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PADFOOT by siriusblkfan4lif

Format: Novel
Chapters: 22
Word Count: 60,102

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence,

Genres: Romance, Action, Humor, General, Angst, Fluff, Drama
Characters: Dumbledore, James, Lily, OC, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Snape, Narcissa, Lucius, Peter Pettigrew, M. McGonagall

First Published: 05/24/2005
Last Chapter: 06/24/2005
Last Updated: 08/23/2005

banner removed by staff: images in summaries must be no larger than 700x110 pixels A young eleven-year-old boy recieves news that he has gotten into Hogwarts, the school of his dreams. With hate for his family, he goes into school meeting a beautiful girl who captures his heart, an enemy that quickly turns into he and his best friend's favorite person to terrorize, and three great friends that he has a total blast with--even if that means sometimes getting into trouble. See what Sirius Black's first year is like... the romances, the fights, the adventures, and the raw emotion. MWPP-FIN

Chapter 1: Chapter One: The Blackest House
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A/N: I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters.

It was a quiet Saturday morning at number twelve Grimmauld Place. The Blacks were all fast asleep, dreaming deeply of future happenings and breakfast the next morning—well, except Mrs. Black who, instead, was downstairs in the kitchen in her pajamas drinking her morning tea and finishing up her toast. She had just taken a sip of her tea when, suddenly, a great tawny owl came swooping in through the open window of the kitchen, a letter held firmly in its beak. It landed with a light thud on top of the highly polished kitchen table right next to where Mrs. Black had just set down her teacup.
She stifled a great big yawn and adjusted her robe before reaching her hand out towards the creature.
“Oh, mail’s arrived.” She said briefly before taking the letter from the creature and offering it the last bit of her toast.
As the owl began hungrily eating the toast, Mrs. Black glanced at the letter and then suddenly let out a shriek that sent the empty-stomached owl whizzing straight back out the window, hooting furiously.
“Oh my goodness!” she yelled, rising out of her chair and ripping open the envelope. She scanned the piece of parchment she had taken out in disbelief, mouthing words she could not come to say.
“S-Sirius… Sirius!” She yelled, making her way towards the flight of stairs that led upstairs. She began running up the steps, letter held tightly in hand, towards her eldest son’s bedroom.
There were hurried footsteps outside the bedroom of an eleven-year-old boy who lay, now awake, exhausted. The door of his room was thrown open wildly, causing a breeze against the boy’s face, and flooding the pitch-black room with sunlight from the light in the hallway. The boy rolled over, squinting, to face away from the open door.
“Sirius, you’ve gotten into HOGWARTS!” his mother half-yelled, half-hissed, waving the letter wildly above her head.
The boy called Sirius lay still, pretending that his mother had not just woken him with her over enthusiastic ranting.
Upon hearing no response, his mother began to grow impatient. She walked up to his bed and began to shake his shoulder with her free hand. After yet another failed attempt to get him to notice, or even care, her arms dropped to her side in impatience.
“Sirius, look!” She exclaimed.
Sirius Black rolled his eyes in his closed sockets and then opened them, squinting. He turned, reluctantly, towards a letter that was being shoved in his face. He took it gently with his hand and glanced up momentarily at the wide grin on his mothers face before gazing back down to the parchment. Still half-awake, he began to make out what he could of the letter given the lighting situation. Written in green ink were the words:

Dear Mr. Black,
We are pleased to inform you that you’ve been accepted to ‘Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.’

Sirius let out a great big yawn and shut his eyes again, slumping back onto his pillow and dropping the letter on the floor, eager to get back to dreaming of living elsewhere.
“Oh Sirius, get up!” His mother said, frustrated. She reached inside her pajama pockets quickly, then, with one swish of her wand, pulled the sheets off of his bed. She gave him one last loathing look and then turned on her heel, striding right back out of his room.
Sirius groaned and turned so that he was flat on his back. He opened his eyes again to stare up at his ceiling, wondering just how early in the morning it was. He sat up slowly, stretching his fists up in the air in the process, and then brought them down to scratch his lower back. Sirius scanned his dimly lit room, finding, to his disappointment, that everything was all in place as it always was. He turned his body so that he was sitting on the edge of his bed, facing the door that his mother had just heatedly exited. He let his feet dangle off the side and sighed, rubbing his handsome face in his hands then running them through his extremely soft jet-black hair.
It wasn’t that Sirius wasn’t excited about being accepted to the finest school of magic learning, it was just that he wasn’t at all too excited about the rude awakening he’d just received from his mother.
Sirius lit the candle that was beside his bed, it illuminated the whole of his room easily; a magic spell had been put on the flame. He looked down at his feet; The Hogwarts letter lay on the floor next to his bed where he had dropped it, waiting to be fully read. He bent down lazily and snatched it up off of the floor to read the rest:

Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September the first. We await an owl by no later than August the twenty-sixth.

Sirius was more awake now, but still, slowly, he pushed himself off of his bed and his feet onto the floor. He was now standing. He placed the letter on his bedside table and walked grumpily up to his bureau. He placed his hands on either side of it, supporting himself while he leaned forward facing the built-in mirror. He was scowling at his baggy-eyed reflection when a voice suddenly spoke to him.
“Dear, fix that hair—and for god’s sake, stop crushing me!” The mirror shouted.
“Shut up.” Sirius muttered, turning away form the mirror and heading over to his closet.
He took off his pajamas and pulled on some dark baggy blue jeans that were stylishly slightly faded at the knees, and then put on his favorite shirt that was black and about a size too big for him and also bared the name of his favorite band, ‘Wizard and Wand.’
After he was changed, he went over to his bureau and opened a drawer. He reached in and pulled out a comb, beginning to straighten out his slightly long hair. Shortly later, he took out another thing from his drawer; a bottle marked ‘Madam Malkins Hair Styling Solution.’ He opened it, turned it upside down, and squeezed a small dollop of it onto his palm. Sirius always made sure he looked good, and it paid off; he often found himself being approached by numerous girls, at many places he went, who asked him the funniest questions like: “Did you use a potion to look like that?” or “Do you know where the ladies room is?”
After he was done with his hair, which involved having his it fall stylishly into his eyes with such an elegance not many wizards could achieve, he looked back into the mirror. He was indeed very handsome; his slight build, perfect cheekbones, and honey-brown eyes made him into a great young wizard--but he didn’t think so, as he was now frowning deeply at his reflection.

As you can already tell, the Black family wasn’t a normal family as yours or mine; they were wizards and witches. They lived in a big eerie mansion decorated by the dark theme of their family where they received mail by owls, pictures always moved, electricity was not needed, and everything could be done from chores to spells with a wand. Many objects in the house were snake-themed; everything from the doorknobs to the candelabras were shaped like snakes. Every room had a dark gloomy look to it, and Sirius hated it all.
Sirius was a rebellious boy; he always went with his own instincts. He didn’t get along with his parents too well because of their harsh opinions of the world and the people in it; they thought that some people ought to be more privileged than others because of completely ludicrous reasons and that to be pure-blood, like them, made you instantly seen as the highest among wizarding families. He also didn’t get along with his younger brother, Regulus Black. Regulus agreed with his parents fully about anything they had to say. Because of this, you could usually see him and Sirius getting into vicious fights with each other over almost everything.
Sirius took the comb and the Hair Styling Solution and placed them back into their drawer, closing the door gently. Then, suddenly, he broke into a huge smile.
He was going to Hogwarts! This must’ve been the happiest news he’d ever gotten. He was so eager to leave his house and go to school, to meet new friends, to live in this big castle his whole family had always spoken highly of.
Sirius tapped every object in his room on the way out of it, humming to himself as he strode out of it and onto the landing. He made his way downstairs and down to the kitchen. His mother was at the table, reading “The Daily Prophet” out in front of her so that it was blocking her face. Sirius could see a large picture of Hogwarts on the front page, and a headline above it bearing the words “Another Year About To Begin” in big bold letters.
Sirius sat down in his usual seat opposite his mothers and placed his chin on the table surface so he could read the article on the front of the magical world’s most famous newspaper.
After a couple seconds his mother set the paper down on the table and brought her teacup up to her lips. She looked up at her son and raised an eyebrow as she set the cup back down on the table.
“Dear, just take it.” She said, motioning towards the paper.
Sirius grabbed it and gazed down at the beautiful castle twinkling up at him. He smiled again, wondering what glorious things lay inside it waiting for him to come and see.
“I’ve sent an owl back to them, telling them you’re coming.” Mrs. Black said, her hands folded on the tabletop.
Sirius nodded.
“Mmm Hmm.” He said dully.
“…Telling us to send a return owl on August twenty-sixth when it is August twenty-sixth, I tell you.” His mother complained, her voice trailing off. “So… When do you want me to take you to go get your school things?”
“What?” He asked, still staring at the picture.
“Your school things, when do you want me to take you to Diagon Alley to get them?”
“Uh…” Sirius thought. The way he was feeling at the moment, he would’ve said ‘right now,’ but he knew his mother did not like sudden plans.
“Whenever.” He said simply.
“Well, how about today after all the chores are done?”
Sirius’s heart must’ve stopped.
“Yes… after you clean the attic.”
“Aw, man…” Sirius muttered. Among all of the things to do in this house, cleaning the attic had to be the worst. There were huge spiders and bugs lurking around everywhere, old creepy dark objects his parents had kept that were gathering dust, and he swore there was a boggart up there that would take the form of whatever he feared the most as soon as he found it.
“Can’t Kreacher do it?” Sirius asked.
“No, that house elf can’t do everything.” She said, “He’s getting really old, he might collapse if he finds any more mold growing in this house… and you know I don’t like your hair like that.” She added, frowning. Sirius sighed.
He got up from the table, denying he was hungry at all (“I heard your stomach growling, eat something!”); He was too eager to get the morning over with so he could go get his school things to hang out in the kitchen any longer.
He marched back upstairs to his room, past the plaques on the wall of the severed heads of old house elves which he despised, past the awards his grandfather had gotten for special services to the Ministry of Magic (Which, in other words, meant donating spare change).
When he reached his room, he picked up his letter from Hogwarts and read the items on his list that he needed to buy which included: a cauldron, several books for all his courses, potion ingredients, some school robes, a pet (which was optional), and, most important, a wand. He had wanted one all his life.
I can’t wait to start hexing people. He thought to himself with a grin.
After finding the shape-shifting boggart in the attic in a box of old socks and having it change into a replica of a bloodthirsty werewolf, Sirius was beat… and a little jumpy.
Mrs. Black was gathering her things, getting ready to leave. After she counted her gold Galleons, silver Sickles, and bronze Knuts, (Wizards money), and put them into her change purse, her and her son Sirius walked over to the kitchen fireplace.
“Dad’s not coming?” Sirius asked, though he didn’t really care about the answer.
“No. He’s still in bed; He’s very tired from the long journey back home.” She told him, “Says he saw muggles near the Leaky Cauldron on his way back. Stupid people. Always so clueless…” She went on.
At this point, Sirius began to ignore her. He always hated the fact that his parents hated muggles. (Non-magic people.) Even half-bloods were not accepted by them (half muggle, half magic), and certainly not muggle-borns. (Wizards or witches whose parents were both muggles.) There were rarely any families in existence that weren’t at least half-blood, but the Black family was one of the few pureblood families still around, and Sirius hated it.
“…Those filthy mudbloods.” She finished.
Sirius closed his eyes, swelling up with anger; ‘mudblood’ was a VERY offensive term for half-bloods or muggle-borns, which meant ‘dirty blood.’ Sirius wanted to scream at her and was fighting every urge to. Instead, he grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, chucked it into the fireplace so that bright green flames rose up, stepped into it, and yelled “Diagon Alley!” without any word to his mother.
He was furious beyond all reason as he watched several grates appear before his spinning body. Seconds later, he was thrown out of another fireplace, but this one was not the one in his kitchen; it was inside a pub called the ‘Leaky Cauldron.’
Sirius had traveled this way many times before and had always gotten soot all over him. He got out and stepped to the side, beginning to brush off his clothes. Annoyed as he did this, he heard the popping noise of another person emerge from the flames from behind him.
“SIRIUS BLACK!” His mother called angrily from the fireplace.
He turned around to face her, brushing the ashes off of one of his sleeves.
“What?” He snapped bitterly.
“Don’t you dare talk to me in that tone, Sirius!” She said loudly, stepping out of the fireplace. “What have I told you about doing that?”
“I’ve traveled by Floo Powder loads of times!” He shot back as he turned in her direction, staring down at the floor determined to avoid her eye.
“I don’t care young man, you let your mother go first!”
Sirius finally looked up at her, opening his mouth to speak, but stopped. He felt eyes all around the bar staring at him from all directions; the whole pub was watching them.
“Okay.” He said through gritted teeth, “Let’s just go, then.”
Mrs. Black surveyed him for another second before turning and leading them both to the back of the pub. Sirius felt his face growing hot as he walked past all of the people that were sitting at tables, beginning to go back to sipping their Firewhisky or talk to their neighbors.
When they reached the door that was in the back of the pub, his mother opened it and strode outside of the pub, which was made up of a little room surrounded by bricks with a little trash bin against the back wall. Sirius let out a breath of relief as he shut the door gently behind him.
The room that he and his mother were now cramped into was large enough to fit a party of up to eight people, if they all were fairly thin. It would’ve looked oddly peculiar to someone who had not been in it before.
Mrs. Black turned to face her son.
“Sirius, I don’t understand you sometimes. You act as though our family is… is scum.”
“I just don’t agree with everything you say, that’s all.” He said with a shrug, letting the anger roll off his back with every strength he could muster.
“Well, just don’t go running off like that.” She said, eyeing him warningly.
“Alright mum.” He said, putting on a friendly tone; he really didn’t feel like getting on her bad side right before he had to be out in public again.
His mother smiled briefly at him, and then turned to face the wall opposite the door they had just come in. She pulled her wand out from her coat pocket and tapped the third brick from the left above the trash bin three times. She and Sirius stepped back as the bricks began to fold from the inside out, causing an arched doorway to appear when they had finished moving, and illuminating the crowded streets of Diagon Alley.
It was really crowded; there were wizards and witches and their children out scrambling around the streets, trying to get where they wanted to go.
Sirius followed his mother down the crowded streets, walking past ‘Florence Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor’ and ‘Eeylop’s Owl Emporium.’ He was just walking past his favorite shop called ‘Quality Quiddich Supplies’ when he stopped dead in his tracks to gaze into the front window. There, on display, was a handsome racing broom entitled ‘The Cleansweep.’ Sirius pressed his face up against the window, open-mouthed and in awe.
I guess you’re wondering what Quiddich is. It’s a game played on broomsticks that ‘s the most popular game in the magical world. It was a fast-paced, rough game that had seven players to a team, involving four different playing balls, two teams playing against each other at a time. Three Chasers handled a ball called the “quaffle” and tried to get it through one of three different-height hoops that each resembled over-sized bubble wands. The Keeper defended their team’s hoops, two Beaters each carried a small club that resembled tiny baseball bats in which they used to hit one of two balls called a “bludger.” Those were used to knock other players off of their brooms. The Seeker’s job was to catch a tiny golden walnut-sized ball called “The Golden Snitch.” It earned the Seeker’s team one hundred and fifty points and ended the game. Sirius had always dreamed of playing for a professional team one day or at least one of the four house teams at his school.

Chapter 2: Chapter Two: The Parting
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Sirius snapped out of his gaze, shaking his head to sense.
“Stay with me!”
“Mum!” He shouted, turning pink, “I’m eleven, I’m fine!” And, without realizing it at first, he said quickly, “Can I have that?”
Sirius indicated the “Cleansweep” model with his finger that he’d been gawking at.
“No, Sirius. First years aren’t allowed to have racing brooms. We’re here to get what you need.”
“You told Regulus that he could get a broom when he got into Hogwarts!” He spat.
“Yes, but he’d be keeping it at home… and you’re brother doesn’t talk back to me.” She added hastily.
Sirius could not control his anger this time; hate and annoyance was pounding wildly in his veins, building up quickly inside of him.
His mother glared dangerously at him, but Sirius glared right back. He wouldn’t doubt it if she slapped him right then.
His mother was narrowing her eyes, calculating what to say to him next. Her lip began to quiver like mad.
“Well…” She began coldly, but in a satisfied sort of way, “Then you can just go live with a nice mudblood family and see how THEY TREAT YOU!!!” She yelled so loudly that Sirius was sure the whole alley heard.
“I WILL!” Sirius screamed so loudly he felt his throat growing coarse. “They’d treat me much better than you people ever would anyway!”
His mother’s face was beat red and now looked like her head was about to explode. She thrust her hand into her purse, pulled out her change bag, and grabbed both of Sirius’s hands so that they formed a bowl out in front of him. She tipped the bag upside-down, spilling all of the contents into his hands and returning the bag into her purse that was dangling from her forearm.
Then she grabbed both of his wrists in her hands, digging her nails into the backs of them painfully.
“Go to school in September, and don’t bother sending an owl you ungrateful little…” She broke off, not thinking of a way to finish the sentence. She never finished the sentence, but he knew that was final; and with a loud crack, she disappeared out of sight. She had disapparated.
Sirius stood still; still clutching all the money his mother had just given him out in front of him. As the crowd that was watching them began to disperse, he let out an aggravated sigh and unceremoniously shoved all the money into his front pockets.
He felt so strange; his mother had just practically kicked him out, leaving him on his own until school started in about a week. Where would he stay? What would he do? He began to ponder this until he noticed that somebody was standing in front of him that he had been too distracted to notice.
“Are you okay?” He heard a gentle voice call to him.
He looked up, and instantly wondered how she had not gotten his attention right away; the girl was strikingly pretty.
“Uh… yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.” He managed to say. He let out a deep breath and ran his hands through his hair, letting all his emotions just leave his head.
She looked deeply concerned and was frowning slightly, but a little sign of relief began to form on her face.
“Oh… okay.” She said, uncomfortably. “Well, I’ll just, er—see you later, then.”
Sirius smiled politely and gave her a slight nod.
“Yeah, thanks by the way.” He called as she turned and started to walk away from him.
He wanted to ask her something to get her to come back, but he couldn’t think of anything. Instead, he just watched her as she met up with a group of girls. They started to giggle while she arrived, casting looks at Sirius for a moment, and then they all headed into a store called ‘Flourish and Blotts.’ He assumed that they were obviously getting their schoolbooks for the year.
Sirius peered around the alleyway, eyeing all of the stores and wondering where to go first. He reached into his pockets and pulled out the money again, noticing that his mother obviously wanted to make sure he wouldn’t be heading back to Grimmauld Place anytime soon; he had a ton of galleons.
He put the money back into his pockets and then pulled his Hogwarts letter out of his back pocket. He took out the list of things he needed to buy from the envelope and eyed all of the items on it. He thought about going into the store that the girl he had just seen had headed into, but he didn’t want her to think he was following her or anything, so that was out. After reading down the list again, he decided he’d go get his wand first.
He headed up the street and then turned right into a placed called ‘Ollivander’s.’ He entered and saw a man standing behind a desk with his back turned to him, adjusting long narrow boxes on a shelf right behind the desk.
“Uh… Excuse me?” Sirius said quietly, trying not to make the man start.
The man turned around.
“Hello there, young man.” He said, mystically. “Mr. Black, correct?” He said, a smile creeping up the sides of his mouth.
Sirius stared at him, puzzled.
“How… How did you know that?”
“Ah, Mr. Black. I remember every wand I’ve ever sold.” He explained. “I see the resemblance of your mother and father well in you.”
“I wish you didn’t.” Sirius said, as a tape measure came out of nowhere and started to measure him all by itself. Sirius had expected this; when his parents weren’t giving him orders or criticizing other families, they were telling him all about school.
“Mr. Black, you will find that one day the importance of family will rule over anything else you may care about because their love for you will not die.” He said from behind one of the shelves.
He reappeared from behind it shortly, holding several long narrow boxes. He set them down on his front desk and beckoned Sirius over to it, who was thinking that what Ollivander had just said was almost laughable; he could never see himself getting along with his family.
Sirius walked up to the desk as Mr. Ollivander took the lid off of a scarlet-colored box to reveal a long wand made out of what looked to be willow because of its light color. Ollivander took it out of the box gently and held it out for Sirius to take.
“Phoenix tail feather, Willow, eleven inches… very good for charm work.” He said as Sirius took it from him.
Sirius waved it around. Nothing happened. He gave it back to Ollivander.
“Okay… how about this one?” He held out another wand.
Sirius took it.
“Unicorn Hair, Holly, ten inches… whippy… great for Transfiguration.”
Sirius pointed it at a nearby quill. It caught fire.
“Uh—no… I don’t think that was it.” Ollivander said, using his own wand and reciting a spell, which emitted a little stream of water to put the fire out.
“Sorry.” Sirius muttered.
“Hmmm… what about this?” Ollivander suggested, holding out a dark-colored wand. “Heavy, but powerful. One of my more accurate wands… twelve inches, yew, dragon heartstring.”
Sirius liked the look of this one; he reached out for it quickly, screwing up his face with curiosity. He took it in his right hand and held it out in front of him, instantly feeling warmth spread throughout his body to his fingertips; he had found his wand. Sirius smiled brightly up at Ollivander.
“Very good… very good.” Ollivander said, smiling.
Sirius paid six galleons for the wand and then headed out of the shop. He decided to go to “Madam Malkins” for his school robes next. After that, he went into “Flourish and Blotts” to get all his books, hoping that the girl was still there.
After he re-emerged from the shop (unfortunately, not finding the girl), he was now carrying several packages. He wondered how he was going to carry all the rest of his things around with him. He thought for a while, and then it hit him; he hadn’t bought a trunk yet, so that’s exactly where he went.
After about a half hour later, he had gotten everything on his list, except for a pet, but that was optional and Sirius didn’t know if he could afford that and a weeks worth of meals too.
He dragged his trunk full of his school things, his wand in his pocket, over to ‘Florence Fortescue’s’ and sat down at one of the outside tables.
“Whew!” He said, mopping the sweat off of his forehead with his palm and sliding his trunk underneath the table. He looked around at the other people sitting outside; there was a young girl and her mom sharing a cup of ice cream behind him, and a boy he guessed was about his age walking out of the shop with a large ice cream cone. Sirius tried desperately to think of where he was going to stay for the next week. He thought about staying with his favorite cousin, Andromeda Black, but then he realized that Andromeda’s Mom and Dad and two sisters, Narcissa and Bellatrix, had gone on holiday in Paris all this week and Andromeda was staying with some friend of hers until she went back to school, as she hated both her sisters.
Just as he was questioning the idea of just going back home, the girl he had seen earlier was making her way towards him with her group of three other friends.
“Hey.” She said, smiling broadly.
“Hi.” He said, looking into her eyes.
They were a beautiful bright green and were almond-shaped… he had never noticed just how pretty she was.
“Um, listen… d’you have anywhere to stay tonight?” She asked. One of her other friends started to giggle, and then elbowed her from behind. Sirius looked up at them all and, at once, recognized the girl standing on the right side of the giggler. He did not point it out right then though.
“No… actually, not for a week.” Sirius said as smoothly as possible.
“Oh, um… well, would you like to stay at the Leaky Cauldron with us?” She asked, running a hand through her long, (beautiful, Sirius noticed), red hair.
“Sure… in—in one room?” He stammered.
“Oh, no, we have two rooms, but the four of us could just stay in one and you could have the extra.”
“Oh. Okay, cool.” Sirius said a little relieved, yet slightly disappointed. “Are you guys staying here alone?”
“Yeah. My Mum and Dad are on holiday and they’re letting us stay the week until school starts up.”
“Yeah, I’ll room with you then.” He said with a wink.
This made the girls start to giggle even harder as Sirius began to blush. So did the red-haired girl.
“Hey, what’s your name by the way?” He asked curiously.
“Lily.” She replied.
Sirius stood up from his seat to shake her hand like a gentleman. He wanted to give her a good impression of himself.
“Nice to meet you, Lily.” He said casually, “My name’s Sirius.” They let go and Sirius noticed just how pink her face had gotten. “And, who are you?” Sirius said, looking up at the other three girls.
“Daveigh Abbott.” The giggly girl replied. She had blonde wavy hair and a nice smile.
“Gloria Clearwater.” A girl with dark brown shoulder-length hair and brilliant hazel eyes said who was on Daveigh’s left.
Sirius spoke for the girl on Daveigh’s right before she even had a chance to open her mouth.
“And my dear cousin, Andromeda. I know you. What’s up?”

Chapter 3: Chapter Three: On The Hogwarts Express
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Life with the four girls was great. Sirius learned that Daviegh was the really hyper one that had energy all the time and always cheered the group up. Andromeda was prone to causing small accidents, like knocking over food or stubbing her toe as much as one breathed daily; Sirius never even realized how clumsy she was until now, and she had been over his house plenty of times. Gloria was really smart and witty and often cracked jokes that she later had to explain to get them to understand. But, Lily was, in Sirius’s opinion, absolutely perfect. She was a really really nice and caring person, as well as smart and funny too; Sirius grew more and more fond of her everyday.
When September first came around, Sirius and the girls could be seen carting their trunks into King’s Cross station; Lily’s mother, father, and sister Petunia had brought them there. Her parents were nice and didn’t mind at all taking Sirius to the station, and he could see why Lily was as nice as she was; but her sister seemed to loathe her and often scowled at their every move. When they all reached platform nine, everyone but Sirius, Andromeda, and Daveigh were beginning to panic.
“How do you get onto platform nine and three quarters?” Gloria shrieked.
“There’s no ‘Nine and Three Quarters’ on the signs, it’s just nine and ten!” Lily said, looking up at the platform signs.
“Wait—wait, hold on.” Sirius said, thinking, “My parents told me that there was a special way of getting onto the platform.”
“Yeah, my mum said there was a trick of how to do it… but I don’t remember…” Andromeda said, scratching her head.
“Yeah, you have to walk through a barrier or something, my older sister told me. She graduated last year.” Daviegh added, “But I’m not sure exactly what to do…” she frowned.
“Should we ask a conductor?” Mrs. Evans suggested.
“Oh, no… they’ll think you’re nuts. They’ve no idea about it. My mum says your better off asking a troll.” Sirius told her, “But, then again, she says that about almost everyone.”
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait until we see someone who goes to Hogwarts too.” Gloria sighed.
They had only just sat there for about a minute when they spotted a boy who was wheeling his trunk towards them.
“Excuse me.” He said, looking slightly annoyed. He seemed about their age. He had shoulder-length, greasy black hair, a slightly large hooked nose, and was wearing a huge scowl.
“Uh, excuse me,” Sirius began politely, “But do you know how to get onto the platform?”
The boy stared around at them for a few seconds. His eyes rested on Lily’s parents and her sister. Sirius noticed this.
“Hey!” Sirius said, “Do you know or what?”
The boy looked back at Sirius and then narrowed his eyes.
“I’m not helping muggles.” He said coldly, as he began to wheel his cart right towards the brick barrier between platforms nine and ten. It looked like he was going to crash right into it; but, instead, he walked right through it, not emerging from the other side.
“Idiot!” Sirius spat angrily, as some of the girls gasped.
“How’d he do that!” Daviegh cried in awe.
“I dunno…” Gloria said, “He just sort of went through it … like… this…” And with that, she slowly wheeled her cart towards the barrier and disappeared. Daviegh went next, followed by Andromeda; that left just Sirius, Lily, and her family. Lily was looking hurt; that boy that had made fun of her had really gotten to her. Sirius felt so much compassion for her. He walked up to Lily and looked meaningfully into her eyes.
“Lily, he thinks he’s better than you just because he’s probably a pure-blood, but I’ll tell you this: I have never met a nicer and more caring person than you and you don’t need to be a pure-blood for me to know that you’ll be a great witch.”
Lily smiled, a tear leaking down her cheek. She walked up to Sirius and gave him a great big hug.
“Thanks…” She whispered.
“No problem, Lily.” Sirius said, patting her back. “Now lets go to Hogwarts.”
Sirius got a compartment all to himself on the train; the girls got the one in front of him. He was staring outside at the scenery as they went, smiling about the hug he had just gotten from Lily. He had never felt this way towards another girl before; for the first time in his life, he seemed lovesick.
About an hour passed by when he heard a lady outside his door. He slid open the door of his compartment just in time to see a trolley being pushed by a young lady full of snacks he loved. When the lady reached him, he bought one of each of some Cauldron Cakes, Pumpkin Pasties, Licorice Wands, and then he bought two armfuls of Chocolate Frogs to show Lily.
When the lady left, Sirius got up and walked out of his compartment and then looked into the girl’s compartment for Lily. He spotted her and the other girls laughing hysterically at a gagging Andromeda who seemed to have eaten a badly flavored ‘Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans’ bean.
Sirius leaned at an angle in front of the window so that he got just Lily in a clear view. After a few seconds, Lily was first to recover from laughing and spotted him in the window at once.
Sirius made a frantic motion with his hands for her to come out of her compartment and she nodded. He ducked out of the way, so that the other girls wouldn’t see him, as Lily told them she’d be back later. She slid open her door a couple seconds later and came out to meet Sirius in front of his.
“Hi.” She said, smiling.
“Hey.” Sirius said back, taking her hand and leading them both into his compartment. They both sat down across from each other. Lily immediately began eyeing the mountain of Chocolate Frogs Sirius had bought.
“Have you ever tried one before?” He asked.
“No… what are they?”
“Chocolate Frogs. They look like real frogs too; they hop and stuff.”
Sirius reached for one and opened it. A Chocolate Frog hopped out and Sirius caught it in midair, handing it over to an open-mouthed Lily. She took it in cupped hands, treating it as if it were a real frog.
“Eat it.” Sirius said, beckoning her to take a bite.
Lily looked taken aback.
“Eat it?” She repeated, sounding worried.
“Yeah, don’t worry, you won’t hurt it. It’s not really alive—it’s a spell.”
Lily, reluctantly, raised the frog towards her mouth and then, closing her eyes while she did it, snapped its head off with her teeth.
Lily nodded, now smiling.
Sirius grinned, and then picked up the empty Chocolate Frog box he had set aside. He removed from inside the box what any kid in the wizarding world could say they bought Chocolate frogs for, a famous witch or wizard card.
“Here.” He said, handing the card over to her, “Everyone collects these in our world.”
“Oh, cool…” She said, “I got Circe.”
“Yeah, I don’t have that one yet, but I want you to have it.”
Lily beamed. She got up from her side and sat down right next to Sirius.
“No, you have it.” She said, handing it back.
Sirius held out a hand and stopped it.
“No, you have it.” He said quietly, but Lily pushed right back.
“No, it’s okay, it’s yours.” She whispered.
And then, instead of pushing it back, he took it… and found himself gazing into her eyes.
Sirius leaned forward and their lips met. It was nice; Sirius started to feel all fluttery inside. But just as the moment came, it stopped. Lily pulled away from him and stood up quickly.
“I-I’m sorry!” She said, “I better get back to my compartment.” And with that, she left, leaving Sirius feeling puzzled. Did she not like him? He barely had time to ponder this when his compartment door slid open again.
“Hey.” A boy said.
“Hey.” Sirius said to him. The boy had dark, untidy hair, hazel eyes, and was built almost like Sirius was, but a little scrawnier.
“Would you mind if I sat with you the rest of the way?” He asked, “This ‘Severus’ kid is annoying the hell outta me, saying how he’s pure-blood and wants to get into Slytherin house.”
“Oh, yeah, sure.” Sirius said, “He wasn’t greasy-looking, was he?”
The boy laughed, “Yeah!” he said, nodding as he sat down opposite Sirius where Lily had just been sitting. Still recovering from laughter, the kid ran a hand through his messy hair, making it even messier, and was now looking a little unsure of himself.
“Hey… you’re not going steady with that red-haired girl, are you?” He asked, “The one who just left your compartment?”
Sirius hesitated. “Uh… no.” He said, remembering the look on her face when she had left his compartment not three minutes ago.
“Oh, Cool… I think I, uh, fancy her.” He said, turning pink and staring down at the compartment floor.
Sirius nodded. “Yeah, she’s really pretty.”
“Do you like her?” The boy asked curiously, looking back up at him.
“Oh… n-no.” Sirius lied, “She’s all yours.”
He smiled, “She your friend?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Could you… um, if its not any trouble or anything, could you… uh, set us up or something?” The kid asked quietly.
“Sure.” Sirius said politely, though not enthusiastically.
“Cool, thanks. What’s her name by the way?”
“Lily Evans.”
“Evans… Do you know her well?”
“I’ve known her for a week.” Sirius said with a hint of bitterness, now avoiding his eye; these questions were beginning to annoy him. Thankfully, the boy changed the subject for him.
“Oh, that’s cool.” James said, nodding slightly. “Hey, what’s your name by the way?” he asked.
“Sirius, yours?”
“Well, Sirius Black.” Sirius added.
“James Potter.” James copied.
“Hey,” Sirius said quickly, breaking the silence before James had time to start asking about Lily again, “Which of the four houses do you want to be sorted into?”
“Uh… probably Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. You?”
“Anything but Slytherin really.” Sirius said darkly, “I don’t even care if I’m in Hufflepuff.”
And so they talked. Sirius got to like him; they had a lot in common. For one, they both agreed that Slytherin had to be the worst house. Sirius especially hated it because his everyone in his family who went to Hogwarts had gotten into Slytherin, and Slytherin was known for housing only pure-bloods and every witch or wizard who ever went bad had been sorted into Slytherin.
“… I don’t know if I’m smart enough to be in Ravenclaw, seeing as you have to be a genius to get into that house, but it’d be really cool to be in Gryffindor; only the bravest people get into Gryffindor.” James went on.
“…and the leftovers get to go into Hufflepuff.” Sirius said, eating the rest of his pumpkin pasty. “Which is where I’m probably going,” he added gloomily.
“Nah, I don’t think so mate.” James said encouragingly, opening a Chocolate Frog. “Hey, want to just open all of the rest of these?” He asked, pointing at the pile of frogs still left.
“I’m not hungry though.” Sirius said, straightening the stack of witch or wizard cards he had collected for Lily.
“No, I mean, we could fill the compartment with frogs.” James said, grinning.
“No, I got a better idea,” Sirius began, “Let’s set them all loose out into the corridor.”
“Yeah!” James yelled, his grin growing larger.
The two boys soon had opened all of the Chocolate frogs, clutching several of the struggling pieces of chocolate in their hand while making their way towards the compartment door. Sirius turned the handle with his elbow and whispered:
“Okay, on the count of three, just throw them all out.”
James nodded, grinning.
“One… Two…” Sirius opened the door wide enough to fit his arms through, “THREE!” He shouted. They both flung their handfuls of frogs out into the corridor, and slammed the door shut. They watched, giggling like mad, as maybe about twelve chocolate frogs started hopping wildly around the corridor outside.

Chapter 4: Chapter Four: A Change In Black
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When they arrived at their destination, they were fully dressed in their school robes and eager to get inside the castle. Night had fallen and lampposts were lit on the platform.
As they were walking off of the train, Sirius spotted Lily and they caught each other’s eye. They exchanged smiles (Maybe she didn’t hate him after all). He walked up to her and handed her all of the Chocolate Frog cards James and he had collected for her and then felt something hit him hard in the shoulder. It was James.
“Oh, Lily.” Sirius said, pointing out James, “This is James Potter.”
Lily smiled politely at a blushing James.
“First years!” They heard someone call from behind them, “Hello everyone, my name is Professor McGonagall; Transfiguration Professor and head of Gryffindor house. First years, follow me!”
The three of them turned around to see a woman who was in emerald green robes gathering up the first years.
Sirius, James, and Lily all eagerly walked up to her as she gathered all of the rest of the first years around.
“Hey!” James whispered to Sirius, “It’s the grease ball!”
Sirius whipped around and looked in the direction James was looking. It was Severus. James snorted and Sirius barked with laughter.
“That’s not nice.” Lily said, frowning.
“I know… but he’s the one who made fun of you at the train station.” Sirius explained, “Serves him right.”
Lily gave him an ‘it’s-still-awfully-mean’ look as the lady led them down a narrow path.
“He probably just doesn’t know any better.” She said.
“Well he’s a jerk for ever making fun of you, Evans.” James said in an overly friendly tone.
Lily smiled slightly, but only for a brief moment. She was about to say some thing else, but was cut off by the gasps of the first years; the castle had finally come into view. Sirius gaped at it; it was just like the picture he saw in the Daily Prophet, but better. Much better.
“Okay children, four to a boat. No pushing.” McGonagall cried, stepping into the first boat herself.
Sirius looked down and saw about a dozen boats with hanging lanterns inside them ready to make their way up to the castle. He, James, and Lily all climbed into a nearby boat, followed shortly by a shabby-looking boy in patched and frayed robes.
“Hi.” he said brightly as he sat down next to Sirius; Lily and James were up in front.
“Hi.” They all said back to him.
“Forward!” McGonagall shouted, and the boats headed off to the castle.
“Did you guys see all the Chocolate Frogs someone let loose on the train? It was nuts. I stepped on one by accident… got chocolate on my shoes.”
Sirius and James said nothing. Sirius felt it’d be too much of a giveaway if he exchanged glances with James so he kept silent. James shrugged as a reply.
“…So, what house do you guys favor?” The shabby boy asked, looking around at them all.
“Gryffindor!” They all shouted in unison.
“Ravenclaw!” They all shouted again.
All of them started to giggle uncontrollably at their perfect timing.
“Ha! Yeah, me too.” The boy said. “I’m Remus, by the way.”
“Hey.” Sirius said, “I’m Sirius, and this is James.” He said, pointing out each person, “And this girl over here is Lily.”
Lily blushed as she shook Remus’s hand.
“You must get the ‘Where’s Romulus?’ bit pretty often then?” James asked.

