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Move Along by Jaggy

Format: Novel
Chapters: 21
Word Count: 67,581
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, Skeeter, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/Lily, Sirius/Lily

First Published: 07/24/2006
Last Chapter: 01/12/2008
Last Updated: 01/12/2008

Summary:
A companionship and somewhat awkward relationship one year in the making, finally becomes official. But the secretive love of Lily and Sirius is turned upside down as Lily finds a new bond in none other than James. In their sixth year, how is the number one guy in Lily's life changed from Sirius Black to James Potter?



Chapter 21: The Running Rat || Posted January 12, 2008
-on hitus-


Chapter 1: Right and Easy
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A/N: Ah yes, it seems you've stumbled across my fic. Congradulations, and I do hope you enjoy the read, however there are a few things I should probably make very clear before you read. 1) If you're a strickly cannon shipper, this story is ill advised to you. 2) If you think Peter wasn't truely involved with the Marauders, this story is ill advised to you. 3) If you think Lily's a pain in the arse to James all the time, this story is ill advised to you. 4) If you have any remotely friendly feelings for any Black outside of Sirius or Andromeda or Alfred and potentially Regulus, this story is ill advised to you. 5) If you've got an open mind, a great imagination, and love a bit of drama, love triangles, and inflicting pain to the above mentioned parties of Lily and the Marauders, then this may be the story for you.

Disclaimer: Title comes from the song "Move Along" by All American Rejects; JKR owns the world of Harry Potter.







"Potter, just let me be! At least for tonight!" Lily said exasperated.

"Lighten up Evans," he responded gently, "It's barely the first week of school and you're already tense as an old maid. Just chill."

Lily opened her mouth to respond, but closed it quickly and resorted to letting her green eyes glare forcefully at James. Of course he wouldn't understand, she hadn't told him. She didn't want to tell him because then he would see her weakness, and as long as he was putting up his arrogant mask before her, she would put her strong one on before him.

She glared at him once more and sent Remus a warning look as she turned on her heel and walked out of the Common Room. Remus, she knew, would settle James and she could have her time alone at last. But she didn't relax her shoulders or defensive mask until she reached the edge of the Lake. The Lake was where she always came to think. Somehow watching the water soothed her. In fact, the only time the Lake had failed to calm her had been just before the end of last year, when James and Sirius had taunted Snape so horrifically. Lily found her favorite willow tree and sat under it, tucking her legs neatly beneath her. She looked up at the darkening sky and watched as the stars started peaking their way into the atmosphere. She found one star in particular and smiled.

"You know, that star that you're looking at is mine," a rough voice said next to her.

"Yes, I know, you showed it to me last year," she responded softly, not looking at the owner of the voice. "The first time we met under here and you eased my thoughts. You're good at doing that you know."

His laughter was warm and she smiled at it. She loved to make him laugh.

"Well, it was about family troubles. You know me, king of family issues."

It was Lily's turn to laugh and she saw his smile out of the corner of her eye. She had a sneaking suspicion that he enjoyed making her laugh as well.

"The last time we were here I wasn't so thrilled with you," she said, turning to look at his handsome face. His features soured at her words, and his voice dropped a bit when he responded.

"Yes well, you're never too thrilled with me whenever Snivellus is involved."

"Don't call him that."

"I'll call him what I want."

Lily cut her eyes at him.

"Sirius, I don't want to argue with you tonight."

"Good, then let's talk about less greasy matters, shall we? You can tell me what Petunia did to you this time and I'll tell you what my family did to me, and we'll both feel much better," Sirius told her dully, his stormy eyes looking into her emerald ones listlessly.

"Don't sound so eager."

He gave her a lopsided grin before he sat down next to her. His dark hair fell handsomely into his silver eyes, as it had a tendency to do, and he knew it.

"You're cocky today," Lily noted leaning against the trunk of the tree and giving him a weary smile. It was going to be another one of those talks, she could feel it, and she knew he could too.

"Name a day I'm not, Evans."

"Good point. I'm guessing you want me to go first?"

"As usual Miss Evans," Sirius answered, giving her a charming smirk.

"Yes well, my stories of family drama never compare with yours."

His eyes darkened and his smile fell at her words. Lily instantly regretted saying it. She knew better than to talk to Sirius like that. His family wasn't a laughing matter, where as hers...

"Sirius, I'm sorry," she said rushed. "I didn't mean it like that."

He looked at her for a long moment, and she wasn't sure if he was going to speak to her again. Lily was worried for a moment that he was angry with her, but he sighed at the look on her face and closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them, Lily knew he was masking his emotions from her.

"Don't say silly things like that to me anymore, or I'll feel that you only let me talk to you because you find my life to be a good story," he said darkly.

Lily was stung by his words, but she knew that she deserved it, and it was for that reason alone she didn't give him any cheek as to why else she listened to him.

"I'm sorry, Sirius," she repeated softly. "I really am."

His glare was hard, but his eyes soon softened and he wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulders as they always ended up doing when they had these talks.

"Miss Evans, I believe you volunteered to go first."

Lily sighed. He had forgiven her, and for that she was glad. He never stayed angry with her for long. As he said, she was just too damn invigorating to be angry with. And he missed her when he wasn't talking to her, she knew because she missed him too. She gave him a weak smile before she looked at her feet and began talking.

"My mum's side of the family can be compared to yours. Muggles have their own silly beliefs of whose blood is good and whose blood is bad. Mum's family loathes my dad because he's Irish, and Mum did a horrible thing in marrying him, according to them, because her side of the family was a long line of 'pure English folk' which is a load of rubbish, but they believe it all the same. Anyways, they are also still in the belief that there is a place in life for a man and a place for a woman. Despite their distaste for my mum having married an Irishman, and a meager teacher at that, for a long time, they've placed me as being the favored one to bring their family back to a noble family," Lily scoffed angrily at this, but continued. "But my mother neglects to warn me of this detail when she sent Petunia and me to stay with her mother for a few weeks this summer. There was this twenty something year old man there, a lot. And my grandmother constantly had him taking me everywhere."

Lily's eyes darkened incredibly as she spoke of the man who she'd spent so much time with over her visit to her grandmother's home.

"He was so condescending. Constantly talking of himself, never taking anything I said seriously. A silly little girl he called me. I couldn't figure out why my grandmother was so insistent that I hang out with this awful man. Well I didn't have to wait long to figure that one out. He came onto me, didn't understand the words 'no', 'hell no', or 'get the fuck away from me or I swear you'll regret it' in the least. Grandmother dearest was hoping for him and me to hit it off, or for him to like me because she's of the belief that we women are here only for the bidding of men."

Lily felt the anger bubbling in her chest when, to her surprise, she heard laughter. Sirius was laughing. She turned to look at him, enraged, and she resisted the urge to slap him.

"What is so funny?" she asked incredulously.

"You hexed him didn't you?" he said simply, offering her a smile that she couldn't stay angry with. She smiled guiltily at him, her anger falling away. That was a legitimate reason to laugh. Even she had to admit it was an amusing picture. He knew her more than she thought wise.

"Well it was either that or be raped, or at least put into a very awkward situation, and well, you know me," she said shrugging. "Sex is not something to be wasted on a git like him."

"But a git like me…"

"Shut up," she said pawing at him playfully.

He chuckled in a knowing tone, and easily dodged her hand. His smirk was frustrating, but she knew she could easily turn the tables so that she was the one smirking.

"Don't worry Lily, it was only once."

"ONLY once," she reiterated.

"Don't challenge me, because you know that's a challenge that I will win."

"I'd like to see you try."

"Oh? So you're finally giving in? You're giving me permission to chase you properly?"

"If it was my permission that you wanted, you and I would have had more than one time," Lily said challengingly. "But if you're willing to go right under his nose and chase me properly, then by all means do. Lord knows we've both wanted you to for a long time."

Sirius' playful smirk vanished once again and he looked down at her, guilt in his eyes.

"I didn't think so," she said softly, hiding the disappointment in her voice. "Let me finish so that you can know why I'm out here tonight."

He nodded emotionlessly, but his eyes were still stormy with shame.

"Well, obviously I had to go to the Ministry for using magic on a Muggle and for underaged Witchcraft. They let me off with a warning since it was attempted rape, at least, the way I told it to the board he wasn't really there to defend his honor. My grandmother was furious, kicked Petunia and I out of the house yelling something about how it was sinful enough for me to be Irish but a witch as well was more of Satan's work than she could handle. She didn't know I was a witch before then and some Muggles think it's a sin," she started to explain, but Sirius cut her off.

"I know what some Muggles think."

Lily nodded softly at the resentment in his voice. He was upset that her grandmother had dared to compare Lily to anything Satanic. He was strange like that, he could compare her to sinful things, like lust, but when others did it he was defensive of her honor. She could feel the smile on her lips, but she held it back.

"Well Petunia thinks I led him on," she continued. "And now refuses to speak to me. Not that it's all that shocking. Horse-face was probably just jealous. She's also mad that I made Grandmother angry. She is rather fond of Mum's family for some unknown reason."

Sirius didn't speak for a long while after Lily finished talking. He just let his arm hold her and they sat in silence. He was waiting, she knew, for her to let him comfort her. She hadn't yet let down her walls, and he wasn't going to try and climb them. He'd seen that plan fail miserably far too many times to be stupid enough to attempt it. Finally she eased and put her head on his shoulder.

"She's stupid," he spoke as soon as she was using him for strength. "You didn't lead him on and you're not a sinful girl. Not in those regards."

She could hear the smirk in his voice and once more she fought the urge to smack him hard.

"Sorry, couldn't resist," he said, laughter was laced in his voice. "But you're a good person Lily, you did everything right. Petunia is showing her ass, as usual."

Lily smiled again and Sirius tightened his hold on her for a moment. He put a soft kiss on the top of her head, and she knew he was wishing he could do more. But he wouldn't, despite the fact that she wished it too.

"I guess it's my turn now, isn't it?" he said, his voice was rougher than he'd intended, she knew. She nodded simply and he took a deep breath. "I'm not going back."

"What?"

"I'm not going back to Grimmauld Place," he said more assuredly. "The Potters have taken me in because my father managed to curse me enough to put me into St. Mungo's. I was an awful wreck. Bloody, bruised. James said he thought I was going to die. I was there for weeks."

"Sirius, he...you didn't..."

"No, I didn't contact you. I didn't want you to see me like that," he said roughly. "I was weak and beaten and cursed. I had a hard enough time letting James see me like that, much less you."

Lily pulled away from Sirius and tried to get him to meet her eyes. He refused and she gave him a knowing look.

"You didn't want them to see me," she said softly. "You were afraid to show them me. You wanted to protect me. Your family was there."

"I can't lose you," his voice broke. "And if they knew how...close to me you were they'd find some way to take you away from me. They can't touch James or Remus or Peter because each of them has magical parents, but you're a Muggleborn and practically defenseless against the wrath my family."

He hadn't gotten away from his family until well after he was released from St. Mungo's.

Sirius' stormy eyes met hers at last and she could see his conflict behind them. He wanted nothing more than to accept the obvious and give into his feelings for her. It was why she wasn't finding about any of this until now. It was why he'd been so afraid to let her come to him in St. Mungo's. It brought the question to her emerald eyes that she hadn't dared to think on in so many months.

"I can't," he said softly, reading the desire that was in her eyes. He knew the request in them and he repeated, "I can't. James. You mean so much to him."

"But he means nothing to me."

"And he's the world to me, Lily, I can't. I want to, you know I do, but I can't," his voice was pained. She hadn't heard him like this since last year. The one time they'd let their emotions overcome their sense of reason. They had done it to themselves. Sirius had insisted on getting Lily under the effects of alcohol at least once and she'd given in. She had known it might happen, they'd been sending signals to one another for weeks, and she had been right. He felt for her what she'd hardly dared to feel for him. They had been denying it for weeks because neither could be seen dating the other. The alcohol, however, had loosened both of their restraints. They had woken up, bare, in one another's arms the next morning and both had been bashful about what they'd done, and as much as it pained Sirius to do, he'd denied a relationship with her. All for the sake of James. Lily had put up her walls again and claimed that it wouldn't do for her to be seen with the school's biggest troublemaker anyways. Sirius had known she was lying.

"Lily please understand."

Lily was pulled from her memory by the same words he'd used then.

"I do Sirius," she said softly, falling into the skit. "I did last time, I do now. I just wish that somewhere in this image you hold of James, that you would see that he would accept it eventually."

"He wouldn't, Lily, you don't know him like I do."

"Well make up your mind Sirius!" she snapped suddenly. "You can't seem to decide! One minute you're his loyal companion, you love him and you want me to date him and the next you're a shameless flirt and you want me for yourself! I can't do both Sirius! I want you! But if you're so damn persistent I'll date James to spite you and you know I will! So which do you want? Him and me or you and me?"

Sirius gawked at her and Lily felt satisfied at the look of confusion on his face that mirrored her own confusion so well. She'd never confronted Sirius like this before. She'd never given him an ultimatum.

"Lily," he growled, coming back to his senses. She'd backed him into a corner with her words and cornered was something Sirius hated being.

"Sirius," she replied smartly.

"I—you," he was at a loss of words. But he didn't seem to need them, because quite suddenly his lips were on top of hers. Lily was surprised, but quickly responded, her own kissing falling back in sync with his like she'd wanted to do for so long. He pulled her closer to him again, his hands pulling at her hungrily and his tongue was now exploring her mouth with just as much fervor. When they broke the kiss their breathing was ragged with want, but he didn't kiss her again.

"A secret," he said panting. "If we can keep this a secret."

Lily's lust spoke for her and she nodded quickly and made to pull him to her again, but he stopped her.

"Promise me Lily," he said, his grey eyes locking with hers, and she could see the seriousness of his desire. "Promise me we'll keep it secret, for now anyways."

"I give you my word," she said softly, her lust taken back by his desire to protect James. "I won't tell a soul."

And this time, his smile wasn't haunted. His eyes lit up with excitement and his joyful laugh filled her with just as much happiness as his lips met hers once more.

Chapter 2: Say no to Pity
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A/N: I'd like to tell you that I have some nice long spiel up here for you, but I don't. Read, enjoy, review. Or don't. I don't really care. Write because you like it, not for the reviews!

~Jaggy~







It was the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year and Lily had a date, with not one Marauder, but four. James had asked her, as usual, and to his great surprise, she'd agreed, but on the condition that it wasn't a date, and that she got to go with all four Marauders. He'd been so happy that she was willing to spend time with him that he'd agreed. Though, she'd really done it so that she could spend the day at Hogsmeade with Sirius, and Sirius had scolded her for it, but let it happen all the same. She had a suspicion that the prospect of being close and not getting caught thrilled him greatly.

So far, they had been to Honeydukes, where she and James had competed to see who could fit the most Licorice Snaps in their mouth without crying out in pain. Lily won and promptly showed off by sticking out a tongue with many little candies pinching on it painfully. This had made Sirius bark out with laughter, and tease her that she was obviously used to her tongue on rougher things. At these words, she and James had simultaneously hexed Sirius with Bat-Winged Ears, resulting in Sirius (whose ears had flown him to the ceiling) to beg for their counter jinx, and the entire store had laughed at his plight.

Then they had paid a visit to "Lady Cassandra's" to have their 'fortunes' told. James, Remus, and Peter had been taken into the makeshift booths with the three fortune tellers, leaving Lily and Sirius alone in the lobby for a short time, where Sirius had pulled her close and snogged her very quickly before pulling away just as Remus left his booth. Lily had gone in to be told that she would someday do 'great and terrible' things. After leaving the fortune teller's shop Lily told the Marauders that Divinations had to be the most pointless branch of magic she'd ever heard of. However, she was soon reminded that pointless things made good jokes for the Marauders, who were soon mocking the fortune tellers by making strange faces and making a big to do with their hands and voices. She was particularly amused when Remus had put on a voice that greatly resembled the lady they had visited, something Trelawney.

Currently she was sitting at a table in between Remus and Sirius while Peter and James sat across the table. Lily was holding a Butterbeer in hand and listening to James and Sirius argue over who had the sexier smile.

"I'm telling you mate, girls swoon over the Potter smile," James said laughing. "It's much more charming than your silly smile."

"Impossible Prongs!" Sirius countered, though he was laughing as well. "The Black smile is obviously dominant to the Potter one, I mean...look at it!"

At that Sirius flashed the most charming smile he could manage and Lily laughed at the two of them, bringing James' attention back to her. He smiled at her suddenly.

"Hey, we do have a lady here; tell us Evans, which of us has the more appealing smile? A stag like me," he said, giving her what she assumed was a sexy smile for him, but she found it completely ridiculous. "Or a dog like him?"

He motioned at Sirius who, in turn, gave Lily a suave smile that Lily did find quite charming. Darn boy knows just how to smile at her doesn't he?

"The dog wins," she said simply, causing Sirius to laugh triumphantly.

"Ah! Your own crush thinks I'm better looking!"

James scowled playfully at him.

"She didn't say better looking, you just have the better smile. That is no indication what so ever that she finds you more attractive."

"Sure it does. Didn't you catch the hidden meaning in her words? 'The dog wins' in girl talk actually means 'Sirius is damn sexy and I can't keep my eyes off of him.' Everybody knows that."

Lily bit her lip in amusement at how Sirius was really telling James the truth, but in a joking manner. Sirius was a bad boy. But as he'd reasoned with her, to be a Marauder was to break rules, and technically when James had placed such a forceful claim on Lily, he'd placed a rule, and Sirius would be denying his calling as a Marauder if he didn't break it. However, that didn't seem to be a good enough reason for him to want to tell James.

"You have a big head Padfoot."

"Look who's talking Prongs."

"She accepted my invitation here didn't she? I have a right to have a big head."

"She only accepted your invitation to get to spend time with the rest of us, such a smart girl she is," Sirius said. "She's using you to get a touch of Marauder fame."

Lily scoffed at this.

"You wish Black! I simply thought the Marauders could use a more forceful Prefect in their mist."

"Hey now, that's uncalled for!" Remus said joining the conversation now, though his smile showed that he was far from offended. "You can't even tame these two Lily, how do you expect me to?"

"Blackmail?" Lily offered.

"Ah, that's true..." Remus said giving Sirius and James a mischievous look.

"Hey! Don't go giving Moony ideas!" Sirius said in mock outrage. "She's turning him against us Prongs! Wormtail! Run away quickly before she suckers you in too!"

"Now, now Moony," James reasoned. "We've got blackmail on you too. Need I remind you of..." he looked around mysteriously and continued with mock darkness in his voice "that photograph?"

"Not that photograph!" Remus said in horror. "You wouldn't dare!"

"Oh wouldn't he?" Peter jumped in. "I think he would. Padfoot?"

"Oh yes Wormtail," Sirius said evilly. "He would indeed."

"What is that photograph?" Lily asked bewildered at the boys before her who were acting so silly.

"Well that photograph is a picture we took of Moony here one night when he had a few too many drinks," James said sounding completely thrilled at the look of horror on Remus' face.

"Shhh! Don't tell her about it!" Remus cried. A sly smile now crossed Remus' face. "Or I'll tell her about the blanket incident."

"You wouldn't dare!" James said, now mimicking Remus' earlier words, his face now showing horror.

"Oh wouldn't he?" Peter said again.

Lily laughed as they continued to go through this charade, Remus and James would go back and fourth, tempting each other with embarrassing stories, only to tell the other one they wouldn't dare and then be egged on by Sirius and Peter.

"Enough!" Lily said laughing hard as James had just told Remus that he would spill about the 'furry problem' and Remus this time actually looked horrified. "I'm starting to think the two of you are just making up embarrassing things to see how long Sirius and Peter will egg you on."

"That we are Evans!" James said jovially, giving Remus what she thought was an apologetic look. "But never fear! We can make you laugh in other ways. And what a laugh it is! So—"

"Spare me the pick up line Potter," she sighed.

"Ah, live a little Evans, let me make you swoon over me."

"Ha! The day I swoon over you is the day the Giant Squid learns to fly."

"I could teach him," James said enthusiastically. "Get a big enough broom, I bet he'd learn quickly."

"No, sorry," Lily said. "I'd still date him over you, you know."

"Ah come on Evans," he laughed. "You know I've got to be warmer than he is! He's all slimy and what not, and look at me! I'm just so loveable!"

Lily was growing irritated. They'd been at Hogsmeade for hours and been having a great time without James trying to get her to date him again.

"Potter," her voice lowered dangerously, and Sirius, sensing the danger, decided to intervene.

"Why don't we check out Zonko's? We haven't been there yet and it's our favorite store!"

James broke his begging look at Lily to smile at Sirius.

"Good point Padfoot! Let's go!"

James pushed Peter out of the booth with a laugh. Remus followed after the two, shaking his head in amusement. Lily made to climb out behind Remus, but Sirius held her back momentarily by slipping his hand in hers for a second and giving it a quick squeeze to show his love, before he pulled it away and pushed her out like James had done to Peter.

"That's uncalled for Sirius!" Lily said laughing from where she sat, now on the ground, her butt paining slightly. She gave him a playful glare. The other Marauders turned and watched in amusement.

"Well if you would move your lazy ass, Miss Evans, then I wouldn't have to push you," Sirius countered jovially.

"I was moving!"

"Well you weren't moving fast enough, now were you? You've got to learn to keep up with the fast pace of the Marauders Lily!"

"I can keep up with you lot just fine," she said defiantly. "I haven't gone crazy yet, have I?"

"That, my dear, is debatable."

"Sirius Black!" she screeched, to which he instantly took off running out of the pub followed closely by a mockingly angry Lily and the other three Marauders, all of whom were laughing brightly at Sirius' rapidly approaching doom.

"Oye! Padfoot! She's supposed to be jinxing me!" James yelled after Sirius' running form.

"Telling you mate," Sirius yelled back over his shoulders. "I just can't keep 'em off me, even Evans is enchanted by the Sirius love. It's a curse Prongs!"

"Black, you arse, you're mouth is getting too big for it's own good!" Lily called to him as he ran from her. "I'll hex your hair pink!"

Sirius ran to the Shrieking Shack, laughing wildly, but he raised his hands up in defeat.

"I give Lily! You win!" he cried out laughing at her approaching form. "You're not crazy! Don't mess with my hair! Please!"

Lily glared at him, and he offered up his charming smile once again, and offered her the biggest pouting look he could manage, and her glare fell through as she smiled with him.

"Very well then, you're forgiven."

"What? If I had done that you would have hexed me senseless!" James said in mock outrage.

"Yeah, well, I don't like you as much."

James' playful mood fell instantly at her words, and Lily saw it. She'd just angered him. Uh oh.

"Why not?" he asked, his words were harsh now.

"I—what?"

"You heard me," he shot. "Why is it that my friends are good enough for you to laugh and play with, but I'm not? Why is it that you can give them a chance to befriend you and not me?"

"James," Remus' voice was warning, but James shot him an angry glare, and Remus shut his mouth. Sirius, on the other hand, wasn't scared of James' glare.

"Listen to yourself Prongs! Lily's spent the entire day with us, with you! You don't call that a chance?"

"No!" James' eyes never left Lily's startled face. "You'll spend time with them alone, won't you? You and Remus have been studying together for years, and last year and this year you and Sirius go off and have those long walks around the Lake, and you can laugh and joke with him, but not with me? You've even given Peter time with you by tutoring him. What makes me so low on the chain that even the Giant Squid has a better chance of dating you than I do? What makes me so horrible?"

Lily looked at James and his face looked broken and defeated and all her defenses that she held for him suddenly fell back. This was the real James Potter and he held just as much insecurity as she did.

"James, I'm sorry," she said, but her pride suddenly caught back up to her, and she was suddenly snapping back at James as he had been to her, "You've never given me a reason to believe you'd be a better study partner than Remus, and you've never given me a reason to think that you need my tutoring like Peter does."

She suddenly stopped. She didn't have a reason for why she gave Sirius a chance and not James. Truthfully, both were very much like the other, the only problem being that Sirius was her boyfriend, however secretly.

"But," she said, calming, "if you can control your desire to constantly ask me out, I'll give you the same chance as Sirius. I'll do my best to be your friend as well."

She was lying through her teeth. Sirius' chance with her was very different. Sirius had had sex with her once already and she didn't plan on sleeping with James. Although, she didn't plan on sleeping with Sirius again anytime soon, no matter how he hinted at it. She'd meant it last year when she had said they had been mistaken when they had given into each other.

"I don't want you to be friends with me because you pity me," James spat. "If we're friends, we're going to be friends because you want to be friends."

Lily felt outraged. She'd just offered James her friendship and he'd thrown it back in her face.

"What's your problem Potter?" she yelled. "We were having a nice day! A good time even and you go and ruin it! This is why I don't become friends with you! Any time it looks like we might have a halfway decent conversation you seem to think it's because I want to date you! Get over yourself Potter!"

James' face seemed just as angry as she was, but he was unable to come up with a good retort. Lily let out a frustrated cry before she turned on her heel again and left the four Marauders in front of the Shrieking Shack.

Chapter 3: Death Eaters
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A/N: This chapter is much shorter than my first two, it is, however, filled with quite a bit of action, so I think that you lot won't mind the length so much because of it. Anyways, enjoy!

~Jaggy/Rain/Evil Plotting Queen of the World next to JKR~







Sirius watched Lily leave and fought his desire to go and comfort her. Instead he turned his silver eyes to look at James, who was currently muttering darkly under his breath at Lily's retreating form. When Lily was out of sight, James' muttering continued, and he started pacing back and fourth, as was a habit of his when he was angry.

"She's right you know Prongs," Remus said. "You do have a tendency to spoil your conversations with her by asking her out; you know it annoys her."

James cut his eyes at Remus and Sirius distinctly heard him mutter 'traitor' at Remus.

"Come on Prongs, you know you can't stay mad at Evans forever," Sirius said in his joking tone, but the joking fell at the dark look James shot him too. "Ok Prongs, man, you made her mad. Technically speaking, she did the right thing."

"I don't want her to do it because it's the right thing!" James exploded at Sirius. "I want her to be my friend because she honestly wants to be my friend! Think about it Padfoot! She only said that because she felt sorry for me! I've seen that look on her face before! She wears it every time she talks to Snape. She's only friends with him because no one else will be, and he's so happy to have a girl talking to him he doesn't see that she pities him."

"That's not nice mate," Remus said.

"Yeah well we're not exactly saints towards Snivellus are we?" James continued, his tone still angered. "But I'm not as stupid as Snivellus! There's more to that girl than a friendship of pity, and that's what I want! She's just too stubborn to even try to let me in! She's so—!"

But James was cut off by a horrifying scream in the direction that Lily had disappeared in. And it didn't stop. It was pleading for mercy. It was...

"Lily," he breathed, before taking off down the road in the direction of the scream.

Remus, Peter and Sirius looked at each other fearfully before they followed James. Suddenly there were a lot more screams as something very bright shot into the sky and as Sirius looked up to see what it was. The Dark Mark. His stomach dropped, he felt his insides grow cold with fear. It couldn't be…He heard James shout again, and Sirius felt the fear within him triple.

"LILY! NO!"

They ran into a patch of road where several masked figures stood over a red headed girl who was withering on the ground emitting heart-wrenching screeches of pain. The hooded figures looked up when they heard James' voice. They were laughing.

"EXPELLIARMUS!" James roared at the Death Eater whose wand was aimed at Lily. Lily's screeches stopped instantly as the Death Eater's wand shot into the air.

"A Potter, oh and look at that! My blood traitor cousin," the same Death Eater's cruel voice called out from the group. Sirius stopped in his tracks behind James. That was Bellatrix's voice. "Sirius! What a wonderful surprise!"

Bellatrix stepped forward, and dropped her hood back. Her pointed face smirked at Sirius. She held the undisputable beauty of a Black woman. Her features were sharp and elegant. She had cold, blue eyes and her dark hair fell to her shoulders. The glare on her face, however showed that her heart was every bit as dark as her family's name.

"You haven't come to save the Mudblood have you?" she mocked her voice mimicking baby talk. "Ickle Sirius and his blood traitor friends have come to rescue the Mudblood, oh look, and they have brought along another Mudblood."

Her cold eyes landed on Remus, whose mother was a Muggle. Remus gripped his wand tightly and narrowed his eyes at Bellatrix, but he said nothing. Sirius could feel James tense up in front of him, and Peter trembled fearfully behind him and Remus.

"Leave them be Bellatrix," Sirius hissed at her. "You're battle isn't with them."

"Oh but baby cousin, it is. Their filth is poisoning your mind, particularly this cheeky redhead. However, it's still possible to redeem yourself," she taunted, her blue eyes flashing down at Lily again. "All you have to do is point your wand like this and say 'Crucio'!"

Lily's screams once more filled the air and Sirius lunged at Bellatrix, forgetting that she was a fully grown, certified, Dark witch and he was still a teenaged boy, not even finished with his schooling yet. All he knew was rage, and he paid dearly for his mistake as Bellatrix's curse moved from Lily's trembling form to his stronger one. Sirius heard his own voice's yelp of agony as the curse lit his body on fire with pain. His mind reeled to his father's wand as Bellatrix's curse held every ounce of malice that Orion's always did. He was back in Grimmauld Place and he couldn't escape the wrath of his father, only now his father was skinny and young and held the face of a beautiful woman. Bellatrix had learned her curse from her precious uncle.

And then it stopped. Sirius was on the ground panting with relief. He was free, and he was not home under his father's brutal wand. He was swaying between passing out and staying conscious. Somewhere he was aware that Lily's body was no longer beside his own, but as soon as he the fear of that registered in his mind, his world went blank, and he knew no more.




Lily had gotten up once the curse hit Sirius and his cries were echoing in the air. She moved weakly at first, but somehow she moved; she got away. And unnoticed by the Death Eaters she had crawled her way over to James, Remus, and Peter. James was in awe of her courageousness. He'd seen Sirius after being tortured by that curse many times, and if he hadn't seen her do it with his own eyes he wouldn't have believed it possible to get up after being hit by it.

"What are you doing?" she hissed at the three of them, visibly wincing. Whether from pain or from Sirius' screams, James didn't know. "FIGHT!"

She had her wand out and shot a stunning spell into the group of Death Eaters, whose attention was brought back to the four standing teenagers as one of their number fell. One Death Eater in particular stepped forward.

"Stubborn little Mudblood, aren't you?" a male Death Eater said crudely. "Well my wife was so kind as to introduce you to one Unforgivable; perhaps I should introduce you to another."

The Death Eater's brown eyes flashed maliciously as he raised his wand to Lily, but James beat him to the punch just as the words "Avada Kadavra" were about to escape his lips.

"STUPIFY!" he yelled, stunning Bellatrix's husband. There were now two unconscious Death Eaters. Bellatrix dropped the curse on Sirius, her attention now on her fallen husband. She looked at him a bit disgusted and motioned for the four remaining Death Eaters to follow her.

"Going to fight us Potter? You and the Mudbloods and another blood traitor?" she hissed. She flicked her wand, and Peter fell to the ground, bleeding profusely, but James couldn't react, he wanted to, but couldn't. No one could, they just had to leave Peter where he was. There was too much at stake to worry if he was alive or not. "Excuse me, you and the Mudbloods?"

