my accompanying drabble to @padfootastic's recent piece (also not proofread at all so please excuse the incoherence)
James with adhd and protective Sirius who will fight anyone who hurts his friends, told from Lily’s POV.
Lily does not really start paying attention to James Potter and Sirius Black until fourth year. She says James Potter and Sirius Black because in her head, it goes together, saying one without the other, while physically possible, is not very likely, and always leaves a feeling of something missing, something being out of place, something being not right. Like only having a knife for dinner, without a fork to accompany it.
She does not really pay attention to their antics when James keeps turning around in his seat every ten minutes during class to whisper something at Sirius even after they’ve been separated; does not listen when he talks loudly over breakfast, jumping from story to story, getting distracted in the middle, never properly finishing anything while Sirius just sits there and laughs at it anyway; does not really pay attention when on their very first day of flying class, James Potter surges up into the sky after he’s just explicitly been told not to do that, almost falls, laughs, winks at them from above, then almost falls again, all the while being yelled at by Madam Hooch and cheered on by Sirius Black, who got his own fair share of scolding after that for endorsing him.
She rolls her eyes, clicks her tongue and looks away.
When James shows up to class late yet again, grinning sheepishly with his hair sticking in all directions, apologising to the professor with the same old excuse of mixing up the hours, she rolls her eyes; when he keeps tapping his foot against the floor, twirling the quill between his fingers restlessly as his eyes keep darting around until the ink is spilled all over his robes and desk, she clicks her tongue; when he starts telling something when they’re all gathered in the common room around the fireplace, words an incoherent jumble of excitement that get mixed up so badly as he keeps jumping around from subject to subject that nobody around him is keeping track of anymore, she looks away.
She looks, but she does not see. She sees, but she does not notice. She notices, but she does not understand.
Not until Sirius Black, that is.
“What’s your deal?” The boy snarls angrily, abruptly jolting up to his feet to make his way over to where she and the girls are seated at in the common room.
Lily blinks. Sirius’ cheeks are a little flushed, like they are either when he’s angry, embarrassed or just came back from Quidditch practice (and seeing as it’s neither of the last two, it has to be the first one). His light grey eyes are narrowed, glinting at her dangerously with a promise of trouble in them, and one of his hands is clenched into a fist by his side. He seems upset.
Lily just looks at him. She has no idea where this hostility erupted from all of a sudden - everything seemed perfectly normal to her, up until this point.
James and the boys have been in their corner of the room, as per usual, quiet enough to keep an aura of mystery around them that drew the curious eyes of anybody who did not know better, but loud enough for it to be impossible to remain unnoticed.
They started off with studying, and then it somehow escalated to charmed paper-folded swans flying all around the room, up to the ceiling, bumping into each other, one of them falling between Mary’s spread out legs on the sofa.
“Just focus on your homework!” Lily yelled at them across the room, frustrated, after she just found herself rereading the same paragraph for the third time. “You don’t have to keep drawing attention to yourself all the time. Nobody cares.”
James smiled at her apologetically from a distance, flashed everybody his symbolic, white-toothed grin, saluted the rest of the boys for a good night, and made his way upstairs. Lily did not think twice about it, settling into the blissful silence of the room.
“What’s your deal?” Mary retorts defensively when Lily just keeps looking at him, confused.
“I wasn’t talking to you, MacDonald.” Sirius snaps viciously before turning back to glare at Lily. “Lay off of him.”
“You want me?” Lily sputters, momentarily at a loss of words. “To lay off of him?” She waits for a punchline, but that never comes, Sirius just stands there, looking like she personally offended him somehow.
“He’s loud.” She says at last, because she’s suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to defend herself, even though she feels she has done nothing wrong. “And annoying. It’s hard to focus like that. Just because he doesn’t care about school, doesn’t mean we don’t either.”
Sirius lets out a laugh. It’s not a kind one. “Hard. Oh, is it?” He mocks. “Well, for him it’s hard all the time, Evans. Deal with it.”
And then he’s gone, furiously stomping up the stairs to the boys’ dormitory.
“Ignore them,” Mary tells her, “they’re both missing a few screws, the two of them.”
Mary is right, Lily has never paid much attention to what Sirius Black and James Potter had to say before, why would she now? But the words, echoing over and over in her head, refuse to let go.
Lily does not roll her eyes anymore after that.
She starts paying attention.
