A Betting Man

"You can't bet your mother's cursed pearls," said Lily, slapping her hand down on the ivory tile before Sirius could summon it. He almost tried anyway. He would have bet... well, his mother's pearls, actually... that his summoning charm was stronger than Lily's wrist.

"Why not?"

"Well, first of all," she said, "because they aren't your pearls--"

"You don't think I would look good in my mother's pearls?"

"If I recall correctly, they're known for strangling people; you'd look brilliant in them. And secondly, Sirius, you can't bet them because we don't want them."

"All right," he said, sighing the sigh of the much put-upon. He pulled the last pair of galleons from his pocket and tossed them in the pot. "Will that do, then?"

"Nicely," said James, casting an anti-cheating charm over the lot. "Single draw, pick your tiles, take your chances."

Sirius snapped his out from under Lily's hand, and made it do a flawless triple flip in the air before settling it gently on the table in front of him. "Tough luck, matey," said the old pirate with the eye patch.

"Bloody hell," muttered Sirius. James turned up an Admiral, which would have beaten Sirius neatly anyhow, but Lily was now busy flirting with the King of Siam, trumping them both. "Wait, we should have done double draw that time!" If he could turn up the pirate's ship, he could pillage them both.

"Nice try," chuckled his pirate, immediately echoed by his mangy parrot.

"One more round?" suggested James, giving his fiancée a kiss.

"I haven't got anything left to bet! Since you're so sticky about the pearls. And we really ought to get going before The Broom and Rider closes their rooftop. It'd be a shame to miss dancing under the biggest celestial event of the decade because you wanted to fleece me for a few more galleons."

"One more round," agreed Lily, as though he hadn't even spoken. "Single draw, winner takes all."

"Double draw," said Sirius, but nobody was listening.

"You could always Apparate back to your flat for more money, Padf--"

"Or we could find another way for you to settle up," interrupted Lily.

"I've told you a hundred times, Evans, no more sexual favours. At least, not while your intended's hanging about."

"Hush up, you, before I do make you put on your mother's pearls."

"Hmm," said James, a dangerous sound, and eyed up Lily, then Sirius. "Perhaps not his mother's pearls, but..."

"I get to strangle him with my bare hands?"

"Lily's dress."

Sirius looked at James. Looked at Lily. "She's hardly my size," he said finally.

James just wiggled his wand and gave Sirius a wicked grin.

"And what would you have me wear, then?" asked Lily, raising an eyebrow at him.

"That, m'love," he said, kissing the top of her head, "depends entirely on whether you win or lose." Her eyebrow just rose. "If you win, you can wear whatever you please, even if it is that blue blouse that makes every wizard within a hundred miles want to look at your cleavage."

"And if I lose?"

"I think you'd look brilliant in Sirius's trousers."

"With him in or out of them?" she returned swiftly, but she appeared to be considering it. Sirius had rather hoped she would say 'in'. "And you?"

"If I lose?"

"When you lose."

"If I lose this last round... I'll show up at The Broom and Rider starkers."

"You can't do that, they'll never let you in. Nor us, for associating with the bloke with his tackle swinging free." Sirius paused as a thought occurred, then gave James a mischievous smirk. "I'd be happy to transfigure you some lovely pants to wear should you lose, though. I could use Snivellus as my inspiration."

Lily rolled her eyes; James almost choked. "You wouldn't."

"Try me. Have we got a deal?"

"I'm in," said Lily.

"Suppose I can't back down now," said James. "All right then."

"Single draw," said Lily firmly. "Draw your tiles, gentlemen, and may the best woman win."

Sirius and James both hesitated, Sirius eyeing Lily's dress and James eyeing Sirius's wand, but not for long. Sirius didn't do any tricks this time, just flipped the tile by hand, snapping it to the table.

"Watch it, boy, or this cauldron'll blow!"

The Alchemist. Respectable enough, except for the fact that the smell wafting from his cauldron strongly resembled old cheese.

"Oh, bugger," muttered Lily beside him. Sirius was already smiling before he looked and saw that she'd drawn... a Kneazle. Sirius hadn't even known you could draw a Kneazle, and he'd been playing since he was eight years old.

"I could dump that little nipper in my cauldron," he said smugly. "Better luck next time."