The five Death Eaters were now closing in on the three standing teenagers. James placed himself in front of Remus and Lily, protectively. He narrowed his eyes at Bellatrix, and despite the fear in his racing heart, his voice was steady.

"Yes," he said, before he, Lily and Remus opened spell fire at the Death Eaters, two more fell, but so did Remus. Bellatrix had hit him with a spell that had a purple light. James didn't know what it was, but again he couldn't pay attention to his friend's peril. If James wasn't alive, there wouldn't be anything he could do to help his friends if they were still alive. His attention was instead focused on the three Death Eaters. Lily and James were now being backed into the woods.

"James," Lily hissed into his ear. "We have to work together. Block and attack."

James nodded, but Bellatrix spoke again. She was giving Lily a taunting glare.

"Tisk, tisk Mudblood!" Bellatrix said. "I thought you were enjoying the good time we were showing you. Teaching you a right lesson about tampering with the pureblooded Black line, weren't we? You are so fond of my baby cousin perhaps I should tell you more about him before I kill you. Tell me, did you know Sirius' first word was 'Mudblood'? Oh yes, didn't he tell you? He was supposed to be the greatest Black to ever live. Was going to bring more honor to the family name than any of the rest of us could have ever dreamed. His life would have been set for good. He would have been richer than any man in the Wizarding world as soon as my parents and his own were gone. He was going to inherit it all, even his brother wasn't going to get as much as Sirius, and he threw it all away for filth like you."

James felt his blood boil at Bellatrix's taunting words, but Lily gripped his arm. He eased at her touch, and did not react. But Bellatrix had seen him tense up, and her attention was now on him. Somehow, he preferred it that way.

"And Potter, tell me, do you know what Sirius' first bit of magic was?" her mouth curled into a cruel grimace. "He tortured his poor, defenseless puppy that he caught playing with some Muggle children. He showed so much promise."

"He was three, and your Uncle Orion told him to," James growled at her.

"Oh, but Potter, when you use an Unforgivable you've got to mean it or it doesn't work. He's a Black, Potter. Nothing you or your family can ever say or do will change that. He knows how to turn on his friends as he can turn on his family. It's planted in the brain of every Black how to torture and kill. It's what we do. Sirius knew then, as he knows now, how to use an Unforgivable. Like this," her voice dropped dangerously as she spoke. Her voice was joined with the voices of the other two Death Eaters, "Crucio!"

The three way curse hit both Lily and James, and both screamed out against the pain. But Lily stood her ground, and she grabbed James by the arm, preventing him from falling to the curse. Her mouth was shut now and she was denying the Death Eaters anymore screeches. Through her courage, James found it in himself to do the same, despite the pain he was feeling. Again, he was amazed at the abilities of this witch. Not only could she face this pain from three fully grown, authorized wizards, but she could help him do it too. Somewhere in him, James had a hunch that the only reason she could do this was because he was standing next to her. But he couldn't focus on that thought he was putting all of his thoughts to staying standing, even if he was using Lily for his strength, as she was using him.

"Together James," she hissed at him, pain etched in her voice.

James nodded to her against onslaught of agony his body was feeling, and they both raised their wands at the shocked Death Eaters.

"EXPELLIARMUS!!" they cried simultaneously, a silver light shooting out of both of their wands, hitting the Death Eaters and flinging them to the other side of the clearing that they were in. Three wands fell to the ground at Lily and James' feet. James looked over at Lily and got one look at her dazzling green eyes before she fell into his arms in a faint. James smiled briefly, only to feel his own legs give way beneath him.

"Damn," he breathed as he too collapsed into the world of unconsciousness, Lily still held tightly in his arms.

Chapter 4: Competition
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A/N: So this would be the fourth chapter, aren't you all just brimming with excitement? I know it's just amazing! :-) Well anyways, here's chapter four, enjoy!
~Jaggy~






Sirius was vaguely aware of voices at his bedside. He was more prominently aware of his very sore body. There was a pounding in his head, and his chest ached every time he took a breath. He was very familiar with this feeling. He'd been under the Cruciatus Curse. His attention, he decided, would be best served if it were focusing on something other than the pain running up and down his body. It took him a moment of focusing on the voices before he understood what they were saying.

"Lily and James? They did that? That's amazing!"

"Yes Poppy," came a deep voice that Sirius recognized, but couldn't identify. "They were quite amazing. They made a great team, and if what Rosmerta told me she saw of them is true, then it is my belief that we can expect more great things to come from them."

"Imagine! To stand up against one Cruciatus Curse, much less, three. How did they do it Albus?" the woman called Poppy asked.

Sirius smiled. He knew where he was now. He was in the Hospital Wing and he was listening to Professor Dumbledore talk to a shrill sounding Madame Pomfrey.

"That, Poppy, is anyone's guess."

"You don't suppose—"

But just what it was that Pomfrey wondered Dumbledore supposed, Sirius never found out. A soft moan somewhere next to him cut Pomfrey short. Sirius noted that he knew that voice too, and he didn't like hearing it moan so pitifully.

"Oh Miss Evans! Keep still!" Pomfrey's voice called out. Sirius heard the ruffling of a dress and he almost smiled knowing that Lily was probably doing just the opposite of what Pomfrey was telling her to do. He finally opened his eyes, and squinted against the lighting in the Hospital Wing. From his bed, Sirius could see Remus and Peter in the beds across from him and beside him was Lily and beside her was James. Remus still looked quite unconscious, while Peter had large cotton balls in his nose, his pale eyes were looking around curiously. James, Sirius saw, seemed to have awoken upon hearing Lily's name. Sirius closed his eyes again trying to remember why it was all of them were in here. He was used to all four Marauders waking up in the Hospital Wing together with the stupid stunts they would pull, but Lily was here, so it had to be something...

Sirius instantly sat up in anger as he recalled what Bellatrix had been doing and pain shot through his body as he too released a shout at the sudden movement. He'd known better than to do that, he thought as he lay back against his bed. How many times had he been through a Cruciatus Curse to know better than to try to move much after one? He resorted to fuming angrily at his cousin.

"Mr. Black!" Pomfrey's voice was at his side. "You have to keep still too! What is it with Gryffindors and wanting to move after an ordeal like the five of you have been through?"

"Ah, you can't keep us still Poppy and you know it," a jovial voice beside Lily called out. Sirius actually smiled this time.

"James is right, Madam," he said, his voice was rusty and he grimaced at how weak he sounded. "You can't keep the Marauders still for anything. And, well, Lily's the only girl who can keep up with us all, so she's naturally going to want to move too."

"That's right!" it was Peter's voice now, although he sounded stuffed.

"Pettigrew, you keep those cotton balls in your nose or you'll start bleeding again!" Pomfrey scolded rushing away from Sirius over to Peter. Sirius could hear Dumbledore chuckling slightly and he looked up to see the Headmaster standing next to him.

"Well Poppy, I can see you have your hands full, I'll just let you be then," the Professor said, winking down at Sirius. "You boys, and lady, don't hassle your caring matron too badly, alright? Good evening, Poppy, Gryffindors."

"Professor..." it was Lily, and the Headmaster stopped and turned to look at her curiously. She looked a bit embarrassed at his sudden attention on her, but she opened her mouth again and continued. "Why were they in Hogsmeade?"

Sirius looked back at Professor Dumbledore. Peter and James had stopped their stirring at Lily's words, all four men knew who 'they' were. That was a good question. Death Eaters usually had a reason for being places. Well, if torturing Muggles was a reason...But Hogsmeade didn't have any Muggles. A few Muggleborns maybe, but...

Dumbledore sighed and for the first time Sirius could recall, the Headmaster looked very tired, and old. Sirius had always known the Headmaster was old, but now he looked really old. And weary. Sirius didn't like that. He didn't think that weary should ever be used to describe a strong man like Dumbledore.

"They were there as a distraction Miss Evans," he said solemnly. "Whilst those Death Eaters wreaked havoc in Hogsmeade, bringing most Aurors there, Voldemort and several of his other followers made a much quieter attack in London. The Minister of Magic, Ambrose Morin is dead. Murdered quite brutally in his office."

A chill filled the Hospital Wing and the Marauders and Lily looked at each other horrified. The Minister of Magic was killed? It was the first time Sirius had seen such fear gather in Lily's eyes, like she had just now realized just how big of a threat Voldemort was becoming. Sirius almost wanted to scold her for it. Surely a smart girl like Lily could have seen it coming? After everything he had told her? After everything that he'd talked to her about, the Dark Wizards, his brother and his friends, hell his parents' friends. Then again, Lily wasn't as exposed to the Dark Arts and Dark Wizards as he had been. She hadn't seen Voldemort's supporters swelling. She didn't spend hours listening to Orion Black droning on and on about how it was about time that someone like Voldemort came along to clean the Wizarding race of the filth that was people like Lily. Muggles and Muggleborns. She was spared that, for now.

The Headmaster gave the group a sad look and Sirius' mind was whirring at the danger Lily was in, and at the fact that she'd been so shocked that Voldemort and his followers were as powerful as Sirius had warned her they would be. His thoughts were interrupted when Dumbledore spoke again.

"Don't think on it," he said softly. "Just lay back and recover."

"Professor," James spoke this time. "Did you all catch..."

"I'm afraid we did not," Dumbledore said sadly, answering James's unfinished question. "Your attackers are still very much at large, I regret to say. Apperated, I'm afraid, just before we could stun them."

As the Headmaster left, Sirius soon found his mind wondering back to what had happened earlier. They had survived a Death Eater attack. He shuttered, vividly remembering Lily's screams. The Death Eaters had found her, he had a strong hunch, because Bellatrix had recognized her. Bellatrix had been the one to pick Sirius up from the train station last year and she'd seen Lily talking to Sirius. Sirius felt a rush of guilt at this thought that it was his fault that Lily had been so brutally tortured.

"Don't blame yourself," Lily's voice pulled him from his revere. "If anything being close to you saved my life. If I hadn't been your friend she would have killed me instead of trying to teach me what happens when a Mudblood like me tries to befriend a Pureblood of noble upbringing like you."

Sirius looked up at Lily and saw her emerald eyes looking at him harshly. He smiled lightly, almost unwilling to admit that Lily had said exactly what he needed to hear. She'd comforted him easily. But she didn't smile back at him; instead she turned her head back to look at a point across the room. He could see it in her emerald eyes. She was trying not to focus on the pain.

"What are you two talking about so glumly?" James asked jovially.

"Do you even hurt at all Potter?" Lily asked him; though her voice held none of the resentment it normally did when she and James argued.

"Of course I do! But we just survived being attacked by seven Death Eaters! I'm alive!" he proclaimed loudly. "And it's all thanks to you Lily! If you hadn't of gotten up, I don't think any of us would still be alive."

This was news to Sirius. He saw Lily open her mouth to rebuke James with a sarcastic remark...most likely on being redundant, but he stepped in with his on inquireies first.

"You got up?" he asked, looking at her bewildered. And quite suddenly he felt ashamed. Lily had gotten up when he had fainted. Was he that pathetic? Lily turned and looked at him, her eyes were sympathizing. Shame burned through Sirius again. In her eyes he read that she did not think he was weak, but Sirius took no comfort in the thought. She'd gotten up.

"Oh she didn't just get up, she fought! And we managed to stun all the Death Eaters except Bellatrix and two others, and they put us under a three way Cruciatus Curse, which was awful and she didn't fall. She didn't let me fall even, and we could use magic even though we were in so much pain! She's amazing! God Lily! You can't imagine...!"

"Enough James," Lily said lightly, and to Sirius' amazement James hushed, but his face still shone with pride towards Lily. Lily's own face held a blush as she turned her gaze from Sirius to James. She was stopping James from making Sirius feel worse than he already did. She was (he shuttered to think it) pitying him. She knew that he felt pathetic right now, and though she was trying, she wasn't succeeding in making him feel any better.

James later told Sirius that he and Lily had reached an unspoken agreement, to respect each other, and therein, they became friends. But Sirius did not know of this unannounced agreement as he spoke to them. What he did know, what was blindingly obvious to anyone who looked at Lily and James now, was that there was now an unbreakable bond between them. They'd saved each others lives, and they were now bound, in whatever way life might take them. And for the first time Sirius could ever recall, Sirius was jealous of James's new relationship with Lily, however 'friends only' it might be. He was fearful now that he could lose her to his best mate, even when said best mate didn't know that she needed to be won from anyone. Sirius did not like this new feeling, he didn't like it one bit.

The rest of the evening was spent with the nurse running between the three conscious Marauders, and Lily, although Lily wasn't making things too difficult for Pomfrey, just a little bit. Sirius laughed as Lily out right refused to change into anything else behind a curtain.

"NO! You obviously don't know these boys as well as you claim to! You think a little curtain is going to stop them?" Lily cried weakly, but determinedly.

"Please Miss Evans, just go change!"

"No!"

"Aw Evans, don't you trust us?" James laughed from her side. Her glare clearly stated that she did not, but James' smile never faltered. "She's right in not trusting us Madam. I myself think I shall be sorely tempted to vanish that little curtain if I know Lily Evans is changing behind it. Padfoot?"

"Ah, I have to say I would be as well. Evans, you really shouldn't hide that body from us! It should be a crime!"

Lily glared at Sirius now and he resisted the urge to tell her it wasn't anything he hadn't seen before. Actually, James was the only reason he was able to resist the urge. Madam Pomfrey sighed in defeat and with a wave of her wand Lily was in the Hospital Wing issued night gown and her own clothing was piled at the foot of her bed.




Peter was the first one out of the Wing, released the next day and it was another two days before Remus had woken up from whatever hex Bellatrix had put him under. This was both fortunate and unfortunate, because the day of Remus' wakening was a full moon, meaning Madam Pomfrey didn't have to leave an unconscious Remus alone in the Shrieking Shack, however it also meant that Remus was looking forward to an extra long visit to the Hospital Wing as a transformation was not going to help in his recovery.

Peter constantly came back to visit before Remus's wakening. With him he brought news of the school and the outside Wizarding world. Apparently there wasn't as much chaos as expected from the loss of the Minister. A new woman had been pulled to the position, Millicent Bagnold, and she had even appointed a junior minister, Cornelius Fudge, in case something similar happened to her. Peter said what people were really buzzing about was what Madam Rosmerta was telling everyone about how Lily and James had fought off three Death Eaters while being tortured. On the night of Remus' wakening, however, Peter did not come to visit because, as Sirius and James knew, he was going to at least try to help Remus with his transformation.

Sirius and James were both quite startled when Lily asked no questions as to why Remus was released to go, when he was very obviously in no condition to leave. Lily was usually so curious about everything and yet she simply watched Remus leave without question. Sirius waved it off to Lily was still recovering from her own ordeal to be too curious as to where Remus might be off to in such a fragile state. It wasn't until later that evening that he and James discovered that Lily knew about Remus's "furry little problem."

Lily was looking out the window at the full moon. Sirius heard her mumble something under her breath. He looked over to see what it was she was saying, but she was turned away from him. James, on the other hand apparently did see what she had said.

"You know?" he asked, sounding bewildered.

Lily turned her head to look at James, and Sirius could see the amused look on her face. It gave her away, and he was somewhat impressed that she'd known and hadn't told him that she knew. He wondered briefly just how long she'd known, but she stopped his wondering by answering James's question with another.

"Know what?"

"Don't get smart with me Evans! I saw you say his name!" James said. He didn't sound angry though; he was looking at her oddly and Sirius knew he was feeling protective Remus's secret. "I'll ask again, you know?"

"I haven't got a clue what you're talking about," Lily said, though the look on her face still suggested other wise. "But I'd advise we stop talking about what we do and do not know about anything because we have a visitor."

Lily nodded her head towards the doorway and both James and Sirius looked up to see a tall, skinny lady with short, curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her face was heavily concealed with make-up, and her eyes rested behind a bold pair of turquoise glasses, with jewels in the rim. A phony smile was plastered on the woman's face.

"Oh, don't mind me!" the woman said in a falsely cheerful voice to match the artificial smile. "I'm just here to see the children everyone is making such a fuss about."

The woman stepped into the Wing, her clothing was bright as the red lipstick that donned her lips and everything matched in bright, annoying, perfection. From the turquoise lined collar of her red dress suit to her bright red fingernails, and her turquoise heels. She even had a turquoise alligator skinned handbag. Sirius instantly disliked her. She was fake. But the woman smiled her false smile all the same and stopped when she was in front of Lily's bed.

"So you're Lily Evans, and which of you is James Potter?" she looked back and fourth between Sirius and James before James told her that he was. "Wonderful!"

The woman pulled her wand (which Sirius could have sworn was red with a turquoise handle, but she put it back too quickly for him to know for certain) out of her bag and flicked it to conjure a chair between Lily and James' beds. Quick as she'd pulled out her wand, the woman now had a piece of paper and a quill out and let it rest on her knee.

"Excuse me for being so rude!" she exclaimed, her voice putting on an air of false cheerfulness. "But let me introduce myself, I'm—"

But Lily cut her off, causing James and Sirius to give her questioning looks. She wasn't rude to adults, why was she rude to this one? Sirius found momentarily that he didn't care, he almost wanted to laugh at the fact that there was an adult in the world that Lily didn't respect. And here he'd thought that impossible. Lily was full of surprises. He knew there was a reason he was dating her...however secretly...

"I know who you are," she spat viciously, unaware of Sirius' thought patterns, but pulling him out of them all the same. "You're Rita Skeeter, the Daily Prophet's biggest gossip columnist."

Rita's blue eyes looked at Lily sharply and Sirius saw the veil of politeness drop as she momentarily looked at Lily with dislike. But quick as it had fallen it was back up, even if Rita did look a bit more strained to do it.

"Gossip is such a foul word," she said, almost warningly to Lily. "I prefer to call it...enhanced truth."

"Call it what you will," Lily said rudely. "But gossip is gossip all the same. It's for brainless people who have no where else to turn. Yes I've heard of you Skeeter. You find your way into everyone's business but your own, and you write half truths and out right lies about people. You ruin people's reputations. You're a foul woman, and James and I have no plans to be your next lie filled chronicle."

This time Rita's veil stayed down as she looked at Lily with extreme dislike. Sirius watched this scene with amusement. Lily was so cute when she argued. Sirius grey eyes caught the look on James' face, which gave away that he seemed to think the same thing. Sirius felt another twinge of guilt, but he didn't have to focus on it long either...

"So you're one of those girls," Rita said. "The kind that hear all the babble going on in the bathroom and pretend to hate it because it's never about you."

Sirius felt an urge to stop thinking, this conversation was getting interesting. Lily, a bitter gossip deprived girl? Please. That was what made her so impressive, other than the obvious, of course. The fact that she was above petty things like gossip was fascinating, particularly since so many girls weren't.

"Oh please," Lily spat back. "My sister is one of the gossip queens of the world. I know how to wheel and deal gossip as much as anyone. I choose not to because it's a distasteful waste of time. I, unlike you, am a lady of class."

Sirius held back his snicker at Lily's words and she shot him a quick glace. Rita's eyes followed Lily's and a vague smirk formed on her overly painted lips before she turned to James, her blue eyes took him in, judging just how she could corrupt him into getting what she wanted.

"What about you, dear boy?" she asked softly, smiling at him in her falsely cheerful tone. "Wouldn't you like to be in the paper? Tell me, what's it like to be a boy of mere fifteen and to have fought off seven Death Eaters and live to tell the tale?"

"I'm seventeen," James said coldly. "And Lily helped, a lot. But—" he caught Lily's glare. "If Lily says we're not giving you an interview, then we're not giving you an interview. She's right, gossip is for brainless bimbos."

Rita's façade fell again and she glared at James, but her quill and parchment were back in her turquoise bag and she stood up angrily. She gave James and Lily a final, contemptuous glare.

"So it's true what they say," she huffed at Lily and James. "The two of you do make a perfect couple. Well I've got news for you. Nobody denies Rita Skeeter a story. Nobody."

And with that, Rita turned on her heel and out of the door, leaving behind an amused James, a very irritated Lily, and Sirius being torn between the two extremes.

Chapter 5: Bug Bites
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Horror in Hogsmeade
A Rita Skeeter Exclusive

Last Saturday, September seventeenth, five Hogwarts students off for a day of fun in Hogsmeade were sorely disappointed when confronted by no less than seven Death Eaters. Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Bartimus Crouch, reports that no one was killed, though the five teens were severely injured. Three were even subjected to the Cruciatus Curse. Witnesses, however, say that when the Dark Mark went up, there were most defiantly dead bodies spattering the ground.

"A right mess it was," reports Creggy Stuart, a resident of Hogsmeade. "And the big Ministry cover up too! Even Dumbledore's gotta be in on it. He came and levitated away five bodies! I saw him! A girl with this dark red hair and there were four boys as well."

Evidence suggests that said girl was Muggleborn Lily Evans (fourteen), and the four boys were James Potter, fifteen; Sirius Black, fourteen; Remus Lupin, fourteen; and Peter Pettigrew, fourteen. Yours truly managed to get an interview with Lily Evans and James Potter.

"Lily helped a lot," Potter said in response to my question of how he managed to survive a Death Eater attack. He speaks fondly of Evans, as many people do. But Potter has been fighting for Evans's attention since his second year, and has yet to capture it, though many people think they make a smashing couple.

"Fought off three Death Eaters while under the Cruciatus Curse!" says Madam Rosmerta, owner of the famous pub, Three Broomsticks. "It's like they were working to save one another! Absolutely perfect together!"

Other sources, however, do not believe it would be possible for Evans and Potter to have survived the Unforgivable Curse as Madam Rosmerta reported.

"A fourteen year old would not be able to fight off a Cruciatus Curse, much less three," an undisclosed Healer at St. Mungo's comments. "It's an attention seeking lie by people who are...'less qualified' to give such reports. These 'eye-witnesses' must have been mistaken."

Professor Dumbledore (Order of Merlin, First Class, and Grand Sorcerer; Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards; Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot; Current Headmaster of Hogwarts) refused to comment, leading others to assume that this may indeed be simply inflating the heads of undeserving students, and that this was indeed simply a cover up for a greater tragedy.

Why cover it up? Chaos, my dear readers. With our recently departed Minister no longer in service, chaos would surely follow deaths at Hogsmeade. But dear readers, I am here to inform you of everything that Dumbledore, the Ministry, and these students are hiding from you. Lily Evans, herself, even reported to me: "I know how to wheel and deal gossip as much as anyone."

Obviously this is a masked confession out of the fourteen year old...


"Sixteen, seventeen, sixteen, sixteen, and sixteen. And sixteen there and there too..." James grumbled, correcting the ages as he read over them. He huffed, throwing down the newspaper, disgusted. "Who does that woman think she is? I'd like to see her face seven Death Eaters and come out of it alive!"

Lily barely looked up from where she was immersed in the same article. Sirius took up James's discarded paper and skimmed it over.

"It would be nice if she could have gotten our ages right," Sirius noted mildly, giving James a look of mock seriousness. "Dreadful stuff this is."

"Oh it gets better," Lily piped in taking a bite of her toast and swallowing it as she continued reading the article aloud. "'Lily Evans, who had been on a date with James Potter (or Sirius Black, or Remus Lupin, for it is uncertain which boy this provocative girl would date) at the time...' It goes on and on about how we are unreliable sources and she drops hints at what a little tramp I am, and the poor boys I lead on. Look she's even gotten a quote from Amos Diggory, I dated him in fourth year, remember? He was Head Boy then. Poor guy, never did get over that nasty break up. Still thinks that I dumped him for Lockheart. Like I would date that idiot, he's cute and everything, but he's stupid, and way too vain for my taste."

"Well, we know how you love those intellectually inclined men, Lovegood for example..." Sirius grinned at her as she threw a muffin at him and hit him squarely in the head. He merely laughed and continued his taunting of her. "How many boyfriends have you had?"

"I lost count after sixty," Lily said in a sarcastic voice. James's mouth opened in surprise and jealousy for a moment before he caught on that Lily was kidding, to which he laughed and joined in Sirius's teasing of her.

"And yet none of them have been me. Come on Evans, you know you want me!"

"Haven't we had this conversation before?"

"Well, see there's always the chance that you might change your mind..."

"Ah, I do see. Well..." Lily seemed to take this thought into consideration for a moment before she made a mockingly disappointed sound. "Nope, damn, and I was so sure I would change my mind this time."

"You love me Evans!"

"You're in denial Potter."

"So how many boyfriends have you had?" he inquired, repeating Sirius's earlier question.

A playful smirk crossed Lily's lips and she looked over at James, making his stomach knot curiously. She tended to have that affect on him.

"Twelve."

"Can you name them all?" James challenged and was quite surprised when she did. In the order she had dated them too, only James didn't really register that detail.

"Davis, MacFarlan, Wood, Nettles, Lovegood, Diggory, Sloper, King, Quirke, Cresswell, Belby—"

"That's quite scary that you can actually name them all without having to think on it," Sirius interrupted Lily, giving her an odd look. He'd abandoned his skimming of Skeeter's article to watch Lily and James's debate. An almost hopeful look had been on his face in the possibility of Lily and James getting into an argument, until Lily had begun to tick off her list of boyfriends, that is. Had James been paying attention, he would have noticed that Sirius had stopped Lily one short of completing her list. But as it was, Lily gave Sirius a quirky grin, which managed to knock James rather silly, and he didn't care to count the number of lucky boys Lily had named off, he just wished he was one of them.

"And most of them at least a year older than you too. Four years MacFarlan was, wasn't he?" Remus noted laughing a bit as Lily scrunched her nose up at him.

It was a week and a half after the attack, and Lily and the Marauders were currently eating breakfast in the Great Hall. Remus had just been dismissed from the Hospital Wing earlier that morning and was still looking rather pale and sickly. He was reading the article over Sirius's shoulder, a disgruntled expression on his face. Other students, who also appeared to be reading Rita's article were now looking over at Lily curiously. There were whispers and James felt the familiar rustle of protectiveness for Lily surface. He didn't like that Rita had gone and made Lily look like some horrible girl, and not only that, she was discrediting Lily's strength against the Death Eaters. James had opened his mouth to make a smart comment about it, however was interrupted by a shill voice.

"You wretched little girl!" a fourth year Hufflepuff was now standing over Lily and the Marauders, looking at Lily with the utmost sense of loathing. "Do you honestly think you can toy with these boys' affections?"

James and Sirius both stood up defensively glaring at the Hufflepuff, but Lily put her hands up and pulled them both back down before she stood up to face the girl on her own. In a very Marauder-in-power sort of style James noted, vaguely proud that the Marauders were finally rubbing off on her. Lily's emerald eyes were flashing dangerously.

"Detention," she said darkly and loudly to the younger girl, "for disrespecting a Prefect." The Hall had grown quiet at the confrontation. "Another detention, for encouraging silly rumors printed by a silly woman. A woman whose ambition in life is obviously to spread gossip about a sixteen year old girl since she's outgrown her own days at Hogwarts. And one more detention, because quite frankly, I don't like you. And if I were Head Girl I would take points from Hufflepuff, but unfortunately I won't get that honor until next year, but I assure you Hufflepuff, I will get it and then I will take points from you if you listen to trash like Rita Skeeter again, do I make myself clear?"

The girl trembled before Lily who was looking furious that anyone actually believed the garbage that Rita Skeeter had written and this poor girl had come at the receiving end of Lily's temper. James wanted to laugh out loud as the girl nodded her head rigorously, and Lily dismissed the girl with a wave of her hand. Once again he felt the familiar sensation of awe that Lily often sparked in him. He was beaming at her, and he wasn't the only one. Sirius looked about ready to shout to the entire Hall that Lily Evans was corruptible.

"Why do I get the feeling that's not the last of your fangirls that I'll be seeing today?" she sighed as she sat back down between Sirius and James. James heard Remus laughing now and Sirius wasn't far behind him.

"That was brilliant Lily!" Sirius barked as the Hall once again filled with chatter. James could just picture Sirius's Padfoot form wagging his tail in amusement. "Do it again! I've seen younger students scared of me and James, but that was nothing to how that girl was looking at you!"

Lily shot him an annoyed look and it was James' turn to laugh.

"He's got a point Lily, that was brilliant."

"Oh shut it Potter," she said in false irritation, though James got the impression that she was rather proud of herself as well. "I've got to get to class, I'll see you boys later. Don't forget that study date Remus!"

"Yes ma'am!" Remus called back to her, ignoring James' irritated look at her wording of a 'date'. "It's not a real date Prongs."

"I know," he grumbled. "But..."

"You want her for yourself," Sirius said patting him on the back sympathetically. "But there's so much of that girl to go around. She's got to affect everyone. It's what she does. You know it, it's why you like her so much."

"You almost sound as if you speak from experience Padfoot," James said shooting Sirius a glaring look. Sirius, in turn, held up his hands defensively and shook his head against James' accusation.

"I'm getting paranoid, aren't I?" James inquired sadly.

"I'd say so," Remus said chuckling, though James missed the glare Remus shot at Sirius. He also missed Sirius's look of guilt under that glare. "But Lily's right, we've got class mate."




By the end of the day James truly felt sorry for Lily. She had been right and many girls had ended up angry with her for 'toying with the affections of the Marauders'. Potions had been awful, what with Snape and Lily being partnered. James could hear him snickering at Lily all through the class. She kept giving Snape dark looks for his laughter, and of course when she wasn't looking James managed to send a Conjunctivitis Curse at Snape. Unfortunately, Lily knew the symptoms of the curse and managed to counter it. The only pleasure James found that he momentarily got to hear Snape shout in pain as his eyes crusted over in result of the curse. However, Snape's laughter had been the least of Lily's worries, and he was later confronted by Lily and yelled at for the mean trick, which could have cost her a grade in Potions.

And despite her yelling, James still found her extremely attractive, probably because she was smart enough to figure out that he'd been the one to jinx Snape. Although Sirius might have helped in that department, but he had a strong hunch he'd find her attractive even if she did have Sirius's help. Sirius had laughed rather loudly after Lily had yelled at James, and then he refused to meet James' glare, giving James all he needed to know as to who had ratted him out.

At lunch, Lily had found her food jinxed to spit at her. Her goblet ended up yelling obscenities at her, and her fork refused to touch any of her food, instead focusing its attention on trying to stab at her fingers. Sirius had ended up giving Lily his silverware and took her rude goblet for later use. (James had a hunch Snape would be finding a goblet with a rather colorful vocabulary in the near future, but thought it best not to mention this to Lily for fear she might hex Sirius, who might hex him. That, and James wasn't a tattle-tale like Sirius was.)

And while on the subject of hexes, Lily ended up being hexed by one particularly furious 'fangirl', as Lily had so sweetly dubbed them, after their Charms lesson. In response, all four Marauders had whipped out their wands and hexed the attacking girl straight into the Hospital Wing. Unfortunately, Lily also had to go to the Hospital Wing as the boys were unable to determine what hex had hit her, and she was unwilling to let them guess.

