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The Fabric of Reality by MrsFWeasley

Format: Short story
Chapters: 13
Word Count: 22,963
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Humor, Romance, Angst
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, Snape, Sirius, James, Lily, Pettigrew, Fred/George
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/OC

First Published: 03/17/2006
Last Chapter: 08/13/2006
Last Updated: 08/13/2006

Summary:
Back to the time of the Marauders at Hogwarts, the four find a way of travelling through different dimensions. Bit of humour, slight romance, danger... hope you like it!


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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Another day, another Potions class. James Potter yawned for what must have been the hundredth time that lesson and let his eyes wander from his cauldron. He’d been finished for at least fifteen minutes, but they’d had an hour to work on the potion and he’d barely needed half of it. His partner, Sirius, was sprawled across a chair, his elbows resting on the edge of the cauldron, head resting in his arms. He let out a small snore. Typical Padfoot, he couldn’t keep his eyes open if he wasn’t getting female attention.

James’ eyes fell on a thin figure feverishly checking over his ingredients, long nose barely centimetres away from the smoking green liquid. Snivellus always did take extra care in Potions. Prongs smirked to himself, this was too easy.

Taking a phial from behind the cauldron, he filled it with his own potion and decided to take the long route to his Potion master’s desk, purposefully taking the path that brought him behind Snivellus’ cauldron. At the back of the class. As far from the Potion master’s desk as it was possible to be. Not conspicuous at all.

Obviously, Snape couldn’t see him, which is why the shove from behind took him completely by surprise… which is why he fell forwards and knocked the entire contents of his cauldron on the floor…

The crash reverberated around the stone walls. James, who hadn’t thought this far ahead, immediately assumed his most innocent expression. Snape, a pink blush appearing on his sallow cheeks, vanished the potion contents and stood in silence while the potions master yelled for all he was worth at him.

James, thinking it best to slink back to his cauldron, tried to slip past his professor, but to no avail. The man turned on him at this point.

“And you! Why were you walking past Snape’s cauldron in the first place! You still had fifteen minutes left to go – you should have been beside your own cauldron!”

Wiping the flecks of spit from his face, James attempted casual indifference,
“If you ask me, professor, the more prudent question is ‘why is Snape so clumsy as to knock his own potion over?’”

Snape’s eyes flew open in outrage,
“I most certainly did not push-“

“Silence, both of you! Detention, Snape! Put away your ingredients now, and see me at the end of class!”

James beamed beatifically at Snivellus and ambled back to his own cauldron. Sirius grinned at him,

“Nice one!”

“It was, wasn’t it!” he grinned evilly, then wiped the grin off his face as the potions master glared in his direction. But it was still worth it.


The end of class couldn’t have been more welcome. The professor was in a foul mood by the end of the lesson, and gave them all a stern lecture about cauldron safety. James and Sirius were both reclining in their chairs, each cheerfully aware of the attention from the females in the room and playing up on it. However, it seemed lately to James that he was getting all the wrong attention – because the attention he longed for was that of Lily Evans, and she seemed loathe to give it to him. James frowned. Why did she hate him so much?

From across the room, Lily watched James’ face. She did actually like him, he was, if truth be told, very good looking, funny and daring, but the fact remained that he knew he was all these things. She disliked Severus Snape, as did the rest of the school, but she disliked James’ bullying ways even more. She pitied Snape sometimes; he was friendless, spending his days at lessons or in the library studying in solitude.

She would have tried to befriend Snape, but for the fact that he was loathsome, unpleasant, and rude, and most importantly, had an unnaturally low level of hygiene… his faults were endless. He had called her a Mudblood more than anyone in the school had called her by her true name, despite her trying to help him. Much as she wanted to, Lily was unable to like Snape. The most she could bring herself to do was defend him on occasion from the bullying likes of James Potter. That was why, whenever he begged her to go out with him, she refused. She might like him, but she would not allow herself to be another of James’ possessions.

A shadow fell across Lily’s desk, causing her to jump. “Hey Evans!” James Potter was standing there. Lily’s heart raced. She told herself it was because she’d just had a fright – stupid Potter, making her jump like that…

“What do you want Potter?” she said briskly, snatching up her books and shoving them in her bag, knocking her bottle of ink onto the floor. She cursed inwardly, it was all so predictable, of course, James would immediately think she’d done it on purpose so he could stick around a bit longer.

She waved her hand at him as he bent over to vanish it.

“No, it’s okay…” she spotted Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew standing waiting by the door. She gave Remus a little wave, because she genuinely liked him and thought him very sweet. He blushed and waved back, while Sirius looked perfectly baffled that she hadn’t been waving at him. Lily tried to hide a grin; no doubt it was the first time in Sirius Black’s life that he had been rejected by a female. It must be incredibly hard to cope with.

“Potter, would you leave it alone?!” she pushed him away from her bag, while he pretended to be helpful, but holding her bag hostage.

She glared at him witheringly, “You’re GOOD James.”

He smirked, “Well, I like to think so.”

Trying not to be taken in by the sexy smile or the hazelnut eyes, Lily said firmly, “Get over yourself, I just meant that that is the oldest trick in the book.”

James surrendered, “Okay Evans, have the bag! But I was wondering, there’s a trip to Hogsmeade coming up-“he began, turning his smile up a notch to Boyish Charm.

“Forget it Potter.” She cut him off, snatching away the bag.

“Why won’t you go out with me Lily?” he begged, grabbing her hand. She snatched it back as though he had burnt her.

“You want to know why Potter?” she snarled. He looked perplexed and adorable. God she hated it when he did that.

“Oh, go on-“he began.

“No! I wouldn’t go out with you if you paid me Potter, because you’re an egotistic, self centred chauvinistic bully with no sense of decency! You were the reason why Severus Snape was given a detention, why he received no marks for his potion exam – and all because you were bored, because for once every female in the room was not focussing on you or your stupid friend!”

“Don’t talk about Remus like that!” Sirius yelled, scandalised. Even Peter Pettigrew raised an eyebrow at him.

“But come on Lily, you have to admit it was funny-“James said angrily.

“Oh, I’m sure it was perfectly hilarious, pulling a trick like that when his back was turned, aren’t you just so clever! God knows I don’t like Snape any more than you do, but what I hate more is that you have to be one up on him all the time, and then you think you’re so clever because he hasn’t managed to do the same to you!” she said angrily.

James’ face had reddened but he didn’t say anything, instead, he turned swiftly on his heel and left. Sirius, apparently still offended, swept out after him.

Peter hurried after them, but Remus stayed behind.

Lily sat back down at her desk and put her head in her arms. Remus pulled a chair over and sat down beside her, watching her quietly.

Eventually she raised her head and said,
“Sorry Remus.”

He gave a small smile, “don’t be!”

“It’s just that he makes me so damn angry and-“Lily began angrily, but Remus silenced her with a look.

“I know, I know, he can be a bit too full of himself, but he’s not that bad… he’s just… a guy.”

Lily raised an eyebrow, “and that’s his excuse?”

“No, I just mean he likes you. You know he does. But the fact that you’re so indifferent to him just means he wants to get your attention more, so he’ll act up. That’s the only reason why he’s such a pain in the behind. He’s not a bad guy really,” Moony explained, called upon as usual to explain his friend’s childish behaviour. Only last night he had had to apologise to McGonagoll for James and Sirius' spectacular air sword fight in class, using her pointed hat and the frog they had been transfiguring. James' death scene had been a sight worth watching, as he collapsed in his professor's arms and begged for CPR.

He pushed this thought out of his head as Lily said,
“I’m not just going to adapt to him Remus!”

She felt annoyed that despite James’ behaviour, Remus should still remain loyal to his friend. Moony sighed.

“I know, you shouldn’t have to. Forget it. It’s not like you like him.”

Lily grinned at him. He knew as well as she did that she liked James. He got up.

“See you later!” he said, patting her awkwardly on the shoulder, before turning and following in his friends’ footsteps.

Naturally the other three had gone up to the common room already. This was because the last few times Remus had had to apologise for James’ arrogance, he had had to hex the three of them, as they or, well, Prongs, insisted on making dramatic exits and then waiting outside to hear what Lily had said about James. Thankfully, they had learnt, after a few cases of Bat Bogey hexes, that Remus generally kept his word. Unfortunately, it also meant that he had to make his way up alone. Sighing, he began the ascent.


Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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Remus found the other three in the dorm. James was spitting with rage, pacing angrily.

“Egotistic, chauvinistic bully?!” he spat. Sirius was attempting to look sympathetic. Peter was looking on with unswerving adoration.

“She does kinda have a point mate,” Sirius said carelessly.

“EGOTISTIC?! CHAUVINISTIC?! ME?! I most certainly am not!” James continued to rave at the top of his lungs.

Exasperated, Moony broke in,
“Do you have any idea what those words even mean James?”

James looked momentarily baffled, then, knowing it would be better if he just shut up, he did. Sort of.

“Fine. But I’m not saying it’s true!”

“Fine. Good. Just shut up.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

Remus smiled to himself. Whenever James was in a mood, he tended to lose about a decade of maturity. After a couple of minutes of silence while they began to get some homework done, Prongs threw down his quill.

“I can’t be bothered. See you later.” And with that, he stormed out.

“Stupid Remus with his logic…” James muttered under his breath, taking the stairs two at a time. He swept through the common room, not glancing around and climbed through the portrait hole. He would have felt perhaps a grim satisfaction to see Lily’s face as he stormed past. She looked up as he came in (well, he wasn’t exactly silent as he crashed into the room, walked straight through the groups of people, shoving them out of the way and left… hard to miss when you think about it…) Lily blushed deeply, not a good contrast with her hair, guilt threatening to overcome her. Poor James, why did she do that? Was it a defence mechanism? She was morally against liking him, and yet she couldn’t stop. What was the matter with her?

Irritated suddenly, she got up and walked purposefully over to the staircase leading to the boys’ dormitories and went straight up, not caring who saw. She threw the door open and went straight over to James’ bed and flopped down on to it. Sirius, blatant shock on his face, clutched his bed sheet around his ears,

“LILY EVANS! THIS IS A NAKED PLACE!”

She glared at him witheringly,
“It’s four thirty. You’re still dressed.”

He put the covers down sheepishly.
“Oh. Yeah.”

Remus, grinning at his room mate’s stupidity, shook his head.

“What can I do you for Lily?” he asked, shoving his books under his pillow.

Lily turned to Sirius and Peter and said sweetly,
“Would you guys give us a few minutes?”

Sirius and Peter gazed back inanely,
“Sure.”

“Knock yourself out.”

Moony smiled apologetically at Lily, “now you can see why I would kill for some intelligent conversation… Guys? Do you mind?”

Sirius said, oblivious, “Not really. Go ahead.”

“Yeah, we’re not stopping you.”

“Then would you just go away?!” he said, exasperated. Sirius and Peter looked aghast.

“WHAT?! You and Lily! Time alone! But… but… WHAT ABOUT JAMES?!” Sirius yelped.

“What about him?” Remus asked, getting to his feet and holding the door open.

“Well he fancies Lily too! You can’t make out with Lily HERE!” Sirius cried.

“So, regardless of the fact that one of my best friends fancies her, if I were to drag Lily off to another part of the castle to make out, it would be okay?” Remus said sarcastically.

“Now you’re getting it!” Sirius said enthusiastically.

“Goodbye Sirius.”

“Bye Remus.”

Moony closed the door on the two and fell back against it, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’re great friends but sometimes, they’re a bit dense… so what did you want to talk about?”

“James.”

“Of course. What about him?” Remus said, sitting down opposite her. She didn’t say anything at first, instead staring at the wall. After a while, she came out of this reverie and said bluntly,
“He’s horrid. He’s rude, arrogant, egotistic, obnoxious, and a total bully.”

Remus nodded.
“So why do you like him so much?” he said quietly.

Lily stared at him.
“Well you’re no help. I was going to ask you the same question.”

Moony settled back comfortably and said simply,
“Because you know he’s not all bad.”

“Not all bad?! Name me one good thing about him Remus-“

“He’s funny. Brave. Loyal. Honest. So what if he’s a bit arrogant. You only see him as other people see him Lily, although others admire him for it. He’s sixteen years old, he’s the best seeker in the school, he’s clever, he can probably have any girl he wants,” Remus said, a bitter tone entering his voice.

Lily looked at him sympathetically. Moony continued quietly,
“He just hasn’t been tried yet. He’s just… a teenager. We’re supposed to be frivolous and stupid – hell, when else can we be? So please, just give him a chance. He’s not as bad as you’d think, and he really likes you.”

Lily looked at him in silence for a moment, before saying softly, “How do you know so much about people?”

Remus laughed.

“Call it experience.” He didn’t want to tell Lily the real reason. He’d had to grow up a lot in the past few years, since becoming a werewolf. He found that some people were not quite as understanding of this secret as his friends had been. Lily watched him grow thoughtful.

“Remus? Are you okay?”

“Oh, fine. Are you?” he said, obviously still thinking.

“Sixteen going on sixty, aren’t you!” Lily said teasingly. She got up,
“Thanks for everything!”

“Any time!” Moony replied, opening the door for her. He was rewarded with a hug before she set off down the stairs shouting, for Sirius’ benefit,

“Thanks for the good time!” Sirius fell out of his hiding place behind the door,
“You little minx!”


Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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Lily need not have worried about feeling so guilty, had she known what James had run off to do. In fact, James didn’t know either. He had had a vague idea about going down to see Hagrid, maybe to complain about the unfairness of women. He was too busy muttering inanely to realise where his feet were carrying him. Until, that is, he collided with someone, who dropped all their books.

“YOU AGAIN!” a voice yelled, and within a second, James was blasted off his feet. He crashed against the staircase. Wondering briefly what the hell was going on, he opened his eyes. Snivellus was standing there, clutching his wand for all he was worth, and pointing it at him. James groaned,

“Oh, for the love of God. What do you want?”

~x~

James reflected that he should have used more violent phrasing. In fact, in retrospect, more violence. He was lying in bed in the hospital wing. He was damn mortified. Snivellus was unconscious in the bed opposite him. Prongs turned over on to his side, wishing he had broken the other arm. Stupid Snivellus, why couldn’t he let it go? Surely an hour long’s detention would have put all thoughts of revenge out of his mind… okay. James wasn’t that stupid. Snivellus was probably planning some hugely nefarious plot throughout the time.

Uncomfortable, James turned back over on to his back. Knowing he would probably be awake for the rest of the night, he groaned. At that moment, the hospital wing doors crashed open and two people strode in talking loudly.

“Good God, just because you’re in a bad mood doesn’t mean you have to go blow yourself up!” Remus grinned, dumping a box of Honeydukes chocolate unceremoniously onto the bedside table.

James groaned again,
“What have you heard?”

