“All right, Snivellus?” said James loudly.
She reacted so fast it was as though she had been expecting an attack: Dropping her bag, she plunged her hand inside her robes, and her wand was halfway into the air when James shouted, “Expelliarmus!” Her wand flew twelve feet into the air and fell with a little thud in the grass behind her. Sirius let out a bark of laughter. “Impedimenta!” he said, pointing his wand at Snape, who was knocked off her feet, halfway through a dive toward her own fallen wand. Students all around had turned to watch. Some of them had gotten to their feet and were edging nearer to watch. Some looked apprehensive, others entertained. Snape lay panting on the ground. James and Sirius advanced on her, wands up, James glancing over his shoulder at the girls at the water’s edge as he went. Wormtail was on his feet now, watching hungrily, edging around Lupin to get a clearer view. “How’d the exam go, Snivelly?” said James. “I was watching her, her nose was touching the parchment,” said Sirius viciously. “There’ll be great grease marks all over it, they won’t be able to read a word.” Several people watching laughed; Snape was clearly unpopular. Wormtail sniggered shrilly. Snape was trying to get up, but the jinx was still operating on her; she was struggling, as though bound by invisible ropes. “You — wait,” she panted, staring up at James with an expression of purest loathing. “You — wait… .” “Wait for what?” said Sirius coolly. “What’re you going to do, Snivelly, wipe your nose on us?” Snape let out a stream of mixed swearwords and hexes, but her wand being ten feet away nothing happened. “Wash out your mouth,” said James coldly. “Scourgify!” Pink soap bubbles streamed from her mouth at once; the froth was covering her lips, making her gag, choking her —
“Leave her ALONE!” James and Sirius looked around. James’s free hand jumped to his hair again. It was one of the girls from the lake edge. She had thick, dark red hair that fell to her shoulders and startlingly green almond-shaped eyes — Harry’s eyes. Harry’s mother … “All right, Evans?” said James, and the tone of his voice was suddenly pleasant, deeper, more mature. “Leave her alone,” Lily repeated. She was looking at James with every sign of great dislike. “What’s she done to you?” “Well,” said James, appearing to deliberate the point, “it’s more the fact that she exists, if you know what I mean… .” Many of the surrounding watchers laughed, Sirius and Wormtail included, but Lupin, still apparently intent on his book, didn’t, and neither did Lily. “You think you’re funny,” she said coldly. “But you’re just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave her alone.” “I will if you go out with me, Evans,” said James quickly. “Go on … Go out with me, and I’ll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again.” Behind him, the Impediment Jinx was wearing off. Snape was beginning to inch toward her fallen wand, spitting out soapsuds as she crawled. “I wouldn’t go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid,” said Lily. “Bad luck, Prongs,” said Sirius briskly, turning back to Snape. “OY!” But too late; Snape had directed her wand straight at James; there was a flash of light and a gash appeared on the side of James’s face, spattering his robes with blood. James whirled about; a second flash of light later, she was hanging upside down in the air, her robes falling over her head to reveal skinny, pallid legs and a pair of graying underpants.
Many people in the small crowd watching cheered. Sirius, James, and Wormtail roared with laughter. Lily, whose furious expression had twitched for an instant as though she was going to smile, said, “Let her down!” “Certainly,” said James and he jerked his wand upward. Snape fell into a crumpled heap on the ground. Disentangling herself from her robes, she got quickly to her feet, wand up, but Sirius said, “Petrificus Totalus!” and she keeled over again at once, rigid as a board. “LEAVE HER ALONE!” Lily shouted. She had her own wand out now. James and Sirius eyed it warily. “Ah, Evans, don’t make me hex you,” said James earnestly. “Take the curse off her, then!” James sighed deeply, then turned to Snape and muttered the countercurse. “There you go,” he said, as she struggled to her feet again, “you’re lucky Evans was here, Snivellus —” “I don’t need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!” Lily blinked. “Fine,” she said coolly. “I won’t bother in future. And I’d wash your pants if I were you, Snivellus.” “Apologize to Evans!” James roared at Snape, his wand pointed threateningly at her. “I don’t want you to make her apologize,” Lily shouted, rounding on James. “You’re as bad as she is… .” “What?” yelped James. “I’d NEVER call you a — you-know-what!” “Messing up your hair because you think it looks cool to look like you’ve just got off your broomstick, showing off with that stupid Snitch, walking down corridors and hexing anyone who annoys you just because you can — I’m surprised your broomstick can get off the ground with that fat head on it. You make me SICK.” She turned on her heel and hurried away. “Evans!” James shouted after her, “Hey, EVANS!” But she didn’t look back.
“What is it with her?” said James, trying and failing to look as though this was a throwaway question of no real importance to him. “Reading between the lines, I’d say she thinks you’re a bit conceited, mate,” said Sirius. “Right,” said James, who looked furious now, “right —” There was another flash of light, and Snape was once again hanging upside down in the air. “Who wants to see me take off her pants?”