kicked him, and Petunia made a strangled noise in the back of her throat.
"Lily." I looked up, shocked, to see her eyes locked on mine. "Please listen to me. I know I haven't…that is to say…but...this new job is a big deal for Vernie." James snorted, and I knew he wanted to comment on 'Vernie.' He is the sweetest man in the entire world, though, and he would never interrupt real sincerity between me and Tuney. "They know I have a sister, so if I show up without family, it'll look like we don't care."
"I…you know we're soldiers. You know that. I didn't tell James about the dinner because…" his hands tighten on my thigh and my waist. "three days ago…"No. I'm not talking about this. "Never mind. Just...we have so little time to just be. You have no right to keep filling it with people who—"
"They'll be polite." It took a lot for her to say that, to tacitly acknowledge that the others haven't been. She likes to pretend that no way anyone could treat her freak sister and her Black fiancé could ever be impolite.
Still: "I don't believe you."
"Come," Petunia pleaded. "I won't let anyone…you have to. You're my sister, though God knows you don't act like it."
I bit my lip. I opened my mouth, 'no' on the tip of my tongue, but the word simply wouldn't come. "I don't…Tuney, I don't…" but she knew she had won.
"Try not to show up naked," she snapped, all the warmth gone from her eyes. She grabbed Vernon's hand and marched toward the door.
I found my voice just as she reached the front door. "I won't," I yelled petulantly after her, "Since I'm not going!"
She didn't even flinch.
"Merlin!" Pete yelped the moment they were gone. "I am so sorry. I opened the door and they just shoved right past—" I didn't have the energy to answer him, and James had grabbed his wand to tend to my head, so it was a relief when Remus cut him off, grinning a little.
"You're forgiven, Wormtail," Remus said, smoothly reaching past him to close our door. "Now scram."
When James finished, I flopped back against the bed. "Show up naked?" I repeated. "Does she understand basic human behavior? Do you think she sleeps in her fucking Stepford wife aprons? Oh my God, do you think he wears that bowler hat to bed?!"
James grinned and fell back beside me, letting his forehead drop to my shoulder. "Remus told me this rule," he murmured into my neck, lips buzzing pleasurably against my skin, "that you have to listen sympathetically when your girl complains about her family, but you can't ever join in. Does that apply to—"
"Fuck, no," I hissed, and he breathed a laugh.
"Thank Merlin, because Petunia is a cross between Mrs. Norris and the fiancée bird from Legally Blonde."
I laughed aloud at that, using one hand to drag his head up so I could kiss him properly, and running the nails of the other down his chest. "I love it when you talk Muggle to me."
He growled and rolled on top of me, morning wood pressed against my stomach. He trailed kisses along my jawline until he reached my ear and then murmured, "You want to hear more about Vivian Kensington?"
The sound I made was half-laugh, half-moan. We didn't get out of bed for an hour, and as soon as we did, we got…sidetracked again in the shower.
Nine hours ago.
"We're going tonight, then?" James asked as he cooked me breakfast, delicious cheesy omelet sizzling on the stove behind him.
I took a sip of my tea rather than be honest with the most perfect man in the world.
He stepped forward, leaned against the kitchen island where I sat. "You told her you wouldn't go."
"I know," I said, avoiding eye contact. "We're not going."
"It's the last night off we have together for a week."
"Right, so we're not going."
"Every one of these events has been hellish."
"And we hate hell! Of course we're not going."
At that moment, Sirius waltzed into the kitchen, grabbed a plate, flipped my omelet onto it, and began to devour it with his bare hands. "You made me breakfast, Prongs? God, you're a babe."
"May your children be runty and beset with pox," I told him. James laughed, eyes twinkling, and Sirius grinned eggily at me.
"Where aren't we going?" he asked.
James sighed. "Petunia's eleventy-billionth wedding party. And we are going."
"How predictable of us." Sirius picked up his plate and tipped my omelette into the rubbish bin, smirking. "You always forget I hate onions, Potter."