Sirius said cheerfully, “that you blew up Snivellus then threw yourself off the balcony as an escape plan.”

“I wish,” James growled.

“So what really happened?” Moony said, dragging a chair over.

“Well, I kinda crashed into him on my way to Hagrid’s – by accident!” he added hastily, seeing Sirius and Remus exchange knowing glances.

“And?” Padfoot said.

“And… he attacked me,” James said lamely.

“He attacked you.” Remus said blankly.

“So it was the other way round!” Sirius said, awestruck, “Snivellus blew you up and tried to jump the balcony!”

James glared at him, “have you been taking stupid potion again?! No! He hexed me so I ended up crashing through the banister. Then he yelled at me for a bit – something about paying for my crimes I think, I don’t remember. Bit busy thinking ‘ouch my arm.’”

“So that’s all that happened?” Remus asked.

“No! Then I took out my wand and hexed him, so he flew backwards against the wall-“

“Wow!” Sirius burst out admiringly. James grinned proudly,

“Yeah, knocked him out well and good I did!”

“Wow…” Sirius said again. James puffed up his chest.

“And?” Remus said through gritted teeth.

“And McGonagoll came up the stairs in time to see Snape hit the wall and go unconscious,” James said bitterly. “Wimp,” he added, as an afterthought.

“So what did she do?” Moony persisted.

“Yelled a bit. Gave me a detention. Brought me here. Yelled some more. Gave me another detention…” James said in a bored voice. Sirius and Remus looked sympathetic.

“That sucks mate,” Sirius said.

“I suppose ‘he started it’ didn’t work?” Moony asked.

“I’m sixteen years old, what makes you think I’d use such a playschool line… okay, no it didn’t.” James blushed furiously. Remus knew him too well. He perked up,
“Still, does this mean I’ll get a lot of feminine sympathy?”

Padfoot and Moony exchanged glances once more.

“Not unless Moony feels the need to take a Polyjuice potion,” Sirius said warily.

“Sorry James, but Lily thinks, along with the rest of the school, that you attacked poor defenceless Snape for no reason then tried to take the coward’s way out. Only she gets the added bonus of a guilt trip, thinking you did it because of what she said earlier,” Remus explained.

James and Sirius stared at him.
“How do you know that stuff?” Prongs said, overawed.

“I’m remarkably sensitive,” Moony said dryly.

Neither James nor Sirius had the chance to comment on that because at that moment Lily entered, bearing a card and a glare. James smiled eagerly at her, but started sulking when she walked straight over to Snape’s bed and put the card on his dressing table. He coughed.

“What do you want Potter?” she snarled.

“Um…” James began, deciding that charm and facetiousness obviously wouldn’t work in this situation.

“Well?!” she growled, making to leave.

“Lily I didn’t attack Snape!” James said urgently. She rounded on him.

“Oh really?! Then why he is unconscious?” Lily snapped.

“Because I…”

“Yes, you attacked him,” she yelled.

“He started it!” James yelped. Sirius and Remus groaned.

“You just don’t get it, do you Potter?” Lily said coldly.

“I could, if you’d explain it to me…” James said hopefully.

“Potter, that wasn’t a come on. I don’t care who started it, I don’t care! Do you hear me? I. Don’t. Care. I do care that Snape is laid out unconscious in a bed because you pulled yet another hex on him because I yelled at you earlier-“

“I didn’t, you stupid woman!” James shouted.

Lily stared at him, speechless.

“That’s right! I didn’t! I was going to Hagrid’s hut and didn’t look where I was going! And he hexed me! So I hexed him back – I know I shouldn’t have! But for God’s sake, that’s the truth, so you can stop hating me now!” he finished shouting and breathed deeply.

“Look, I’m sorry I’m such an ‘arrogant, chauvinistic bully’. I’m not that bad, honestly, and I keep wanting to show you that side but… I’m afraid to.” he said quietly.

Sirius’ mouth dropped open. So did Lily’s. Her face softened. She stepped closer to the bed; James’ heart stopped beating as she leaned closer and kissed him on the head. She then grinned suddenly and skipped out. James stared.

“I don’t get women.”

Sirius whistled, “Neither do I mate. The more I get to know that one, the less I want to.”


Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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James entered the hall the next morning, Lily noted, with his usual confident swagger. However, today, rather than plonk himself down beside Sirius as usual, he continued to the other end of the table where she, Lily, was sitting. She felt a blush touch her cheeks, and bent her head firmly over the Daily Prophet.

“Morning Lily!” James all but bellowed.

“What do you want Potter?” she said coldly, now turning crimson through genuine embarrassment. The entire hall was apparently on tenterhooks.

“Would you like to come to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?” he said loudly, for the benefit of the hall.

“No.”

“Great, that’s wonderful, I- pardon?”

“No, Potter. As in the context of ‘not yes’.”

James began to splutter.
“But – but – what about last night?”

The hall gasped. A voice yelled “You little minx!”

Lily stood up and, grabbing James by the collar, dragged him out of the hall, clipping Sirius around the ear on the way.

The doors to the hall had barely closed when she rounded on him,

“What is your problem?!” she shouted at him.

“Hold on, I’m still recovering from being dragged through the Hall by my neck!” James gasped, rubbing the afflicted area.

“You wimp! What is your problem?” Lily yelled again.

“What is my problem? What is my problem?!” James yelped, then, going red with anger, let it all out.
“WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?! YOU ARE MY PROBLEM! LAST NIGHT YOU KISSED ME ON THE HEAD! THIS MORNING YOU SUDDENLY GO ICE QUEEN ON ME AS THOUGH IT NEVER HAPPENED AND STILL HATE ME! WHY? ARE ALL WOMEN AS STUPID AND ILLOGICAL AS YOU?! JESUS!”

Lily stared at him, and then said quietly, “I said no, because as usual you swaggered up to the table arrogantly. Whereas for me, last night I kissed you because for once in your life you weren’t acting the fool, you weren’t playing up to anything! It was the first time in your life when you seemed genuinely sorry about anything, the first time in your life when you were actually you! I hate that you came into the hall today and tried to ask me out – taking advantage of a moment of kindness. I don’t care what you think, James Potter, that is always wrong. I liked the side I saw of you last night, but the new face you put on this morning, the one for the crowds, I despise. So until you decide which face is truly yours, don’t bother me again.” With that, Lily turned and left.

James stared after her for a minute, before growling, “Women” and leaving too.


“I think I’ll never get women,” Sirius said aloud, later that day. Remus and Peter looked at him. The three had been doing homework in silence for a solid half hour. How Sirius had managed to get this sudden change of topic out of thirty minutes of Potions essay, Remus could only guess at.

However, he put down his own pen and smiled enquiringly at Padfoot.
“Do tell,” he said, politely.

“Well, it’s like this,” Sirius had apparently been planning this speech, “she kisses him on the head, skips away merrily, tra la la la la, then the next day it’s like nothing happened. I don’t get women!” he repeated savagely, his wand emitting red sparks and setting fire to his duvet.

Moony sighed and waited for Padfoot to put out the flame. When the flame was out and Padfoot was sucking his finger sulkily where he’d burnt it, Moony said,
“Perhaps the reason you don’t understand Lily, specifically, is because unlike most girls, she actually thinks about people, places, and things… unlike most girls she is original, intelligent, and knows what she wants. And while she likes James, she won’t accept him for being… how she charmingly put it, ‘egotistic’ ‘chauvinistic’ and a bully.”

Sirius stared at him for a minute.
“You make girls sound so simple,” he said.

The three went back to writing for a second, before Padfoot said casually,
“So why don’t you have a girlfriend Remus? I thought girls liked the sensitive, clever ones.”

Lupin looked at him for a second.
“Because I’m gay,” he said facetiously. He didn’t feel like saying “because girls are shallow and would rather go out with a guy who has jam for brains but looks good on their arm.” Confessing to homosexuality seemed easier. Not to mention fun, seeing the look on Sirius’ face.

“Gay?” Sirius was apparently having trouble coping.

Moony assumed an expression of concern,
“Padfoot, aren’t you my friend? I thought friends were understanding at –“he put his hand over his breast and assumed a pained expression,
“Hard, confusing times like this…”

Sirius gulped, forced on a cheerful expression and said heartily,
“Oh, that’s great Moony, old buddy, old pal, really! Now I’m just gonna go gay – GET! GET! Get a quill and I’ll be straight back! RIGHT BACK! RIGHT! Not that it’s wrong to be – uh, I’ll be back soon…” and he bolted.

Remus whistled,
“Well, that’s one of my life questions answered.”


Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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James was bored. He had been in his detention for a full five minutes with Professor Binns, who had nodded off.

‘Funny,’ he mused, ‘you’d think a Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom would be slightly more interesting.’ A creak from behind him made him jump. He looked behind, to see Sirius.

“SIRIUS!” he hissed, slipping out of his chair as quietly as he could which, in the silent classroom, sounded more like a volcano erupting, or like nails on a loud chalk board. He shook his head, why did he have such stupid thoughts? Stupid Lily, messing up his brain…

“What the hell are you doing here?!” he whispered to Sirius.

Padfoot looked offended,
“Thrilled to see you too.”

“Save it! What are you doing here?!”

“Thought I would drop in on an old friend. Besides, Binns is asleep, we could sneak out!” Sirius said, grinning evilly. James grinned back,

“You’re an evil genius Sirius Black!”

“I like to think so!” Sirius preened. He turned to slip out, but James grabbed his arm.

“What?”

“Better yet, let’s search through the classroom, maybe we’ll find something interesting!” James said, eyes shining.

Sirius stared.
“It’s a classroom James. What would they leave in here?”

“Well, I was thinking maybe Professor what’s-his-name might have some evil dark spell books or something. Maybe we could send Snape off to Timbuktu! Or better yet… a bath.”

Sirius’ eyes glazed over.
“Wow…”

So the boys began to search the desks. After five minutes, James slapped his head with his palm,
“You know I said you were an evil genius Sirius? I take it back. You’re a prat.”

Sirius looked hurt.

“Why would a Defence Against The Dark Arts Professor leave his dark supplies in desks?” Prongs moaned at his own stupidity, seeing as Padfoot never managed to get that far with himself.

Sirius said, with a look of dawning comprehension, “his supply room!”

“Exactly!” James groaned, wishing he were slightly more intelligent. If Moony had been here, he reflected, he would have worked it out, dismissed the idea and left the area in half the time they’d taken to realise where the interesting stuff would be kept. James liked to think that in the times his conscience spoke to him, it was in Moony’s voice.

At this point in time, it spoke, saying ‘You can still turn back, take the detention’.

But then his own inner voice cut in, saying ‘But it’d be far more fun if you don’t take the detention and search that room!’

‘You’ll get caught!’

‘It’ll be worth it.’

‘You’ll get even more boring detentions.’

‘It’ll still be worth it!’

‘Are you going to listen to your conscience or your stupid brain?’

“My stupid brain makes life fun,” James said aloud, smirking, and stopped listening to his conscience, which was now attempting to give him guilt pangs. He had ignored them for the past sixteen years. Ignoring guilt was a practised art to him.

“Alohomora!” he heard Sirius whisper, and there was a soft creak as the door opened. The two fell into the room and looked around in awe. They had no idea what the instruments actually were, but they looked impressive, which was more than enough for the two of them. Unfortunately, they were also too big to smuggle out successfully, and without anyone noticing. They discovered this the hard way when trying to get a particularly large hour glass shaped object through the door and failed. In the end they decided to make do with a couple of books. They worked on the theory that Remus could read them and decide if there was anything interesting.

After ten minutes, they decided to leave.

“Sirius, do you have any idea how to relock the door?” he hissed. Sirius, as usual, looked blank.

James reflected momentarily that this look was not uncommon, before snapping,
“oh, screw it!” and just closed the door. It crashed shut. Binns woke with a start. Sirius and James swore as one and dived for the floor.

Binns looked around the classroom, and spotted the door which was obviously the culprit for the crash. He didn’t appear to notice that James’ seat was empty. Padfoot and Prongs crawled back inside the room on their elbows and hid.

A moment later, Binns’ shrivelled head peered into the room.

“Must have been Peeves,” he muttered aloud. He turned and closed the door.

James and Sirius let out sighs of relief… then both of their hearts plummeted as they heard a fatal sound – the key turning in the keyhole, the lock clicking into place. Again, they swore as one.

“We’re trapped!” Sirius yelped.

“Well done on stating the obvious there!” snarled James.

“This was your idea!” Padfoot growled angrily.

“I wouldn’t have come up with it if you hadn’t decided to turn up here!” Prongs insisted, painfully aware that, for once in his life, it wasn’t Padfoot’s fault they were in trouble.

“Oh, we’re screwed, we’re screwed, we’re screwed!” Sirius panicked.

“Shut up, we’re not screwed!” James said sharply. He looked around, ‘come on, we’re in a DADA supplies room, there has to be something to help us!”

‘Should have listened to me, shouldn’t you James!’ his conscience whispered slyly.

‘Shut up, no one likes a gloater!’ James thought, still looking around.

“Lumos,” he muttered, and his wand lit. He waved it in front of him, searching and… there, in front of him, was a fireplace. He could have cried with relief.

“Padfoot!” he hissed, “look!” and, grabbing Sirius, the two shuffled over to the fireplace, still on their knees.

“Ever used these things?” Sirius muttered.

“Desperate times…” James murmured back. He said softly into the fire
“Gryffindor fifth year dorms!”

Within a second, his head appeared in the flames in the fireplace in those dorms. Mercy of all mercies, Remus was in there.

“Moony!” James cried, relieved. Remus looked around, then caught sight of James’ face in the fire. He rolled his eyes.

“James, if this is some practical joke – “ he began, but James cut him off, quickly explaining their predicament.

“Moony, you have to get us out of here! Binns is probably on his way to the staff room now and he’s got the key!”

In a flash, Moony was gone. He bolted down the stairs, out of the common room and through the portrait hole. Haring down the staircase, he almost immediately bumped into Professor Binns.

“Sorry Professor!” he wheezed, stepping aside. The wizard continued on his way up the stairs, never hearing a quick,
“Accio key!” nor feeling the rustle as the key sailed out of his pocket, into the student’s outstretched hand.

Remus turned and kept running. Bursting into the DADA classroom, he continued onwards to the door and opened it. Padfoot and Prongs immediately burst out of the room, elated at having such a quick escape. The three left the classroom, locking the supplies room behind them and placing the key on the teachers’ desk, knowing Binns would probably assume he had just put it down and forgotten to put it back in his pocket.

Having thanked Moony profusely, Sirius begged leave in a falsely high pitched cheery tone,
“Well, better be off, Peter will have been frantic with worry!” and left hurriedly, taking two stairs at a time.