"To you as well, Padfoot," said James. Sirius looked up sharply, then groaned. "The Minister of Magic? It's Saturday night, how's he not too busy to be showing up?"

"Because it's Saturday night," said James. "Even Ministers of Magic take a bit of time off now and again. Now Wednesday morning, Wednesday morning you might've been lucky enough to have him tied up in a meeting with the goblin representatives--"

"All right, all right, I get it," said Sirius, rubbing his forehead with the heel of his hand.

"You know the terms," said James. "And hurry up about it, we've really got to be going."

"You will live to regret this, James Potter," said Lily, giving his cheek a pinch.

"You know, I really don't think I will," he said, and smiled at her.

"Live?" she said. "Or regret it?"

And so it came to pass that Sirius headed out for the night in a low-cut blue sundress and matching shoes, all cheerfully resized by James to fit over his substantially larger body. Lily had declined resizing anything but the shoes, giving James the evil eye when he came near her, letting the shirt fall loosely over her narrower shoulders, the trousers pool about her ankles.

"All right then," he said, giving her a loud smacking kiss. "To The Broom and Rider we go!"

The queue, it turned out, went out the door and up the street, and practically into Muggle London.

"I suppose we shouldn't have played the last round," admitted James, taking Sirius's arm and Lily's sleeve and making them join the queue instead of seeking other entertainment.

"Nice legs, Black!"

"You're bloody well right they are!" he shouted back into the crowd, then, "Have you got to wear them so short, Evans?"

"That's what I keep saying," agreed James.

"Shows off your arse," she said, giving it a good smack as a group of witches joined the queue behind them, forcing them to budge up. "You should be thanking me."

"I'll thank you when it gets me some action," he said, right before stumbling into James's shoulder as the queue surged ahead. "Bloody anti-Apparation charms," he said. "We could've been inside by now."

"And stacked one on top of the other? No, thanks."

"There's a lot to be said for being stacked on top of one another," said Sirius. And something to be said for soft, blue sundresses, it turned out, though it was unfortunate he'd had to go without pants. He lifted his wand to do something about that, but felt his arm being lowered by Lily.

"I don't think that was in the conditions," she murmured.

"I don't think that wasn't in the conditions," he said, and the queue surged again, and his growing cock was pressed against Lily's arse. "You gave me no choice, Evans."

She mumbled something unintelligible, and didn't move away. Sirius wasn't entirely sure she could. He knew he couldn't, not without Apparating away or casting a Personal Space charm, not with Lily pressed to his front and James pressed up behind.

Sirius didn't want to cast a Personal Space charm.

Especially when they started moving. He couldn't tell whether Lily knew what James was doing or James knew what Lily was doing, and right at that moment he couldn't be arsed to care, but it felt like they were moving in concert, one after the other, back and forth, with him helpless between them as the queue continued to creep forward.

Though helpless was probably entirely the wrong word to use.

His shirt slipped off Lily's shoulder, exposing an expanse of pale and lightly freckled skin, and he couldn't help but bend down and lick it, slip his hand up under the loose shirt hem and rest it on her belly. Yesterday she might've shoved him away, tomorrow she might slap him, but tonight... tonight he could away with it. He couldn't help but wish James would slide a hand up under her dress in return, the way Sirius had seen him to do Lily when they didn't know he was watching.

James didn't, but he did bite down lightly on the tendon at Sirius's neck, exactly the way Sirius had described Billy Dixon doing to him in such ecstatic terms not three weeks ago. This was not an accident. This was not unintentional. This was almost more than Sirius could take.

He pressed his fingers into Lily's soft flesh and ground against her and felt James do the same to him from behind, and the queue surged forward three steps. Sirius braced himself against the stone wall and tipped his head forward again and came all over the inside of Lily's dress.

"Good boy, Padfoot," whispered James, giving the bitemark a slow lick. He remained pressed up against Sirius's back, but he did stop moving.

"I think it would be all right if you wanted to cast a charm now," said Lily, looking at him out of the corner of her eye, a tiny smile on her lips.

Sirius coughed politely and did, tidying up nicely just moments before they finally moved inside the door to the pub, and wondered who had really won that last round.

[ by CJ Marlowe ]   [ home ]   [ disclaimer ]

01nov05. For Seph, for his birthday.