"Come on Evans, don't you trust me?"

"Not really, no," Lily answered, grimacing. She was holding her stomach and her eyes were scrunched up in pain. Her head was starting to perspire lightly, and James felt somewhat worried as he and Sirius helped support her.

"Give it up Prongs, she doesn't trust Moony, she's not going to trust you. What makes you think you're so special?"

"I'm dead sexy is what."

"And I'm not?" Remus asked, sounding mildly offended, though James knew he found it entertaining. Remus was standing to the side waiting to offer his help should it be needed.

"Not really, no," James answered, mimicking Lily's earlier words. "Although I might be a poor judge on that. Don't exactly swing that way, sorry Moony."

"Well dead sexy or not, Lily's got to get to the Hospital Wing. I didn't know there was a jinx that made one's face turn that shade of green..."

Lily had gotten sick after Sirius's comment on her coloring, which made the Marauders realize they needed to stop joking around and get her to the Hospital Wing. After that incident, they decided it might be best to have one of them with her at all times, just to be safe. James had volunteered to go first, much to the displeasure of Madam Pomfrey, who was planning on keeping Lily in the Wing throughout Transfiguration and dinner, and wasn't the biggest fan of James in the first place. Lily and James spent the time (after Lily could talk again, of course, the hex had her puking slugs. Quite a disgusting display, even by Marauder standards.) playing Exploding Snap, where Lily dominated James. James was starting to think that anything that had the word 'snap' in it was destined to be something Lily could beat him at. However, as good things have a tendency to do, James's time was up, and he did have to leave Lily. He had his duties as a Marauder to perform, after all.

Sirius was currently watching guard over Lily, having relieved James of that task. James had thought Lily looked happier than normal to have Sirius take watch, but he brushed it off to the fact that he and Lily had ended up arguing over their opposing views of the Goblin Rebellion of 1932. (How they gotten to that topic was beyond James's range of thinking, though he had to admit, it was a fun argument.) Lily would be dismissed from the Wing in an hour or so and he would be able to annoy her again without fear of putting her in the Wing for longer than he wanted her to be in there.

In the meantime, however, James was heading to the Room of Requirement to meet Remus and Peter to work on a map that they had been working on since the beginning of last year. It was almost complete and James was thrilled. It was the only reason he'd been willing to leave Lily's side. Well, maybe Quiddich might have prompted him too, but that wasn't until tomorrow night. And he had high hopes that she would be there. (He more fantasized that she might come running into his arms and snogging him senseless after the game because he'd made many spectacular saves and what not, but he was well aware that these were, in fact, fantasies.) At least she'd be cheering him on, and that was good enough for now. Or he hoped she would be cheering him on. They were going against Ravenclaw, and she did have a lot of friends in Ravenclaw...

"Peter, no like this," Remus was saying as James stepped into the Room of Requirement. James saw Remus wave his wand and mutter a spell at a grungy looking piece of parchment that he knew to be the map. Remus's face lit up in a mischievous grin, his amber eyes sparkling happily. He looked up at James and smirked. "Prongs...it's done."

James's mouth dropped open first in shock, but then he let a whoop of excitement escape from it and his hazel eyes lit up in pure exhilaration.

"Really?!" he and Peter said with identical enthusiasm.

"Really," Remus answered calmly, though his voice sounded proud. He smirked up at his two friends before putting his wand to the blank page and his hand to his heart. His voice was dramatic as he said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

Ink seemed to spread across the parchment from where Remus' wand had touched the parchment. James saw Sirius's well trained, fanciful script flow across the page in the introduction that the boys had worked so hard on.

'Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs,' it read. 'Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present: The Marauder's Map.'

With that Sirius' writing vanished and the ink now created the basic floor plans to the entire castle of Hogwarts, including tiny dots that roamed around. These dots held tiny flags with names beside them and it was with a rush that James recognized his own handwriting for the names.

"It's brilliant!" he breathed. "Perfect! And it shows everything?"

"Everything but this room," Remus said smiling. "And it's not perfect just yet. It still doesn't work very well on Dumbledore's whereabouts, and it doesn't focus very well on Lily Evans either. But it's got everyone else that I can see just right. I think it might get confused by some of the staircases sometimes, so we'll have to fix that too, but basically we can use it now."

"Wicked," James said, his hazel eyes never leaving the parchment. "Why not this room?"

Remus grinned.

"Part of the magic of the room. It's unplottable."

James nodded, beaming proudly at his and his fellow Marauder's genius. It was a good thing Remus was so smart, he was probably the only reason Sirius, James, and Peter were still alive. The three of them could be rather stupid. Then again, when Remus messed up, his stupidity was significantly...greater.

"Padfoot's going to flip that he's not here for this!" Peter squeaked excitedly.

James was about to respond when a pair of tiny dots caught his eyes. 'Sirius Black' and 'L-l- Ev--s' were walking away from the Hospital Wing and...towards the Lake?

"I thought Padfoot was going to take her straight back to the Common Room?" James said, looking at the dots confused. Remus' eyesight followed James' and he distinctly heard Remus sigh.

"He probably thought she could use some fresh air," Remus said. "And that's what I meant about the map not focusing on Lily. Here, take this."

Remus handed James the charmed quill they had been using to write the map.

"As soon as she stops moving write in the missing letters of her name. That might be all that we have to do to fix it."

James nodded, but he wasn't really taking in the information. He was trying to figure out why Sirius was taking Lily out to the Lake, when he had promised to make sure she got to the Common Room safely. James suddenly wanted to know if the map showed how close in proximity people walked, because if it did, then Lily and Sirius were standing much too close for comfort...

"Prongs! Lily's name."

"Oh, right," James said, noticing that Lily and Sirius' dots had stopped moving, and were now standing in front of a dot labeled 'Albus Dumbledore'. He wrote in Lily's missing 'i' and 'y' in addition to the missing letters of her surname. He felt slightly better, maybe Dumbledore had asked to talk to them? But at the lake? He didn't like the situation at all, but he watched as Lily and Sirius' dots were now coming back towards the castle. He supposed that was a good thing, but something about the whole situation still weighed heavily on James's mind.

"Why do you suppose they went to the Lake?" James asked, trying not to sound too worried. He missed the sympathetic look that Remus gave him as his eyesight was still following the two dots. When James finally did look up at Remus, Remus' focus had returned to the dot that was labeled as Dumbledore.

"To talk to Dumbledore apparently," Remus said dismissively, though he didn't look up at James to reassure him that that had to be the case. This made James feel uneasy. Why wouldn't Remus look up to comfort him? That was what Remus did, unless Remus knew something he didn't...

"Don't think on it Prongs," Remus said, "and look! Dumbledore's dot vanished again! We've got to figure out how to get him to stop vanishing so much. We know he's not apperating. There's got to be something..."

Remus was now bent over the Map, and as much as James wanted to keep thinking on Lily and Sirius, Remus was right. He didn't need to think on it. The Map was the important thing right now. Besides, Sirius wouldn't break James's trust like that. Sirius might be a rule breaker but surely he wouldn't break that unspoken rule. Would he?

James shook his head, he was being foolish. Sirius was his best mate and he knew how much James liked Lily. Instead, James focused back on Remus, the Map, and Dumbledore's mysterious vanishing dot.




A/N: I advise that you enjoy the length of this chapter while you can, the next few chapters are much less lengthy, I assure you. *sigh* But it cannot be helped. Anyways I hope you enjoyed my torturing of Lily.

And just for some pointless info that you lot don't need do know: The undisclosed young lady that gave Lily the cursing goblet: that was me. Hehehe. Why? Because I love Remus and it's something I would do if I was magical and Lily was supposedly toying with his affections. The particularly 'furious' fan girl, I'm going to dub Jess (my beta, if you recall from my first chapter), the evil silver ware is from Kris (my other beta) and the Hufflepuff is my newest beta, Monica! :-D None of what I've just told you is actually important, nor will you ever see it come up in this story, but I just thought I'd let you know anyways, as a shout out to my betas and my love of Remus. I love you guys! And if you're not reading my posted story then...:-P

~Jaggy~


Chapter 6: Size Matters
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A/N: So I lied. This is fairly lengthy. You'll have to forgive me, I've done a LOT of editing and such to everything that I've written and haven't posted. The plot shifted a bit and I've had to rewrite some chapters (like this one) completely, so the chapters may be a bit slower coming for a while. ;) Anyways, I've delayed you from your reading long enough. Enjoy!

~Jaggy~




"I told you I could make you late," Sirius said, giving her a knowing smile. "You shouldn't challenge me when you know I'll win."

"Oh I so let you win," Lily teased, scrunching up her face. She gave him a slightly irritated glare. His silver eyes sparked mischievously sending shivers down Lily's spine. Shivers that where only magnified when he put a gentle hand to her back and pulled her closer to him. His lips hovered just above hers, and his breath tickled her lips.

"You couldn't resist me if you tried," he breathed in an amused voice.

"I can so. I choose not to."

"Admit it Lils, you're addicted to me."

"Call me Lils again and I'll show you addicted."

Sirius moved his hand very slowly down to the small of her back and Lily felt her breath catch in her throat. He drummed his fingers softly against her back, something he knew she loved. He gave her a look that clearly stated 'I-told-you-so', which successfully turned her on and irritated her. Deciding that being turned on was much more fun, Lily reached up a hand, grabbed Sirius' necktie and pulled him down so that his lips met hers. He smirked against her lips and she took advantage of it by letting her tongue lash out to meet his. He returned the favor and their tongues wrestled excitedly, both pressing harder, almost egging the other on.

"Addicted," he murmured when she pulled from his kisses, both breathing raggedly. "And you're still late."

Lily grumbled to herself, minutes later, as she practically flew through the corridors. She couldn't believe she was this late. Lily was never late. Ever. And for what? A good snog? Well...it was rather excellent kissing, if she did say so herself. Sirius certainly knew what he was doing, not that she didn't, but Sirius really knew what he was doing. She knew there was a reason she was dating him. None the less, she scolded herself, she knew Wednesdays were Prefects meetings and she shouldn't have let Sirius get her off track...

A slight screech escaped her lips as she felt her foot catch something on the ground. Lily shut her eyes and dropped the books she was carrying to stretch her arms out. She braced herself for a fall that never came. Instead of hard stone floors, she felt a strong pair of hands catch her by the waist. Lily froze for a few moments at her rescuer's touch. She could feel her face heat up as she opened her eyes and turned to face her rescuer.

"'Lo Potter," she said, sounding slightly winded. He gave her a bright smile, his hazel eyes sparkled with a satisfied glint in them. "Excellent timing, I must say."

"Any time Evans," he said, his voice sounding smug. Lily resisted rolling her eyes. "So, speaking of good timing, I was thinking that now was the perfect time to..."

"Tell you what," Lily cut him off, a subtle grin on her face. She kept talking as she reached down and picked up her dropped books. "You can tell me what this moment was perfect for later, I'm late for the Prefect's meeting and the Head Girl's a real stick in the mud for punctuality. I'd hate for Remus to get in trouble because I'm late. Like I said, she's crazy, she'll give him my work seeing as I'm his partner..."

"Ah, a few more seconds of tardiness isn't going to kill him."

"But he may kill me, I'll catch you later?"

This seemed to throw James off of his game a bit and it was Lily's turn to look smug. She never willingly said she'd see him later. It was a new curve ball for him. It might have been for that reason alone that Lily was able to escape from James quickly, but that really didn't matter to Lily. She really was late.

"EVANS!" screeched Amethea Ollerton, the Head Girl. Lily had just made it into the classroom the Prefects used for meetings. She shuttered as the older girl's acute eyes glared fiercely at her. "This meeting started twenty minutes ago! Where were you? You understand the concept of punctuality I think? Just because you have three different boyfriends to attend to does not mean—"

"Let her alone Ollerton," Damocles Belby, the Head Boy, said. He shook his dark hair out of his face and winked over at Lily, his deep blue eyes twinkling slightly. "This is the first time she's been late, and Lily's not the sort to date three guys at once! I can't believe you believe that rubbish Rita Skeeter published! And I'd had such high hopes about your attitude towards gossip," he glared at his fellow Head (who returned the glare full force) for a few moments more before he turned to Lily, his voice softened as he spoke to her. "You're partnered with Lupin, Lils."

Lily nodded, ignoring the irritation she felt for the nickname, and walked over to where Remus was sitting. Lily could hear Ollerton and Belby arguing in hushed whispers and she grinned slightly. She was glad that Damocles was on her side, though her mind twanged lightly with guilt. She and Damocles had dated briefly the previous year, however Lily had broken up with him after a rather...tempestuous...night in the company of Sirius Black. Granted, Damocles never did know why Lily had dumped him. All he'd known was that she had. A quaint smile formed on Lily's lips as memories of the one time she'd ever cheated on a boyfriend. It wasn't that she thought it'd had been a good idea, to her cheating was a horrible thing, but she was rather pleased with the end results.

"Taking a leaf out of the Marauders' book Lily?" Remus grinned at her as she sat down next to him. His voice pulled her from her light reminiscing of Sirius' touches from that night nearly a year ago. "Causing trouble wherever you go: the Great Hall, the Hospital Wing, here..."

"Shut up," she laughed swatting at him playfully. Remus dodged and, from the look on his face, was about to tease her even more when an unwelcome quote sounded behind them.

"Wheeling and dealing any gossip lately, Evans?" a hiss came from behind where Lily and Remus were sitting. Lily stiffened and turned to see who had spoken. Her eyes hardened as her gaze fell upon Evan Rosier, his silver and green Prefect badge was pinned on the front of his robes and his brown eyes twinkled with maliciousness.

"Can I help you Rosier?" she asked, stiffly.

Rosier's oblong face contorted slightly in a smirk, his crooked teeth were barely visible under his sneer. He wasn't all that attractive of a boy, but often gave off the air that he, at least, thought that he was.

"Not really, no. I was just wondering why Lupin is still hanging around a little tramp like you. I mean toying with all the Marauders Evans, I thought you had more class than that," he hissed again. "But I suppose Potter wouldn't care if you were banging his best friend. I mean the two of you are 'perfect together' don't you think?"

"Shut your face Rosier. Don't talk about things that don't concern you," Remus said calmly, but warningly.

"What's the matter half-breed?" Rosier taunted. "Evans not giving you enough attention?"

Remus rolled his amber eyes and Lily scoffed, giving Remus a look that stated she was not pleased with Rosier. Remus' features mirrored Lily's. His face suddenly lit up in a mischievous grin, and Lily was quick to follow.

"He really thinks he's onto something doesn't he?" Lily said to Remus for Rosier to hear. "What an idiot."

"Apparently he does," Remus said a pitying tone in his voice. "Poor bugger. Probably thinks Crumple-Horned Snorkacks are real too."

"So sad...someone might need to tell him that Father Christmas died a long time ago as well..."

"You can do the honors Lily; I always hate destroying someone's naïve point of view..."

"Hey! I'm doing the insulting here!" Rosier suddenly shot out, drawing the attention of the Heads. Lily smirked at him as Damocles started to yell at him for disrupting the meeting and for insulting in general. Rosier did not take kindly to this but did nothing about it until the meeting was over.

"Just you wait Evans," he hissed over her shoulder as she and Remus left to go back towards the Common Room. "I'll get you back for that."

With that Rosier turned on his heel and strode away, leaving Lily and Remus looking at each other in momentary silence. It was a full fifteen seconds before Lily's face lit up in a grin, and Remus' was quick to follow.

"Never do have any new lines, those Slytherins, do they?" Lily asked him in a tone that would have suited discussing the weather.

"Nope," Remus agreed, chuckling. "Barking mad the lot of them."

"Oh and the clowns you hang with are so stable."

"Stability's got nothing to do with it," Remus defended, amused. "The Marauder's aren't 'barking' mad...well maybe Sirius is, but the rest of us are just crazy on occasion."

"What makes Sirius special?"

"Well...he's a bit of a dog sometimes..."

Lily laughed at Remus' tease towards Sirius, completely unaware that Remus was being quite serious.




James was practically bouncing off the walls of the boys' dormitory. Sirius looked up from his school work, mildly irritated, mildly amused as James continued singing a song off key.

"And when that day comes, she'll always be mine!" he sang jumping on his bed. He looked very much like an overgrown, overly excited three year old. "She'll love me 'till my days are done, and we'll always walk that line; walk that line, yeah yeah!"

"Shut up Prongs! You're a Chaser, not a singer."

"You're just jealous," James laughed as he jumped from his bed onto Remus' empty one. "Lily Evans said she'd see ME later! I'm making progress man! She's in love with me!"

James grinned before continuing his singing.

"He's in denial, and he can't sing..." Peter mused from where he was sitting next to Sirius. ("Walking that liiiiiiiiiine!") Sirius chuckled in response and James threw Remus' pillow at the pair of them, but singing away anyways. "I'm only telling the truth James, 'I'll see you later' doesn't mean anything."

"What do you know?" James snapped lightly. He was still bouncing around energetically. He mildly noted the identical looks of relief on Peter and Sirius' faces that his singing had stopped. "It does mean something."

"And what's that Prongs? Because I assure you that it's not that Lily's in love with you," Sirius laughed.

James stuck his tongue out at Sirius but grinned enthusiastically all the same.

"It means that Lily Evans no longer hates me and that she looks forward to spending more time with me, which means that I still have a damn good chance of getting her!" he responded, his hazel eyes dancing happily. "Which means...?"

"That you're insane," Sirius shrugged simply, earning himself another well shot pillow at his head. "Ouch! I'm just saying Prongs, Lily's a sweet girl. Maybe she just felt sorry for you."

"No you dolt, it means that I'm the luckiest guy on the planet! Lily Evans! She's gonna be miiiiiine!" James sang again. "And we'll walk that oh-so-wonderful liiiiiiine!"

"Shut up Prongs!" Sirius yelled over James' singing as Peter threw a pillow towards the energetic boy's head. James caught the pillow and kept singing, holding the pillow like a gentle lover, causing his mates to laugh even more at him.

"Don't ruin his fun," came a fourth voice. Remus had just stepped into the dorm, his amber eyes were looking at the bouncing James with mild amusement. "Let him live in the world of maybe, you never know, Lily might change her mind about him someday."

"See, Remus is on my side!" James grinned at his sandy haired friend.

"Remus pities you too."

"Shut up Padfoot."

"Make me."

"I've got a wand, I can do it you know," James said holding his wand out for Sirius to see and pointing it at him with mock threats.

"Oh big deal, I've got one too," Sirius responded, pulling his own out.

"Mine's so longer."

"Mine gets more action."

The two boys grinned at the undeclared challenge.

"Oh big words for a little wand!"

"Screw you, it's not the size that matters it's what you do with it."

"If that's what they tell you then I should let you know, they only tell that to tiny wands to keep them from rioting. Size does matter damn it!"

"You're sick," Sirius said grinning, "but I like it! Let's have a go, right now. My wand will so kick your wand's arse."

"Let's do it," James chuckled. "What are the stakes? The usual?"

"But of course, loser streaks through Slytherin's next game. That way everyone will know how short your 'wand' really is."

"You're on Padfoot! And I'll have you know my 'wand' is far from short. But I'll enjoy laughing at your naked hide."

"First of all, I don't care to know the length of your 'wand' you sick-o. Secondly, I highly doubt you'll be laughing at my naked arse, Prongs, particularly since I'll be laughing too hard at yours," Sirius grinned. "Enough of this pointless argument, Common Room, me and you, now. I'll show you whose wand is boss."

"Great Hall."

"Deal."

"Guys, you might want to wait and have your duel later," Remus interrupted, stopping the two boys before they could leave the dorm. "Lily's been teased horribly about 'playing' with the Marauders the past few days and the two of you fighting, regardless if you are just playing or not, it's not going to help her situation any. So keep it in here or let it wait until Skeeter's article dies down."

"Still?" James said, suddenly outraged. "Who's still teasing her?"

"The Slytherins."

James looked over at Sirius, surprised he was the one to answer instead of Remus. A slight ruffle of two tiny ink dots made its way uncomfortably into James' thoughts.

"She talks to me too mate," he shrugged simply. "But Moony's right, it's probably not going to help Evans all that much if we're seen 'fighting' in the Great Hall."

"Or anywhere for that matter," Remus said, looking at the two sternly.

"What happened to make you think of that Moony?" Peter quipped lightly. At that question, Remus looked at Peter slightly shocked. James' curiosity rippled and continued to grow as Remus' silence grew. He wasn't answering.

"Moony? What happened?"

"Nothing," Remus said turning away from the other Marauders, and making to make up the bed that James had jumped on. James was entirely unconvinced, and the looks on Peter and Sirius' faces told him that they weren't either.

"Remus? What is it? What happened?" A look of comprehension appeared on Sirius' face and his voice dropped suddenly and James saw his eyes narrowed in defensive resentment. His words were nothing more than a dangerous growl, "Who threatened her?"

James jumped up, Sirius' words hitting him with force. Remus had frozen. So someone had threatened her. Anger pumped through James' chest.

"It wasn't a big deal guys, Rosier just got a bit mouthy is all..."

"Rosier threatened Lily?" James shot, his earlier jovial mood broken. His voice was rigid with fury. "I'll beat his sorry, Slytherin ass."

"I wouldn't do that either, mate," Remus advised, his amber eyes looking at James cautiously.

"Why not?"

"Because Lily wouldn't like it," Sirius said simply to James. "She's a strong girl; if you hurt someone for threatening her she's going to take it that you think she's weak and that she can't handle herself."

"I don't think that—" he responded, offended. He didn't think that at all. He could not even picture her weak. Lily was very strong, and he admired her courage greatly. It was Lily's spunk that drew James to her so much. Sirius interrupted James before he could finish explaining all of this.

"I know you don't Prongs, but I also know that's how Lily will take it. And you know she will too. Don't get me wrong mate, I'd kill someone before I'd let them hurt her, but if she's not asking for help, then don't try to give it to her. She's a smart girl; if she needs your protection then she'll ask you for it."

James nodded in agreement, though he felt the pangs of both disappointment and jealousy coursing through him. He wanted to be as close to Lily as Remus and Sirius were allowed to be. Another brief flash of Sirius and Lily's dots walking towards the Lake wondered into James' mind and he found himself wondering just how defensive of Lily Sirius was...

His thoughts were shot through suddenly as though the dots and his jealousy no longer mattered. He felt that he didn't need to be in the Boy's Dorm with the other Marauders anymore. He looked over at Remus, his hazel eyes blazing.

"Where did you leave her?" James asked abruptly, his voice was rough. Remus, Sirius, and Peter looked at him with startled expressions on their faces.

"She said she was going to the library Prongs, but I—what are you doing?"

Not bothering to answer, James grabbed the Marauder's Map, opened it and his eyes narrowed as his suspicions were confirmed. Sirius had looked over James' shoulder at the map. His grey eyes narrowed with James' hazel ones and both voiced the same thought at the same time.

"Shit."

Two small dots were standing in a classroom on the same floor as the library. One was labeled Lily Evans; the other: Evan Rosier.

Chapter 7: Her Idiots
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A/N: So not much to report, except sorry for the long wait, but I did warn you. ;) The good news is I've yet to have to have shorter chapters again. In fact, I believe they're increasing in length. But there is still a lot of writes and rewrites I'm doing on chapter 8, so expect another wait for it too. Anyways, enjoy!





Lily Evans was bored. Her green eyes had a bit of a haze in them as she tried to picture herself anywhere other than where she was. She sat on the top of a desk with one leg crossed over another, tapping her wand on the side of the desk as a Slytherin paced before her, scowling at the lack of fear he was instilling in Lily. He spat out a few pointless threats to her that she didn't quite catch over her thoughts of 'Why am I here again?' She looked over at Evan Rosier and let out a very loud, very bored sigh.

"Can I go now?"

"No," he shot instantly. "Why aren't you taking me seriously?"

"Am I not? Whoops. Must have something to do with that lack of a Dark Mark...or any mark for that matter...you're just...not very intimidating..."

"I hate you."

"Oh that's such a relief! Here I thought that you threatened a girl because you liked her!" Lily said, rolling her eyes. "Saves me from having to turn you down."

"I hate your sarcasm too."

"You kill me with your insults Rosier."

Something seemed to snap in Rosier, and he pointed his wand right at Lily's face. Lily jumped only for the sudden movement. She looked at the wand for a moment and then back up at Rosier's face. She gave him a slightly superior smirk. Before holding out her own wand and aiming it, almost lazily, at him.

"Going to hex me then Rosier? I'd like to see you try."

Rosier's face registered nothing short of fury, his mouth opened to release a curse of some kind. He was stopped before the sound could leave his mouth. The door to the small classroom flew open, and Rosier quickly found himself lacking a wand.

"Expelliarmus!" came two strong voices from the open doorway. Rosier's wand flew out of his hand and he was thrown forcefully against the wall. Lily looked up to see Sirius and James standing with their wands aimed at Rosier. Both were looking livid. Lily's own anger flared up for the first time since Rosier had dragged her into the classroom and she stood up forcefully, glaring at the two boys. Sirius had already recognized the danger in Lily's eyes, and he instantly pocketed his wand in a pitiful attempt to hide what he'd done. James, however, did not pick up on Lily's sudden temper as he was still focusing on Rosier. He made to step forward, most likely to fight Muggle-style, but was stopped very quickly.

"What do you think you're doing?" she shouted. James jumped, and Sirius shuttered. Both looked at her with surprise, and (on Sirius' part) fear.

"We're stopping him from hexing you, Lily," James stated as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"I had the situation under control James," she glowered. Sirius had situated himself behind James, the movement caught Lily's eye. "Oh I saw you there too Sirius, you're in for it as well."

Sirius' face fell, and he moved back to stand at James' side.

"I'll ask you boys again, what were you doing?"

"Saving you."

Lily saw Sirius close his eyes and shake his head at James' words. Her face flushed with outrage, her eyes were blazing.

"Saving me?" she scoffed. "From that?" she motioned back at Rosier. The Slytherin seemed to realize that Lily had reached her boiling point, and made no comment about Lily's insult. "Do you think that low of me Potter?" Her eyes ventured to Sirius, "Black?"

"Lily," Sirius' voice was hurt. "You know we don't think that. It just...he had his wand aimed at you..." he trailed off lamely.

"And?" she snapped. "Do you forget how many wands I had aimed at me in Hogsmeade? I can handle it. If I'd needed help do you think I would have looked as bored as I did?"

"I—ah..." Sirius and James looked at each other as if trying to come up with a good reason for why they did the stupid things that they did. Lily's frustration mounted.

"Detention. Both of you for magic in the corridors, and Rosier!" the Slytherin boy had been trying to sneak away as Lily ranted at her friends. "Belby will hear of this and I have no doubts that you'll be placed in detention as well."

If Rosier heard Lily, he made no motion that he had. He left the two Marauders alone with the infuriated Lily. Sirius sat down on top of a desk and looked over at Lily guiltily. James followed the suit, but added a bit of a pout to his glance.

"Don't give me that look," she hissed, not really sure which boy she was talking to. "You deserved it."

"At least we care, Lily."

Shooting James a dark look, Lily began pacing. It was a habit of hers when she was angry or nervous. From the corner of her eye she saw the boys look at each other, bracing each for shouts they were certain would come. But Lily never yelled, she just paced for a long time. The room grew unnervingly quiet before she spoke again.

"Caring about me would mean that you let me handle the situation on my own," she said calmly as she took a seat across from them. "Caring about me means that you two would have trusted me to be able to outsmart that halfwit."

"We just didn't want—"

"I don't care what you wanted," Lily cut Sirius off. "I wanted to know that I could take care of an idiot on my own, which I can. Actually," she smirked slightly, "I can handle two. I understand that the two of you care about my wellbeing, and I'm very glad that you understand how to be chivalrous, but I don't need a knight in shining armor, guys."

"Lily, we know you don't need a protector," James said softly. "But we wanted to be here for you. It's nice for us to pretend that you need us every now and then. And the good news is we're your idiots."

"Like that's such a comforting thought."

A shadow of a smile appeared on Lily's face. She was mildly touched by James' words. She looked over at him for a minute, taking in his eyes and his face. He twitched his nose slightly at her, making her smile more prominent. She sighed when she realized that she was no longer angry with the two. She shook away the tiny thought that she could never stay angry with her idiot boys. James and Sirius released relieved sighs when they deemed the danger had passed, causing Lily to laugh slightly.

"So we're forgiven?" Sirius inquired, looking at her hopefully. Lily looked into his grey eyes for a moment as though she were thinking very hard on the question.

"I suppose..."

Sirius and James gave identical whoops of excitement. Lily gave a cheerful sigh at their boyish grins. She lightly entertained the thought of what a cute pair they made. For a moment she thought she might tease them with her musings, but was stopped by Sirius' continued inquiry of her forgiveness.

"And detention...?"

"You still have that."

"Damn."

"Nice try though."

"Thanks."

"This is a cause for a celebration!" James grinned taking hold of Lily's arm. She gave him a slightly bewildered look before Sirius took her other arm. They started leading her out of the corridor. The late afternoon, October sun was shining through one of the windows and Lily squinted a bit as she looked back and forth between, as James had put it, her idiots.

"I second that motion!" he cheered.

"That you have detention? Why?"

"Well, Lily, this is the fastest you've ever forgiven us...and only eight weeks into school and this is our fiftieth detention! A new record!"

"Therefore, we celebrate..."

"With loads of Butterbeer..."

"Candy..."

"And pranks! Just kidding," Sirius added when Lily frowned at him. "But seriously, party! Marauder style," he winked over at James, but Lily stopped dead in her tracks. The two boys stopped with her and gave her slightly worried looks. It did little to faze her. Her heart pumped faster, and her mind had reeled to the last time she'd heard that phrase. Her emerald eyes were aimed right at Sirius; she didn't see James glancing back and forth between them with a mildly suspicious look on his face.

"I've had a Marauder style party before, and I'd rather not repeat it thank you," she said, her eyes never leaving Sirius'. His grin fell at her words, and his eyes grew stormy as he looked at her. He made a face that Lily took to be regretful for his earlier wording.

"What? When?" James asked, breaking Lily's concentration on his best mate. "Why wasn't I there?"

"A long time ago," she said softly, no longer meeting either of their eyes. She unhooked her arms from theirs. "I've got some studying to do. I'll catch up with you guys later. Have fun celebrating my forgiving you...and your detention record..."

"Evans!" she heard James called uselessly after her. "Lily!?"




The splashing was no longer comforting. Lily tossed another rock into the lake, and as her mind registered a sore arm, she knew that picturing Petunia's face on the rocks did little to comfort her anymore either. Throwing the last rock into the water, Lily turned away from the lake to find a tree to sit under. To her surprise, however, her green eyes locked on a set of grey ones. She started at Sirius' silent appearance.

"How long have you been standing there?" she asked as her heart rate slowed back to its normal pace from its sudden scare. She noticed that her hand had shot up to cover her heart, and she quickly dropped it.

"About fifteen minutes. How long have you been out here?"

"Since I left you and James an hour ago."

