James trudged along the train, trying to find the compartment all his friends were in. So far he’d met the moody Ravenclaw prefects, ditzy blonde Hufflepuffs and Snapes’ Slytherin gang. Suffice to say, he was not in the best of moods until he heard the loud voice of Sirius Black coming from one of the compartments further up.
“Always the last one.” He muttered to himself before pushing the compartment door open and meeting the stares of 3 of his 6 friend, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.
“Jamesie!” Sirius shouted. “We were beginning to think you weren’t coming. Anyway, we’ve been thinking of some ideas for tonight’s prank on the Slytherins. I say we go for the traditional approach, introduce the first years to the Pranksters of Hogwarts! What do you think?” Sirius paused to take a deep breath, long enough for James to open his mouth but not say anything. “So, have a good summer? I hope you’ve been planning loads of pranks like me. How many girls did you get over the summer? And how many are you planning on this year? I expect you’ve got the Quidditch team sorted, we need to get practicing as soon as possible to make sure we keep the cup.”
Sirius stopped and looked at James expectantly. However, James just stared at Sirius in amazement, his mouth slightly agape. Whilst in this stupor he said, mainly to himself
“How can anyone talk so much and not bore themselves to death?”
At this point Remus smiled and said
“Don’t worry James, he’s been doing the same thing to anyone who walks through that door. It stops them from wanting to sit in here apparently!” Sirius smirked at what he took as a compliment.
The gang spent a while exchanging stories of their summer holidays before the topic gradually got back to girls again.
“So James, how IS the girlfriend count going? How many are you aiming for this year?” Remus smirked at James. Sirius however, seemed to be thinking, which was very uncommon for him and was strangely silent.
“Well, I’m gonna try for the 250 mark this year. Shouldn’t be too hard.” James replied, grinning.
Almost as if a light bulb had gone off in Sirius’ head, he suddenly jumped out of his daydream to challenge James.”Why don’t we make it a little more interesting then. Put some spice into it.”
“A bet?” James asked
“A bet.” Remus nodded, moving over to sit next to Sirius who was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
“To prove to us you can get any girl you want to, we choose the girl and you have get her to be your girlfriend within the next 5 weeks. I’ll bet you 10 galleons you cant.”
“This is gonna be the easiest 10 galleons in my life. You’re on.”
“Good. Now, we just need to choose the girl. I reckon-” Remus began until Sirius cut him off.
“Hang on a minute. If you’re so confident about winning this, why don’t we up the stakes a little bit. How about 50?”
“50?!?” James looks towards the celing for a moment, thinking before returning his gaze and extending his hand to the two boys. “You’re on!” He said with a grin.
“Good.” Remus said whilst shaking James’ hand. “Excuse us a moment while we choose your fate.”
With that, Sirius and Remus got up and left the compartment. James turned to Peter and tried to start a conversation with him for once.
“I can’t wait for this to start. I’ll show those two. It’s gonna be so easy. I mean, who wouldn’t fall at my feet?!?”
Peter merely squeaked and nodded in reply. A few minutes later Sirius re-entered the room followed by Remus, both carrying armfuls of food. James quickly opened a can of fizzy pumpkin juice and began listening to them.
“We have decided on the girl. it’s . . .” Sirius paused. “Lily”
James nearly spat out his pumpkin juice. “No way! I can’t do that to Lily, she’s my best friend!”
“Exactly.” said Remus “She’d never think twice about wanting to go out with you!”
“You do it or hand me those 50 galleons now!” Sirius smiled in glee. It was clear he didn’t think James would risk his friendship with Lily for just 50 galleons and neither did Remus so both looked shocked when James agreed. Both began to get slightly worried; Sirius worst of all.
“Listen mate, you don’t have to do this, we won’t take the money off you. We don’t want you and Lily to hate each other or anything.”
“No.” James sighed. “I’ll do it. A bets’ a bet.”
What neither of the boys noticed was the glint in James eye that would clearly tell them he was up to something and formulating a plan inside his head. However, they didn’t have much time to talk about it any furthers as at that moment the guys’ other friends, Lily, Jennifer (Jenny) and Arabella walked into the compartment.
“Finally!” Lily exclaimed as she flopped down next to James. “We thought we’d never find you!”
“Yeah. Us three can only withstand so much gossip from the other Gryffindor gals so we came in search of you!” Arabella added in the same energetic way Sirius was earlier.
“However, we do also have some great gossip, they always start with the best bits first.” Jenny joined in. “It seems that Brioney Westwood has been getting herself into trouble yet again although this time . . . .”
The rest of the journey was spent exchanging stories, planning pranks and generally having a great time. James however, spent most of his time trying to decide how to tell Lily about his situation. By the time the group reached the horseless carriages, they were just putting the final touches to their plan and were then ready to pull their first prank of the year.
The main course of the start of term feast went very smoothly and the teachers were hoping they could go a whole feast without a prank. Their hopes were short-lived as just as the final course came, instead of the usual jelly, cake, ice cream and pumpkin pie appearing on the Slytherin table, it was filled with custard pies. As if that was confusing enough, the whole group of newly sorted first years were changed into large clown costumes and seemed to be being forced to pick up the pies and chuck them at random Slytherins although Snape and Malfoy seemed to be favorites. By the time the pies had run out and the first years were back to their normal selves, there was not one Slytherin not coated with custard. Girls were screaming and most of the group rushed out of the hall to the dormitories although some greedy ones decided to stay put and finish their meal first. The first years had looks of horror on their little faces and some were looking at the other house tables longingly, wishing they had been placed there instead.
The rest of the school were in fits of laughter, and laughed even harder when Professor McGonnagal called out
“Potter! Black! Lupin! Pettigrew! My office NOW!” Sirius and Remus merely smirked and followed the professor with Peter trotting behind. James stayed back though and, before going whispered into Lily’s ear
“I’ve got a proposition for you which you may be interested in. Meet me n the common room at midnight?” Lily turned her head, nodded in consent and smiled before James ran out of the hall trying to catch up with the others before he got into even more trouble.