James waited until he was sure Snape was gone before getting the bath ready. Staring speculatively at the door, he asked himself, "I wonder if he washes his hair when he has a bath?"
Then, resolving not to think about Snape any more that night, especially not Snape bathing, he got into the tub, which had filled with water. There was a rubber duck sitting at the side of the tub, he noticed. James looked between the duck and the door and back again, but dismissed the idea with a shake of his head. "It couldn't be. It just couldn't. Still . . . " His eyes lingered a little longer on the door that Snape had left through moments ago.
Looking down at the duck, he asked the inanimate object, "So who exactly do you belong to? I can't believe you're Snape's - you're far too pleasant to belong to him. Oh well, I'm sure someone will claim you. Meanwhile you can stay here and keep me company."
He settled into the water but was unable to relax. Throwing his head back in frustration, he said, "Hey, you don't mind if I unload some things on you, do you?" If he were normal, he probably wouldn't have asked. He was talking to a rubber duck, after all. However, James Potter was a wizard and he knew that things weren't always as they appeared to be, so he did not feel particularly silly having a conversation with a toy, even if said toy didn't respond. Stranger things had been known to happen.
Since the duck didn't vocalize any response, James took it as a sign for him to continue. "It's just so frustrating. Lily's mad at me, and I can't figure out what to do to fix things. I didn't do anything wrong! She thinks I was flirting with one of the girls from Hufflepuff. But I wouldn't - I didn't.
"It actually started earlier on in the week. She was already mad at Padfoot and me because she got in trouble for a prank that we got her to help us with. It's not like she gets in trouble often, and it wasn't that bad a punishment. It was only a couple of hours in the Forbidden Forest. If we were only so lucky to get that punishment all the time."
He glanced over at the rubber ducky. "I know what you're thinking, but despite its name, the Forbidden Forest isn't that bad. It can actually be pretty fun once you get used to it. Certainly much better than polishing the trophies in the trophy room - again. Or," he shuddered, "being forced to help Nelligan with his plants." Professor Nelligan was a particularly vindictive teacher of theirs who taught Herbology. He hated James, Sirius, Remus and Peter.
"Padfoot and I are out there all the time," James said, changing the subject back to something a bit more pleasant. "The forest, I mean. Sometimes Moony and Wormtail join us, but not always. Those two are the more cautious ones. But then, anyone would look cautious compared to Sirius. He's one of a kind, that's for sure."
James shook his head, thinking about Sirius. "If he put even a half-decent effort into his school work, I'd have a run for my money at being Head Boy. There's a scary thought - Sirius as Head Boy. The school would go to pieces, I'm sure.
"The Slytherins would go mad. I admit, they're not my favourite group, but even I don't have such intense hatred towards them. Something about the whole lot just seems to rub Sirius the wrong way.
"Of course," he reflected, grinning, "the result is usually comical. Take just last week, for instance. Lily was still on speaking terms with me then and with her help, we pulled the best trick on them. That's one that will go down in the history books. I can see us in forty years, sitting around the fire, reminiscing about that one. It was a classic."
James' grin turned melancholy and he sighed, and his mind predictably found its back to Lily. "What am I going to do about her?" he asked rhetorically. "She won't talk to me. She doesn't want to hear what I have to say. How can I make up with someone who pretends I'm invisible?
"I've been invisible before, you know that? Well, sort of. I've an Invisibility Cloak. It can be pretty weird, standing beside someone who has no idea you're there, but somehow, it doesn't compare to standing beside someone who is putting on their best show, pretending you aren't there. Especially if that someone is your girlfriend whom you really wish would talk to you.
"That's the thing," James groaned. "I just know that if I can talk to her, I'll be able to convince her that nothing's going on between me and any other girl. As if any girl could even hold a light to Lily. She's perfect, in every way."
He sighed dreamily, thinking about his girlfriend, while the rubber ducky waited patiently for him to get back to his senses. It took awhile, but he eventually got there. "That's it," he said resolutely. "I will not just sit back and wait until Lily decides to take pity on me and forgive me. I will go find her right now and force her to listen to me. She'll forgive me if it's the last thing I do," he vowed.
Getting out of the tub, he rushed to the door and almost left before looking down at himself and blushing. "Maybe I should get dressed first," he said, embarrassed. Luckily the only one around to see him make a fool of himself was the rubber duck. "How about we keep this between you and me?" he asked, drying himself and the floor off and pulling on some robes.
Without waiting for an answer, he rushed off to find Lily. Back in the bathroom, the rubber duck wished the boy luck with his girlfriend.
End of James' Part
Friday, June 8, 2001
I thought that before I went any further, I should point out (as Ana Ingva already has) that it is probably very unlikely that they would all be sharing the same washroom. Chalk it up to creative license.
Don't worry, RavenNat, all the Marauders will have a part (that includes Peter, even though I know many of you despise him). I've finished Remus', I just need to polish it off, and am halfway through Peter's. Queen Kakia - I sincerely doubt the duck will turn out evil, but you never know. It seems to have a mind of its own. Likewise, Bob, spelled backwards, I don't think the rubber ducky is very a person in disguise, but see my comments to Kakia up above. Ana Ingva - thanks for pointing that out (about the prefects' bathroom). I meant to say something about that earlier.
Also thanks to everyone else who reviewed, Alcione, Cali, calliope, Puzzler, Su, =name, nny_27, Kate_AnguaPotter, Ada Kensington, and Glesbrecht.