Shortly later, they finally got to the castle, and stepped out to face two large oak front doors. McGonagall knocked hard on the doors three times, and the doors swung open at once. There were more gasps; it was huge!
“Holy…!” Sirius shouted as he filed in with the rest of the first years.
McGonagall turned to face them, blocking two more large doors that blocked the muffled conversations of the people who were behind it.
“Now, line up in two nice even lines. Make sure you are next to someone, because in a moment you will go through these doors into the great hall and be sorted into your houses.”
Sirius and James exchanged smiles.
“…The houses are Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and… Slytherin.”
Someone from behind them coughed unnaturally high. James turned his head to the back and then quickly back to the front. He leaned sideways toward Sirius.
“It was Mr. Grease.” He muttered under his breath.
He and Sirius shook with silent laughter.
“Now, everybody next to another person? Good. Let us all now go into the Great Hall for the sorting to begin.”
She opened the doors to reveal several students sitting at one of the four long vertical tables. At the end of the hall was a horizontal table holding all of their teachers, and right in front of that was a patched and frayed hat (much worse than Remus’s robes) that sat on a small wooden stool.
“Now, follow me.” McGonagall called over their heads.
So they walked down the middle aisle in between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables in two lines, side by side with their fellow first years. When they reached the front, McGonagall stepped up and walked towards the right side of the stool, then turning on her heel to face them all.
“When I call your name, step up here, sit down on the stool, and place the sorting hat on your head. When the hat has announced your house, you will go to your house table and sit with your fellow house members.” She said, looking around at all of them as she pulled a long scroll out of her robes and began to unroll it.
After scanning down the list, her eyes went back up to the beginning of the list of names and shouted “Daveigh Abbott!”
Daviegh smiled widely and walked up to the stool, took the hat, and sat down, placing the hat eagerly on her head.
“HUFFLEPUFF!” It cried after about a minute.
The Hufflepuff table roared with cheers and applause as Daveigh stepped down from the stool, beaming.
“Sirius Black!” McGonagall cried. Sirius’s stomach did a somersault as he walked as casually as he could up to the stool, taking the hat Daviegh had held out for him as she made her way past him to the Hufflepuff table. Sirius sat down on the stool and let out a breath of air, trying to keep calm as he lowered the hat slowly onto his head. Instantly, a voice began to talk to him as if he had just slipped on a pair of headphones.
“Ah, another Black… hmmm… interesting… you do not possess the same characteristics generations of ancestors before you have held, do you now? No, no… I sense a rebellious boy… loads of courage… lots of bravery… and compassion for others… well, I can only think of one place to put you; this’ll be a first in your family, yes it will… GRYFFINDOR!” it shouted.
Sirius became instantly overwhelmed with happiness and relief as he smiled widely. The Gryffindor table was applauding and whooping loudly, he noticed, as he got off of the stool and saw Lily and Remus clapping enthusiastically; James was giving him the thumbs up.
“Fabian Prewett!” McGonagall continued. Sirius handed the hat off to Fabian as he walked quickly over to sit with his fellow Gryffindors. They all stood up to shake his hand and pat him on the back as he took his seat.
“Lily Evans!”
Lily walked shyly up to the stool and gently placed the hat on her head. Sirius was staring at her admiringly, and, he saw, so was James. Remus had his hands together as he watched.
About five long minutes passed, and then finally “GRYFFINDOR!”
Sirius started; his mind had been elsewhere. He stood up immediately and began cheering along with the other Gryffindors.
“Gloria Clearwater!”
Lily handed the hat happily to Gloria as she went over to sit next to Sirius.
“I think we all knew that one.” Sirius whispered to Lily as Gloria leapt off of the stool in triumph.
“Bellatrix Black!”
“Is she related you?” Lily asked Sirius curiously.
“Unfortunately I am… All pure bloods are related in some way. She’s my cousin—and Andromeda’s sister.”
Lily and Sirius watched as Rudolphus Lestrange, Vincent Crabbe, and Gregory Goyle were all sorted into Slytherin in a row.
“Gosh…” Lily whispered.
“Yeah, I know.” Sirius said, in awe.
“Remus Lupin!”
“GRYFFINDOR!” (Sirius whooped.)
“Good, finally a change in pace… Edgar Bones!”
“Peter Pettigrew!” A small, mousey-haired boy sat down at the stool.
“James Potter!”
James walked excitedly up to the stool and jammed the hat on his head.
Sirius slapped James’s hand when he reached the table.
“Severus Snape.”
James and Sirius exchanged dark looks.
Snape sneered as he hopped of the stool, placed the hat on it, and ran to his table; not even bothering to hand the hat off to the next person.
“What a lousy git.” James whispered to Sirius so Lily wouldn’t hear as a boy named “Shacklebot Kingsley” was sorted into Ravenclaw.
“Andromeda Black!”
Several people laughed as she accidentally brought that hat with her to Gryffindor table before realizing she had forgotten to hand it to the next person. She hurried back to hand it to ‘Amos Diggory,’ and walked back, beat red, to Gryffindor.
“I’m gonna be hearing that one for a while.” She sighed miserably, sitting down next to James.
“Don’t worry about it.” Remus reassured her, “You got into Gryffindor.”
Andromeda smiled. “Well, yeah. I almost was ready to bet my wand I’d be in Hufflepuff.”
Finally, after more Ravenclaws, Gryffindors, Slytherins, and Hufflepuffs, a boy called “Arthur Weasley” was the last one to be sorted.
“HUFFLEPUFF!” The hat shouted.
McGonagall rolled up her scroll as Weasley took his seat, grinning broadly. She took her seat up at the staff table, on the left hand side of the headmasters’ chair. There in the chair sat
“Now, headmaster Dumbledore would like to say a few words.” McGonagall announced.
Sirius peered up at him, recognizing him from one of his Chocolate Frogs.
Dumbledore stood up and spread his arms out wide, beaming at all of his students.
“Welcome to yet another year at Hogwarts.” He said, “The dark forest is forbidden, obey all rules, prefects will lead the first years to their dormitories after the feast, Quiddich tryouts are on Friday, and let the feast begin.” He said, all in one breath.
The hall roared with laughter as the tables magically filled with tons of food. Sirius dug right in, as he was starving.
“That guy’s a genius!” James exclaimed as he took a couple drumsticks from a nearby plate.
Sirius chuckled, “Yeah, he is!” he said, as he ripped a piece of chicken off of his own drumstick with his teeth.
About five minutes into the feast, what looked like a great sea of silvery white came in through the walls of the Great Hall from all angles. They were ghosts.
They swooped over tables and some even came up out of the floor.
“Whoa!” Remus yelled, shuddering and accidentally knocking his pumpkin juice all over the table in front of him; a ghost had just floated right through him.
“Man, it feels like I just jumped into a freezing cold lake!” He said with chills.
Sirius looked from Remus to James, who apparently was thinking the same thing he was; never walk into a ghost.

Chapter 5: Chapter Five: An Enemy and a Jealousy
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After the feast, the prefects led the first years out of the Great Hall and towards their dormitories. Prefects were students chosen in their fifth year, by Dumbledore himself, who got special privileges such as assigning detentions and getting to know the passwords to the house Common Rooms each term before anybody else.
Sirius was a little uneasy as the prefect explained the fact that the staircases were able to change themselves and that some steps were trick steps that you could get your foot stuck in. They were now walking along a long corridor that seemed to have a dead end, except for a large portrait of a fat lady mounted on the wall at the very end of the hallway. The prefect continued to lead them all down it though, and then stopped right in front of the portrait.
“Password?” The fat lady asked.
“Animagus.” The prefect muttered, and the lady’s portrait swung forward, revealing a hole large enough for people to walk through. He walked through the doorway and the first years followed suit. There were yet more gasps as they entered a nice cozy room with a blazing fire, a comfy couch, and several armchairs.
“This is the Gryffindor house Common Room.” The prefect said in a dignified sort of way. He then walked over to another doorway that had steps leading upstairs through it. “Boys dormitories are up these stairs and to your right, and girls dormitories are upstairs to the left. Your stuff has already been brought up to your dormitories, which are marked by what year you are in.”
Sirius, James, and Remus didn’t stick around to test all of the armchairs or sit by the fire, but all bolted up the steps, turning left and finding a door marked “First Years.” James wrenched open the door and they all were left staring into a round room with five beds lying vertical against the wall and a little caged-in heater in the center of the room.
Sirius smiled widely; this is where he would be staying for the next several months. He ran and jumped backwards onto the bed that had his trunk beside it, throwing his arms behind his head.
“This is so cool.” He sighed, relaxed.
“Yeah, it is.” Remus said, sitting down on the edge of the bed that was to the left of Sirius’s.
“No, it’s way beyond cool…” James added, running his hand along the scarlet sheets of his own bed, which was to the right of Sirius’s. “But, we’re gonna have more fun than everyone else, of course.” He added in a mysterious tone.
Remus and Sirius looked at one another and then back to James with raised eyebrows. James just smiled slyly and then bent down, opening his trunk.
Suddenly, the door of their dormitory swung open once more and in came Peter Pettigrew followed by Fabian Prewett. James shut his trunk and sat down on his bed frantically all in one quick second. Obviously, whatever it was, he was only going to show Sirius and Remus alone.
Prewett and Pettigrew were paused in the doorway and were eyeing them all suspiciously. Remus, thinking fast, got down and opened his trunk, pulling out a deck of cards.
“Exploding Snap, anyone?” He asked, shuffling the cards in his hands impressively like he was playing an accordion.
“Yeah!” Sirius said excitedly. He, Remus, and James all sat down on the floor in between Sirius and Remus’s beds, joined by a smiling Pettigrew and Prewett shortly later.
After about five minutes, they were heavily into it. People one by one took turns placing a card on top of another, in fear that at any moment, their card may be the one that causes the whole pile to explode.
Sirius went. Remus went. Peter went. Fabian went. James went. It exploded.
A loud bang sounded in their dormitory; it sounded like a mini bomb had just gone off. All five of them began laughing loudly.
“Rats!” James cursed, his hair now standing on end from the explosion.
Shortly later, they heard the pounding of footsteps coming upstairs. They all jumped into their beds, pulling the sheets over them and pretending they were asleep. James turned off the lamp, as he was closest to it. Then, Remus held his wand out from under his sheets and muttered “wingardium leviosa” and all the cards zoomed neatly into his outstretched hand exactly as their door swung open with a bang almost as loud as the cards had made.
“What are you--! Oh…” The prefect who had led them into their dormitories began to shout, but stopped. He looked around the room, fury in his face, and then went back out, closing the door gently behind him. Sirius heard the muffled words of the boy as he headed up the stairs to no doubt check on everyone else (“First night, I tell you… no respect for prefects!”).
Sirius snorted with laughter and, gradually, so did all of his other dorm mates.
They all got up out of their beds and changed into their pajamas, occasionally muttering or chuckling about how funny the prefect looked when he found them all in bed.
Prewett and Pettigrew climbed into their beds first, pulling the curtains of each of their four-poster beds closed. Sirius, Remus, and James all sat in Sirius’s bed though, whispering and laughing.
When they all decided that they had enough, James whispered, “I’ll show you guys what’s in my trunk tomorrow.”
Remus and Sirius nodded, and then James and Remus crawled into their own beds. Sirius yawned and pulled his own curtains shut, hearing James and Remus doing the same.
Sirius had just rested his head on his pillow when he heard, “GOODNIGHT SIRIUS!”
James had shouted it.
“GOODNIGHT JAMES!” He shouted back. “GOODNIGHT REMUS!” He then shouted over to Remus.
“Goodnight guys…” Remus yawned.

The next day, Sirius awoke to hear the laughter of Remus and James on what sounded like James’s bed. He figured Pettigrew and Prewett had probably already gone down to breakfast.
“…Do you think he’ll know it was me if I tried putting a hideous charm on my face and stood over him?” James said excitedly.
“Do you know how to do that?” Remus asked curiously.
“Uh… I think so…” James said with uncertainty.
Sirius sat up slowly, listening intently.
“I think he’d kill you if he woke up to see you all deformed like that.”
“Yeah, I think I would.” Sirius said loudly, pulling back his hangings.
Remus and James jumped.
“Oh… hi Sirius!” James said, trying to act innocent, “We were… we were just talking about…”
“Uh… Peter.” Remus said, going along with James. They both grinned up at Sirius.
“Right…” Sirius began, smiling, “…and Snape’s just told me he loved muggles.”
After Sirius got dressed, they all left the dormitory and went down to the Common Room. They left the portrait hole and began walking down the steps towards the Great Hall.
“Oh—wait!” James said, freezing and holding his arms out to keep them from going any further.
Sirius was just about to step off of the staircase that led up to the portrait and was balanced on one leg, looking sideways at James.
“What?” He asked.
“I forgot to show guys that thing!” He hissed, turning around.
They all ran back up the steps to the portrait.
“Animagus!” James shouted.
“You just came out!” The Fat Lady said, annoyed, as she swung forward to let them in.
“I know.” James grumbled as he strode into the Common Room.
“Sorry!” Remus called back to her as they all scrambled inside.
James led them quickly across the Common Room to the stairs, Sirius and Remus exchanging a look of curiosity and excitement as they began to run up them.
They had just reached the top of the steps when, James, not paying attention to where he was going, ran straight into Lily.
“Oh!” She cried, landing flat on her bottom at the base of the stairs. Andromeda was with her too.
“Oh, Evans, I’m sorry!” James said, “I’m so sorry!”
Sirius stepped forward and helped James and Andromeda lift her up back on her feet.
“Where are you guys so eager to get to?” Lily asked, brushing herself off.
Sirius and Remus said nothing.
“I was going to show them something in our dormitory.” James said, almost bragging.
“Ooh, what is it?” Andromeda asked.
“You two can come see it too.” James told her and Lily.
So, they all headed up to the first year boy’s dormitory, and huddled around James’s trunk as he opened it. James looked quickly around the room before he took out a long, silvery… cloak.
“That’s it?” Lily said, “A cloak?! That’s what’s making us late for break—“ She broke off, noticing the rest of their faces; they were all gazing at the cloak, speechless and in awe. James was holding it out in front of him with great pride.
“It’s—It’s…” Andromeda stammered.
“A… a…” Remus sputtered.
“Invisibility Cloak.” Sirius said, dazed.
“Yep.” James said, enjoying their reactions.
“You mean…” Lily said quietly, “That that thing can make you invisible?”
“Sure can, Evans. Watch this.”
James threw the clock over himself, disappearing instantly beneath it. Everyone gasped.
“Cool!” Remus shouted.
“Wow…” Sirius said, letting out a low whistle afterward.
“BOO!” They all heard James yell, somewhere behind Andromeda, because she jumped.
James pulled off the cloak and reappeared to the right of her, laughing gleefully.
“Gotcha Andromeda.”

“Aw, man!” Sirius said, nudging both Remus and James. “We’ve got ‘Defense Against The Dark Arts’ first!”
“So?” Remus said, looking at Sirius sideways.
“It’s with the Slytherins!”
They all groaned.
They had all gotten their course schedules that morning at breakfast and were now in the entrance hall reviewing them.
They all headed up to their Common Room to get their books and schoolbags and then headed back down towards the dungeons to their first ‘Defense Against The Dark Arts’ lesson.
As they approached the entrance, they were all puzzled to find a large crowd segregated into two that were each made up of the Slytherins and the Gryffindors.
“Hey, what’s up?” Sirius asked Peter Pettigrew as they joined the Gryffindors.
“Professor’s inside,” He said, “Won’t let us in yet.”
“Well, that’s super.” James exclaimed in great sarcasm.
Remus shook his head.
“So, we’re stuck with them?” Sirius said in disgust, nodding his head towards the Slytherin crowd.
They all laughed, but Remus, not so much.
“Yeah… that’s right, girly boy.” Somebody called to them from over by the Slytherins. A couple people parted in the front to reveal, of course, Snape.
“Ooh… severed-brain’s starting up a fight!” Another Slytherin called from the back. It was the boy Sirius recognized as Avery from the sorting.
Him and the other Slytherins laughed viciously.
Snape now appeared a little less threatening from Avery’s words.
“Looks like he hasn’t gotten any friends in his own house!” Peter piped up loudly, afterwards impressed at his own joke. All of the students in the hall roared with laughter.
Snape now looked embarrassed, but then suddenly showed fury. He whipped out his wand and pointed it right at Peter’s heart.
“Hey!” James called angrily; stepping in front of Peter to protect him, “Pick on someone with your own amount of balls!”
“Yeah, none!” Sirius added, stepping beside James.
The laughter rose.
“I CAN CURSE YOU DEAD, MUGGLE-LOVER!” Snape exploded, shaking with rage.
“Whoa… calm down.” James said calmly, holding his hands out in front of him, “You’re getting grease everywhere.”
Some kids were clutching their sides; others were rolling practically on the floor with shrieks of laughter.
Snape was looking venomous. Suddenly, he yelled and a flash of light appeared. A good-sized gash appeared on the side of James’s face.
James looked murderous; he shoved Snape roughly against the stone wall and dug his wand into Snape’s throat, holding the neck of his Snape’s robes tightly in the other.
“Do you want to try that again?” He snarled, blood dripping down the side of his face.
Snape now looked frightened.
“Stop! Stop it, James!” Lily shouted from behind Sirius. She pushed her way through the crowd and placed her hand on James’s shoulder. James jerked his shoulder out of her grip and turned around to face her, still keeping a firm grip on Snape.
Lily backed up a few paces, now looking frightened.
“No Evans.” James said, turning back to Snape, “This prat can’t have any help from you. He’ll get what he deserves.”
“I DON’T NEED HELP FROM FILTHY LITTLE MUDBLOODS LIKE HER!” Snape shrieked, yanking his robes out of James’s grip.
Lily let out a sob.
Sirius didn’t know how it happened, but one minute he was standing next to Remus looking on, the next he had Snape pinned on the dungeon floor with his knees, punching the living daylights out of Snape’s face as much as he could.
Snape was screaming with tears, defenseless, Remus was comforting Lily, and Peter and James were now trying to pull Sirius off of Snape with all the strength they could muster. After a few seconds, with great difficulty, they succeeded.
“YOU DIRTY, GREASY LITTLE GIT!” Sirius bellowed at the top of his lungs, now being restrained by James and Peter.
Snape got up weakly, blood pouring out of his now-broken nose. He took one look at Sirius and then took off, running down the corridor towards what looked like the other end of the castle.
“AND IF YOU GO AND RAT ON ME, YOU’LL HAVE MORE THAN A LITTLE BLOODY NOSE NEXT TIME!” Sirius called after Snape as he disappeared around the corner.
James and Peter finally let go of him, panting. Not a second later, the door of their classroom opened. A man in navy blue robes stepped out, looking around at all of the students.
“Hey, what’s going on out here?” He asked suspiciously.
“Nothing, Professor Viridian.” Lily said quickly, giving Sirius a half glance, “Just… nothing.” She added sounding disgusted.
“Okay…” Viridian said, not sounding fully convinced, “Well, then, come in.” He said, gesturing them into the classroom.
Sirius opened his mouth to apologize to Lily about what he’d just done as they shuffled in, but she shot him an angry look and took a seat next to Andromeda in the front of the room.
James and Sirius took the desks at the very back of the room, right behind Remus and Peter.
Sirius sighed greatly and began leaning back on his chair, balancing himself on the two back legs and staring into space. He felt really bad about what he just did, but another part of him was angry at Lily; he had, after all, done that in defense of her.
“Ha! That loser’s probably still crying.” James said with a satisfied smile.
Sirius said nothing.
Remus turned around looking sympathetic, followed by Peter.
“Lily can’t be that mad at you, can she?” He asked hesitantly, “I mean, you were just trying to defend her.”
Peter nodded in agreement.
“Well…” James began, still in the zone, “She isn’t mad at me at least.” He leaned over his desk, “PSST!” He hissed.
Lily turned around to look at him.
James flashed her a smile and a wink.
She did not return it. Instead she just scowled at him, turning back to listen to Professor Viridian discuss his class expectations.
James frowned and put his back against his chair, turning to Sirius.
“Sirius, look what you did.” He said, sounding hurt, “Now she’s mad at me.”
Sirius couldn’t control himself; he let his chair land back on the floor with a loud bang and rounded furiously at James.
“What I did? WHAT I DID?!” He shouted in outrage.
Everyone’s head spun around to the back of the room. Avery and his gang began to watch with excitement.
“YOU WERE THE ONE WHO STARTED IT, JAMES!” Sirius roared, trembling with anger.
At this point, both boys were standing.
“What?!” James yelped. “I don’t ‘show off’!” He yelled angrily.
“Boys…” Professor Viridian said warningly, beginning to make his way towards them.
Sirius paused, his jaw beginning to quiver as he searched for his next words.
“I-I’m in love with her!” Sirius blurted out.
James’s face dropped. He stared at Sirius, perplexed.
Viridian was now standing right next to them.
“But… you said… but you said—“ James sputtered.
“Yeah, well I lied!” Sirius spat, “I was trying to be nice. I didn’t want you to hate me or something.” He said, staring down at the floor.
“I don’t, Sirius.” James replied quietly, “Sirius, I don’t.”
Sirius looked up at him again. “I was trying to be nice—trying to be a friend. But when I thought of the two of you doing everything later—together—I realized how much I cared about her.”
Suddenly, Sirius felt a pair of arms wrap around his side.

Chapter 6: Chapter Six: Flying Lessons
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He looked down; Lily was hugging him tightly, crying softly into his shoulder.
James looked down at her briefly, “Why didn’t you just tell me?” He asked, a twinge of jealousy in his eye.
“I don’t know… I guess I just wasn’t as sure of it then as I am now.”
“Boys.” Viridian said gently, “Can you both take your seats?”
They both turned away from each other and nodded silently up at him. Lily pulled away from Sirius, wiping her tear-filled eyes on the sleeve of her robe, and Viridian escorted her back to her seat.
Sirius and James sat back down in silence, calm at last.
“Sorry.” Sirius mumbled.
“Only if you accept mine.” James said quietly.
Sirius smiled weakly.
Viridian went back to the front of the room, clearing his throat.
“Now.” Viridian began, “Today I thought we’d all begin learning about Animagi.”
There was a murmur of interest and excitement among the students.
“Now, can anyone tell me what an Animagus is?”
Sirius turned his head to see his cousin, Bellatrix, quickly shoot her hand up in the air.
“Ah, Ms. Black?”
“They’re wizards or witches who can turn into an animal at will.” She said, apparently very pleased with herself.
“Excellent.” Viridian said, “Ten points to Slytherin. Yes… uh, would you all get out your quills please and write that down? Animagi… are witches or wizards… who can transform… into an animal at will.” He paused for a moment to let them all copy it down.
“Now, here’s your next question,” He began, “If you were an Animagus what animal would you choose to be? Take ten inches that explains what you’d want to be—In full detail—and why for homework to be handed in at the end of the week.”
It turned out to be an enjoyable lesson. Sirius, James, and Remus all discussed for the remainder of the class period which animals it’d be fun, or not so fun, to turn into.
After ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts,’ they headed out to the Quiddich field; they were about to have their first flying lesson with the Hufflepuffs.
Sirius was so excited about this he barely heard their teacher, a Ravenclaw seventh year named Joe, tell them their instructions. Sirius didn’t need them; he had taken many joyrides upon his father’s broom when his parents had left him home alone numerous times.
“—Stand on the left side of your broomsticks.” Joe instructed, “Now stick your right hand directly over the broom handle and then, firmly, shout ‘up!’”
“Up!” Sirius shouted. He smiled as, on his first try, he had gotten his broomstick to zoom straight up into his hand. He looked up over at James and his smiled faded slightly; James had done it too.
“We’re naturals Sirius!” James called over to him, grinning.
Sirius shook off the jealousy and gave James a nod; at least James didn’t just compliment just himself.
“Excellent Potter… Black.” Joe said walking down the row. “Evans.” He said, stopping in front of Lily, “More assertive! You’ll never get it to work if you’re going to act as polite as you are, Lily.”
“Hey Lily!” Daveigh called over to her from the Hufflepuff side.
Lily looked up, slight frustration on her face.
“Hey Lil, pretend it’s your sister!” She cried.
Lily’s jaw dropped at her like she had just said the most offensive thing she’d ever heard, but then let out a little huff of laughter and looked back down at her broom.
“Up!” She shouted. Nothing happened.
Daveigh cleared her throat, and as best she could, began doing an impression of Lily’s sister.
“Lily! Lily, you’re a freak! Lily, I hope you get made fun of there!” She yelled.
Lily now looked angry.
“UP!” She roared. The broom shot up to her hand. Daveigh and a few others laughed or cheered.
“Very good.” Joe said chuckling, “Whatever works, I guess.”
“Yeah Lily, just think ‘Petunia’ from now on!” Sirius called over to her jokingly.

After everyone had mastered summoning their brooms, they moved on to mounting them.
“Okay, now… to fly, you have to kick off from the ground hard… but we’re just going to hover for now. Hover a few feet on my whistle, and then come down after a few seconds.”
“How do you land?” Daviegh asked.
“Uh… oh, yeah, you have to just lean forward a little bit.”
“—Yeah, and try not to fall flat on your face.” Daveigh muttered.
“Yeah that.” Joe said, hearing her. He seemed to not have noticed the sarcasm in her voice. “Alright, well, on the count of three then.”
“PSST!” Sirius heard a few students over on his left. He looked up to see James, who winked. Sirius understood instantly; he winked right back.
Sirius looked back down at his broom, bracing himself.
He could almost feel the wind whipping through his hair…
Sirius and James kicked off from the ground first, but they weren’t hovering at all; they were zooming up towards the sky… laughing like mad.
“YOU TWO, GET BACK DOWN HERE!” Joe yelled furiously from back down on the ground, “I SAID HOVER! HOV-ER!”
“Sorry, lost control of the broom!” James yelled through cupped hands, grinning from ear to ear as he and Sirius zoomed towards the goalposts.
“—Both of us!” Sirius added, doing a back flip in midair.
“That’s it, you two are dead!” Joe shouted, mounting his own broom.
“Uh oh…” Sirius said, frowning, “Well, it was fun while it lasted.”
“What d’you mean?” James said, raising an eyebrow, “You’re not giving up that easy, are you?” He said, swerving to a stop in front of Sirius, missing him by inches. “COME AND GET US—RAVENCLAW!” He shouted, emphasizing the word.
Joe now looked furious. “Hand me that!” He said to Peter, pointing at a large soccer sized red ball that was on the ground; a Quaffle.
Peter picked it up, a bit confused, and handed it over to Joe.
“I swear to god, I’ll pelt you with this if you don’t get down here right now!” He threatened, gripping it tightly.
“Try us, Ravenclaw!” James said, folding his arms. “If you’re words are as good as your house’s game this year then maybe you could actually win a few matches!”
And with that, Joe kicked off from the ground, zooming full speed towards James, who had uncrossed his arms. Joe launched the quaffle at James with all his might, but James didn’t move an inch. The ball zoomed just a hair past his left ear.
“Aw, you seem to have lost your touch.” James said, then, surprisingly, he whipped around and went into a dive, keeling off towards the falling quaffle.
Sirius gaped as he and the others watched; James was an incredible flier. Then his eyes went wide with shock; the ball was falling closer and closer towards the ground, and if James didn’t pull up soon, he’d crash right into the ground.
“James!” Sirius yelled, “What’re you—Oh my…” Sirius gasped, losing the ability to speak; James had caught the quaffle one-handed and was zooming back up. The quaffle must have missed the ground by inches.
James circled the pitch, waving the quaffle high up over his head like a trophy and flying back to Sirius.
“Hey Chaser! Let’s play!” James yelled, chucking the quaffle towards Sirius.
Sirius caught it easily, impressed at his own reflexes. The both took off, zooming side-by-side, passing the quaffle back and forth towards the other end of the pitch. They were indeed very good for first years.
“Oy! Sirius!” James yelled as he caught the quaffle Sirius had just thrown, as they reached the halfway point, “Get it through me!”
James tossed the quaffle back to Sirius and then bolted off. Sirius caught it and watched as James accelerated towards the goalposts, turning to face Sirius and ready to play Keeper. Sirius zoomed towards him, a hunger boiling up inside of him as he drew closer.
Then, Sirius didn’t know why, but when he reached James he threw the quaffle up high above him, spun himself and his broom around, and whacked the quaffle with all his might with the twigged end. To his surprise, he turned around just in time to see the quaffle zoom right past James’s outstretched hand and fly dead center through the middle hoop.
“Whoa, Sirius!” James yelled, awestruck, “Where in the blazes did you learn to do that?”
Sirius shook his head, still wide-eyed from shock, “No idea.” He said, “Saw it in a Quiddich book.”
Even Joe seemed less angry as he began zooming towards them heatedly.
“Hey, Potter and Black!” He yelled, reaching them.
“Wha…?” Sirius said, still in a state of disbelief.
“You two are in a load of trouble!”
A few seconds later, Sirius and James were back on the ground again and Joe was still lecturing them.
“You two will march back up to the castle right now and visit the head of your house—and I also suggest—that you both try out for your house teams come Friday.” He shouted, pointing them up to the castle.
Sirius and James exchanged fearful looks as they began to walk sulkily out of the field and towards the front entrance.
“What d’you reckon will happen?” Sirius asked as they entered the castle.
“I dunno… but if we’re expelled…” James said, frowning.
“Don’t say that mate.” Sirius said encouragingly. “This isn’t bad; I’ve heard of much worse things than this that only got detentions. But, if I have to go back to Grimmauld Place…” He muttered darkly as they reached McGonagall’s office.
James lifted his hand and made a fist, wrapping sharply on the door and looking a little pale.
“Come in.” They heard the muffled voice of McGonagall call from inside.
James opened the door and Sirius took a deep breath as he followed James slowly inside. McGonagall was sitting at her desk, huddled over some paperwork, and looked up as they came in.
James spoke at once.
“Professor—I’m sorry, it’s all my fault! I told Sirius to do it—but we didn’t get hurt—“
“Mr. Potter.” McGonagall said casually.
“—I just wanted to see what it’d feel like to fly on a real Quiddich field—“
“Mr. Potter.” She said, more defiant.
“—But, but then Sirius scored this brilliant goal professor, you should have seen it, and—“
“POTTER!” McGonagall shouted so loudly her glasses almost flew off her nose.
James fell silent at once.
“Mr. Potter, I have heard what has happened. I saw it.” She said, pointing out the window that was beside her; the Quiddich field was in clear view in the distance. It was hard to tell what type of punishment was coming.
“Now I know you two didn’t mean any harm, but I have to, I’m afraid—“
“—Expel me?” James croaked.
“No, I have to—“
“Expel me too!” Sirius objected.
“NO! BOYS, WILL YOU LET ME SPEAK!?” McGonagall cried, rising up out of her seat.
Sirius and James shut up.
“Well then…” She breathed, sitting back down and smoothing out the front of her robes. “Boys, I am not expelling you. Either of you.” She added, looking directly at James.
“…I am, however, going to have to inform your families and you will each receive a detention for what you have done.”
James and Sirius were relieved, but not Sirius so much; his mom would definitely be sending a howler the next morning. (A scarlet-colored letter that shouted at the top of it’s voice when opened.)
“…and fifty points from Gryffindor.” She added, looking downtrodden herself.
They both groaned; any points lost would surely hurt their chances of winning the house cup. (The house with the most points at the end of the year, which were added or subtracted constantly by the behavior of the students, would win the house cup.)

“Well that just ruined my day.” Sirius sighed, pulling on his pajama pants.
“Yeah…” James said, sitting down on the edge of his bed, “It really suc—“
Sirius looked up at James, curious to know why he had just stopped mid-sentence.
James had an expression of pure glee on his face, but he seemed to be staring off into space.
“What could you possibly be that happy about?” Sirius said, sitting bare-chested on his bed to face him.
James eyes were twinkling with delight, and suddenly he leaned down and began opening his trunk. He rummaged through it for a few seconds and then rose back upright again, pulling out his Invisibility cloak.
“Yeah, I saw it.” Sirius muttered, searching his own trunk for a T-Shirt to wear.
“Sirius.” James said quietly, almost pleadingly.
“What?” Sirius said annoyed.
“’What?’ You yourself just said that your day was ruined, but your night… is going to be awesome.”
Sirius looked up so quickly that he cricked his neck painfully, but, still, excitement began flooding over him.
“You’re not serious.” He said, rubbing his neck and grinning.
“Oh, I’m serious, Sirius.”
“Ha! You rock James!” Sirius yelled, whooping loudly.

“So…” Remus said sitting Indian-style on the rug in front of the Common Room fire, “What animal are you writing about there, Sirius?”
“A dog.” He said, lying on his stomach with a piece of parchment out in front of him. “My mum is quite fond of cats, you see… Plus, it’d be fun to play fetch.”
Remus and James both chuckled; they were all writing their Animagus essays for Professor Viridian right before bed.
“A dog?” Remus asked, “I picked a Phoenix. You could carry anything… and if you hurt yourself, you can just cry it better.”
“Cry?” Peter asked curiously, writing his on one of the armchairs.
“Phoenix tears can heal anything.” Remus said brightly, scratching out a word. “Heard Dumbledore has got one in his office too.”
Peter looked impressed.
“What did you pick, Pete?” James asked, leaning against the couch.
“Well… now don’t laugh. I picked a…”
“—A flobberworm?” Sirius guessed.
“—A frog?” James asked. “Or… a toad?”
“No…” Peter said, “A rat.”
James, at first, met Sirius’s eye, then snorted with laughter. Then Sirius began to giggle loudly, and soon they were both laughing so hard tears were forming in their eyes. Peter was turning a violent shade of scarlet, cowering behind his paper.
“A-A rat? A rat?!” James said, pounding the carpet with his fists, which sent his inkbottle toppling over onto Remus’s paper. Remus let out a gasp as he watched ink begin to ooze down his paper; he had just finished it.
“James!” He shouted exasperatedly. He looked about ready to cry.
“Oh, s-sorry!” James said, giggling loudly.
Sirius recovered a few seconds later, trying to breathe properly. Remus was staring at his paper like the ink would just vanish if he kept staring, and Peter was now hiding his face while James finally recovered from laughter, holding himself up with a hand on the floor and wiping his eyes.
“Oh man…” Remus whimpered.
“Here, mate…” Sirius said, pulling out his wand, “I can fix that. Scourgify!”
The ink disappeared instantly from the paper, making it right again, and Remus almost collapsed out of relief.
“That’s a spell my dear old mother really enjoyed teaching me.” Sirius muttered bitterly, stowing his wand away.
“—You can’t be serious, Peter!” James said, his face still red.
“Well I, for one, think it’s pretty clever.” Remus said, rolling up his ink stain-free parchment. “He could get into tight spaces.”
“Yeah, or get eaten by you!” James snorted.
“Well, what did you pick, James?” Sirius asked curiously as he scribbled down his last sentence.
“A more elegant creature, that’s for sure.” James said, now fully recovered from laughter, “I picked a stag.”
“Aw, cool!” Peter exclaimed, sitting upright again, “You could ram Snape into a tree!”
At this, James was now rolling on the floor with laughter, whooping and shaking. It was funny to watch.
“—Not if I bite his leg off first!” Sirius chuckled.
“—Only after I drop him into the Dark Forest!” Remus cried.