"I figured as much," he smiled at her gently. He kept his stormy eyes trained on her green ones, as he walked towards her. He took her hand in his and offered her an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry."

Lily turned away from Sirius and looked back out over the lake. The sun was falling quickly now, and the air was growing cool. She felt a slight desire for her warm sweater, which was sitting on her bed...or one of her friends was wearing it...

"Lily?"

"Hmm?"

"I didn't mean anything by it," he said, putting a warm arm around her. Lily felt herself wrap her arms around his torso. She cuddled into his chest. "Really. It's a habit of ours...of mine. I get a bit of an ego when it comes to Marauder stuff, you know?"

"Just a bit?" she murmured, her voice muffled slightly from their embrace. He chuckled and kissed the top of her head. She smiled into his chest before looking up at him. "It's just...odd...I didn't think I'd ever do that...at least, not for a long time...and then we did and...just when I hear you say that I remember it more than usual..."

"Yeah," he smiled at her. "I know you do, but you have to know...I loved every minute of it."

"I just kind of wish that we had waited for a while longer," she reasoned. "And you only tell me that you loved it...on a weekly basis, but it wasn't so bad on my end either. I feel like the worlds biggest walking contradiction sometimes, I know I'm supposed to feel bad and guilty about it, but I don't...I mean I do, but then I remember how great it felt and it's very...odd..."

Sirius laughed again, making her grin with him. They fell into a peaceful silence, just holding one another. Eventually he sat down and pulled her down with him, creating a few moments of laughter from the pair before they fell back into their quiet enjoyment of one another's company. He leaned back on his elbows and Lily remained against his chest. She listened to his steady heartbeat and it lulled her into an eased sense of security. Her mind flittered on various subjects, from how much she enjoyed Sirius to their lusty night many months ago to James and his strange obsession with all things...her. The sun set long before they spoke again.

"How did you and James find me?" she asked, her gaze on the reflection the waning moon was making on the surface of the dark waters of the lake.

"Marauders' secret," he smirked. "If I told you I'd have to kill you."

"Liar."

"Alright, so I wouldn't kill you, but I'd have to wipe your memory."

Lily looked up at Sirius, the corners of her lips were tugging into a smile; his were doing the same. He leaned down and placed his lips very gently on her forehead for a few moments before pulling away. It eased what little tension Lily still had from their earlier confrontation. He really did know how to comfort her.

"How did you get away from James?"

"Told him Moony had a girlfriend, and he decided to stalk him to find out who it was. I think he commissioned Peter to his cause. Remus is going to kill me when I get back," he grinned. She got the feeling that he was lying, but she decided that pressing him about it would only ruin their calmed mood.

"You mean butt."

"That hurts, Lily," Sirius mocked, putting a hand on his chest, pretending that his heart was broken. "You kill me with your insults."

"Shut up," she laughed, hitting him softly. Her face contorted slightly as she realized where she'd picked up the phrase she'd thrown at Rosier. "Oh God, I'm spending too much time with you. I've started using your insults."

"No, wait, that did. Oh the pain! I shall never recover!"

Lily stuck her tongue out at him as she pulled away from his warm arms. She stood up and walked back to the lake. He stayed seated, and she cast him a curious glance. His posture was relaxed, and she felt his eyes wandering up her body. She felt the familiar chills his hands normally gave her, loving every minute of it. Suddenly feeling playful, Lily gave Sirius a come-and-get-me grin.

"Is that a challenge, Miss Evans?"

"Nope, it's a declaration of war."

She shrieked as Sirius jumped up from his calm state and charged at her, before she tore away from him. She was no match for him, however, and he soon (playfully) tackled her to the ground. He tickled her mercilessly, causing her to gasp for breath between her giggles. She momentarily was reminded of an over large puppy getting to play with his favorite toy before his tickles rendered her unable to think much more than:

"Sirius stop!" she laughed, breathing raggedly from his tickles. "Mercy!"

"No way."

"Please!"

"Nope."

Lily struggled under him and finally did the best thing that came to mind. She put her hands behind his neck and pulled him down to her. Startled, by her kiss, Sirius stopped his tickling to snog her properly. Determined not to let him win this round, Lily moved her hips lightly against him, and she smirked lightly as she felt Sirius' kisses deepen with anticipation. His hands started to move down her sides. She pushed harder against him, showing she wanted control. He rolled over very willingly to let her be on top. Lily kept her lips on his just long enough to straddle him, pin his arms down, and...

"Cheater!" Sirius shouted, laughing as Lily stopped kissing him to tickle him. He now squirmed under her fingers. "Not—fair!"

"Life's not fair," she grinned as he struggled and laughed, trying to escape her fingers. "Suck it up."

"Wait! I have—a proposition!"

"Of what kind?"

"Any kind! Just stop!"

Relenting her tickles, Lily kept Sirius pinned to the ground. He panted a bit before looking up at her, his eyes twinkling slightly.

"Seen Kettleburn's new shipment?"

Lily tilted her head to the side and looked at Sirius curiously. The Care of Magical Creatures teacher? What could he have, other than creatures, that would interest her? Lily didn't get the chance to voice these questions as Sirius beat her to them.

"Come on," he said, pushing her off of him and standing up. She gave him a playful glare from where she now sat next to him on the ground. "It'll be fun."

The playful look in Sirius' eye was not something Lily could turn down. She sighed and let Sirius take her hand and lead her into whatever trouble he had up his sleeve. He grinned enthusiastically and took off with her at a fast pace. She had to jog to keep up with his long strides, but laughed when he gave up on her and picked her up, slinging her across his shoulder, and lugged her to just past Hagrid's house. Lily quickly deserted any attempts to get him to put her down as it was something he did not seem to plan on doing any time soon. Though she did smack him very hard when he took advantage of her position by managing a well placed hand on her rear.

"I'll hex that hand off, boy," she warned, when she felt he might do it again.

"You will not," he laughed. "You get too much pleasure from this hand of mine to hex it off."

"No dear, you get too much pleasure from that hand of yours."

"Oh, a sassy one you are!"

"You like it."

"That I do. I take it you like Hippogriffs?"

The odd question threw Lily off for a moment. She wiggled in his arms, attempting to get a good look at his face to see if he were joking, but he only tightened his grip on her. She could practically hear his smirk.

"Where did that come from?"

Sirius didn't answer, and finally put her down at the edge of the forest. He pointed behind her. Lily followed his fingers and released a light gasp. Before her stood a tall, tawny colored hippogriff that looked graceful and dangerous all at once. Half of its body was that of a giant eagle, while the other half was a horse. It had golden eyes that took in the two humans before it sharply as though taking in every detail of them.

"He's beautiful Sirius!" she breathed.

"I wouldn't say that," he smirked. "Ficklefeathers is a she."

"Oh, well excuse me. She is beautiful," Lily corrected. Sirius squeezed her arm lightly before he stepped forward and gave the hippogriff a deep bow. It took a few seconds, but the creature finally bowed its head, making Sirius grin. He stepped forward to it and jumped on its back.

"Come on Lily," he smiled at her. "It'll be fun!"

Stepping forward, Lily bowed to the creature as well. She smiled when the hippogriff returned the favor, almost sending Sirius off her back. Lily gave him an amused grin.

"You think that's funny, do you?"

"I think you are funny," she grinned as he helped her onto the hippogriff. He placed her in front of him so that he could hold onto both her and the hippogriff. He put his mouth right up to her ear and breathed so softly that it both tickled Lily and gave her chills. She squirmed, backing into his chest.

"And I think doing that is funny," he whispered, again giving Lily the chilled tickling sensation that brought her closer into him. He wrapped an arm around her waist, his hand positioned tauntingly high on her leg. His free hand grabbed onto the hippogriff's neck. Lily grabbed onto the beast as well, attempting to ignore Sirius' fingers that were very lightly twitching on her thigh. Sirius tightened his knees into the creature, and they took off into the night air.

The hippogriff flew over the Forbidden Forest before turning sharply and heading for the castle. It swooped and soared, causing its riders to occasionally cry out with glee or surprise. The dark landscape unfurled itself below them, and the waxing moon glittered fantastically over the dark waters of the lake. Lily, however, took no notice of any of the beauty surrounding her. She was much too involved in kissing her favorite idiot to take notice of anything else.

Chapter 8: Remus Knows Everything
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A/N: Sorry for the long wait guys, but here it is at last! Chapter eight! *Yay* Any who, I'd like to give a shout out to one of my biggest fans, and, though she doesn't know it, she pushed me in the right direction for this chapter, so Jessi_Rose, this chapter is dedicated to you.





Focusing completely on Lily's lips, Sirius grinned as she leaned in just as Ficklefeathers took a dive towards the lake. Lily gasped in surprise as her lips crashed into his. He pulled her close, though he resisted the urge to laugh at her surprise.

"Mr. Black," Lily said, in a very un-Lily-like voice. It was much harsher than Lily's voice, though it was still the voice of a woman. Another woman that Sirius was fond of irritating too, only in a different sense...it sounded oddly like McGonagall. "Mr. Black! Pay attention!"

Lily was suddenly prodding him in the side.

"Pssst," she said, only in Peter's voice this time. "Padfoot, wake up!"

Sirius' eyes snapped open and he grinned sheepishly at a very red faced Professor McGonagall. She was glowering at him while Peter sat beside him with a guilty smile on his face.

"I'm so glad that you've decided to grace us with your presence Mr. Black," McGonagall huffed, her beady eyes glaring at him. "Would you like to share with the class what it is that you were smiling about so broadly."

"Well...I would Minnie," Sirius grinned cheekily, "but I'm afraid we've still got virgin ears in this classroom. Poor Pete here wouldn't be able to handle it I'm afraid. Now I'd be happy to give you a bit of dirty talk after class..."

"And I'll be happy to see you in detention Mr. Black."

"Oh Minnie," Sirius laughed putting a hand up to his mouth in a mock touched movement. He blinked his eyes rapidly, imitating a foolishly flirty girl. "You know how I look forward to those special moments with you. The usual time and place?"

McGonagall gave him a pointed glare, but he could have sworn the corners of her mouth twitched for just a moment. Stifled giggles filled the classroom. He settled back down when she threatened more detention.

He grinned at the stern look that Lily gave him from across the room as McGonagall returned to lecturing the class on the finer points of transfiguring a walrus into a walnut. They were later assigned partners to attempt to do the reverse and make a walnut into a walrus. Peter and Sirius were together, Remus was with Cordelia Sqirkelhoff, a Ravenclaw girl who's nose was slightly too small for her face, and James was partnered with Lily.

"What's the bet, Wormtail? Five galleons says they start yelling at each other in five minutes," Sirius whispered, elbowing Peter in the side. Peter gave him an annoyed glare before answering.

"Ten galleons says she slaps him in less than two," he smirked, extending his hand to Sirius.

"Deal," Sirius grinned shaking Peter's hand as Lily and James began talking. Sirius kept a trained eye on them as Peter attempted to transfigure their walnut first.

"So what were you dreaming about Padfoot?" Peter asked after a few pitiful attempts to do anything to the walnut. He'd succeeded in turning it an odd shade of grey, and upon closer inspection it did develop what might have been teeth...

Sirius' face lit up as he flicked his wand and the walnut instantly transfigured into a walnut sized walrus, but he didn't answer. His grey eyes sparkled happily as he placed a growth charm on the miniature walrus, causing it to grow to the size it should be.

"That's cheating Mr. Black," McGonagall said as she swept past. With a flick of her wand the walrus was back to being a walnut. "It should be walrus sized when you transfigure it. Try again."

She returned to her pacing about the classroom and Peter returned to his investigation.

"Well...?"

"Snogging a pretty girl on the back of a hippogriff."

"Aren't we a bit old for wet dreams Padfoot?" Peter teased. Sirius made to slap his mate, but Peter dodged, and Sirius' hand only swept the top of Peter's straw colored hair.

"Memories," he corrected. "From a few weeks ago, thank you. No wet dreams to it."

"That night that James and me went looking for Remus' girlfriend?"

"No you dolt, the night that James and Remus discovered you had a girlfriend!" Sirius said, changing the subject. "How could you not tell us mate? And a pretty girl too!"

Peter grinned sheepishly as he looked over at Lily and James to see how the bet was going. So far neither looked red in the face...in fact they were laughing together. His eyes then darted to Cordelia and Remus. His face tinted when he and Cordelia made eye contact. He broke it quickly and returned his attention to a smirking Sirius.

"Well, I didn't want you to..." Peter flushed and mumbled something under his breath and Sirius held in a laugh as Peter's blush grew.

"What was that Wormtail? I didn't quite catch it."

"I said I dinwanyouemarasme."

"Harass you?"

"I didn't want you lot to embarrass me!"

"Ah, embarrass you! Now, Pete, why would we go and do something like that?" Sirius laughed as he once again transfigured the walnut into a miniature walrus.

"Because the last time James had a girlfriend you embarrassed him like there was no tomorrow," Peter said nervously. "And then you gave me that very crude goblet when I was having lunch with her...I almost wet myself that thing scared me so badly!"

Sirius let out his bark-like laugh causing Lily and James (and several other classmates) to turn and look at him and Peter curiously. He saw Lily intentionally mouth to James that he was 'barking mad'.

"You don't know the half of it," James laughed loudly, so that Sirius could hear. Sirius made a stupid face at James, who kindly returned the favor. Lily shook her head in amusement at the two before she flicked James on the arm to remind him that they had work to do.

"I think we've lost our bets Pete," Sirius said out of the corner of his mouth.

"No way, Marauders' code clearly states that any time Lily's hand makes to hurt, no matter how lightly, constitutes as a slap. That flick was therefore a slap. You owe me ten galleons."

"That's only if she'd slapped him within two minutes," Sirius corrected. "We're three minutes into this, Pete. And my plan has thus far failed..."

"What plan?"

"To get Lily to yell at James for being immature...must try a different approach."

"You've already got detention tonight Padfoot, why risk it again?"

"How many times must I tell you? The risk is what makes life fun! Now watch and learn Pete."

Sirius flicked his wand at James, turning his hair bright pink. James looked up for a moment, but didn't notice the change. Several other students, however, did, and the class was instantly filled with snickering. Lily looked up, annoyed at the giggles, before she too spotted James' hair, and her laughter was quick to follow.

"What?" he asked looking mildly irritated at her laughter.

"Nothing," she responded, biting her bottom lip to try and contain her laugher. She was unsuccessful, and earned a stern, but amused look from James. He quickly glanced over at Sirius, knowing his mate had done something to him.

"Don't lie Lily, you're no good at it."

"Your hair..." she grinned, transfiguring her walnut into a mirror instead. James took it and looked at himself for a minute. Irritation crossed his face, but it was quickly turned to amusement as he returned the mirror into a walnut.

"Well, I look smashing don't I? You know Evans, only real men wear pink."

"Apparently so," she grinned. "But I believe Black is the color of friendship."

"Really, you get that feeling too?" James inquired as the both looked over at Sirius, identical looks of mischievousness in their eyes. "I thought I was the only one."

"Uh oh," Sirius said at the look they were giving him. Peter was holding a stitch in his side from the laughter.

"Mr. Potter, you may join Black in detention tonight for your...flamboyant hair disrupting my class."

James gave McGonagall the same grin that Sirius had given her earlier.

"I knew you couldn't resist us Minnie," he laughed.

"No girl can!" Sirius chimed in. "We're just too sexy!"

McGonagall closed her eyes, her face taunt with irritation before she pointed her finger at the door. When her eyes opened, the air of irritation she was emitting stole the smiles off every student's face.

"When the two of you decide that you are here to learn Transfiguration, you may return to my class. Until then Potter and Black, leave. And I hope you learn quickly because you're leaving your partners to finish the work alone."

Lily looked enraged now that she was going to have to do James' half of the work, and Peter gave Sirius an 'I-told-you-so' look. Sirius and James both hung their heads in shame as they grabbed their things and shuffled out of the now silent classroom.

"And fifty points from Gryffindor—" they turned to protest and McGonagall's anger intensified, "a piece for your rude and immature behavior. It's time to grow up boys."

They stared at her, open mouthed and shocked. She'd never been quite so aggravated with them before. But McGonagall's glare hardened and the two boys quickly gathered their things and shuffled out of the room without another word.

A stunned silence fell between them, and stayed through their empty Common Room to their dorm. Sirius tossed his books on his bed and plopped down after them. James was shaking his head, looking completely miserable.

"What is it Prongs?"

James didn't answer, but kept shaking his head. Sirius sighed and sat up. He rubbed his eyes with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand before he stood up and grasped James' shoulder. He gave his mate a searching look before smirking.

"Evans won't kill you Prongs."

"Liar."

"I keep getting called that, for some reason," Sirius chuckled, sitting back down on his bed. "Man, she's going to ignore the two of us through the rest of our classes today and then before dinner, when we're supposed to be doing our homework, she's going to yell herself hoarse for losing all those points, for being immature, and she may give each of us another detention, just for good measure."

"But I don't want her to yell at me Sirius! I'm sick of her just shutting me down! We were having an actual conversation! She was laughing with me, smiling for me! Why did you have to try and start something?" James suddenly sounded lost as he looked over at Sirius, who felt his gut drop. A tiny wrenching in Sirius' stomach assured him that he had not ruined James' conversation with Lily because of the bet. Deep down, Sirius knew he'd interrupted because he was unsure when James had learned the ability to communicate with Lily. And save for a brief few days after they'd saved each other, Lily and James hadn't spent much time together. Not without someone present.

Sirius had been quiet too long, he knew because of the strange look James was now giving him. Sirius' mind began to race as he saw the unasked question in James' hazel eyes. So he was beginning to suspect.

"I'm sorry mate," Sirius said, trying to sound sincere. "I just get a kick out of it when she yells at you."

"You're so encouraging."

Grinning, Sirius gave James a thumbs up, silently grateful that the suspicious look in James' eyes had dulled greatly, but was far from gone. Sirius shifted nervously, not liking the fact that his risky fun was beginning to run on empty. James was smarter than Sirius had been giving him credit for.

"Only for you Prongs," Sirius grinned, his voice masks up again. He pictured something cheerful so that all James would be able to see was his carefree best mate...not his crush's boyfriend. "Hey...what say we get some food for our now-free period?"

"Food sounds good," James said, smiling again. His eyes were now showing doubt for their earlier suspicions, and Sirius eased. "Last one there sings the school song to Dumbledore during dinner."

"You're on!"




"ONE HUNDRED POINTS?!" Lily screeched and Sirius and James, both of which were now cowering together in the Common Room where Lily had cornered them. They had, unsuccessfully, hidden in their dorm until dinner time to avoid Lily, and then had tried to sneak out for food under James' cloak. But Remus was a traitor and had a string ready and waiting for them to trip over. He was now standing behind Lily with his arms crossed and looking rather amused as his friends cowered under the angry glare of Lily's emerald eyes. "DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH WORK I PUT INTO GAINING ONE HUNDRED POINTS? YOU TWO KNOW BETTER! I SWEAR IF YOU DO ONE MORE IDIOTIC THING TO LOSE THAT MANY POINTS IN ONE GO AGAIN, SO HELP ME I'LL HAVE BOTH YOUR HIDES WISHING FOR ANYWHERE BUT HERE!"

The Common Room was dead silent as Lily's shouts lingered when she was done. Both boys were fighting between the urge to defend themselves or the urge to simply put their tails between their legs and go to eat. Alas, Lily wasn't quite done with them yet, so they had to endure yet more of her yelling before they could choose to do either. As the former would most likely only earn more yelling, they were leaning towards slinking away from Lily at the first possible moment.

"DO YOU HEAR ME?"

"I think they heard you in China Lily," Remus said in the calmly sarcastic manner that he often held. Lily rounded on him, her eyes were blazing, but Remus simply offered her the gentle smile he always did and she melted.

Ever since Sirius could remember Remus had that affect on her. Then again, Remus had that affect on a lot of people, and being so close to Lily probably helped him a lot in the matter. It was one thing of Remus' that Sirius envied. He'd love to be able to calm Lily with a smile rather than his words. But neither he, nor James, possessed such a gift and they were left to fend off Lily's anger on their own.

"Damn," she grinned at Remus, "I was aiming for California."

For a moment, Sirius and James' spirits lifted that Remus may have calmed Lily all together. It was a very short lived moment because as soon as Lily turned to face them again, she still looked very heated. Sirius could have slapped himself for the fact that he was now tuning out whatever it was that Lily was lecturing him and James on and more taking in how beautiful she was when she had an angered flush in her cheeks, or how her eyes came alive with electricity when she was yelling.

"Boys!"

"Huh?" James and Sirius said at the same time, both shaking their heads. Apparently Sirius wasn't the only one taking in Lily's beauty.

"Honestly!" Lily sighed, stopping her foot in frustration. "Can the two of you not focus for one minute? If you recall, Sirius, your daydreaming started this whole mess in the first place."

"He wasn't daydreaming," piped Peter's voice from the still Common Room. The entire Common Room turned to look at Peter. He had a mischievous look in his blue eyes and his round cheeks had a wicked grin on it; a grin he had learned from Sirius. Sirius closed his grey eyes as Lily turned to look at Peter.

God no, please no, Sirius mentally chanted. Let him use a different form of payback for my abandoning him. It was a pointless prayer.

"He was having memories of snogging a pretty girl on the back of a hippogriff a few weeks ago."

Sirius dropped his head as the words left Peter's mouth, and he felt his face heat up as giggles filled the room. He heard James stifle a laugh next to him, and Sirius resisted the urge to elbow James in the stomach as he lifted his head back up. Remus was chuckling silently and Lily had a tiny blush on her cheeks, though she too looked amused.

"Ah, thank you for correcting my mistake Peter," she said over her shoulder to Peter, a slight smirk now on her lips. "Now Sirius, I believe those, erm, memories will be all you'll have to go on if you spend all your nights in detention, don't you? There are no pretty girls to snog in detention."

"All I want is some food, so now that everyone's had their laugh at me, can I go?"

James burst into laughter now, unable to contain it any longer. His laughter caused Lily, Remus, and Sirius all to jump. Peter seemed to have been prepared for James' burst of laughter...prepared, or deaf.

"Bit old for wet dreams, aren't you Padfoot?" James gasped, trying to catch his breath. This was proving rather difficult for him as he continued to fall into pointless fits of laugher. Sirius' face burned again, and this time he didn't resist the urge to inflict pain upon James. He lifted his hand and cuffed James on the back of the head, which only seemed to make James laugh harder.

Sirius, embarrassed and hungry, looked back to Lily, who gave him a half smile and released him with a wave of her hand. Sirius gratefully obliged, with the other Marauders in toe. All three of which were still laughing heartily at him and his very blushed face.

"Shut up James," Sirius growled as the crawled through the portrait. "You're the one that's about to sing in front of the school."

"Oh yeah..." James trailed, suddenly finding Sirius' dream much less humorous. "Damn it!"




Many hours later, the fifth year boy's dorm lay quite still, save for an amber eyed boy who sat up in his bed, waiting patiently for what could be nothing. He fidgeted every so often in his bed, causing his sheets to ruffle slightly. Eventually he crawled out from his bed and walked over to a pitcher of water sitting on the window ledge. He grabbed a small glass and was soon relieving his throat of the burning feeling of thirst. There was a noisy creak behind him, and he turned to see a dark haired boy creeping into the dorm. Seeing him, Sirius froze, his eyes, which had been bright when he entered, instantly clouded and fell to the floor with guilt.

"You're out late tonight Padfoot," Remus whispered, nonchalantly, taking another sip of water. His amber eyes bore right into the side of Sirius' head. Sirius shifted guiltily, though he deliberately avoided meeting Remus' disappointed and disapproving eyes. "Pretty girl keeping you out late?"

Sirius gave a gruff mumble that Remus didn't quite catch in response. He had begun to shuffle back towards his long since empty bed, still avidly dodging Remus' gaze. He could sense where this was going.

"Sirius..."

"I don't want to talk about it," Sirius repeated, his voice hushed, and his eyes finally looking up at Remus. It was a mistake. Remus had the ability to get any information out of anyone he wanted. He just had the air of being trustworthy to him, and the eye contact is what did it. Sirius should have known better.

"Sirius," Remus repeated in that patronizing tone that could have made the Pope feel guilty. Not that Sirius knew who or what the Pope was, but from the way Lily talked about it, he figured the Pope was a good thing. "You can't hide this forever."

"Hide what?" Sirius retorted, defensively. Remus crossed his arms, his glass left on his bedside table. His eyes looked at Sirius sharply, and they keyed into a spot on Sirius' neck that was beginning to taunt. Sirius quickly raised a hand to cover the growing passion mark. Lily had been rather feisty tonight...and his heightened senses were starting to be able to tell her cycle. It was something that fascinated and terrified him all at the same time. To Sirius, turning on Lily was the quickest way to turn him on, and Lily was closing in on her time of the month, making her very fertile, and very excitable. Sirius figured it would probably be best not to take advantage of her hormonal state as it could have negative consequences later. If Lily wanted to sleep with him again, then one day she would. But Sirius was coming to the conclusion not to push it.

However, none of this was relevant, save the forming hickey, and Sirius was now suffering another of Remus' impossibly knowing looks that drove him insane. How did Remus just know everything?

"So I've got a hickey," he grumbled. "No big deal."

"No big deal? It is a big deal Padfoot!" Remus hissed, walking up to Sirius angrily. "James is in love with Lily and you're off doing God knows what with her! He's your best friend Sirius!"

"Shut up!" Sirius growled, looking over at the hangings that covered James' bed frantically. James could not hear this conversation.

"He can't hear us," Remus stated, calmer now as he followed Sirius' eyesight. "Silencing Charm," he answered at Sirius' questioning look. "You've got to tell him, Sirius. Someone is going to find out. What if it's a Slytherin? Don't you think James would rather you told him you were dating his beloved Lily than someone like Rosier, or your brother?"

Sirius was silent, staring absently at James' bed. Damn Remus' ability to know everything, particularly since Sirius didn't really know how Remus knew he and Lily had gotten together. But he quite obviously did. Maybe Remus was just more observant than James...Sirius shook his head, amused with himself for a moment. Of course Remus was more observant than James. It's part of what made Remus, Remus.

"He knows nothing of love," Sirius said, almost spitefully, before he caught himself. He flinched at his own words, and saw Remus shift his weight uncomfortably. Sirius had to redeem himself. "And he'd rather not hear it at all. I'm careful with her, Remus. We won't be found out."

It was difficult to ignore the look that Remus gave him, but Sirius did it anyways. Who did Remus think he was? Sirius' mother? The amber eyed boy crawled into his bed without another word to Sirius, and Sirius knew Remus was irritated with him. Sirius shrugged it off as he crawled into his own bed, knowing Remus would forgive him for is arrogance by morning.

After all, he was not going to be caught.


Chapter 9: Dementor Decoy
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A/N: I have written and rewritten this chapter about three or four times, so that is part of the reason for the very long delay. I am sorry about that, but hopefully this makes up for it, and now that I'm finally pleased with this chapter I hope you are too. Chapter 10 shouldn't take as long, because it's really a continuation of this chapter, but it might still be a good wait.

~Jaggy~







"No Evans! Peppermint! It'll help and—"

James frowned and fought the urge to walk in and slap the owner of that voice for speaking to Lily like that, but she had the situation under control as her own words quickly proved.

"I'm well aware of what it'll do, just shut up for a minute and let me show you. Then you can comment on my potions making skills, alright?" Lily snapped, though she did it softly and with, James shuttered to think it, mild friendliness. Why in the world she chose to be nice to him was beyond James' thinking capabilities. Alas, sympathy helped to make Lily the beautiful person James was so infatuated with, regardless of the whelps she wasted such beauty with.

"Fine, but don't say I didn't warn you."

Again, James could not understand why Lily chose to work with such a greasy jerk. He let a light smile flicker on his face as he mentally pictured Lily rolling her eyes and doing what she thought would work best. No, not thought, it was what she knew would work best. Her intuition in Potions was one of the best in the school. Better than that git's even, he just refused to admit it.

"Now add your peppermint," she said in a knowing tone.

Unable to fight his curiosity any longer, James peaked through the cracked door to the Potions classroom. The rusted old room was blanketed in a pale light from two torches, the flames of which flickered, casting odd shadows in some of the darker corners. Neither Lily nor her greased partner seemed to take this into consideration. Despite his obvious hesitation, Lily's partner did as he as instructed, cringing. She laughed in amusement at his surprised expression as the potion bubbled and boiled perfectly. His jaw dropped in mild surprise, and his black eyes watched the potion turn a perfect shade of puce, better than it was supposed to. James had listened to enough of the conversation and read enough of his Potions book to know the potion.

"Didn't think my intuition was right, did you Snape?"

"I'll admit I had my doubts, oh wipe that smirk off your face, Evans," he snapped moodily. "I've been right before too you know."

"I'm aware of that fact," she said, still smirking. "But you always seem so surprised whenever my intuition is better than yours. Which I would like to note, happens more often than not and you know it."

"Shut up."

Lily grinned again before looking down at her watch. James felt his heart soar as she looked mildly anxious upon realizing her punctuality was now in question.

"Damn it, I'm late," she muttered. Snape looked over at her curiously.

"For what?" he asked her, his voice softer than it had been earlier. James grit his teeth, Snape could not be talking to Lily like that either. He hated Muggleborns. Actually, it would be best if Snape just didn't talk to Lily. He was a freak who wasn't worthy of Lily's time.

"James," Lily answered, snapping James back to attention. For a moment he thought he'd been caught eavesdropping, but she continued answering Snape's question. "We've got a Transfiguration project to finish."

Snape scowled, and James could see that Lily was trying to ignore it. He tilted his head a bit, and pushed his rectangular glasses up farther on the bridge of his nose. He couldn't be seeing right. Lily was flat out refusing to acknowledge that Snape was disapproving her partner without speaking? Was she backing out of a fight that would ensue over her being friends with James? He knew the two of them had been in plenty of fights over her decision to befriend Snape.

None of the Marauders really approved of Lily's friendship with Snape. Sirius and James were often out right cruel about it. Talking about how the greasy git didn't deserve her attention, while Peter would simply nod in agreement. Remus was usually much nicer in his view on Lily's judgment, but he didn't ridicule Snape in front of her.

"Do you always have to come when one of them calls you?" Snape's voice was much harsher than it had been moments ago. James felt anger ruffle under him at Snape's words, and he too wore a scowl.

"No, but they are my friends Snape," she said lightly, but warningly. They obviously had this conversation many times before. James could tell by the exhausted tone in Lily's voice. It sounded oddly like the tone she wore when turning him down again and again... "I come when my friends need me."

"They're brutes," he murmured.

"They're boys," she responded automatically. James grinned again glad that Lily was defending them for once, instead of Snape. "You've gotten your share of tricks on them too."

"You've been very buddy-buddy with Black since school started, even more after that attack back in September," Snape said darkly. James' grin suddenly fell and he grew stiff as he continued to listen. "Going on all those long walks and what not, haven't you Evans?"

