Title: For Want of a Jewel

Author: uflesh940, Chaser 2 of the Appleby Arrows

QFLC Season 9 Round 13

Prompt: Mermaid/Sea-creature AU

3. [character] Lily Evans
4. [object] Jewel
7. [creature] Cat

Description: James seeks the affections of Lily Evans, an aquatic species of cat, but can he obtain a jewel for the sake of her affections?

"James…" Lily stared deep into her lover's eyes.

"Lily…" James whispered happily.

"So…" started Lily, staring at James expectantly.

"…" James looked away.

Lily frowned. "Seriously?"

"I'm sorry," said James. "I've been trying to scrape up as much money as possible, but I can't afford any jewels yet."

"You're a scuba diver," said Lily. "Just grab a valuable plant and sell it, or something."

"It's not that simple," said James. "First of all, nobody trades valuable undersea plants around here, the demand is too low. I tried it once, and not only did I not manage to sell it, the plant I grabbed turned out to be a sentient seaweed that was named Severus Snape. Lily, I barely managed to avoid a lawsuit."

"Seriously? You kidnapped a sentient plant? How? My god, James, I love you, but you could definitely used an infusion of competence," said Lily incredulously.

"Hey, don't look at me like that," said James. "I love you! And besides, don't you think you're asking a bit much of me? A jewel before we can even start dating?"

"All my friends' dates have done so," said Lily. "But I suppose I might have expected too much from you."

James winced. "I bet it's easier to obtain jewels as an aquatic sea cat than it is as a diver."

Lily gave James a scathing look. "The next time you call me an aquatic sea cat, I'll place your regular cat in an aquatic environment."

"All right, all right," said James. "Just don't harm McGonagall, please."

"I'm joking," snickered Lily. "I would never harm a fellow feline."

James rolled his eyes.

"Anyway, it's getting a bit too arid up here," said Lily, "so I'll be retreating back to the waves now."

James smiled. "Goodbye, my love!"

"Goodbye James, get me a jewel!"

"Ugh, I just don't get it," said Lily. "What's so hard about finding a jewel. One singular jewel, no less!"

Severus, the infamous sentient seaweed, and longtime friend of Lily Evans, shrugged. "Well, not everyone has as many jewels as aquatic cats do. For you, it's a symbolic gesture, offering a pretty rock to get your relationship off to a promising start. For a human, I imagine, it would be a difficult obstacle, as gems are much harder to find on the surface."

"Oh," asked Lily. "Why is that?"

"Well," said Snape, "I suppose most of them get hidden under plants, or decayed organic matter, or other such detritus. We don't have to worry about that as much, due to a lack of especially voluminous plants. Also, due to the aforementioned reason, gems are more valuable on the surface, and thus, all the easily accessible ones have already been sold off. I make a fortune just by selling some pretty rocks to the surface dwellers every year."

Lily sighed. "James doesn't have that excuse, though. He's a diver! He spends so much time underwater that I'm surprised he hasn't found any gems yet."

"He's sticking close to the surface," explained Severus. "It's harder to find gems there, because many of the reasons that make gems difficult to find on the surface also make gems hard to find near the surface."

Lily shook her head. "Well, he could just go deeper. But anyway, what was that about you selling gems to the surface?"

Severus smiled. "Right, I find tons of gems everywhere, and own a lot of the gem rich real estate on the ocean floor, mostly due to hereditary reasons. I sell a controlled amount to the surface, mostly to inflate demand, and I earn a lot as a result."

Lily nodded thoughtfully. "Have you considered drilling for oil?"

"Oil?" asked Severus. "What's that?"

Severus was drifting around his undersea desk, when Lily floated in.

"Updates," asked Severus.

Lily beamed. "Profits are up by twenty percent!"

Severus smiled broadly. "Oh Lily!"

Suddenly, something occurred to Severus. He fumbled around his pocket, before catching one of the gemstones inside. He pulled it out, and presented it to the aquatic feline.

"Lily, would you…"

"Yes!" exclaimed Lily, before he could even finish his sentence.

James sighed. Lily had been coming around less often as of late, but these past few months, he hadn't seen her at all! How sad. He had really liked Lily too, though her being an aquatic cat had been a bit off-putting at first, now he couldn't see himself with anyone else. However, he didn't really have a way to contact Lily, so he would have to make do with what he had. James smiled at McGonagall, his pet cat.