Chapter 7: Chapter Seven: The Break-In
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After they all finished their homework, they headed up to their dorm, stomachs aching from laughing so much. James and Sirius pretended to be sleeping though; the cloak was sitting underneath James’s pillow, snug and ready.
When three snores clearly emitted from the beds of Peter, Fabian, and Remus, Sirius pulled back his hangings to find James pulling back his at that exact moment.
They exchanged grins as they got out of their four-posters, and then crept out of their dormitory. When they reached the Common Room, they threw the cloak over themselves and headed out of the portrait hole.
“Where are we going?” Sirius whispered as they went out onto the landing.
“You’ll see.” James whispered back as they descended the stairs.
After about ten minutes of climbing stairs and walking, Sirius began to grow impatient.
“James!” He hissed, “Where are we going—ouch!” He cried; he had stubbed his toe on the wall that they now faced. Sirius looked up. James had led them to the end of a corridor somewhere on the fourth floor where a huge mirror hung on the wall.
“Hmm…” James muttered, staring at the mirror curiously and pulling out his wand.
“James, why on earth are we looking at a mirror?!” Sirius hissed as he watched James walk over to the right of it, but then he stopped talking. James was tracing his finger along the edge, along an opening.
“Does this… does this come off?” Sirius asked, astonished.
“Yeah, looks like it… just dunno how.” James said, tapping it curiously with his wand. “Noticed it while I was waiting for you before Defense Against The Dark Arts this morning… before that whole Snape fiasco.”
Sirius felt guilty.
“Listen, I’m sorry about that.” He said earnestly.
“Don’t be. Any man would’ve wanted to protect Lily.” James replied in a hollow sort of tone, still not taking his eyes off of the mirror.
“Right…” Sirius said, not sure he was convinced that James had accepted his apology.
“D’you know any spells for opening things?” James whispered to Sirius, tracing the wand along the edge.
“Uh… ‘Alohomora’ unlocks them.”
“Alohomora!” James said firmly, tapping his wand against the glass. Nothing happened.
“—Open sesame!” James shouted. “What?” He asked, as James has raised an eyebrow at him.
James turned back to the mirror in deep thought.
“We should’ve brought Remus.” He sighed.
“Yeah, well, it’s kinda hard now to move under this thing.”
“True.” James said, going back to tapping the mirror in numerous spots.
Sirius pulled out his own wand and began to think.
“What did Remus say?” He muttered under his breath. “Dissendum… no, Dis-en-dumb… Dissendium.”
“What was that?” James asked.
“Oh, just a spell I heard Remus saying… I don’t think it’d help us any--”
“Dissendium!” James shouted, tapping the mirror. About a split second later, it slid open, making a low grinding noise as glass rubbed against stone.
“Thanks Sirius!” James said as if Sirius had known it was going to work all along. The mirror came to a stop and exposed a narrow doorway in the wall, and what looked like a dark passage beyond it.
The two boys stepped inside of it one by one immediately, stepping down a few stairs to stand on a dirt passage.”
“Man, I wonder where this goes!” Sirius said excitedly as the mirror suddenly slid shut behind them, making them jump and leaving them in total darkness.
“Lumos!” James muttered, and his wand tip ignited, lighting up the passageway. “Wow, this is cool. Take off the cloak, d’you reckon? I’m starting to sweat.”
Sirius nodded, lighting his own wand and holding it out in front of them. James took the cloak off of each of them, tucking it in the inside of his robes as they began walking cautiously down the tunnel, wands both alight.
They had been walking for about twenty minutes when they began to grow impatient.
“Blimey James, how much further can this go? Who would take the time to dig this?”
“Hey look, it’s rising!” James panted, pointing out in front of them. The path took a forty degree angle slant upwards and began growing slightly lower, causing them to crouch. And so they climbed… and climbed… and climbed, then they went around a corner and found a set of stairs.
“Lost, what, ten pounds d’you reckon?” Sirius gasped, following James around a corner to go up another set of stairs.
“Yeah… who would waste their time digging all of th—OW!” James cried, stopping suddenly. Sirius probably would’ve crashed into James’s backside had he not have just paused to wipe sweat off of his forehead.
“What happened?” Sirius asked curiously. “Why did you stop?”
“Ahh… Ah bip muh thung!” James cried.
“What?” Sirius asked, leaning against the side of the tunnel to rest.
“I-bit-my-thunggg!” James said slowly, turning back towards Sirius.
“Oh… you bit your tongue.” Sirius said, grinning.
“It’s a dead end!” James grumbled angrily, pointing over his shoulder.
Sirius wrinkled his forehead in wonder and crawled past James. He put his hands against an earthy wall, feeling around for an opening, causing a patch of dirt to fall from it. It now exposed what looked like a small brass handle. Sirius paused. He wrapped gently on it with his fist… it made a hollow noise.
“Hey James! Help me with this!” Sirius exclaimed, pulling the rest of the dirt out from around it with his hands, exposing a wooden board behind all of the dirt.
“It’s a door… I’m sure! Just help me push!”
“No way!” James cried.
James crawled forward and the boys both began heaving all of their weight against it. Finally after a few seconds, it began to loosen… then it burst open, causing something that was behind it to fall with a loud thud.
“What was that?” James whispered.
“Dunno… but this looks like… a basement.” Sirius said, holding his wand out of the hole and illuminating a large room with stone walls and several boxes stacked up everywhere, and a box that had been knocked over that was right in front of them.
Sirius crawled slowly out of the passage, wand held up high, and then stood up looking around.
“Hey…” He said, his eyes resting on the contents of what the fallen box had spilled out, “They’re dungbombs!”
“You’re joking! Nick some!” James cried, crawling out of the passage also and going to stand next to Sirius.
Sirius bent down and grabbed a handful of them, stuffing them into his robes while James began doing the same. But just as Sirius had grabbed another handful, he heard something above them squeak. They both froze.
“Knox.” Sirius whispered, putting out his wand.
“No, I heard voices Stanley…” The voice of a woman said faintly, “I think there’s someone down in the storage room.”
Sirius and James gasped.
Sirius swore under his breath and bolted back towards the passage, shoving his wand back into his robes with James right on his heel. Sirius and James both dove in, Sirius turning and closing the door quickly just as they heard a second door crash open with a bang. Sirius heard a man mutter ‘Lumos’ and then he heard footsteps coming down a flight of stairs.
A few seconds passed where Sirius and James waited, Sirius feeling his heart thump wildly against his ribs, and then they heard
“Stanley, look!”
Sirius thought his heart was going to explode. They were too close to the door to start to run, that man and woman would hear them.
“What is it, Melinda?”
“There’s… there’s dungbombs everywhere.”
Sirius felt a drop of sweat run down the side of his face.
“Hey…” He heard the man’s voice say.
Then, to the horror of James and Sirius, they heard footsteps coming straight towards them.
“Look, there’s dirt on the floor… and… is this a…?”
There was no alternative; they had to run. Sirius and James whipped around and began bolting down the steps, Sirius skipping a few at a time. They turned a corner and heard the passage door open.
“Hey! Hey, there’s someone in there! I can see a light, Melinda!”
Sirius stomach lurched with fear as he continued to descend the stairs.
“Hurry!” James cried.
“I’ll get you, you thieves!” The man shrieked, “I’ll put you in Azkaban!”
Sirius yelped; his foot had missed the step he intended to jump and he began to fall forward.
“Argh!” He yelled as he felt his right leg land hard on one of the steps as he began tumbling down the length of the last set of stairs and onto the earthy floor.
“You alright?!” James cried, holding his wand out in front of him.
Sirius spit out a load of dirt and groaned.
“Yeah…” He said weakly.
James ran quickly down the last few steps and then bent down to help him, but just as he began lifting him up, they heard the man grunt .
“I’m gonna get you for this!” He roared, beginning to run down the stairs.
“I can’t—Ah!” Sirius gasped, clutching his leg. It was broken.
James stood up and looked around him nervously, obviously trying to think quickly.
“Kn-Knox!” James whispered, stowing away his own wand and causing them to be in pitch darkness.
Sirius looked up and saw a bouncing light coming closer and closer towards them, and heard the man breathing heavily from above him. His eyes widened in fear just as he felt James shoving him roughly into the corner and saw him pull something out of his robes.
Then Sirius saw the shadow of the man about to round the corner, just as James dove down next to him and covered them both with the invisibility cloak.
“HA! I GOT…you…?” The man shrieked, bewildered as he jumped out from behind the corner and was now standing at the base of the stairs. He ran down the stairs quickly, looking around stupidly and then scratching his head.
“Blimey…” He said quietly, “I could’ve sworn…” He paced around the tunnel once more, almost stepping on James’s hand once. After about a few minutes he recognized defeat and began climbing the steps again.
Five minutes later, after the tunnel was dark again, Sirius exhaled deeply. James sighed a breath of relief.
“That was close.” James whispered.
Sirius nodded in agreement, wincing as James got up and tucked the cloak back into his robes. He then heaved Sirius up onto his feet, pulling Sirius’s arm over his neck so he could support him while they began taking a few steps back towards the castle.
“Ah, I can’t see a thing!” James muttered. “Lumos!”
“AHA! YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD FOOL ME!” They heard a voice behind them roar.
James whipped around and went wide-eyed; the man had tricked them into thinking he had left.
James began going faster, but it was no use; Sirius’s leg gave way and he fell back to the ground onto his stomach. James was shaking with panic, but then pulled out his wand.
“Reducto!” He roared, aiming the spell high behind him. A jet of light hit the passage ceiling right at the base of the bottom of the stairs, making dirt and rock fall.
“NO!” The man screamed, stopping in his tracks midway down the stairs as James hit the ceiling again with the same spell.
Sirius lifted himself up again, using all the upper body strength he had. James helped him upright again and they began making their way as quickly as they could back to Hogwarts. James paused to look back after a while; the cave was inaccessible now, it was completely caved in where the beginning of the staircase was.

When they reached the castle, James brought Sirius up back to their dormitory so they could change into clean clothes so it would not look suspicious. After, he took Sirius straight to the hospital wing, claiming that he had fallen down the dormitory steps while sleepwalking.
Madam Pomfrey escorted Sirius into an empty bed near the end of the wing, across from another boy’s bed who lay staring fixedly up at the ceiling. Severus Snape was apparently there for the night also.
Sirius climbed into the bed, Pomfrey conjuring up a stack of pillows to prop up his leg. She then went over to her desk and opened a drawer, pulling out a small blue bottle and then grabbing an envelope that lay on top of the desk before heading back over and going up to Snape’s bed.
Snape sat up on his bed to look at her.
“This letter came for you from home.” She said gently, handing it to him.
Snape took it and placed it directly on his bedside table as Pomfrey turned and walked over to Sirius with the bottle. Obviously whatever his family had to say was not important to him.
“Here Sirius.” Pomfrey said, handing him the bottle, “Bone-Healing Potion. Drink it all up. Wow… that’s really swelling up.” She said, frowning at the large purple bruise on Sirius’s shin.
“Now I’m going to leave you two.” She began, making her way towards the exit, “A nurse has got to sleep too.” She opened the doors and went out of the room, turning to close the doors. “And boys, do get some sleep. You’ll both be fine in the morning.” She said, closing the doors with a tiny snap.
Sirius and Snape turned their heads from the door, catching each other’s eye and then quickly looking away in opposite directions.
Sirius unscrewed the potion and downed it, pulling a face; it was disgusting. He lied down and pulled his sheets over himself, sighing deeply up at the ceiling. He still had the taste of the potion in his mouth.
He heard Snape lie down in his bed also.
Sirius’s eyelids were droopy; he was so tired. He picked himself up and brought his head up to the candle that was burning on his bedside table, blowing it out and then slumping back down onto his bed.
He noticed Snape didn’t do the same.
Maybe he’s waiting until I fall asleep, Sirius thought, And then he’s going to hex me. He would get him at his own game though. Sirius made sure his wand was accessible at first; it was tucked inside his pajama top, and then turned slightly on his side. He shut his eyes and after about a few minutes, began to make heavy breathing noises.
And, just as he thought, Snape began to move again. Sirius listened closely as he continued to fake his slumber. But, instead of hearing Snape get out of his bed, he heard a slow ripping noise; Snape was opening his letter.

Chapter 8: Chapter Eight: Snape's Secret
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Sirius wondered why Snape had waited until now to open it, but felt a little relieved that Snape probably wasn’t going to curse him after all.
He stopped breathing heavily and began to actually try and fall asleep as he heard the sound of Snape pulling the parchment out of the envelope.
He was sitting at the lake’s edge out on the grounds with Lily. They were holding hands and leaning against a tree, laughing and dangling their feet in the cool water. Sirius brushed her hair back and leaned in to kiss her… but, suddenly, he heard a sniffing noise. He backed away and looked into her face, seeing tears begin to stream down her face.
Sirius awoke to stare up at the ceiling, feeling awful. He wondered what had woken him but that answer came immediately; he heard another loud sniff, but it wasn’t a dream, it was coming from the bed across from him.
Sirius’s forehead wrinkled in wonder. Using his arms, he slowly propped himself up on his bed. He shifted himself to the side to look at Snape, his propped up leg being in the way.
And then he saw him. Snape was shaking with silent tears, sitting on the edge of his bed, facing his own candle. He was clutching a piece of parchment in his hand, his arm resting against his leg. His other hand was hiding his face.
Sirius’s curiosity was replaced quickly and guilt came pouring in. Was it related to him what Snape was so upset about? He thought. No. He told himself quickly. It’s obviously about what he read in that letter.
Sirius frowned; Snape’s family must be as bad as his to make him cry like that.
“Hey.” Sirius whispered.
Snape started and looked up at Sirius, throwing the letter quickly behind him on his bed and out of sight. He looked miserable.
“You alright mate?” Sirius asked.
Snape shook his head, wiping his eyes with his sleeve.
“That from your mum and dad?” Sirius asked, “Because my—“
“No.” Snape said firmly, anger now present. He stared at Sirius loathingly.
Sirius couldn’t believe Snape had just been so cold to him; he was trying to be nice. He let out an aggravated sigh and laid back down on his bed.
Sirius lied in his bed awake most of the night, listening to Snape sob violently. He would’ve felt worse for him if Snape hadn’t just been negative, but he still felt bad.
After a while, Sirius finally heard Snape’s snores. He guessed that it had been an hour or two straight Snape had been crying. Sirius wondered what was in the letter Snape had gotten, guessing inside his head as to what it was while he drifted off to sleep again.
Sirius awoke the next morning to light flooding in from all of the windows in the wing. Then, ecstatic, he saw that his leg was all healed.
He sat up, stretching and yawning and saw, with a quick glance, that Snape was still fast asleep. He had expected this after all that crying. Then he noticed that the letter lay on the floor next to the bed. Sirius really wanted to know what was in that letter… and Snape probably wouldn’t be waking up any time soon…
He got up slowly, tiptoeing over to Snape’s bed. He held his breath as he approached the letter, crouching down and taking it gently. He tiptoed back over to his bed and began to read the letter that was crumpled slightly on the sides and tear-stained.

Dear Severus,
Your father and I are separating. I’m sorry dear, I wish there was another way… but last night it happened again and I just couldn’t stand it any longer. Your father is much too violent. I do hope you are all right. I’m sorry about your situation at school. Don’t worry, you’ll make friends. You’re a good boy. Please write back soon. I love you, Severus.

Sirius’s heart sank. So… Snape’s parents were getting a divorce… and he had written to his mom about not having any friends. No wonder he was so upset.
Sirius left the hospital wing right after leaving the letter on the floor again. He couldn’t see himself staying there and waiting for Snape to wake up again, the boy whose family had just been permanently torn apart.
Sirius headed towards Gryffindor tower, heading into the Common Room and then up to his dormitory. He saw that James and Remus were the only ones in there, in the middle of changing.
“Hey Sirius, how you feeling?” James asked.
“Good… good, I’m fine.”
“Yeah, I heard about it.” Remus said darkly, “And you’re lucky you guys got away.”
“—You didn’t tell anyone else, did you?”” Sirius said, rounding on James.
“No, just Remus. I trust him.” James replied.
Remus smiled lightly as he pulled on his socks.
“So… how was Snape?” James asked, putting on his shoes. “Heard he was there too.”
“Oh, he was fine.” Sirius said quickly, taking his eyes off of James as he began to slip on a shirt.
“Did he say anything to you?” Remus said, plopping down on his bed.
“No… he was asleep the whole time I was there.” Sirius lied. He didn’t know why, but he just didn’t feel like telling them about what he saw.
“He didn’t try and hex you or anything?” James asked, taking a seat next to Remus.
“No… I thought about that.” Sirius chuckled shrilly. “But he just, uh… slept I guess.”
Sirius stamped on his last shoe and stood to join James and Remus on the way out of the dormitory.
“Well, that little git was probably too beat up to try anything on you, right Sirius?” James said, slapping a hand on Sirius’s back.
“Ha, right.” Sirius said, hiding his uneasiness.
“Well, let’s get down to breakfast now. I expect it’s half over already.” Remus said, opening the door and heading out.
When they sat down at the Gryffindor table for breakfast that morning, the mail arrived just as they took their seats.
James got an angry letter from his parents saying that he should have controlled himself, Remus got his daily copy of “The Daily Prophet,” and Sirius, like he expected, received a scarlet-colored letter.
“Great.” He grumbled, rising up out of his seat with it. He ran out of the Great Hall quickly, concealing it underneath his robes. When he reached the Entrance Hall, he opened the castle doors and threw it carelessly outside. It began to smoke just as he slammed the doors shut and turned on his heel, walking back towards the Great Hall and picking up things like “CARELESS!” “DON’T BOTHER COMING HOME!” and “I HOPE YOU SUFFER IN YOUR DETENTION!” on the way back.
He got back to the Gryffindor table to see Remus and James hovering over the front page of the Daily Prophet, wide-eyed.
“What’re you two so shocked about?” Sirius asked.
“Look!” James said, thrusting the paper at Sirius and a smile began to creep up his face as he read:


Stanley and Melinda Forte, owners of the popular Hogsmeade joke shop “Zonkos” report two suspects visited them in the middle the night. At approximately 11:32 pm, Melinda heard a loud crash in their basement storage room, her and her husband went downstairs to find a box of dungbombs toppled over as well as a pile of dirt in front of what appeared to be a stone wall. It was soon discovered to be a secret passageway. Stanley, 62, descended the passage, spotting the two delinquents and climbing down several flights of steps where he lost them. “I knew something wasn’t right.” He reported, “So I hid until I heard another noise and found them getting away.” Forte chased after them, but, unfortunately, one of the delinquents aimed a spell at him over his shoulder, luckily missing Forte completely, but instead causing the passage ceiling to cave in completely at the foot of the stairs in between Forte and the robbers. The suspects are described as two boys around the age of twenty, and both of whom are armed and extremely dangerous. Any information leading up to the arrest of these men shall be duly rewarded.

“Ha! Twenty?!” Sirius laughed, slamming the paper down on the table.
“Shh!” James hissed, though grinning as much as Sirius.
“Do I really look twenty?” Sirius asked playfully, rubbing his chin handsomely with his thumb and forefinger.
“I dunno…” James whispered quietly, rolling up the paper, “But we broke into Zonkos last night!” He cried, slapping hands with Sirius.

The triumph that James and Sirius had had that morning was quickly extinguished when Professor McGonagall reminded them about their detention that night on the way to Defense Against the Dark Arts the next morning.
“Who’s going to be the person we spend it with?” Sirius asked curiously.
“Caretaker Pringle.” McGonagall said curtly, striding off afterward toward her classroom.
“Pringle?” James whimpered.
“Aw man… I just had a broken leg!” Sirius whined as they approached the usual crowd of students outside the classroom door.
“Hey Severus!” Sirius’s cousin Bellatrix shrieked. “Do that gash hex again!”
Sirius stared at her.
“Yeah, Snape!” Another boy egged on.
Suddenly, Snape emerged from the Slytherin side looking extremely pleased.
“Oh, I can do more than that, Rosier.” He sneered, eyeing Sirius more loathingly than ever before. Apparently Snape had gotten friends.

Chapter 9: Chapter Nine: Detention and Mirrors
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“You try anything, and I’ll give you a beating to remember.” James said loudly, coming to stand at Sirius’s side.
“Why resort to physical violence, Potter, when we have… these.” Snape said silkily, pulling out his wand.
James and Sirius quickly whipped out their own wands.
“Just remember one thing.” Sirius shot, “If you try anything, you’ll pay.” He said, glaring.
Snape raised his eyebrows slightly. “Do you think, Black, that a little bloody nose scares me?”
Snape was now only about a foot away from Sirius, both were glaring at each other, wands at the ready.
“Apparently it did.” James spat. “You ran last time… or is all that grease impairing your brain?”
It happened in less than a second; a flash of light emitted from Snape’s wand, knocking James to the floor where he began wriggling furiously as if bound by invisible ropes.
There were shrieks of laughter coming from the Slytherin side.
“Good one, Sev’!” A boy shouted.
“Thanks Wilkes.” Snape said, enjoying all of the attention.
“You take that off of him…” Sirius said, hate pounding in his veins. “Sev.’”
“No… No, I don’t think I will.” Snape said, narrowing his eyes coldly.
“You will--” Sirius began, a smile creeping up his face, “If you know what’s good for you… Snivellus.” He finished, emphasizing the word so that Snape would get it.
The look of pleasure left Snape’s face immediately. He bore his eyes into Sirius’s with a look of warning and pure hatred.
“Finite.” He muttered angrily, pointing his wand at a struggling James.
James scrambled to his feet, panting and gasping.
Snape gave Sirius one last look of pure loathing and then turned on his heel, heading back into the Slytherin crowd.
Bellatrix, Rosier, Wilkes, and the rest of the Slytherins all began approaching Snape as he made his way to the back of the crowd, all commenting on his little performance.
“—Can you teach me that?”
“—That was wicked Severus!”
“—Teach those Gryffindors a thing or two!”
“Wow…” Remus said.
Sirius and James turned to look at him, looks of utter disbelief on their faces.
“You’re not on his side, are you?” James said, tilting his head.
“No… no, of course not. It’s just—that’s really advanced magic.” He said. “I don’t even think half the seventh years can do that.”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it past the greaseball if he knew how to do all of the Unforgivable Curses.” Sirius said darkly.
“I’m proud of you Sirius.”
Sirius turned to see Lily emerging from the crowd of Gryffindors with Andromeda right behind her.
“You didn’t sink to his level this time.”
Sirius smiled; Lily had just made him feel ten times better.
“Yeah, well… he isn’t worth it.” Sirius said as Viridian opened the classroom doors. “And I didn’t have the heart to… because, well…” He whispered to her as they shuffled in.
Lily stared at him curiously.
“I-I’ll tell you later, Lil.” Sirius said, sitting down with James as Lily nodded to him and headed up to the front with Andromeda.
When the end of the day finally came, Sirius met Lily in the Great Hall and then led her outside into the entrance hall. He then pulled her into an empty classroom and told her all about Snape the hospital wing.
“Oh my god, that poor thing.” She said when Sirius finished, her hands over her mouth.
“I know.” Sirius said, “And he still feels it’s necessary to keep attacking me even when all I was trying to do was be nice to him in there.”
“Well, you were right to defend yourself. I guess that’s just the way he is.” She sighed, shrugging.

“Man, Pringle’s going to go all out on us!” James groaned as they headed down to the dungeons where Pringle’s office was.
“Hasn’t he got a whip?” Sirius asked.
“Yeah, he has. He gave the Slytherin second year, Lucius Malfoy, the whip. They say he hasn’t been the same since.”
Sirius shuddered uncomfortably as they drew nearer to the office.
When they reached Pringle’s door, he lifted his trembling fist up to the door and slowly wrapped on it.
“Come in.” They heard a gruff voice say from behind it. It sounded a little frustrated.
Sirius opened the door slowly and he and James walked fearfully into the office.
Pringle was at his desk, and at the sight of them, stood up abruptly and turned to stare at the back wall.
“Dumbledore has told me that since this is your first time, I cannot proceed with the corporal punishment.” He said grumpily. He turned and leaned over his desk, running his hand along a coiled up whip, almost coaxing it. Sirius’s stomach tightened.
“You two will, instead, do a bit of community service… cleaning the owelry--without magic.” He added in an insane tone.
Sirius and James said nothing.
Sirius felt overwhelmed with relief.

“Urgh! I swear to god, if another one of you hacks up on me, I’ll rip out your feathers!” James hollered up at al of the owls.
They all screeched or clicked their beaks furiously, and a few up them who were near James even flew away from him and landed on an upper beam of wood.
The owlery was a huge room located in a high tower, filled with owls and littered with straw, mice skeletons, and owl pellets.
Sirius was on all fours on the ground, scraping up owl pellets from the owlery floor and scooping them up into a bag. James was cleaning off the beams the owls usually sat perched on with soapy water.
“No magic, I tell you…” James grumbled, dipping the sponge he was holding into a bucket.
“Be thankful you’re not using a toothbrush to do it.” Sirius said, scooping more pellets into a bag.
“Pringle probably doesn’t even know what one is!” James exclaimed.

A week went by and James and Sirius had not gone under the cloak since. (“You guys should wait awhile.” Remus had said, “Because if someone finds out, they’ll probably know it was you two at Zonkos.”)
Snape had taken to making hexing Sirius and James into a morning ritual, always making sure Sirius had a silence charm so he didn’t have the chance to tell anyone at any more length about the hospital wing while at it.
Lily and Sirius hardly spent a lot of time with each other, as she was extremely studious and could be found always doing homework or studying for exams. Remus often joined her.
Most nights, it was only James and Andromeda who were up for any fun, but Sirius and James were particularly excited today; it was Quiddich tryouts—and also James’s twelfth birthday.
“Quiddich and turning twelve in one day?” James said, “Today’s gonna rule!” He exclaimed as he sat on his bed, facing Sirius and Remus who were both sitting on Sirius’s bed.
“…and it’s only getting better.” Siruus said, pulling out a badly-wrapped package out from behind his back and handing it to James.
James’s eyes lit up.
“Thanks, mate!” He said, eagerly unwrapping it to find a piece of parchment on the top.
“James, Found this in my grandfather’s old possessions. If you say my name into yours, my face will appear and your will appear in mine.” James read aloud. He put the parchment aside and looked up at Sirius, then down to a little mirror that lay unwrapped on his lap.
James picked up the mirror.
“Hey Sirius!” He said excitedly, “Stand outside our dormitory with yours!”
Sirius grinned and pulled his own mirror out of the pocket of his robes, leaping up off of his bed and striding out of the room quickly, shutting himself outside.
“Is that a two-way mirror?!” Peter said from his own bed, leaping off of it and walking over to James.
“I dunno… let’s see… Sirius Black!” James shouted into the mirror at his reflection. Instantly, the mirror began to swirl and James’s reflection was replaced by a smiling Sirius. Peter and Remus gasped.
“WICKED!” James shouted, awestruck.
“See, now we can talk to each other!” Sirius explained excitedly. He opened the door of the dormitory and walked back into the room then muttered “Sirius Black” into his own mirror. James’ face vanished.
Sirius sat back down on his bed.
“This is mad cool!” James said, holding the mirror out in front of him like it was made out of pure gold.
“Well, thanks for making me follow that Sirius.” Remus muttered, pulling out a slightly larger parcel of his own and handing it over to James.
James placed the mirror gently aside and took Remus’s gift. He tore back the wrapping to reveal a big handsome hardcover book entitled Curses and Countercurses.
“Aw, Cool!” James gasped.
“Now remember, I only gave it to you… it’s not my fault for what you use the lot of those curses for.” Remus said warningly, but grinning faintly.
“You know who I’ll be using it on alright.” James said, gazing at the cover with a sly expression. “Bewitch your friends and befuddle you enemies with the latest revenges… by Professor… Vindictus Viridian?” James finished in amazement.
Sirius’s mouth hung open.
“Our ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts’ Professor?!” He said, “No way!”
“Oh wow, I didn’t notice that!” Remus said, eyeing the cover in astonishment himself.
James opened the book and began flipping through the pages. “Jelly Legs… Tongue Tying… Hair Loss?! This is brilliant!” he said, grinning widely. “You know, we should get old Snape back… I say we each learn a new curse from this book before we go to Defense Against the Dark Arts. The greaseball can’t resist showing off in front of us—just imagine the look on his face if I put a bat bogey hex on him!”
“Yeah! Let’s skip breakfast and do it!” Sirius said excitedly.
“All those who are in…” James began, looking around at all of the boys in the dormitory, “Raise your hands.”
Sirius and James’s hand shot up immediately, followed slowly by Peters.
“Aw, C’mon Remus! Fabian!?” Sirius begged.
“Nah.” Fabian said, “I’m meeting, uh, Gloria.”
James raised an eyebrow.
“She’s a—uh—Ravenclaw first year.” Arthur said, turning pink and heading out the door.
“Remus?” James asked, rounding on him now.
“Do you have to meet a girl too?”
“No… I uh, have to talk to Dumbledore about something.” He said, wringing his hands.
“Wow… what does Dumbledore want to talk to you about?” Sirius asked.
“Uh… my-my classes.” Remus stuttered, “I got to go, see you guys later!” He said shrilly, turning and leaving the room like Fabian.
“Well, something’s up with him.” James muttered. “Anyway, let’s all pick one curse outta this book and practice it before we have to go to our classes so we can make sure we perfect it.”
“Um…” Peter said, holding his index finger up in the air. “Question… What are we gonna practice on?”
“Well, each other of course.” Sirius said, rolling his eyes at him.

“Nottungula!” James bellowed, aiming his wand directly at Sirius.
“Nope, noth—urgh!” Sirius cried, his eyes going wide as he began to clutch his mouth.
James leaned forward, trying to observe Sirius.
“Open your mouth, Sir.’” He said.
Sirius opened his mouth and James recoiled in surprise; Sirius’s tongue was tied in a literal knot.
James quickly muttered the countercurse and smiled.
“Well, you certainly perfected that one!” Sirius cried, “My tongue hurts! It’s your turn, Peter.” He said, stepping aside.
Peter sighed and went to stand in the place Sirius had just been standing in the middle of the room.
Sirius walked over to James and then turned quickly around, directing his wand right between Peter’s eyes.
“Tarantallegra!” Sirius cried.
Peter fell immediately to the ground, his legs flailing wildly, doing a kind of rapid tapdance.
Sirius let out a snort of a laugh and then muttered “Finite” with great effort.
“Good show.” James said, grinning.
“Follickyendo!” Peter shouted, aiming at James’s head. A few strands of hair fell out of it and slowly began to fall to the floor.
James and Sirius roared with laughter.
“Yeah, Snape’ll really be mad if you cursed him with that!” James said, clutching his stomach, doubled over in laughter.
“He might be mad actually…” Sirius began, “You know how he likes all of his hair to look like he hasn’t washed it in a month!”
At this point even Peter was laughing.
“Oh snap, class is starting soon!” James gasped, checking at his watch. “We’ve go to get there quick if we want to test these out!”
Sirius, Peter, and James all scrambled around, gathering their books, and then headed out of Gryffindor tower at top speed.
When they got there, the Slytherins were already muttering as they usually did with Snape.
James, Peter, and Sirius approached the Gryffindor side, ready and waiting.
“Hi Sirius!” Lily said, beaming. “Missed you at breakfast today!”
“Hey Lily.” Sirius said, blushing. “Yeah, I was just, uh, finishing up some last minute homework.”
And then what James and Sirius had been waiting for happened.
“Hey muggle-lover…” Snape said curtly, walking swiftly around the front of the Slytherins like it was a battle arena. “See you’ve recovered from that welt hex, have you?” He sneered.
“Yep.” Sirius said, whipping around. “And don’t call me that; Lily is a better witch than you’ll ever be.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said. Witch.”
James and Peter both turned to face Snape also, and James, Sirius noticed, was eyeing Snape as hungrily as he was, itching to show him what they had just been practicing.
“Well, do you want to say anything before I curse you, or shall we just skip along right to it… muggle-lover.”
“Actually…” Sirius began, his eyes piercing into Snape’s, “I have a request of you before we begin.”
“Oh?” Snape said, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes.” Sirius said, “Something I just would like to see before you start ‘hexing’ or whatever it is you do.”
“Well, what is it Black? Spit it out!” Snape said with a twinkle of impatience and curiosity in his eye.
“Dance.” Sirius said simply.
“You heard me… dance.”
“Ha, Black, I don’t think s—“
“Tarantallegra!” Sirius bellowed, at the same time whipping out his wand and pointing it at Snape’s chest. The spell hit him immediately, making Snape fall backwards into Bellatrix, his face panic-stricken and his legs flailing wildly like Peters had done.
The Gryffindor side roared with laughter, James and Sirius especially.
“Take this off of me!” Snape roared.
“What?” Sirius said, putting a hand behind his ear and leaning closer to Snape, “I can’t hear you, Snivellus… what is it you’re saying?”
“TAKE—THIS—OFF!” He hissed through gritted teeth. He looked beside himself with anger.
“Okay, I’m gonna have to ask you to repeat that one.” Sirius said, screwing up his face and pretending to be stupid.
“—Actually mate, I’m sick of hearing what old Snivelly has to say.” James said quickly, “Nottungula!” James yelled.
Snape fell silent immediately. He was looking furious as he lay there, legs twitching a little less, but now gagging on his own tongue.
A few Gryffindors cheered along with the laughter now. James and Sirius were out of control with giggle-fits.
Suddenly, the door of the classroom swung open and the laughter died so abruptly it seemed unreal.
“Okay class, come…” Viridian trailed off as he peered down at Snape.
“Finite.” Viridian sighed, lifting the spells put on Snape. He looked around at all of the students assembled in front of the door. “Alright, who performed the tongue-tying and tap-dancing curses?” He said, frowning.
There was a pause, and then…
“It was…” Sirius began gloomily.
“Me.” Remus said quickly, stepping forth.

Chapter 10: Chapter Ten: Quiddich Tryouts
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“What?!” James said, “Remus, wha-ow!” He cried; Remus had stepped hard on his foot from underneath his robes.
“Yeah, Severus was just making fun of Sirius… and he didn’t stop… so I used those curses on him.” Remus said, staring down at the floor in shame.
Viridians forehead wrinkled and he shook his head.
“I expected better from you, Mr. Lupin… but I do not overlook the whole story either. Severus, you and Remus will do lines for me tonight after dinner.”

“Remus—are you nuts?!” James hissed, climbing over the bench and sitting down at his usual spot at the Gryffindor table for dinner.
“No, but you two are.” Remus said, stabbing his pork chop with his fork and then holding it up vertically. “Cursing Snape when Viridian could’ve caught you at any second….” He took a bite and then put his fork down on the table. “Besides, you guys have tryouts and it’s your birthday.” He added, indicating James.
“But still…” Sirius objected, “You shouldn’t have gotten yourself in trouble for what we did.”
“Oh get real.” Remus said, putting down the goblet of pumpkin juice that he was just about to sip. “Pringle would’ve had you whipped, and besides, I got Snape what he deserved.”
Sirius said no more, and James said nothing either.
“Yeah… well, thanks then Remus.” James said quietly, staring down at his plate. He sighed. “Man, I can’t eat this; I’m going out to the pitch.” He said, shoving his plate aside.
“Yeah, me too.” Sirius agreed, getting up out of his seat along with James.
“Tryouts aren’t for another half hour though.” Remus pointed out, looking puzzled.
“It’ll give us some time to practice.” James muttered.
Sirius and James left the Great Hall, both not talking at all.
They had just began heading out the door that lead to the grounds when the doors to the Great hall opened and closed.
James and Sirius turned to see Remus and Lily coming up to them, both with undistinguishable expressions on their face.
“Good luck, you two.” Lily said urgently. Reading Sirius’s expression, she added, “And I’m not mad at you for what happened this morning. He deserved what he got. You’re lucky you’ve got Remus to back you guys up.”
Sirius’s eyes widened; he had never guessed that Lily would react like she had just done towards everything.
“Don’t look glum, you’re about to play Quiddich… And it’s only lines, c’mon!” Remus said, smiling and nudging them both playfully. “—and I’ll get some dirt on old Snivellus for you.” He added in a low whisper that was barely audible so that Lily didn’t hear. He then turned and left, heading back towards the Great Hall.
Lily was now eyeing Sirius, turning beet red.
“Um—er—I…” She stammered.
Sirius began turning red himself.
“See you on the pitch.” James said quickly, winking quickly to Sirius and heading out of the door.
Sirius nodded at him as James shut the door behind him, leaving Lily and Sirius completely alone. Sirius turned back to Lily.
“S-so…” Sirius began, but stopped; He noticed that Lily was now gazing dreamily up at him, though nervously.
“Thanks for, um, standing up for me today.” Lily said, rather quickly, and then she leaned forward and kissed him.
Sirius went into a state of shock, not even noticing afterwards that she had pulled away and was now saying goodbye. He waved back at her absentmindedly and then let his arm drop lazily so that it slapped the side of his leg.
Lily went back into the Great Hall, leaving Sirius alone in the Entrance Hall.
He stood there for a few seconds, enjoying the familiar fluttery sensation Lily always gave him that was swelling inside his stomach, and then exhaled dreamily. He headed out the front doors smiling widely and feeling completely ecstatic.
Sirius reached the Quiddich Pitch, still feeling fluttery, and met James in the broom storage room where he was deciding which broom to take. They grabbed the best ones they could find and were soon flying all over the field, diving and swerving.
Sirius felt so alive whenever he was on a broom; any negative emotion he had in his head was extinguished and replaced with excitement and daring.
He soared up high, flying up towards the clouds and then taking an exhilarating dive… only to jerk his broom upwards at the last possible second.
“Nice flying, Black!” He heard a voice call up to him from somewhere on the ground. He turned his head towards the ground to see Gideon Prewett, Quiddich Captain for the Gryffindor House team and an extraordinary Chaser, had just commented him. He had just entered the field, followed by Sturgis Podmore, a third year who played Keeper who was carrying a large trunk; Benjy Fenwick, a second year; and Frank Longbottom, a fifth year, who both played the positions of Beater; and Elphias Doge, another Chaser along with Gideon.
“Hey, come on down you two!” Gideon called up to them, walking to the center of the field along with the rest of the team.
Sirius and James zoomed down to the ground, both landing smoothly right in front of five members of the Gryffindor Quiddich team.
“We’re just going to wait until the rest of the people who are trying out get here, and then you guys could get back up in the air and show us what you got.” Gideon said, leaning against his broom.
Sirius nodded calmly, but inside he was excited; he was ecstatic about showing the team all of his moves.
“I hear you can do a killer tailkick goal.” Doge said to Black, lifting his head slightly.
“Yeah, he can.” James said, beaming for Sirius.
“And I hear you caught a quaffle in a dive, inches above the ground… and recovered?” Benjy Fenwick asked James curiously.
James nodded shyly, staring down at the ground and spinning his broom on it’s handle.
“Maybe he can replace the king of ‘Wronski Feint’ then?” Frank Longbottom asked Gideon, eyebrow raised.
“Maybe…” Gideon said, eyeing James. “Oh, here come the rest of the hopefuls.” He said, pointing towards the entrance of the field.
There were about seven people coming in as a group, all looking either determined or nervous.
“Oy! Over here!” Gideon called, sizing them all up. “Hmm…” He began, “Seems to be mostly female.”
And he was right; there were five girls and only two boys. One of the girls, Sirius was shocked to see, was Andromeda.
When they all reached the center of the field, Gideon told everyone to sit down. Sirius and James sat, looking attentively up at Gideon.
“Alright… as you know, we have two slots open.” Gideon began, pacing along the crowd of onlookers. “Chaser… and Seeker. Now…” He said again, pulling out a piece of parchment. “Sign your first and last name either under ‘Seeker’ or ‘Chaser’ and, also, your best move… then we’ll call you up. One player for each position at a time.”
He handed the parchment over to Sirius, who was nearest to him, along with a quill.
Sirius took it and signed immediately under ‘Chaser’ and put down “Tailkick,” then passed it to James. James, of course, signed on for ‘Seeker’ and put ‘Wronski Feint.’
After everyone had signed, Gideon took the parchment from Andromeda and went to talk to his fellow teammates. They were whispering rapidly, some of them shifting uncomfortably, others looking excited.
After a couple minutes they broke off, and Gideon cleared his throat loudly. All of the people sitting on the grounds heads shot up.
“Okay, when I call your name, you will come over here with your broom. We will simulate a Quiddich game, and ask you to do a couple basic moves according to your position. We will be using those set of hoops over there on my right.” He said, indicating the hoops with his finger. “Well… first things first, Podmore, release the Bludgers and Snitch.”
Podmore nodded and opened the large trunk, which released two black bowling ball-sized balls, and a tiny walnut-sized fluttering Snitch that immediately zoomed upwards and out of sight.
“Okay… first up for Chaser: my little bro… and for Seeker: Andromeda Black.” Gideon said.
Sirius was glad that he wasn’t going first, as the nervousness that had been absent this whole time now kicked in.
He and the rest watched and Fabian Prewett and Andromeda kicked off from the ground, as well as the five members of the house team, and began to simulate a game.
Fenwick was trailing behind Andromeda, observing her as she searched around for the snitch. Fabian was with Doge, who were both passing the Quaffle back and forth. Sturgis Podmore was guarding the hoops, waiting for Fabian and Doge to try and score a goal. Gideon was surveying both Andromeda and Fabian intensely.
“Get ready to dodge a bludger, Andromeda!” Gideon called up to her, spotting a bludger heading towards Longbottom. He swung his bat and hit it forcefully towards Andromeda, who ducked just in time, but in the process of doing so, almost fell off of her broom.
Gideon cringed slightly.
“Close one, Ms. Black!” He yelled. He then glided over to his brother, Fabian, and Doge, joining in passing the quaffle back and forth amongst each other.
After about ten minutes, Gideon switched players and called up the next pair: two third year girls named Emmeline Vance and Marlene McKinnon.
Marlene made a spectacular dive for the snitch, having been the first one to spot it, but missed it by inches when she swiped for it. Andromeda hadn’t found the snitch at all when she was up, but Gideon said she did well and would have been impressed if she had spotted it since it had been so early in the game.
Finally, Marlene and Emmeline landed on the ground and Gideon announced: “For Chaser: Sirius Black and for Seeker: James Potter.”
Sirius stood up, determination and nervousness dancing around inside his stomach. He saw that James was as determined as him as they both mounted their brooms.
Sirius heaved a nervous sigh and then kicked off from the ground, followed closely by James.
“Good luck.” James told him, and then zoomed up higher to Fenwick.
Sirius smiled and then shook off the pressure, flying over to meet Gideon and Doge.
“All right there, Black?” Gideon asked.
“Yeah.” Sirius said confidently.
Doge grinned, tossing the quaffle he had up in the air and then catching it again.
“Right.” Gideon said, “Hawkshead Attacking Formation! Black in center!”
At that, Sirius took off, zooming towards the goalposts and forming a triangle the way migrating birds did with Gideon and Doge on either side of him.
“OY, BLACK!” Doge shouted.
Sirius turned to see Doge throwing the quaffle at him. He caught it easily one-handed, clutching his broom tightly with his other hand.
“Beautiful!” Gideon said, “Now… do you think we could see that tailkick?” He asked.
Sirius smiled and nodded, “You bet!”
“Alright!” Gideon said. He and Doge stopped, leaving Sirius to zoom towards Podmore alone.
Sirius saw Sturgis concentrating hard on him, ready to defend the hoops.
Sirius thought quickly; he zoomed towards the right hoop, about five yards or so away from Podmore… and then veered left at the last second, lining up with the left hoop. Sirius tossed the quaffle up into the air and spun around, whacking the quaffle with the twigged end straight towards the hoop… and into the hand of Sturgis Podmore.
Sirius swore under his breath and turned back to face Gideon, who had a look of amazement on his face.
“I missed!” Sirius yelled through cupped hands.
“I know… but not if Podmore wasn’t there.” Gideon said.
“But—I still missed.”
“Black, some seventh years can’t even do that.” He said, “Podmore is the best Keeper in the school—hardly anyone ever scores against him.”
Sirius shrugged. Gideon was right about Podmore being a good Keeper.
“Hey Gideon!” Fenwick shouted suddenly, “Potter’s spotted it!”
Sirius turned quickly to see James speeding towards the opposite end of the field, a glint of gold a few feet in front of him. James’s tongue was between his teeth, his hand extended out in front of him as far as it could go as he strained to go faster.
After a few seconds, the snitch went into a dive. James took a dive also, right on it’s tail.
“C’mon James…” Sirius muttered under his breath, gripping his broom tightly in suspense, “C’mon… you can do it.”
James must have been a foot from crashing into the ground when he made a snatch and pulled up.
He zoomed back towards Sirius, a tiny pair of silvery wings poking out from in between his fingers; he had caught the snitch.
“Potter, extraordinary!” Gideon shouted, slapping his hand hard against his forehead in disbelief and eyeing the silvery wings that were beating against James’s hand.
James had a huge grin on his face, thrusting the Snitch up in the air with triumph as cheers met his ears from down on the ground from the other seven hopefuls, and the rest of the team and Sirius. The team commented him as he passed by and reached Sirius.
“Yep. Definitely the new ‘Wronski Feint’” Sirius heard Longbottom utter to Gideon.
After tryouts were over, Gideon called everyone out to the center of the field again.
“Okay, the new members of the Gryffindor House team… will be revealed tomorrow morning after breakfast in the Entrance Hall.”
Everyone groaned.
“We like to keep the rookies in suspense.” Fenwick said, chuckling.