"That's none of your business," Lily growled. "And if anything James and I have been getting closer lately, thank you very much. Since Hogsmeade we're on much better terms. He's not quite as pigheaded as we make him out to be."

Earlier suspicions long forgotten, James knew in that moment he could die happy. Lily Evans said that he wasn't pigheaded. So she actually said he wasn't as pigheaded as she had been led to believe, but it was the same difference in James' eyes. Snape scoffed, muttering darkly about how the world would stop spinning if James Potter was anything but pigheaded. James couldn't even bring himself to scowl at Snape.

"Yes, but you and Potter don't get into long conversations without arguing, do you? Black and you on the other hand, get along much better. You spend far more time with him than Potter."

Ok, now James could scowl, his suspicions were back. Lily and Sirius did spend a lot of time together. But they were just friends, and Sirius could use a friend like Lily. He had such a dark past and Lily was so...bright and happy. She was...perfect. James frowned. He had fallen for Lily without spending much time with her...what would stop Sirius, who spent tons of time with her, from doing the same? James scolded himself. Sirius was his best mate, and that fact alone would stop him. It just had to.

"Once more, I was unaware that it was any of your business who I choose to spend my time with," she said, her voice sounding annoyed now. "Nor do I know why you've been paying so much attention to it, but I would rather you didn't. I can choose who I want to spend my time with just fine without your interference."

Deciding that Lily might have forgotten about meeting him by now, James opened the door. That and he didn't like the strange and uncalled for thoughts about Sirius and Lily he kept having. Sirius would not do that to him.

He cleared his throat when the two failed to notice his entrance. He avoided smirking at Snape, who had paled at the sight of him. Lily looked surprised for a moment before she gave James a sheepish grin.

"Oh, hello James," she said, sounding startled. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Just got here," he lied, ignoring Snape, who had exchanged his cowardly look for a cold glare. "You didn't show up at the Library, and you mentioned that you were going to be down here before hand, so I thought I'd come look for you. I was a bit worried."

"You? You're capable of worry?" Snape snapped, much colder than he'd ever been during his conversation with Lily. "One really does learn something new everyday..."

"Hush, Snape," Lily said sharply, grabbing James' wrist to keep him from snatching out his wand and hexing Snape. James felt his spirits lift at the soft touch of Lily's hands. She said a few more words to Snape that James didn't catch in his sudden bliss, but he could tell Snape didn't like it. She turned back to face James, and he paid attention now; mostly because she'd released his wrist.

"I'll be done in a few minutes James," she said, giving him a slightly forced smile. He could tell she wasn't happy that she'd had to restrain him, even if only a bit, from Snape. "If you'll wait for me outside I'll walk back to the Library with you."

Damn she was good, James decided, his heart racing excitedly as he did as she requested. He couldn't believe his own ears. Lily was going to walk with him to the Library. She held onto his wrist with her angelic hands, and her words made Snape's already ugly face contort even more in a distasteful frown. He was so lost in his own amazement over Lily that he forgot to eavesdrop on the rest of her and Snape's conversation. In fact, he was so busy daydreaming about what else Lily might someday let him do that the real Lily had to tap him on the shoulder when she'd slipped out of the classroom to get his attention back on her.

"You alive there James?" she inquired, giving him a somewhat amused grin.

James laughed as his focus returned to the redhead in front of him.

"And kicking," he smirked. "Now I do believe you said you would accompany me to the Library?"

"That I did," she laughed as he bowed deeply.

"So," James said putting his hands behind his back as they walked out of the dungeons. "There's another Hogsmeade trip coming up next weekend."

From the corner of his eye, he saw Lily's grip on her books tighten. He frowned slightly, knowing she knew what he was going to ask. He put his hands in his pockets and let the unasked question hang in the air for her to think on. His heart was racing slightly, he and Lily were starting to be on much better terms, just like she'd told Snape. Maybe this trip around there wouldn't be Death Eaters...maybe this trip around they wouldn't argue...maybe this trip around it would be an actual date.

"So there is," she said lightly. James took it as a positive sign, she hadn't turned him down yet, and that was defiantly a good thing.

"Any chance you'd like to join just me this time?"

A soft sigh escaped Lily's lips, and for a moment James thought she was going to agree.

"No."

"Why?" he asked, his heart sinking. His frown deepened.

"James...I can't."

"Sure you can. It's easy, all you do is say, sure James I'd love to go on a date with you, and then I pick you up earlier in the morning we go to Hogsmeade together, spend the day laughing, playing, you letting me woo you, and everything goes—"

"Not like that," Lily said exasperated. She stopped walking and he turned towards her, leaning slightly on the banister of the staircase they were climbing. She seemed to be figuring out how to best tell him why she wouldn't date him. "Let's just work on being friends first, ok? Maybe once we're great friends you'll realize you don't want me to be a girlfriend."

"Or maybe you'll realize how much you love me."

"That'll be the day," Lily laughed as they continued their climb to the Library. James got the distinct feeling that the real reason she didn't want to date him had very little to do with him, and his mind was resettling on the unsettling words about her and Sirius that Snape had spoken.

"Naturally," James chuckled. "Any day that Lily Evans finally agrees to a date with James Potter and then realizes that she's madly in love with him is a very good day indeed, don't you think?"

He grinned as Lily's laughter filled the hallway. He was so caught up in keeping that dazzling smile of hers on her face that it took him a minute to notice not only was she not smiling anymore, but she wasn't looking at him anymore either.

"Lils?" James asked, looking at her curiously before following her emerald eyes to look in front of him. He paled instantly, his hazel eyes meeting a tall, hooded creature that was escorting none other than Lucius Malfoy into the school.

"Mudblood and Potter," Malfoy smirked, just as the creature next to him inhaled deeply. It was cold first, like all the warmth had been drained from the world, before James was instantly flung into a time different from where he was.

"You guys..." Remus said his voice breaking as he approached the three animals in front of him for the first time. "This could be really dangerous though..."

A bark from Sirius' dog form shut Remus up enough. James could tell Remus wanted to say something else, but when he opened his mouth his smile instantly turned sour, and nothing but a moan escaped. A light beam of moonlight was shining down through the cracks in the ceiling.

Remus clutched his stomach and hunched over, his eyes shutting painfully. A low growl emitted, and Remus was trembling horrifically, James felt as though he were going to be sick as he watched Remus fall to the ground and begin violently kicking about, screeches emitting from his mouth.

"GET AWAY!" he cried, though his voice was naught but a low, animalistic growl.

He opened his eyes and James heard his own hooves clunk against the ground from where he'd jumped back in fear. Remus' warm amber eyes had been replaced with icy golden orbs of a wolf. He snarled at his three animal friends and lashed out at Sirius', partly with pain, partly with hunger. His teeth were elongating and he pulled his hand back to scratch at his own face. James felt nauseated again, Remus did not have hands anymore, but huge paws with daggers on the end that drew blood from Remus' face as he scratched at it.

But Remus' claws were only the beginning, his face elongated into a snout, which turned on itself as well as it bit into Remus', as of yet, human leg. The werewolf head recoiled with pain and howled pitifully in response. James, so focused on Remus' face, was surprised when he saw that Remus' torso had transformed, and even his legs were transforming...all looking extremely painful.


James could still feel the fear and pity he felt the first time he'd seen Remus transform, the transformation back to human had been even worse. James remembered Sirius' Padfoot form whimpering helplessly when their friend had lain unconscious, and brutally torn apart by his own wolfish self, at the appearance of the sun. It had been a painful sight.

His head was swimming as the creature stopped breathing, he noticed that Lily was standing next to him, her eyes were wide with terror and her face was pale, bringing her freckles out more prominently. He was kneeling on the ground and looked back up to Malfoy and the creature before it breathed again, and James felt the cold world of fear surround him again.

There was no pounding on the door, no screaming of pain, not even a light knock. But James knew he was there, he knew something was wrong, and he ran down three flights of stairs, flung the door open and felt his face pale at the sight in front of him. A tall teenager with a much stronger build than James stood in the doorway. His normally elegant hair was unkempt and dirty; his handsome face was nearly unrecognizable from the cuts and bruises on them, many of which were still openly bleeding. He was leaning heavily on his left leg, and his right arm was hanging uselessly by his side. His left arm, though fairing only slightly better than his right, held a suitcase and a wand.

"James," Sirius croaked, a bittersweet smile was on his face. "I've escaped, and..."

But Sirius' battered form collapsed, and James caught him before anymore damage could be done.

"DAD!"


Vision blurry, James could feel someone holding on to his arm, saying something to try to get him back into his right mind, but he couldn't, he heard that...beast…take yet another of its rattling breaths. He could hear Lily screams again in Hogsmeade, the day his grandfather died, countless memories of trying to heal Sirius' multitude of wounds that he always got when seeing his family.

"He's not going to make it, I just know he won't," Peter said unhappily, squirming in the uncomfortable hospital chair as though it were on fire.

"DON'T SAY THAT!" James roared, his eyes flashing at Peter, though the same fear had been repeating itself again and again through his mind. What if Sirius didn't make it? How could James survive without his best friend? His brother? James couldn't force himself to think such horrible things because he could not imagine his life without Sirius' boyish laughter, his immature jokes, his crazy love for all things female...

"He can't die," James said, weaker this time. Peter and Remus looking at him with empathy, both wore faces ridden with worry. "He just can't."

A nurse came into the room, looking very solemn. She had curly blonde hair and big brown eyes, and her nose was rather large for her face.

"I'm afraid Mr. Black's had a turn for the worse," she frowned. James could feel his heart freeze. "His father has just arrived and had a visit with him..."

"What? His father made him like that in the first place! I can't believe..."

"Mr. Potter," the nurse interrupted James. "It is not that simple, I'm afraid. Your friend is still at the whim of his father, and while I, nor my staff, doubt the truth in Orion Black's vicious ways, the law still states that because the young Mr. Black is a minor and under the custody of his father, his father is still in control."

James slumped back in disbelief, they were just going to give Sirius back? He really would die if Orion Black got a hold of him again, if not by his father's hand, then by his own.


For a precious few moments, James was back in the world of joy, he felt his limbs tingle and he could tell that he had fallen on the ground, but there was still a shivering hand on his arm. He opened his eyes just in time to see the creature take in one more breath.

"Dad?" James called through the house cautiously. Sirius was out shopping with James' mum, who had decided it would do Sirius good to get out and see the Wizarding World without fear of 'slipping up' with his 'traitorous' ways. James agreed, and allowed Sirius to shop with his mother without teasing. "Pop? Where are you?"

James' father, on the other hand, was supposed to be at home. It wasn't unheard of for Mr. Potter to stay at work late, but James was looking for him none the less. James had a new idea for potentially snagging Lily onto his team, and, as always, he was going to his father for advice.

"Dad?" James peaked into his father's office, and at first saw nothing, his hazel eyes, however caught a glimpse of what was once jet black hair, but now was grey with a few dark streaks. "DAD!"

He was at his father's side in seconds. Mr. Potter was still breathing, however shallowly.

"Your mother," Mr. Potter wheezed softly to James. "Get your mother, now James."

Fearful he was about to lose his father, just after he'd been so close to losing his mother, James jumped up and hurried away from his father, to contact Sirius via their mirrors. He couldn't lose his father, Sirius couldn't lose Mr. Potter, James' mother couldn't lose her husband, and most of all...well James couldn't lose his father.

"SIRIUS! Tell mum to get here NOW!" James yelled into the mirror, tears pouring from his face. "DAD IS DYING!"


"James! James please!" it was Lily's warm voice, though it was shaky and terrified. "Come on James, you'll be alright, I swear, it's gone now, Dumbledore came and took them away, come on. Yes open your eyes and I'll get you to the Wing."

James opened his hazel eyes, and despite having heard her voice, he never felt such a powerful rush of emotion when it was Lily's emerald orbs that he first saw. He felt warmth returning to his shaking limbs and it wasn't until he noticed that she had him lying across her lap that James even knew he was on the ground.

But that wasn't important to him, what was important was that Lily Evans, the girl who couldn't stand him, was sitting by his side, carefully analyzing whether or not he was alright. He smiled at Lily weakly, and he still felt as though he were going to be sick, so he spared attempting to speak to her...to voice to her just how beautiful she truly was.

"Can you stand?"

It took a lot of effort, but James managed to shake his head no, and Lily nodded in response. He saw her smile and flick her wand, and he may have been on a stretcher. However, the next thing he saw was nothing but darkness.

Chapter 10: The Cat is Out
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A/N: I GOT TRUSTED AUTHOR!! YAY! As a bit of celebration, here's chapter 10! :-)






A soft hand was in his own, it was a very small and delicate hand, and James took in the fact that if he never held another hand again, he could die happy knowing that this one hand had once been in his own. But he couldn't yet open his eyes to see who the hand belonged to; he was still recovering from having to relive some of his worst memories...the ones that kept him up at night, shivering and shaking. The memories that could keep him wondering what if that situation hadn't worked out right?

The tiny hand in his was rubbing its thumb gently across the top of his, and it sent a warm tingling sensation throughout him. He could finally hear a soft humming to the tune of a warm, soothing song. The hand and the humming that accompanied it, made James never want to leave the bed he was lying in. He felt his fears wash away, he felt stronger, and finally he opened his eyes.

Lily Evans was at his side, not looking at his face, but at his hand in hers, humming absently to herself. Though she was slightly blurred in James' vision, he could tell she looked pale, as though she'd been worried for a long time. A strand of her auburn hair was falling slightly into her face as her stunning eyes followed her thumb's gentle rubbing on James' hand. James felt a rush, Lily Evans was sitting next to him, alone in the...he blinked and looked up at his blurry surroundings...Hospital Wing, just waiting for him to be alright.

Almost suddenly, Lily stopped humming, and James let his eyes roam back to her. He smiled slightly when his hazel eyes met her green ones.

"Morning sunshine," she smiled lightly at him. "Feel better?"

James didn't answer, but simply looked at Lily curiously.

"What was that song you were humming?" he asked gently.

He concealed his grin as Lily's face grew red in a blush. He knew she didn't really mean for a conscious James to hear her humming to him, but he did notice she'd yet to release his hand.

"Amazing Grace," she responded just as softly. "My mum sang it to me when I was sick as a child; it always made me feel better, and still does now, even though I'm not so sure I believe its words..."

"There are words to it?"

"Of course."

"Could you sing it to me?"

"Maybe someday," Lily smiled. "But not today."

She slowly removed her hand from his and reached it up to gently swipe away some of the hair that had fallen into his face. He felt a light blush creep onto his own cheeks, but Lily seemed to ignore it. She handed him his glasses, and when his world was clear again he watched as she pulled something out of her pocket.

"Here, Madam Pomfrey told me to give you this when you wake," she said, handing James a bar of chocolate. He took it dutifully. This was not his first encounter with a Dementor, but it was certainly the first time he felt the chocolate was no longer necessary. In James' mind, he felt that Lily had already done everything possible to make him better...and all with the touch of her hand.

The still Hospital Wing suddenly burst into sound as the doors sprang open and three boys came running inside.

"JAMES!" Sirius shouted, leaping onto James' bed, and legs, making James groan with slight irritation that his moment with Lily was brutally over. "What happened man? This crazy Remus fellow here tells me you fainted!"

"I said he had a run in with a Dementor and passed out," Remus sighed. "Men do not faint."

"Well then, James obviously isn't a man," Peter shrugged. "If he fainted..."

"Hey! I resent that statement, and need I remind you that I'm twice the man Padfoot over there is," James grinned, now glad that his friends were with him.

"Pssh, you wish Prongs," Sirius laughed. "I believe we've had this discussion before, so, tell me what happened."

"If he fainted, how would he know, dumb ass?" Peter asked.

"Fair point," Sirius nodded before looking over at Lily, who James had momentarily forgotten in his attempt to defend his manhood. "Miss Evans, Remus tells us you were at the scene of the crime, what happened?"

"We were on our way to the Library when Lucius Malfoy rounded the corner, that...thing...with him," Lily said, stumbling a bit when she mentioned the Dementor. James looked at her curiously, momentarily wondering if she even knew what a Dementor was. "And it took in a great breath and everything went cold, and I felt...horrible...all my worst memories came back to me, all my fears, everything."

Lily shuttered, all four boys sat silently, letting her have her moment.

"And then James got weak in the knees, so I tried to catch him, Malfoy just stood there and laughed," she growled, "and that beast took a few more breaths before James passed out completely. Then Dumbledore showed up, and he was furious. I believe there's been...an agreement made, between the Board and the Ministry, hence the reason Malfoy was here in the first place."

"Of what sort?"

"Don't quote me on this, I've only had about a half hour to contemplate this while Sleeping Beauty here was out," she said, nodding at James, who stuck his tongue out in response. "But I think the Board has decreed that Hogwarts will be less venerable to attack if the school is guarded. Dumbledore was in here a while ago talking with Madam Pomfrey, and someone from Voldemort's side has informed the Ministry that Voldemort would give anything to brainwash the youths into his will."

"He's recruiting students?" James asked incredulously.

"Don't be ridiculous," Lily reprimanded. "Voldemort's not an idiot. Not even the best students here are going to be able to keep up with him yet! A student is more risk than they're worth. Our minds are not yet powerful enough to fight off intrusion from powerful enough wizards, nor are we fully trained. No, Voldemort will only take adults right now. He's not that desperate, he can wait for them to graduate. But what would help these students along is if he controlled this school. He could teach students exactly what he wished them to already know when the time comes for them to join his ranks."

A stunned silence followed Lily's words. Sirius was shifting uncomfortably at the foot of James' bed, trying, James imagined, to think on anything other than what would happen to him if Voldemort got a hold of Hogwarts. Peter and Remus were sitting somewhat awestruck by Lily's words at James' side. James found himself curiously shifting through Lily's words in an attempt to find something flawed with them.

"But," Peter stumbled for a moment before regaining his thought pattern. "We have Dumbledore protecting us."

"Dumbledore can only do so much," Lily stated. "The Ministry wishes to guard the school with Dementors, which is ridiculous and setting us up just for the attack Voldemort wishes. Those are Dark creatures, and he is the Dark Lord Voldemort, is he not? They are part of his army, I swear to Merlin they are. No, they haven't abandoned Azkaban and let any of his captured followers out, but it's only a matter of time."

That took care of James' inquiry as to whether or not Lily knew what Dementors were.

"No one's ever escaped Azkaban, Lily," Sirius protested. "It's too heavily guarded."

"It's only a matter of time," Lily said again.

"Hey Lily?" James inquired softly. "Where did you learn so much about Dementors?"

Lily was silent and she looked at James as though trying to read why he was so curious about her information. Her silence grew all the more, causing the other Marauders to look at her questioningly as well.

"Let's just say that you are not the only one to have housed a runaway this summer," she answered at last, though the tone of finality in her voice was unmistakable. She would not answer them directly, and by the uneasy look on Sirius' face, James noticed that he was not the only one disturbed by Lily's reply.




The dungeons were an ideal place to escape, they were quiet and peaceful, they held most any ingredient for a distracting potion, should one so desire. Lily also found that, for the majority of the time, kept her safe from the prying eyes of Marauders. Sirius had a habit of avoiding the dungeons like the plague because there were far too many Slytherins that were familiar with the area, and James usually stayed with Sirius. Remus would occasionally venture down if he was looking for Lily or for Potions homework assignments and Lily hadn't seen Peter in the dungeons since fourth year.

James had been released not too long after he'd woken up, and he and the other Marauder's had decided it was high time to play another rousing game of Cat and Mouse which usually involved the Marauders playing the role of the hidden 'cats' and causing students who happen by their hiding place to become the 'mouse' which usually meant they ended up in the Hospital Wing trying to remove an extra nose. Then again, sometimes it meant that they would stalk Mrs. Norris and attempt all sorts of rude things to her...like giving her a new hair do that usually involved some sort of super glue, feathers, and itching powder.

She had borrowed some key ingredients from Slughorn's cupboard and found an empty classroom to set up her cauldron in. She was nearly halfway done with her Potion. It amazed her how calming making Potions was. She could do it for hours, she was certain. A warm smell of honey and cinnamon began to fill the room, in addition to the smell of grass and a large forest.

Amortentia was Lily's favorite Potion to make. She never used it, but she loved the way it smelled in addition to its beautiful coloring. She smiled down at the azure potion. She was only a few more ingredients, three counter-clockwise stirs, and a twenty minute simmering time away from the mother-of-pearl colored potion that made her senses tingle.

"Love potions are banned, you know," an oily voice from the doorway stated. Lily was not surprised and did not look up. Snape was a frequent visitor of hers when she was in the dungeons, and knew very well her gifts at making such potions.

"What would Evans want with a Love Potion, Severus?" a second voice inquired. This voice, however, did make Lily jump, and her emerald eyes snapped up to see Evan Rosier standing in the doorway with Snape and Regulus Black.

"Perhaps she wishes to catch the eye of someone more worthy than she," Regulus said. His voice was uncannily like Sirius'.

Most of him, in fact, was remarkably like Sirius. They had the same hair, the same eyes, and the same angular face. However, Sirius' nose was more flared, and his argent eyes were brighter and had a wild, untamed air to them; Regulus' nose was extremely sharp, and his silver eyes were slightly darker and gave off the desire to please. Regulus stood just a bit taller than Sirius' six foot build, though his body was much thinner than the muscular figure Sirius had. At the same time, both brothers held the unmistakably haughty air of a highly trained Pureblood, a trait Lily would never tell Sirius that she noticed he shared with his brother. "What are you doing with that Evans?"

Lily glared at the three boys, unimpressed. Aside from the fact that she knew Snape wouldn't see her hurt, Rosier and Regulus did not intimidate her either.

"Selling it of course," she rolled her eyes at him. "One can make a fortune off pathetic souls who can't get love for themselves."

"You lie," Rosier stated, though he and Regulus seemed taken aback by her very Slytherin answer.

"Do I?" she challenged, raising an arched eyebrow at the three.

"Certainly," Snape said, speaking again since the first time she'd heard him earlier. "Your morals are higher than money."

"And you would know."

If he caught the hint of her words at all he didn't show it. His beetle black eyes hardened little as he glared at her. Neither of the other two boys knew what she was talking about, they probably only assumed she was just talking.

"You may leave now," Lily directed, having grown bored with the boys. She turned her attention back to the potion, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two pinches of aconite. "I've got a potion to finish."

This did not seem to impress Rosier, who had been bested by Lily once before.

"I'm going no where Mudblood," he hissed, stepping forward and into the classroom. Lily watched him from the corner of her eye, though she continued with the potion. "We've got a score to settle."

"Have we now?"

"Yes, and you can bet there'll be no Potter or Black here to save you this time."

"There's a Black in this room," Lily sighed. "Though I doubt very much he'd help me, should I need it, but as I told you last time Rosier, you don't scare me."

"And you, Mudblood, don't scare me."

"Well that's just bloody fantastic, isn't it?" Lily snapped, looking back up at him, finally pulling herself away from the potion and face Rosier properly. Though he towered over her, and he was physically much stronger than she was, she had no problem sticking her finger in his face in a strict matter. "Let me tell you something Rosier! You have no business coming down here, barging in on my Potions making and attempting to tell me what to do! This potion's not so far along that without a few choice ingredients, I can't turn it into a deadly skin rotting solution that with one drop will have you withering on your knees begging me for an antidote!"

Rosier gave a short, half hearted laugh, causing Lily to smirk. She'd intimidated him, now all she had to do was hope that Snape didn't call her out on her bluff.

"You wouldn't dare."

"Nor would apparently dare to sell Love Potions and wrap unwilling bystanders into love affairs with someone they'd never notice, but I tend to dare to do things, just to shake up the natural order of life at Hogwarts, now leave."

"You can't do anything Evans," Snape's cool voice said as he slipped between her and Rosier. So much for hoping. "The most you could do is set up a smoke screen get away. You really shouldn't play on their naïveté of these things."

"You would do the same to Sirius or James, so can it," she argued.

"Black and Potter would deserve to have their skins melted slowly off of them."

"Aye? As would this one for threatening me!"

"That's all he's done!" Snape flared. "He's never once laid a hand on you, Potter and Black have tormented me for years!"

"What has this got to do with me?"

"You defend them!"

Lily was utterly baffled, she couldn't see how Snape's loathing of Sirius and James had anything to do with her false threat to Rosier for his false threats to her. She glanced over Snape's shoulder to Regulus and Rosier, though they seemed unabashed by Snape's outburst.

"What has this got to do with anything?" she asked, confused.

"It has everything to do with it," Snape said, calmer now. "We need your help."

"And you expect me to give it to you after the way you three have been talking to me?" Lily sniggered. "Forget it."

Regulus took a step forward this time, his wand twirling almost menacingly between his fingers. There was an odd smile on his face that Lily found far from assuring. It scared her more than any threat Rosier had given her. It gave her an unwelcome flashback of Bellatrix Lestrange.

"My dear Mudblood," he said, his smooth voice dripping with the elegance of a predator seeking its prey. "You seem to be under the impression that you have a choice. My darling cousin, you see, wrote me a most interesting letter before the Dementors arrived. She seems to have uncovered a memory from your mind when she was tormenting you."

Lily felt her throat tighten as Regulus spoke. Her mind was buzzing with a million different excuses, the main one being that they could never prove it, her eyes flew to Snape, who wasn't letting any emotions pass his face. She looked back at Regulus who was smirking even more broadly, his slowly twirling wand moving ever faster.

"These two have been rather curious as to what that memory was, Miss Evans," Regulus sneered, indicating Snape and Rosier. "I myself was as disgusted as my cousin was to discover how my...brother...is choosing to waste himself. I couldn't possibly bring myself to retell such a scandal. Perhaps you would care to enlighten them?"

His grey eyes sparkled with malicious intent and his wand was whirling at an unholy speed now.

"You know nothing," she spat, though her eyes were wide at his words, and he was unconvinced by hers. "You have nothing."

"Nothing?" he smirked, his dark eyebrows rose in mock surprise. "Well I do suppose anything involving my brother or you could be surmised to nothing, Miss Evans, but do tell me, was he any good?"

"Lily?"

A fourth masculine voice joined the other three, and this one was much warmer, and well welcomed in comparison to the other three. Remus stood in the door now, behind the three Slytherins, his amber eyes and his concerned face gave off a defensive air, he looked at Lily questioningly. His wand was out, and she gave him a relieved smile for the interruption.

Regulus let out a hiss of annoyance, Rosier dropped his shoulders with disappointment while Snape continued to hold his stony glare of indifference. Regulus, evidently, wasn't going to share Lily's secret with them while Remus was there. Regulus turned back to Lily.

"Well finish this later," he threatened, before he turned on his heel leaving the classroom. Rosier followed the suit; though he made sure his shoulder collided roughly into Remus'. Remus glared at the retreating Slytherin, but didn't retaliate. Snape stayed for a few moments, his black eyes staring harshly into Lily's emerald ones, before he tossed Remus a glare and swept out of the classroom.

"What was that about?"

The potion had sat too long and its sweet scent was turning quickly into a rotting one. Lily didn't answer Remus right away; instead she set to the task of cleaning away her now ruined potion. Remus sat against a desk patiently watching her. She knew he could wait, he could always wait. It was how he learned about her and Sirius. He patiently told her his suspicions and waited for her to confirm them with her silence.

"Regulus knows," she stated finally, her stress and worry evident in her voice. "I think they plan to try to blackmail me into helping them with something."

"They're going to pull that, with Dementors here?"

"I've told you before, the Dementors are here as Voldemort's tool, nothing more," she said, giving Remus a warning glance. "And they have nothing to do with what goes on in the school, they are supposed to be here to help guard the borders. Nothing to do with what's happening inside. Malfoy never should have brought that Dementor in here."

She hissed slightly as her knuckle hit the side of her cauldron because she was scrubbing with far more force than necessary. She could feel Remus' eyes staring at the back of her head with expectancy. He was so damn infuriating with his impeccable way of getting the knowledge that he wanted.

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Neither of you seem to want to, but you can't hide from James forever Lily."

"I'm not hiding!" Lily snapped turning away from her cauldron to face Remus. "I'm agreeing with Sirius in saying its better off for James if he doesn't know."

"And what if Regulus tells him before the two of you get to?"

"What do I care?" she lied, though her temper tried to make it sound convincing.

"First of all," he said, his voice keeping her mouth shut and forcing her to listen, "you care an awful lot. You sat by James' side the entire time he was unconscious..."

"That was just—"

"It was something, because you sang to him, he told us, and I know you Lily and you sing only to those who mean the most to you."

"I—"

"Second of all, he is your boyfriend's best friend, and if Sirius is unhappy because his friendship has gone down the drain because of you, you'll hate yourself for not telling James first."

"That's not—"

"And lastly, you care for James, deny it though you will, James is a part of you now. You saved his life, and he yours, that's something more intimate than even you and Sirius have shared, and I know how intimate the two of you have been. So do not tell me you don't care, because you do care and you know it," Remus concluded his voice was final.

Lily was stunned into silence. Her pride was struggling to think of one retaliation for Remus, but could find none. Remus was right and she could not logically argue against him. Frustrated, embarrassed, and with nothing else she could do, Lily returned to her cauldron, sulking slightly.

"So why did you come here?" she asked, trying to keep his words from her mind.

"Sirius wants to see you."




In the distance Lily could see dark shadows just hovering above the tree line and an uncomfortable shiver ran down her spine, accompanying the uncomfortable thoughts in her head. Lily was well out of view of the castle before she felt a familiar pair of arms wrap around her waist and she felt chill bumps when Sirius put his lips to her neck. Her mind was still trapped around Regulus and Remus' conflicting words in addition to the new emotion she was feeling...something akin to guilt. She wanted to stop Sirius, to warn him about what had happened in the dungeons, but his tongue was currently behind her ear and rendering her quite incapable of speech.

"Mmmm," Sirius's warm breath tickled her ear as his voice rumbled through is lips. "I missed you. You spend too much time in those dungeons with those silly potions."

"Jealous?" she breathed. Perhaps one more worry free snog would be good for him, for both of them. It certainly couldn't hurt anything. She could picture her inner Prefect rolling her eyes and saying she truly was letting Sirius corrupt her with carefree thoughts like that.

"Hardly," Sirius said, spinning Lily around and smirking at her before his lips crashed onto hers. He backed her into a tree and Lily wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him and his kisses closer to her. He was just the distraction she'd needed all this time. She almost got the feeling that he too had something he wanted to share, but felt the need to get this out of the way first. She felt a rush as his tongue managed its way into her mouth, and another one as his hands slipped down to her waist, pulling her closer to him.

She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling as his hands gently massaged the sides of her waist. He pressed himself more firmly against her and Lily felt another rush as his hands started to slip under her shirt and were now brushing lightly against her stomach. Her heart was racing and she pressed her lips more firmly against his. An odd chill ran down her spine as he started to unbutton her shirt, and her breath caught in her throat as his finger tips grazed the skin on her stomach, her ribs...her chest.