Remus yelled after him, “see you later honeybunch!”

James raised an eyebrow at Remus,
“Do I need to know what that was about?”

“Oh, I told him I was gay,” Remus replied, grinning mischievously.

“Are you?” asked James, in a mildly curious tone.

“Nope. But I thought I could use the entertainment.”

“Maybe I’ll try it sometime!” James said, smirking evilly. The boys walked on a few more steps, before Remus asked innocently,
“Oh, by the way, James, how did you get into the supplies cupboard?”

“Alohomora, why?”

“You realise, of course, that you could have just used the spell to unlock the door, don’t you? Rather than calling me up at god knows what hour?”

James sank to his knees in the middle of the corridor.
“BALLS!”

~x~

It was past midnight when the two boys returned to the common room. Lily was sitting gazing into the common room fire, the light reflecting on her pensive face; make her green, almond shaped eyes glow with a strange light of their own. Her hair glowed a perfect red, she was smiling softly, her lips pink and smooth… of course, this was what James was thinking as he clambered through the portrait hole. He caught sight of her sitting there; hugging her knees, just staring, her features lit by the golden glow of the flames… she was so beautiful…

He fell face forwards out of the portrait hole. Moony couldn’t take it anymore. He just leant back against the wall and howled with laughter.

James laid there for a moment on his face, wishing vaguely that either Moony would stop laughing; on the off chance that Lily wouldn’t have noticed that he had just fallen out of the portrait hole on to his nose… or that he could have died from the fall.

Anything.

But no. Moony had slid to the floor and had tears running down his face. James picked himself off the floor, and was mortified to find blood on his sleeve. His nose was bleeding too… and right then and there, James got about as close to suicidal as he would ever be in his life.

Moony was still on the floor, apparently dangerously short of breath. James glared at him and decided to go up to the dormitory before he had to look at Lily and see her laugh. But before he’d taken a step, she was there in front of him, a palm on each cheek, taking a look at his nose. He jerked his head back but she held on firmly.

He attempted a wicked grin, “So Sirius was right, you are a minx!”

Lily refused to return the smile, “I’m checking that it isn’t broken. I still hate you.”

“Oh, good, for a moment there I thought you’d changed your mind. That’d probably be a sign of the apocalypse.”

Lily ignored him.

“Well, it isn’t broken,” she said, releasing his head, “you’ll want to put some murtlap essence on that.” James looked blank.

“Murtlap essence? Oh for goodness sake, sit down!” Lily snapped.

She disappeared into her dormitory for a moment while James, undecided, hovered over an armchair. Remus, wiping tears from his eyes, whispered to James that he’d read over the book and see if there was anything interesting in it, before disappearing up the stairs to their dorm.

Lily reappeared. Seeing James still standing by a chair, she snapped, “Sit down then!”

“I’m glad you’re still being wonderfully cruel to me Lily, I was terrified for a moment you would break your sadistic streak by doing something nice,” James muttered sarcastically.

“What?”

“Nothing!” James said hastily. He’d heard that red heads had vile tempers and wasn’t overly anxious to challenge the theory.

She put a cloth to his nose. He felt refreshed instantly. He opened his eyes a crack, to peer secretly into Lily’s face. She looked momentarily softened as, with almost motherly care, she dabbed at his face. He closed his eyes again, they were slitted in ecstasy.

“You look like a cat James,” Lily snapped.

“And you look like an angel, Lily.” James said blissfully, opening an eye slyly.

Lily was blushing, but she kept her voice short and brisk,
“Shut up James.”

“James is it now? What happened to ‘Potter’?” he asked wickedly.

“Shut up Potter.” She was unrelenting. Fair enough, he could be too.

“I meant what I said before, about you looking like an angel,” he said, his voice smooth and full of charm.

“Yes, and I meant what I said this morning. So shut up and stop it… please,” a sad note entered her voice.

“Stop what? A man can’t even be a gentleman around you? Fine!” he said, putting on a mock offended tone.

“No James… Potter… I mean that you’re doing it again. That charm you just turn on to get the girl you want… I’ve seen you! Do you know how that makes me feel?”

James felt himself growing weary. He’d just never be right for her, would he?

“No, how does it make you feel?” he said, this time in a softer, more natural tone.

“It makes me feel… like all the others.” She said sadly, dabbing his nose again. He pushed her hands away impatiently.

“What can I do to make you like me?” he said.

Lily sighed, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe… maybe we could just be friends?” she asked, hopefully.

“Friends?” James said quietly.

“Yeah, friends, it’d be so much easier – “Lily said quickly, but James cut her off.

“I’m sorry Lily but I can’t do that. I like you too much – there, I said it; I like you too much just to be friends. You might have some wild theory behind that like – like I can’t be friends with a girl, or that I’m sulking because you said no, because OBVIOUSLY I can’t handle rejection – do you think I’m not capable of human emotion? It’s all or nothing Lily Evans. I want it all – but if you don’t, I think we’ll just have to leave it as it stands, okay?” he stormed, angrily. He stood up sharply, knocking the murtlap essence on the floor, the bowl cracked.

“Reparo!” he snapped, then turned, and stomped away, up the stairs into his dorm. Lily dropped her head into her hands. Why could he not just keep it simple?

Meanwhile, Remus, Peter and Sirius fell backwards as the door leading up to the common room crashed open. They had had the foresight to keep one eye on the keyhole. Well. Sirius called it foresight. Remus called it nosey. Peter was undecided.

So, the three fell backwards as the door opened and collided violently with the wall and swung closed. James stopped directly in front of the three boys, who were sprawled on their backs across the stairs. Sirius sat up on his elbows and gave an unconvincingly innocent grin,
“So, how’d it go?”

~x~

“James, you have to get up!” Remus said pleadingly.

“No. My life is over,” a muffled voice said from beneath the covers.

“Your life is not over!” Remus said wearily.

“Yes it is.” James said firmly, clutching the covers harder.

“James, you told Lily you liked her too much to be friends, that’s hardly – “

“IT IS! I displayed raw emotion – guys don’t do that! It’s not…” he lowered his voice confidentially, “cool.”

Remus raised an eyebrow.
“Shut up and get up, or I’ll drag you out myself.”

“Try it.”

The threat was muffled, but two hands appeared and gripped the wooden posters of the four poster bed. Remus grinned.

“Lacarnum inflamare.” Instantly the wooden poles caught fire and James leapt out of bed. Remus put out the flame and repaired the poles, while James pulled on some clothes, muttering darkly.

“Ready to come to Hogsmeade now James?” Sirius appeared.

“What’s the point? It’s Valentines Day and I haven’t got a date.” James seemed determined to be miserable.

“It’s not Valentines Day for another month, pratticus!” Sirius said.

“Good. I was afraid I’d have to ask Peter,” James said absent mindedly, pulling on a scarf. Sirius laughed loudly, while Wormtail decided to take over from James in the sulking rally.

“Well I don’t WANT to go then,” James said, aware that he was putting on his shoes and gloves anyway.

“Well,” Moony said secretively, “I found something in that book of yours!”

James pretended not to care.
“Oh?” he said.

“Yeah. It’s good.” Remus went on.

“Oh?” was the reply, still in that disinterested tone.

Moony sighed.
“I’ll buy you something from Zonkos, if you come,” he said resignedly. In an instant James was at his elbow,

“Come on, come on, what are we waiting for? Hurry up! We have to go!” he bounded around like an excited pup, before legging it out the door. The other three gaped.

“You’ve gotta love him,” Peter said fondly. Sirius’ head snapped up,

“Not you too!”


“James! James! James Potter would you please focus!” Moony snapped. The boys had been to Zonkos and bought James the toy of his dreams, apparently. This new toy was keeping him more than interested. Try as he might, Moony failed to see how James found these new things so interesting – and, this one in particular, so amusing. He’d bought him what looked like one of those muggle whoopee cushions, but this one had the ability to throw the sound, so you could target and blame it on other people in the room. When James had grabbed it off the shelf, Remus had raised an eyebrow and enquired as to how old exactly James was, but to no avail. His money bag considerably lighter, he’d been forced to cadge a Butterbeer off Sirius. He was just glad that James hadn’t looked further and come across one with inbuilt dungbombs.

The four had then progressed to the Three Broomsticks and found a table, ordered some drinks, and now Moony was trying to get James and Sirius to leave the toy alone and listen to what he had to say. He rolled his eyes; it was like trying to get children to be obedient. He raised his wand and “accio’d” it over to him. Ignoring the anguished yells, he put it in his bag.
“You can have it later. First, hear me out,” he said patiently. Sirius and James sulked.

“What?” James ventured, after a full thirty seconds. He never could sulk for long.

“I found something in that book!” Remus said, excitement creeping into his voice.
He pulled it out of his back and it fell with a crash onto the table. However, before opening it, he folded his arms primly over the top and said, mock seriously,

“But before we open it, what did we learn?”

“Not to steal dark magic books,” Sirius and James droned together.

“Good,” Moony said patronisingly, with a slight grin, “and why is that?”

“Because we might get locked in the supply cupboard again,” the two chanted back tonelessly.

“Great, I’m glad you learnt your lesson. Now…” Remus opened the book and flicked through it. After a couple of seconds, he evidently found the page he was looking for. He beamed, and turned the book to face James and Sirius. They peered at it, and then both raised an eyebrow at him.

“A quill?” James said incredulously.

“Listen, Moony, mate, there’s a shop down from Zonkos that sells this stuff!” Sirius began. Remus, Peter and James all gawped at him. He coughed,

“Uh, or so I’m told…”

“It’s not just any quill!” Moony said, getting back to the original discussion.

Dismayed by the lack of reaction he was getting, he took the book back and said,
“It’s a quill that you can conjure up – I mean, it’s quite a complicated spell, but I think we can do it… it’s a quill we can use to travel through different dimensions!”

Now the three others looked interested.

“You’re kidding!” James snatched the book, his new toy forgotten.

“No, I’m not! We could do this!” Moony grabbed it, and his eyes roved the ingredients list.

“Ah, we could probably get all these supplies from the Potions store cupboard. We might need a couple from the DADA supplies room – but I’ll get those myself!” he added hastily, seeing James and Sirius pale.

“But we can do this?” Sirius said, excitedly, “That would be so cool! But what does it mean by dimensions? How does it work?”

Moony speed read the paragraph detailing the quill’s magical properties,

“It’s really weird – it’s like you kinda cut through the air. Like paper or something, and then you just climb through the hole and when you’ve got through it, you have to do something… hmm… there has to be some something to close the hole… ah!” he gasped,
“Here… okay, that’s officially the stupidest thing I’ve ever read… you can get a special type of eraser that you rub away at the lines you drew in the air with the quill, and the hole disappears, so it’s like nothing happened.”

Peter said uncertainly, “it sounds pretty dangerous… what if it’s a bit over our heads?”

“Shut it Wormtail!” James said, eyes shining, “Where can we get that eraser thing?”

Moony said knowledgably, having already asked this question himself, “We have to make it up ourselves. It’s on the next page, it shows you how. Looks much simpler than the other one, thankfully.”

The butterbeers untouched, James, Remus and Sirius exited the Three Broomsticks, talking excitedly about what they were going to do. Peter remained behind, sadly realising that he would always just be the odd-one-out of the group. He was so insignificant, Moony, Prongs and Padfoot never seemed to care or notice whether or not he was with them. It made him sick, being so unneeded… he’d leave them to it. He wasn’t going to have to be around to pick up the pieces, and they wouldn’t care whether he was anyway.

Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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“I hate Remus. Is this some sort of sick joke, sending us back into the supplies cupboard?” James muttered darkly to Sirius.

“He has such a bad sense of humour,” Sirius agreed, searching through the potions on the shelves.

“Bet anything that Boomslang skin is in the potions cupboard and he’s just torturing us…” Prongs growled.

“I’ve got the Boomslang skin!” Moony sang from the doorway.

Sirius and James exchanged a look before vaulting over the balcony and launching themselves at him. McGonagoll arrived around the corner in time to see the three of them go down.

“James Potter! Sirius Black! Get up at once!” she snapped.

James clambered to his feet and whined,
“You always arrive at the wrong time! We were only gonna cut Remus up into little pieces!”

McGonagoll appeared to suppress a smile,
“Or the right time. Are you alright, Mr Lupin?”

Remus grinned evilly,
“Well, I’m not so sure professor…”

“He’s fine and he knows it!” snarled Sirius, dragging Moony roughly to his feet.

“Indeed. Shouldn’t you three be – never mind,” McGonagoll sighed as the three charged off up the stairs. Teenagers, she shook her head indulgently, who knows what went through their heads? Still puzzling, she walked off. The thought that they might be plotting to attempt dark magic didn’t occur to her. Well, who would think that a trio of sixteen year olds would try something like that?


“So, got the Boomslang skin-“Remus began.

“Yeah, we meant to kill you about that,” Padfoot said matter-of-factly. Moony ignored him.

“Stop ignoring me!” Sirius whined.

“Shut up then and I won’t have to. We’ve got… everything I think. It’s gonna take a while to make though, stirring it at midnight on the full moon – one of you two will have to cover that ‘cause I’ll probably just eat the cauldron – adding the thestral feather at exactly the right time… it’s quite complicated, but doable. This one has an incantation too. It’s weird, ‘cause not many of our potions have ever actually involved wand work –“

“Okay, okay, we get it! We’re thick, you’re clever- stop rubbing it in, just let’s get it done!” James cut in hastily. Moony would probably have gone on all night in this vein. Remus blushed hotly and was silent.

James grinned,
“So, shall we get started then?”


James reflected later that he hated potion making. Traditionally, it was a long, boring process with very precise rules which must be followed exactly. This was difficult for James and Sirius, whose natural instincts were to throw the ingredients into a cauldron and stir. This time, however, they had to add the ingredients exactly, that is, at a certain time, a certain amount, stir clockwise, anticlockwise, chant, leave it to simmer for a certain amount of time…

James and Sirius were up at midnight on the full moon, stirring the potion and following the instructions feverishly. This was on a week day too, and as Peter was maintaining a sulky silence, it was difficult for the two to keep their tempers, much more their patience. Actually, it took Sirius roughly ten seconds of stony silence as he and James ignored Peter... before he just said aloud, "Screw it!" and rugby tackled Peter to the ground. It took Remus and James several minutes before the two managed to pull him off and send Peter to the hospital wing, sporting the latest in black eyes.

But eventually, the potion was finished. The three had previously agreed that they would only use enough for one quill full. When they had used the sufficient amount in order to make the antidote, which would act as an eraser, they vanished the contents of the cauldron. As Remus said, they couldn’t risk someone finding it and reporting them.

“We have to try it out!” James said, looking excited but exhausted.

Remus, also exhausted, said,
“Can we sleep on it? I’m SO tired!” he yawned hugely.