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven: The Whomping Willow
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Sirius and James entered the Common Room a little while later to find Remus sitting up waiting for them in an armchair next to the fireplace.
“So, how’d it go?” Remus asked immediately.
“Dunno…” James told him.
“Prewett isn’t telling. Says he’s gonna let us know after breakfast tomorrow.”
“Aw, man!” Remus said, “I snuck some sweets too!”
“Hey—You’re forgetting, it’s still my birthday!” James said, eyeing Remus eagerly.
“Oh yeah… well then, carry on.” Remus said, taking a tray that he had set down on the floor next to his chair and placing it on the table in front of the fire.
It was filled with Cream Cakes, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, pies, and goblets of tea and pumpkin juice.
James and Sirius came forward happily, taking a seat on the couch and helping themselves.
“Here mate.” James said, handing Remus a couple cakes.
“No, it’s yours.” Remus said, “Had some earlier.”
James shrugged, “Thanks… Hey, how’d you sneak some?” He asked curiously.
Sirius looked up at Remus, swallowing the bite he had just taken of a pumpkin pasty.
“Oh… Viridian told me.” Remus said grinning, “He asked me who I was friends with and I, of course, had to mention you and that you were trying out for Quiddich right in front of Snape—you should have seen his face—anyways, Viridian mentioned how when he went here they threw parties for the newest members of the house teams… and at the end of the detention he whispered, ‘On the way to the Hufflepuff Common Room, there’s a portrait of a bowl of fruit. Tickle the pear and a handle will appear.’ So, I tried it, and you wouldn’t believe how many house elves I saw in there!”
“Where’d it lead?” James asked, taking a sip of his pumpkin juice.
“Oh, the kitchens! There are these little house elves there making food and bowing and curtseying—they pushed all of these little cakes into my hands.”
“Hey…” Sirius said, “How was detention with Snape?”
“Oh, it was… fine.” Remus said. “Viridian asked him questions too… you know, about his family…”
“—And?” James asked, listening intensely.
“Well, uh… I found out that his mum is, uh… very close to him.” Remus said shrilly.
Sirius knew what Remus had found out and didn’t want James to get it out of him.
“So, what did he do when you mentioned us trying out for Quiddich, Snape?” Sirius asked quickly, shoving the rest of the pasty in his mouth.
“He just kept trying to find out things. He asked all about it really. Like what slots were open on the Gryffindor team, can first years really make the team… am I really friends with you.” He said, shaking his head. “Yeah… he’s a pretty nosy person.”
“Yeah, a fat-nosed git.” James muttered, “Did you see the wuss after we cursed him this morning? Looked like he was about to cry!” He chuckled.
Sirius and Remus didn’t.
“Oh yeah, Sirius.” James asked.
“Been meaning to ask you something…” James said, wiping a bit of frosting from the side of his mouth.
Sirius, who was in the middle of sipping his own juice, lowered the goblet. “What?” He asked.
“How’d you get to calling Snape ‘Snivellus’?”
“Huh?” Sirius asked, letting out a nervous laugh.
“Snivellus.” James repeated, “It’s brilliant.”
“Well, uh…” Sirius began, trying desperately to think. He and Remus exchanged glances.
“Because Snape—“ Remus began to say.
“—He, um…” Sirius sputtered.
“—His parents—“
“—He looked, uh—“
“—See, they—“
“—He—He—“ Sirius racked his brain.
“—They got divorced.” Remus blurted out.
Sirius shut his eyes painfully.
“…and he started to cry in detention.” Remus said quietly, staring determinately at the hearthrug. “Which, I’m guessing, he also did in—“
“—In the hospital wing that night I broke my leg.” Sirius added in almost a whisper.
James said nothing. His curious expression disappeared and he now looked expressionless.
“Oh...” He said, running his finger absentmindedly along the brim of his pumpkin juice goblet.
Sirius and Remus met each other’s eye for a moment, but then they both looked back up at James.
“Viridian asked him about his relationship with his parents… and he mentioned he liked his mum… and then when the Professor asked about his dad he just sort of… broke down… and told us everything. Snape threatened me not to tell anyone after we left the classroom.”
“Yeah… he got the letter from his mum that night I was in the hospital wing with him. He opened it when he thought I was asleep—I was pretending to in case he tried to hex me—and he woke me up later… just holding the letter in his hands and crying.” Sirius said, folding his hands and staring down at the rug.
“D’you know what it said?” James asked, not looking directly at Remus or Sirius.
“Yeah… I read it. His mum said that his dad was… too violent… and that ‘it’ happened again last night.”
James looked up at Sirius. “What does that mean?”
“I dunno…” Sirius began, “But it was right before that bit about his dad being violent.”
The three of them sat in silence, James and Sirius occasionally picking at a cake. Remus was sprawled out in the armchair, staring up at the ceiling. Sirius was sitting quietly on the couch, staring into the fire, which was slowly dying out. James was lying on his stomach on the floor.
“I think I’m going up to bed.” James said after a few awkward minutes, breaking the silence and getting to his feet.
Sirius nodded and Remus sat up on his chair as James passed them and headed up the dormitory steps.
When James was out of earshot, Remus spoke to Sirius.
“I didn’t want to tell him.” Remus sighed, looking up at Sirius.
“Yeah.” Sirius breathed, tearing his eyes away from the fire.
“…but it was better to tell him now then have him find out later… especially in front of Snape.”
“Yeah, that would’ve been bad.” Sirius said, nodding in agreement. “I only told Lily what happened.”
“What’d she say?”
“She felt bad for him, but she’s still a little bitter towards him for starting up fights all of the time. She thanked me for defending her though.”
“So… what’s the deal with you and her anyway? Are you with her or…?” Remus asked, a smile creeping up the sides of his mouth.
Sirius flushed. He pictured Lily in his head and grinned; even the mere thought of her could give him a fluttery sensation.
“Well…” Sirius began.
“Well?” Remus said, leaning forward slightly.
“After you left the Entrance Hall she, uh… she…”
Remus’s jaw dropped.
“She kiss you?” He said, his eyes widening.
“Yeah.” Sirius said, feeling his face burning.

The next morning Sirius awoke feeling great. The thought of Snape was out of his mind, and was apparently out of James’s the next morning at breakfast.
“Man, end already!” James grumbled, throwing down his fork.
Sirius was poking his steak absentmindedly, feeling the same way as James.
“Don’t worry guys.” Lily said soothingly, “I know you’ll both make it.”
“I better after all of this torture!” James said moodily, drumming the surface of the table with his hands and peering up over at Gideon and the rest of his teammates who were talking at the other end of the table, nearest to the exit.
Gideon looked up over at where James was sitting and made eye contact with him and Sirius briefly, then turned back to Doge, talking more rapidly.
“Well, that’s a good sign.” Remus said brightly, turning back to James.
“He was probably taking one last look at the people who didn’t make the team.” Sirius sighed miserably.
James sighed and then looked up at the staff table again; he had been doing this every few minutes. Suddenly, his eyes went wide.
“Dumbledore’s ending the feast!” He cried.
Sirius, Remus, and Lily all peered up at the table too at the spot where Dumbledore was now rising.
“Hey, shh!” James hissed loudly, rising up out of his seat, “BE QUIET ALL YOU LOT!” He roared.
The whole hall fell silent at once. Dumbledore smiled up at James vaguely through his half-moon spectacles. James took his seat once more, grinning.
“Thank you, Mr. Potter.” Dumbledore chuckled, “now, I have an announcement to make before I dismiss you all.”
James now wore an expression of that looked like Dumbledore had just slapped him across the face.
“Now this considers the grounds at Hogwarts.” Dumbledore began, “We will be planting a tree on the castle grounds by the lake.” He said.
“A tree?!” James sputtered. “A tree?!”
“Not just any tree, Mr. Potter.” Dumbledore said, and a ring of laughter echoed throughout the hall, “A Whomping Willow.”
“What?!” Andromeda said, confusion forming on her face, “What in the world is that?”
“—What for?!” Sirius yelled.
“For special purposes.” Dumbledore said, “And I urge you all not to venture too near it… as the name of the tree itself gives that reason away. Now, breakfast is dismissed. You may all go.”
All the students in the Hall began talking at once, rising slowly up out of their seats, but not James, Sirius, or any of the other Gryffindors who had tried out. James and Sirius leapt up and climbed over the bench, running full speed towards the exit Gideon and the rest of the team were now heading out of.
Panting, Sirius and James went out into the entrance hall and ran up to Gideon and the rest of the house team who were pinning a piece of parchment on the notice board. Gideon turned to see Sirius and James right in front of him, followed shortly by the rest of the hopefuls. Gideon, who was blocking the parchment from view, smiled around at all of them.
“Okay… without further ado… here are the newest members of the Gryffindor house team.” He said proudly, taking one large step off to the side and exposing, plain, in bold dark black letters:

James Potter

Andromeda Black

Sirius Black

Fabian Prewett

“WOOO!” James screamed, jumping up and down like a maniac and pounding his fists in the air.
Sirius felt like he had received a billion volts of electric shock; he just stood there staring at the parchment, gaping at his name. He felt this chill of both relief and pure joy begin creeping up his throat from his stomach… and then, suddenly, whooped louder than James.
“YEAH!” He shouted, James and him slapping each other’s hands so hard that they stung afterward.
“Well done, you guys!” Doge said to them.
“Yeah, see you at practice Tuesday at eight, alright?” Gideon said, and he and the other team members turned and left.
“Oh, Sirius!” Lily exclaimed, hugging him tightly. “I knew you’d make it! Both of you.” She added, grinning over at James also.
“Yeah, good job.” Remus said, patting them both on the back.
“Thanks.” Sirius said, blushing.
“Hey James… you aren’t going to fall ill any time soon, are you?” Andromeda asked curiously.
James laughed, “Nope.”
“Congrats cousin.” Sirius added. “You’re an Alternate!”
“Thanks Sirius. Second place is better than no place at all I guess. Well, we better get to class now.” She said, “Herbology, you know.”

Later, they were all being led out onto the grounds by Professor Kettleburn. Their Herbology teacher was a tall man, who loved everything about nature and the creatures in it. Sirius sometimes wondered if that was the reason that he had a wooden leg and several scars.
“Okay class, since we have the convenience, today we’ll be learning about the ‘Whomping Willow’”
“What, does it fight you or something?” Sirius whispered to James. He and a few others laughed.
“Actually, Mr. Black, that’s precisely what it does.” Kettleburn said cheerfully. The laughs died.
“Oh…” Sirius said, feeling a little stupid.
“Five points to Gryffindor!” Kettleburn added. “Now…” He began, a sense of foreboding in his tone, “Stand back all you lot… wa-aay back.”
“How come?” Gloria Clearwater said over from the Ravenclaw side.
“I’m going to show you what it does if you draw near it.”
“What?!” They all cried as a whole, backing up much more now.
“Okay class, watch closely…” Kettleburn said, picking a long branch up from the ground.
“The guy’s mental!” James whispered, observing him.
Kettleburn approached the Willow, tongue between his teeth, and then gave one of the nearest branches a sharp prod. The tree sprang to life so suddenly, that the class jumped and moved even farther away from the tree. The branches whipped around dangerously, and it seemed that the whole tree was now beginning to lean towards Kettleburn.
One of the branches would’ve clearly taken his head off, but Kettleburn had ducked at the last minute.
“Ha ha!” He yelled in triumph, “Now you see why you don’t mess with these beau—AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!”
The whole class screamed; one of the branches had just zoomed by, lifting him up off of the ground as it passed… and he was now dangling several feet in the air.
“Somebody do something!” Lily cried, her hands covering her mouth as she watched their Herbology teacher being waved around in the air by the tree.
“Hey, Someone should go get—uh, oh no that won’t work… he’s the one in the tree.” Sirius said shrilly.
Before Sirius even knew what was going on, he realized that someone had sprung forward from the crowd, making their way towards the tree.
It was Remus.
He dodged the swinging branches, getting grazed by a few of them.
“REMUS, WHAT ARE YOU—“ Sirius screamed, beginning to run after him, but stopped; Remus had just dove at the base of the tree with all of his might, and the tree miraculously froze.
There were gasps as Kettleburn carefully began climbing out of the tree, running quickly away from it when he reached the ground, Remus following shortly later.
“Thank you, Mr. Lupin.” Kettleburn said as casually as possible, now looking extremely pale and shaken.
Remus nodded to him and then joined James and Sirius in the crowd again.
There was a long pause.
“Do you want to tell us….” Sirius began slowly, “—How on earth you did that?!” He hissed.
Uh—I—I dunno… I—I read it somewhere that you could um…” He said, his eyes darting around the ground.
“—That you could just become a tree-hugger and control plant life?” James whispered.
“Y-Yeah.” Remus said, shrugging.

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve: The Marauders
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“I think we should form our own group.”
“What, like ‘Wizard and Wand’?” Sirius asked James.
“No, not a band… like a—club.”
“Yeah… that’d be wicked!” Sirius said, sitting on the edge of his bed with his wand raised; he was lifting random things in the room and sending them zooming away from him.
“…And only induct certain people.”
“Yeah, and have secret parties.” Sirius added, sending a chair across the room.
“Who do we want joining though?” James asked, catching the chair and placing it on the floor along with several other objects.
“I hope me.” Remus said, looking up from behind his History book.
“Of course you… Wingardium Leviosa!” Sirius said, pointing his wand over towards Remus’s book and sending it flying into James’s outstretched hand.
“Hey, c’mon, I got a History quiz Tuesday!” Remus cried.
“Yeah, Tuesday.” James said, rolling his eyes, “Remus, lighten up, will you?”
“Wait—we don’t have a History quiz Tuesday!” Sirius said, accidentally dropping the pitcher of water he was lifting on the floor where it smashed. “It’s tomorrow!”
“Well, I do.” Remus told them, “Repairo!” He muttered, repairing the pitcher with his own wand.
“How come?” James and Sirius asked in unison.
“Uh… my mum’s sick.” Remus said, avoiding their eyes, “So I’m taking the quiz later.”
“Oh… sorry mate.” James said, frowning.
“What’s wrong with her?” Sirius asked.
“She, uh, she just has a bit of a bug.” Remus said, “Nothing serious.”
“Wow, you’re a good son…” Sirius said, raising his eyebrows slightly, “I’d do anything to have my mum shut up in her room sick.”
“Yeah, well, I care about her a lot.” Remus said, smiling faintly.
“Hey, you coming to watch our practice today?” James asked eagerly.
“Yeah, of course! Wouldn’t miss it!”
“You sure?” Sirius asked him, “You missed the first practice last week.”
“—Because you were too busy studying for Defense Against the Dark Arts to go to our first ever practice…” James added, giving his best puppy dog eyes.
“I will!” Remus said, chuckling.
“—So… what about this club?” Sirius asked James, “What are we gonna do in it?”
James stood still for a moment, thinking hard, and then suddenly a wide smile formed on his face.
“Oh no… It’s that look.” Remus said, eyeing James with worry.
“We can go corridor-hunting!” James exclaimed excitedly.
“What?” Sirius asked, now beginning to lift the objects off of the floor and sending them back to their original spots.
“Hidden passages!” James said, looking at Sirius like he was insane, “Under the cloak!”
“Yeah!” Sirius said, excitement now pumping through his veins.
“It’s not too soon, d’you think, to go back under it, Rem’?” James asked.
“Uh… it should be safe, but—“
“—Great!” Sirius shouted, “Now who do we want joining?”
“Uh… how about only first years?” James said, sitting down on his own bed, “And only Gryffindors too.”
“Yeah… I don’t trust anyone else really.” Sirius muttered, catching Remus’s book and handing it back to him.
“That’d mean you’d only have up to ten people.” Lupin said, taking his book back and placing it beside him. “There are only five boys and five girls for first year Gryffindors.”
James shrugged, “S’Alright. It’s better with less really… it’s easier to form a trust with fewer people.”
“What about a name?” Sirius asked, putting his wand down and lying on his stomach on his bed.
“I dunno… We should think up a good one though… usually a good name would interest people into joining.” James said, eyeing a spider that was crawling on the floor towards his bed.
“Wingardium Leviosa!” Sirius cried, lifting the spider up into the air just as the dormitory door opened.
Peter and Fabian came in, looking hearty and happy.
“What’d you three skip lunch?” Peter asked curiously.
“Yep.” Sirius said, floating the spider over towards Peter.
“—And we’d like to ask you two something.” James said, grinning to Sirius.
“What?” Fabian asked, picking up his schoolbag.
“To join their club.” Remus said, opening his History book once more.
“Oh, cool—OH!” Peter squealed; Sirius had just dropped the spider right on his shoulder.
Sirius let out a shriek of laughter.
“What kind of things will we be doing in this club?” Fabian asked, putting his potions book inside his schoolbag while watching Peter flail around, trying to get the spider off.
“Fun stuff.” James said casually, his smile turning into and evil grin.
“He means sneaking around, raiding the school.” Lupin muttered, turning a page of his book.
Peter finally brushed the spider off and sent it scuttling into a nearby hole in the wall.
“I’ll join.” He said shrilly.
“Excellent.” Sirius said, “Fabian?”
“No way.” He said, “No way.” He shuddered.
“Aw, how come?” James asked.
“I’ll show you why.” Fabian said, tuning so that he had his back to them all. He lifted his shirt up, exposing his back… and several lashes upon it that were heavily bruised and scabbed hideously.
They all cringed, and Peter let out a gasp.
“What happened?” Sirius asked, horrorstruck, as Fabian lowered his shirt.
“Pringle.” Fabian said simply. “I was sneaking around at night… at two in the morning to be exact… and he caught me as I was heading back to Gryffindor tower.”
“I thought he couldn’t do that on first timers!” James cried exasperatedly.
“Well, there’s an exception if you’re sneaking around that late… or early.” He said darkly, putting his schoolbag around his shoulder, gasping, and then taking it off again. He cringed painfully and then made his way towards the door, carrying his bag with his hand instead.
“Wait—why were you sneaking around at two o’clock in the morning?” James asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Uh… meeting—er—Gloria.” Fabian said, grabbing the doorknob and opening the door. “Um—I gotta go study for potions… you know, exam tomorrow.” He left the room, shutting the door behind him.
“Wow.” Peter said, plopping down on top of his bed, “He really likes Gloria.”
“Yeah, to risk getting expelled for her? That takes commitment.” James said, letting out a low whistle.
“I’d do it for Lily.” Sirius blurted out suddenly.
“I don’t think she’d ever be sneaking around that late.” Remus said, closing his book again.
“—Well!” James shouted, cutting off any more conversation, “What’s our name gonna be?”
“Dunno…” Sirius muttered, thinking, “It should be short though, don’t want members to get confused.”
“’The Sneaks’?” Peter suggested.
“Nah… too simple.” James said, “What about… the ‘Anti-Snape Association’?”
Everyone laughed.
“—‘The Raiders’?” Sirius called out.
“Yeah, that’s a good one!” Peter cried.
“No.” Remus said suddenly, “’The Marauders’.” He finished smoothly, placing his History book on the floor.
There were murmurs of approval issuing from the boys.
“Brilliant.” James said, smiling the widest he had smiled.
“Yeah, Excellent.” Sirius said.
“Well, I try.” Remus said, shrugging but grinning.
“What does that name mean anyway?” Peter asked, staring confusedly at Remus.
Sirius picked up his pillow and chucked it at Peter. It hit him in the head.
“Hey!” Peter said, throwing it back where Sirius caught it.
“It means ‘raider.’” James said, waving a hand impatiently.
“We learned that in History.” Remus told him.
“Oh…” Peter said, turning pink.
“Okay, so, we’re the Marauder Four then.” Sirius said brightly, “Unless we can persuade some of the girls to join.”
“I doubt it.” Remus said, “They’re all serious about school.”
“So are you!” James said pointedly.
“Yeah, but I’m no more serious than you think! I like having fun, you know.”
“Well… we’ll at least ask Lily and Andromeda.” Sirius said, shrugging and rising up off of his bed. “Where would they be right now?”
“Probably Common Room or out on the grounds.” Peter said, watching Sirius head towards the door.
“Let’s go check—all of us.” James said, joining Sirius at the door.

“No.” Lily said, “No way!”
“Aw, c’mon!” James begged.
“Have you seen Fabian’s back?” Andromeda exclaimed.
“Well, fine.” James said glumly, turning to leave, “C’mon guys, let’s go.”
“Bye Lily.” Sirius called, waving.
She smiled and waved back.
“Hey, where are you guys going?” Andromeda asked curiously.
“Out to the grounds.” Remus said.
“I wanna go too!” Andromeda cried, “Lily, wanna go?” She asked Lily.
“Sure.” Lily said, getting up from the armchair she was sitting in. “We were just going there in a few anyway.”
“Cool.” Sirius said, “The more the merrier.”
“What’re we gonna do out there?” Peter asked as they all left the Common Room in a group.
“Just hang out.” James said.
“Well, me and Lily are going swimming.” Andromeda said matter-of-factly.
“Sounds good to me.” Sirius said, beginning to descend the stairs.
“But you haven’t got a bathing suit on.” Lily said, eyeing his outfit and frowning.
“He’s going commando!” James yelled.
The girls began to giggle.
“No, I’m not!” Sirius said desperately, turning red, “I’ll just go in my shorts!”
“Hey, what’s your ‘club’ called anyway?” Andromeda asked as they reached the Entrance Hall.
“’The Marauders.’” James said proudly.
“Oh cool.” Lily said, “Who thought of it.”
“Remus.” Sirius said, opening the front doors and heading outside.
“Yep, me.” Remus said proudly as they all began walking out onto the grounds.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. There were several students sitting around, buried in books or hanging out by the lake. The six of them walked across the grounds, James, Sirius, Andromeda, and Lily heading for the lake while Peter and Remus took a seat on the grass, under the shade of a large beech tree that was right by the lake.
“You’re not coming, Remus?” James asked.
“Nah, got to study.” Remus said, indicating his book.
James shrugged and continued walking towards the lake.
When they reached the edge of the lake, Lily and Andromeda immediately stopped and began removing their clothes to reveal bathing suits underneath them. Lily was wearing a pretty lavender-colored bikini with a floral design, and Andromeda, a black bikini with a skull design.
Sirius thought Lily looked gorgeous. He pulled off his shirt and began taking off his shoes to the sound of giggles coming from behind him. He looked up to see a group of Ravenclaw girls watching him, and at the sight of him looking at them, all looked away and continued to giggle even harder. Sirius smiled and shook his head, continuing to take off his shoes.
He stood back up after to see James looking over at the Ravenclaws himself, already in his shorts. James rumpled his hair and then turned to Sirius.
“Man, you’re a regular stud!” He said, looking back over at the girls longingly.
Sirius shook his head, “Naw, I’m not!” He said, turning towards the lake. He saw that Lily and Andromeda were giggling themselves, taking turns dipping their toes in the surface of the lake.
“It’s so cold!” Lily cried, shivering slightly.
James and Sirius walked over to them.
Sirius dipped his foot into the lake.
“It’s not cold!” He lied, taking backwards strides away from the lake.
“Then why’re you backing away?” Andromeda teased.
Sirius stopped and he was now several feet away from the lake.
“I’m not.” He told her, grinning.
Then he sprang forward, sprinting towards the lake. As soon as he reached the edge, he jumped up high, doing a front flip in midair and diving headfirst into the cool clear water.
He loved the feel of the water engulfing his body as he went through the surface, going downward, heading towards the bottom. He hoped that Lily was impressed with him back up on the surface.
When he reached the bottom, he turned his body so that he was upright and then pushed himself hard off of the bottom with his legs towards the surface again.
He emerged from the surface, spitting out a jet of water, to cheers and more giggles from the Ravenclaws. He looked around at Lily. She was smiling at him.
“Hey, how’s the water, Sirius?” James called over to him from the shore.
“Great!” Sirius said, treading water on his back. “Hey Lily, jump in!” He yelled.
Lily shook her head, giggling.
“Yeah, Lily!” James said, turning to her so that he now had his back to Sirius. “It’s easy…” He said, beginning to back up to the edge where Sirius had just leapt off of. “All you have to do is just jump in.” He continued, “Cause then you don’t have to do it the hard wa-AAAAY!!!” He screamed, flailing his arms wildly as he fell backwards off of the edge, plopping right into the lake.
Lily and Andromeda screamed, Sirius gasped.
A second later James came up to the surface, laughing like mad.
“Ha, tricked you!” He cried.
Sirius let out a yelp of a laugh. “Good one James!”
Lily and Andromeda now looked affronted.
Sirius swam over to where Lily was, eventually reaching the ledge. He made puppy dog eyes at her.
“C’mon Lily, please?” He asked, tilting his head to the side and succeeding to look cute.
“No, it’s too cold!” She said, shaking her head and smiling down at him.
“Are you sure?” Sirius asked, coming closer so that he was now gazing into her eyes.
“Yeah.” She said, crouching down so that they were now eye-level.
Sirius reached up and took her hands in his just as Andromeda jumped in too, swimming out to James who was in deeper water.
“Are you really really sure?” He asked. He could now see her bright green eyes way up close.
“Yes.” She said more assertively.
“Well… I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.” Sirius sighed, looking away for a moment.
Lily narrowed her eyes in confusion, and before she knew it, Sirius’s eyes darted back to her and he yanked her forward as she screamed.
Sirius caught her in a hug and then quickly let go, as she was struggling to get out of his grip.
She backed a little ways away from him and then splashed a bunch of water into his face. Sirius laughed.
“You jerk!” She shrieked playfully.
He continued to laugh, shrugging.
“Oh!” She cried heatedly as he began laughing even harder.
Suddenly, Lily sprang forward towards him, tackling him backwards into the lake and taking him by surprise. Sirius got up and then picked her up by the waist, throwing her behind him into deeper water.
She began laughing and then they ended up having a major splash-fight, James and Andromeda joining in after a while too.

Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen: Remus's Absence
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“Hey James!” Sirius yelled up from the ground on the Quiddich Pitch, “We should head in soon!”
Their practice had just ended.
“Alright, Sir’!” James called down, doing a back flip and then zooming down to Sirius, dismounting smoothly.

“Hey, did you see Remus?” Sirius asked, walking back up towards the castle with James after having had showered and changed back into their normal clothes.
“Nice flying today, you two!” Gideon called over from behind them. “Same time on Wednesday!”
“Okay!” James hollered back to him as he and Sirius waited until they had exited the field to speak again. “No…” James said to Sirius, frowning, “I didn’t see him at all.”
“…if he’s studying—“ Sirius began hotly.
“—He’s not.” James said reassuringly, “He promised he’d be watching us… maybe something else came up…” He said darkly.
Sirius and James exchanged looks of deep concern. Then, with a jolt, Sirius came to a halt, so did James.
“Maybe Snivellus got him into trouble.” Sirius said suddenly, his eyes widening. There was a pause, then…
The two of them bolted up to the castle. They ran up towards the doors, then into the entrance hall.
“Check Gryffindor Tower?” Sirius suggested, panting.
“Yeah.” James gasped as they tore off again.
“I swear to god if that greasy git tried to hex him, I’ll shove my foot up his—“
“—Animagus!” James shouted loudly; they had reached the portrait.
They both ran into the Common Room.
“Hey, anyone seen Remus?” Sirius asked loudly.
“I think he’s up in your dormitory.” Andromeda told them, looking up from her game of Wizard’s chess that she was playing against Lily, Fabian and Peter looking on.
“Thanks.” James said.
He and Sirius then ran quickly across the room and up the dormitory steps, James in the lead.
“D’you reckon Snivellus slipped something into his pumpkin juice?” Sirius asked, running hurriedly up the steps.
“Dunno…” James said as they reached their dormitory door, “Maybe he is studying.”
Sirius opened the door and they both walked into the room in silence, peering around and spotting at once that Remus’s hangings were closed around his bed. They both began to approach it slowly.
“Remus?” Sirius whispered.
They heard a rustling of sheets that sounded like the person behind the curtains had just started.
“Yeah…?” A tired-sounding Remus responded from inside.
“You alright, mate?” Sirius asked.
“Er… yeah, I’m alright.” Remus said weakly, groaning slightly afterward.
James and Sirius exchanged worried looks.
“Snivelly didn’t hex you or anything, did he?” James asked.
“No.” Remus gasped.
“You gonna come out of there?” Sirius asked.
“No… no, I’m alright.”
“Rem,’ how come you didn’t come to our practice?” James demanded.
“Uh… I—Uh…”
“Remus, come off it, why are you hiding up here?” Sirius snapped.
“I-I’m just, uh, really tired, that’s all.”
“Okay Remus, I’m pulling back your hangings.” James said, reaching for the ropes.
“No—wait!” Remus cried, but it was too late; James had pulled them back.
Sirius and Remus gasped; Remus looked terrible. His eyes were droopy and he had big dark circles underneath them, his face was ghost-pale and clammy, and he looked dead-tired.
Remus heaved a huge sigh, pulling the covers up to his chin.
“Remus, you should go to Madam Pomfrey.” Sirius said fearfully.
“Yeah, mate, you look horrible… you’re worrying us.” James added, frowning.
“I was going there later.” Remus replied slowly, “When everyone went to the Great Hall, I swear.”
“Go now, Rem’.” Sirius said, “C’mon, we’ll take you on our way to dinner.”
Remus hesitated at first, but then recognized defeat and nodded in agreement.
James and Sirius went to either side of the bed and helped him out. After a few seconds, Remus was on his feet, being held steady by the both of them. He was weak and shivering, not to mention wincing every now and then. Sirius took a blanket that was folded at the end of Remus’s bed and wrapped it around Remus’s back to keep him from shivering so much as they made their way out of the dormitory and down towards the Common Room.
When they entered the room, several Gryffindors peered up at them, all staring at Remus.
Lily, Andromeda, and Peter stood up and came hurrying over to them, looking deeply concerned.
“Sirius, is he okay?” Lily asked in a deeply worried tone.
“I dunno, Lil… but we gotta get him to the hospital wing.”
And so they all went out of the portrait hole in a group, heading for the hospital wing as one.
Sirius and Remus were in the lead; Sirius was holding him steady, followed by James, Lily, Peter, and Andromeda.
When they arrived at the hospital wing Sirius opened the door and led Remus in. Madam Pomfrey, who had been sitting at her desk, leapt up at the sight of them and hurried over.
“Okay dear, here you go, lie down now alright.” She said, taking Remus to the nearest bed.
Remus sat down on the edge of the bed, staring up at her tiredly.
“Okay, so in a few, I’ll—“ But she broke off, looking down at Remus, who was shaking his head frantically and looking over at the door.
She frowned and then peered over at the doors where Sirius and the others stood. She turned her head slowly back to Remus.
“They don’t—“
“—No.” Remus said quickly.
She nodded slightly to him, like she did not want to be noticed doing it.
“Madam Pomfrey… is Remus okay?” Sirius asked.
“Oh yes, Sirius dear.” Pomfrey told him brightly, “Yes, I’ll just be keeping him here for the night. He should be just fine by tomorrow.” She added. “Now you lot should be heading off to dinner.” She said, rushing up towards them.
“But—“ James said.
“Go on, Go on!” She said, and before they knew it she had shoved them out of the wing and closed the doors.
“What was that all about?” Sirius asked, frowning at the doors.
“No idea.” James breathed, “But I’m sure not up for any sleeping tonight knowing he’s in that condition. I’m going to check on him after dinner.”
“Me too—definitely.” Sirius said, nodding.
“—And me.” Andromeda, Lily, and Peter all said in unison.
One by one they all turned around and headed over towards the Great Hall.
“Remus is sure acting strange.” Sirius said as they entered the Hall.
James nodded, “Yeah… he doesn’t have to hide being sick. We don’t care.”
Lily tripped over her feet but straightened up almost instantly.
They barely said anything to each other during dinner, all apparently wondering about Remus.
After dinner they headed straight towards the Hospital Wing again to check up on Remus, only to find it empty when they wrenched open the doors.
“He’s—he’s not here!” James said in shock, his eyes scanning the wing.
“Neither is Pomfrey.” Sirius said, leaning against the doorway in confusion, but just as he said that, the doors to the entrance hall opened. Madam Pomfrey came hurrying in from the cold, closing the doors behind her and making her way into towards the hospital wing.
She looked up and started at the sight of them, clutching her chest afterward.
“Oh, Mr. Black, Mr. Potter—“
“Where’s Remus?” Peter asked.
Pomfrey looked slightly out of breath, which was curious, but quickly tried to cover up for it.
“I just escorted Mr. Lupin into one of the carriages to go home.” She said quickly, smiling faintly, “His mother is ill—He isn’t anymore—I made sure of that… it’s alright.” She said, noticing their suspicious expressions.
A few long seconds went by where everyone seemed to be staring at either James or Sirius for their opinion.
“Okay…” Sirius said finally, in a little uneasy but understanding tone, “Yeah.”
“Well, if he’s all better.” James shrugged, a little sign of relief in his voice.

The next after noon they were heading off to double potions (Potions that was an hour and a half long), feeling a little glum; Remus still wasn’t back yet.
Sirius and James walked slowly down towards the dungeon, both feeling worried when Lily came running up to them, a paper clutched in her hand.
“Hey guys.” She said, “I know it’s not big or anything, but everyone’s talking about it—look.” She said, handing them a copy of “The Daily Prophet” and pointing out an article.
Sirius took it and held it out I front of him so they could all see, reading aloud:


Witnesses say that the old abandoned house atop the hill of the village of Hogsmeade has evil spirits lurking inside of it. According to reporters, last night there could be screaming and howling issuing from the house, causing the Villagers in the area to believe that the source of the noise if from deceased former residents.
All are warned not to venture inside the house, now dubbed “The Shrieking Shack,” and use extreme caution when around the premises.