At James's roar of rage, I hopped up and grabbed his arm, steering him into my chair. "I'll handle Breakfast 2.0," I said. "Step one…" I grabbed the wand Sirius had left sitting on the counter (rookie mistake) and dropped it out the window. It was only about twelve feet from our second-floor flat to the ground, but from the way he wailed, you would've thought I'd chucked it into the Grand Canyon. He bounded out the door, and I locked it behind him with a flick of my own wand.
"Oops!" I said, and spun to grin at James, who looked positively gleeful.
He grabbed my waist and pulled me into him, splitting his legs open so I could stand between his thighs. "Have I mentioned I love you?"
I reached out to toy with his collar, smiling softly. "It might've come up."
Sometimes I think it's unforgivable, how happy I am. Rationally, I know we're in the middle of a war, a horrible, awful, violent war that we are losing. A week ago, Benjy Fenwick went out on a simple recon mission and never came back. Marlene Floos in having a panic attack every other day, and Remus will have to move out soon because Dumbledore wants him to go live in a fucking cave with the werewolves.
And I am so happy.
James almost died three days ago. Rationally, I know this to be true. He came home mangled and bloody, barely conscious. Sirius brought him back by side-along Apparition, shaking, gripping James's arm so tightly that you can still see the bruises. I sobbed so hard I could barely brew the Healing potion, but I still don't believe it could happen. James would never leave me. I am so unbelievably, disgustingly happy that I must be tempting fate, but I don't worry, because James would never leave me.
He stroked my side, bringing me back to him. "Hey."
"She doesn't deserve you."
"She's my sister." She gets me anyway.
"You're too good."
I ducked my head. He was wrong. Good would be saying no for him and meaning it. I want my big sister's love, and it makes me selfish.
"Don't come, James, please. They're worse to you."
"Do you want me there?"
I tried to lie, but the words wouldn't come. I want him everywhere, always. "Yes."
"Then I'm there."
Rationally, I know our days are numbered and it is sacrilege to waste one on Vernon's awful colleagues, but James would never leave me so we must have infinite nights to waste.
Four hours ago.
"Maybe you should try a different bra."
I grinned at him in the mirror. "I knew you were only pretending to read." For twenty minutes, I'd been pulling dresses on and off, looking for the charming, demure, utterly normal outfit that would make Petunia love me again. James sat on our bed, holding a book but watching me.
"You're very distracting, Evans."
"You're very distractable, Potter."
"Hey, I could focus if I wanted. This book is fascinating."
"I'm switching bras."
He closed the book with a snap. I smiled, unclipped my bra and slipped the straps off my shoulders. He groaned.
"My eyes are up here, Potter."
"I know." He smirked, and I wanted him naked immediately. "They're your second-best feature." He pushed the book off his lap, scooted to the edge of the bed, and pulled me into him. He pressed his face into my cleavage and breathed in deep. His hand toyed with the waistband of my panties. I whimpered and climbed into his lap.
Three and a half hours ago.
We're kind of slutty, James and I. Three times already today, in a tiny flat with three roommates who all definitely hear us every time. I reckon it's the constant near-death experiences that do it, but it doesn't hurt that he's achingly gorgeous.
I reflected on that as I dressed myself, for real this time. The tables were turned now, and I watched him: naked, eyes closed, sheet draped over his bottom half but doing nothing to hide the V that pointed there.
"I've been thinking." His voice surprised me; I had thought he was sleeping. "This dinner party—"
"No, I know, we're going. Merlin knows there are plenty of ways I'd rather spend my war furlough with my beautiful fiancée, but I've resigned myself to marrying a bird with a moral compass." I laughed softly. "But I wasn't kidding before—my book is fascinating." He rolled over and picked it up from the floor, tossed it to me gently.
1001 Ways to Charm Your Lover: In and Out of the Bedroom.
The grin he gave me then—let's just say, if he'd ever grinned at the Marauder's Map like that, he wouldn't have needed to solemnly swear to anything at all. The room suddenly felt quite warm.
"I think I know how to make this a real party."
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Fair warning: the next chapter is a Lot smuttier. Also, much dirty talk.