"Sirius," she whispered, her lips just parting from his. But she quickly had his mouth back on hers. He growled against them, taking her movement as incentive to keep going. She knew he was about to do just that when a twig snapped behind her and there was an oddly mechanical click. Sirius jumped and looked over her shoulder to the unseen intruder and suddenly pulled her close to him in a fierce, protecting manner. Lily heard footsteps running away.

"Shit," Sirius breathed, his silver eyes clouded with a mixture of anger and fear, he loosened his grip on her as the footfalls faded away. "SHIT! Snivellus."

Chapter 11: Cornered
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A/N: Well, this chapter and chapter ten, and the next chapter were some of the very first chapters ever written...most of them were anyways. I've added a good bit to them. This chapter's a bit shorter than what the past few chapters have been, but it gets the message across that I want, so that's the important thing. Anyways, enjoy!






Sirius felt both enraged and terrified. He'd been excited. He'd been exciting Lily. Everything had been going beautifully and it was promising to be a very (emphasis on the very) heated snogging session and then he had to appear. No. He hadn't just appeared. He had obviously followed Lily out of the castle!

His attention was distracted, however, by Lily who was squirming uncomfortably in his arms. Not to get away, but Sirius knew she was just as uneasy and afraid as he was now. She clutched his arm tighter and he held her close.

"It's alright, Lily," he muttered, the words sounding far from convinced. "It's alright. I just...I have to stop him...somehow..."

Unwilling to let her go just yet, Sirius ran a few possibilities through his mind of how the hell he could keep Snape's mouth shut...well obviously there was no way that James would ever, ever believe Snape over him, but there was still the fact that James had already begun to question Sirius. Silently, but he had. It did little to ease Sirius' nerves on the whole matter. Lily tried to speak several times while Sirius thought, but he shushed her each time until she had enough.

"Don't shush me Sirius!" she snapped. He looked down at her in surprise, whoops. She was giving him a look of irritation and guilt and he finally backed away from her so she could speak. She straightened her now wrinkled shirt and looked back up at him. "Before I came to you Snape, Rosier, and your brother tracked me down in the dungeons. Don't worry, I'm fine," she stopped him before he could interject his concern for her, "but Regulus...got a letter from your cousin, and when she was torturing me in Hogsmeade she...she raided my mind and managed to extract my memory from last year when we..."

She trailed off, and did not look back up at his pale face. Sirius stumbled back, slightly shocked. Why hadn't Lily told him this straightaway? Better yet, why had Regulus tracked her down instead of him? He was the one his family hated, not her...and then it hit him. The reason Bellatrix had tormented Lily hadn't been because of seeing them together at the train station; it was because he'd slept with Lily...deemed her worthy of the honor of a Black, even a rebel one.

His family did not like to have Mudbloods given a taste of the Black dignity...he remembered how hard Andromeda and Ted had worked to keep her family from harming him for being her Muggleborn husband. Lily was in great danger if his family knew, and now that Snape knew as well...well that was just going to be icing on the cake, wasn't it?

A few colorful words escaped Sirius' mouth and he ran a nervous hand through his dark hair. This was not good...not good at all. James finding out about the two of them was inevitable now, but Sirius still had to prolong it. He didn't know how he was going to explain all of this to James.

James had been infatuated with Lily since their third year...Sirius remembered after James had his first kiss with Kristen Clarke that he'd been so ecstatic over the fact that Lily could potentially do the same, only better. He hadn't shut his mouth about it until Sirius had taken him aside and explained what else boys and girls could do together.

How many angry rages had Sirius seen James go through each time Lily got a boyfriend that wasn't him? It happened every time, and how many times had he seen James distraught over the fact that none of the girls he dated could even compare to the jewel that was Lily Evans? Sirius couldn't begin to imagine explaining to James that Lily had chosen him, kissed him...given herself to him, though it was just once. James would be heartbroken and betrayed and the fact that Sirius had lied to him the entire time would only make it worse.

No, it would be best if James never knew...at least, not until Sirius could explain the situation properly...he doubted telling James that not even Sirius Black could resist Lily Evans would cut it.

"Sirius?" Lily's voice pulled him back to the matter at hand. "I'm sorry. I thought one more carefree kiss wouldn't do us any harm..."

He sighed. What could he do? Yell at Lily for wanting him to be happy? No, Lily did the same thing he would have done to her had the situation been reversed. She really was starting to hang around with him too much.

"No," he sighed, kissing her forehead in a somewhat distracted manner. "No, I should have known better than have let us snogging in public. I'll handle this; you go back to the Common Room. If anyone asks just...tell them I'm clearing my head from family troubles...that'll buy me a good few hours."




Ignoring the situation would have been another stupid thing to do, Sirius later decided as he sat in the dungeons with a very triumphant looking Snape before him. Good thing he hadn't...not for long anyways. As far as he knew, Lily was in the Common Room with the other Marauders, safe and sound. Sirius was less fortunate.

"Traitor in all regards aren't you Black?" Snape sounded positively jovial. "To your family, your friends. Tell me, when will you betray Evans?"

"You'll keep your mouth shut Snivellus, or I'll—"

"Or you'll what Black?" Snape snapped, though his face registered what Sirius could best describe as elation. "You can't do a thing to me now or I'll let the entire school know that Potter's best friend is bedding the girl he's fancied for so long."

"I'm NOT sleeping with Lily!"

"Not what it looked like to me," Snape hissed. "From where I stood it looked like you were quite ready to strip down Evans and do her there."

"Unlike pigs like you Snivellus," Sirius growled, "I don't bed my women in public places. That was a tease and nothing more. My respect for Lily is greater than up against a tree."

Instead of retaliating, Snape just chuckled and continued to eye Sirius with a wicked glint in his black eyes. His hooked nose pointed in the air and his disgusting hair falling in his face with an ungraceful appeal. Sirius didn't like this at all.

"I'm curious Black; if it's not Evans you're getting sex from, just who is giving it to you?"

"I'm not cheating on Lily!" Sirius shouted, enraged. How dare Snivellus attempt to accuse him of such a thing! He growled at the Slytherin. He would never do that to her; she was worth ten times any other girl at Hogwarts, a guy would be crazy to cheat on Lily Evans.

"You aren't? Well I must fix that. Evans shouldn't date an animal like you, should she? She deserves better."

"No one at this school is better for her than me," Sirius hissed challengingly. It was true, as far as he was concerned. No one else at Hogwarts would be able to keep up with Lily; she was stubborn and mean sometimes, but the most beautiful person he knew. "No one, James is the only person who might come close."

"Oh I'm sure there's someone else," Snape said darkly, his face contorting into an ugly smirk that made Sirius gut twist uneasily. "She just needs the push in the right direction to know who he is."

It suddenly struck Sirius that there was more to Snape's new stride of confidence than the fact that he held the knowledge to his least favorite person's darkest secret. The glint in his eye...the way he said Lily's surname as though it were precious...how he'd looked after Lily called him 'Snivellus' last year. At the time Sirius had regarded it as fear for what James was doing to him, now...now he wasn't so sure.

"You?" Sirius spat, he rose from where he had been seated and a threatening aura swept through him as he glared down at Snape. Anger and loathing was pouring out of his silver eyes at the greasy git in front of him. "You think that she'd run to you? You can take your eyes off her right now Snivellus because no one is going to touch Lily, but me; especially not a slime ball like you."

"I'll do whatever I damn well please Black and you'll do whatever I damn well tell you to. It would be such a shame if your precious Potter were to discover every detail of how his best mate is dating the girl of his dreams. With a friend like you it's shocking that Potter even needs an enemy like me, isn't it?" Snape drawled viciously before a victorious smirk danced across his face. He was about to say something more when the door to the room squeaked open, and Sirius looked up to see a mirror image of his own silvery eyes. A taller, skinnier, and slightly younger version of the Slytherin he was supposed to have been. A cruel, almost forced, smile was on Regulus' face as he attested his older brother's nervous posture.

"Severus," he greeted in the solemn Black way. "Not tormenting my sweet brother without me, now are you? I believe there are a few details about this relationship between him and Evans you are unaware of."

Snape turned to look at Regulus a quaint surprise on his face momentarily before it was replaced with his usual grunting look of indifference.

"You knew?"

"Of course," Regulus said smoothly, finally tearing his eyes from Sirius to look at Snape. "A reliable source managed to torture the information from the Mudblood earlier this year. Actually..." his evil grin had returned as he smirked back at Sirius, who was looking angrier by the minute, "she managed to discover something else about you and your little trinket as well. Evans never managed to answer my question, Sirius, so I'll ask it of you instead, is the Mudblood going to be worth what we're about to put you through?"

Sirius didn't reply but growled in an almost defiant response.

"We are not dogs, Sirius," Regulus reprimanded, looking at his brother with distaste. "We are Purebloods who were raised to be a bit more articulate than grunts and growls. That's what Mudbloods are for."

His temper snapped and Sirius lunged at Regulus, who was taken only mildly by surprise and caught his older brother's fist just shy of his face. It took only a moment for Sirius to aim another fist towards Regulus' stomach, and each blow was stopped only just in time. Regulus always started their fights off blocking, Sirius knew, and his temper would catch up to him and it was when Regulus started to fight back that he lost. It was always that way; Regulus wasn't strong enough to retaliate without weakening first.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Snape muttered, forcing the brothers apart by causing their bodies to bind themselves. He unfroze Regulus before the boy hit the ground, but Sirius wasn't so lucky and his head hit the stone floor smartly. Had he been able to move his mouth he'd have released a powerful string of curses. As he did not, he had to handle his throbbing head with silent fury. "Now then, I believe that containing this information should come at a price, don't you think, Regulus?"

"Well I believe he should be able to speak his mind before we blackmail him, but yes, our silence shall come at a cost," he smirked just before he removed the spell from Sirius' head, and his head alone.

Sirius properly swore over his painful head, and swore a bit more at Regulus and Snape for being too cowardly to let him go and for their mild threats.

"Let me up NOW Snivellus, or I swear when I get unbound you'll wish you'd never been born," Sirius yelped, his eyes blazing.

"Yes, I'm terrified," Snape smirked. "Shaking in my robes, I am."

Damn curse. Sirius would have already pounded Snape's overlarge nose in if it weren't for the damn curse. Instead he resorted to fuming silently and glaring at his brother and his punching bag with malice, envisioning both of them in pain...Snape more so than Regulus.

"Our first order of business," Regulus grinned, kneeling down to look his older brother in the eye, "is that you are going to write to Mother and tell her of your latest treachery...I'm sure she'll love to hear all about the Mudblood. Father, I bet, will want to meet her, even."

"And I believe the second order of business," Snape drawled, "is that from now on you will address me as 'my liege' or 'master' or 'your highness' in private or public. I'll not hear 'Snivellus' out of your filthy mouth again."

"What?" Sirius cried out in disbelief. "I don't believe I said anything about saying I would actually do anything for you. You could tell James all of that and he'd never believe a word out of your mouth if I said it didn't happen."

Regulus, at least, seemed to consider Sirius' words as a valid point. At the less than impressed face that Snape was making, however, Regulus' thoughtful appearance vanished.

"Good point Black," Snape said nodding in mock concern. "But oh wait, perhaps this would help him believe."

Sirius blanched as Snape put a photograph into his eyesight, his light curiosity of what the clicking sound had been was gone. In the git's hand was a picture of him and Lily in their very passionate kissing. One of his hands was busy unbuttoning her shirt, while the other was busy exploring elsewhere. Snape snatched the picture away, once he was satisfied that Sirius knew what was going on.

"And I've plenty of copies," Snape smirked. Regulus' face had lit up as Snape handed the photograph to him.

"You're a sick bastard," Sirius scowled, his stormy eyes narrowing dangerously.

"Bastard was not one of the words I said you could address me as Black, neither was sick. I believe that 'your highness' was though. Now bow down that proud head of yours and prepare for some well deserved payback," Snape said smugly and Sirius felt his pride fighting against his loyalty to James. Snape had him cornered and all three of them knew it.

Chapter 12: Tainted Black
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A/N: *victory dance* Now, now, before you decide the Jagster has gone mad by giving up her regal state of cool indifference in all matters that have nothing to do with Remus Lupin, I must tell you that this chapter has given me more trouble than any I've done so far. I've written and rewritten it a grand total of (ironically) twelve times so that the next chapter will be placed perfectly, because it's where I want it to be. *cheers!* So, there's been a lot (a lot) of work put into this chapter, so I don't want to hear any "update soon"-s alright? I'm taking myself a little two week vacation, and your next chapter will be put up at my discretion because my fingers hurt, dang it. But I am pleased (finally) with this chapter, and I hope you are too. (And don't worry, thirteen is being a doll in its progress.)






Sirius wasn't certain how long he could pull off this charade of telling James that he had lost a bet to Lily and that was his reason for calling Snape 'your highness' because James, unfortunately, didn't seem to believe it.

"You're lying to me Sirius," James argued after Snape sneered at Sirius between classes without a response from Sirius. So perhaps it wasn't so much that James seemed doubtful and more that he actually was. James' face was cross, and Sirius was beginning to sense a rift between them that had never been there before, and it terrified him more than anything else.

Well, almost more than anything else. Sirius hadn't yet sent the letter to his parents explaining to them that he had a girlfriend, and she was a Muggleborn. He refused to endanger Lily like that. But, as far as Regulus was concerned, Sirius was still in the process of writing the letter.

Of course, Sirius knew that charade wouldn't hold up either because he was desperately searching his memories for something mildly incriminating to Regulus' name...and unfortunately finding none. He doubted very much that Regulus would care if anyone knew that his first word was "Sirius" not "Mudblood" or that he couldn't cast an Unforgivable until he was six. Sirius preferred not to think that he could perform an Unforgivable, and he didn't really want to think about Regulus being able to perform one as well.

"Sirius what is going on? You haven't lied to me since...well since I realized where those bruises you came back from vacation with really came from," James pleaded almost sounding hurt. Sirius felt his heart wrench at the thought. Damn it James knew which heartstrings to pull. "Why can't you tell me what Snape's really doing to you?"

"I just can't, ok?" Sirius said exasperated, before realizing he'd just blown the pathetic cover he had. Damn it. He turned around facing a pale faced James, whose hazel eyes were glaring at him harshly. "Look, James...this is my fight, you're my best friend and I'll come to you if I need you but this isn't your battle."

"The Hell it isn't my battle! You're my best friend, my brother, I'm not letting you fight alone!" he stopped for a moment before adding, "And Lily knows about it!"

Sirius cringed, but waved his hand dismissively, putting on his uncaring, Black guise. He hadn't survived in the House of Black for fifteen years without learning something.

"She knows nothing of it," Sirius lied, James' frown deepened, but Sirius pretended he didn't see. "She's concerned too James, don't worry about me. Besides if you're going to pull such a stupid move as to complain that Evans knows and you don't, you can't handle it anyways."

That had done it apparently, because James tackled Sirius to the ground his eyes blazing with hurt and confusion. Sirius was startled from his act as his back slammed into the ground. A couple of other students stopped and gathered around what they saw to be an incoming fight.

"Don't you dare use that Black act on me, Padfoot! It doesn't work, that's not who you are!"

"Like you would know!" Sirius spat back, shoving James off of him. He felt his temper flaring now as he glared at his best friend. "It's in my name Prongs! I am a BLACK, and I can't FUCKING escape it! Happy?"

Sirius wasn't sure when he'd started yelling, but the corridor, which moments ago had been bustling with sound, was silent, and James' glare had yet to falter. A pair of emerald eyes caught Sirius' grey ones over James' shoulder, and Sirius looked up from the ground, and saw Lily looking at both of them with worry and disappointment. She took in the scene around them, and released a small sigh. She reached down, and with strength Sirius never knew she had, pulled both boys up and dragged them away from the other students. She said not a word until she managed to find an empty classroom and shoved both sulking boys into the room. She slammed the door shut before rounding on both of them.

"What was that about?" her voice was calm, but dangerous. Sirius glanced over at James and when the two pairs of eyes met they instantly looked away, frustrated. Sirius heard Lily sigh again, this time annoyed. "James?"

James sat silent for a few moments more before launching into his explanation of how Sirius wouldn't tell him what was wrong, and how he'd lied and said that he'd lost a bet to her, when it was obviously something else. Lily said nothing as James spoke, but watched silently, absorbing his words. A look of relief crossed her face, and Sirius knew that she originally thought the reason for the fighting was because their secret was discovered.

"Sirius?" Lily turned to him now, her emerald eyes sparking a bit. "Any chance you wish to tell him your secrets or is this something you desire to fight on your own?"

"It's my battle," Sirius defended, looking from Lily to James. "I've a right to know I can handle the git on my own, don't I?"

"It's not just Snape! What about Regulus and Rosier? Why are they in on this as well? Why can't you trust your best friend with this Sirius?"

"Because, it's..."

"It's got to do with me," Lily murmured softly. Both boys stared at her, Sirius with fear and James with confusion. "I've a boyfriend James, and Snape found out about it, and Sirius has been helping me keep him secret because he owed me a favor. Until such time that my boyfriend decides that he's brave enough to compete with you, Sirius has agreed to bear the burden and let Snape blackmail him because he refuses to let Snape blackmail me for fear it would end up hurting you."

"Oh."

If it weren't for the heartbroken look on James' face, Sirius would have grinned in earnest at Lily's incredible ability to lie on the spot. As it was, he couldn't, for fear of giving away his position on the matter...and his best mate's look of shattered reality struck Sirius rather hard. He hated seeing James upset. James said nothing more, he wouldn't even look at Lily, but waved good bye to Sirius. He left the room looking forlorn, lost, and...with the beginning tints of anger.

"He won't like that," Sirius commented.

"No, he won't," Lily mentioned, walking up to him and giving him a concerned look. He noted that the strange tone was gone. She simply sounded worried now. "He knows it was a lie...parts of it. You know we've got to tell him soon, Sirius, or he'll confront Snape himself."

Sirius knew that he couldn't hide his relationship with Lily from James forever, and he knew Lily had a fair point. James would only be all the angrier if he knew that Sirius had let himself be blackmailed over this.

It was difficult. The blackmail got worse daily. Regulus and Snape had finally roped in Rosier and he was now insisting that Lily be brought into the extortion as well. Said he suspected that Sirius was no longer the only one that didn't want James to know. From her words, however, Sirius knew Lily would tell James before she'd bribe a Slytherin for their secrecy.

"I'll talk to Snape," Lily said finally. "See if I can't get him to reason with m—"

"NO!" Sirius shot quickly. Lily gave him an odd look, but he ignored it. "No, don't let him know you care, don't let him see this affect you. It's bad enough for me to be blackmailed; I don't want to add you to it."

"He won't—"

"Like Hell he won't," he snapped, cutting Lily off. "If he gets his hands on you that's a tool he can use against both me and James. You mean too much to both of us for Snape not to seize an opportunity to use you."

"Sirius—"

"No Lily," he commanded, and when he saw the defiance in her eyes at his demand, he instantly softened his voice in apology. "You've got to understand...he wants you Lily. He wants you to be with him, and if you're with him...it's all the more for him to gloat about...please don't go to him, Lily."

An odd look crossed Lily's beautiful eyes, and it seemed to Sirius as though he were simply telling her something she already knew. Of all the reactions he'd expected from her, this wasn't one of them. She seemed hardly phased by it at all, though she did decide to sit next to him instead of squatting. Her hand found his and he felt her fingers interlace with his own.

"I know," she said softly.

"You know?"

"Yes."

"You confronted him already."

"Yes."

Sirius's grey eyes grew stormy. Her voice was heavy when she spoke. He already knew what had been said without Lily telling him. It was obvious, and a very Snape-like move to make.

"And he told you him or me."

Lily's silence was answer enough for Sirius. Her green eyes flashed guiltily and she bit her bottom lip nervously. Sirius felt his loathing for Snape grow, in addition to his frustration that she had confronted Snape.

"It's not just that Sirius," she admitted. He looked at her. "I already knew he was going to tell me that. Look...my grandmother and the guy she tried to set me up with...all of that happened at the beginning of the summer. It doesn't bother me, it never really did, I just told you that because I knew you wouldn't like what was really bothering me."

He felt his heart stop, and his eyes were wide as he looked at her. Lily had lied to him?

"This summer," she stumbled over her words and started again. "Towards the end of this summer, Snape came to my home, and he stayed in our shed until the last week or so, I don't know where he went after that, he didn't tell me. Mum and dad never knew, I kept him fed and gave him a place to sleep and gave him some company."

She wasn't looking at him now, which may have been a good thing. Sirius could feel anger, jealousy, and betrayal beating in his chest. She let Snivellus stay with her? She'd protected that greasy little jerk? Why? He gave her a look of shocked disbelief. How could she do that to him? How could she lie to him for Snape?

"His father, Sirius..." she trailed off. There was more pity in her eyes than anything else, and Sirius felt himself ease. Of course, she had to care for everyone, Snape included. He could piece together the rest. Snape must not have much of a home life either, and he must have gone to Lily, knowing she wouldn't turn him away. "I couldn't leave him out on the streets...and while he stayed with me...he told me his feelings...and when I turned him away, he left. Angry and bitter, he was, didn't even thank me."

"He's a bastard," Sirius said after several moments of silence fell between the two. He gave her hand a gentle squeeze, thinking about what happened. "And I suppose he's the one that told you about the Dementors?"

She nodded in response, and they fell quiet once again. He put his head in his hand, the one that wasn't holding Lily's. He couldn't let Snape control Lily. Why did she have to care so much? He sighed. Because, his mind answered for him, that's how Lily was. It's what made so many guys so crazy about her. Sirius included. He was risking everything he had with James for her. He had to get something over Snape, and he knew the one person who had that something was sitting next to him, and she'd never give away someone else's secrets. It just wasn't who she was.

"We've got to tell James, haven't we?" he said miserably, finally looking up at Lily. Her eyes were so full of worry that he felt guilty for being the reason for it. It was amazing how even when she was stressed and worried, she could stay so beautiful.

"Eventually," she answered softly. "We'll think of something."

"Promise?"

"Of course."

Sirius smiled for the first time in days. Lily sounded about as sure as he felt, but she told him what he wanted to hear. She was there for him. He turned to her and pulled her in for a gentle, but much needed kiss, which she eagerly returned. It was soft and sweet, nothing as heated as the snogging that they normally did, but it was almost more effective. Her tongue was mingling gently with his, touching him with care and compassion. Sirius could feel Lily's concern for him through her kiss and it made him feel something he rarely felt. She made him feel wanted, made him feel needed. Hell, she made him feel loved, something he'd been denied since...well always.

His parents had never loved him. Though Sirius knew that the Potters loved him like their own son, he knew too that part of that 'love' of theirs was pity. And Sirius, being the manly guy he was, refrained himself from attaching the word 'love' to the friendship he held with the other Marauders, though he knew that he loved all of them like brothers.

But Lily's love was different. Sirius knew that she was far from being in love with him. She wasn't looking to be in love. But she did feel strongly for him, the kiss told him that much. A sudden question fluttered into his mind, one he'd been pushing away since he'd first agreed to date Lily in secret. Did he love her? Well, of course he did. It was impossible not to love Lily. She was beautiful, witty, caring...but was he in love with her? He couldn't be; he'd never been in love with anyone. They'd only been dating for a few months, but the two of them had been so close for much longer than that. When he'd needed her more than anything, hadn't he refrained from writing to her for fear of putting her in danger of meeting his family at St. Mungo's? The entire time he was there though, in his darkest moments, he thought of her, of her smile, her eyes, her laugh. She was the reason he didn't give up. Even now, he was trying to protect her at the cost of his brother betraying him to tell everyone. Hell, he'd yet to write to his parents like Regulus was attempting to get him to do. Sirius refused to see her hurt for him any more than she'd already been hurt.

Lily broke the kiss and Sirius was left breathless, not only from the kiss, but from the sudden shock of realization. He'd heard the words from James for years and he never dreamed he would think them for himself.

'I'm in love with Lily Evans.'

"So what did you tell him?" Sirius croaked lightly as though Lily would learn his sudden discovery of just how strongly he felt for her if he didn't keep discussing the matter at hand. Lily's eyes darted away from Sirius, and he felt fear well in his chest. She obviously had not had any revelation about being in love with him. To her, it had been just another kiss. "Lily? Lily, what was your answer?"

"I told him to go to Hell."

Sirius couldn't stop himself. His bark-like laughter filled the empty room. The only thing that was preventing him from beaming proudly at Lily was the fact that she had most likely just pissed Snape off even more, which would be bad news for Sirius. Lily gave him a twisted, almost proud grin, a light blush on her cheeks. Sirius felt his mind mentally double what it had realized moments ago. He really was in love with Lily, and that little grin of hers was making him fall all over again. He pulled her close to him again, feeling her smile widen as her lips met his once more.




Snape's head crashed satisfactorily against the wall as James held the scrawnier boy up by his Slytherin tie. Snape's black eyes were wild with fear and anger as he snarled at James.

"In a bad mood today, are we Potter?" Snape taunted, though his breath was short and his voice sounded much braver than he actually looked.

"I'd advise you tell me what you've really got over Sirius before I get creative in getting my answers out of you," James snarled. Lily's words struck him odd. Part of him still refused to believe that she meant enough to Sirius for him to sink so low as to call Snape 'your highness'...in fact, he was still trying to decide if he wanted to believe she had such a cowardly boyfriend.

"Threats, how Slytherin of you."

"Don't test me," James said, pulling his wand out with the hand that wasn't pinning Snape against the wall. The Slytherin's eyes grew wide, and a light band of sweat formed across his brow as he took it in. "What are the conditions of this blackmail?"

Snape didn't seem to wish to answer at first, but when James threatened a Stinging Hex, it was amazing the clarity that Snape came to.

"He's not to insult me, first of all," Snape said. "He's to tell me when you've plans of tormenting me...his brother's got him endangering the Mudblood for...well, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."

A wicked grin lit up Snape's face at James' snarl.

"What do you mean?"

"Let me down and I'll show you."

It went against James' better judgment, to do what he was about to, but he had to know. If he knew what Snape had over Sirius he would know how to help him. He reluctantly pulled away and let Snape to his feet. Snape brushed off his shoulders for a moment, making a slightly disgusted face before reaching into his pocket. The wicked grin was out as Snape removed what appeared to James to be a folded photograph.

"I'm sure you'll find this most useful in deciding upon your next set of friends, Potter."


Chapter 13: Best Friend, Worse Thing
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A/N: Ah, yes, the long awaited chapter 13. That's my favorite number, by the way. *wicked grin* Now I've been through quite the ordeal this week, involving me in the ER and ending with my being placed on a heart monitor in the near future. So easy on the attempts on my life, alright? (Because I'm certain there may be a few...) But not to worry, dear readers, I'll be fine. ;) Now then, I must warn you that this chapter is a bit...explicit, so, ah, prepare yourself. Anyways, enjoy!






No.

It was the one word that James kept repeating in his head as he looked wide eyed at the photograph in front of him. He felt as though someone had just smashed his apparently fragile heart with a rather large sledge hammer, no matter how much his mind was denying that the photograph was real. It had to be a hoax of some kind. It just had to be. There was no way, no way that Sirius would do that to him. No. It wasn't real. This was Snape's way of trying to get James angry with Sirius, and James wasn't going to fall for it. There was no way in Hell that Sirius would try to take Lily from him.

James felt his disbelief and heartbreak fall behind a wall of uncountable anger as he looked back up to Snape, his eyes flashing viciously before his wand was back at Snape's throat and his fist had gathered the photograph in a ball and he pulled back, getting ready to do as much magical and physical damage to Snape as humanly possible.

"You little scumbag," he growled. "Did you really think I would fall for this?"

Snape, sensing the danger he was suddenly in, spoke instantly in that slimy voice of his that made James pause long enough to listen.

"Do you really think Black would let me hold it over him if it wasn't?" he retorted. "Of course he wouldn't. You know as well as I do that Evans has been spending an unhealthy amount of time with your best friend...though I'm rather shocked you could call a traitor like that your friend."

That was not what James wanted to hear...mostly because Snape was vocalizing his own doubts. But he couldn't lose face in front of Snape. No, for now he would hold his ground. Sirius wouldn't do this to him...in fact he was even at the point where he didn't think Lily would do it to him either. His frown deepened at Snape.

"Wrong answer," he drawled before he pulled his fist back more. Snape cringed, but didn't stop his whining attempt to save his own sorry skin.

"Misplaced anger Potter!" he stated, his voice losing a bit of its calm indifference. "I'm not who you're angry with! You...you're upset with yourself, angry that you haven't caught what Black's been doing to you all this time...you're angry that they're off making a fool of you! That Evans has let you believe you're getting closer to her, when all she really cares about is not upsetting Black by hating you so much!"

Laughter wasn't quite what James expected to fall from his mouth at Snape's statement...but it did. A bitter laugh it was too, as his eyes narrowed on Snape. Well he'd certainly hit the nail on the head, hadn't he? And yet he wasn't factoring in James' unwillingness to believe what he saw on a piece of paper handed to him by Snape. However, James couldn't very well beat himself up, and Snape certainly struck him as the type to enjoy killing the messenger, so to speak, so the least James could do was to show him just that.

"Strike two."

"You left him alone with her, didn't you?" Snape said hastily, his voice losing even more of its edge as his eyes flickered between James' fist, wand, and angry face. "Left them alone together, to come find me? They're always disappearing at the same time, aren't they? No, no, you know that what's on that photograph is real. You know Sirius Black has been going behind your back with Lily Evans."

This time James visibly hesitated. He hadn't thought of that. He had left Sirius and Lily alone...and they were always vanishing at the same time. The map, the 'boyfriend', the way they would look at each other when they thought no one else was looking...even the way that Sirius would dodge the subject of Lily whenever she came up. He knew more things about Lily than he should, and...the "Marauder style party" Lily had been to that James hadn't. It made a hell of a lot more sense when James thought of it in the way of Sirius and Lily being a secret couple. But...

"Sirius wouldn't do that to me," James said finally. "There's an old Muggle game...three strikes and you're out."

James didn't wait for Snape to speak again. He just let his fist collide with the Slytherin's face. One hard punch would do the trick. Snape howled with pain as he staggered away from the angry James. James glared at the other boy for a few moments before deciding he wasn't worth the fight. No, he had to make sure he was right...and Snape was wrong.

He went to the library.




Three hours and twenty-two minutes. James had read and reread A History of Photographs and Magic by Lynn S. Capps as well as Adjusting Your Photographs to Fit You by Frodo Graf. Neither book seemed too keen to prove James right. Rather, they strongly supported Snape.

"To cure that nasty habit of photographs that tend to get fuzzy after years simply..."

"Moving photos were invented by..."

James rubbed his head as he gazed at the two books on his bed, he flipped through them helplessly. He was now struggling between anger and absolute depression. What could he possibly have done to have Sirius turn on him like this? Was he truly as heartless as his family? He couldn't have possibly missed the countless hours James spent fretting over the fact that Lily still hated him...or the hours he'd spend exhilarated over the fact that Lily had smiled for him, or laughed for him, or...sang to him. Even Remus, who knew Lily better than any other Marauder, told him that Lily didn't hum for anyone that didn't mean something to her, even if she wouldn't admit it.