Sirius stretched like a dog on his bed and closed his eyes. Within a second he began to snore. Moony and Prongs exchanged tired looks.

“Well, I’m never going to sleep now. Want to try it out?” James said bitterly, glaring at the snoring teenager sprawled across his bed.

“We shouldn’t. Sirius will probably throw a tantrum and we’ll have two people sulking. We could go see Lily?” Remus said tentatively. James didn’t even look up.

“Screw Lily, I want a coffee,” he said bluntly, pulling on a dressing gown. Remus, sighing, followed suit. At the door to the common room, James paused, then strode in calmly.

Lily was curled up in a chair by the fire, seemingly absorbed in the book she was reading. She looked up, hearing the door open, and, seeing James looking adorable in his huge pjamas, smiled. He was really too cute for words.

Seeing her smile, James yelled,
“YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, I WEAR PJAMAS! DON’T SMIRK AT ME AS THOUGH YOU KNOW EVERYTHING! STOP HASSLING ME AND LEAVE ME ALONE!” and with that, he stomped out, leaving Lily and the rest of the common room staring.

Remus, blushing violently, apologised, and, sidling to the portrait hole, clambered through it as fast as he could.

On the other side, James was standing quietly. When he was standing upright, Remus raised an eyebrow at him. James stared at his feet.

“That was REALLY over the top, wasn’t it,” he said shamefacedly.

“The smallest bit,” Moony agreed.

“I really should stop that,” James muttered.

“You should! Why do you do it?!” Moony asked, bemused. James didn’t look at him or answer.

“Because you like her!” Remus singsonged.

“DO NOT! DON’T YOU DARE MAKE SUCH ACCUSATIONS EVER AGAIN!”

“You’re doing it again James.”

“AM NOT! GOD – oh God, I really am, aren’t I!”

“Just have some butterbeer, for God’s sake!” Moony said, as the two turned into the main hall. A house elf, bowing, immediately produced two butterbeers. James took both.

“Now for God’s sake,” Remus snapped, “tell me what’s on your mind.”


Three hours later, Remus hated himself. Leading James back to the dorm was usually an arduous task, because he had a tendency to lose concentration or become distracted by shiny objects. Or female ones. However, today, he had consumed the equivalent of… well, England, in butterbeer, and was blithely allowing Remus to half drag, half carry him up to the common room, while burbling randomly to himself.

“Y’know what Remus?”

“What James?” Remus said resignedly.

“If you think about it, Dumbledore and McGonagoll are SO hitting it.”

“Shut UP James!” Moony said hastily, grabbing James’ hand and trying to drag him up the stairs, now presented with the vile images of Dumbledore and McGonagoll “hitting it”.

“Riiiight, because it’s a secret, isn’t it Moony? Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” James slurred, blowing a raspberry at him. Sirius rounded the corner at that point, stretching and yawning. His eyes fell on Remus, who was still holding James’ hand as though he were a naughty child. Or, to Sirius’ perverted mind, a naughty sex slave. Padfoot’s eyes bulged,

“Oh God, James as well! WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO!” and, yelling, he turned and bolted back up the stairs.

“Well, that was vaguely terrifying!” Remus commented, wondering why he was so surprised by Sirius’ stupid behaviour.

“Haha, s’cause he thinks you’re gay,” James slurred, “why’d you tell him you were gay? ‘Cause, you’re not,” he added, informatively, seeing as Remus obviously was totally unaware whether he was gay or straight.

“Because it was easier than pondering on why I don’t have a girlfriend,” Moony said tiredly, still dragging James up the stairs. James, in his present state of drunkenness, didn’t seem to notice. He laughed and said,

“Yeah, s’funny how he always talks really fast around you, innit? Can I have another drink? I’m thirsty. “

“No more drink James, and shut up with the talking, or I’ll hex you until your genitals are a distant memory,” Remus threatened. James wasn’t in the state of mind to listen, but he heard the word “genitals” and heard the threatening tone, so, mercifully, shut up. Remus could handle that. He wanted to think.

For three straight hours, James had spoken to Remus about Lily. He was tired of never being right for her, and yet annoyed with himself for still liking her, it had been thoroughly unproductive really, seeing as Remus had already formed these conclusions in his head. He already knew how James and Lily felt about each other. He also knew that they both had points, and were both too stubborn to adapt to each other or accept each others’ points of view, and until they could do that, they wouldn’t be together. It was far too complicated on his opinion.

But Remus was lonely. He wanted someone too, someone equal, someone apart from the group, who he could be with, without feeling like having to pander to their every whim, or bail them out of trouble. James and Sirius were great friends when they put their minds to it, but they were… a bit wearing after a while, he often felt more like a parental figure than a friend of theirs. He wanted to be able to talk to someone, maybe someone who realised that he wasn’t just a quiet bookish type, who wasn’t interested in having a relationship. However, he reasoned, he was only sixteen. No point in planning an entire future now, when he had the rest of his life to do that.

He realized with a start that he was at the portrait hole, and James was scratching away at the door and whining like a dog. It was one in the morning, the common room was silent. That is, until James fell onto his face.

“Not again!” Remus muttered, climbing out. James, however, burst into maniacal laughter and pointed at his nose, which was, thankfully, intact.

“Hahahaha, look Remus, I did it again!”

Remus pulled James to his feet and hauled him up to the dormitory, where James continued to laugh and talk total crap.

In the end, Remus had to petrify James so he could get some sleep.

~x~

“Y’know, I really think we should get homework done during the week,” Sirius muttered the next day. He and James were sitting in the common room, it was coming up for midnight and they still had three rolls of parchment to write for Professor McGonagoll. James nodded in agreement, and added,

“Or… well… at all.” He threw down his quill and said tiredly,

“Want to finish this tomorrow?”

“When?! It’s Monday!”

James looked at him witheringly,
“In History of Magic, genius!”

“Ohhhh. Okay!” Sirius agreed, rolling up his parchment. He suddenly stopped, and gave James a sideways look,

“Or we could just nick Remus’ and copy it.” James beamed at him,

“I like the way you think, Mr Padfoot!”

“As indeed do I, Mr Prongs!”

So the disreputable pair bounced happily up the stairs and shamelessly stole Moony’s hard work. After a while, James said casually,
“It’s Moony’s birthday tomorrow, isn’t it?”

“Certainly is, have you got him anything?”

James started, “you mean, you actually remembered?!”

“Well, sure, he is my friend, you know!”

James looked at him suspiciously,
“You’ve forgotten the past four birthdays, Padfoot! Why would you – Ohhhh…” he said, with a look of dawning comprehension, and his eyes narrowed,
“It’s because you think he’s gay! What – you’re doing it because you want him to think you’re okay with it?”

“I am okay with it!” Sirius yelped back.

“Sirius – he isn’t gay!”

“WHAT?!” Sirius cried, “but I bought him some pink dress robes!”

“You two really are so stupid!” Lily Evan’s voice floated across the common room. Both boys jumped out of their skins, not having realized she was there. Lily had been there all evening, peacefully reading her book and listening to their conversation with a faintly contemptuous air.

“Lily, I’m a bit busy to fight off your unwanted attentions at the moment,” James said sarcastically. Lily stood up and stomped over to where the two were sitting. She didn’t seem to do anything unless she was in a temper, James thought briefly.

She sat down with them, “first of all, Sirius, even if Remus WAS gay, he’d still hate your present, because he would still be a guy! Being gay doesn’t automatically turn him into a female, you’re just making assumptions based on your ignorance.”

“And that was in English…”

“You’re a moron. Now, this is for both of you,” Lily said, getting into it, “you two might be popular, every guy might want to be you, and every girl to go out with you – but news just in, you’re not that great!”

James and Sirius looked offended.

“That’s right,” Lily said triumphantly,” you’re not. You’re both incredibly arrogant and egotistic, but Remus puts up with you because he sees some good in you, when if it were left up to me, I’d have put you both over my knee and-“

“Please let the next word out of your mouth be ‘spank’” James said evilly.

“-set your butts on fire until you get the message,” Lily finished, grateful that James had stopped her. Blushing, she continued,

“Anyway, the point is that Remus is like the spare wheel. He looks after you two and never complains despite the fact that you behave constantly like a pair of drunken four year olds, he sticks by you and gets you out of trouble, and you just repay him by thinking more about yourselves and don’t ever think about him! He is so sweet and caring and you know what? He’s lonely! Of the three of you, he’s the one who should be fighting the girls off, because he’s so wonderful in every way, but he isn’t because you two overshadow him! It’s a stupid, shallow, unfair thing. The least you two could do would be to stop thinking about your own sweet little selves and think about him for a change!” with that, she stalked off, leaving the boys with the uncomfortable feeling that she had a point.

“Bloody Lily, I hate it when she’s right. He told me last night that he was lonely, but… I was a little out of it,” James said shamefacedly, “But what she said was true, wasn’t it? He DOES do all that stuff for us. We have to show him more respect and think of him more often.”

“Starting now?” Sirius asked, eying his half-copied-out essay.

“Uh, starting tomorrow.”

~x~

Remus was in a bad mood. It was his birthday, and as usual Sirius had forgotten it existed. Peter was still sulking. His Transfiguration parchments had disappeared from his bag and Professor McGonagoll had only spared him a yelling because Sirius, looking terribly guilty for some reason he didn’t divulge, said “Professor, it’s Remus’ birthday, go easy on him!” Classes had finished, he’d rushed his dinner, having promised that he would redo his parchments.

One and a half scrolls through, Sirius had appeared and admitted to handing Remus’ homework in instead of his own… And now, James stormed in.

“What is WITH her?!” he snarled in Remus’ direction. Remus, knowing James was, obviously, talking about Lily, ignored him anyway.

“Women!” James growled, still attempting to get Moony’s attention, but to no avail. Realising this, he growled a few more times in his general direction, and, when he got no reply, stood up and said,
“Are you going to ask what happened, or am I just going to have to sit here for the evening and wait?!”

Remus put down his quill. His natural instinct was to say,
“Please, tell me, what is your problem today James?” However, when he said it, today it sounded sarcastic. Wonder why that was. James, however, didn’t notice. He plunged into a long winded story, ending it with,

“Isn’t that just SO unfair Remus!”

Moony looked at him. Really looked at him. And blew up in his face.

“James for God’s sake! Have you been aware of my last twenty four hours? Sirius stole my homework and then gave it in as his own! He forgot my birthday, Peter is still sulking, and you expect me to listen to your problems?! I’m sorry James, I can’t today! I’m tired, I have to get this done and for some reason some total idiot keeps interrupting me because his stupid personal problems can’t wait until tomorrow!”

James stared at him for thirty seconds, before grabbing his arm and dragging him away from the homework.

“James, I have to get this done –“Remus spluttered.

“Nuh uh uh! That is the immediate sign that you are in WAY over your head!” said James, relentlessly.

He dragged Remus right out of the dormitory and down to the common room, shoved him into a chair and sat on his feet, wondering vaguely what to do next. This feeling lasted until Sirius came into the room.

”Ah, Sirius, just the person I wanted to see!” James said, mock cheerfully, “come on buddy, take a seat!”

Sirius was quite bright. He had his blonde moments, of course, but he had never failed a class. However, this was one of the slightly more blonde occasions. He sat down without a hint of suspicion. However, he squealed all manly like as James lemon-zinger hexed him.

“What the hell was that for?!” he shrieked, wiping his eyes.

“Sirius! Did you even listen to what Lily said!? And then when I said we have to respect Moony?!”

“Well, uh, yeah, but-“

“Did you realise that giving in Moony’s homework as your own doesn’t qualify as friend like behaviour!”

Sirius became intensely interested in his shoes, although that could have been because they had a hole in them,

“S’rryRemus!” he muttered. Remus, who was feeling pretty blown away by the fact that the two had even realised how demanding they were, let alone discussed it, nodded numbly.

James said severely, “And?”

“And… I’ll redo the thing myself and give it to McGonagoll next lesson,” Sirius said, hating James.

“And?”

“AND I WILL TELL HER I STOLE YOURS AND GAVE IT IN AS MY OWN! GOD! DO YOU WANT ME TO CHUCK MYSELF OUT THE WINDOW TOO?” Sirius exploded.

James smiled quaintly,
“Nah, I think that’ll do!” He got off of Remus’ feet and clapped his hands together like an excited child,
“Now, can we pleeeeeeease go and try out the quill?”

Remus and Sirius exchanged looks, before both nodded. What was the worst that could happen?

~x~

“I can’t believe you lost the eraser Sirius!” Remus groaned. Sirius looked suitably ashamed. These days it wasn’t that uncommon a look in him.

“What are we going to do if someone finds the hole, Sirius?” he asked, exasperated.

Sirius glared at him.
“Oh, for God’s sake, I blame James!”

“ME?!” James exclaimed, looking scandalised.

“Yeah, you! You know I’m useless at remembering this stuff, you knew I was going to lose it!” Sirius asserted self righteously. James gawped at him.

“But you told me to give it to you! You said ‘Come on Prongs, you know you’ll lose it if we give it to you!’”

“Wow, that was oddly specific!” Sirius said dreamily.

James growled impatiently,
“Oh who cares? Let’s just go on!”

“Where are we?” Remus said, bewildered. They looked around. It reminded them of Hogsmeade, only… dull. The shops demonstrated clothing and things, but there was definitely something wrong. The three boys gaped, before Remus slapped his forehead,
“Of course, we’re in the muggle world now!”

Just as he was saying this, a girl with violent red hair came up to them and stood directly in front of James,

“Wow, are you Daniel Radcliffe?” she asked excitedly, apparently on the verge of wetting herself.

James looked puzzled, “Daniel what?”

“Daniel Radcliffe – you know… Harry Potter?” James and Sirius smiled at her innocently.

“Oh. No,” James said.

He, Remus and Sirius were all frankly bewildered that anyone would accost them like this anyway. Didn’t seem to bother the girl, she probably did that all the time.

“Do you even know who Harry Potter is?” the girl asked, in apparent shock. When James continued to look blank she narrowed her eyes,
“You’re kidding.”

“No I’m not.”

“You must be.”

“Well I’m not.”

“Harry Potter is famous.”

“Tell me who he is then.”

“Harry Potter is a book about Wizards, they all go to Hogwarts – I’m Yvonne, by the way,” the girl added. James, Remus and Sirius weren’t even bothering to conceal their shock now.

“Yeah, look,” she produced a book from her bag; Remus read it upside down as ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’. This was too weird… James, however, was looking at the size of the book in wonder,

“Jeez, you carry that thing round with you?!”

The girl blushed, “Uh, yeah, don’t we all?”

Sirius and James both looked at Remus.
“We’ve found your geeky soul mate,” James said, winking. He received a sharp punch in the gut for his troubles.