“Hmm… interesting.” Sirius muttered thoughtfully, beginning to roll up the paper when it, suddenly, shot out of his hands.
The three of them looked up quickly to see it fly right into the hands of Severus Snape. They paused.
“What’s this, Black?” Snape sneered, holding his wand out while he peered down at the paper.
“A newspaper.” James began in an extremely patronizing tone, “You know, a bit of parchment you can read that has articles?”
“Shut up, Potter.” He snapped, “Hey, where’s shabby boy today?” He asked, looking around, “Not here to back you up this time, is he? I suppose he’s picking up some new clothes from the dump—“
Sirius and James whipped out their wands; Snape directed his wand at both of them in turn, apparently deciding on who to use it against.
“Just try it, Black… Potter… you’ll be sorry.” He said, tossing the paper on the floor behind him.
“Oh, I’ll be sorry, eh?” James said, walking up to him slowly, “I think you’ve forgotten that little number you did for us the other day… crybaby.”
A flash of light appeared and instantly James was thrown backwards, crashing forcefully against the stone wall of the dungeon. Lily screamed.
Sirius directed his wand immediately at Snape, crying “Rictusempra!”
Snape was hit by a jet of silver and flew up high in the air, doing many flips, and landing forcefully on his stomach on the floor.
Sirius and James—who was now back on his feet—were roaring with laughter. Lily was not.
Snape scrambled back up to his feet, breathing heavily due to the wind being knocked out of him, wand raised. The look on his face was sinister.
“You know…” He began, his eyes flashing with slight insanity, “I can do the Cruciatus Curse…” He whispered, looking straight at Sirius.
“NO!” Lily screamed, jumping right in front of Sirius and holding out her arms to try and shield him.
“Lily, no… stay out of it!” Sirius said desperately.
“Get out of the way, mudblood.” Snape spat, grabbing her by her arm and throwing her sideways. She landed on the floor next to the wall, letting out a cry.
Sirius roared with rage and started towards Snape aggressively, wand raised… only to be hit by a curse by Snape. Sirius’s body was now immobile from his shoulders down to his toes, helpless and furious.
James, unfortunately, was hit by the curse next, as he had just tried to attack Snape also.
“Now…” Snape began, raising his wand high above his head and glaring into the eyes of Sirius.
Lily let out a scream.
“—EXPELLIARMUS!” Came a voice from the end of the corridor, which echoed throughout the dungeon.
Snape’s wand shot out of hand and he was blasted off his feet, landing on his back.
Sirius turned his head, the only thing he could do, and smiled widely.
“REMUS!” James cried, watching as Remus came running up to them from the end of the corridor, wand out in front of him. He looked perfectly fine from the previous night.
“James… Sirius…” He said casually, reaching up to them. “Finite! Finite!” He cried, lifting the spells from the both of them. Then he turned and saw Snape, who lay motionless on the floor, so he began comforting Lily, who was sobbing hysterically on the floor, her hands burying her face.
Bu then Snape let out a snarl, suddenly got up and diving quickly towards his fallen wand.
“Wingardium Leviosa!” Sirius cried, sending Snape’s wand up in the air and into Sirius’s outstretched hand.
“You know, Snivellus.” Sirius muttered, throwing Snape’s wand up into the air and then catching it again, “You ought to be in Azkaban for that… but I’m going to be nice, Snivelly, and give you a second chance.”
He walked over and handed Snape’s wand back to its owner. Snape yanked it out of Sirius’s hand, not taking his eyes off of Sirius as he did. Sirius then bore his eyes into Snape’s.
“If you ever say anything nasty to Lily again—or even touch her—I’ll see to it that you get cursed into insanity… get me?” Sirius threatened, trembling with pure hate.
Snape said nothing, but turned immediately on his heel and then strode off, sneering, towards the Potions classroom. Sirius glared after him.
“Wow mate…” James said after Snape had gone, “You really look scary.”
Sirius looked up at him, his glare replaced with a shrug, “Nah… he just got me wound up is all.”
“Should we tell on him?” Lily asked, wiping her eyes as they all began making their way to Potions, “He used an Unforgivable Curse.”
“—Almost used an Unforgivable Curse.” Remus informed her, opening the classroom door where they were already five minutes late.
“Oh yeah, by the way… you look loads better Remus.” Sirius said, taking his seat in between James and Remus after apologizing to their Potions Professor for being late; Sirius used the excuse that they had waited up for Remus.
“Thanks mate.” Remus said, sitting between Sirius and Peter, “Overnight bug, I expect.”

Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen: Gryffindor vs. Slytherin
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The next month went by rather quickly. “The Marauders” had found three new passageways, all leading towards Hogsmeade due to late night sneaking around.
Snape hadn’t so much as looked at them during their classes, which made Sirius happy, and the first Quiddich game of the season was on Halloween, that very night. Also, Lily and Sirius could be seen holding hands down corridors and laughing on wonderful afternoons such as this one; he had asked her to be his girlfriend the night after the potions class.
“…And then I reckon we could have a kid when we’re in our mid twenties.” Sirius said happily, leading Lily out of the castle doors and onto the grounds.
“A boy or a girl?” Lily asked, stopping to look at a bed of beautiful red roses, which had just bloomed.
“A boy, of course.” Sirius said, bending down next to Lily and picking the biggest one and handing it to her.
“Oh really?” She said, taking it from Sirius and smelling it, continuing to walk with him again, “And what about a name?”
“Uh… anything but Severus.” Sirius said, smirking.
Lily rolled her eyes, smiling slightly.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.” She said, “What about… Harry?” She suggested, sitting down at the lake’s edge with Sirius.
“Harry… Harry Black.” Sirius muttered to himself, rubbing his chin. “Sounds good to me.” He said, coming closer to her and putting his arm around her shoulder. They were both now gazing out towards the lake, feeling the cool October air on their faces and looking at the bright orange and pink sky the sunset was creating.
Lily rested her head on Sirius’s shoulder, Sirius automatically resting his head on top of hers.
“You coming to the match tonight?” Sirius asked softly, still peering up at the beautiful sky.
“Yes, of course I am.” She said dreamily, “I can’t wait to see you play.” She said, grinning.
Sirius smiled; he loved spending time with Lily like this.
“Oy, Black!” Someone called from behind, causing them both to start and turn around.
“Oh…” Sirius sighed, It’s you.”
“Yeah, ‘it’s me!’” Gideon said impatiently from across the grounds, “C’mon loverboy, get onto the pitch!”
Sirius got up slowly, brushing off his backside as Lily got up next to him and did the same. He and Lily ran over to Gideon.
“C’mon Black, we gotta run through the plays!” Gideon said, motioning him over as he turned to head towards the Quiddich Pitch.
“Sorry Lily.” Sirius said, kissing her gently on the forehead and turning to follow Gideon. “You know him.”
“It’s okay—see you after the match, Sirius.” She said, beaming and beginning to make her way up the castle steps.
Sirius smiled at her and nodded his head, then hurried off to catch up to Gideon.

“Okay, now Slytherin’s team has a strong offense, but their defense… let’s just say that Stebbins could let a butterfly pass him.”
“…What about their Seeker?” James asked Gideon.
“Uh… I dunno about that…”
“No match for Potter.” Longbottom broke in, “Malfoy’s as good as toast.”
Gideon nodded, smiling, “Alright then.”
He motioned for them to all stand up, then led them towards the field. Gideon first, followed by Doge, then Sirius, Longbottom, Fenwick, Podmore, and James.
“—And here’s the Gryffindor team!” A voice echoed throughout the stands; Daviegh was commentating.
Sirius and the team kicked off hard from the ground one by one, soaring into the air to cheers from the crowd.
“Gryffindor has two new players… a talented Seeker by the name of James Potter, and a gorgeous Chaser named Sirius Black—sorry Professor—It’s in the description, honest! Oh alright, I wrote it!” She yelled.
Sirius blushed as he took his position, watching the Ravenclaw who had given them their flying lessons early in the year carried out the trunk which held the Bludgers, Snitch, and the most important ball to Sirius—the Quaffle.
“—And I think Joe Montague is about to release—ah yes—he’s released the bludgers and snitch.”
Sirius looked up quickly and saw that James was eyeing the snitch hungrily as it flew right past him and out of view towards the opposite end of the field. Sirius looked back down at the ground just as Daveigh began talking again.
“—And Joe picks up the Quaffle, throws it up, and Gideon swipes it!”
A loud cheer came from the Gryffindor side of the stadium.
Gideon took off, zooming towards the Slytherin goals.
Sirius and Doge were speeding off as fast as they could in front of Gideon, trying desperately to get open. Just then, two blurs of green appeared in front of Gideon, cutting him off and causing him to swerve to a halt. He chucked the quaffle as hard as he could towards Doge, who caught it.
Sirius was a little ways ahead of Doge on the left, watching him intently as they both headed towards Stebbins, who was keeping the Slytherin hoops. Doge pulled the quaffle back quickly, staring determinedly at the right goalpost… then threw it forcefully—to Sirius; he had changed the course of his hand at the last second. Sirius caught it and whipped it through the left hoop, which was wide open due to Stebbins falling for the trick.
“Gryffindor scores!” Daviegh shrieked, “GO SIRIUS! Professor—he’s a friend!”
Sirius grinned and then sped off towards Gideon, feeling ecstatic.
“Good one, Black!” Doge said, slapping Sirius’s hand as he passed, just before following him towards the center of the field again.
“This is Black’s first ever goal being on a house team!” Daveigh cried as Doge stole the quaffle from the Slytherins, who had been in possession of the quaffle a few moments ago.
Sirius looked over at Gideon as he began following Doge, Gideon was making frantic hand gestures to him. Sirius nodded and then dove down, directly underneath Doge, shadowing him as the Slytherin side closed in on Doge. Doge zoomed upwards with the Quaffle—or so the Slytherins thought; Doge had dropped the Quaffle down below where Sirius caught it, fooling the Slytherin Chasers into thinking he still had it.
Sirius zoomed full speed towards the goals again, Gideon slightly ahead of him, waiting… and then—SMACK.
Sirius let out a howl of pain as he felt as if his leg had just come off his body; a bludger had just hit him right in the shin—in the same spot where he had broken it before. He was about ten yards away from the goals, but now had a lifeless leg dangling below him. He screwed up his face in concentration and threw the quaffle with all his might to Gideon. It was the only thing he could do. He flew upwards afterwards, away from everybody, holding his breath in pain.
“You alright, Sir’?” James yelled, flying over to Sirius and coming to a stop in front of him as Gideon scored another goal.
“Yeah, I don’t think I broke it again… It just smarts a whole lot.” Sirius said, zooming back down to Doge and Gideon while Daveigh shouted “Twenty points to Gryffindor!”
“Alright there, Black?” Gideon yelled, a deeply concerned expression on his face.
“Yeah!” Sirius said, his leg now throbbing.
“Don’t worry, mate!” James said, from above, “I’ve seen it!” He said quickly as he flew down and past Sirius at top speed, bolting off towards the other end of the pitch where Sirius spotted a tiny little walnut-sized glittering ball, zooming around the Slytherin goals, right behind the Slytherin Seeker… who was completely unaware of it.
“C’mon Potter… just get past that other Seeker…” Gideon said, blocking the Slytherin Chaser that was trying to get past him and Sirius. Doge was distracting the other two Chasers at the opposite side of the field.
James was zooming full speed still, coming closer and closer to the other Seeker. Sirius wondered what James was going to do if the other Seeker realized what James was doing; he would probably get the snitch first.
Suddenly, Sirius got an idea.
It seemed like James had heard him, because he suddenly went into a dive, the other Seeker hesitating, then keeling off after him. James was hurtling quickly towards the ground, the crowd gasping loudly as one as they watched him pull up—at the last possible second. He tore off towards the snitch, but the other Seeker did not; there were groans from the crowd as Lucius Malfoy slammed bodily into the ground, his broomstick stuck vertically out of the earth in back of him, quivering like an arrow.
Sirius’s eyes went wide as he heard “Potter feints and succeeds, but Slytherin back in possession with quaffle!” but he didn’t care about that—he was watching what was happening to James.
James was chasing after the snitch still—it being a foot away from his outstretched arm—but completely unaware of two Slytherin Beaters tailing him, bat’s raised. Sirius looked around desperately; the rest of his team was busy trying to fend off the Slytherin Chasers.
Sirius didn’t have to think—He sprung forward with all his might, not caring what was going to happen as he went. He swerved to a halt dangerously in front of the two Slytherin Beaters, deflecting two big bowling ball-sized bludgers with his stomach… and his forehead. He just remembered the screams and gasps that filled the stands as he felt himself slip off of his broom…

Sirius awoke with a jolt, sitting up and making out nothing but blurred shapes in front of him. He wasn’t in his four-poster… where was he?
“Sirius, it’s okay… you’re in the hospital wing.” A tired voice said from the right of him.
Sirius turned his head, his eyes coming to focus on Remus who was sitting on the bed next to him. He looked a little pale.
“Wha—What happened? Did we win? How long have I been here? What happened?” Sirius blurted out all at once. Remus raised an eyebrow.
“Yes, from what I’ve heard, James caught the snitch right after you threw yourself in front of two of the best Beaters in the school… and you’ve been here since last night. It’s Sunday.”
“Wow… have I been knocked out?”
“Yep. Cold. For about twelve hours… I’m surprised it wasn’t longer actually.”
“Where’s Lily?”
“Uh, she stayed here as long as she could with you last night… she brought you those.” He added, pointing to a pile of Sirius’s favorite sweets, a card, and a little stuffed animal dog that were all lying on his bedside table behind him.
Sirius smiled, “She’s amazing.” He said, looking back over at Remus.
“Yeah…” Remus said in a distant sort of voice, “Really nice too… really.” He said seriously, looking down at the floor.
“Is she okay?” Sirius asked. Remus looked up.
“Yes… though she was in tears most of the night worried, but Madam Pomfrey finally convinced her and James that you’d be fine and got them to go up to bed.”
“James came too?”
“Of course. So did the whole team and Peter and Andromeda.”
“Oh… hey—why’re you here, Rem’?” Sirius asked.
Remus broke eye contact with him and started to adjust his sheets unnecessarily.
“…I-I’m sick again—well, I was, but I’m better now.” He said, looking back up at Sirius brightly.
Sirius shrugged, “Good… that’s good…” He nodded, turning towards his bedside table and picking up the card Lily had brought him.

I’m so worried. Everyone’s saying you’re fine, but I can’t help it—you know how I think. The dog was my first stuffed animal and it usually brings me comfort. I was hoping he would bring you comfort too. His name is “Snuffles.” Please get well soon Sirius. I’ll visit you in the morning too, okay? Keep the doggie.
Love Always,

P.S. James and Peter got you the cakes—I don’t know they did it.

Sirius smiled and set the card aside, knowing perfectly well how James and Peter had gotten the cakes. Sirius picked up the stuffed animal dog and observed it. It was in a sitting position, all black with smooth fur with a long bushy tail. Sirius grinned as he noticed it’s little green plastic eyes staring back at him. It was a cute thing.
“Nice doggie.” Remus said to him, grinning.
“His name’s ‘Snuffles.’” Sirius told him, holding it up for Remus to see.
“Hello Snuffles!” Remus said playfully, leaning forward to pat it.
Sirius laughed just as the Hospital Wing doors burst open behind him. He and Remus turned their heads quickly to see Lily and James come running in, and at the sight of Sirius, smiling.
“Sirius, you’re alive!” Lily cried, throwing her arms around him into a tight hug.
“’Course I’m alive!” Sirius said, hugging her tightly with ‘Snuffles’ still in one hand.
“You alright, mate?” James asked, approaching his bed, “You took two bludgers with a bad leg to begin with… and then you must’ve fell two stories! It was amazing!”
Lily stared around at James, frowning.
“Yeah, I’m good.” Sirius chuckled, him and Lily pulling away from each other. “My head does hurt a little though now that you mention it.” He said, rubbing his forehead and feeling a slight bump there.
“Yeah and Sirius—don’t ever do that again.” James said, “It’s not worth getting yourself killed just so I can be clear to get a stupid snitch.”
“Well we won, right?” Sirius shrugged.
“Yeah, but still… promise me?”
“Alright, James. No more taking hits for the team… or three for that matter.”

The rest of the day went by smoothly. They all hung out on the grounds most of the day, discussing the match and asking James to relive his Wronski Feint move. Many people approached Sirius and James, commenting on the game or asking about Sirius’s health. A lot of those people, Lily pointed out, were girls. Sirius had also gained the nickname “Bludger Black” by the end of the day, which lasted a good week before it began to wear off.
The next couple of months flew by. Remus had gotten ill again in the middle of November, but recovered the next day as always. (“He’s like some miracle man!” James had said.)
Now the month of December was upon them, Christmas in four days. The castle was caked in light snow and the Marauders had a raid planned that night.
“Okay, tonight’s shift is Remus and Sirius.” James announced in a whisper from the corner of the Common Room.
Remus and Sirius grinned, huddled around James.
“You two should check the statues.” James added, “That witch’s hump probably isn’t the only secret passage on that floor.”
Sirius nodded, “Alright.”

Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen: The Full Moon
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“Where in the world is he?” Sirius groaned, checking his watch, “We always meet up in the Common Room at this hour!”
“He said he had to go to the library.” Peter said, having just approached them in the Common Room from searching for Remus.
“He’d rather read than this?” James cried in disbelief.
Peter shrugged, “I guess… he said he wasn’t going to join you tonight.”
“Okay, that’s it!” James growled, “Me and Sirius are going… but we’re going to make Remus go by himself next time!”
“Let’s go find him in the library right now.” Sirius said, “With your cloak. I want to see if he’s really studying.”
All three of them left the Common Room, slipping through the portrait hole and covering themselves with James’s cloak.
“Wait—wait, stop!” Peter cried, panting.
Sirius and James looked sideways at him; it had only been about six minutes.
“You guys can go, I can’t breathe under here… I’m gonna go back to the Common Room.” He said, walking out from underneath the cloak.
James and Sirius shrugged and turned to walk on, almost running right into someone who had just rounded the corner.
“Why hello, Pettigrew.” Snape muttered coldly, “Where are your little friends?” He sneered, a twisted smile forming on his face.
James and Sirius moved out of his way, coming to stand behind him.
Peter was looking around fearfully, obviously hoping Sirius and James would help him out.
“Not here to protect you?” Snape went on, “Shame… you’re as good as cursed.”
Sirius made to take out his wand, but James stopped him. Sirius stared at him exasperatedly.
“He can’t know about this!” James mouthed. Sirius lowered his hand, scowling.
“Hey, shabby boy’s ill again. Just saw him in the hospital wing.”
“Yeah, because you got hexed this morning!” Peter spat, “James got you good!”
Snape raised his eyebrows, snarling. “Careful Peter… or you’ll end up joining the shabby loser in the hospital wing. Did you know that this is the forth month in a row he’s been there? Where is he going?”
“I d-dunno.” Peter stammered, looking up at Snape and trying his best to act tough. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Snape continued to glare.
“I’m going to ask again Pettigrew… where has he been going? He leaves with Pomfrey during the night while we’re all at dinner, I’m not stupid you know.”
“Why do you want to know?” Peter asked, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
Sirius and James stayed put, Sirius had balled his hands into fists.
“Because it’d be a shame if he was breaking any school rules without any punishment, don’t you think?” Snape sneered, a twisted smile forming on his face as he took out his wand and raised it up to Peter’s face.
“He’s-he’s…” Peter stammered, staring fearfully at the tip of the wand, “I don’t know!” He whined, cowering up against the wall as Snape advanced on him.
“Tell me right now… or you’ll get it.” Snape hissed, his wand inches away from Peter’s chest.
“Expelliarmus!” A voice squeaked from the end of the hallway. Snape’s wand flew high up into the air and landed on the floor in front of him with a clatter. Professor Flitwick, their Charms Professor, was hurrying over to them.
“Severus Snape, you come with me!” Flitwick shouted angrily, pointing towards his office. He picked up Snape’s wand and then turned to Peter. “Mr. Pettigrew, are you alright?”
“Y-Yes.” Peter said quickly, nodding.
“Good… alright, well, carry on.” Flitwick said, turning to follow Snape who was scowling on his way to the office. “Severus, I am very disappointed in you! Attacking fellow students in the corridors, that’ll be twenty points from Slytherin it will!”
They left Peter there alone, both disappearing into the office.
After a few seconds silence where there was no sound at all except for Peter’s frantic breathing, James whispered, “Peter.”
“Yeah?” Peter whispered back, scanning the corridor.
“Go back to the Common Room, alright?”
“O-Okay.” Peter said shrilly, leaning towards the direction James’s voice was coming from.
“We’re gonna go see if we can find Remus.” James told him, and then he and Sirius left the corridor, heading down the marble staircase towards the hospital wing.
“I can’t believe it.” Sirius muttered, “Snape was just playing about the Hospital Wing… he had to be.”
“I know… but I want to check… I don’t think he’d lie about this sort of thing.” James told him.
When Sirius and James got there, they found the doors were closed but faint voices were coming from the inside of the wing. They both pressed their ears up to the doors to listen better.
“…So you still haven’t told them dear?” They heard the muffled voice of Pomfrey say.
“No.” A tired-sounding Remus responded, “I expect they’d desert me if they ever found out where I was every month… and what happens.”
“No now, I don’t think so Remus dear… they’re your friends, they wouldn’t desert you.” Pomfrey said soothingly.
Sirius and James exchanged confused looks, and then strained their ears to hear more.
“I don’t know… they don’t seem the type… but then again I just don’t want to tell them and risk it… Uh, should we go?” He asked.
Sirius could tell that he wanted to stop talking about whatever it was.
“Oh yes… yes, I think so.” They heard, followed by the rustling of bed sheets and the sounds of footsteps coming their way.
Sirius and James both hurried quickly over to the side of the doorway against the wall, just in time to see the doors open. Out stepped an extremely pale, dark circle-eyed Remus, being lead carefully out by Pomfrey.
James and Sirius watched as Pomfrey began leading him towards the entrance hall.
After a few seconds, they both followed as she led him, oddly enough, through the front doors and onto the grounds. The sun was just beginning to disappear over the lake and there was a mass of clouds shifting slowly overhead.
Sirius noticed that Pomfrey kept looking back every few seconds, as to see if anyone were following them, which two boys under an invisibility cloak actually were right then.
Pomfrey turned left and led Remus down a steep hill, heading straight towards the lake. Sirius and James grew even more confused when they made a sudden right, heading right for the Whomping Willow.
James and Sirius came to a halt several yards away from it; clear out of the way if the tree decided to spring to life like it had in Herbology.
He heard James mutter, “Are they mad?” under his breath on his left.
Sirius shook his head, shrugging as they continued to watch Remus and Madam Pomfrey head even further towards the willow.
Remus came to a stop a little ways away from it, like he was waiting for something to happen. Sirius noticed that he kept glancing up at the sky every few seconds, like he was afraid of it falling or something. Pomfrey was circling around the tree, looking for something desperately on the ground. After about a minute, she cried “Oh!” and then bent down quickly, picking up what looked like simply just a long branch. She walked up to the tree with extreme caution… for it was swaying around in the wind menacingly and looked like it might burst to life at any second. When she was closer, she then turned the branch so that it was pointing to a large knot at the base of the tree and gave it a sharp prod. The tree froze instantly. Not a leaf was now twitching.
“Okay Remus dear…” She said, backing away and placing the branch on the ground again, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning then… be careful dear.” She said, giving him a small hug.
“Okay.” Remus said, taking a deep breath and nodding to her. He walked over to the back of the willow, and then got down on all fours… crawling closer and then disappearing headfirst into the base of it.
Sirius’s jaw dropped. James’s eyes went abnormally wide.
What in the world! Sirius thought desperately. This is insane!
They moved slowly closer to the tree, now that it was lifeless, passing Madam Pomfrey who was making her way back up to the castle. She shook her head, looking almost mournful.
“Poor boy…” She muttered sadly, “No one his age should ever have to life with such a burden.”
They waited until she was back inside the castle, some five minutes later, before they spoke.
“Wow, what is going on?” Sirius said, staring at the spot at the base of the tree that Remus had just disappeared into.
“I don’t know… but I wanna know where he’s going and what he’s been doing for the past four months.” James muttered, sounding a little like Snape.
They walked quickly over to the tree, dropping on all fours like Remus had done, and spotted a large hole behind the willow that was camouflaged impressively by all of the roots around it.
One by one, they squeezed themselves into the dark hole at the base of the tree. Sirius, who was first, found himself sliding down a kind of dirt slide before dropping down on an earthy floor.
“What is this?” James asked in awe, having had just landed next to Sirius.
“I think it’s a… tunnel.” Sirius said, trying to peer ahead of him into the pitch-blackness. “Probably like the passages we’ve found.”
“Let’s go!” James whispered excitedly, stowing away the cloak quickly in his robes and standing up… and letting out a sudden yelp of pain.
“What happened?” Sirius cried.
“Lumos!” James cried, lighting his wand. “Yeah, don’t stand up all the way Sirius, this is a low tunnel—we might hit our heads.” James grumbled in a voice of mock-lecture, rubbing his head.
The tunnel seemed to be at least as long as the tunnel to ‘Zonkos.’ After a while, it began to rise.
Sirius’s neck hurt badly as he climbed, from having to crouch the whole time. James was at his side, panting.
“Wait—wait, put it out.” Sirius whispered as they reached a bend in the tunnel.
“Knox.” James muttered. His wand tip went out and they went around the bend, seeing a patch of faint light coming from overhead; they had reached the end of the tunnel.
“It’s an opening.” James said in barely a whisper.
Sirius nodded, “I thought I saw a light.”
James heaved himself through the opening, Sirius following suit right after. As he poked his head out of a large hole, he climbed straight out onto a wooden floor and stood up next to James, rubbing his neck. They peered around the faintly lit room they had just crawled through, straining their eyes, as they were not used to the dark yet.
When the room came into focus, Sirius saw that the windows were boarded up, and the source of the light was peeking through the cracks of it; the sunset. Furniture lay strewn all over the floor, and he also saw that the floor was really dusty… until the source of light completely disappeared and they were left standing there in the blackness.
James tapped him, which made him start, and muttered, “Wand?”
Sirius nodded, “Yeah.”
James’s wand ignited again, flooding the room eerily with wand light.
Sirius now saw that the furniture in the room was not only toppled over; they had chunks from the cushions missing and the legs bore great scratch marks. He felt a chill slowly make its way down his spine. Those aren’t human…
“Where’s Remus?” He breathed surveying the floor, where he noticed droplets of some substance scattered near one of the armchairs.
“I dunno but—“ James broke off as he was left just pointing to his right, towards a door; a loud painful moan had just sounded from right above their heads.
Sirius swore under his breath and felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up hair by hair…
James and Sirius slowly inched towards the door, fearing for their lives but knowing that somebody was in great danger…
Sirius opened the door slowly, holding his breath as they headed out into a hallway. A staircase came into view on their right, and so they headed over, beginning to climb it cautiously. They made it to the top, successfully having not made a sound.
“Urgh!” They heard someone cry, coming from a room that was down the hall. It was a cry of pain.
They quickened their pace, stopping in front of a door that was open by a crack and they were sure the voice had come from.
“ARGH!” They heard someone scream this time; it sounded like a boy.
“That’s Remus.” James mouthed to Sirius.
Sirius kicked the door open quickly with a crash and James and him rushed in, startling someone who was sitting on the edge of a large four-poster bed so much that they fell out of it onto the floor. The person scrambled up quickly from behind the bed, hidden in the shadows, turning to look up at James and Sirius with an expression of pure terror.
“James! Sirius! What are you doing here?” Remus cried, backing up into the corner, his eyes wide.
“The question is, what are you doing here?” Sirius said darkly, his and James’s wands both pointed at him, “Who else is in here?” He shouted loudly, peering around the room, “Show yourself!”
“No one else is here.” Remus said quickly, “Its just me.” He said quietly, panting still.
“What d’you mean? What are you playing at?” James said, holding his wand alit high above his head, Sirius and him both inching closer towards Remus. Remus’s face was only faintly visible, but he looked fearful.
“Nothing, I… YOU’VE GOT TO GO BACK TO THE CASTLE!” He shrieked suddenly.
“Why, what for?” Sirius snarled, “So you can continue to lie about where you are once a month, huh?!”
Remus’s face dropped. He stared at Sirius and James’s angry, suspicious expressions and then sighed.
“Listen.” He said, “it’s dangerous for you guys to be here right now… any second it will—I will… will…” He sputtered.
“Spit it out!” James roared, shoving his wand tip towards Remus, which illuminated him clearly. He looked more horrible than Sirius had ever seen before; he was shaking violently and sweating and, once in a while, cringing or groaning in pain.
“I’m… I’m…” Remus squeaked, his voice shaking all over. He swallowed.
“You’re WHAT?!” Sirius bellowed as Remus let out a shriek of pain and was now cowering.
“I-I’m… a… werewolf.” Remus whispered, sliding down to the floor and covering his face in his shaking and groaning even more. He seemed to be in agony.
Sirius dropped his wand, feeling like he had just been paralyzed. James began to sputter uncontrollably, not a word being able to be understood.
“Why… why didn’t you tell us, Rem’?” Sirius whispered gently.
“I! I thought you’d… stop-being-my-friends!” He said through gritted teeth, trembling with tears.
“N-Never.” James croaked, “We’d never stop being your friend!”
“I-I’m sorry! I was just scared!”
“It’s alright Remus. It’s okay… When is the full moon?” Sirius asked him curiously.
Remus froze. He picked up his head to look at them, and then turned it to look out one of the windows in the room; the only one that was not fully boarded up and gave a clear view of the sky. The clouds were still shifting… the moon hidden somewhere behind them.
Sirius and James looked from the window to Remus and instantly understood; tonight.
Remus whipped his head back towards them.
“Go… Get out.” He whispered, a strange mad kind of glint in his eye.
“R-Remus…?” Sirius began fearfully.
“GO!” Remus shrieked at the top of his lungs… and then something happened. A patch of white light fell into the room; the clouds were beginning to uncover the moon.
Remus threw his arms over his face, shielding himself from the window in pure terror, whimpering loudly.
Sirius and James couldn’t move; they were too frightened to think.
The patch grew larger… crawling more and more towards Remus… making him whine even more… then, with a glance outside, Sirius saw the moon… the complete full moon.
Remus began to shudder violently… his form becoming rigid… he was sprouting hair down his back, screaming bloodcurdlingly… his jaw was beginning to lengthen… but still he forced his head towards them.
“GO NOW!” He roared… which sounded almost like a howl.
James and Sirius bolted, slamming the door shut behind them as they ran, running full speed down the hall and making their way down the stairs. They had just reached the bottom when they heard a howl… Remus was no longer human.
“Oh, bloody hell!” Sirius whined in terror as he turned the knob of the room they had entered the shack in; it was locked.
Sirius shoved his hand inside his robes… only to instantly remember with a jolt that his wand was upstairs with the werewolf.
“Alohomora!” James shrieked, tapping the doorknob with his wand… it didn’t budge. A door crashed open upstairs.
“Reduc…” James choked, “REDUCTO!” He bellowed, pointing his wand at the door. The door was blasted apart.
He and Sirius climbed through the huge hole in the door, running frantically towards the hole in the floor as they heard snarling noises behind them.
James dove in headfirst.
“C’mon Sirius!” He shrieked.
Sirius dove… and slammed onto the floor on his stomach forcefully, just short of it; something was holding him back… someone.
Sirius turned his head slowly to see a fully-grown werewolf holding down his legs with it’s front paws, teeth bared and more frightening than Sirius had ever imagined in his life.
The werewolf growled, a great deal of drool dripped from its mouth onto Sirius’s pant leg. Sirius’s worst fear was real, and it was ready to kill him.
“Remus…” James whispered from the hole, “Remus, it’s us… your friends…” He said, his voice shaking.
The werewolf let out a loud snarl.
“You’re Remus Lupin, not a werewolf!” James roared.
The werewolf stopped growling, and just stared at him; it looked almost confused… and then, suddenly, stepped off of Sirius… backing up a couple paces.
Sirius got up… slowly and cautiously, keeping his eyes fixed on the werewolf. He backed up a few steps closer to the hole, resting his hands on an upturned armchair behind him.
The werewolf watched, silent, but menacingly. Sirius thought desperately.
Then, as quick a flash, Sirius whipped around, facing the hole. The werewolf sprung, letting out a vicious snarl.
Sirius felt a claw sink into the top of his back… and then rip the length of it down as the spell James had just yelled caused the werewolf to be thrown backwards into the back wall with a large crash.
Sirius felt like he had just had five knives slice into him at once; the pain was unbearable. He staggered forward, collapsing into the hole where James caught him and pulled him in by his arms. Then, in a surge of adrenaline, he threw himself forward, followed by James, at a crouch, running along the passageway quicker than he ever ran in his life.
James was breathing fast, his gasps of air echoing throughout the passage. Sirius was running so hard he felt like he would soon suffocate, as he could not breathe properly.
After what seemed like forever, they launched themselves out of the Willow, running towards the castle in a stagger. Then, all of a sudden, Sirius collapsed onto the snowy ground, panting wildly. He was drenched in sweat and blood, which was now trickling down onto the ground from his back. The cool snow felt good on his face as he continued to breathe rapidly, his heart little by little slowing down and not beating as hard against his ribs. He was unable to move from his tiredness.
James had slumped down a little ways away from him on his back, sprawled out and tired like Sirius, his wand tip still ignited, lighting up all around them; the only source of light other than the big bright full moon shining in the sky overhead.
“Well we found out what Remus was doing.” James gasped.
Sirius responded with a groan of pain and exhaustion.
They were laying there in silence for about ten minutes, starting to slowly grow numb from the cold, when the doors to the castle flew open, Peter and Dumbledore running full speed towards them. Dumbledore looked extremely worried.
“James, Sirius, are you two alright?” Dumbledore asked, immediately conjuring up stretchers with him wand the instant he reached them.
“Yeah.” James said, nodding.
Sirius just nodded, as he could not bring himself to talk.
Dumbledore levitated them both gently onto their own stretcher and them began to float them up back towards the castle. Peter was walking alongside them, looking anxious and worried.
They walked into the castle silently, Sirius beginning to breathe with more difficulty as the cuts were now throbbing.
“What’s going on?” Peter whispered, “I told Dumbledore that you guys went to look for Remus and he… well—he went a bit mad and ran straight out here for some reason.”
“Remus…” James croaked, “Peter, he’s a werewolf.”
Peter’s eyes went wide. “Remus?” He cried in disbelief.
“Yes, that’s what he’s been doing….” Sirius grunted, wincing horribly afterward. “Every month.”
Peter looked down at Sirius’s back, Sirius was lying on his stomach, and let out a dramatic gasp.
“Is that where you got that?” Peter asked, pointing a shaking finger at the scratches.
Sirius nodded, letting out a gasp of air just as they reached the hospital wing.

Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen: A Second Home
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“—And that’s when you did this.” Sirius said, lifting up his shirt and exposing the large shining claw scars running down the length of his back. Sirius and James were telling Remus and Peter of the events that happened in the Shrieking Shack; it was the next afternoon, the four of them huddled on top of Remus’s bed.
“…Pomfrey couldn’t get it to heal completely… I guess there’s something about werewolves that doesn’t allow wounds to go away fully.”
Remus cringed, looking horrified.
“Sorry!” He cried.
“S’ Alright.” Sirius said, letting go of his shirt and letting it fall back over his back. “And then James aimed a spell at you and knocked you out I think…”
“—And we ran like mad out of the passageway and Dumbledore and Peter came. They took Sirius and me to the hospital wing and then this morning he called all of us to go into his office.”
“What’d Dumbledore say to you guys?” Remus asked them.
“He just said that me and Sirius were lucky as hell.” James said, shifting uncomfortably next to Sirius.
“—And we were all forbidden to tell anyone about you.” Peter added.
“Which we wouldn’t anyway--Marauder’s secret.” Sirius said, grinning faintly.
James and Peter nodded in agreement.
Remus smiled, “Thanks guys.”
“No problem.” Sirius said, “Should we go down to dinner now?”
“Yeah, let’s go… a werewolf’s gotta eat.” Remus said, rising up off his bed as Sirius cast him a rather pale glance.

“Man, Christmas is in three days!” James exclaimed excitedly, forking a potato.
“Yeah…” Remus said with a smile, “Holidays start tomorrow too.”
“What are you guys doing for Christmas?” Peter asked, “I’m going to my grandparents house. My grandmother makes the best Christmas ham.”
“I’m going to spend it at my mums.” Remus said casually, taking a sip of orange juice.
“My parents’.” James said, eating a potato. They all looked up at Sirius, who was avoiding their eyes and was silent, staring gloomily down at his plate.
“What about you Sirius?” Peter asked.
“Here I guess.” Sirius sighed, putting down his knife and fork, “Nowhere else to go.”
“Oh, sorry mate.” Remus said, frowning, “You’re not going home?”
“Naw… my mum said she didn’t want to see me until school’s over.” He grumbled, folding his arms. James swallowed his potato and slammed his hands down on the table.
“Nonsense Sir,’ you’re coming to my house!” James said matter-of-factly.
Sirius looked up.
“I am?”
“Yeah! My parents won’t care; they’re wanting to meet you anyway. Oh—I told them about you.” He added, seeing Sirius’s puzzled expression. “I send owls to them weekly.”
“Wicked.” Sirius exclaimed, slapping hands with James. “Thanks mate. You sure they won’t mind?”
“No. No one should be feeling glum at Christmas, mate. They’ll understand.” James said, “So pack some clothes tonight… and I’ll go send an owl to mum and dad after dinner. We’re leaving in the morning.”