A cheerful whistle met his ears, and he felt his eyes narrow and he pushed his glasses back up to the bridge of his nose. His shoulders stiffened but he didn't change his position as the door opened and Sirius came in, still whistling...that tune of Lily's. James felt his anger ruffle underneath his disbelief, but he still needed to have Sirius confirm it first.

If Sirius noticed James' sullen mood at all, he didn't show it, because he started rambling off to James right away.

"Great talker, Lily," he said cheerfully. James didn't look up but felt his anger grow unsteadily and felt as though he could burn holes through the books that he was now glaring at instead of reading. "It's like she could wash away the world's problems if she wanted, isn't it?"

James didn't answer, but he finally moved his russet eyes from the books up to Sirius' jovial silver ones. Sirius' grin faltered at the dark look that James was giving him. His grey eyes started to grow stormy as the fell down to the books at James' side before they moved back to James' face and then to the photograph in his hands. The color drained from Sirius' face, and a crack surfaced in the damn that was holding back James' rage. Strike one. He reached out and handed the photograph to Sirius so that he could examine it fully. Sirius, it seemed, had not only seen the photo before, but also seemed to know where it came from. He gaped at it and then at James.

"I thought I'd ask you what that was," James spoke, his voice dry, but sharp. Sirius flinched, lightly, but James saw it. Strike two. He wasn't going to go after Sirius just yet. There was one more reaction he was waiting for. "But I think that it's rather obvious. And when Snape first gave it to me, I wanted to think it was a ploy just to make me angry with you, but these books," James waved his hand uncaringly at the books next to him, "assure me that it's not."

Sirius' eyes flew between James and the picture, still gaping. He seemed to be stunned, and well he should be, because it was far from what he was going to be when James was through with him.

"I was going to tell you," he croaked, looking up from the photograph to the rather cryptic looking James. "Prongs I'm—"

Strike three.

"Sorry?" James snarled, his teeth bared and his hand gripped tightly around his wand. "Is that the best you can do? You know, when Lily told me she had a boyfriend and you knew about it, I had no idea that it was you...actually, I thought she was simply lying to save your pathetic arse, but that doesn't seem to be the case, does it? No, not only could you not face me like a man and tell me that you were dating Lily, but you let yourself be blackmailed for it."

He watched as Sirius' eyes held a hurt, scared, and ashamed look in their eyes. Normally that look alone saved Sirius from James whenever they argued over silly things, like Quiddich, or money. This was different. James wasn't falling for any of Sirius' usual tricks to get James to forgive him. Lily was involved with this, and when it came to Lily, nothing was normal for James.

"Prongs—"

"DON'T address me so informally!" James yelled, hastily turning on Sirius. His eyes flashed horrifically, and he saw Sirius visibly recoil from James' harsh words. No matter how angry James was, he'd never spoken like this before, and he was only getting worse. His words calmed, but his voice held that same note of bitter sarcasm. "Made a right idiot out of me, haven't you Sirius? I—"

"You're not an idi—"

"I'M TALKING, NOT YOU! No, you've lost that privilege until I ask you a question. How long have you been making a fool of me?"

"We weren't making a fool out of you James!" Sirius said exasperated. "We just...I didn't think you'd understand! I mean she's Lily Evans! There was no way you would have approved me dating her. You'd have been angry regardless!"

"Answer the question," said James darkly.

Sirius' gaze fell to the floor and he seemed to be staring at a spot under James' bed. James kept his eyes on Sirius' guilty face. He watched a momentary wave of defiance crossed those stormy eyes before it was replaced with defeat.

"Officially? Three months."

"And unofficially?"

"Six."

James didn't actually recall uttering the stinging hex, but it was his arm that was extended, and his wand that was pointed at Sirius, and his eyes that were blazing as he watched Sirius yelp from the sudden hex. Sirius gave him a dark look, but said nothing. He was starting to gather up his own anger. Good, James was looking for a good fight.

"Six months? I let you in my home during part of those six months. I helped you sneak out quite a number of distractions. I'm sure Lily didn't know about those during that time, did she? So why is it that she kept this from me?"

"She didn't want to mate—"

"Don't call me 'mate' you traitor, you told her to keep it a secret?"

"Asked her to, Prongs please understand, we couldn't—"

"Couldn't," James scoffed, his voice growing harsher by the second. "There was no couldn't to this! This was a wouldn't, you wouldn't face me like a man, you bloody coward. And DON'T address me so informally as to use my nickname. You don't deserve to! You LIED to me! You BETRAYED ME!"

James snatched the picture from Sirius' hands and glared at it before balling it up and throwing it on the ground, disgusted. He started pacing, his wrath steaming as he looked at the crumpled photograph before he kicked it furiously towards the door. He rounded back on Sirius, his eyes flared at the boy that he once called his best mate.

"You...you..." James couldn't seem to find the words to describe what Sirius was, though after a moment he seemed to come up with the ideal insult. "You're a Black."

The change that came over Sirius was instantaneous. James knew the rules that Sirius had imposed upon his name. He'd seen Snape beat up over them countless times. There was one, and only one, person in the world that could get away with calling Sirius a Black, and that was Sirius himself. His eyes were now blazing the same as James' and James felt his heart pump faster at the promise of a brawl. He could almost hear Sirius think that James was playing dirty. James' own thoughts retaliated that Sirius did it first.

"Well no shit, Sherlock," Sirius spat. "Can't exactly escape that title can I?"

"WHY DON'T YOU GO BACK TO THE HOUSE YOU BELONG IN THEN?" James roared. "WHY, THE HELL, ARE YOU IN GRYFFINDOR, WHERE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE LOYAL TO YOUR FRIENDS?"

"I AM IN THE HOUSE I BELONG IN, POTTER!" Sirius yelled back. "It's not a CRIME to date Lily!"

"It is! Have you been COMPLETELY blind to how much I've been in LOVE with the girl all these years? What in the world possessed you to try and take her from me?"

"She was never 'yours' to be taken from! And maybe it's you who've been the blind one! You're not the only person in this school who loves Lily!"

It was the second time that day that laughter came unexpectedly from James' mouth, and once more it was a harsh, bitter laugh that indicated James found the topic at hand far from amusing. No, this was a laugh worthy of an angry, betrayed friend. This was laughter worthy of Sirius.

"Love her? You don't even know what love is, Black," James seethed. "You bloody well didn't seem to love her this summer, with all those other girls finding their way into your bed. And you sure as hell weren't the one that Lily got up and fought those Death Eaters for...not you that she hummed to, and not you that she—"

"Yeah? Well it's not you she's dating, is it? And what do you know of love, really James? You haven't kept a girl for more than a few weeks because they can never compare, can they? All you ever use them as is an attempt to make Lily jealous, and it never works does it? Know why? You spend too much time focusing on Lily than your girlfriend!" Sirius snarled. James' grip on his wand tightened, but he couldn't quite say anything yet because Sirius was right.

"At least I'm no coward," James said viciously. He let out a merciless laugh that was far from the laughter he knew Sirius liked to hear. Sirius was about to fall prey to the way that James treated Snape. "I've suspected for months now. The pieces of the puzzle where all lain out for me to see...but I didn't. I wanted to believe that Lily was good for you, a good friend. You haven't had many of those. You push too many others away, don't you? That should have been my first clue...you let her get close. Ironic the way life has been throwing these hints at me, hasn't it? Your two dots on the Marauder's Map back in late September...the countless hours you would vanish to deal with internal issues about your family around the same time Lily would go off to study with some friends..."

Sirius' eyes never left the wand in James' hands. He knew what was going to happen once James' rant was over; he knew that James was stronger with a wand more often than not. And James knew everything Sirius did.

"You're a bastard, Black," James huffed, his wand raised now. "A fucking bastard. Everte statum!"

Sirius had known it was coming, but he didn't defend himself as the spell hit him. He slammed into the wall and he hissed as his skull did as well. He put his hand to the back of his head as he stood back up to face James. James saw a small bit of blood as Sirius looked at his hand. His logic made a fleeting appearance, telling him that he might not be making the smartest of decisions to keep fighting like this, but his pride was a bit stronger today, and his current temper towards Sirius fought it down.

"I've done nothing wrong in dating Lily," Sirius stated calmly. "You're over reacting Prongs."

"Don't. Call. Me. Prongs," James growled, articulating his words hastily. "And I'm over reacting, am I? I mean, why should I be angry when my best friend has been dating the only girl that I've ever had any real feelings for? What do I care that he knows exactly how I feel about her, and yet threw my feelings aside so that he could care for his own? Well you know what, Sirius? You made your decision. You put a girl before me, so you're a bigger idiot than I thought if you had some sick belief that I wouldn't do the same after you made the first move."

"I didn't mean to hurt you James!"

"Right!" James snorted, furiously. "Of course you didn't! I just happened to slip your mind for the past few months, haven't I? Everything I told you, everything I've done to try to get Lily to give me the time of day, just escaped your memory, did it? You knew DAMN well what you were doing and who you were doing it with! Don't give me some crap that you didn't mean to hurt me! I'm amazed that I claim to know you so well. Here I thought you had a great memory and a good conscious, but either I was wrong about your memory, or you're too much of a cold blooded Black to give a damn about how your best friend feels for Lily Evans."

In a flash, James had his hand on Sirius' throat. It was amazing the struggle James watched behind Sirius' eyes. He saw the boy Padfoot fall as the bitter Black came into control of Sirius' actions. Sirius' own anger was in control now, and James held back his smirk. It was going to be a hell of a lot easier to fight Sirius when he was a Black than when he was a Marauder. He shoved James off of him roughly. James stumbled back, but his face never lost its rage.

"Is this what you want James? Huh?" Sirius asked, walking up to James and shoving him back again. James was getting ready to swing, but Sirius easily dodged the blow. Physically speaking, James knew Sirius had the advantage, but he was beyond caring. "A fight for Lily? Let's rumble then, but before we do, take in the situation. Lily's got feelings for me, she cares about what happens to me. You've had more than enough time to get over her James, what do you want me to do? Keep breaking her heart, because that's for damn sure what I would have been doing if I kept denying her a relationship when we both knew we had feelings for each other. So say we get in this fight, eh. You're a scrawny little Chaser. You spend your days flying around on a broomstick and running around the castle with me and the other Marauders. I, on the other hand, run around the castle, run around with Lily, and work out on my own. I've been trained in physical defensive maneuvers since I could walk. On the off chance that you can beat me in a Muggle fight, who do you think Lily's going to give her attention to? And if I win this fight, and tell her you came onto me first...who do you think she's going to turn to? I'll give you a hint...it won't be you."

"I'll give you a hint, Black," James hissed. "I don't really care."

Damn liar. James threw another punch, and this time, Sirius didn't simply block, his own fists were quick to follow. James knew long before the fight was over that he was beat. Sirius' movements were precise, practiced, and prepared. James' were irrational and quick, and he was only fighting because he felt he had to. But it wasn't Sirius, and it wasn't James that stopped the fight.

"Incarcerous!"

Sirius and James were both pulled apart from each other and strung in midair by thick ropes. James' eyes swiveled harshly to the source of the spell. There stood Remus, with his wand out, and behind him, holding the crumpled photograph and looking at it with stunned horror, was Lily.

Chapter 14: A Minor Incident
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A/N: Yes, I know, long wait, short chapter. So sue me. Anyways, I don't yet have the results of the heart monitor test, but I suppose no news is good news. (Or my heart's that vastly complex that I should be worried...) Whatever. So here's the chapter. (Unenthused yay! here.) Enjoy!






Lily doubted very much whether or not she would have remained calm if Remus hadn't given her prior warning that fighting between the two boys was a distinct possibility when Sirius told James. However, it was a doubt that followed her for only a moment as she picked up a crumpled piece of paper as Remus pulled Sirius and James apart by flicking his wand. Calm was no longer an emotion that Lily was feeling.

She hadn't been sure how Snape had managed to get Sirius to cooperate, because she knew that all it would have taken was Sirius' denial of the whole affair to keep James from going off the edge as he'd obviously done. But the photograph now made sense and she felt rage for the intimate moment that Snape had interrupted, but the rage was quickly replaced with absolute dread.

James hadn't been told, he'd been shown. He wasn't braced for what the photo held; he was thrust suddenly into the world of Lily and Sirius' relationship.

"What do you think you're doing?" Remus shouted, drawing Lily's attention from the photograph to James, Sirius, and Remus.

Remus' tranquil demeanor had vanished at the fists flying between his two mates, and Lily visibly winced as she saw James' face littered with bruises, a busted lip and a swelling eye. His arms, she noticed, also held multiple red marks that she knew would turn into bruises in the near future as well. She looked at Sirius, he had much less damage. He had one large and swelling red mark on his face, and she was sure his torso would be mapped with a few as well.

"I believe I asked you what the Hell the two of you think you are doing?"

"Well, Remus, why don't you ask Sirius?" James spat. "Or even the lovely young lady behind you as she's holding the source of the entire problem...then again, I suppose the real source of the problem is hanging right in front of me, backstabbing traitor that he is."

Remus turned at gave Lily a look that clearly stated he knew this would happen. She didn't smile or anything positive and he reached out and took the picture from her hands. She saw him quickly look away from it, a lightly shameful blush on his cheeks. He probably could have lived without seeing, though she felt he felt like she did in that it was an intimate moment between her and Sirius that Snape shouldn't have photographed.

"So you're fighting over a girl?" Remus said, looking up at them, irritated. James and Sirius both looked down, as though Remus had belittled their argument far more than they would have liked. Lily quirked an eyebrow. Something in Remus' tone caused a spark in her. While she sometimes hated what Sirius and James would do to other people through their friendship, she'd admired them for it greatly. So what Sirius had decided to date her? She granted that James had every right to be angry, but they did not need to be fighting. Period.

"You're fighting over me," Lily stated, her voice almost unreadable, but it got the attention of all three boys. Her tone could have easily fallen in each of the categories of anger, confusion, disbelief, and guilt. Though she knew it was far from her fault that she and Sirius had feelings for one another, she knew that without her, this never would have happened. Sirius looked as though he'd just lost his entire world, and reacted in a manner that he probably shouldn't have. He looked guilty too, but James...

James looked utterly heartbroken. Under his angry glare, his disbelieving snarl, under every other emotion he was hiding behind, he looked absolutely heartbroken. Never before had Lily wished to help him as she did in that moment. She'd been terrified when he'd grown so pale and frightened when the Dementor was in the school, and when they fought the Death Eaters together, she wanted nothing more but to make sure that if James were to die that he would not do it alone.

It had been in first year that Lily had liked James best, before puberty and his bullying ways came about, before he became James Potter the Marauder, when he was sweet and merely desired to be friends. Lily's first friendly moment with him had been during their first flying lesson. She couldn't grasp the concept. The thought of trusting a broomstick to suspend her in the air did not comfort Lily in the least. It was little James Potter that had helped her. He had smiled at her and helped her up on the broom, and when she was scared she was going to hurt herself, James made her one promise that he'd always kept.

"I'll never let you fall, Evans."

And Lily couldn't return the favor. She could see it in his hurt hazel eyes. He'd fallen from his belief that nothing could rupture his friendship with Sirius, no girl, nothing. He'd fallen for Lily, and he'd gotten hurt. She hurt him...she chose Sirius over him, Sirius who was a bigger bully, had a nastier temper and a shorter fuse. Sirius that normally cared for no one except himself and his friends. And that same Sirius had chosen Lily over James. Lily felt her heart go out to James, even though she knew that it would be Sirius paying for this the most.

"Let me down Remus," James said, finally breaking the eye contact with Lily. His voice was defeated, and hurt. He looked back at Lily, but didn't acknowledge Sirius. "I'm done. I can't be here anymore."

"Prongs—"

"No Moony, let me down. I'm through," he was now looking at Sirius, that spark of hatred in his voice again. "I'm done."

Remus seemed reluctant, but Lily finished the job for him, letting him drop on his feet. He thanked her with a nod and, with a final contemptuous glare at Sirius', James left. Lily, though she said nothing and had nothing said to her from James, felt nothing short of shame for not having told him before...for being the source of this sudden onslaught of anger and hurt for James. It was a few seconds before Remus let Sirius down as well.

A thick silence filled the room between the three of them, Lily had a suspicion that each of the two boys were thinking as she was. One of them should have told James, and it should have happened a long time ago.

"Should we—"

"No," Lily said quietly, looking up at Sirius.

She knew he'd already known the answer to that question. James needed alone time now. He had to sort out his thoughts on his own. The decision was in his hands now. He could very well decide that Sirius was no longer worthy of his friendship, and never talk to him again except for sly insults, much like he did to Snape. On the other hand, he could decide it was a silly fight and become friends again. The latter, Lily knew, was stretching it. Even if James forgave Sirius, she knew that their friendship was going to be different from that point on. Sirius had put a girl on the line before his mates. He'd put Lily before James...and somewhere, deep inside, Lily was almost ashamed of him for it.

"You lot look about as happy as a beached whale," a cheerful voice said from the door. Three heads looked up as Peter walked into the room, tossing his books onto the bed, a tutoring schedule making its way to his pillow. He rubbed his hands on the side of his sweater as he looked from where his books had landed to the solemn Lily and other two Marauders. "What's got you in such a jovial mood, then?"

The three looked at one another before Sirius sighed.

"I've been dating Lily."

Peter let out a low whistle, his cheerful smile fading instantly. He looked over at Lily, as though in confirmation. When she didn't deny it, he looked towards Remus, who merely nodded, looking shamed for knowing it.

"Then Prongs, ah—"

"Yeah."

"Smart move, Padfoot," Peter said, a touch of sarcasm in his voice. Lily saw Sirius cringe at it. Peter shook his head before looking at James' empty bed. "Very smooth move."




Never in her life had Lily seen Sirius so depressed. He hardly ate at meal times, he hardly spoke. It certainly didn't help that everywhere he turned it was like the entire school had taken James' side. James didn't even acknowledge Sirius' existence, save one night when one of James' love-struck admirers had hexed Lily's knife to cut Lily instead of her steak. He'd been furious at the girl, and sent her into hysterics afterwards.

"Come on Lily," he had offered gently. "Madam Pomfrey will have that fixed up in a sec."

Lily distinctly recalled him looking back and almost smirking at Sirius, who squirmed in his seat, but did not get up to make sure Lily and her bleeding finger was alright. Sirius was less than pleased later; said gluing his bum to his seat was childish even by Marauder standards. But he'd made it up all the same, kissing her hand softly, though Lily knew his heart wasn't quite in it, not with James mad at him. It irritated Lily even, to know that Sirius was distancing himself from her.

But Lily couldn't shake the look that James had given her, or the haunted looks he had at meal times when Sirius wasn't there. So three days later, Lily braved his fury, and sought him out at the one place she knew he'd be.




James was soaring around the Quiddich Pitch. He felt as though he'd been there for hours, which, he mentally noted, he just might have. He found no matter how hard he threw the Quaffle, hit it with the tail of his broom, attempted to do any harm to it, his frustration wasn't easing. Perhaps he should try Bludgers instead. He let out a sharp, angry breath, trying not to let thoughts of that photograph swim into his head, or even worse, mental pictures of Sirius and Lily now holding hands in the corridors between classes.

Giving up, James headed for the ground, landing much harder than anticipated, partially because he was livid, partially because he hadn't been judging his distance from the ground because of his fuming. His eyes, however, met an unexpected sight. Standing just in the entrance way of the changing rooms was Lily Evans, and she was quite alone. He wasn't sure if the sight pleased or sickened him.

"You fly beautifully even when you're angry, you know," she said gently. James didn't retort. No matter how upset or angry he was at her for choosing Sirius, he had no plans of turning on her as he did to Sirius. She, at least, had been a bit more honest with him. She had still lied, of course, but it was a different crime. In all actuality she owed him no loyalty. He shouldered his broom and gave her a hard look.

"Was there something you wanted?" he asked in a dry tone. He watched as she turned her eyes to her feet in an almost bashful manner, though he'd watched her more than enough times to know it was what she did when she needed more time to think. Nothing with Lily Evans was as it seemed.

"Well...to thank you," she said calmly. "You know, for taking me to the Wing last night."

"It was nothing," he said, losing any pretense hopes that she would laugh and smile and tell him the whole thing with Sirius was a clever ploy to make him jealous and in all actuality it was him that she wanted to be with. Not that he had actually hoped that, more like a vague wish buried deep in his mind. "Now if you'll excuse me."

He tried to walk past her, but she grabbed his upper arm and turned him to face her. He didn't look into her eyes; he knew if he did he would feel very much like a sulking child. Unfortunately, Lily had very different thoughts on the matter and reached up to grab his chin and turned his head to look down at her.

"I am sorry, you know," she said softly. "But even though I couldn't keep you from falling, like you always have done for me, I'm curious if there's any way that I can help you back up on that broom of yours."

It took James a moment to get the reference, and it was perhaps that moment of confusion that allowed him to let Lily in past his resentment. And then he got it. First year, the first time he had realized that perhaps Lily Evans was more human than he had given her credit for. A shadow of a smile crossed his lips at the memory, and he tilted his head to the side to look at her.

"You remember that?" he asked, sounding a bit more normal, though baffled.

"Of course I do."

He smiled, not his usual smile by any means, but a smile none the less. He was touched that she remembered that day; it was the beginning of a crush that he didn't catch onto until third year (or was it second?). Her shy little smile that he'd fallen for so many times over appeared on her face and he knew he couldn't stay angry with her. She was Lily Evans, and James Potter could yell and scream at her when she started it, but he never, never, stayed angry with Lily Evans.

"You are a clever girl, Miss Evans," he said lightly, noticing a breath of a blush on her cheek, though that could be due to the cold November air. "Quite the clever girl."




"Remind me why you gave him the picture again," Regulus Black said, to an annoyed Snape. Snape didn't answer right away as he skimmed through his notes, looking down at the potion he was brewing. "I thought Sirius did everything you told him to."

"He did," Snape confirmed, not looking up at Black.

"And Evans brewed that Potion for you."

"She did."

"So why..."

"Because the great Prat Potter had me cornered you bat-brained fool," he answered finally, shooting Black a dark look that stated clearly that the conversation was over. "I'd like to see you get away with telling him no."

Perhaps he was being a bit less than truthful, of course Potter did have him cornered, and of course Black was bat-brained, but Severus Snape had more reasons than cowardice to have handed over that photograph. He'd been furious when Evans had told him to rot in Hell when he'd tempted the blackmail to her, but he'd been all the more angry when she consented. She never saw the picture, she never even knew what it was that he held over her boyfriend Black, but she knew it was enough to let Black sink to blackmail, and she followed him blindly. He refused to believe she was that weak, that she was in love. Lily Evans loved no Marauder, she wasn't that cruel. She knew what they had done to him time and time again. She couldn't possibly love such ruthless boys.

He smirked as he added the final bit to his potion. He was going to make sure she didn't love them. It was as simple as a Polyjuice Potion with a piece of hair from Peter Pettigrew, and Amortentia brewed by Lily Evans to make any drinker fall madly for Severus Snape.

Chapter 15: The Lily Evans Twist
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A/N: Sorry about the long wait. I am super busy, so expect another wait for chapter 16. Anyways, not much to report on this end except my heart monitor results came back and I am A-OK. :D Well read and enjoy!

~Jaggy~







"Look, Lily, it's not a forever thing, I just..." James trailed off looking over the Quiddich Pitch, trying to find the words to explain his anger for Sirius. Lily watched patiently, her legs dangling off the side of the railing up in the stands. "I need to gather my thoughts, you know? I mean, the fight isn't so much about you, well, it is a bit, but mostly it's about him lying to me...he's my best friend in the world, I just...need some time."

Lily nodded in understanding; she was silent for a moment as she looked down at her shoes. She carefully noted that they would need to be retied sometime soon.

"To be honest," she said carefully, looking over at James who had his back against the railing she was sitting on. "I would have probably yelled at me, if I were in your shoes."

She saw another shadow of a smile cross James' face. They had been talking for a half hour or so; most of their conversation had been on lighter things. Memories of when they did get along, but finally the conversation had turned to Sirius and Lily and their relationship and how James was really handling it.

"Oh I wanted to, part of me still does," he replied shrugging. "I just…can't. You're Lily Evans, the girl I've always just wanted to be with. You wanted to tell me, you just wanted to protect Sirius...and I can't be angry with you for that."

Lily didn't respond to that, instead she turned around to look up the stands as James was doing. There was a pregnant silence between them, not awkward, but it was not comfortable either.

"I dunno if Black tells you this," Lily resisted the urge to ask James not to refer to Sirius as 'Black', "but I really do care for you, Lily. I mean...if I could truly have one thing in this world it would be to spend time with you...talking about things other than you picking Sirius over me. You're beautiful Lily, and not just on the outside..."

The pale skin on Lily's cheeks reddened at James' words, and she felt the blood rushing in her ears. Something told her that if she'd felt guilty before, that feeling was going to increase a tenfold.

"When I first realized I had a crush on you, Evans, I fought it so hard. I remember thinking there was no way I could like someone like you," he continued, unaware of Lily's discomfort. Or aware, and uncaring. "You were a righteous little brat who ruined all of mine and Sirius' fun. It was like fraternizing with the enemy. And then I realized part of the reason I always made sure we made a lot of noise when we did stupid things was because I knew it was the only way you would be willing to give me any sort of attention...and you're so cute when you're angry."

"Thanks James," she said dryly, snapped out of her increasingly guilty feelings for the denial of how strong James' feelings for her were. He flashed her a coy grin for a moment before he returned to his solemn monologue.

"Then I just...didn't care anymore. I wanted you, and you wanted anyone but me...even Sirius," James added the last bit bitterly, and he kicked at the ground, hard. Lily gave him a sympathetic look, her eyes sorrowful. "Do you love him?"

Taken aback by the sudden question, Lily felt herself freeze for a moment. James looked over at her, and his sad hazel eyes eased her as she thought about his question.

Did she love Sirius? She had thought she loved him last year, she knew that much. Loved him enough to sleep with him, and when he turned her away for the sake of James, and she was able to walk away with her pride merely battered a bit, she realized that while love him she might, she could do without. And she certainly never thought about the subject much. When her friends talked about fairy tale endings and their princes coming to sweep them off their feet, she usually tuned them out. She was always fond of the idea that her 'Prince Charming' would be swept away with her just as much as she was with him. When asked, she would merely comment that it will happen when it happens, and she felt no need to rush the process a long.

"I imagine I do," she answered James honestly. "The true question then lies into whether or not I am in love with him. It certainly takes very little energy to love someone, but I presume the question that you are truly asking me is if I feel he's the one for me?"

James looked hurt at Lily's initial answer, but his face grew curious as she continued to speak. She smiled lightly as James nodded in affirmation to her adjustment of his question.

"Don't be silly," she responded. "I'm sixteen; I can't possibly know who I'm going to end up with. If it's Sirius, great, if it's someone else then that's great too. I mean, I've got my whole life a head of me, James. I'm not going to put it on hold for a boyfriend...I mean I love Sirius, but when I decide that I am in love with him, I've gotta tell him before I tell you, you know?"

"You haven't told him you loved him?"

"Once," she smiled sadly. "But he said he loved you more, and I was going to have to wait. So next time, he's going to have to tell me first."

"He hasn't told you that he loves you?" James seemed beyond belief, and Lily smirked as he tried to wrap his mind around what in the world would prevent someone from telling her that she was loved.

"Not yet, but I know he does."

"How?"

"He was willing to risk you, not something that I believe he would do for just anyone."

James took this into consideration, his brows knitted in deep thought. Lily watched him purse his lips a bit and behind his glasses his eyes were watching his thumbs, which were wrestling nervously. It was curious, in Lily's experience, to see James Potter fidget.

"So you want me to forgive him," he said, his tone unreadable. It wasn't a question, but a statement. Lily didn't answer him, but he seemed to catch the meaning. "I don't like it. I don't like it a bit, and I'm not saying it'll be instant...but I'll be willing to try again...but promise me a few more days to steam...I don't want to explode at him again by accepting his apologies too soon."




Lily was tuning out whatever it was that Peter was telling James and Remus. Sirius' hand was cold in hers as he and James worked hard not to look at one another. She flared her nostrils. So while her conversation with James sounded promising, there was no progress being made just yet...save for the fact that Sirius and James were now willing to sit within ten feet of one another.

A warm breath suddenly tickled Lily's ear, and a knowing smile crept up Lily's lips as she shied away from Sirius' sudden affection. She looked over at him, catching her favorite spark in his eye. He tilted his head towards the Entrance Hall; that smirk on his face. Lily's eyes lit up, he hadn't been in a mood like this since James found out, and she was more than happy to appease such a mood. He stood up and she was soon to follow, but Peter didn't seem to catch on.

"Hey, where are you two going?"

Sirius froze, looking much like a dog who had just disobeyed his master. Lily saw James furiously stab at his food, and stealing angry glares at Peter for pointing it out. Remus had an almost amused grin on his face. Stupid Marauders.

"To study," Lily lied smoothly. But it seemed Peter's words had successfully shut Sirius down, because he took his seat again. An odd, almost smirking smile crossed Peter's face for the briefest of seconds.

"No, no," Sirius shook his head. "It can wait."

Irritated, Lily sat back down with almost a huff, as she looked over at Sirius for his retreat. Peter passed them drinks.

"Don't sweat it, Lils—"

"Don't call me Lils."

"He bails on studying with us all the time."

Lily shot Peter a look, and he shrugged, smiling all the same. Lily took her goblet from him while Sirius gave his an empty look. Peter wasn't that stupid, she knew. As many times as she was certain that Sirius had used the excuse of studying before, she knew he knew better. Annoyed and disappointed, Lily downed her pumpkin juice in one swig, earning a short-lived applause from Remus and Peter, as Sirius and James were still refusing to look at her.

"Thanks," she added sarcastically to them, before her mind felt oddly clouded, and the cup in her hand fell to the floor with a resounding clash. She could hear Sirius asking her if she was alright, his face looking worried. She never noticed Peter smirking when all eyes were on her, or Remus and James joining Sirius' examination of her. She could hear some friends of hers squeaking in the background.

"What's happening to her?"

And as quickly as the feeling of weakness passed, Lily was sitting up again. Her eyes met Sirius' first, he had her in his arms, and his brows were furrowed with concern. She pulled away from him, suddenly feeling vile. She stood up and pulled away from all three of the boys surrounding her, a sudden look of wild terror in her eyes.

"Lily?" James stepped forward, extending an arm to her, she pulled away, never letting his hand touch her, still looking horrified. "Lily what's wrong?"

She shook her head, her face twisting into an expression of repulsion.

"What's wrong?" she hissed, glaring at the two black haired boys before her. "I'm wrong...you're wrong. Everything's wrong! I can't believe I didn't see it before."

"What are you talking about?" Sirius asked, bewildered. "Is this about the fight? Lily, we'll get over it!"

Like a mood swing from Hell, Lily rounded on Sirius, her temper flaring. She went from mild repulsion to extreme fury, her eyes blazing through a slightly clouded exterior. A feral snarl encased her lips before she spoke.