“Ouch, you’re worse than Lily!” he gasped at Yvonne, who was glaring fiercely. Her eyes lit up,
“Wow, Lily! Harry’s mum is called Lily!”

Sirius looked at her, one eyebrow raised, “you really have to get out more!” he dodged the fist. Remus was actually noticing a link… Potter…Lily…

“What’s Harry’s dad’s name?”

Yvonne said enthusiastically,
“What was his name you mean? Harry’s dad was called James Potter; he died when
Harry was one because Lord Voldemort killed him.”

Now James and Sirius got it.

“WHAT?!” James yelled, grabbing the book, “how old is he now?”

“Oh, if you want to start reading the books, that’s the fifth, where Harry is fifteen. You should start with the Philosophers Stone, when Harry is eleven,” Yvonne said, blissfully unaware that James was suffering a coronary. She continued to ramble on about Harry Potter until Sirius, showing rare presence of mind, said loudly,

“Yeah, yeah, that’s nice, now I’m sure you have somewhere to be!” and all but shoved her away. Looking put out, she turned and left the three, all looking bemused.

“James, pick your jaw off the ground…” Sirius said weakly.

Remus was silent. He said thoughtfully,
“I guess we must be in a world where Harry Potter is just… fiction.”

“So I’m not real?” James asked.

“None of us are,” Remus said.

“So I’m not real?” James repeated.

Remus sighed, “Silly me, that’s right, I forgot… no one exists in your world, but you, do they?”

James ignored him, pondering for a second.

“Can we get into the books?” he said suddenly. Remus stared at him,

“What?”

“Can we go into the books? I want to see Harry!” James said excitedly.

“Got any muggle money?”

“No.”

“Then how do you plan to get the books?”

Sirius appeared, with a stack of books under his arm.
“Already taken care of!” he said cheerfully. Behind him, the book shop had holes in the glass where he had obviously “accio’d” them through. He glanced over his shoulder,
“Um, should we perhaps be elsewhere? Because I don’t think I should have done that,” he said nervously, seeing the shop assistants making their way for the door.

This was all the encouragement Remus and James needed. The three took off immediately, and kept running until eventually they collapsed in an alleyway, breathing hard.

“That …was the… stupidest thing… you’ve…ever… done, Sirius!” James gasped. Sirius and Remus, who were both still in a state of collapse, didn’t respond.

After a while, Moony said,
“Stupider than the time he tried out Quidditch on that muggle broom?”

“Oh come on, what about the time he let Snape force feed him Bubotuber pus because they made that bet – what was it?” James asked, grinning.

“I can’t remember… I bet anything it was because Snape said muggle brooms didn’t fly like wizard ones!”

“Oh yeah! That was so stupid!”

“Didn’t he jump out of the Gryffindor tower window to try it out?” Remus asked.

“Oh yeah, ha, that was funny! And so stupid! I mean, why jump out of the highest tower when you haven’t even cheated by bewitching the thing?!” James exclaimed, laughing at the memory. He and Remus doubled up, while Sirius looked mortally offended.

“Didn’t – didn’t he break – didn’t he break his legs and get that huge scar on his butt cheek?” Remus cried with laughter.

“Okay, okay, enough! I’m standing right here you know!” Sirius shouted, clutching his rear compulsively. James and Remus laughed even harder, cackling like hyenas. Sirius sulked.

After a while, the two stood up, wiping tears away.

“Okay, okay, we’re… we’re over it!” Remus said, still smiling at James, who let out an even bigger cackle and started all over again. Sirius opened the biggest book that he had stolen; the one Yvonne had said Harry was the oldest in, and promptly whacked James over the head with it. When James had recovered, he threw himself at Sirius’ midriff and the two went over. Remus rolled his eyes and dragged the two apart,
“Get in your corners! Now!”

The two glared at each other for a second, before each retreated to their corners. Remus hadn’t dug out his wand yet but they didn’t want to chance it.

“Stupid,” Sirius muttered under his breath malevolently.

“LOSER!” James spat back. He and Sirius were both hit with “Stupefy!” and flew backwards against the walls.

Each muttered their own curse word but didn’t try to take him on. After a couple of seconds of sulking, James became bored so he rolled over and grabbed the Philosopher’s Stone to get an idea of their history, skimming over the parts where Hagrid (“Oh my God, Hagrid’s in here too!”) told Harry, his son, how James and Lily had come to die.

After a while, Sirius let out a cry, “Oh my God! I die?!”

Remus and James rushed over to him and stared at the part his finger trembling pointed out.

“Don’t worry mate, I’ve been dead for fourteen years,” James said.

“How come Remus gets to live but we, the better looking ones, have to die?!” Sirius yelped.

Remus, as usual, ignored this comment, and said, having picked up The Prisoner of Azkaban,
“Guys, I think we have more serious issues to think about here!”

“What could be more important than the fact that I die?!” Sirius whined.

“ME dying!” James countered, oh-so-modestly.

“How about this – Peter betrays James and Lily to Lord Voldemort, frames you, Sirius, for that murder, gets you sent to Azkaban for twelve years, and escaped it without so much as a bruised ego?”

Now he had their attention.

“Peter Pettigrew!” Padfoot yelled.

“That little b-“James began angrily, before Remus cut them off hastily,

“I know, I know! This is… this is so weird.”

“Weird! We’re talking about one of our best friends going over to You Know Who’s side and having me and Lily – uh, Evans, that is – killed! And getting Sirius sent to Azkaban!”

“And you think that’s just WEIRD?!” Sirius shouted.

Remus said angrily, “No, it’s the most disgusting thing anyone could do, turning his own friends over to be murdered. But it’s JUST a story!”

“Moony, they have everyone in these stories – Dumbledore, Snape, Hagrid, me, Lily…” James said, “Don’t you think it’s too dead on to be coincidence?”

Remus said thoughtfully, “Yeah, it is, but… we are in a different reality. In this reality, we don’t exist, this is just a story. Maybe it never happened.”

“Or maybe it DID. Either way, I want to go in to the book and I want to show Pettigrew what’s what!” James snarled, punching his fist into his palm.

Remus sighed. It was obviously going to be a long day. Without a word, he took out
the quill.

“Which one?” he asked. Sirius produced the Order of the Phoenix, which James readily agreed to because Harry was in the same form as him for this book.

Remus opened the book at random and placed the quill in the spine. He pulled it downwards gently, which revealed to the three boys what looked almost like one of those muggle television screens, a window into a different realm. James and Sirius stepped in gingerly first, and Remus followed.


Chapter 7: Chapter 7
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The three were in a dimly lit pub. They looked around, taking in the darkened figures and the general disgusting state of the place, before James said,
“Yep, I’ve definitely been here before.”

Sirius nodded, “Yeah, me too.”

Remus said, smiling slightly, “I guess it’ll come to a total shock to both of you that I haven’t?”

James and Sirius raised their eyebrows at him.

He shrugged. “Want to go find Harry?”

“No need,” James said, breath caught in his chest, mouth dry. He nodded gently at a table in the corner of the room, where there was a large group of kids around their age. A loud voiced, bushy haired girl was speaking now, but the attention was not focussed on her. The others at the table seemed to be staring at one particular boy, who was staring determinedly at the beaver wannabe…

“That must be Harry!” Sirius yelled at the top of his lungs, seemingly just about to bound over to the table. James and Remus grabbed an arm each and stared at the group. James was so shocked to see Harry. The kid was practically identical to him. However, he noticed, blushing a brilliant red, those eyes… a clear, vivid green… they weren’t his, they were Lily’s. Right now, they were narrowed angrily at a particular kid, who was obviously saying something he didn’t like.

“Well, we’ve all turned up to learn from him and now he’s telling us he can’t really do any of it!”

A red haired kid snarled angrily, “That’s not what he said!”

The kid next to him, an exact copy, pulled from his bag a long metal instrument,
“Would you like us to clean out your ears for you?”

The other said, “Or any part of your body, really, we’re not fussy where we stick this.”

Sirius sniggered loudly. Remus and James both froze in panic, each making a mental note to kill him later, as the entire table turned to gawp at whoever had the audacity to listen in on their conversation. Remus smiled apologetically at the group. Harry looked at him, his eyes clouded with a look first of recognition, then of the utmost confusion.

He seemed hardly aware as he said, dimly, “Uh, perhaps we could carry this on… some other time?”

Fortunately Remus and James had dragged Sirius off the floor by this time and the group was beginning to scatter. When the others had gone, leaving Harry, the bushy haired girl and another red head, the three Marauders were left standing shyly by the table. James and Sirius were gawping at Harry, who was wearing an identical expression of gormlessness.

Remus sighed with exasperation. “Hi, I’m Remus,” he said eventually, breaking the silence.

The beaver wannabe piped up, apparently unable to keep her mouth shut any longer than Sirius could keep from looking in the mirror, “I’m Hermione Granger, that’s Ron Weasley-“ the red head attempted a slight wave, “and that’s Harry Potter…”

“Uh, I thought it might be,” James said faintly, still staring at Harry.

He cleared his throat, “Uh, hi Harry, I’m…”

“You’re my dad,” Harry said, “aren’t you?”

A moment of silence passed as the rest of the group gazed in shock, before Sirius clapped his hands together and said,
“Well, that was easier than expected!”

Remus glared witheringly.

“And you’re Sirius! And Professor Lupin!” Harry said excitedly, looking at the other two.

Sirius raised an eyebrow at Remus.

“Told you you’d become a teacher.”

“Shut it you,” Moony said, sitting down. Sirius and James joined him, both staring avidly at Harry.

“So…” Harry began, before coming to a halt awkwardly. Remus, of course, knew how Harry must be feeling; after all, Harry’s dad was dead. Harry had never known him or his mother, he’d probably longed to meet them all his life… and out of the blue his dad shows up, sixteen years old… this was a really stupid idea after all.

“Hey, Sirius, want to check out Zonkos?” he said suddenly, getting up and grabbing Sirius by the elbow.

Obviously, he had no need to do this, because Sirius’ eyes lit up like those of a small child and he was out the door faster than Remus could invite Ron or Hermione to come along. However, Hermione seemed the sensitive type, because she too had grabbed Ron and dragged him out, protesting, leaving Harry and James sitting in awkward silence.

James declined the offer to get a butterbeer, so the two got up stiffly and left the place.

“The Hog’s Head!” James said suddenly.

“What?” Harry asked.

“I’ve been there before, that’s why I remember it!” he said, “thank God, that was gonna bug me forever… or, well, not forever…” he trailed off, leaving another silence.

“You know about that then, huh?” Harry said quietly.

“Oh yeah. First thing I heard from some random red head I met in the muggle world,” James said, regretting his flippant remark, considering the gravity of the situation.

He stopped.

“I’m sorry Harry…” he began, but before he knew it, Harry had flung his arms around his shoulders in a hug. He looked around for a second, but people just hurried by.

Quickly he returned the hug, before brusquely saying in a deep voice,
“Yes, well… uh…” he said, taking profound interest in the tree to his right, while Harry, on his left, took the opportunity to quickly brush away a couple of tears and attempt to sniff subtly. James pretended not to hear. He squinted up at the sign for the Hog’s Head.

“What on earth was my son doing in that disgusting place?” he asked, mock seriously.

Harry grinned at him and explained about their DA meetings. It was something to talk about at least, for which James was grateful, particularly because he enjoyed hearing how his…son… was just as rebellious as he was. He would have been so ashamed if Harry were a goody two shoes type Gryffindor.

~x~

Sirius was receiving unwanted attention. In the form of Beaver Girl. It had been okay at first when Remus had been dragging him out of the Hog’s Head, because Hermione had been likewise engaged in forcing Ron out.

However, by the time Sirius had bolted ahead of them to check out Zonkos, and at the same time attracted the stares of most of the people on the streets – either the girls because he was, if he did say so himself, pretty darn gorgeous, or the guys, in envy.

Remus, who could read Sirius like a book, didn’t feel like pointing out that running up and down a streetful of people yelling “Zonkooooooooooooooooos” at the top of his lungs was not what one could label “suave” but, hey, who was he to judge?

Anyway, eyes back to Sirius and HIS problems. Sirius was, at present, hiding behind a stack of Dr Filibuster’s Fireworks. He was itching to explore the shop more, but Beaver Girl had made it abundantly clear that she had her eye on him. Curse his youthful good looks! Or, well, his need to flirt with any female within a ten mile radius. He cringed. If she flicked her hair or winked at him again…

A creak behind him caught him unawares and he jumped.

“It’s only me!” the red haired kid whispered.

“Is she there?” Sirius asked, with genuine fear in his eyes.

“Nope! Creepy, isn’t she?” Ron said weakly, joining him on the floor.

“She’s your friend, isn’t she?” Sirius raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, but Hermione doesn’t have hormones, she’s never got like this!” Ron said, looking terrified.

“Ah, well with Sirius Black, everyone has hormones!” Sirius said proudly, puffing his chest out.

“There you boys are!” the Beaver’s voice rang out from behind them.

The boys leapt to their feet guiltily. She linked arms with the two of them and wheeled them both firmly away from the boxes. The two winced in pain.

“So what are you going to do?” she asked sweetly of Sirius, “Seeing as James and Harry will be wanting to spend some quality time together, would you like to spend some quality time with me?”

To do him credit, Sirius did not cry. Instead he emitted a high pitched shriek and ran out of the shop with his arms over his face.

~x~

“The Gryffindor boys’ dormitory!” James said happily, appraising his surroundings.

The appraisal took no more than a few seconds because, other than Dean Thomas’ Westham football club posters and a few other odds and ends, it remained almost unchanged since James’ day. Harry gestured at one bed and admitted that it was his.

James’ eyes misted over,
“That was my bed!”

“No it wasn’t,” Harry said in disbelief. James shrugged,

“Okay, no, it wasn’t, mine was that one –“he pointed at Neville Longbottom’s bed – “But wouldn’t it have been cool if it was?”

At that moment there was a yell. Harry and James had just enough time to fall backwards as Sirius crashed through the door and flew under one of the four poster beds.

There was a wail from downstairs of,
“Sirius, come on, I just want to get to know you…” but, mercifully for Sirius, Hermione did not ascend the stairs.

After a few minutes, a dishevelled head poked out from under the bed,
“Is she gone?”

“Who?” Harry and James asked as one.

“Hermione,” said Ron, from the doorway. He was wearing a bemused expression as he said, shaking his head, “she never got like this before!”

Sirius said haughtily, “I told you, once you go Black, you never go back!”

“Whatever you say, Romeo, but I don’t think Hermione’s going to give up that easily!” Remus appeared now.

“Jesus, does everyone know that Beaver Girl – Hermione –“he corrected himself at Harry and Ron’s outraged looks – “fancies me?”