She pays attention to James’ hands, that seem to be unable to pause for longer than three seconds at a time at any point throughout the day, like it physically hurts to keep them still. They come up to ruffle his hair, push the glasses up his nose even when there is nothing wrong with their position; they play with his wand, twirling it around between long fingers, dropping it, bending down to pick it up, tucking it behind his belt, getting it out again, spinning it some more; they do the same with a quill when the wand is out of his reach, dangling it between two fingers restlessly whenever he isn’t writing, sticking it in his mouth, behind his ear, taking it out, putting it back again; occasionally he drops it and ink splatters all around, over the table, his skin, his clothes. He just grins sheepishly with that flashing smile of his that is basically a brand of its own at this point, and gladly accepts the distraction of cleaning up the mess he just made.
He moves around a lot when he talks, gesturing with his hands, jumping up and out of his seat, turning the chair over, sitting on it backwards, then abandoning it in favour of coming to sit on top of the table; he tugs on his friends’ sleeves impatiently when he feels like he’s being ignored, raises his voice more, pushes harder, makes sure he is heard loud and clear, always.
Remus and Peter seem to be accustomed to his antics, they nod along, put in encouraging remarks when it’s needed, remind him of the robes slung over the back of a chair when he gets up to leave without them, shove his books at his chest so they aren’t left forgotten on the desk.
Sirius, for as impatient and irritable as he is with virtually anybody else, is extraordinarily patient with him.
Sirius lets him play with his hair, something he is usually willing to bite people’s heads off for when it’s anybody else who attempts to do that. He settles in between James’ legs when they are sitting on the sofa in the common room, and James’ fingers instinctively, without even realising that, reach into Sirius’ hair, picking it apart into smaller groups, twirling the slick black locks around his fingers, braiding them together, then picking them apart again, over and over. When he does that, his voice grows calmer and his speech becomes slower, more focused, he takes his time to pick out the correct words and formulate sentences that are easier to understand.
Sirius lets him mess with the rings on his fingers, another thing he does not allow anybody else to even come close to touching. They are all different, various degrees of width and thickness, some with small stones or words and designs engraved into them, and others completely smooth and bland; each came at a different time and tells a different story, which Lily never cared much for or bothered asking about. He lets James twirl and move them around, take them off and put them back on, fingers brushing over the different shapes and textures.
He lets James draw on his hands arms with moving ink while they are reciting material in the library for an upcoming exam, lets him trace black patterns into his skin - circles, and trails, and shapes, triangles, feathers, roses.
Once Lily starts paying attention, she can’t help but notice.
Can’t help but notice how just before he grins and laughs it off, James’ expression falters for a second, shoulders sagging slightly and the light of excitement in his eyes dimming out when someone rolls their eyes impatiently, or sighs deeply with a tired look on their face, or clicks their tongue at him with annoyance.
She can’t help but notice how he suddenly falls silent after that, completely shutting down, fingers fidgeting even more than usual in his lap as he tries to remain still and quiet in his spot.
She can’t help but notice the way Sirius always tenses at that, eyes narrowing in warning, his grip tightening, knuckles almost white with the effort. He shifts closer to James, and pokes his cheek, ruffles his hair in an amiable gesture and asks him questions, trying to pull him out of his sombre.
Sirius takes off his glasses sometimes. When things are a little overwhelming, and James goes into a sort of stupor, blinking rapidly, trying to make sense of everything going on around him, Sirius just leans over and slides the glasses off his nose casually, with the usual excuse of taking them to run a cleaning spell, or without even saying anything at all. James relaxes a little, some of the tension leaving his body.
James always leans back into Sirius in moments like this, pulls away and retreats into him, the only thing and place that seems to offer true comfort instead of agitating him even further. Sirius places a hand over his head and pushes the other’s head down, to rest on his shoulder, on his chest, caressing his hair slowly and gently as he leans down just the slightest bit to press a tender kiss to his friend’s temple.
James is loud, he takes up a lot of presence in the room, taking and demanding until there’s nothing left. But with Sirius he is quiet, he is calm and serene, and he never has to shout or even speak to get what he needs.
Sirius in turn is brutal, he is all sharp elbows and rough edges, vicious glares and sarcastic smirks. But with James he is soft and gentle, he is caring in the most selfless way possible, opening up so easily without the other even having to ask, showing vulnerabilities that he would never dare expose to anyone else.
They are both a little bit too much, but for each other, they seem to be just the right bit of enough.
A normal day at Hogwarts.
MCgonagall:you did good work on your transfiguration homework, Mr. Black.
Sirius: Thanks, mom.
utter silence in the classroom
Sirius: why is everyone staring at me?
Peter: you just called professor Mcgonagall mom. you just said 'thanks, mom' ."
Sirius: No, I did not! I said thanks ma'am.
Mcgonagall: Do you view me as a mother figure, Mr. Black?
Sirius: (sweating) noooooo, I view you as a bother figure because you're always bothering me.
Remus: Hey! show your Mother some respect.
Sirius: I DIDN'T CALL HER MOM!
