Elvendork by norveltwonk
Sirius let out a triumphant whoop as they sped away from the strange, messy scene in the alley. They were going fast enough for the chilly air to sting James's face as if he were being stuck with a hundred tiny needles, but it was a sensation that he was used and indeed was even welcome to him. It woke him up, it made him feel alive; sometimes he thought Sirius's bike was even better than a broomstick, large and awkward though it was. His heart was pounding and his eyes were watering and he was absolutely having the time of his life.
"Reckon we should've wiped that poor bloke's memory," he cried, beaming at Sirius. His mate gave his usual barking laugh in response.
"And wait for Rosier and his buddies to recover what few wits they may have about them?" James joined in Sirius's laughter. Sirius reached up to push a strand of his long hair away from his face, although a second later the wind blew it right back. He didn't bother with it a second time.
James sat up straight, pushed out his stomach as much as he could bear, and said in a startlingly accurate impression of the Muggle man, "'No helmets!'"
This sent Sirius into a fit of giggles, and he let go of the motorbike's handles to clutch at his stomach. The bike pitched violently to the left, and James had to grab hold of Sirius's arm to keep him from toppling off. "You know, Padfoot, I'm starting to think he had the right idea," he teased, feigning thoughtfulness. Sirius wrestled his arm from James's grip and delivered a friendly punch to his shoulder.
The two boys allowed their laughter to begin winding down so that they could catch their breath – although this was not particularly easy to do while flying through the air – and refocus. It took only moments for Sirius to regain control of his bike, and he gave it a hearty pat, as though he was trying to thank it. "Time?" he called, shooting a sideways glance at James. James raised his arm to check. Peter had given him a beautiful rose-gold wristwatch for his last birthday, which James had thought was quite sporting of him, considering his previous watch had ended up in Peter's stomach after a particularly questionable night of drinking.
"Eleven forty-four," he reported, absent-mindedly admiring the watch's pristine, white face.
Sirius nodded in affirmation. "Right, then, that gives us just over fifteen minutes to get back to the Leaky Cauldron and meet up with the others." He looked down at the bike with mild concern. "I don't doubt that we'll make it in plenty of time, but she really has been through the ringer tonight, and I do try not to strain her engine if I can help it-"
A jet of blinding blue light shot between James and Sirius, just inches away from either one of them. Sirius swore and, looking exasperated more than anything else, let up on the throttle so that the bike dropped suddenly towards the earth. After they'd fallen at least a hundred feet, he grabbed hold again and started flying forward at full speed. James felt rather sick after this, but he knew he didn't have time to feel sorry for himself – he craned his neck upwards and could just make out the dark silhouettes of three men on broomsticks bearing down on them.
"Bloody hell, how're they keeping up with us?" he wondered aloud, squinting to try and make out the figures more clearly.
"What?" cried Sirius, turning his head to look as well. "Merlin, do Voldemort's cronies get special broomsticks to go with their tattoos? Prongs, I think we may be on the wrong side!" Despite his joke, his tone was serious and his grey eyes were steeled with concentration.
The three Death Eaters, apparently having figured out where their targets had gone off to, sent another curse down towards the motorbike. Hand already on his wand, James shouted, "Protego!" A bluish shield of light appeared suddenly above them. It certainly protected them from the curse, but whatever curse it had been was clearly a nasty bit of magic, because the Shield Charm flickered and then fizzled out immediately after it had made contact. Now it was James's turn to swear.
"We can't go back to the Leaky Cauldron with them on our tail-" he started, even though he was aware that this fact was quite obvious and needn't have been voiced. Sirius, who thankfully knew James too well to take it the wrong way, simply nodded.
James turned his attention back to the nearly invisible assailants to see that they were, in fact, much more visible than before. "They're gaining on us, they've started to descend…" Sirius, not missing a beat, swerved the motorbike to the right. James watched in frustration as the Death Eaters did the same, barely falling behind.