The next morning, Sirius was really excited. He dressed really quickly and later he and the others could be seen dragging their trunks along with the other students who were going home for the holiday out into the entrance hall. They were awaiting the carriages that would bring them to Hogsmeade station and to King’s Cross.
“Hey Lily.” Sirius said, smiling as he spotted her immediately as she came running up to him.
“Hi Sirius.” She said brightly, “Where you off to?” She asked.
“Oh, James’s place.” Sirius said, grabbing her hand as they made their way closer to the front doors.
“Oh, that’s cool. I’m staying over at my mum and dads.” She said as the front doors opened.
“Oh, that’s nice.”
Lily shrugged. “S’Alright.”
“Okay, to the carriages!” McGonagall cried over to all of the students.
Sirius and Lily walked out together, talking about random things and laughing. They got a carriage to themselves, Sirius putting both of their trunks inside at the same with great difficulty, but not showing it in front of Lily, and they were off.
“Sirius?” Lily asked, frowning as Sirius settled himself down next to her.
“Why is the back of your robes torn?” She asked.
“Uh… I was—I was… a couple of nights ago I—“ He stammered.
“Two nights ago? The full m—“ Lily paused, clapping a hand to her mouth in extreme alarm, looking horrified.
“Lily?” Sirius asked, going wide-eyed. She couldn’t possibly… He thought, though somehow he considered it. How does she? Does she?
“You—you didn’t go… outside… two nights ago, did you?” She asked, her eyes narrowed, seeming to be calculating him.
“Yeah… yeah, Lily, d’you—“
“—Near the—the Whomping Willow?”
“—Yeah, but Lil—“
“—Into the Whomping Willow?”
“Yeah! Lily, Remus is a werewolf!” Sirius shouted, but he noticed that he wasn’t the only one who did; Lily had just said it with him.
Sirius gazed at Lily, bewildered, like he had only just realized she was in the carriage with him.
“You knew?” He asked, thunderstruck.
“For how long? How?”
“Remus told me.” She said, “…and I’ve known for about a-a couple of months.” She added.
“And you never told me?”
“He told you, but not me… or James… or Peter… Oh, that’s great.” Sirius muttered angrily.
“Well, he didn’t exactly tell me.” She said, staring down at the carriage floor.
“What, you possess him or something?” Sirius spat bitterly.
“No—Sirius, I figured him out… and he just didn’t answer me straightaway when I asked him about it.”
“Still… you couldn’t tell me? I had to get a huge souvenir a couple nights ago running all down my back--”
“He made me promise—“
“—I’m your boyfriend!” Sirius shouted.
There was a long paused in which they both stared around the carriage, not meeting each other’s eyes. Sirius felt angry; his own girlfriend had known about Remus and hadn’t told him. He made a heated huffing noise and folded his arms. Lily turned to him, putting her hand on his arm gently.
“I’m sorry Sirius.” She whispered urgently, “I just… he was so scared that you guys wouldn’t be his friend anymore.”
“Yeah, well, he was wrong.” Sirius said calmly.
They sat there in silence the rest of the way. When they got out of the carriage they said goodbye to each other and hugged respectfully, Sirius apologizing for his actions in the carriage just now.
Sirius walked over to James, Peter, and Remus who had just emerged from the carriage in front of them and followed them onto the train. Lily went in another direction with Andromeda, Daveigh, and Gloria.
“Hey Sirius!” Remus said happily.
“Hey.” Sirius grunted, raising his eyebrows slightly as they stepped onto the train.
“You alright?” Peter asked as they walked down the corridor, searching for a compartment.
“Yeah, fine.” Sirius sighed, following them all into an empty compartment and shutting the door moodily behind him. He stowed his trunk quickly away on the luggage rack overhead and plopped down into his seat. James sat down beside him, Remus opposite him, and Peter next to Remus opposite James. James frowned.
“What happened mate?” he asked automatically.
“Hmm… gee, I dunno, Lily knew.” Sirius shot, shifting his gaze at his reflection in the compartment window and seeing his frustrated-looking self staring back at him.
“Knew about what?” Peter asked.
“…About me.” Remus sighed.
“She did?” James asked, looking around at Remus in surprise, “You told her?”
“No.” Remus said, shaking his head, “She found out. She figured out my pattern… how it was always the full moon.” He explained.
Sirius gave the window a dirty look.
“Listen Sirius,” James said, turning to him, “Evans didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Sirius said nothing.
“Sirius, it has nothing to do with trust; she trusts you. She’s just not the type that breaks promises is all.”
“Yeah.” Sirius grumbled, feeling slightly better, “Yeah, I guess so.”
“Well… anyways… I think we all have questions for Remus.” James said. Remus started slightly.
“Peter nodded, “Yeah.”
Remus shrugged. “Ask away.”
“How painful is it?” James asked quickly.
“The most painful thing ever… you have this constant pounding headache—like your brain’s about to break out of your skull… and when you transform, every bone in your body feels like someone’s trying their hardest to snap them… it’s awful.” Remus shuddered.
“When did you get bitten?” Peter asked.
“When I was six. I was walking home from the store--I was picking up some food for my mother… and this crazy old bloke came up to me… just screaming and then he… he transformed. I was too small to run that fast… This other man spotted me and hexed the werewolf… but it was too late; I’d already been bitten.”
There was a long pause.
“Is it lonely transforming by yourself in that shack?” Sirius muttered.
“Loads. I wish so much that I had some company.”
“I’ll go!” Peter shouted.
“No you won’t!” Remus spat warningly, “Sirius’s back should give you some idea why.”
“Is there… is there any way we could go with you and not get hurt?”
“No, no. Werewolves are dangerous to all humans. There is nothing you can do.”
“Aw… sorry Rem’.” James said, crossing his arms sadly.
“S’ Alright.” Remus said, leaning back against his chair and sounding distant. “Hey… hey, what’d you all get on Viridian’s essay?” He said, changing the subject.
“I got a nine out of ten.” Sirius said happily, “And it’s about time he passed those back!”
“Yeah… who in their right mind waits until the end of term to pass back all our papers?” James exclaimed, “If I didn’t get a nine out of ten, I would’ve waited that long to see how badly I failed!”
“Well, I got a ten out of ten.” Remus said proudly, “What about you Peter?”
“Uh… five out of ten.” He said quietly. “Stupid Animagus essay!”
Sirius and Remus began to laugh loudly. James did not; James was frozen in his seat, his eyes wide and his face forming a rather large grin. Remus stared at him.
“Oh no… it’s the look. What is it this time and how much trouble will we get into?” Remus asked casually.
James continued to smile, then suddenly, let out a loud yelp of a laugh like he had figured out something extraordinary.
“What is it mate?” Sirius asked.
“Animagus.” James whispered calmly, nodding his head and then looking up at them all with this wild expression. “Animagus.”
“You’re mental.” Peter said simply.
“No—no, I’m not…” James cried impatiently, “Think.”
“Think about what?” Remus asked.
“Werewolves are only a danger to humans… to humans.”
Sirius and James exchanged looks.
“No… you’re not saying…” Remus began.
“He is!” Sirius yelled, clapping his hands together; excitement was beginning to flood through him.
“What’s going on?”
“How thick are you, Peter?” James shouted, losing his calmness.
Sirius sighed, “We can become Animaguses and go with Remus to the Shack.”
“Oh!” Peter cried, his eyes now widening, “Cool!”
The rest of the ride was spent discussing what animals would be best to transform into.
“—Peter could touch the knot and freeze the Willow if he was a rat.”
“—Good thinking, Remus… and me and Sirius can transform into big animals to keep you in check.” James added, “A dog, a rat, and a stag…”
“Sounds wicked.” Sirius said, a glint of excitement in his eyes.
“How’ll we do it?” Peter asked.
“Dunno…” Remus began, “I hear it’s hard… and you have to register and everything… but I don’t—“
“—We won’t.” James informed him, “If Dumbledore found out that you betrayed him and were running around with us once a month than you’ll lose his trust. We’re not gonna register.”
“Yeah… and if Snivelly ever found out…” Sirius muttered darkly, “He’d use any excuse to expel us you know…”
“Alright so it’s decided—three unregistered Animaguses are born.” James said, putting out his hand.
Sirius immediately put his hand on top of James’s, followed by Remus. After a couple of short seconds hesitation, so did Peter.

When they arrived at King’s Cross, they all said their goodbyes and headed off to meet up with their families.
“Oh—C’mon Sirius, I see my mum and dad over there!” James shouted, pulling Sirius along by the shirt.
Sirius followed him in a slight run, looking up ahead of him to see a man with very untidy hair and glasses, and a brown-haired woman with brilliant hazel eyes. James smiled and gave his mom a big hug, then gave his dad a pat on the back and turned around to face Sirius.
“Mum… dad… this is Sirius Black.”
Sirius smiled and waved hello.
“Hi Sirius.” James’s mom said, beaming and placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Hello there, young man.” James’s dad said, holding out a hand for Sirius to shake as he was led out of the station.
He shook it and then said hello to each of them as they walked out onto the street.
After entering the Leaky Cauldron and traveling by Floo Powder into James’s living room, Sirius had reached the Potter’s house.
Sirius loved James’s family; both of his parents were kind and understanding. Sirius had told them all about his situation at home and why he was not spending the holidays at Grimmauld Place.
“…Well, we’re glad to have you, Sirius.” Mrs. Potter said, “Now you two run along now, you can hang out up in James’s room until dinner is ready.”
Sirius and James both nodded and then started to head upstairs, dragging their trunks behind them.
“No, no boys!” James father shouted suddenly, taking a few strides up to them.
“Yeah?” James asked, turning.
“You don’t have to break your backs going upstairs with that lot—Locomotor Trunks!” He shouted, and then both James and Sirius’s trunks rose a few feet into the air. Mr. Potter followed them upstairs, floating the trunks effortlessly in front of him. When they reached James’s room, James and Sirius went off to the side and Mr. Potter lowered tem down onto the floor with an upward flick of his wand. Then he directed his wand at a space beside James’s bed and made a swishing motion, conjuring up a second bed.
“There you go, boys.” He said, stowing away his wand and smiling pleasantly, “You two need anything else, just call me.”
“Okay, thanks dad.”
“Thanks, Mr. Potter.” Sirius said as James’s dad left the room. “Wow mate, your parents are nice.”
“Yeah…” James said, plopping down onto his bed, which had patchwork quilt of snitches, bludgers, and quaffles for a design, “They’re really cool.”
“My mum and dad always talk about how ‘great’ our family is to be pureblood and how Regulus is ‘a much better son’ and that ‘he can have friends over and I can’t.’ It drives me mad.”
“That’s horrible.” James said, frowning.
“Yeah, it is. I hate my family.” Sirius grumbled.
“Well… at least now you have a second home.” James said, flashing him a smile.
Sirius grinned and plopped down on the spare bed; the thought of James referring to his house as his ‘second home’ was truly something to be happy about.

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen: The Marauders Get New Names
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The rest of the night was spent eating a delicious chicken dinner Mrs. Potter had cooked for them, playing exploding snap, Mr. and Mrs. Potter telling them eventful stories of when they were in school, and then the two boys discussing what James hoped his parents had gotten him for Christmas up in James’s bedroom.
“—D’you reckon it’s a racing broom?” James suggested excitedly.
“If it is then you’re sharing it!” Sirius teased, climbing into his bed. “God Rest Ye Merry Gen-tle-men!” Sirius hummed; he was really ecstatic about Christmas this year, not to mention hyper.
“Oh, I think I’d lose it if it was a Cleansweep!”
“--God Rest Ye Merry Cleansweep!”
“Or they’ll probably get me clothes like last year’s little socks-capade.”
“God Rest Ye Merry So-oocks!”
James laughed.
“Hit the sack alright, it’s midnight!” James’s dad called into the room.
“Merry Christmas, Dad!” James shouted.
“Merry Christmas James and Sirius!” His dad said chuckling as he made his way down the hallway.
“Merry Christmas Mr. Potter!” Sirius shouted, slumping his head down on his pillow and smiling up at the ceiling.

“Wha--?!” Sirius started, sitting bolt upright in his bed to come face to face with a gleeful looking James. It was Christmas morning.
“Presents, mate!” James yelled, running over to the foot of his own bed, “Loads of them!”
Sirius jumped out of his bed enthusiastically, forgetting at all that he was still tired, and strode over to kneel beside a large pile of presents.
At the top of the pile he saw a package wrapped in scarlet-colored wrapping paper with a letter tied to it… the writing on the letter being so familiar to Sirius, but who was it from? Sirius racked his brain.
“Hey, Remus has gotten me something!” James exclaimed, holding up an identical package for Sirius to see.
“Hey, me too!” Sirius said, solving the mystery.
“On three then?”
“Yeah.” Sirius said, picking up Remus’s gift.
“One… two… three!”
They both tore back the wrapping paper.
“’A Step by Step Guide to Becoming an Animagus!’” James cried.
“Excellent.” Sirius said, viewing the golden-lettered title of the handsome, big, thick black book.
James picked up the letter that was attached to it and read it quickly, his eyes darting quickly from side to side, mouthing silent words.
“He said he found this book in his grandfather’s attic.” James said thoughtfully, “And he used a Superfluous Charm to make three copies of it.” He added, “Wow… these books must be rare.”
“Yeah, I don’t even think they have this in the Restricted Section of our library.” Sirius said, turning the book over to look at the back, which was black and empty, “We better hide these good.”
James and Sirius stowed them away quickly at the bottom of their trunks, using a charm to make them appear to be spare notebooks, but when opened by their owner, changed back into their original states.
“Thank Remus for that spell.” Sirius muttered as they went back to opening the rest of their gifts.
James had gotten his Cleansweep, Sirius had received a large poster of his favorite band ‘Wizard and Wand’ from Lily, a bunch of candies from Peter, a silver snuffbox from Regulus that he threw aside instantly, and a large heavy locket that his parents had given him. Sirius opened it to find a picture of the entire Black Family taken a few years previously and a small inscription that read ‘Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.’ Sirius whipped out his wand and muttered the spell for a permanent locking charm and then chucked the locket it forcefully into his trunk. His next present was a neat pocketknife that unlocked any door and undid any knot from his uncle Alphard.
“Wow… if you snuff it the next time we play Quiddich, can I have that?” James asked jokingly.
Sirius smiled, “Well, in that unlikely situation… no way! Naw, if anything, I’ll give it to my kid.”
Sirius had just scanned through a book Andromeda had given him entitled ‘A History of Quiddich’ when his eyes fell on the very last long narrow package at the foot of his bed. He reached for it curiously as he heard James, who had been opening a small package, stop ripping the paper to watch him out of the corner of his eye. Sirius took the letter that was tied to it off and opened it, reading:


We hope you don’t mind, but we really wanted to give this to you. You deserve it.

-The Potter Family-

“It’s from me and my mum and dad.” James said to Sirius, placing his half-unwrapped package aside on the floor.
Sirius looked from the package to James, picking it up carefully and slowly tearing back the wrapping.
Sirius’s heart must’ve stopped.
“Oh my…” He uttered, picking up and clutching his brand new Cleansweep racing broom out in front of him wide-eyed, as if he were handling a very fine sword. “James you didn’t have to… you shouldn’t have gotten me—“
“Yeah, I should!” James argued, “You can’t expect to be on a house team using school brooms the whole time, can you? My mum and dad bought me the same thing… see? Except yours is black and mine is sort of a maroon color.” He said, holding up his own with pride.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Sirius said exasperatedly.
“You’re welcome, Sir’” James said like it was nothing at all. He began opening the package he had started to unwrap again. “Aw, thanks mate!” He exclaimed, holding up Sirius’s gift; he had gotten James a ‘Broom Servicing Kit.’
“I asked your parents if you’d be needing it… and they said yes so I went ahead and bought it.”
“You knew!?” James cried loudly, chucking his pillow at Sirius.
Sirius caught it, grinning, “Sorry James, but I couldn’t spoil the surprise a week before Christmas, could I?”
“A WEEK!?” James yelped, taking the pillow from the floor and beginning to hit himself repeatedly in the head, “Blimey!”
“Hello boys.”
“Hi mum!” James said, putting down the pillow quickly and hurrying over to give her a big hug “Thanks for the broom!”
Sirius rose up from the floor and began walking over to them just as Mr. Potter appeared beside his wife.
“Er…” Sirius began, running a hand awkwardly through his messy hair, “I, uh… thanks. Thanks so much.”
“Ah, you’re welcome kiddo.” Mr. Potter said, beaming.
Sirius was blushing furiously; he felt extremely grateful towards James and his family for treating him so nicely and buying him such an expensive present.
“We were glad to, Sirius dear.” Mrs. Potter said to him with her hands rested on her son’s shoulders.

The next couple of days at the Potter’s house were a blast; James’s parents had taken Sirius and James to Hogsmeade Village (the only entirely wizarding community) where they bought all sorts of things with their Christmas money from school supplies to some trick items from Zonkos Joke Shop. They also played a little Quiddich in the backyard with James’s dad, who was a great flier. The new Cleansweep models were so quick and precise that Sirius felt as if he were just gliding around the sky weightless as he soared through the air. He and James practiced all sorts of moves and even learned some new ones from Mr. Potter, who had played Quiddich when he went to Hogwarts. Sirius couldn’t wait to see Hufflepuff’s face when he and James returned to school the next day with brand new Cleansweeps.
At night in James’s bedroom, Sirius and James could be seen reading the Animagus books Remus had given them by wand light. It was, by far, the most complicated process Sirius and James had ever seen.
“Blimey, James… d’you know how long this is gonna take?!” Sirius hissed, scanning a page entitled: How to Prepare Your Mind for Pondering Your Transformations. “We have to learn how to begin to learn to do all of this!”
“No kidding.” James said, frowning. “There are so many risks!” He said, flipping through quite a few pages. “Look—fifteen full pages of risks!”
“I think Remus will help us out though… at least, I hope so. How d’you reckon Peter’s doing?”
“He’s probably ripped out his hair.” James said, flipping through more pages.

The next day, they headed back to school. Sirius didn’t really want to leave the Potter’s Place, but he knew he’d probably be back some day soon.
When they met Remus and Peter on the Hogwarts Express, both Peter and the both of them burst immediately into complaints and worries about the whole process of becoming an Animagus.
“—This’ll take years!” Sirius shouted.
“My brain can’t function this hard!” Peter cried.
James picked up his book and opened up to a page, shoving it under Remus’s nose. “—It says you could accidentally keep some animal features! I don’t want hooves for hands, Remus!”
Remus shoved the book away quickly and held up a hand.
“—I’m sure if you all practiced hard enough you could all get it right!” Remus said sternly, silencing them for a moment, “And you only keep features like that if you’ve taken a potion or something beforehand… if you all just concentrate hard and help each other out, you’ll be just fine.”
“Hear hear!” Sirius said, “Remus is right. This is just like school.”
“—But I’m horrible in school!” Peter whined, burying his face in his hands.
“Don’t worry, mate—we’ll help you out.” James said, trying to calm him down.
“Okay… so let’s meet tonight.” Remus said, “We could all sneak into an empty classroom or something and practice.”
“Won’t people hear us?” Sirius said pointedly.
“Two words: Silence Charm.” Remus said simply, “I’ll put them on the doors.”

So the four boys waited up in the Common Room, waiting for everyone to disperse and head up to bed. The last kid to leave was Gideon; he was busy planning their next week’s Quiddich match.
“Alright, under the cloak.” James whispered, pulling it out from underneath his seat cushion after hearing Gideon disappear up the dormitory steps.
“This is ridiculous!” Sirius hissed as they walked along the dark corridor of the third floor, all huddled together uncomfortably beneath the cloak.
“Where are we going anyway, Rem’?”
“We’re practically there already… Defense Against The Dark Arts Classroom.” Remus muttered as he led them further down the corridor.
They were all crouched low as they walked to allow the cloak to cover them completely, which made it hard to maneuver, not to mention also hurt their legs from walking that way.
“Ah… this is it.” Remus whispered, then he stuck his hand outstretched behind him in front of Sirius.
Sirius reached inside his pocket (Accidentally elbowing Peter in the stomach while doing so) and then produced the Swiss Army knife he had received from his Uncle, slapping it into Remus’s hand.
“Here… and sorry Pete.”
“Thank you Sirius.” Remus said happily, sticking the knife blade into the keyhole of the door of the classroom and slowly wiggling it around. After a few long seconds there was a tiny click and the door creaked open.
The boys hurtled in, pushing Remus in and closing the door soundlessly behind them. They ripped the cloak of themselves and the gasps for fresh air echoed throughout the room.
“Never again!” Sirius said, rubbing his calves as they were sore from walking in a crouch the whole way, “We’re gonna take shifts next time!”
Remus shrugged, handing the knife back to Sirius, who pocketed it. They waited a few minutes while Remus turned to put the Silencing Charm on the door of the classroom. After that was done, he pulled out a copy of the Animagus book.
Remus flipped through to the first chapter eagerly, and then looked up at the three of them, who had all taken seats in desks while Remus began reading aloud.
“Chapter One: Choosing An Animal… When choos—“
“—We know, get on with it!” James hissed.
Remus flipped through a few more pages.
“Um… Er… Okay… Chapter Two: Picturing Your Animal Internally For Transfiguring… when transforming, the key start of the whole process is as follows: You must think of all elements of the animals physical appearance, repeating them step by step (or hair by hair) in your head. An experienced Animagus can go through this operation quickly and transform instantly... thinking of how they will appear as a whole without going through so many steps… in other words, you must be the animal before you can become one.”
“But… how…what?”
“I don’t know.” Remus said quickly, shrugging irritably at Peter’s puzzled tone and snapping the book shut. “Look, you guys, just picture the animal in your head and start thinking of its traits… how about just picking one feature to start out with for now?” He added, motioning for them to start, “Just clear your minds and concentrate.”
Sirius closed his eyes. “’A dog.’” He thought, “A big black dog… with those padded feet….”
“Okay, everyone pick a feature?” Remus asked, clapping his hands together looking around at all of them.
Sirius and James nodded; Peter hesitated for a short while before he finally nodded too.
“Now… picture that feature appearing slowly… exactly where it would be on your body… concentrate really hard on it growing… on it appearing….” Remus whispered, pacing back and forth in front of the rows with the book still open in his hands. “Oh, and no internal organs yet guys please… that’s really advanced and highly dangerous.”
They all nodded up at him.
“Padded foot.” Sirius muttered, screwing up his face in deep concentration, picturing them appearing on the soles of his feet.
Sirius turned his head beside him to see James… with a single antler poking clear out of his forehead. Sirius was going to gasp… but something else distracted him elsewhere, inside his shoe.
Sirius looked down at his normal-looking shoes with a hint of curiosity in his eyes of what had just happened inside of it. He bent down, removing his right shoe cautiously… then pulled off his sock, and gasped loudly at what he was seeing; he had a thick black pad covering the sole of his foot and right underneath each toe.
“Excellent!” Remus cried in awe, looking from James to Sirius. His eyes then wandered over to Peter… who was avoiding their gazes and looking extremely uncomfortable. They all stared at him.
“Pete… did you get it to work?” Remus asked, observing him closely for any visible animal features.
Peter nodded slowly, keeping his gaze to the floor.
“Oh! Show us then!” Remus said excitedly, approaching him and trying get eye contact.
But Peter shook his head frantically, strangely moving his hands immediately to the back of his pants where he tried desperately to cover up his lower back.
“What is it, mate?” James asked, feeling the tip of his antler with his fingers as to see if it was sharp.
“Can’t be worse than this.” Sirius cried, indicating his padded foot.
Finally, Peter let out a sigh and stood up out of the desk. He turned around so his back faced them all and, reaching inside his pajama pants, pulled out something that was sticking out of his lower back that appeared to be a—
“—A WORM!” Sirius shrieked, “He didn’t do it correctly, he’s gone and got himself infested!”
“I told you this was dangerous!” James cried.
“No!” Peter said loudly over the gasps of the three of them. “No, it’s not a worm!”
There was a pause.
“Oh yeah!” James cried, “No, he’s right—It’s no worm… Peter’s got himself a fine tail there!” He said, beginning to giggle, “A rat’s tail!”
Peter had flushed beat red, tucking it back in hastily and sitting down again while Sirius and James began to laugh. And then, suddenly, his expression changed drastically. He shot his head up to Remus, his eyes wide with a desperate fear.
“What? What is it, Pete?” Remus asked quickly.
“How… how do we turn back?”
Sirius and James stopped smiling.
Remus frowned, opening the book and flipping through the pages of it desperately.
Sirius’s jaw dropped.
“You do know how!” He whined, clutching his desk in horror. ‘If he couldn’t get rid of this… how horrible would it be trying to walk along the corridors with a padded foot?’
“Remus!” James shouted, slamming both his hands down on the surface of his desk in extreme desperateness. “Don’t tell me you need ‘volume two’ or something to know how to change back!”
“Wait… wait—here!” Remus exclaimed, throwing the book down onto Sirius’s desk and placing a finger at the start of another chapter. “To change back… just imagine your normal human form and it will go away.”
There were signs of relief among them all. Sirius put his head down and exhaled deeply, feeling a lot better.
“Do we have to say anything?” James asked.
Sirius and Peter looked up.
“No… actually not.” Remus said, staring back down at the book, “Just clear your mind and picture your body being in its original state and it will disappear. You just have to be relaxed is all.”
“Yeah, that’ll be easy,” Sirius muttered in sarcasm, “Especially since we have the small worry of us keeping these!”
But they had managed to change back easily, and by the end of the ‘lesson’ they had managed to successfully change and change back from having a tail, an antler, or a padded foot. In fact, Sirius and James had learned to do it rapid fire, whereas Peter needed a lot of time to. (“Don’t worry Peter… it says that it takes a while to get the hang of it.” Remus had told him.)
“Alright, shall we go?” Remus asked, checking his watch. “It’s already one in the morning… and you guys have a match tomorrow, you know. Gideon will be after your skin if you’re not well-rested.”
“Yeah, we know… hold on.” James said. He then closed his eyes and, on his forehead, an antler flickered quickly in and out of view. He and Sirius roared with laughter.
“Wait—Wait!” Sirius gasped, “Mr. Potter… what’s the answer to number three?” He said, doing an uncanny impression of Professor McGonagall.
“Hmm… gee, I don’t know.” James said, staring down at his desk in thought. Suddenly, his head shot up, along with an antler, and he said, “Can you repeat the question?”
Sirius, James, Peter, and even Remus all shrieked with laughter as James made his forehead right again.
“McGonagall would have a fit!” Sirius said as they made their way towards the doorway, his eyes now teary from having had laughed so hard.
“—You’re not doing that! You’d get expelled if anyone found out what you guys were up to!” Remus cried.
“We’re only playing!” James said, taking out his Invisibility Cloak, “Relax, mate, we wouldn’t tell anyone.” He said in all seriousness.
“Yeah, ease up a bit.” Peter said, patting him lightly on the shoulder and helping James pull the cloak over them all. Remus took the Silencing Charm off of the door, and then opened it, holding a finger to his lips to silence them all as he peered out into the dark corridor.
“Coast is clear.” He whispered. They then began inching their way out of the door.
“Ow!” Sirius hissed, “You stepped on my foot! Nice going, worm-tail!” He said to Peter.
James began to shake with laughter.
“I wouldn’t be laughing if I were you… Mr. Prongs!” Peter said, smiling at his own cleverness.
Now Sirius began to laugh.
“Pad-foot!” James shot, in a teasing sing-songy voice.
“…Hey, I like the sound of that actually.” Sirius said, rubbing his chin with his thumb and index finger. “Pad-foot… Padfoot…”
“Hmm… yeah we should call you that from now on.” James said jokingly.
“Yeah, we should!” Peter said excitedly, “We could all have nicknames!”
Sirius and James gave him a look that said ‘are you kidding?’
“Well, it’d be fun… you know, the first features we could do?”
“Alright…” Sirius said, beginning to actually consider it.
“—But you’re still Wormtail.” James added.
Peter shrugged, not seeming to mind.
“Alright, then it’s settled. We’re ‘Padfoot,’ ‘Prongs,’ and ‘Wormtail’ from now on.” Sirius said as they started to climb the stairs to Gryffindor Tower.
“Hey, what about Remus?” James asked, “He can’t get in on the fun? He’s only the reason we’re even doing this in the first place.”
“Fair point.” Remus said, smiling.
“Wolf?” Peter suggested. “Well, it should have to do with why we’re doing this!” He said hotly to James and Sirius’s chuckles.
“Why we’re doing this… ‘lonesome?’” James said, shrugging.
Sirius chuckled even more. Remus snorted, shaking his head.
“Nah…” Sirius said, recovering from laughing, “This really all happens because of the moon if you think about it….”
“—Lunar Lupin?” Peter suggested, which made them all snort.
“No… Moony.” Sirius said in a finalizing tone.
“Yeah…” Remus said, “That’s cool.”
“Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs!” James whispered fondly as they reached the portrait hole.

Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen: Andromeda's Secret
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“—Okay, now that we have an upgrade to the team….” Gideon began, his eyes wandering over to Sirius and James’s new Cleansweeps, “Hufflepuff’s gonna be flattened.”
James, Sirius, and the rest of the team exchanged grins; they were all sitting in the locker room, fully dressed in their Quiddich robes, hearing Gideon’s speech before they went onto the field.
“You mean more flattened then they already would have been?” Benjy Fenwick said, gripping his broom.
Gideon laughed, nodding, “Yeah… yeah, I guess so.”
“Shall we go?” Longbottom asked, shifting on the bench eagerly.
“Hold on, wait until—ah yes, let’s go.” Gideon said excitedly, as Daveigh had just finished announcing the Hufflepuff House Team, which meant they were next.
“They’re not gonna know what hit ‘em!” Podmore said, laughing and rubbing his hands together as they headed out of the tent and onto the field.
“—And here is the Gryffindor House Team!” Daveigh shrieked, “Podmore, Fenwick, Black, Doge, Prewett, Longbottom, aaaand—Potter! Oh and look—It seems Black and Potter have upgraded… they’ve got a couple of brand new Cleansweeps!”
The crowd’s attention seemed to change dramatically so that all eyes immediately came upon on Sirius and James, who had both begun zooming full speed around the edges of the pitch, showing off the speed of their new brooms.
“Woooo!” Sirius yelled, flying upwards towards the sky and feeling the cool air whip through his hair. After a few seconds, he yanked his broom downwards, coming down to the level of all the other players, followed by James who took his position a little ways above them all, ready to Seek.
“Ready for this, Padfoot?” James called down to him as Joe, their former flying teacher, came onto the field with the crate.
“You know it, Prongs!” Sirius shouted as Joe opened the crate with a snap. The bludgers and Snitch took off.
Sirius gripped the handle of his broom tightly, staring down hungrily at the quaffle that Joe was now getting… and then it was thrown up.
“—And the quaffle is released… and Black swipes away it before the Hufflepuff chasers can even think! Gryffindor in possession!”
Sirius was zooming towards the Hufflepuff goal… an expression of determination prominent on his face. He was flying full speed towards the left hoop… there was no one but the Hufflepuff Keeper to stop him from scoring… then he swerved towards the right goal at the last possible minute, throwing the quaffle up in the air and tailkicking it with precision so it sailed perfectly through the goal.
The Gryffindor fans erupted with cheers. Sirius zoomed forward, behind the Hufflepuff posts, and caught the quaffle he’d just scored with, then swerved around and started to head up field again.
“Spectacular goal made by Sirius Black!” Daveigh screamed, “Wow, he can play!”
“—Black!” Sirius heard from his left as he made his way towards the center of the field with the quaffle.
“Pass!” Gideon said, holding out a hand.
“Oh.” Sirius said, tossing the Quaffle to Gideon, where he caught it in his hand.
“Cover me!” Gideon grunted, dodging a bludger that a Hufflepuff beater had wailed towards him.
Sirius nodded, following Gideon towards the Hufflepuff end again. Doge was flying closely above them both.
Sirius spotted a Hufflepuff Beater coming towards them, by the name of Amos Diggory, and swerved in front of him, blocking him completely.
“Hey Amos!” Sirius said cheerfully, zooming around from side to side and every which way in a manner that looked uncannily like a dragonfly.
“Get outta my way, Black!” Amos hissed, swinging his bat around angrily, trying to swat away Sirius.
“Oh no… because if I moved, you see, we wouldn’t have just… scored that goal.” He finished, grinning slyly over the eruption of cheers and the voice of Daveigh, who had just shouted “DOGE SCORES!”
Amos gave Sirius a very cold look as Sirius, laughing happily, shot away again and headed over to congratulate Doge.

“Woo! Good Game!” James shouted, slapping Sirius’s hand as he entered the locker room.
“You said it.” Sirius said, gathering up his equipment and shoving it one by one into his locker.

After they had changed and showered… and heard a victory speech from Gideon, James and Sirius headed outside. Lily, Remus, Peter, and Andromeda were waiting for them under the beech tree by the lake where they all sat down to talk.
“—Excellent catch, James.” Remus said.
“—They didn’t know what hit them!” Peter cried.
“—And that tailkick… it was brilliant!” Lily raved, her head rested on Sirius’s shoulder, “You’re so good.” She added dreamily.
Sirius rolled his eyes, beginning to blush.
“Well, I—“
“—Oh look, it’s girly boy, shabby boy, and the rest of the morons!”
Sirius whipped his head around to see that Wilkes had spoken out from the group of Slytherins that were walking up to them. Some of them, Sirius noticed, were clutching wands. James and Sirius quickly rose up from the ground, wands out as Snape’s Gang reached them.
“What d’you want, ‘Snivellus Six’?” James shot coldly, glaring at them all.
“Shut up, Potter.” Avery spat, rolling his sleeves up threateningly. “You lot think you’re so cool just because you can play Quiddich!”
“…And what’s your point?” Sirius asked, in a rather bored tone.
“The point? I believe the point, cousin… is this.” Bellatrix said, pulling out her wand.
Andromeda sprang up from the ground quickly.
“Come off it, Bella!” She yelled, “Just because they made house team you’re gonna hex them? You guys could make it if you weren’t all a bunch of nasty gits!”
“Hmm…” Bellatrix said, fingering her wand delicately, “I seem to recall the fact that you didn’t make house team, did you?” She said with a nasty smile, “Alternative Seeker? You should have seen dad’s face! Never did fit in with our family, did you sister?”
“SHUT UP!” Andromeda screamed, whipping out her wand and beginning to advance towards her… and then something happened. Andromeda’s long brown hair shortened… and shortened… and soon her hair came to form bright flaming red-colored spikes that pointed upwards from the top of her head.
Everyone but Sirius and Bellatrix screamed, staring completely horrified at it. Remus, Lily, and Peter stood up from under the tree. Sirius was wide-eyed, but there was a grin forming across his face, and Bellatrix just wore the expression of someone who looked like they had received a hard slap. Andromeda, extremely confused, turned around thinking that whatever they were all staring at was at something behind her.
“She’s possessed!” Snape screamed, bolting off in the opposite direction.
His gang all turned and followed him back to the castle, except for Bellatrix, who was frozen to the spot.
“You—You….” She sputtered.
“What? What’s going on?” Andromeda said, looking alarmed.
Sirius started to chuckle.
“’Dromeda… you morphed.” He said, pointing up at her spiky hairdo.
“I—What?” Andromeda cried, her eyes going wide as it dawned on her… then she broke out into a wide grin.
“I don’t believe it!” Bellatrix hissed angrily, turning on her heel and speeding off towards the direction the rest of her friends had gone. “She gets it!”
Lily, James, and Peter looked simply stumped. Remus, on the other hand, was scratching his chin and staring at the ground in deep thought.
“Ha ha!” Sirius yelled, pulling his cousin into a one-armed hug, “It’s you!”
“Yeah… Padfoot? D’you mind telling us what the heck is going on?” James said, “What are you on about?”
“I think she’s a… a….” Remus began.
“A Metamorphmagus!” Andromeda shrieked, turning towards them.
“A what?” Peter asked.
“She… you can change your appearance at will?” Lily asked, bewildered.
“Well, apparently I can!”
“—Isn’t there… Oh, I get it… one per generation! So that’s why Bellatrix was mad!” Remus said, grinning.
“Yup, her mum can do it.” Sirius said, “They’ve always been fighting over who would be the next one.”
“Oh, I can’t wait until Bella tells Narcissa!” Andromeda squealed with glee, clapping her hands together, “Oh, mum’ll be so proud of me!”
“Wait—so you can change what you look like… and your sisters can’t?” James asked.
“Yep… I can’t believe its me!”
“How did you guys know what a Metamorph—thing was?” Peter asked Lily and Remus.
“Books.” They said together.
“We went to the library a lot to talk and study before he had to go to the Hospital Wing to meet Madam Pomfrey.” Lily said, “It’s what we did when I knew about… well, why he’s called ‘Moony.’”
There was a pause.
“What do I look like?” Andromeda asked, eyeing them all eagerly.
“Like there’s a fire on your head!” Peter said as Sirius took her by the shoulders and walked her over to the lake’s edge. The others followed.
“Look there.” Sirius said, pointing at the surface of the lake.
“Oh!” Andromeda gasped, touching her hair in amazement, “Wow….”
“’Wow’ pretty much sums it up all right.” James said, gazing up at the spikes.

The next month passed by smoothly. The Marauders had brought their total of discovered hidden passageways to five, which all led to Hogsmeade. Including the one to Zonkos that was blocked and the one leading towards the Shrieking Shack.
“Man, we should write a map!” James exclaimed, flopping down on his bed onto his belly.
“Hmm… sounds good, Prongs.” Remus said, looking thoughtful.
“I wasn’t serious, Remus.” James laughed.
“But it’s a good idea… actually, it’s a great idea.”
“Yeah, but if we’re going to make a map we’d have to make sure we’re the only ones who can read it. We wouldn’t want just any prat to figure out the passageways in an instant when we’ve already worked so hard to find them.” Sirius said pointedly.
“Hear hear!” Peter said, nodding feverishly.
“Well, let’s work on that tomorrow then.” James yawned, stretching out his arms, “I’m beat.”
Remus heaved a dramatic sigh.
“What’s up, Moony?” Sirius asked, frowning.
“Full moon tomorrow night.”
“On Valentines Day? Man, that takes it… wish I could go and keep you company.” Sirius stressed.
“We all do.” James said, “But the most I’ve done so far is managed to grow just a pair of antlers… it’s hopeless.”
“Yeah, it is hard.” Sirius nodded, “It’s taking so much time… but at least we’ve come this far.”
“—And we can’t give up on old Moony here.” James said brightly, placing a hand on Remus’s shoulder before going to his four-poster.
Remus gave a weak grin, looking at each of them in turn. “Thanks for going through all this just for me.”
“Don’t think on it, ‘Rem!” Sirius said, crawling into his bed to go to sleep.

Sirius, squinting, opened his eyes to find himself in his four-poster the next morning; the sunlight was pouring in on him from the windows as he had left his curtains open. He yawned widely; beginning to sit up slowly… then came face to face with a large scarlet-colored teddy bear. Sirius beamed.
“Lily….” He muttered softly, reaching out towards it and noticing a box of chocolates and an envelope were included too. He removed the envelope and slit it open using the knife his Uncle had given him for Christmas. He pulled out a small piece of parchment which had a brief note written on it.