James: It's not a big deal, I called Lily mom once, and she's my girlfriend.
Sirius: Guys, jump on that! James has psycho-sexual issues.
Lily: old news. but you calling professor mommy.....
Sirius: Hey, Mommy is not on the table here.
Snape: But you did call her Mom, Black.
Sirius: you shut up. you've done nothing but lie since the class started.
Snape: Alright, I lied about you copying lupin's work, but the Mom thing happened.
Sirius: AHA! He confessed! He admitted his accusation was a lie. It was all a lie. A part of my crazy, devious plan.
Mcgonagall: I believe you.
Sirius: thank you...
Mcgonagall: Son. would you like to have some biscuits in my office?
Sirius: (quiety) I would like that.
49 for Prongsfoot! (because I suspect the answer is yes and it might get angsty haha <3)
49. Does either of them have a hard time being away from the other?
This question was written for them, anon dear, whether it’s platonic or romantic I don’t think anybody is as obsessive and codependent as these two.
Send me an OTP question from the list and a ship and I’ll respond with a drabble.
One, two, four, six--
James keeps counting the sounds of the clacks the sole of his boot makes as he taps it against the cold tiles of the platform floor, because if he lets his mind wander off that and allows his thoughts to take over, he might actually end up accidentally lighting up on fire the handle of the trolley tightly clutched in his hand.
He raises a hand to take off his glasses, wipes them against the hem of his jumper, and puts them back on again, for the third time in the past ten minutes; not because they’re dirty, or because their position on the bridge of his nose is bothering him, but just so he has something to do while the last minutes before the train’s leave tick away, painfully slowly, feeling like actual hours.
The train gives another loud chug - the third, final one.
“James, jaan,” his mother prompts gently with a light squeeze of his shoulder, “you’ll miss the train.”
Missing the train is the last thing he could care about right now. He scans the platform once more, eyes desperately searching for a familiar figure, the same one he’s been looking out for since the second they stepped foot on the platform. He is yet to find it.
He blinks, shakes his head, breathes out, forces himself to pull on a smile for his parents as he leans up to kiss them goodbye one last time, and heads for the train.
“Have you seen him?” He asks as soon as he slides the door of their usual compartment open. He kicks himself internally for feeling as disappointed as he does to only find Remus and Peter inside, and can only hope that it does not show on his face.
Remus shakes his head, which does not help the anxiety he’s feeling in his chest. He can’t shake off the feeling that something is wrong.
“He probably got here early and went to change,” Peter says nonchalantly, eyes focused on the new Charms textbook in his hand. “He’ll catch up soon.”
James huffs and flops down on the opposite side of the bench. He does not sit by the window like he usually does, only so he can keep an eye on the door, gaze darting sideways every time he feels someone pass down the corridor.
They are over twenty minutes into the ride, and James is ready to actually get up and start blowing out doors, one by one, when Sirius finally shows up. The door slides aside and he pushes through smoothly, already in his school robes, hands tucked into the pockets of his trousers and hair pushed up in a messy bun, wand holding it together in place.
“Hey,” he greets them with a smile, almost a little shily. “Y’alright?”
He does not get to let out much more than that before James bolts up to his feet, crossing the small space between them in two swift strides to pull him into a tight, borderline bruising hug. It feels like a breath of fresh air, one he hasn’t gotten in a very long while. Like a piece of him that’s been missing the past two months has been finally put back into place again.
Sirius stills for a second before his arms come up to wrap around his shoulders in return. James feels the tension in his body stiffen for a moment before it’s gone, and he allows himself to relax, melting into the touch as James pulls him in closer to his chest.
He pulls back only so he can take in the other’s appearance properly, keeping his hands on the sides of Sirius’ shoulders as he pulls away to do a double check, scanning the other’s body religiously to make sure that everything is in place just the way he remembers it, not a scratch in sight and not a hair out of place.
“You haven’t answered any of my letters.” He blurts out, and it comes out sounding more accussing than he intended.
“Yeah, er- there was a bit of a, uh. Situation. Back at home.” Sirius leans back against the glass of the compartment door and raises a hand to rub at the back of his neck sheepishly. He looks up at James and his lips quirk up in an apologetic grin.
But most importantly, he looks fine. He looks okay, and well, and healthy. They can talk about everything else later, but this is the only thing he can focus on at the moment. James is overwhelmed by the urge to never let him out of his sight for another minute again, the whole world be damned.
He reaches out a hand to tug on Sirius’ sleeve and pulls him in for another embrace. It’s gentler this time, a little calmer but every bit just as desperate in the way they cling to each other like they have not seen each other for two years instead of two months.
“I missed you every day.” James whispers into his hair.
“I know. Me too, Prongs.”