“I’d noticed. With the hair flicking, the winking, the not-so-subtle flirting…” Remus began, ticking the list off his fingers, until Sirius, fingers in his ears, wailed,
“Oh, why am I so good looking?”

Harry looked baffled, “And so modest too!”

“Oh, shut up, get out from under the bed, you’re messing your hair up,” James said grinning.

Within a second, Sirius was out, had located a mirror, and was now checking his appearance thoroughly.
“Hello gorgeous,” he said affectionately to his reflection, “How’ve you been?”

“And this, gentlemen, is why Sirius will never get married!” James said sarcastically.

“Or maybe it’s just because he’ll be framed for murder and shoved in Azkaban for twelve years,” Remus said flippantly.

“Don’t spoil my good mood Remus,” Sirius said matter-of-factly from his place by the mirror, “anyway, I’ll never fall in love. Not even with myself – you gorgeous hunk of manliness,” he added, to his reflection.

The mirror giggled, “Oh, behave yourself!”

“What did I tell you? Women can’t resist me!” Padfoot said loudly.

“Much as I’d love to finish this conversation, haven’t we got other problems we have to deal with?” James said wearily.

“Like Peter Pettigrew?” Remus asked, just as tiredly.

“You guys know about that too?” Harry asked.

“Oh, we know allllllllll about that,” Sirius said in a deep, knowledgeable voice. Harry looked astonished.

“I know,” Remus said, catching the expression and responding with a small smile, “Hard to believe that Sirius actually thinks of other people when his reflection is in the room.”

The others laughed, while Sirius, looking offended, muttered,
“Well when I found out, my reflection WASN’T in the room, was it?”

~x~

Lily was worried. She hadn’t seen James, Remus or Sirius around recently. As in, they had turned up to none of her lessons, at one time or another, she had a class with each of them, and she hadn’t seen them around the common room either. Seeing as James and Sirius tended to dominate the spotlight in the evenings, whether it was just lounging in front of the fire – stretched out lazily on the carpet so that the girls in the room could ogle to their fullest extent – or playing practical jokes, taking the mick out of Pettigrew, and, in James’ case, begging her to go out with him every so often… the sudden disappearance of them and, consequently, their antics, left a large void in the lives of the Gryffindors, and, in particular, Lily’s. She missed Remus’ thoughtfulness, James’ sense of humour and Sirius’… um… well, she missed him too.

Which was why, seeing Peter Pettigrew sitting alone in the corner, she made up her mind to ask him where they were.

“Hey Peter,” she said, pulling an armchair over.

“Hi,” he said warily.

“How’s it going?” she asked politely.

“Same as usual,” he grunted. Lily could see he was in a bad mood. And she didn’t care. Her main worry at the moment was where James, Remus and Sirius were, so she got straight to the point.
“I don’t suppose you’ve seen James- I mean, Remus, around lately, have you?”

“Have you?” was all she got in reply.

“Would I be asking you where they were if I knew?” Lily snapped, losing her temper rather too quickly, as usual. Damn Peter, why was he being so difficult?!

“Well I haven’t either, because –“he started to say, then, suddenly losing confidence, he said lamely, “Well, I haven’t seen them either.”

“Oh no you don’t Peter, you know where they are, don’t you!” Lily leapt on it at once.

Peter, blushing terribly, stuttered, “No I don’t!”

“Of course you do – you were going to tell me what it was!”

“N-no I wasn’t…” Peter stammered, still blushing hotly at his own stupidity. Lily pulled out her wand.
“You’ll tell me Peter or else…” she left the threat hanging.

No need anyway, because Peter, on sight of the wand, had blurted out everything, James’ detention, the finding of the Dark Arts book, Remus’ discovery of the quill, the plan to make it, their sleepless nights while they prepared the potion… everything. When he’d finished, Lily looked pale.

“Those stupid, stupid boys!” she cried. She leapt out of her chair and flew up the stairs to the boys’ dormitories, leaving Peter sitting there looking aghast.

He followed her immediately, protesting,
“You’re not going to TELL anyone, are you?”

“Don’t be stupid, I’ll get them in trouble,” Lily snapped, rounding on him, “where’s the spell book?”

“I – what?”

“The spell book, goddamnit, where is it?”

“It’s right here,” Peter said, pulling it out from under Remus’ pillow. Lily snatched it off him and opened the book at the page Remus had marked. Her eyes widened as she speed read the spell.

“But this is really advanced magic!” she whispered, “How did they do it?”

Peter shrugged; it was the least of his worries. He sat on the bed, and leapt up almost at once with a yell.
“Jesus- what the hell-“he began, snatching at what he had almost sat on.

Lily looked at him in disgust, what he held looked like an ordinary rag, except that it was glowing. Peter rubbed his behind where the thing had burnt him.

“Give me that – “Lily said suddenly, grabbing it off him. It was lukewarm now, letting off occasional sparks, obviously it had an inbuilt defence mechanism when it felt itself to be in danger. Peter glared at it, still massaging his bottom.
Lily had turned the page and discovered the eraser and, she looked at the rag in her hand, this must be it. She felt a surge of excitement – if the eraser was still here, there must be some sort of dimensional hole in the room, because they wouldn’t have been able to cover their tracks without it!

She started feeling around the air, while Peter, still sulking, watched her from the bed, wondering vaguely what she was doing, but still rather preoccupied with his derriere.

Suddenly, as she put he hand out, she noticed that it seemed to have been swallowed up by something – thin air! She couldn’t see the rest of her hand from the wrist down. As she looked closer, she wondered how she hadn’t noticed it sooner – it looked almost like a window, she could see people moving around past it.

She turned to Peter, “Come on.”

He looked confused, “What?”

“You’re coming with me. Come on!”

He shook his head vehemently, “Oh no, no way!” then, “hey!” when she grabbed his arm and dragged him manfully off the bed. Great, now he had a bruised arm, as well as his bruised ego and burnt bottom.

“You’re first,” Lily said smoothly, pushing him into it.



Chapter 8: Chapter 8
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The three Marauders were still debating their next moves when there was a sudden crash as someone stormed up the stairs. Sirius immediately dove for cover, obviously convinced it would be Hermione – which was why it came as such as shock to see another face they recognised, in the form of Lily Evans.

James cowered, expecting some huge outbreak of rage. After all, it WAS Lily Evans. That girl was able to get angry at just about anything, and she was generally quite violent. Harry noticed his father’s cowering and smirked. However, Lily’s first move was to pull him into a hug, which was, to say the least, quite awkward.

James gave him the thumbs up from behind Lily, and then wore an expression of terror as Lily threw her arms around HIS neck.

He blushed,
“Uh, miss me?”

She grinned cheekily, “Not at all.”

She hugged Remus, who, seeing James’ face, pretended this happened all the time.

When Lily released Remus, there was an awkward silence.

“So…” James said, whistling.

“Yeah,” said Remus, shoving his hands in his robe pockets.

“Where’s MY hug?” Sirius asked sulkily.

Lily was looking at Harry with a fierce intensity that made the boy fidget nervously.
“So, you’re my son?” she asked finally.

James sidled over and threw an arm around her shoulder,
“He’s OUR son, Lily,” he said, in what he obviously thought was a thoughtful and loving tone. Lily shuffled out, raising an eyebrow at him.

He looked at his feet, “It was worth a try!”

“Nice try Cupid. Anyway, someone’s going to have to fill me in on what’s going on!” Lily said, looking from face to guilty face.

Remus, after a moment or two, said lamely, “Uh, how much do you know?”

“Well, Peter told me about the dimensions thing and I read your spell book – looking for this?” she asked, holding up the eraser.

“Yeah, thanks – so how did you find us?” James pressed.

“I sent out a tracker spell and followed you into the muggle world, then into this one. I read a bit of those books you left out, which was how I know about Harry, but I don’t know anything else.”

James, Remus and Sirius looked impressed.

James puffed out his chest,
“Well you and I are dead, because we sacrificed ourselves to You-Know-Who. Sirius was wrongly convicted and sent to Azkaban. Peter turned you and I over to You-Know-Who and got Sirius sent to Azkaban in the first place because Sirius went after him and cornered him in a street of people and Peter was yelling something about Sirius turning me and you over, then he blew up a streetful of muggles and faked his own death and Sirius went to prison!” he babbled cheerfully.

Lily was having trouble coping with so much information, “Whoa, slow down there- you and I are dead?”

“Yep, and Sirius is an escaped convict and Peter,“ he began, all set to begin a long rant about Peter, starting with some choice nicknames; however, realising Harry and Ron were present, he said lamely, “got us killed and got Sirius sent to Azkaban.”

“Oh,” Lily said, shocked. She sat down on a bed.

Ron, who had been looking uncomfortable for a while, said loudly, his voice cracking, “Um, can I get anyone anything?”

The entire room turned and raised an eyebrow at him.

“Just asking,” he muttered, slipping out of the room.

Remus, sensing that perhaps James, Lily and Harry should be alone, grabbed Sirius’ arm and dragged him out.

“BUT IT’S JUST GETTING GOOD!” Sirius wailed, grabbing a bed post and trying to dig his nails in.

“You have no…sense…of…decorum!” Remus grunted, trying to drag Sirius off the bed post.

“If I knew what that meant, I’d object!” Sirius sighed, reluctantly allowing himself to be taken out.

This left James, Lily and Harry.

“I should be used to these awkward silences by now,” James groaned, flopping down onto a bed.

Lily nodded in agreement. “I’m having the weirdest day!” she confessed, yawning.

Harry stared at them, “You think YOU are having a weird day?” he exclaimed. The other two looked at him. Becoming frustrated, he snapped,
“I don’t know if YOU ever experienced this but my parents, who died when I was only a year old turn up out of the blue and they’re the same age as me! But apparently that’s not weird at all!”

“Harry, I’m sorry, I didn’t think – “James began, angry with himself for not thinking how Harry might react.

“Harry, I promise, I didn’t want to hurt your feelings – “Lily cried, distressed.

Harry silenced them both, “Yeah, well it kinda did. I’m happy to see you guys, you know I am but… it’s complicated…” he trailed off; thoroughly confused as to why he was hurt or angry, when he knew he should just be happy to see them. He could feel his eyes welling up and hated himself for it. Lily, seeing her son starting to become teary, immediately burst into tears herself and, lunging at him, hugged him fiercely.

After a second James joined them too, and they stood, for once a full family, together… there was a howl, the door crashed open and a second later Sirius was clinging to the three of them, practically bawling his eyes out too. Harry gave a small laugh, and sniffed.

Sirius grabbed at a curtain and blew his nose loudly. He looked at the other three and said, “I love you guys!” and pulled them all back into a hug, crushing them.

Remus, who’d been leaning in the doorway, smirked, and came over now.
“Sirius… Sirius, you’re killing them… Sirius… they need to breathe!” he pulled Sirius’ arm. With another enormous sniff, Sirius let go, leaving the other three blue and choking. When she could breathe again, Lily sidled over to Harry and put her arms around him.

James said suddenly, “I’m sorry, but this has been bugging me – how did you say you found out where we’d gone?”

“What? Oh, Peter told me,” Lily said. Suddenly, her face darkened, and she said seriously,
“He came with me as far as the window into the Hog’s Head which, by the way, I’d rather you never visited again –“she added severely to Harry, who blushed, “But he read that part in the book…about him betraying you guys to You-Know-Who. Someone must have left it open.”

“Sirius, you left the books there?!” Remus cried.

“You can’t expect me to remember EVERYTHING!” Sirius yelled.

“YOU STOLE THEM!” Remus shouted back.

“As I said, I can’t remember everything!”

“Well you haven’t remembered anything so far!”

“SHUT UP, BOTH OF YOU!” James yelled over the two of them.

He turned to Lily, “well, what happened?”

“Well, I don’t know,” she said, ”he just got really angry – first it was because of what he realised he was going to do, but then… he started saying the weirdest things, ‘They never treat me with respect’, ‘they hated me anyway’, “I’m just a joke to them”… He just… went straight through the window and when I went in after him, he was gone.”

“Gone?!” Sirius, James, Remus and Harry said as one.

“Gone.”

~x~

“So we have two Pettigrews on the loose?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah, but… well, what’s he going to do?” James asked thoughtfully.

“Knowing Peter? Probably nicking something from Zonkos as punishment to us!” said Sirius, sniggering.

James laughed, “Yeah, what’s he gonna do, let off my whoopee cushion and blame it on me?!” he and Sirius fell on the floor and began to howl with laughter. Remus, however, looked thoughtful. He continued to look thoughtful long after Sirius and James had stopped laughing. However, even he couldn’t ignore Sirius’ stomach growling for long.

“I’m gonna take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that Sirius is a bit hungry,” he said finally. Sirius looked mildly embarrassed but stayed silent. Little did they know that while they made plans for the meal, miles away, little Peter Pettigrew was conspiring with his adult self…

Half an hour later, the three Marauders had shuffled off to Hogsmeade to find somewhere to eat, while Harry, Ron and Hermione ate at Hogwarts with Lily. Sirius had seemed strangely reluctant to eat there which, James and Remus were suspicious, probably had something to do with a certain Hermione Granger.

They immediately chose The Three Broomsticks, although Sirius and James had initially wanted to try out Ogden’s Firewhisky at the Hog’s Head. Remus didn’t think he could emotionally handle the task of dragging the giggling pair back up the hill. So he insisted they go to the Three Broomsticks, saying that James must now set an example for Harry, after all, how would he have liked it if he met his father and that same night had to take on board the fact that his father was a lecherous drunk? James had muttered something about it being cool, but had agreed. Sirius had burst into tears and had to be forcefully dragged away from the door.

But that part was over, at least, Remus sighed to himself. It was like keeping five year olds in toe, really.

He peered at Sirius and James over his menu, as usual both were openly checking out Madam Rosmerta.

“James, you’re virtually married, Sirius… she’s about twenty years older than you. That’s foul.”

“Older women are so hot!” Sirius said happily, picking up his own menu.

James, looking mildly guilty, grabbed his and scanned it for a second.
“Bad breath, bad breath, yuck, bad breath, allergic, allergic, bad breath…”

“JUST PICK SOMETHING!” Remus’ nerves were already stretched to breaking point.

James looked offended, “Jesus, what crawled up your butt and died?”

Remus groaned, “Thanks for that James, like I was hungry before…”

James put down the menu and looked at Remus, “Seriously mate, what’s up? You’ve been really quiet for ages!”

Sirius looked guilty, “What have I done?”

“For once, nothing. I was thinking about Peter,” Remus said, fiddling with his butterbeer.

“What about him?” Sirius asked, pointing his wand at his option on the menu. The meal appeared in front of him. He jumped up and down excitedly in his chair, saying enthusiastically,
“I LOVE that!”