Happy V-Day! Meet me outside on the grounds today after lunch.

Sirius smiled and put the letter, the bear, and the chocolates on his bedside table. He was just about to lie back down, then he did a double take; there was a pile of about five more cards and a couple boxes of chocolate at the foot of his bed. He raised an eyebrow and bent forward once more to pick them all up, some, he noticed, were decorated with glitter and hearts.
He looked at the front of the first one, which read ‘To: Sirius… From: Your Secret Admirer.’ He opened it and began to read.
After reading more, he discovered that they were from numerous girls. A few from the Ravenclaw girls by the lake, and a few from some girls he was sure he never seen before in his life.
“Sirius, you’ve got to tell them to buzz off.” James said after Sirius told them who the letters were from later that morning, “You’re with Lily.”
“I know.” Sirius said, tossing them hastily on the bedside table beside Lily’s gift, “But I guess they either don’t know or don’t even care. I mean, I’m pretty sure they would know because most of the school knows about Lily and me.”
After lunch, Sirius headed out to the grounds, following Lily’s letter. He slipped through the front doors with a bouquet of fresh flowers behind his back. He immediately spotted Lily hovering over the rose bush she liked so much and he made a beeline towards her, tiptoeing quickly just as she was straightening up.
“Boo!” Sirius cried, placing his free hand suddenly on her shoulder. She started tremendously and whipped around.
“Sirius!” She cried, putting a hand over her heart, “Oh my god!”
Sirius laughed playfully and pulled the flowers out from behind his back.
“Oh!” Lily gasped, taking them gently and giving Sirius a swift kiss on the cheek. She lifted them up to smell them and she grinned.
“Thank you, Sirius.” She said dreamily. Sirius held out a hand and she took it, then they began walking towards the lake’s edge… in the direction of a group of Ravenclaw girls sitting down, chatting animatedly and giggling. Sirius’s eyes went wide, as he just remembered the Valentines.
“Uh, Lily… why don’t we go over here?” Sirius said, his voice unnaturally high-pitched. He pointed towards the opposite end of the grounds.
“Oh, but, I wanted to go sit by the lake….” Lily said, tugging him on.
Sirius followed reluctantly. He closed his eyes as they began to pass by the girls, hoping that—which wasn’t likely—the girls would not notice him.
“Hi Sirius!” One of the girls said to him brightly.
Sirius opened his eyes to see a blonde-haired girl had just been the one to greet him.
“Er—Hi.” He said, beginning to walk at a quicker pace.
“Sirius—slow down!” Lily said irritably because he was tugging her along with him. She managed to fix herself to the spot, not letting him go any further.
“What are you, his master?” Another girl said, running a hand through her shiny, dark black hair, “’Slow down!’” She mocked.
Lily froze, turning her attention to the Ravenclaw girl. She was still restraining Sirius. “What?” She said, narrowing her eyes.
“Yeah, you’re right, Deseri!” Another girl piped up, “She treats him like he’s a dog!”
On these words, some of the girls shot a mortified look at Lily; others just gave her a really nasty loathing look, like she had just committed a crime.
“C’mon Lily.” Sirius pleaded, trying to get her away from the group before anything bad happened.
“No Sirius, I want to hear what they’ve got to say about me.” Lily told him without looking at him. She was testing them, a glare on her face.
“See? she just did it again!” The Deseri girl shrieked. “No Sirius. Sit. Stay.”
A few girls gasped dramatically.
“I did not!” Lily argued, “Sirius, do I treat you like a dog?”
Sirius, at being addressed when he was so eager to get away, didn’t quite take in Lily’s question right away.
“No… no—no you don’t.” He said, but in a tone, he realized, didn’t sound too convincing after it came out of his mouth.
Lily’s jaw dropped. “You—You do then?” She whispered shakily, looking extremely saddened.
“What? N—no Lily!” Sirius stuttered.
“Well, I’m sorry you had to put up with me then!” She squeaked, tears falling down her cheeks.
Sirius frowned. He made a grab for her arm and opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out; he couldn’t think of what to say. She wrenched it out of his grip.
“Wait—Lily!” Sirius yelled as she ran off, beginning to sob.
Sirius tore off after her, eventually catching her by the arm an about a couple arm’s lengths away from the doors of the castle.
“Lily, I don’t think that way!” Sirius said desperately, turning her to face him.
“Oh, don’t try to cover it up!” She wailed, thrusting the flowers he had given her into his hands. “I knew we shouldn’t have ever started this—us—I knew it! It was all just a mistake! You never really liked me, you just didn’t know how to get rid of me!”
“W-what?” Sirius yelped, a pang of shock having gone through him at these words. “Lily!” He choked.
“We’re done!” Lily said in a finalizing tone, wrenching open the castle doors and striding in, and then slamming the doors moodily in his face.
Sirius just stood there, staring at the doors… letting the bouquet fall to the ground as his feelings began to overwhelm him. He was in such a state of shock as he turned away that he almost fell down the stairs as he was descending them, heading out towards the grounds again and feeling awful. He trudged, heartbroken, over to the lakes edge, behind a bunch of bushes so no one could bother him.
He sat there for a couple hours, reflecting on moments he shared with Lily as he stared out towards the other end of the lake, memories with her that slowly started bringing him to tears. He loved her… or at least, it was the closest thing he had felt to love.
Sirius turned and saw someone through the bushes; someone was walking out onto the grounds having just come out of the castle. He wiped his eyes quickly with his hands and got to his feet, walking slowly out from the bushes to see his best friend, James, had called him. James spotted Sirius at once.
“What’re you doing over there, Padfoot?” James asked, walking hurriedly up to Sirius, “It’s late!”
Sirius shook his head, staring down at the grass. He didn’t feel like talking right now. James frowned and put an arm around Sirius shoulder, leading him towards the castle.
“What happened mate?” James asked as they entered the castle. He led him inside, past a large crowd of students that was shuffling into the Great Hall for dinner. “Does it have to do with Lily? I asked her where you’d gone and she wouldn’t talk to me.”
“—Lily dumped him!” A girl’s voice shrieked in outrage from the edge of the crowd. She was a Hufflepuff, accompanied by the crowd of Ravenclaws that had been out by the lake earlier. Obviously, they were beginning to spread the news.
“No….” James said, turning to Sirius. “She did? For what?” James asked, leading him quickly away from the girls, who all looked compassionate.
“She thought… that I didn’t really like her.” Sirius sighed, putting his head in his hands.
“You do though, right?” James asked.
Sirius picked his head up quickly, “Yes! Of course I do! Those girls… they started to convince Lily that she treated me like a—a dog… they said she was bossy, not me! It doesn’t even make any sense—that’s not how Lily is at all!” He shouted, stopping in the middle of the corridor and facing James. “…And when I tried to tell Lily it wasn’t true… she thought I was lying and she said that we… we were a mistake!”
“What?!” James yelped, just as Sirius had done. “Why would she—“
“She—She said that we were done.” Sirius said, throwing himself gloomily against the wall and sinking to the floor, his hands burying his face once more. Tears began streaming down his cheeks again.
“C’mon mate… let’s get you up to the Common Room.” James said, holding out a hand to help Sirius back up.
Sirius shook his head.
“N-no. What if she’s up there?” He choked.
“She’s not. Her and Andromeda are both at the feast.” James said slowly, “She seemed pretty upset. She kept saying to Andromeda that you ‘didn’t have the balls to tell her she was bossy.’” James said, cringing at the last bit of information he’d just said because Sirius’s head shot up again, his expression changing quickly from pain to disbelief.
“She said what?” He whispered quietly, his face reddening.
“’I don’t have balls,’ do I? She jumps to conclusions, that’s what she does! She didn’t even hear what I had to say!” Sirius roared, rising to his feet and looking very angry.
“Calm down.” James said gently, placing his hands on Sirius’s shoulders.
“NO!” Sirius screamed. James recoiled fearfully, “NO, I WON’T ‘CALM DOWN!’ HOW CAN SHE SAY THAT ABOUT ME?! I GUESS IT WAS A MISTAKE THEN!” Sirius yelled, turning from James and running heatedly towards the Gryffindor Common Room. He looked beside himself.
James followed him as closely as he could, panting and gasping, as Sirius bolted up many flights of stairs and screamed the password to the Fat Lady (“PATRONUM!”). She swung forward quickly, looking alarmed, as Sirius ran across the Common Room and began climbing up the stairs to their dormitory.
“Sirius!” James shouted, gasping fro air as Sirius threw the door open and walked over to his bed. He passed Peter, who was sitting on his bed with a book propped open in front of him.
Sirius was so mad; he could not control what he was about to do. He picked up the bear Lily had given him and flung it across the room, then he grabbed the box of chocolates and whipped it so hard against the wall, the chocolates exploded all over the room. He then took the box he kept of all the notes and things Lily had given him and threw them against the dormitory window where they flew everywhere, creating a confetti-like display of scraps of paper.
James, who was horrified at what he was seeing, ran over to Sirius.
“SIRIUS!” He yelled, “STOP!”
But Sirius wasn’t about to listen to him. He ripped the poster Lily had given him off of his wall and threw it on the floor, and then he turned towards his bed, snatching up Snuffles. His whole body trembled with rage as he stared down at the thing. His face contorted with fury as he began to slowly pull him back behind his head, ready to whip the dog—but then, in mid release, James leapt in front of him, catching his arm and preventing Snuffles from going anywhere.
Sirius immediately began to wrench free, but James would not let go.
“James, let—go—now.” Sirius hissed through clenched teeth.
“No.” James said coolly.
“LET—GO!” Sirius roared, then he felt a pair of arms wrap around his middle and pull him backwards; Peter had jumped in to help James restrain him.
“You stop!” James yelled at Sirius as he and Peter managed to shove him down onto his own bed, “You’re acting crazy!”

Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen: Map and Mischief
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Sirius glared. “I loved her,” He snarled, “I—LOVED—HER!” He screamed, rising up off of the bed, but Peter and James caught him and forced him back down.
“Sirius, she doesn’t know that you thought those girls by the lake were wrong.” James said, maintaining calm, “She still doesn’t… now be a man and tell her how you really feel—calmly—after you’ve cooled off.” James spat, boring his eyes into Sirius’s.
Sirius glared back for a few long seconds, but as mad at he was at James for talking to him this roughly, he knew James was right.
“Now.” James began, a little more gently now that he knew Sirius would probably not erupt again, “Me and Peter are gonna leave you alone… and when you’re alright you can come down to the feast, okay?” James released his grip from Sirius and Peter did the same.
Sirius nodded, not looking at either of them. “Fine.” He muttered, staring at the wall opposite him. A few seconds later he heard the dormitory door close behind him and then he let out an aggravated sigh.
How could Lily do this? He thought angrily, taking deep breaths, then he realized he was still holding Snuffles, squeezing the life out of the thing. He softened his grip and tossed it beside him so that it landed with a soft plop onto his pillow.
He continued taking deep breaths, a little calmed down. Now he just felt like a complete idiot for getting that beside himself and throwing all of Lily’s things around the room.
He spent the next ten minutes picking up everything and putting all of them right again, repairing any damage done with his wand. When he was done he pushed Lily’s gifts neatly under his bed. He then pulled out a single roll of parchment from his bag, and then took out a feather quill and inkbottle. He poured all of his thoughts and feelings out onto it to give to Lily.
It ended up being about two rolls long. After re-reading it, he put away his quill and ink and then carefully folded the parchment. He tucked it into his robes and walked up to his mirror, wiping away a few tears that were still clinging onto his eyelashes.
Then he left the dormitory, headed towards the Great Hall. He was starving after all. A few people stared at him as he entered the Hall, specifically the Ravenclaws, but he didn’t care much. He kept his eyes fixed on the empty seat he was approaching and sat down in his usual spot in between Gideon and James.
James, who had been in the middle of taking a sip of his juice, looked up as Sirius quietly took his seat and began filling up his plate.
“All right, Padfoot?” James said quietly, avoiding Sirius’s eye.
Sirius nodded, beginning to eat his potatoes.
Sitting across from James, Peter cleared his throat. (Remus usually sat across from Sirius, but his seat was empty tonight as it was the full moon).
Sirius looked up at Peter, but then James shot Peter a warning look and Peter hastily went back to eating.
Sirius then looked at James, but James had gone to examining the occupants of the Slytherin table, then James suddenly let out a snort, nudging Sirius and pointing a finger at where he was looking. Sirius looked at the Slytherin table, which he and James were already facing given their seating arrangement, and Peter turned around in his seat to see a look of loathing on Severus Snape’s face that they had never seen before. Snape was glaring at a boy a few seats down from him that they knew as ‘Rodolphus Lestrange.’ Rodolphus had his arm around a giggling Bellatrix; apparently he had just said something highly amusing. After the laughter subsided, Sirius, James, and Peter saw Snape let out a huff of disgust and he turned away from Lestrange, his eyes flickering back over to the pair every few seconds.
“I think Snivelly fancies her!” James hissed, snorting loudly and starting to shake with laughter.
Peter turned to face his own plate and began to laugh along with James. Even Sirius couldn’t help but smirk.
“Well, good luck with that; Bella could beat him up.” Sirius muttered, lifting his goblet up to his lips.
They spent the rest of dinner discussing the Quiddich Final, which was coming up right after Easter holiday. Sirius was feeling considerably better until, when dinner ended, he realized with a jolt that he still had the letter he had written to give to Lily was stored in his pocket.
“Hey—Wormtail… would you mind giving this to Lily right now?” Sirius asked, holding out the letter for Peter to take.
Peter eyes it curiously and nodded, taking it from him. “Sure.”
“Thanks.” Sirius muttered, leaving Peter to join James as they headed back to Gryffindor Tower.
Sirius and James were in the middle of talking about Quiddich practice in the Common Room, Peter listening in, when they heard a sharp tap. They all turned their heads towards the window to see a barn owl perched outside, a letter clutched in it’s beak, eager to get inside.
James, being closest to the window, lifted the latch and opened the window, taking the letter from the owl. He shut the window and began walking back towards his seat, scanning the front of the envelope.
“It’s from Lily.” James said, handing it automatically to Sirius.
Sirius looked from James to Peter before slowly ripping it open.

Thanks for the letter. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so sweet. I’m sorry that I made such a big scene. I guess I was just hurt. It really hurt me to think that you didn’t really like me, but now I know that you didn’t think that way at all. I’m sorry if I ever did treat you that way, and I’d like to start over. Love you, Sirius.

P.S. Let’s just forget what happened, okay?

Sirius put the letter down and smiled. Now Lily understood him. They weren’t broken up after all and everything was all right. Sirius felt a surge or warmth and happiness fill him up. After a while, he noticed that James and Peter were eyeing the letter.
“Oh—Take it.” Sirius said smiling, handing it to James.
Peter and James were sitting huddled over it for a few minutes, reading it then when they finished, put it down on the table next to the couch.
“Well that’s good then!” Peter said.
James was staring at the hearthrug, not looking at either of them.
“See what I told you? You just needed to tell her how you felt is all.” He said, but his tone was slightly hollow.
“Yeah, sorry Prongs.” Sirius said in a low voice, “I was a right old prat earlier.”
“S’Alright Padfoot.” James said, a little more meaningfully than natural.

The next couple of months things with Lily and Sirius couldn’t have been better; if anything, that whole incident made their relationship stronger.
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs had been working extra hard twice every week to learn how to become Animagi. Sirius could now turn both his hands and feet in to actual paws, which he had to remove his shoes for, and could also turn his nose into a little black wet dog’s nose. James now could grow a pair of antlers, a tail, and could turn his eyes into that of a Stags. Peter had a rat’s tail, teeth, and whiskers done.
They had had a gruling week of final exams, which had them staying up for long hours to study facts, spells, and ingredients. Remus was always the last to leave the Common Room at night, whereas when James and Sirius said they were tired, just went straight up to bed with Peter always following suit.
On the Easter Holiday, Sirius had been invited back to the Potters house again. They had a blast again, going to Hogsmeade Village and getting permission to wander around the alleyways by themselves by James’s parents. They also stopped by Diagon Alley to visit Quality Quiddich Supplies so Sirius could get a broom-servicing kit of his own that he’d been saving up for.
It was now mid-April and the Quiddich Final was the very next day. The Marauders were up in their dormitory, alone, in deep discussion while huddled over a large piece of parchment that was spread out across James’s bed.
“—No, that part of the passage looks like this!” Sirius shouted, holding his quill out in front of him and drawing a curved line in midair.
“No, it’s a corner, not a curve!” Peter argued.
“Isn’t that the same thing?” James asked them both pointedly, his eyes scanning the parchment; they were beginning to draw out the map that they had been so eager to start.
“No!” Both Sirius and Peter shouted angrily, continuing to quarrel.
“Alright, shut it you two… SHUT UP!” Remus shrieked, causing Peter and Sirius to become quiet immediately.
“Whoa, Moony….” James said, taken aback; Remus hardly ever shouted.
“Now…” Remus began, picking the parchment up from the bed and holding it out in front of him, “Okay, I’m pretty sure I know a charm… yes I do… now we just need to have someone--”
“—Me!” James and Sirius cried enthusiastically, their hands shooting up in the air.
“Alright… Padfoot and Prongs will walk along every corridor in the castle tonight then.”
“What?” Sirius yelped, “Why?”
“Because I know a map-making charm that’ll make this a breeze to get done.” Remus said simply, “Now, as you walk along the corridors and rooms and everything, the map will automatically be drawn out… now we should scale it to just include as much as the castle and the grounds around it, unless your up to walking around the entire Village of Hogsmeade. Now… watch.” Remus said, putting the map back down on the bed and extracting his wand from his robes.
“Inskipasmagui…” Remus muttered, tapping the map. At once, the map wiped clean of what they were sketching out rather unceremoniously before… but something else happened; it was almost as if someone was pouring ink on the center of the map, but instead of a large black expanding, lines were appearing… they formed a tiny circle and a round outer layer around that circle… then it stopped. Then, Remus took his wand and tapped the center of the square, muttering “Gryffindor Tower.” At once, the words Gryffindor Tower appeared clearly right in the spot Remus had tapped, like the ink had just seeped up from the bottom of the parchment, but out of nowhere.
Sirius, James, and Peter were at a loss for words.
“Con you guys go and do that?” Remus asked, pointing out the newly formed tower on the map.
“Yeah!” James said, taking the map and gazing at it.
Sirius was just sitting there staring at the map along with James, when he let out a sudden gasp.
“Aw, you know what we should do?” Sirius exclaimed.
“What?” Peter asked quickly.
“Make it so that whoever reads it knows how to get into the passageways… you know, what to do with your wand and what spell to say….”
“Yeah!” James said, pausing midway through grabbing his cloak so that he and Sirius could finish the map.
“You can do that.” Remus said, nodding, “Just point your wand somewhere on the map and say ‘mimic me’ then do, in real life, whatever you do to get into the passage… and that’s it. Oh, and take one of those two-way mirrors with you…but leave one up here for me and Peter so we can talk to you or help you out if you need it.”

An hour later, James and Sirius could be seen scurrying up and down deserted corridors, watching with glee as the map became fuller and fuller.
“Mimic me.” Sirius muttered, tapping the statue of the witches hump on the map with his wand. He then turned to the real statue and tapped the hump, whispering “Dissendium.” The hump slid open.
“Whoa….” James gasped, pointing at the map. “It worked.”
Sirius looked down to see that a small picture of a wand was tapping the drawn witches hump and a tiny speech bubble had appeared next to it with the word ‘Dissendium’ inside it.
Another exciting two hours later, the map was nearly finished. The only thing that needed to be done was the bottom floor.
“Hey, we should visit the kitchens Remus was talking about before we call it a night.” James suggested.
“Right… where is it?” Sirius asked.
“…Dunno. Here—gimme that mirror.” James asked, holding out a hand. Sirius reached inside his robes and pulled out the small mirror, handing it to James.
“Remus Lupin.” James said to it. The mirror began to swirl… until Remus’s tired face appeared into it.
“What do you need?” Remus asked quickly.
“Where are the kitchens you were telling us about? You said something about a bowl of fruit right?”
“Yeah, just—You go down the marble steps into the entrance hall… take a left… then go through that door.”
James and Sirius obeyed, opening the door to find a staircase. They descended it and then found themselves in a brightly lit corridor with big paintings on either side of them composed mainly of fruit.
“Okay, what do we do now, Rem’?” Sirius asked.
“See the painting of the bowl of fruit anywhere? Should be on the left.”
“Yep.” James said.
“Tickle the pear and a door handle will appear.”
“Mimic me.” Sirius muttered, tapping the map.
Sirius extended his index finger and wiggled it lightly against the pear in the painting. Instantly, a green door handle, matching the color of the pear, appeared on the painting out of nowhere. The same happened on the map; a tiny picture of a hand tickling the painting had appeared.
“Alright, Remus.” James whispered, “Thanks a bunch. James Potter.”
The mirror went back to reflecting James’s face.
“Hey, you wanna take this off?” Sirius asked; they still had the cloak on.
“Oh yeah… uh, let’s wait ‘til we’re inside.” James told him, opening the door.
They both stepped inside, spotting at once that there were four long tables, identical to the house tables in the Great Hall, in the middle of a high-ceilinged room. A fireplace was burning brightly on the far end of the room, and heaps of pots and pans lay scattered all along the stone walls. There were also many little creatures running about the room that Sirius guessed must be the house elves.
James shut the door and then pulled the cloak off both he and Sirius to many high-pitched squeals. Sirius frowned and looked around; the house elves had all frozen to their spots, staring at Sirius and James with looks of shock.
“Oh… uh—Invisibility Cloak, see?” James said, holding up the cloak for them all to see. Some returned to work right away, others just stared in amazement and began to approach them cautiously.
James chuckled at their behavior, “It’s okay… see?” He said, lowering the cloak and then throwing it over Sirius so that he vanished. Then he pulled it off again and Sirius reappeared.
All the elves gasped, and some even began to cheer.
“Wow… that blanket is very magical sirs.” One of the house elves nearest to them squeaked, approaching James, “Anything you need?” He asked. He had a pointy pencil-length nose, tennis ball-sized blue eyes, and was wearing what looked like a mini toga as clothing.
“Oh… no—well… er—you don’t reckon me and my friend Sirius could have some pumpkin pasties, can we?”
Instantly, a silver tray bearing several pumpkin pasties and goblets of juice was being rushed over to them by the support of four house elves.
“Wow….” Sirius said, taking a few pasties, “Thanks. You guys are pretty quick.”
They all bowed very low as one, and then ran back off again, getting straight to work.
“We’ll have to come here more often, Padfoot.” James said brightly, loading his pockets with cakes.
Sirius nodded, beginning to eat a pasty.
After James and Sirius were both full and had finished laughing as, in turn, the house elves played with the cloak, (they kept making their tiny selves disappear and scaring the other elves.) James and Sirius thanked the house elves and headed out of the kitchens, pockets full of extra snacks.
They were just heading towards the corridor that led towards Gryffindor Tower, excitedly talking in whispers about the Quiddich Final the next day, when they both spotted caretaker Pringle heading towards them from another corridor. With a jolt, James stopped dead, causing Sirius to run right into him and have his nose collide with James’s shoulder.
“Prongs, what—“
“YOU TWO!” Pringle roared. It was suddenly very clear why James had stopped; they had forgotten to put the Invisibility Cloak on again.
“Oh, this is good… this is good.” Pringle muttered, pacing around his office gleefully, but in a completely evil sort of way.
Sirius and James sat on two uncomfortable wooden chairs facing Pringle’s desk, both petrified and not wanting to know what would happen to them.
Suddenly, there was a sharp knock on the office door.
“Come in!” Pringle said, every ounce of cheeriness present in his gruff voice.
The door opened. McGonagall walked in, still in her night things, stopping at the sight of them both.
“Potter… Black… what in heavens name—“
“Sneaking around past hours.” Pringle said, rubbing his hands tenderly together and rocking back and fourth slightly on the balls of his feet.
McGonagall looked around at Sirius and James, a look of disbelief on her face, “What, shall I ask, were you two doing?” McGonagall asked, standing quite still at the doorway and frowning.
“Getting food from the kitchens.” Sirius said earnestly.
James nodded, “See?” He said, pulling out the cakes they had gotten from the house elves downstairs for McGonagall to see.
“At one o’ clock in the morning?” McGonagall said, raising her eyebrows quite high on her forehead.
“We… we were hungry.” Sirius said quietly.
“Well, now boys… this isn’t your first time getting in trouble now, you know that?” She advised, the frown on her face growing more pronounced.
Sirius broke his gaze from her and stared down at the floor, nodding glumly along with James.
“..And, so… I have no choice…” She began, her voice becoming eerily higher, “You cannot participate in the match tomorrow night.”
Sirius must’ve died inside.
“What?” James squeaked loudly.
“Professor--!” Sirius began, pleading with all his heart, “Please….”
“I’m sorry.” McGonagall said. She did look like it; it seemed to be paining her greatly and it would, seeing as she was the head of Gryffindor House herself. “I know how this upsets you both as it upsets me greatly, but you both must learn what you have done.”
And with that, she strode back out of the room.
Sirius buried his face in his hands as he heard the door click shut. This isn’t happening… he thought, this is all just a stupid dream…
James was rocking back and forth in his own chair, clearly in disbelief and shock.
“Oh no… no no no.” He whimpered.
“—Oh yes.” Pringle growled, brandishing his whip, which he had just taken off a hook on the wall.
James and Sirius both looked up at Pringle, now frightened beyond words. Sirius could feel every heartbeat pounding painfully in his chest… but just as he was trying to think desperately of some way to escape the office and literally save his back, the office door burst open again.
It was Dumbledore.
“Apyllon.” He said with slight urgency, pulling a letter out of the pocket of his robes and extending his arm, “An important letter for you from the Ministry. I must insist that you read it… at once.” He said, glancing down quickly at both James and Sirius from behind his half-moon framed glasses.
Pringle took it curiously.
Dumbledore nodded to Pringle and then walked back out of the room, closing the door gently behind him.
Pringle looked up at James and Sirius with suspicion, as if they had anything to do with it, and then slit the envelope open hastily with his thumb, the whip still in his other hand.
As his eyes began scanning the long piece of official-looking parchment, his look of curiosity lessened more and more and his eyes began to widen. When he was finished, he looked really odd; his expression was inscrutable.
Then suddenly, as if someone flicked a switch, he chucked his whip with all his might across the room, making a vase of dried out roses smash, deafeningly loud, into a thousand pieces. Sirius and James were sprayed with droplets of dirty old water from it, but Sirius hadn’t really noticed; he had started badly out of the shock of what Pringle had just done.
“PROPOSTEROUS!” Pringle shrieked, “’BAN ALL FORMS OF PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT TO UNDERAGE WIZARDS?!’” He roared, waving his fists furiously in the air. He then whipped around to face Sirius and James, and Sirius was suddenly more panic-stricken then he was before. He’s going to kill us… Sirius thought, peering up at Pringle’s now beet red face; Pringle had a horrible vein that had popped out of his forehead and was throbbing, and he was breathing rapidly. It was frightening.
“GET OUT!!!” He yelled, pointing towards the office door.
Sirius and James more than obeyed; they bolted out of their chairs and ran out of the office towards Gryffindor Tower.

Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty: The Worst Prank
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“You’re joking!” Peter gasped, clapping a hand to his mouth and looking horrified. It was the next morning and James and Sirius were reliving their eventful night.
“Nope.” James said, stamping on his shoe angrily. “And now we can’t play in the Final.”
“Who’s gonna play then?”
“Alternates, of course.” Sirius said, pulling his shirt on with such a forceful tug that he hurt his ears.
“Andromeda and Fabian?” Remus asked, who was sprawled out on his bed gazing down at the dormitory floor.
“Yep. But Slytherin’s still no match, the losers.” James said, letting out a huff of mean laughter.

After breakfast, the four of them headed off to ‘Defense Against The Dark Arts,’ James and Sirius still both extremely mad for not being allowed to play Quiddich. Sirius almost wished that Snape was going to try and curse him today; because if Snape did, he would seriously regret it because of Sirius’s already angry mood.
“Hey Lily.” Sirius said, spotting his girlfriend. His anger lifted slightly at the sight of her; at least she’d cheer him up.
“Hey.” Lily said, but it wasn’t friendly; it wasn’t the cheerful tone she usually had when they spoke. “Heard you got in trouble last night.”
“From who?” Sirius asked jerkily.
“Bertha Jorkins.”
“Bertha. She’s a Hufflepuff third year.” Lily said matter-of-factly, “She knows everything about gossip. Told me at breakfast this morning… Before you told me.” She added, looking irritated with him.
“I was gonna tell you.” Sirius said, not believing how she was being with him right now.
Lily nodded in a mock-understanding sort of way, “Yeah… right.” She told him, leaving and going to the back of the Gryffindor crowd and not looking at him again.
Sirius heaved a sigh, “I was too mad about missing the match.” He told the Marauders in defense of himself.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better… I’m missing the match too.” Remus said in what he thought to be a quiet tone.
“I knew it!” They heard loudly from the Slytherin crowd. They all turned around, knowing who it must be.
“Shabby boy, this is the eighth month in a row!” Snape spat, walking up to them all.
“Shut up, Snivellus.” James sneered almost lazily.
“Potter, you can’t do anything and you know it. Don’t want to be kicked off of the team, do you?” Snape teased, a satisfied smile forming on his pale face.
“—You wish you were on a house team!” James cried heatedly, glaring at Snape with every sign of hate.
Snape narrowed his eyes, “Shut up.”
“Ooh, hit a nerve did I?” James said with a twisted smile.
“Stop!” Lily cried at them indignantly.
Snape’s eyes remained narrow, but Sirius see that James had definitely hit a nerve.
“What’s the matter, Snivelly?” Sirius said loudly, completely ignoring Lily’s protests behind him. “Can’t think up a comeback… or cat got you tongue? Heard you tried out for your house team… what happened? Didn’t know which end of the broom to sit on?”
“IMPEDIMENTA!” Snape bellowed so that it echoed throughout the corridor. Sirius was ready for it though.
“Protego!” He yelled. The spell was deflected. Snape ducked out of the way, narrowly missing the spell as it had bounced back at him.
“Where’s Lupin going?” Snape snarled.
“To get you some shampoo!” James said viciously.
“Locomotor mortis!”
Snape ducked out of the way again.
“STOP IT!” Lily shrieked.
Sirius was beyond furious at her. He wanted to turn his wand on her but fought the huge urge to.
“Alright, I’ve HAD IT!!!” Sirius screamed; he couldn’t stand it anymore. Snape. Lily. Quiddich. He just wanted to get away from everything.
He ran full speed down the corridor.
“Sirius!” Lily yelled, she ran after him, catching up to him.
“Leave me alone.” Sirius told her.
“No, I—I just want to talk to you.”
“Why? You don’t think I ‘have balls’ right? Why would you want to talk to me?” Sirius spat at her, walking quickly away from her.
Lily said nothing back to him, but continued to walk behind him.
Sirius turned the corner, and ran full on into someone. They were both knocked to the ground and the person’s things flew everywhere.
“Oh!” Cried the voice of a girl. “Sorry—I’m sorry… Sirius?”
It was the Ravenclaw girl he had met by the lake, Deseri.
“Hi, what’s up?” Sirius said, lifting her up to her feet along with himself and being overly friendly.
Lily had stopped, and Sirius had peered up at her briefly while he had been lifting Deseri up. Lily’s face contorted with confusion.
“Nothing.” Deseri replied to Sirius, “You fighting with your girlfriend?” She asked, giving Lily a half glance.
“What girlfriend?” Sirius said.
Lily let out a squeak, burying her face in her hands and running away from Sirius back towards Defense Against the Dark Arts sobbing and wailing.
Sirius was too mad to care about how mean he had just been. He didn’t care right now. He didn’t even follow her. He bent down and began picking up all of Deseri’s things.
“Sirius, did you just break up with her?” Deseri gasped dramatically.
“Yep. Deseri, right?”
“Oooh, you remembered!” She squealed, blushing. And Sirius noticed for the first time that she was quite pretty.
“Of course.” Sirius said, beaming and gazing into her brown eyes, much like his own. He handed her the pile of books and parchment he had picked up.
“Well… um… I have to go.” She said nervously, taking her things and turning to look behind her. “I’m supposed to be in Charms.”
“Oh ok.” Sirius said, “Uh, I’ll be seeing you later then.”
“Okay!” She said brightly, beaming at him before she walked away.
Sirius smiled; at least she had nothing bad to say about him like Lily did.
He strolled down along the corridor leading towards the Charms classroom Deseri had just disappeared into, wondering where he should go; he did not want to go back to Defense Against The Dark Arts. He decided just to go to the boys bathroom; no one would bug him there.
He ended up staying there the rest of class, just thinking.
Lily doesn’t appreciate me… Sirius thought. All she does is order me around and tell me what I do wrong… never anything nice… that’s not true, she is nice… but I don’t want to be with her again, I want to find a girl who want to have fun with me, not criticize me.
Sirius left the bathroom feeling thoroughly depressed and irritated. The rest of the day he was distraught, not paying close attention to anything anyone said at lessons.
“Hey Padfoot… Sirius? Sirius!” James yelled. Sirius snapped back into sense and realized James was waving hand frantically in front of his face.
“I’m not coming.” Sirius said. He was lying bodily on his four-poster, staring up at the ceiling.
“Oh… okay.” James said, a little disappointed by the sound of it. “You coming to the match?”
“Oh, okay… meet you in the Entrance Hall after dinner then?”
“Sure… sure Prongs.” Sirius said in a voice that sounded distant.
He heard James leave the room, and someone else too.
“You alright, Padfoot?” Remus asked weakly, walking up to him.
“Yeah,” Sirius lied, figuring out it must have been Peter who had left with James. “Take you to Pomfrey now?”
“Well… you don’t have to.”
“I’ll do it.” Sirius said defiantly, sitting up on his bed.
Remus nodded, groaning a little afterwards.
Sirius helped Remus down to the hospital wing, still in deep thought.
“See you tomorrow.” Remus said with a wink, walking into the wing.
“Okay… see you Moony.” Sirius said, smiling weakly. He turned and then headed towards the Entrance Hall to wait for James to finish eating dinner, neglecting his stomach, which was growling hungrily. He felt as empty as his stomach as he waited, and found himself thinking to himself again. I know Lily and me shouldn’t get back together, but I feel awful… and I still love her… I guess that’s probably how a lot of people feel when they break up though…
“Hi Sirius.”
Sirius snapped out of his thoughts and looked up. It was Deseri.
“Oh… Hullo.” He said with forced politeness.
“How’re you doing? You don’t look so good.” She said, going to lean beside him against the wall of the Hall.
“Aw, I’m alright.” Sirius said, shrugging and letting out a sigh, “Don’t worry about it.”
“Okay… well, that’s good that you’re okay.” She said brightly, “Someone like you shouldn’t have to go through feeling sad.”
“’Someone like me?’” Sirius asked, a little confused.
“Well sure… talented, brave, funny… handsome.” She added, blushing a deep red.
Sirius looked up at her, feeling his face growing hot. “Naw, I’m not.”
“Yes you are,” she said dreamily. She got up from against the wall and walked in front of him so that they were face to face, gazing into his eyes.
“No… I’m not…” Sirius muttered as she slowly began moving closer to him. She was really pretty; he could see just how brown her eyes were now… and every cute little freckle on her cheeks…
Sirius was taken away from reality; he could feel her hands wrapping around his neck as he kissed her. He was just in the middle of placing his hands on her cheeks when he heard the creak of doors opening behind him.
He pulled away quickly, realizing what he was doing, and looked over towards the doorway of the Great Hall, seeing that Lily had been first to emerge from inside.
“Lily, I—“ Sirius sputtered, but there was no excuse—no excuse at all.
She looked horrified, not being able to move her mouth, which was hanging open. He saw the other students that were around her looking from her to Sirius to Deseri in surprise, some beginning to make childish noises like this was all some funny celebrity scandal.
Lily said nothing, but rushed past him, heading up the marble staircase completely mortified.
Sirius had an extremely horrible feeling in his stomach that was weighing him down. What had he done? And yet, somehow, a part of him felt almost satisfied… like he had gotten Lily back for something.
“Sirius?” He heard Deseri say from behind him as he slowly began to walk away from the crowd assembling around him; he knew that they were spreading the news to the students behind themselves, and he did not want to be seen right now.
“Sorry—I… I gotta go.” He told her, his eyes unfocused and staring around the Hall. He ran up the marble staircase, not after Lily, but towards the boys bathroom; he had gotten privacy there once before.
When he got inside, he closed the door behind him. He walked up to the sink and leaned against it, supporting himself up with his hands and gazing into the mirror. He saw the reflection of a pale-looking boy with dark hair that fell into his eyes staring back at him and he rubbed his face in his hands, trying to think.
“Why… Hello Black.”
Sirius lowered his hands quickly and whipped around, coming face to face with Snape who had just silently entered the bathroom.
“Long time no see.” Snape sneered, “See you found it easy to get rid of the Mudblood downstairs, huh?”
Sirius felt anger beginning to boil up in his empty stomach.
“…Nice move you made this morning too… avoiding your problems.”
Sirius glared, “I did not.”
“Yes you did.” Snape spat, “But now that we’re alone you could try and redeem yourself…” He said delicately, his hand slowly heading toward the pocket of his robes.
Sirius plunged a hand inside his own robes, just as Snape cried, ‘Expelliarmus.’ His wand was shot out of his hand, landing several feet on the floor behind him with an echoing clatter.
“Now Black… tell me, where is Lupin going tonight?” Snape asked, his wand pointed directly at Sirius.
“What’s it to you?” Sirius snarled. He was furious; he wanted to do something drastic to make up for the fact that he was unarmed. Just shove him out of the way… a voice danced around his head… you can get you wand back from him easily.
“You…” Sirius hissed. But—then—another thought came into his head—a better one. “—Greasy little git!” He shouted, “You big-nosed Quiddich reject!”
Snape threw him bodily against the wall of the bathroom, pinning him against it and digging his wand painfully into his chest. The look on his face was venomous; his nostrils were flickering and he was breathing fast.
“—If you don’t shut up… and tell me where Lupin is… I’ll curse you so bad, y—“
“—OKAY!” Sirius shrieked suddenly. Snape’s glare lessened.
“All you have to do is… is—“ Sirius stammered, eyeing Snape’s wand fearfully.
“Yes?” Snape asked, his mouth forming an ugly twisted smile as he dug his wand still deeper into Sirius’s chest, “OUT WITH IT!” He shouted.
“P-Prod the knot at the base of the Whomping Willow…”
Sirius now feared the Snape’s wand was going to start to enter his chest…
“W-with a long stick and then you can—then you can find him!” Sirius finished, a desperate pained expression on his face.
Snape looked triumphant. He let go of Sirius quickly and pulled his wand away, his eyes glittering.
Sirius exhaled deeply, looking guilty at himself and picking up a hand to feel that there was now a tiny indent on his chest through his shirt where Snape wand had just been.
“Thank you Black.” Snape sneered, “I’m sure shabby boy will appreciate his friends information to me while he locked up in Azkaban….” And with that, he strode out of the room and shut the door behind him, leaving Sirius alone.
Sirius stood there panting, he leaned against the wall… and, suddenly, a huge grin spread widely across his face.
“Idiot.” He muttered, snatching his wand up off the floor and leaving the room.
He went up to his dormitory to find James and Peter getting ready to go to the match.
“Hey!” James called over to him as he entered.
“Hello.” Sirius replied cheerfully.
James raised an eyebrow at him.
“Sir’ why didn’t you wait for me downstairs?”
“Oh sorry… I forgot.” Sirius said.
“You forgot… more like you didn’t want to stick around. What was up with that whole thing in the Entrance Hall?”
“I dunno, Deseri—“
“Deseri?!” James cried, “What is she your new girlfriend?”
“No!” Sirius said angrily, “She just—just kissed me is all.”
“And you enjoyed it.” James said coldly.
Peter moved over to the window.
“Yeah, as a matter of fact it was okay.” Sirius said moodily.
“Hey….” Peter hissed, still gazing out of the window.
James, who looked like he was about to say more to Sirius, stopped and looked up at Peter. Sirius looked over too.
“It’s Remus.” Peter said quietly. “He’s going to the Willow now.”
James strode over to he window, but Sirius stayed put; he had watched Remus go to the Willow ever since he found out who Remus was. This time wouldn’t be any different from what he had seen, and he was too angry with James right now anyway.
“Poor guy.” James said, shaking his head, “I feel so bad for him having to go alone still.” He sighed, looking away from the window.
“So, where were we?” Sirius muttered grumpily.
“Sirius, drop it. You’re trying to pick a fight with me. You made Evans cry, that’s what you did.”
“Oh, she deserved it! She’s hurt me too, she never says anything nice to me anymore and she orders me around—“
“—You said that she didn’t!”
“She does! She does… I guess I just loved her too much to admit it.”
“Well not anymore then, eh?”
“What’s the matter with you!”
“You idiot.” James said, walking away from Sirius and facing the dormitory wall as he spoke, “I’ve had to watch you two together all year… fight every urge I got to just tell you the truth.”
“How I really feel Sirius! Never bothered to ask me, did you!”
“Ask what! What is it?”
“I still like her!” James said, turning to face Sirius once more. “I like her so damn much. I have all this time… How could you be so stupid?”
“Don’t even—“
“--What? You are stupid! You always think everyone’s okay with what you do? That you can never be wrong and you know everything that’s going on? Well look now! You didn’t have a clue!”
Sirius said nothing.
“You went out with her when you knew—you knew—that I still liked her… or did you? Either you knew or you didn’t care! How d’you think that made me feel? Like rubbish!”
“Sorry…” Sirius mumbled. “I’m sorry, but I’ve liked her for a long time—about a week before we started school. I lied when you asked me about her on the train.”
“Still, you shouldn’t just lie—“
“—I know. I know, okay? I’m sorry.”
“You’d better be.” James said quietly, folding his arms and staring down at the floor. “You should—“ But he broke off; Peter had just let out a yelp.
They both turned to look at him.
“What is it, Wormtail?” Sirius asked with concern.
“Um—Um…” He sputtered, staring, transfixed with horror, out of the window.
“What’s going on?” James demanded, walking quickly up to the window.
Sirius saw Peter raise a finger and point to something that looked to be on the grounds. James gasped.
“What is he doing!” James hissed, an expression of shock and disgust on his face.
“What’s going on?” Sirius asked, taking a seat on Peter’s bed; the closest to the window James was looking out of. He had a tiny suspicion of what was going on…
“You know who’s outside?” James said angrily.
Sirius shook his head, “Who?”
“Snivellus! Heading towards the Willow!”
Sirius paused, he turned away from James and Peter, trying to hide the grin that was creeping up his mouth. Then he couldn’t control himself—He let out a loud snort of laughter.
“It’s not funny, he’s gonna see Remus!” James cried.
“Yeah it is… it’s hilarious….” Sirius giggled madly, turning to face them again.
James and Peter both stared at Sirius, confused.
“—HA! I told him how to get in after Remus, the stupid git!”

Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty One: Prongs's Choice
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“WHAT?!” James roared, “ARE YOU MAD?!”
“What? He cornered me in the bathroom and tried to get me to tell him where Remus was—He wants him expelled!”
“It doesn’t matter! You don’t go tricking people into danger just because you don’t like them!”
“He deserves it!”
“—HE’LL GET BITTEN, YOU MORON!” James shrieked at him.
No one spoke.
James’s eyes were darting frantically around the room. He was shaking slightly out of anger. He began pacing around the dormitory; he seemed to be pondering something.
“Okay…” He began. “You can come if you want or just stay here.” At Sirius’s puzzled expression, he let out a sigh, “I’m going after him.”
“I’m—going—after—him.” James repeated irritably, grabbing his cloak off his bed and running out of the dormitory and out of sight.
Sirius stared at the doorway, bewildered. Then a decision sunk into place.
“Peter—go to the match. If we’re not back in about two hours… go to Dumbledore.”
“Just do it, Wormtail!” Sirius snapped.
Peter nodded, “O-Okay.”
“Right…” Sirius began, scanning the floor. Then, with a sudden motion, he swept off after James, grabbing his cloak also.
Sirius descended six flights of steps, ran down several corridors, and then went down to the Entrance Hall, not finding James. The castle was almost completely deserted; everyone was already at the match.
Sirius burst out of the castle and headed straight towards the Willow. James wasn’t there either. Sirius ran over to the tree.
When he reached it, he skidded to a halt, realizing that he couldn’t get to close. He scanned the ground frantically.
“Okay…” He muttered, “Where—oh here.” He whispered, spotting a large stick that was lying a few yards away from him. He jabbed the knot quickly and the tree froze again. Then, with a large nervous sigh, he climbed into the passageway once more.
When his feet hit the bottom of the ground, he lit his wand and ran forward.
Where is James? He thought desperately; he had been running at a crouch for what seemed like a long time. Then he got an idea. He stopped running and began to walk, pulling his mirror out from inside the pocket of his cloak.
“James Potter.” He said clearly.
The reflection of himself in the mirror began to swirl… then turned completely black. Sirius shook it, trying to see what was wrong, but it still remained black. He held it up to his face.
“What the--?” Sirius cried, squinting at it. Was it broken or something?
“Sirius?” He heard faintly from within it.
“James?! I can’t see you!” Sirius hissed. But as he was saying this, the mirror turned into a glowing light… then James’s sweating, curious face appeared into it, an eerie glow cast across his face; James had his wand lit.
“—I had it in my pocket.” James said quickly. He was panting slightly.
“Did you find him?”
“No. No… I—“ James broke off suddenly, his head snapped upwards and Sirius saw his eyes widen. “Severus?” He shouted. “James Potter.”
“No—no, wait!” Sirius sputtered desperately, but he soon realized he was yelling at his won reflection. He let out a frustrated sigh and shoved the mirror back into his pocket. Then he sprinted forward full speed down the tunnel, eager to get to James as soon as humanly possible. He was determined, but at the same time frightened to get to wherever James and possibly Snape were; he tried hard not to think of what might be waiting for them all at the end of the passage…
After what must have been at least twenty minutes of frantic running, he paused… there were noises ahead.
“—Listen, you’ve got to get out! Get out of here!”
Sirius launched himself forward, seeing the bend in the tunnel just a little ways away ahead and faint light he knew to be wand light. And then he heard it.
A scream of pain filled his ears and echoed loudly. He whipped around the bend and saw, instantly, James and Snape staring transfixed in utter terror up at the ceiling. There was some source of light above them shining down onto the floor of the passage from up above; Sirius knew it had to be a wand. He crept over so that he could see up into the shack from the angle he was at. He saw Remus… his from becoming rigid.
“GO!” James shrieked, pushing Snape towards the opposite direction of the tunnel. Snape staggered, but did not stop looking at the hole in the ceiling.
“Wh-What’s he doing?” He asked, not having moved more than a few inches.
“Nothing! Just RUN!” Sirius shouted at him.
James and Snape both whipped around to stare at him.
“Padfoot?” James croaked, “How’d you here so fast? You were at least a half hour away!”
But Sirius didn’t have time to answer even if he wanted to. There was a loud howl. Sirius felt himself begin to tremble…
He saw Snape lift his head slowly upwards towards the hole and go wide-eyed.
James was frozen to the spot, his eyes closed tightly and painfully.
“James…” Sirius whimpered.
“Yeah?” James squeaked.
“Should we run now?”
James nodded, grabbing Snape by the arm.
They all bolted. They sped around the bend, hearing another loud howl behind them. Sirius was in the lead, followed by James, who had let go of Snape.
“C’mon Severus, hurry!” James shouted over his shoulder.
Sirius could hear the hurried breaths of Snape as they continued to run.
“Potter, I’m going as fast as I can… and as soon as we stop running, you’re both d—URGH!”
There was a loud thudding noise; Snape had tripped.
James and Sirius stopped running… but they could still her something moving, which wasn’t right at all--
Sirius and James whipped around… to see Snape cowering below a fully-grown werewolf.
“NO!” Sirius screamed, “REMUS! Remus, please!”
The werewolf looked up at Sirius, teeth bared. It let out a small growl, it’s eyes now locked on Sirius… but began backing slowly away from Snape.
“That’s it… no biting… good Remus.”
A few long seconds passed, and then
“Well… now that you’ve got your little friend under control.” Snape said softly, “You guys tried to KILL ME!” Snape roared.
The werewolf pounced.
“RICTUSEMPRA!” James roared. The werewolf was hit by the spell as he made a snap at Snape arm, sinking his teeth into him. Snape wand dropped to the floor.
Sirius and James let out horrified gasps as the force of the spell threw the werewolf so forcefully against the wall that it let go of Snape and let out a loud yelp. Bits of earth came down from the sides of the passage… but Snape was left clutching his arm.
“Severus! He bit you? Did he—bite—?“ James stuttered, holding his wand up to Snape.
“No. No, he only—got—my—robes.” Severus panted loudly, indicating the many layers of torn clothing on his arm. There was no sign of blood there, so he must’ve been right. Snape picked his fallen wand up from the ground, got to his feet slowly, and Sirius saw that he was sweating profusely, looking greasier than ever.
“Alright, let’s go… He’s just out of it right now.” James said, indicating Remus.
“Sorry Moony, old buddy.” Sirius said, taking a last look back at the unconscious werewolf before they all began to head out of the passage.
After about a half hour, they had reached the stone slide that led out of the Whomping Willow. Not one of them had spoken one word to each other the whole way back; the shock of what had just happened seemed to occupy their minds.
They all crawled out of the passage onto the grounds one by one. James pushed his way out, followed by Snape. As soon as he came out after them and stood up, Sirius felt the cool burst of night air blow smoothly through his cloak and wave his hair around. It was refreshing after having had spent a few hours in a dark tunnel. Sirius looked into the distance, towards the Quiddich pitch. He could hear the dull roar of the crowd and saw tiny little players zooming around the field; the game was still going.
“To the match, d’you reckon?” James asked them.
“Yeah… none of this ever happened.” Sirius said, casting a look at James where they silently agreed, then on to Snape. Sirius couldn’t distinguish whether or not Snape agreed or not, as he was quite expressionless, but he remained silent.
The three of them trudged across the grounds, brushing dirt occasionally off their clothes as they went. Snape was treading along a little ways behind them both, obviously trying not to walk with them. When they reached the field, they parted ways; Snape went over to the Slytherin end of the crowd and James and Sirius went tot the Gryffindor end.
“That… was scary.” Sirius said to James as soon as Snape was out of sight.
“Yeah it was.” James said darkly, “And Padfoot?”
“Don’t ever do that again.”
Sirius gave a feeble laugh.
When they reached the top of the stands, they instantly saw Peter sitting by himself in the back, looking real nervous. Sirius and James made their way over to him and took the empty spot on the left side of him.
“James! Sirius! I was starting to get worried!”
“SHH!” Sirius hissed, casting an exasperated look around the stands to see if anyone could be listening, but everyone was too busy watching the match.
“Did you find Snape?” Peter whispered.
James nodded. “Yeah. He’s safe. We’re all alright.”
Peter let out a sigh of relief. “That’s good.”
“—Prewett throws to Prewett—Er—Fabian to Gideon—AND GIDEON SCORES!” Daveigh shrieked.
“Hey, what’s the score?” Sirius asked.
“Seventy to forty Gryffindor—WHOA!”
Andromeda had just flown low, right over their heads. She even grazed a few hats and knocked them off of the heads of some onlookers.
“Man… we got this made! GO ANDROMEDA!”
“…There it is…” James said quietly. Peter and Sirius turned to him. He was pointing at the Slytherin side of the pitch.
Sirius looked. The snitch was right above the Slytherin Keeper, zooming around the back of his broomstick.
He saw the seeker from Slytherin, Lucius Malfoy, flying absentmindedly around the base of the Slytherin goalposts, looking near the ground for the snitch. With a jolt, Sirius realized that if Malfoy spotted it first, which he would at any second now, Slytherin would win the Quiddich Cup.
He glanced over at Andromeda, who was flying towards the Slytherin end of the field, but she was high up; She and Malfoy were the same distance apart from the snitch.
“C’mon ‘Dromeda!” Sirius yelled. And just as he said that, he saw her look down. He saw her eyes pop with surprise; she saw it. Andromeda shot down, straight towards the snitch.
“GO! GO!” James screamed.
There was a roar of commotion coming from the Slytherin stands… and all of a sudden, Malfoy’s head shot up; they had obviously just helped him out. Malfoy keeled upwards for it, going as fast as his broom would go. The Slytherin Keeper, who noticed what was going on and was now petrified that they were both hurtling his way, he allowed Gryffindor to score another easy goal.
Malfoy was shooting upwards as best he could… as well as Andromeda. Sirius could see Malfoy trying desperately to go faster… but he was too late. Andromeda caught the snitch, and swerved out of the way within an inch of the Slytherin Keeper. Malfoy swore loudly, collided painfully with his fellow Keeper, and almost fell off his broom from the blow, but Malfoy, in anger no doubt, had the strength to hold on and right himself again.
With a roar louder than anything Sirius had heard in his life, the stands exploded in cheers. James, Sirius, and Peter joined in with the noise.
“Whoa… Andromeda’s good!” Sirius yelled in awe after he was done screaming.
“—Yeah, she is! I lent her my broom after all!” James said, grinning fondly up at her.
“You did?”
“That was a cool thing to do.”
“Well, you know, I wasn’t using it tonight obviously.”

“Gryf-fin-dor! Grif-fin-dor!” Sirius chanted along with his fellow Gryffindors later on as they all entered the common room; Sirius felt happier than he had been for a while.
“Party!” James bellowed through cupped hands. A round of loud appreciative cheers answered him from all over the room.
A few sixth years began conjuring up food and butterbeer for everyone, and many were posting the banners they had brought to the match up all over the Common Room walls.
“HEAR HEAR!” The room chorused, drinking to Andromeda and Fabian. They celebrated well into the night, and after being told off three different times by Professor McGonagall, they began heading up to bed at around two thirty in the morning, but Sirius had eaten so much sugar that he didn’t fall asleep for at least several more hours.

The next day, James, Sirius, and Peter went to their classes as usual. They were in raised spirits about the match and talked about it constantly throughout the day, which was probably the reason they kept getting yelled at repetitively by their teachers for talking during classes.
Snape hadn’t spoken to them at all, which made them all kind of suspicious.
“You’d think he’d have blabbed it to the whole school by now!” Sirius said as he watched the fire burn brightly in the Common Room fireplace.
“Yeah, I know.” James agreed, “It ‘s what he’s been trying to find out the whole year, isn’t it? The slimy git.”
The portrait hole opened suddenly, causing all three of them to look up. Remus had just come in.
“Hey.” He said to them all, failing to be casual; Sirius could see that he obviously had something urgent to say to them.
“Hi Moony.” Peter said brightly; he hadn’t noticed anything wrong with Remus’s tone.
“So….” Sirius began.
“—Dumbledore wants to talk to all of us.” Remus said quickly.
They exchanged glances.
“Alright.” James shrugged.
They all stood up as one and followed Remus out of the Common Room and toward Dumbledore’s office.
When they reached the wall, Remus said ‘Fizzing Whizbee’ and the stone gargoyle leapt out of the way. The wall opened and revealed a revolving staircase.
Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter took stepped onto it one by one and rose. The stairs came to a stop in front of a large door.
Remus stepped forward and knocked sharply on the door, then lowered his hand, listening.
“Come in.” They heard the faint voice of Dumbledore call to them.
James and Sirius exchanged a quick glance as Remus opened the door and they entered the office.
It was a huge room with bookshelves lining the walls, small tables placed around the room, each with tiny little silver objects puffing out smoke and making whirring noises. There were pictures of previous headmasters, all viewing them suspiciously and intently. There was a large desk, where Dumbledore was seated gazing at them all, and right next to the large chair was a phoenix with red and gold plumage. It sat elegantly on a perch, eyeing them all with mild interest.
A few seconds went by where the boys merely observed the room curiously, and then when they were done, turned to stare at Dumbledore.
He did not appear angry as Sirius had expected, but very calm.
“Come. Sit.” He said, motioning to the front of his desk. He conjured up four armchairs, identical tot the one in their Common Room.
The four of them all moved slowly forward, taking a seat ion one of the chairs. Peter on the far left, James next to him, Remus on the far right, and Sirius in between him and James.
“What do you want to talk to us about?” Sirius asked quickly, not able to control his nerves. He knew it; Dumbledore was going to suspend him and James… or at least him.
“Ah, Mr. Black… I think it is clear why you are here, is it not?” Dumbledore said calmly, not seeming to care about the sudden question.
Sirius’s stomach was clenched in fear.
“I called each of you here to discuss last night’s events.”
“—I’m sorry Professor.” Sirius said automatically. “I—I was just angry with Severus… I was stupid, I….”
Dumbledore had put up a hand to silence him. Sirius stopped talking. He was feeling nervous… forget about suspension—what if he was expelled for such a dangerous trick? His mother would probably disown him from the family if he had to tell her that he had gotten expelled in his first year…
“Sirius.” Dumbledore began softly, “Severus Snape has told me his full version of the events. He assured me that he is the one to blame for the whole matter.”
Sirius’s stomach leapt. “He what?” He croaked, not believing his ears; this was impossible.
“He informed me that he had been badgering the four of you all year about Remus’s monthly disappearances, determined to catch Remus in the act of breaking school rules. He does not blame you, Sirius, for what you did to him.”
Sirius turned his gaze over to the phoenix, thinking why in the world would Snape ever blame himself for what he had done?
“Ah, I’m guessing you are questioning how one of two enemies could so abruptly change their personality?” Dumbledore said, smiling down at Sirius. Sirius nodded.
“That, Mr. Black, is based on how you’ve treated him in the past.”
“—But I’ve been horrible to him.” Sirius shot pointedly, staring up at Dumbledore.
“That is not true. Severus has told me of your encounters.”
There was a pause in which Dumbledore looked around at all of them, then back to Sirius.
“Your first meeting at the train station. You asked Severus how to get onto the platform… Severus hurt the feelings of someone you care very much about and hold close to your heart, am I correct?” He asked, inclining his head.
“Yes.” Sirius said, thinking of how Snape had said he wouldn’t help Sirius because he was in the company of Lily and her parents, who happened to be muggles. Then he realized with a pang that he had just said yes to the fact that he cared about Lily.
“—And, did you not try and comfort Mr. Snape in the hospital wing when he was upset about a letter he’d received?”
“Yes.” Sirius answered again.
“Then you must listen to the things I tell you next, Sirius.” Dumbledore said sternly.
“Severus told me to tell you—all of you—that he apologizes about his actions in the past. He also explained to me why he acts so bitter towards you, which he told me not to disclose, but I assure you they are a very good assortment of reasons.” He added, looking up at them once more. There was another pause.
“As to what happened tonight, I’ll say again—it is a miracle that no one got hurt. I have forbidden Severus to tell a soul about you, Remus, and I trust all of you have kept your word to me and have been doing the same?”
They all nodded.
“Yeah.” James said.
“Very well. If there are no questions, I believe our meeting has ended.”
Sirius raised his hand. “How long am I suspended for?”
“You are not suspended, Mr. Black.” Dumbledore said firmly, “Nor is Severus or any of you.” He added, seeing Sirius’s expression.
“Thank you Professor.” Sirius said.
“Yeah, thanks.” James said too.
Dumbledore smiled.
“I do not punish those who have shown me great respect and tell me no lies. You may all go now."

Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two: The Journey Back To King's Cross
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They all exited the office feeling much more happier.
“So that’s why Snape hasn’t told the whole school.” James said as they made their way towards the Common Room again.
“D’you think there’s gonna be any changes then between him and us, then?” Peter asked.
“Dunno, guess we’ll just have to see.” Sirius said as they stepped into the Common Room.
It was empty except for one person who was reading a book in one of the armchairs. It was Lily.
Sirius stopped. This was the first time for them seeing each other since he had kissed Courtney.
She looked up, then seeing who it was, she shut her book quickly and rose up out of her chair to leave.
“No. Lily, please sit. Can we talk? Please?” Sirius asked her gently, feeling horrible.
Lily gave him a reproachful look… then sat down slowly on the couch where she was not facing him.
“C’mon guys.” Remus said, ushering Peter and a curious-looking James towards the dormitory steps and out of sight.
Sirius made his way over to her, taking a seat next to her on the couch. She was not looking at him, but staring determinedly at the fire that was burning brightly in the fireplace in front of her.
“Lily….” He began, but he didn’t get to say more; Lily had thrown her arms around him, dropping her book to the floor, and began to sob violently.
Sirius hugged her tightly, all of his emotions gathering up so powerfully inside him that they caused him to burst into tears.
“I’m sorry.” He choked, “I’m so so sorry.”
“Me too.” She squeaked.
After a good five minutes, they broke away.
“I still care about you, Lily.” Sirius said, wiping away his teary eyes, “Up in Dumbledore’s office just now… I figured out how I felt, and I’m sorry I broke your heart. I’m such a damn jerk.”
She gave him another hug.
“You’re not a jerk Sirius. You’re the best guy in the world. I was just too stubborn… I was asking for you to—to kiss her. I promise I’ll be better. I won’t drive you crazy anymore. We can try again.”
Sirius smiled lightly, but then he realized something.
“No, Lily—I can’t.” He pulled away and placed his hands on her shoulders. He gazed into her eyes, every ounce of him hurting as he strained to tell her what he had to say next, “I can’t be your boyfriend again.”
“W-Why?” She sniffed.
“Because someone else likes you.” Sirius said quickly, trying to get this out before he could change his mind. “And he’s a great guy…”
“Who is it?” She asked, “I only love you, Sirius… I won’t like him, I know it.”
Sirius’s gulped and shut his eyes. His throat was twisting painfully. He loved her too… but he knew what he had to do.
“I can’t… because he’s my best friend… James Potter.” Sirius said, his eyes brimming with tears.
Lily hiccupped. Her face dropped.
“I-I had no idea.” She said in surprise.
“He’s liked you since he first saw you on the train.” Sirius told her, “And I think you should give him a shot.”
Lily looked down at her feet.
“Listen Lily, this doesn’t mean that I don’t care about you. I think we can still be very good friends, right?”
Lily looked up, “Yeah…” She said, nodding and leaning forward to give him another teary hug.
Sirius shut his eyes again; every bit of him wanted her back… but he knew he couldn’t be with her again. Not only because of James… because he knew he never wanted to hurt her again. She’s way too beautiful for some idiot like me to ever make her cry… He thought as they sat there in the Common Room in each other’s arms in front of the fire. They had ended their relationship—for good this time.
The end of term came quickly. Sirius and the rest of the Marauders threw a going away party in the Common Room, which was very successful for first years, but they had a little help from the house elves down in the kitchen. Lily and Sirius had built a strong friendship together, and she even began talking to James once in a while now. Snape hadn’t spoken to or approached them yet, and had kept his word to Dumbledore about Remus. Their exam results had also come back and they had passed all of their subjects.
Sirius and James made their way towards the Great Hall to the Leaving Feast, talking excitedly about who they thought had won the cup.
“—It should be us—we won the Quiddich Cup after all.”
“Yeah, I hope so Prongs.”
“—That is if all the points you’ve cost the house over the year didn’t add up to be too much!” They heard from just up ahead.
Sirius and James, who were just about to descend the marble staircase, looked down to the Entrance Hall to see Remus, Peter, Lily, and Andromeda all standing there waiting to meet them.
Sirius smiled.
They all headed to the feast together. They took their usual seats at the Gryffindor table and talked about the year together, bringing up the funny, the scary, and the greatest moments they had had.
At the end of the feast, Dumbledore rose to make his closing speech, and the whole hall fell silent at once.
“Another year has come to an end.” He said, looking out to all the students assembled in the Hall. “Too quickly… some may agree with me on that.” He added.
Sirius smiled glumly; Dumbledore was right about that. He didn’t want to go home at all.
“The results for the House Cup are in, and so, I will begin announcing the points each house has earned, starting with fourth place.”
Sirius saw every single head in the hall was staring fixedly up at Dumbledore as he said this.
“Hufflepuff, in fourth place, with two hundred and fifty-six points.”
There was a dull smattering of polite applause.
“In third place, Slytherin, with two hundred and seventy-eight points.”
(“Ha!” James cried.)
“In second place, Ravenclaw, with three hundred and fifty points.”
Sirius’s stomach did a backflip and he felt as if someone had just set off a load of fireworks that were now exploding inside him. Everyone was waiting for it…
“And the winner of the House Cup, with three hundred and sixty-five points, for the first time in seven years, is… Gryffindor House.”
The table exploded. Sirius was beside himself with joy. There was a sea of black hats being thrown into the air and Sirius was pounding a fist into the air in triumph as screams filled his ears. The Marauders all slapped hands and laughed happily, happier than they’d been in months.

“Man, I’m going to miss this place….” Sirius said, throwing some of his clothes into his trunk to go home.
It was the next morning; the day they were heading back home.
“Yeah, me too.” James sighed, holding his cloak out in front of him once more before he lowered it into his trunk.
“That makes three of us.” Remus said, shutting his won trunk and fastening it shut.
“What am I, in another house?” Peter cried in a mock-undignified voice from on top of his already-packed trunk.
They all laughed.

After they had packed all of their things, the four of them headed down into the entrance hall, looking glum.
“Hey, maybe you can come over or something.” James suggested to them all.
“That’d be cool.” Remus said.
“—just make sure you check your calendar though….” Sirius informed James.
James cast him a puzzled look.
“Well, you gotta check what stage the moon’s on, you know.” Sirius said.
Remus smirked. “Yeah, cause that’d be wicked if I transformed in the middle of ‘truth or dare.’”
Sirius chortled loudly along with the others as the doors to the entrance hall opened, revealing the many carriages that would lead them to Hogsmeade Station.

When they got on the Hogwarts Express, they found a compartment about halfway down the train. They settled themselves in and Sirius slid the door closed, ready as he was ever going to be for the long journey home.
A few people stopped by their compartment to say hello, including Lily, Gloria, Daveigh, and Andromeda--also Gideon and Longbottom.
Though right after the snack trolley had passed by, a loud sharp knock sounded on the compartment door. Sirius looked up. It was Avery and the rest of Snape’s gang, minus Snape.
Sirius pulled open the door, removing his wand from the pocket of his jeans secretly as he did.
“What do you want?” He shot.
“Why, hello Sirius.” Avery said, sneering unpleasantly, “Just thought we’d stop by and say goodbye to you all... and also give you a little something for the road!” He said quickly, whipping out his wand along with several other people around him.
Flashes of light emitted from all over the compartment, from many different wands. Several different voices cried out mixed curses and hexes, all of which were inaudible because they had all been yelled at the same time.
When the compartment came back into focus, the bodies of Avery, Rosier, Wilkes, Bellatrix, and Lestrange all lay scattered all over the corridor and some even halfway into the compartment. Their forms looked hideous from all the different spells that had been used.
The only person left standing in the corridor, his wand still raised in the air, was Severus Snape.
“Severus?” Remus cried in disbelief, looking from him to the unconscious pile on the floor.
Snape looked around at them, lowering his wand.
They said nothing but were all looking at him, unable to speak.
“What?” He spat.
“You... hexed them too?” Sirius asked incredulously.
“Yes Black, very good.” He said patronizingly; his feelings towards them all seemed unchanged.
“I thought you and Dumbledore had a talk.” James said, narrowing his eyes.
“We did.” Snape said curtly, “We agreed for me to not tell anyone where shabby boy went once a month, not to be all buddy-buddy with you lot.”
“But why did you just help us then?” Sirius asked.
“Because I owe Potter one... and Avery’s been pissing me off lately anyways.” Snape snapped, “Don’t expect me to change—wait until next year.”
And with that, he turned sharply on his heel and headed back down the corridor.
Sirius grinned and shook his head.
The rest of the ride was spent talking, reflecting on the years past events. Especially what had happened in the Shrieking Shack.
“Hmm... I expect we’ll be at King’s Cross in about fifteen more minutes.” James said, checking his watch when they had finished talking in depth about rescuing Snape from Remus.
“Oh—Wait!” Remus cried suddenly, pulling something out of his pocket. It was the Marauder’s Map. “I forgot, who’s going to take this for the summer?”
James, Sirius, and Peter exchanged a quick glance with each other and all agreed silently.
“You, Rem.’” James said, smiling.
“Wait—it’s not finished yet!” Sirius said, holding out his hand for it. He took it then pulled out a quill and ink bottle from his trunk overhead.
The others watched as he dipped his quill in the ink and wrote “Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs Surveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present: The Marauder’s Map.”
After he was done, he looked up to find them all grinning down at it fondly.
“Oh... and I forgot to tell you guys that I added a few things to it.” Remus said, holding out his hand and removing his wand from his robes at the same time.
Sirius handed over the map, putting his quill and ink bottle aside.
Remus opened the map and held his wand over it.
“Mischief managed.” He muttered, tapping his wand sharply on the surface.
The map began to wipe clean instantly, the whole thing turning blank.
Sirius, James, and Peter looked amazed.
“Wow....” Peter whispered.
“And... I was counting on you three to add some anti-theft stuff to it with me... so if anyone tries to read it, a few pre-written insults will appear on it for them to read.” Remus said, looking up at all of them excitedly.
“Wow, how does that work?” James asked.
“You have to write down something that we think some creep might use to try and see this... and then we write stuff we want them to see... like, for instance...” He said, motioning towards Sirius for the quill and ink bottle.
“I, Severus Snape,” Remus said aloud as he wrote it, “wish to know what you contain.” He said slowly.
“Queryneo.” He muttered, dotting a period at the end of the sentence. The letters glowed red, and then began fading away, as if it were seeping through the parchment.
“Wicked.” Sirius gasped in complete fascination, “Can we write our insults now?!”
“Yep.” Remus said, grinning, “I’ll show you all how it’s done first though.”
He dipped the quill in the ink bottle and wrote: ‘Mr. Moony says no and thinks that Severus Snape is a greasy prat.’ After, he said, “Insultus”—which caused the letters to turn gold, and then slowly fade away as the red had done.
“Ho!” James cried, slapping his knee and looking simply overjoyed at this, “Me next!”
James took it and quickly scribbled down, “Mr. Prongs doesn’t feel like disclosing anything to such a nosy git,” repeating “Insultus” just like Remus had done.
James handed the ink bottle and quill, along with the map, to Sirius.
Sirius bit the end of the quill, staring down at the floor of the compartment in thought.
“Mr. Padfoot would soon rather give Snape the finger than let him view a thing.”
Peter was next. He paused, like Sirius, before he wrote to think.
“Mr. Wormtail would also like to say that Snape should consider getting a nose reduction.”
It took a while for them to all recover from laughing so hard after each insult that one of then wrote, but when they did, they began writing more and more insults for the rest of the ride.
They had mostly insulted Snape, but they soon moved on to the rest of his gang, including Avery, Rosier, Wilkes, Bellatrix, and Lestrange—who they had ended up pushing into a nearby empty compartment earlier.
“D’you think ‘ugly git’ about sums Snivelly up?” James asked them all.
“Yeah.” Sirius said, nodding, “Go for it. I already know what I’m going to put next.” He said, rubbing his hands together eagerly.
“What?” James asked, “Insultus.”
“Let’s see... ‘Mr. Padfoot... would like to register... his astonishment... that an idiot like that ever became... a pro-fes-sor.’ Insultus.”
They all chuckled loudly as Sirius handed the map off to Peter.
“Hey, how do you see the map again anyway?” James asked.
“Oh... hold on.” Remus said as Peter muttered ‘Insultus.’
“Alright, lemme see that Wormtail.” Remus said, holding out a hand.
He took the map and smoothed it out, raising his wand again and clearing his throat.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Remus said, tapping the wand on the map like he did before to wipe it clean.
Instantly, lines criss-crossed in every direction to draw out the map. Remus smiled just as the train came to a halt.
They all looked outside the window; they had arrived at King’s Cross.
“Aw man...” Sirius grumbled, taking huis quill and ink bottle from Peter and placing it back into his trunk. He fastened it shut and pulled it down off of the luggage rack, taking his time.
“Mischief Managed.” Remus said quickly, wiping the map clean again. He looked down at it, then back up at the others. “Are you sure you don’t want to take--”
“—No.” They all said in unison as they took their trunks down and began making their way out of the compartment. Sirius pulled down Remus’s trunk and gave it to him, sighing deeply.
“Thanks.” Remus said, taking it and putting the map quickly inside of it.
“Alright, back home I guess?” James said to them all before they headed out into the corridor.
“Yeah.” Peter said.
“Mmm hmm.” Remus muttered.
“Wish I wasn’t.” Sirius sighed.
They headed off of the train, James emerging first, followed by Remus, Peter, and Sirius.
“Hi mum!” Remus said brightly to a witch who was standing a little ways away from them, towards the right.
“This is James, Sirius, and Peter.” He said to her, pointing them all out. She smiled politely, nodding.
“Yes, Remus has told me all about you all... and your little adventures too.” She added, looking around at them all and letting out a chuckle. “Thank you for being such good friends to my son.” She said, all seriousness in her voice now. “I am so grateful.”
“No problem, Mrs. L.” Sirius said, grinning.
James and Peter nodded in agreement.
“Bye, you guys.” Remus said, waving to them as his mother began to exit the station.
“Bye Moony!” James called.
“Bye Remus!” Sirius and Peter chorused, watching as one of their number left.
“Oh, there’s my dad.” Peter said suddenly, noticing a man that was leaning casually against the barrier. “Bye James... bye Sirius... hope the summer goes by quick!”
Sirius and James waved as Peter ran off towards his father. They both heaved a sigh at the exact same time, afterwards laughing at themselves.
Sirius turned to see Lily, her parents at her side.
“Hi.” He said pleasantly.
“Well... just wanted to wish you a good summer.” She said.
“Yeah, you too.” Sirius said, grinning. She hugged him tightly, then she turned to James and hugged him also.
James looked like he was in shock when she pulled away.
“I-I’ll miss you guys!” She said to them, “and tell Remus and Peter that I’m sorry I missed them, okay?”
“Okay!” Sirius told her as she left with her parents.
Sirius and James were left standing alone again. Sirius looked up at James then laughed. He couldn’t help it because of the look that was still on James’s face from Lily hugging him; he had this extremely goofy smile. Sirius shook his head before looking around again. In a short time, he spotted his mother and Regulus standing next to a more friendly pair of people on their left—James’s parents.
Sirius nudged James.
“There’s your mum and dad.” He said, pointing. They waved happily back to them, Sirius smiling. His mother and brother had just spotted them also.
They dragged their trunks over to them. His mother looked a little happy at least.
“Hey dorkface.” Regulus spat.
“Gee, I missed you too.” Sirius said sarcastically, shaking his head as he turned to look at James and his parents.
“Hi.” He said to Mr. and Mrs. Potter, beaming up at them.
“Hello Sirius dear.” Mrs. Potter said, “We’ve just been talking to your mother about Quiddich. Seems she had no idea you had made it onto your house team... or that you even got into Gryffindor house for that matter...” She added.
Sirius looked up at his mother, who was smiling and acting nice—he knew she was just putting on an act.
He looked back at James, now feeling anger towards his mother.
“See you next year then?” He muttered glumly.
“Yeah—maybe sooner.” James said with a wink.
Sirius smiled, feeling happier.
“Keep in touch, Sirius.” Mr. Potter said, clapping a hand on Sirius’s shoulder.
“Okay.” Sirius said, waving goodbye to them.
“Goodbye Sirius. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Black.” Mrs. Potter said politely to Sirius’s mom.
His mom gave her a curt nod while Sirius beamed back at James’s mother.
Sirius watched the Potters as they disappeared from the station, feeling a sense of emptiness welling up inside of him as he watched them go.
“Come on, Sirius. Let’s go.” His mother said to him sternly. “Gryffindor... I tell you. What a shame....”
Sirius laughed to himself as he followed his mother and brother, tuning out his mother’s words and Regulus’s taunts as he thought of the next time he’d be back inside the castle... back with three of his best friends.