Two of them sent spells toward James and Sirius at the same time, which was a mistake as the energy jets of the two curses collided in mid-air before they even came close to the boys and caused a small-ish explosion that sent up showers of multi-colored sparks.
James pressed the tip of his wand to his throat. "Thanks for the firework display!" he crowed, his voice magically amplified. More curses were promptly fired their way, but all of them missed their marks miserably. His voice still amplified, he added, "Maybe you blokes could use a bit more practice?"
Sirius reached over his shoulder without even looking, wand in his hand, and cried, "Rictumsempra!" James snorted.
"Really, Padfoot, you're too harsh on the poor mites." Sirius turned his head and winked at his mate.
"Mother always said that tough love is best!" he said in a sing-song voice, directing the bike in a rather ridiculous squiggly pattern.
James had the sudden thought to check the time. In a bleak kind of tone, he said, "Eleven fifty-six. When Lil finds out that I'm not dead she's going to kill me."
Sirius had opened his mouth to reply, but out of nowhere a jet of light grazed his left forearm, which then began to bleed profusely. James vaguely heard him make a dry comment about them finally learning to aim right, but the second that curse had made contact with Sirius, he had gone on full alert. "Stupefy!" He watched his spell as it traveled, trying to see whether it would succeed – after a few seconds, there was a burst of light. Either he'd managed to Stun one of their attackers, or they'd managed to block it. It was too dark for him to tell.
He got his answer when an identical Stunning Spell shot their way. Grimacing, he blocked it with another Shield Charm and ran a hand through his hair anxiously.
"Fuck it." Sirius sounded quite uncomfortable, and James fought the urge to ask if he was all right (which he would certainly not like because of course he was all right, it was just a little cut, that's all). "We're right over London. I'm bringing us down." After a moment's hesitation, he added, "It's not as if we have any other choice," but James didn't need the explanation. It was obvious that they weren't shaking these pricks off anytime soon.
But to their great surprise, the nearer they got to the bright, sprawling lights of the city below them, the further back the Death Eaters seemed to hang. Once Sirius and James were close enough to the ground for the city's lights to fully illuminate their figures, flying motorbike and all, James watched – with much bewilderment – as the three wizards pulled their brooms upward and sped away, as if they had suddenly remembered that they had left the tea kettle on.
Once they had established that they were no longer being chased, Sirius brought the bike back around and they hurtled over the Muggle streets of London towards the Leaky Cauldron, the place that the Order had agreed to regroup at after the night's mission. His motorbike finally touched land about a block and a half from the seedy, unremarkable pub, and the two of them careened to a noisy halt near the curb outside.
Before James had even managed to put both his feet on the ground, he found his face pressed into red hair (that smelled delightfully of vanilla). Lily hugged him so tightly that if she'd been any stronger, he reckoned he would have popped like a balloon. When she pulled away a minute later, her green eyes were shining with tears, but the expression on her face was mutinous.
James flashed a sheepish smile. Lily whacked him hard on the chest. Suddenly looking confused, she furrowed her brows and turned her attention to James's shirt, saying, "I thought you were wearing a flannel, Ja- what in the name of Albus Dumbledore is that?" She pointed accusingly at the gold phoenix that adorned his and Sirius's shirts. "I don't suppose you're late because you fancied stopping by home for a change of clothes?" she hissed, although her voice was more disapproving than angry.
Sirius clapped James on the back with his uninjured arm. "James and I were discussing how the rotten gits all have their ruddy Dark Marks, and we came to the conclusion that we ought to try and show some solidarity as well," he explained charmingly. Lily gave him a scathing look that would have made nearly anyone else wilt. "We picked some up for the rest of you lot, too, but it seems-" – he looked around innocently – "-they've been lost in the excitement. Quite a shame, really."
Lily stared at the pair of them with her hands placed crossly on her hips before rolling her radiant eyes and heaving a great, aggravated sigh. "You boys are exhausting," she said, her voice dripping with disapproval. But James saw the good-natured twinkle in her eyes, and he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him.
"Wouldn't have it any other way, love," he replied, still smiling as he leaned in to kiss her.