“You’re such a prat Sirius,” James said, before saying to Remus, “Why are you worried about Peter?”

“Because… oh, I don’t know. He’s just run off in this different world and who knows where he’s gone?” Remus jabbed his wand at the menu, which produced a burnt meal and set the menu on fire.

“Oh come on, this is Peter, how much can he do?” James asked fairly, “I mean, he’s not exactly the cleverest person alive, and he’s not reeeeeeeeeally that powerful… “

“James, to be fair, in a few years he is going to blow an entire street apart – and he’s an Animagus like us and you know that’s really difficult to become! To be honest, I think we’ve belittled him too much,” Remus said simply, vanishing his meal and gently poking his menu. It appeared, underdone. He sighed,
“Is nothing going to go right for me today?”

“Remus, so what if Peter blew a street apart, that’s when he’s older! I mean, we don’t know how old James is when he dies,” Sirius said, with a quick “Sorry mate” in James’ direction, seeing as the person in question had gone remarkably pale and shoved his meal in Remus’ direction.

“My point is,” Sirius went on, “That’s when Peter’s older. He’s not capable of it now.”

“Yeah, and my point is, we should just be careful. Maybe we should go looking for him,” Remus said wearily. He groaned,
“Because life couldn’t possibly be simple.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Remus, then it’d be far too easy!” Sirius said britishly. He beamed at the other two,
“Anyway, screw Peter, don’t let him ruin our evening! Isn’t it great that we met James’ actual son?” and with that, the three put their fears to the back of their minds for the evening. It didn’t occur to them that pretty soon, their fears would be realised. And one person’s life would be brought to a violent and terrible end.


Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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Lily couldn’t sleep. Something was worrying Remus, and it was worrying her too. Where could Peter have gone? She sighed with frustration and got up. Their sleeping arrangements were such that Harry had given up his bed for Lily while the rest of them slept on the floor under Harry’s invisibility cloak. A good plan, but impractical, she thought, as she stepped on Sirius. He groaned, and rolled over.

Relieved, Lily kept going slowly, in case she stood on James or Remus. Harry’s room mates had found it quite bizarre that Harry had had the sudden urge to sleep with Ron. James had been delighted when Harry’s wicked sense of humour took over and he insisted on pulling the curtains across as well.

Smiling slightly, Lily jumped violently when she heard someone’s hangings being pulled across.

“S’alright, it’s only me!” Harry’s voice hissed.

“Don’t do that, you scared me!” Lily cried, finding the door. Harry bounded across, catlike, and fell over what sounded like James. Lily caught him just before he tripped right over, and the two left, Harry grinning sheepishly.

Collapsing on the sofa by the fire, Lily leant back with a yawn. Harry sat on the floor and leant up against it.

“Couldn’t sleep?” he asked lamely.

“Couldn’t sleep,” she confirmed, “Because of stupid Peter Pettigrew.”

“Yeah, well…” Harry trailed off, not knowing what to say. After all, Pettigrew had recently been a friend of his dad’s, and Lily, uh, his mum, had known him too.

Sensing his dilemma, Lily said,
“Don’t worry. I don’t know what to think these days.”

“It has been rather a strange twenty four hours!” Harry said with a tired grin.

Lily smiled too, “So what do you think of James, Sirius and Remus?”

Harry grinned, “I’m not actually sure! Dad and Sirius are really lively… kinda like Fred and George – Ron’s brothers,” he added, for Lily’s sake.

She grinned back, “Yeah, James is pretty cool.”

Harry raised an eyebrow, “ ‘Pretty cool’? Aren’t you my future mother? You’re supposed to love him!” he looked embarrassed at the utterance of the ‘L’ word and stuttered, “I uh mean, that’s what… I’m told… seeing as I’m only fifteen…”

Lily smirked at him, then said, “Well, I do, I really do. It’s a bit weird for me. Because I really like James, but I know I shouldn’t because…well… never mind about that. I just shouldn’t. And you’re living proof that I eventually will.”

Harry looked at her, “Sure you should be having this conversation with your future son?”

Lily looked embarrassed, “No, I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t –“

Harry held up a hand, “Oh, shut up. Why shouldn’t you like my dad?”

However, at that moment, the portrait hole swung open. Seeing as a balding head emerge through the hole, Harry knew immediately who it was and grabbed Lily so that she fell on the floor with him. She didn’t say a word, but watched with wide eyes as the older version Peter Pettigrew climbed through the portrait hole, followed by the Peter she knew… or thought she had… Harry and Lily watched in horror as the two walked straight over to the boys’ dormitories.

“They’re gonna see us when they come out!” Harry hissed.

“Well, hide somewhere else, quickly!” But there was no need. There was a sound of whispered voices, and then silence. Harry and Lily swore as one.

“Harry!” Lily said in shocked reproach.

“What? You said it too!” Harry cried self righteously.

“Yeah but I’m your mother!”

“Not yet!”

“Oh shut up, we have to follow them…”


James had woken up at the sound of footsteps on the stairs. He looked up and noticed that Lily’s bed was empty, and Harry was missing too. He wasn’t so worried at hearing two sets of feet tiptoeing up the stairs, until they appeared in the doorway, when he noticed that both were a bit… stocky to be either Harry or Lily. And Lily had more hair than either of them. And, he realised a tad too late, Lily was a bit too female to be either of them. He scrabbled frantically for his wand, waking Remus, who put two and two together much quicker than James and grabbed his, but to no avail, instantly the three boys were petrified, as was Ron. The shorter of the two reached into Remus’ pocket and found the quill. They produced a book, which they opened up, and, having created a window, pushed the four boys into it, and then followed.

Sirius hit the ground first, painfully. He groaned, knowing he had obviously jarred his spine. Trying to move his arms and legs, he realised that he had been petrified. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Remus and James, each hitting the ground as well with muffled yelps of pain through their frozen mouths. Next he saw little Peter Pettigrew clambering through the hole, followed by a man not unlike him in appearance. Sirius closed his eyes, certain this was a nightmare. They remained closed until he felt someone dragging him over to a gravestone and start to tie him up. The curse was released then, and he was able to move.

“Well, I must say, I don’t think much of the wake up call!” he said immediately.

“I quite agree,” came Remus’ voice far away to his left, “the service here is appalling.”

James was the last to be unfrozen. He moved his aching arms, noting with a grimace that he was tied to a gravestone.

“Nice prank Peter!” he called to the silence, “But tying me naked to a tree and leaving me in the middle of nowhere has already been done, remember?”

“Maybe that’s why he chose a gravestone pal,” Sirius said sarcastically, taunting Peter, who was nowhere to be seen still. A moment or so later, a large cauldron floated past them and then two people entered their lines of sight. It was definitely Peter and his older self. The older version was holding a bundle of rags. James could swear he heard, at this point, a small sound from somewhere to his right, but he was strangely focussed on the bundle in Pettigrew’s arms. Sirius, Remus and Ron were also absorbed with the sight. Pettigrew gave it to Peter, who took it dutifully but winced slightly at what was in there.

With a sudden understanding, Ron hissed, “It’s You-Know-Who! This happened to Harry last year!” with that, he began to struggle fretfully in his cords, but couldn’t get free.

Pettigrew set alight the grass at the foot of the cauldron, so that the liquid within began to bubble furiously.

“Hurry!” urged the bundle in Peter’s arms.

He squeaked, “It’s almost ready m-master!”

Remus said pleadingly, “Peter, why are you doing this?”

Peter glared at him, “Because I’m sick of you taking me for granted! The Dark Lord won’t do that, he promised me power beyond belief! And now, we’re going to resurrect him and watch you all die!”

Sirius raised an eyebrow at this turn of events, “wait, wait, wait… am I the only one who thinks this is a slight overreaction?!”

Peter glared at him, “I’ve taken your abuse for years. Everything that’s gonna happen…. I’m just going to speed it up.”

“But PETER, we don’t know if it’s gonna happen!” Remus cried, but to no avail.

Peter ignored him, waiting silently for Pettigrew’s confirmation that the potion was ready. He picked up the bundle, and the robes fell from it, revealing what they had been hiding.

The four boys let out a disgusted gasp of “UGH!”

It was hairless and scaly, in the form of a crouched child, but with raw black skin, and a terrible snakelike face. Pettigrew took him from Peter and put the creature into the cauldron. It sank to the bottom with a hiss.

“Well, glad that’s all taken care of,” Sirius said cheerfully, while Remus and James groaned, “Can we go now?”

But it wasn’t over.

Pettigrew, beginning to sweat, started to speak, “Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!”

The ground beneath James parted and dust flew out of it, and into the cauldron, at Pettigrew’s apparent command. At this moment, Peter started to whimper, and took several steps backwards as Pettigrew drew from his robes a silver dagger and began to advance on him.

The four boys watched in horror as Pettigrew called out to the night, “Flesh of the servant, willingly given, you will revive your master!”

He grabbed his younger self by one hand, and swung the dagger… a scream pierced the night. Feeling dizzy and faint, they could only watch as Pettigrew dropped the bloody hand into the cauldron, while little Peter fell to the floor, crying over his bleeding stump.

Then Pettigrew came to James, a manic, pleased smile on his lips as he said, “Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe!” He once again drew the dagger and sliced deeply into James’ flesh on his arm. He winced but gritted his teeth against the pain. Pettigrew caught the blood in a phial and poured it into the cauldron. The liquid turned bright red.

Pettigrew’s eyes opened in anger –“This isn’t happening – it can’t be! I followed it exactly! It should be white!”

Remus raised an eyebrow at him and said, “Could it be because you used Harry last time?”

Pettigrew started, “That isn’t Harry?”

James spoke up,” Do you see green eyes? Or a scar?”

Pettigrew’s eyes flew open in outrage, “You’re not Harry Potter!”

“Well, how do I put this eloquently… doy!” James said rudely, shifting where his backside was going numb.

Peter got up from the ground, still cradling his bleeding stump, “So this is the wrong person?!” he cried, “I lost my hand for nothing?!”

“Indeedy!” Sirius said cheerfully, “now could you PLEASE untie us?”


Chapter 10: Chapter 10
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Harry and Lily had crept up the stairs to the dormitory. Hearing the muffled voices hissing, “Petrificus totalus!” they waited for the silence, before following them through the window they left.

They found themselves in a graveyard. Seeing Peter and Pettigrew tying James, Remus, Sirius and Ron to the gravestones, they had crouched behind a larger gravestone and watched, horrified, from a distance.

“What are they doing?” Lily asked of Harry, who had paled in realisation of what was happening.

“This is what happened to me last year,” he whispered tonelessly, images of the terrible night racing through his mind. Lily clutched his hand instinctively and the two watched as Peter and Pettigrew performed the ritual, both turning away in disgust when Pettigrew cut off Peter’s hand.

“We have to move, now!” Harry said urgently, trying to get to his feet as Pettigrew took James’ blood.

“Harry no!” Lily cried, jerking him back down, “it’s too dangerous!”

“Lily – mum – they’re bringing Lord Voldemort back! He’ll kill them, and us! There will be two Lord Voldemorts in the world, we can’t let that happen!”

But even has they argued, the potion was obviously wrong. It was an angry red, instead of a brilliant white, as Harry remembered.

“What’s happened?” he whispered, half to himself, “why isn’t it working?”

Remus’ voice could be heard saying,
“Could it be because you used Harry last time?” Harry blanched, falling backwards in horror, not again…

They heard Peter yell, “Oh no, I’m through with you all taking advantage of me James! And we can’t let them go, or they’ll tell someone… Kill him Peter!” he yelled at his adult self, who reached into his robes for his wand.

That was it. Harry threw himself out of the bushes, and flew over, wand raised.

“No! You’re not taking him away from me again!” He shouted angrily, standing between Pettigrew and his dad.

“You!” Pettigrew snapped, “There you are!”

“Yes, here I am! Leave my dad alone!” Harry yelled in anger, he couldn’t lose James again, not after everything…

Pettigrew shrugged, “It doesn’t bother me whether you live or not… well, actually Potter, with YOU, it does…”

He raised his arm again, and said, “Avada Kedavra!”

It happened almost in slow motion. The deadly green jet flashed out of the wand. Harry watched in horror as it came towards him, but before he could react, a hand shoved him from behind, throwing him to the floor…

“JAMES!” Lily screamed, hurtling out of the bushes, whipping out her wand and shouting in anger, “Stupefy!”

It hit both Pettigrews and the two flew several feet back, each hitting their heads hard and falling unconscious. James’ body was crumpled on the floor, where he had saved Harry in time, but not himself. Remus had, having kept his wand in hand when petrified, been working silently to free the four boys. James had saved Harry’s life, again. Harry scrambled over to James as well, Remus and Sirius was already there, shaking him.

“James? James, no!” Lily wept, grabbing his hands and kissing them, “please don’t be dead – wake up!”

“Please, Dad, wake up!” Harry said desperately, putting his ear to James’ chest, knowing there would be no heart beat. Remus, silent as ever, pulled Lily away and into a hug, feeling his own eyes well up, James was dead… Sirius put his arms around Harry, feeling the same anger and misery that his friend was dead. James, his friend, was gone…

~x~

They brought back James’ body to the dormitory and laid him on Harry’s bed.

“I should have saved him when I had the chance,” Harry said angrily. Lily hugged him harder,
“Harry, you went out and tried, I sat there because I was too scared.”

“Harry, I had my wand out, I could have stopped them,” Remus said miserably.

“Remus, you did it as fast as you could!” Harry said, “It’s all my fault. He died saving me…again…”

A silence greeted these words. They all knew it was true, but no one knew what to say.


Chapter 11: Chapter 11
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The next day, the two remaining Marauders bade farewell to Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Lily held Harry at arm’s length and tried to smile, before breaking down and sobbing,
“I’m so sorry Harry.”

Harry nodded numbly; not trusting himself to speak. Sirius and Remus shook his hands. They had agreed to escort Peter Pettigrew back to their world, where, they decided, Dumbledore would have to deal with him, with James’ body as proof. Sirius and Remus hated that, it brought a grim, practical finality to their adventures; all they wanted to do was forget it happened, and mourn their friend’s death, not recount it to their headmaster.

“Well, best be off…” Remus said heavily. They had made several practical arrangements, which had taken mere minutes. They had to cover their tracks, that is, rub away the windows they had left, which meant taking the long way home, through the Hog’s Head, to the muggle world. Covering the levitating corpse with an invisibility cloak, the Marauders and Lily set off, with Peter following them like a whipped child.

Lily was still sobbing quietly to herself, her wand jabbing Peter in the back. Remus couldn’t breathe. James was dead. It hadn’t sunk in yet. Sirius’ stormed on in silence, wanting most in the world to curse Peter to oblivion for the pain he had caused Harry twice in his life. He had been behind James’ death both times, the traitor! The bastard, the absolute bastard, he’d kill him with his bare hands rather than take him back to Dumbledore, he didn’t care if he went to Azkaban! The bastard, the bastard…

He was brought out of his angry thoughts when he dimly heard Remus saying,
“Well, here we are.”

Helping Remus put the body through the window, and then helping Lily through, he entered it. He and Remus set about rubbing the window away, while Lily sat with the body.

Remus sat quietly rubbing the window away, taking his time to rub away the windows, seemingly concentrating on his task. His throat was so dry, it hurt, there was a lump in it. He felt hollow, empty, and still that same disbelief. It couldn’t have happened, it just couldn’t. All they’d done was go and see Harry, and it had ended… like this. Was it their fault that Peter had done it? No, no, it couldn’t be, Peter was weak, he could have stopped himself, but he embraced it. James couldn’t be dead… he just couldn’t. Brushing some tears away furiously, Remus turned his head as the hole slowly faded from existence.

Lily sat by the body, silent tears streaming from her eyes. Stroking the white face that wasn’t James’ anymore, a single tear fell onto the cheek. This was the end of everything then. After spending so long fighting with James… oh, why hadn’t she just agreed to go out with him? It was the least she could have done, and how she’d wanted to! She… she loved him…

A sob escaping her, Lily looked down once more at James’ face. Wait a moment! No, don’t be ridiculous…

James suddenly sat up, with a gasp as he breathed in for air. Remus and Sirius turned abruptly. James! James was alive! Not bothering to rub off the other half of the window both launched themselves at him.

“Jesus guys, I need…to…breathe…” he choked out. Sirius and Remus sat back, insanely happy.

Lily, at this point, threw herself upon him bawling her eyes out, “James, you’re alive!”

James winked at his friends, “I can handle this!”

“But how?” Sirius asked, bewildered, “Not that I’m not thrilled you’re back James but how?!”

Remus said happily, “Maybe it’s because we came here where the book isn’t real, so it never happened!”

“Come again?” Sirius said, and then demanded, “how the bloody hell can you just know that straight away?!”

Remus ignored him, “Well, we went into the book! So while we experienced everything while we were in THAT reality, in this one, the books can’t have changed, so it never happened - James was never killed!”

“Do you have an answer for everything?!” Sirius asked. He grabbed James and the two performed a mad tango up and down the high street, both yelling with exultant joy – James was alive again! However, even James’ return to life didn’t stop them from being aware of the curious glances they were receiving. It wasn’t cool to… well, dance up and down the muggle street singing. Sort of. Letting go of each other, James and Sirius coughed a couple of times and walked, embarrassed, back to Remus and Lily.

“Can I go back and see Harry then?!” James said eagerly, “to show him I’m alive!”

Remus’ smile twitched slightly, but he said simply, “Yeah, but we should get Peter to justice first.”

James assumed a heroic expression and said loudly, “then on we must go!” and marched cheerfully up the high street, with Lily, Remus and Sirius left gawping at him.

“Well, he’s back,” Remus said, smiling slightly.

“Indeed he is!” Sirius said breathlessly, just as shell shocked. Lily was beaming. The three walked on in silence, still forcing onward Peter, whose hand had reformed. He was mildly pleased about that, but would have been more so but for the dread of what was in store for him now.

After a while, Lily said, “Remus, can he go back and see Harry?” She’d noticed Remus’ expression change, albeit just for a split second.

“Well, I don’t think it’s for the best really…” he said quietly, while Sirius opened his mouth in indignation,
“What?! Why can’t he go back?”

“Because it never happened,” Remus replied heavily.

Sirius raised an eyebrow,
“Remus, have you gone insane?! Of course it happened! We have…well, we had, the body to prove it-“

“Yeah, and can you see it in these books? As soon as that window closed, Harry forgot all about it. So Harry never went through the ordeal, not to his memory anyway.”

Sirius swore, “But that’s so unfair!”

Remus sighed bitterly, “Yeah, it is.”

Sirius swore again, and the three continued walking. It had been a long day; they didn’t want to have to deal with any more unpleasantness.


Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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At Hogwarts, it was midnight.

“You,” Sirius barked at Peter, “floor! Now!” Peter, whimpering through his gag, obeyed. Remus didn’t spare him pity. He might have, had the ritual in the graveyard not ended with James’ death. Instead, he petrified Peter, just in case he did remember his Animagus side and try anything. The three sat on a bed each.

“Should we talk about this?” Lily asked quietly, looking from face to face. All three had sobered up quickly.

James shivered, “Do we have to? I mean, I DID die. For the second time, I might add.”

Remus shivered too, “Can we leave it? ‘Til the morning at least?”

Lily nodded, “I didn’t want to anyway. I just want to go to bed!” she said, getting up. She hugged Sirius, who look mildly shocked, Remus, and, finally, James.

“I’m glad you’re back,” she whispered, before leaving.

The boys got into bed, sighing with relief, not even bothering with their pyjamas. Tomorrow, they would all take Peter to Dumbledore, who would decide upon his fate. With that final thought, they went to sleep, peacefully, unaware of the shadowy figure that crept into their room under lit wand.

Remus wasn’t asleep. He saw the figure bend over Peter Pettigrew, before levitating him into his old bed. The figure then went to Sirius and James’ beds and bent over those, murmuring something. A flash of light illuminated her features, revealing Lily. She moved over to his bed and bent over him. Remus put his wand up,

“Oh no you don’t!” he whispered.

Lily jumped, “Jesus, why do people keep doing that to me?”

“I know what you were doing,” Moony said quietly.

“Look, come with me…” Lily said, taking Remus’ hand and dragging him off. He sighed and murmured,

“Maybe one day a girl will drag me out of bed for a reason that doesn’t involve discussing my friend’s death. Or, well, discussion at all…”
Lily ignored him. He continued to ramble in a Sirius-like fashion, “and, come to that, she wouldn’t be dragging me OUT of bed…”

Lily hushed him, and the two sat down on the sofa in front of the fire.

“Remus, I was thinking… Whatever happens in the future, I don’t want to have this hanging over us. We’re only sixteen. Knowing I only have a few years left to live is a terrible burden and knowing who will be responsible… and yet, we don’t know that it will happen. We don’t know if Harry exists or not.”

Remus sighed, and nodded, “I know. I’d thought about it too. We can’t resent Peter for something that won’t happen for another few years, and we can’t be certain will happen.”

“Exactly, that’s why I was modifying their memories. I want things just to be… as they always were.”

“Yeah…”

“Can we just forget it ever happened?” Lily pleaded. Remus softened,

“Yeah, we can. We might hate ourselves if anything happens but… at least now it’s for the best.”

~x~


“Good God, I am so hungry!” James said cheerfully the next day, sat in his usual place.

He’d batted off questions of where he’d been since he’d arrived in the common room half an hour earlier. Remus guessed that they couldn’t have been gone for more than three or four days at most, only a short time but still large enough to be noticeable. He’d insisted to James, Sirius and Peter that they had tried out Ogden’s Firewhisky and passed out for three days.

They had believed him straight away. Remus had insisted that he had spent three days trying to wake them up, after the first person they’d told laughed for five minutes when he had told them that he had been involved in the drinking too.

So, now they were in the Great Hall, usual place. McGonagoll had found the four, shouted at them and given them all detention, which was par for the course with her. None of them cared, all too busy being starving hungry to care. They laughed, they joked, they ate… nobody watching would have known that twenty four hours ago, the seeker had been dead, and his friends in mourning. Now they were back to their old antics.

The doors to the great hall swung open at that point, and Lily Evans walked in.

James looked up in time to see her enter. She had an enormous smile on her face, and she walked purposefully up to him.

In loud, ringing tones which carried across the hall, she said,
“James! Good morning!”

James stuttered uselessly, “Guh… good morning Lily!”

“So, James, as you know, it’s February 14th! Valentines day!” she said vibrantly, still in the same loud voice.

“It is?” James muttered stupidly, a flush appearing on his cheeks.

“Yep! And where are my chocolates? Where are my roses? Where, I ask you?”

“Uh…”

Lily’s beam widened, “I’ll tell you where! They’re in Hogsmeade! Which is where you’ll be taking me today!”

James stared at her for about five minutes. Sirius, seeing that his friend was incapable of speech, grinned,
“I think he says yes.”

Lily smiled, “Excellent.” She leant down over James and kissed him softly, before straightening up and saying, “When he recovers the use of his legs, tell him I’ll be waiting at the entrance!”

With that, she bounced from the room, leaving James and the rest of the hall open mouthed. James turned back to Sirius,
“I don’t get her.”


*STAND BY FOR THE EPILOGUE!!! I wrote an extra chapter to show how Lily and James get on as a couple, and found a love for Remus because he deserves it for being SO gosh darn cute :) Thank you :D xxx *


Chapter 13: The Epilogue
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The common room was abnormally quiet. Settled in an armchair, Remus pondered on the scene, a small smile playing on his lips. On the couch by the fire, Lily and James were snuggled up together quietly. This was a miracle in itself, for despite their obvious affection towards each other, they continued to bicker throughout the past few weeks of being together. Sirius was somewhere about the castle, he’d disappeared, saying something about his “assortment of sex slaves”, which, with Sirius, could mean anything… except “assortment of sex slaves”.

As he watched, Lily whispered something in James’ ear, and the two stood up and disappeared upstairs into the boy’s dormitories, holding hands. Sighing, Remus stood up, disturbing the golden haired girl sitting at his side.

She looked up, “What’s up?” she said, reaching for his hand.

Remus smiled, “ah, nothing, I’m just stretching my legs.” She nodded, smiling in that sweet way of hers, before completely destroying the angelic schoolgirl image and grinning, “If you’re tired, I think you should give James another ten minutes!”

A voice rang out behind them, “Come on Claire, give him a little credit! I’d say at least fifteen!” Sirius appeared, smirking.

Remus covered his eyes, “thank you, but I’m far too young to think of James’ private life.”

His girlfriend stood up, yawning, “Same here. And it’s far too late for gossip, I’m exhausted!”

“You should definitely be in bed young lady!” Remus said, smiling.

She raised an eyebrow wickedly, “depends whose bed it is.”

“OKAY THAT’S ENOUGH FLIRTING, GO TO BED!” Sirius wailed, frogmarching Claire to the girls’ dormitory door and shoving her unceremoniously through it. He stomped back to Sirius, “Look, I’m all for you having a hot girlfriend, but watching you two being all couply is just… unnatural.”

“Well Sirius, I’ll thank you for that vote of confidence…”

“Don’t mention it mate.” Sirius beamed. So some things had changed, but, obviously, Sirius was still a goofball who did not comprehend sarcasm. Still, Remus thought, at least things were back to normal, somewhat. He and Lily were keeping the whole sad affair of the quills secret. As she had said, they did not know if the whole thing was really going to happen.

Remus sat in front of the fire for a while, thinking. It wasn’t until a creak from behind him made him turn, revealing his girlfriend again. Claire, in her cotton pyjamas and a somewhat sleepy, ruffled look about her, looked positively adorable. She flopped down onto the sofa and snuggled up to him.

“You okay?” she asked, her voice muffled.

Remus said, smiling quaintly, “I was, but then I was squished by my girlfriend.”

Claire beamed at him innocently, “Tell me about it, I was trying to sit down but this guy was in the way.”

“Some people are incredibly rude, don’t you think?”

Claire kissed him, and whispered, “They are indeed!”

Remus kissed her, grinning. A crash resounded in the common room as Sirius came haring out of the boys’ dormitories and hid under the sofa.

Claire smiled gently at Remus, “maybe we should-“

“Go to bed?” he finished gloomily, thinking of how he would have to spend the rest of the night coaxing Sirius up the steps.

“I was thinking… go someplace more private…” Claire whispered, blushing. Remus smiled gently, and held out his hand.

~x~

“James, you really are the most immature specimen on the planet!” Lily snapped at her boyfriend, who was practically crying with laughter due to the fact that his sausage “looks exactly like a thingy!”

Sirius, who appeared dangerously short of breath, squeaked, “but-it…does!”

Lily humphed, pouring herself a coffee and helping herself to some bacon and eggs, carefully avoiding the sausages. It was eleven o’ clock on the Saturday morning; the three were taking a late breakfast in the Great Hall. Remus and Claire hadn’t arrived yet, Lily mused, buttering some toast. Her eyes softened, she was glad Remus had found someone. He deserved it.

A particularly large belch ended her thoughts as James said, “whatcha thinkin’?” clearly thinking he was cute. Lily smiled widely, “oh, just that I don’t know HOW I managed all these years without you.”


“Awww, were you?” James asked. Lily opened her mouth to answer, just as the doors to the Great Hall opened. Remus and Claire came in, hand in hand, and plonked themselves down beside the other three.

James’ mouth was wide open, “You’ve had SEX!”

The entire hall turned to look at them. Sirius, noticing, shouted,

“What, haven’t you ever seen anyone get it on before?!”

Remus dropped him head into his arms, “thanks for your help, Sirius, you’re a pal.”

“Best I can do for a friend in need,” Sirius said righteously.

Lily and James were both smirking.

“So, Remus, I hope you slept alright.” Lily said delicately.

“Yes, there really is nothing like a good night’s SLEEP, is there?” James said, grinning.

Sirius blurted, “so how many times did you shag her?!”

Claire looked mortally offended, “excuse me, I’m right here!”

Sirius looked apologetically straight at her, “Oh, I’m sorry… how many times did he shag you?”

“Can we get off me and Claire please?!” Remus begged.

“We will if you will!” Lily and James chorused.

Remus and Claire refused to acknowledge the other three. Unfortunately they could not say anything without Sirius finding some form of sexual connotation. Holding a cup of coffee, he saw suavely,

“I like my coffee like I like my women, hot and strong…”

“I think you mean ‘brainless with big breasts’,” Claire interjected, clearly hoping to get a one up on him. Sirius looked at her innocently,

“Well, I know that’s REMUS’ type…”

“Ooh Sirius, you are going to PAY for that one!” James sniggered, watching Claire’s eyes flash in the same way Lily’s did right before she socked him one in the mouth.

“Like Remus obviously does?” Sirius couldn’t stop himself. Lily, James and Remus’ heads all flopped onto the table. A flash of light lit the area briefly, and the table shook.

When they looked up, Claire beamed at them happily through her golden curls and offered them the sugar bowl. It came as no surprise to see Sirius shoved into the tiny space.

“Bloody…ow…” he complained, wriggling around, but to no avail.

“It’s a bit of a tight squeeze, what with his ego taking up so much room,” Claire explained, putting the lid on him.

The other three laughed, and they got on eating, just another day in Hogwarts, just another five ordinary sixteen year olds, preparing themselves for their futures.


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