"It's not about your silly fight!" she roared. "It's about the fact that I was ever stupid enough to date you! Or even to be friends with boys like the four of you!"

All four Marauders looked at each other, bewildered and hurt. Remus stepped forward this time looking at her timidly. The Hall had gone quite at her voice. Lily didn't care, her heart was racing and her mind becoming all the more clouded.

"Lily...you're not yourself."

"Don't tell me what I am, Lupin! You can't even tell anyone what you are," she hissed, Remus pulled away, astonished.

A wildfire of whispers filled the Hall as Lily's calculating eyes tried to figure how to best escape the attention of the Marauders. A new voice, one that brought a satisfied smirk to Lily's mouth, joined the group.

"Don't tell me she's gone and lost her mind at last," a smooth voice cut in. Sirius and James swung around, both glaring at the source. Severus Snape stepped forward, casting a glittering sort of leer at the Gryffindors surrounding Lily. "Had to happen eventually, what girl in her right mind would date Sirius Black?"




Sirius felt his blood boil as Snape walked up. This had to be his fault. Whatever was wrong with Lily, it just had to be. Why else would he be there? He was about to respond when someone else did for him.

"None," it was Lily, and she stepped forward, walking towards Snape. There was a strange note in her voice that Sirius did not like at all when it was aimed towards anyone that wasn't him. "No girl in her right mind would date Sirius Black."

The taunting grin on Snape's face was infuriating. Sirius would have moved if it wasn't for the fact that he was too busy gaping at the scene in front of him with absolute shock. The whole Hall, it seemed, was sitting in a state of disbelief. Everyone, that is, but Snape.

"Is that so?" he smirked, never looking at Lily but altering his gaze between Sirius and James. "Why the change of heart then, Evans? I thought you adored Black."

"I did," she answered, her voice oddly calm. "But now...now the world makes sense. It's not him I adore. I hate all Marauders, they're bullies."

"Not him?" that wicked smirk growing all the wider as his black eyes locked in on Sirius' grey ones. The pure spite emitting from Snape was impossible to miss, and Sirius suddenly felt as though he knew where this was going. "Why not?"

"Because," she shrugged simply, and Sirius felt as though he were going to be sick at the look she was giving Snape. It was not a look that Lily gave anyone, not even him. Her eyes were wide, and dull, but her face shown as though absolutely enthralled by what she saw. Like her mind, her brilliant, deep, and loving mind, could focus on nothing else, that it knew nothing else. He shuttered, this was not Lily Evans, this was Severus Snape's first ever mind slave. She slipped her small, delicate hand into Snape's awkward one. "I'm in love with you."

There was a collective intake of breath through the Hall. From the corner of his eye, Sirius could see a professor or two making their way towards the scene, but they were being blocked by students trying to watch. Snape pulled his hand from Lily's, a look of faux disgust on his face. He sneered at her.

"Keep your filth away from me," he snarled. "Disgusting Mudblood."

If it registered with Lily at all what Snape said to her, she didn't show it. She continued looking at him with that absent adoration, and Sirius truly wished to be sick. James, on the other hand, seemed to be snapping back to reality.

"What have you done to her!?" he roared suddenly, pulling his wand out and aiming it at Snape.

"Mr. Potter! Put that wand down," McGonagall had managed to pull through the crowds. James did no such thing, but was glaring viciously at Snape. Snape, however, seemed far from intimidated.

"You love me Evans? Prove it," he hissed under his breath at Lily. McGonagall, who was still a good ten strides from the group did not hear it.

Sirius watched with a sort of twisted fascination as Lily turned from facing Snape to facing him and James. An odd grin was on her face as she walked between the two of them. Even McGonagall seemed like a deer in headlights at the strange attitude emitting from Lily.

"And what shall I do to them?" she said, her voice very articulate over the eerily quiet Hall. She flicked her wand and muttered something under her breath and Sirius felt his robes tighten and his shaggy hair fly up in...he pulled on it...ribbons? He glanced over at James, who was now in something akin to a dress, his shorter hair in various and vibrant colors. "Humiliate them?" She muttered something else and the two boys were back in their normal robes, but with a flash, they were strung in the air by their ankles. Lily walked between them, that odd smile on her face.

"Hurt them?" She flicked her wand again, and Sirius heard James slam against the wall. He released a select few curse words as they both dropped to the ground. Another flick and both were pinned to the wall face up. Lily walked up to James, pressing herself to him, locking her eyes with his, her smirk growing. Sirius saw James tense, and he once more felt ill at the sight. "Taunt them?"

"Lily?" Sirius voiced at last, drawing her teasing eyes from James to Sirius. She smiled, pealing herself from James and walking over to Sirius. She ran a tiny finger down his cheek, and Sirius suppressed his chills from it. "Lily, what is going on with you?"

Her previous poker-like face broke into another of her newly adopted smiles. Her nail nicked his cheek, drawing blood, and he blinked, stunned, as she pulled away from him. She circled Snape, looking over his shoulder at the two boys on the wall, her emerald eyes large.

"Me? Why, I'm paying my end of your blackmail, Black," she laughed. "This is the effect of my potion, the one I made for Snape to keep Potter from knowing your dirty little secret...the Amortentia, with the Lily Evans twist."

Chapter 16: Explosion
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A/N: Spring break this week! Yay!! So hopefully you'll have another update either on this story or on my new one "The Gentlemen" within a week, and yes I know I haven't updated in forever, but I did warn you I'm busy and these updates would be scarce. But now you've got one, and a nice long one, so be happy. But keep in mind that HOPEFULLY, it's not a guarantee. Anyways, read and enjoy!





Sirius could feel James' glare at him, and all of his internal organs had vanished. He felt quite hollow at her words. Snape smirked. His mind did not focus on the fact that Lily had lied to him about Snape twice now, nor did he focus on the fact that she probably had not given into the blackmail to protect him. What he registered was that Lily had been fed her own potion, and, as Professor Slughorn constantly pointed out, Lily's potions were indisputably powerful. His mind working quickly, Sirius soon registered that if this was a Love Potion brewed by Lily Evans, it also meant that the only person who had the antidote was Lily herself. He doubted highly that a Lily drugged by her own hands would be willing to give up the cure for her current state of mind.

Well, Lily would have it...or Snape would.

"I don't know what you're talking about Evans," he said smoothly, as McGonagall's eyes turned to him. "Seems to me that one of Potter and Black's little followers decided to get you out of the way, and get a bit of revenge in return. What use would I have of a pathetic Mudblood like you?"

He didn't know what Snape did to get her to do it, or why the hell she was, all Sirius knew was that with a curious flash of his ebony eyes, Lily's lips were locked with Snape's. His insides had made a rather sudden return, and they were quite filled with something rather heavy...like titanium, or maybe several huge dragons compressed into organ sizes. As soon as that fact registered, so did another. Sirius was on the ground, because James had somehow broken Lily's curse. As quickly as her lips had been on Snape's, Lily was pulled violently from the Slytherin, and James' fist met Snape instead.

The Hall was instantly filled with noise again, as professors rushed to pull James from Snape. Remus had a strong hold on Lily, who seemed to be fighting him tooth and nail to rush at James. Remus, however, was much stronger than Lily was, and had her arms pinned to her side, so all she could do was struggle uselessly.

Sirius pushed himself off the ground. He could hear Snape swearing, and quite a bit of noisy buzzing, but it vanished rather quickly. A hand roughly grabbed his upper arm and he, Lily, James, Snape, and Remus were taken from the Great Hall, into the Entrance Hall, and down into the dungeons. When stopped, Sirius figured they were in Slughorn's office. Looking up at his captor at last, Sirius registered Damocles Belby, the Head Boy, had brought him and, the now still, James in. Professor Slughorn had Snape, and as Prefect, and Belby's subordinate, Remus had Lily.

"Where's McGonagall, Belby?" Slughorn snapped, giving James a harsh glare.

"She'll be along shortly," Belby answered, releasing Sirius and James, with more roughness than Sirius really thought necessary.

"What in the name of Merlin is going on?" McGonagall spouted instantly, as she finally came into Slughorn's office. Her eyes were sharp as she took in her four Gryffindors. It was then that Sirius registered that Peter was not with them. Where had he gone off to? Lost in the bustle of things...surely, Sirius assumed.

"Didn't you hear Lily?" James asked, looking over at McGonagall. His voice was spiteful and Sirius visibly drooped his shoulders, knowing what was coming next. "She made Snape a love potion in exchange for his silence about hers and Black's relationship. She protected his cowardice."

A disbelieving snort came from both Slughorn and Snape, as they simultaneously crossed their arms in disapproval of James' accusation.

"Do you honestly think I would want that throwing herself at me all day?" Snape asked in a tone that would have been convincing if Sirius didn't already know any better. He scowled at Snape, along with James. "Don't be an idiot Potter. She's tainted not only with her own stench of filth but with Black's as well. Don't think me so foolish. It's bad enough I've got her filthy germs on my mouth without you adding in that I would have the desire to ask for it. Besides," a strange smirk crossed Snape's lips, "I was all the way on the other side of the Hall, even Slughorn saw me, there's no way I could have done anything to Evans. And blackmail's illegal."

Belby grabbed both James and Sirius by the scruffs of their neck at the same time, as both boys tried to charge the Slytherin. His grip was almost lost on Sirius, but he managed to regain it last minute. His dark blue eyes looked over at Sirius disapprovingly as the two Heads of House discussed what needed to be done.

"Well she's obviously under something Horace!" McGonagall hissed, watching Lily try once more to sneak out of Remus' firm grip and over to Snape. "Look at her!"

"I see that Minerva! Now just give me a few moments," he retorted, frustrated that McGonagall would even suggest that he couldn't tell the effects of a love potion, and he the Potion's master of the school. "I've got some antidotes."

Slughorn turned to his stores and muttered silently to himself as he pulled out six bottles with various colored liquids. His muttering continued as he pulled out a small cauldron, his beetle eyes glancing up at Lily every few moments.

"Bring her here, boy," he motioned to Remus, who complied, in spite of Lily's protests, which were growing increasingly whining. "There's a good lad, now Miss Evans if you'll look up at me."

"I will not," she retorted with anger. "I know what you're doing and it won't work, it won't. Only I can fix this, and I'm not going to."

Either Slughorn heard Lily and didn't care, or he was growing deaf, because he grabbed her by her chin and forced her pretty face up so that he could observe the state of her emerald eyes.

"Amazing," Sirius could hear him mumble. "It's like her eyes are hardly affected at all. She's got a knack at potions I tell you, brilliant."

With that the Professor turned back to his bottles, still muttering how a normal antidote for Amortentia wouldn't work. The rest of the room watched curiously, some with tints of fear in their eyes, and some with anger. Sirius couldn't quite shake the feeling that they weren't going to get out of this very easily. He bit the inside of his cheek, praying Slughorn was going to fix her right, praying that Lily wouldn't follow Snape like she would under that potion.

"Drink this Evans," Slughorn said, stirring a goblet of several of the brightly colored potions together. "This should do the trick."

Lily opened her mouth to refuse, but Slughorn never allowed her the chance, and she choked slightly as the maroon liquid slid down her throat. Sirius watched, fingers crossed, as she doubled over, still hacking from her lack of preparation to have the antidote thrown so violently in her mouth. Her chest stilled for a few moments and she put her hands on her knees for support. Her dark red hair hid her face, and it took Sirius a moment to realize he was holding his breath. Lily finally stood up straight, and flipped her hair back, revealing her stunning, if not horrifically angry, face. Her eyes flashed, and that odd smile was back on her face.

"Thank you, Professor," she said, her tone one of forced politeness. "I feel so much better now. Damocles, if you'll release my boyfriend, please."

Her eyes flickered over to Sirius, who wasn't entirely convinced that Lily was herself. She had to be furious with Snape; that had to be it, Sirius concluded as Lily motioned to him to walk to her, which he did, and felt her hand slip into his.

"I believe we're done here?" Lily asked, her eyebrow raising, a characteristic of her normal self. She heard McGonagall beginning to protest.

The Professors, at a loss of anything else to do, allowed their students to go off to class. He was fairly certain that if looks could kill, the teachers would have suffered a death by James along with himself and Snape, but James followed out of the room quietly accepting his detention for hitting another student without protest.

However, once the three Marauders, Lily, and Snape were out of hearing range of the Professors and the Head Boy, Lily shook Sirius' hand from her own, and her eyes narrowed. She was free from Remus' grip and Snape stood behind her, his smirk making a return as she pulled out her wand, her eyes flashing dangerously.

"I'd advise the three of you go find Peter," she hissed darkly, and for a moment, Sirius could have sworn that was his Lily's voice, though somewhat masked. "He'll be unconscious in a closet somewhere."

And that was that. She took off with Snape, without leaving the three Marauders with a choice as to whether or not she could. Sirius and James stood, both almost shaking with anger, and it was James who went off first.

"FUCKING HELL, BLACK, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" he roared, turning to face Sirius, who stumbled back, surprised at the sudden upsurge of James' anger to be directed at him. But Sirius had had worse, and he felt his own temper flare in retaliation.

"MY fault?" Sirius retorted indignantly, his voice border lining yelling as well. "How is this my fault? Lily told me she told Snape to rot in Hell, that she wasn't going to let him blackmail her! Do you think for one second I'd let him do that to her? Willingly?"

"YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME TO BEGIN WITH AND SHE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS SITUATION!"

"DON'T BLAME THIS ON ME!"

"SHUT UP!" it was Remus this time, and his amber eyes were glaring at his two mates with an anger that Sirius had never seen before in his life from Remus. Well he had seen it, but from Remus' werewolf form, from Moony, but never from Remus. "Lily is in trouble. Snape can have her do anything while she's under that potion, and Peter's probably hurt, and the best the two of you can do is yell at each other?"

Sirius and James both looked down, once again as Remus put them in their places. Remus, however, wasn't quite done yet. He and Lily rivaled each other when it came to guilt talks, Lily just tended to give them more than Remus did.

"Now, I'd advise if we want to help Lily and find Peter that we split up and work together, like friends, you know like we're supposed to be. Sirius, you know how to get into the girl's dorms, my bet is that Lily was prepared for something like this, and you find an antidote that will actually work. James, you go find Peter, and I'm going to keep track of Snape and Lily and make sure he doesn't have her doing anything too horrible."

The two former best mates nodded their heads in guilty agreement as Remus' angry posture relaxed a bit.

"Good. The two of you meet back here in about an hour, get Wormtail to the Hospital Wing if necessary and find me on the Map," he looked at James and then Sirius pointedly. "They need us, so I'd advise anymore yelling we'd like to do wait until a more appropriate time, if there is such a thing for it. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes," Sirius and James muttered in unison.

"Good."

"Can I just say one thing?" Sirius asked, standing up straight again. He didn't really wait for approval, but his words stuck a bittersweet smirk and a chuckle from Remus and James all the same. "Lily's going to be pissed when this is over."




Lily was in a haze. An animalistic voice whispered in her head all the good things about Snape that she obviously had never noticed before. Snape had a rough hold on her wrist, which the haze in her mind assured her was just tough love. But the haze was...distorted...when she'd first fallen to it there was no questioning it. It was right, automatically, no questions asked. But now she had questions, and while each was slowly overridden by the haze, it didn't slip Lily's notice that they were certainly there.

Snape strode in front of her, occasionally casting back odd looks at her, as though he were unsure about something, but Lily paid his curious looks no mind as he led her towards the doors leading to the cool grounds. A small part of Lily's mind, a part under the haze, noted that she was glad she'd dressed warmly that morning.

"Why didn't you hex them?" Snape growled as they exited the castle and their feet hit the frosty grounds. Lily looked over at Snape inquisitively as he spoke to her. She had two answers, and the answer from the haze beat the real one out.

"Because it would have delayed me from being with you longer," she said in a sing-song voice that the part of her mind under the fog shuttered at. She wrapped her arm around his and pulled herself close to him. "Isn't that what you wanted?"

The haze assured her that the look he gave her wasn't so much disgusted as it was love-struck.

"No."

He was blunt, but the haze in Lily's mind didn't really give a damn as she blinked up at him like the girls she so avidly despised. Learned helplessness, she'd call it in another state of mind. Stupidity might be another term. Actually, there were quite a few words in her normal vocabulary that she reserved for girls that threw themselves at boys. And in that alternate state of mind, she could never understand why a girl would willingly weaken herself for a man. As far as the Lily of not even two hours ago was concerned, weak girls were hardly worth the time of Lily herself, much less any man.

But that was the Lily of two hours ago, the current Lily had only one thing in mind, and that was to please Severus Snape, in anyway he deemed necessary.

"Severus?" she asked, her voice a higher pitch than usual. Lily's mildly clouded eyes watched as her small fingers traced a circle on the back of Snape's hand. His ebony eyes were watching her fingers as well, though his face held a look torn between repulsion and disbelief. "Why are you doing this?"

Snape snatched his hand from Lily instantly and looked at her as though she'd burned him. She could almost see the steam coming from his ears as he glared at her.

"You gave me a tainted potion," he hissed. "You can think!"

"I didn't," she defended, her voice still cowering as she physically recoiled from him. "The potions Slughorn gave me weren't completely ineffective. They just weakened it a bit."

He growled, grabbing her by her upper arms and forcing her to look up at his furious eyes. The haze caused her eyes to water, and her bottom lip to pout as Snape snarled at her, his greasy hair falling into his face as his grip on her tightened. There were going to be bruises, and for a moment, under the haze, Lily even dared to wonder if the haze was required for the tears gathering in her eyes for his tight hold.

"You'd better hope," he growled, "that your potions skills are greater than the walrus of a potions master we've got because if not you'll not be the only one to pay."

"Severus," Lily's voice was whispered as she trembled in his hold. "You're hurting me."

His eyes widened in realization for a moment and his hands instantly fell to his side as he let her go. He was a different person when he wasn't with Rosier or the youngest Black around Lily. Lily rubbed her arms as he paced for a moment.

"I can distract you," she said suddenly, the haze whispering to her with its animalistic voice again. He froze mid-pace, and he turned to look at her again. She flashed him a challenging grin. "If you wish…"




It was amazing how quickly the Gryffindor Tower cleared with a few dungbombs, Sirius noted as he transformed into Padfoot. After a quick spell before transformation to protect his heightened senses from the strong odor from the bombs, Sirius was good to go. His padded feet braced his footfalls and his claws clicked quietly against the stone steps of the girl's staircase. Lily's dorm was the third one up. He stood on his hind legs and twisted the handle. He stuck his snout in first, carefully sniffing the room for any hint of anyone in the room.

He sneezed as his nose met a variety of scents. He growled in distaste as he pushed the door open, deeming it safe from Lily's roommates. He was glad Lily didn't drown herself in the various perfumes he could smell from the other girls. His eyes were watering. He checked each bed and the washrooms before he transformed back into his human form. The smell wasn't quite as bad, but Sirius was still thankful for Lily's love of simplicity. Her bed was simple enough to find, the very bra he'd taken off of her six months ago lay strewn on it along with one of his old t-shirts, and a sock with a hole in it and the trunk at the foot of her bed had the initials L.E. on the front. He smiled as he checked over his shoulder a final time before he opened the trunk.

He wasn't quite sure why he was surprised by the amount of things that he found, but for such a well organized school girl, Lily had a lot of things. A poster on the lid of her trunk revealed that she was fond of a Muggle band called the Sex Pistols, and folders upon folders of notes labeled Potions each with the designated year next to them. Sirius was rather distraught to find that they weren't even finished with sixth year potions and Lily already had three folders of notes on it. He was beginning to think she was rather fond of the subject.

He mentally scolded himself for the sarcasm, but put the notebooks up on Lily's bed so that, if need be, he could look through them to find the instructions to make the antidote. He shifted through countless items of clothing, broken quills, an odd assortment of socks, some candy wrappers, an old magazine, a deck of Exploding Snape cards, a chess board, some dragon hide gloves, and, most surprising of all to Sirius, a golden Snitch with Lily's initials on it.

James had given that to Lily for her birthday at the end of the school year last year. Sirius would have thought that Lily had thrown it away, but it sat in the same glass box that James had given it to her in. Its wings were undamaged, and Sirius could still make out James' scratchy handwriting, apologizing for his arrogance and wishing Lily a happy birthday.

As much as Sirius wanted to ponder the gift some more, he knew that his time for a safe Common Room was wearing thin, and he had to find that antidote, and it wasn't in Lily's trunk. Sirius haphazardly tossed her things back in, not even closing the trunk properly. He moved to her bedside table next and yanked open its drawer with impatience. Here too had an assortment of things, a picture of him, keys, some Spellotape, a pocket knife, and…he grinned as he found a small vial with dark maroon liquid that shimmered with tints of blue in the light. This had to be it. Laughing victoriously, Sirius pocketed the vial and gave Lily's potion's folders another glance, best to bring them, just in case. He grabbed them and didn't even bother returning to Padfoot form. Instead, he slid down the girls' staircases, ran up the boys', grabbed the Marauder's Map and made it out of the Common Room just as two of Lily's dorm mates walked into the Common Room.




Remus kept a well trained eye on Lily and Snape, though he was out of earshot, he could see Snape was asking Lily a lot of questions that made him uneasy. Lily had only managed to get Snape to kiss her a few times. As far as Remus could tell, while Snape may initially have enjoyed the idea of a lovesick Lily following him around, it probably wasn't as pleasant as the Slytherin had hoped for. He was well aware of what drew boys to Lily, and her acting less than her normal outspoken, witty, and sometimes bitchy self was not at all the Lily that anyone wanted.

"Peter's in the Hospital Wing," the rough, though now subdued, voice of Sirius whispered, taking a seat next to Remus. Behind him, Remus heard James take a seat as well. "Nasty assortment of jinxes, I think Regulus helped."

Remus nodded and shuttered as Lily dove towards Snape again, and this time the other boy didn't stop her. He heard both Sirius and James move to stop it, and while Remus managed a hold of Sirius, James escaped him.

"Damn it," he hissed, as James marched up to Snape for the second time that day and pulled him off of Lily. This time, however there was no Remus to hold Lily back, and her wand was at James' throat. "Come on Padfoot. Let's save your girlfriend and Prongs."

"Apologize!" Lily snarled, James had his hands up, his eyes darting from Lily's wand to her face. "NOW!"

Snape pushed himself off the ground, and dusted off his robes, his face twisted in a sort of sick version of fear. Remus could easily see that while Snape knew that he held the winning card at the moment...there was only one Lily to protect him, and three Marauders could easily take her out of the equation.

"Lily, please," James pleaded, his eyes now looking at her, and not her wand. From the corner of his eye, he could see Sirius tense as Lily's potion-induced self stilled at James' begging voice. "I don't want to hex you, but I will if it's what I've got to do to fix you. You're not like this, Lily, I know you're not."

She opened her mouth to protest, but she'd been still too long, and James had snatched her wrists, pulling her to him before she could start to struggle. She shrieked indignantly when she realized she was once more being restrained.

"Remus, her wand!"

Remus rushed forward and grabbed her wand, but he cried out when a burning feeling seared his hand, his amber eyes flashed to Snape, who now had his wand out, his dark eyes narrowed upon the three boys trying to take Lily from him.

"Let her go Potter, she doesn't want to be with you."

"She doesn't want to be with you either, Snivellus," Sirius spat out, his own wand out as he fingered it gently, his eyes now glaring at Snape like a hawk zooming in on its prey. He stepped forward. "No, she turned you down, didn't she? She wouldn't have you, because she had someone else in mind, didn't she?"

"Shut up Black! Let go of me Potter!" Lily screeched. It was no use, though. James' hold on Lily was firm, and despite her struggles in his arms, she looked as though she belonged in them. James didn't let go, but shifted her so that he had a firm hold with one arm.

"The antidote, Padfoot," he said. Sirius, who moments ago had looked like he was about to teach Snape what happened when someone messed with his girlfriend, instantly stopped, turning to James and looking at him as though he'd just preformed a miracle. The look vanished when James asked again. "Don't be daft, Black! The antidote, NOW!"

Sirius looked back at Snape, a sneer on his face, he flicked his wand and Snape instantly toppled over in a full body bind. He handed James the antidote, and Lily pulled her lips in tight, refusing to open her mouth for the boys. Sirius finally managed to tickle her and get her to open her mouth to tell him to stop, where James pulled a Slughorn and poured the antidote down her throat, however, he didn't give her a chance to spit it out, and instead shut her jaw with his hands until he watched her swallow. He let go of her and she sprang from him, her breathing ragged as she clutched her chest and Sirius' arm for support.

It was a good few moments before she collected herself, and this time when she stood up, while Remus was still intimidated by the furious glare on her face, he felt much better. This was Lily. That glare was no longer directed towards the Marauders or Slughorn, but rather the one and only Severus Snape, and Lily rounded on him with a rather venomous look in her brilliant eyes.

"My wand," she said in a throaty voice, extending her hand to Remus. There was no option for him in that tone and Remus gave it to her. She flicked her wand and Snape's body bind was gone. She took a step forward as Snape scrambled back on his feet. His face was rather pasty, with a hint of green to it as he watched Lily with almost as much fear as he gave to the Marauders behind her. "That was a wonderful trick, Severus, now I do hope you've properly prepared for the consequences."

Her eyes darted wildly at Snape, and he visibly took a step back from Lily, who stepped right up to him and slapped him clean across his face. He bit his bottom lip, and Remus couldn't tell if there were tears in his eyes or not, but he did hear Sirius snicker, though quietly.

"Bastard," she hissed. "You're as bad as they are. Teach me a lesson, would you? Think you can force me, do you? Well I'll have none of it, Snape. Don't you dare think that anyone can ever use me as an excuse to harm someone else and get away with it, do you understand me?"

"Yes," Snape said through his teeth, his eyes darting nervously from Lily to the Marauders behind her.

"And?"

"And they fucking deserved it."

Remus, Sirius, and James were all rather impressed as Lily pulled her arm back and fully punched Snape in the jaw. He howled in pain again, but Lily glared up at the boys standing behind her.

"Just remember what I said," she hissed, looking down at Snape. "Don't use me as an excuse."

She stormed off to the castle, leaving Sirius and James alone with Snape. Remus looked after her retreating form mournfully as the other two boys closed in on Snape's now trembling form. She had too much faith in them.

Chapter 17: Trouble...Again
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A/N: Whoot! Another update, and so soon! I know everyone's just super excited...right well, here it goes...um, beware anyone who's not really feeling the ship that I've set up between Lily and Sirius...because this chapter is rather filled with them...together...but if you trust me, and you trust that I've reasons for my evil plot, then you won't mind it one bit. :-D





Nursing a bruised hand, and still fuming over Snape, Sirius returned to the Common Room alone. Belby had had the wonderful idea of interfering with James and Sirius' decision to give Snape what was coming to him, and the pair had only managed to give Snape a few broken bones, a somewhat crushed nose, a bit of internal bleeding, and bruises. Minor injuries, in Sirius' mind, to what Snape really disserved. Belby was with Snape in the Hospital Wing now, and James and Remus had gone to the Library.

Sirius was feeling bitter for reasons beyond not being able to properly put Snape in his place. When they were receiving their punishments, Sirius had reverted to how they usually responded when they were in trouble, he joked. But James hadn't found it amusing, and simply glared at Sirius.

"Don't think this still isn't your fault," he had growled. "She made the potion to save you."

After that Sirius had lost all pretenses that this particular incident with Snape could bring him and James together again. He had hoped, before the interruption and as he and James were simultaneously pounding Snape, that he and James were mates again. They'd worked together, they had a common goal and a common enemy, what they lacked, apparently, was common interests. Sirius had Lily, and James still wanted her.

Cursing under his breath, Sirius muttered the password to the fat lady and stumbled into the Common Room, touching his hand lightly as though he weren't certain that it was alright.

His attention, however, was immediately drawn from his hand to the sofa in front of the fire place. There sat Lily, with her legs pulled up under her chin and her emerald eyes watching him with...well with what Sirius couldn't really place, but whatever it was it was powerful. He was instantly captivated by her, and walked slowly over to her, taking a seat next to the beautiful girl he could claim as his own.

"I am sorry," she whispered, now looking at the fire blazing in the fire. "I shouldn't have lied to you..."

"Why did you?" he asked in the same quiet tone she spoke with.

"I thought you'd be angry with me."

A shadow of a smirk crossed Sirius' face. Something told him that he should be angry that she had lied, and something told him that he had every right to be angry that she had lied to him, again. But he was so relieved that she was back to normal and she was his girlfriend again that he found that he couldn't be angry with her.

"Yes, I suppose I would have," he answered finally, reaching a hand under her chin and pulling her to look at him. Her vivid eyes finally locked with his and he gave her a comforting smile. "But you make a tragic mistake...I would have gotten over it."'

She was still for a moment before her lips parted in a small, somewhat saddened smile. Sirius felt his heart skip a few beats. He really hadn't been the greatest of boyfriends to her lately. She wasn't with him for him to brush her away because he was sulking that he'd gotten caught, she wasn't with the depressed Sirius that pulled away from her. She was with a Sirius that loved her, and treated her like the queen that she was.

"I am sorry," he breathed to her at last. He saw a confused look cross her features, but he continued before she could inquire more. "I have to be the worst boyfriend ever these past few days. I'm sorry I didn't pull through and 'study' with you this morning, and I'm sorry I'm such a bad sport...I really am. You mean the world to me, Lily, and...I don't know what I've been thinking lately to deny myself the pleasure of your company. I love you."

The transformation in Lily's face was spectacular. Her almond eyes held in them a glimmer that Sirius hadn't seen before, the look of confusion was traded for one of awe and admiration and peaceful happiness. Her cheeks tinted with the lightest shade of pink Sirius had ever seen grace her face and her lips parted into a silent 'oh'.

His time to observe her was, of course, short. He had denied himself her too long, and they met in the middle, both sets of lips aching hungrily for the other. How Sirius managed to catch on that continuing this snogging session in the middle of the Common Room would be unwise, he was never certain, but the two struggled their way up the staircases to the boys' dormitories as they attempted to climb the steps without parting from one another.

Sirius flicked his wand as he and Lily stumbled into his dorm. It was a charm rectifying the room as occupied, and occupied was certainly what Sirius was as he pressed Lily against the wall. His hands roamed her sides, and he felt hers on his waist, as though she couldn't decide if she wished to explore the back half or the front. He smirked through their kissing and pulled just a breath from her lips. Her jade eyes flickered up to him, challengingly. He neither moved from where he had her pinned to the wall, nor took anymore advantage of it, he was curious as to what she was going to do next.

She pressed herself as high as her small feet would grace her to reach, and when she could stretch her short body no taller, she reached up and pulled him down to her. Her fingers slipped into his hair and he reveled in her as she began to slow her movements. The lust he felt quelled, though, only to the point that it was tender. Lily pulled from him once she was no longer pinned to the wall, and Sirius watched, almost amazed, as she walked decidedly towards his bed. She looked over her shoulder at him, and though her back was facing him, he knew what her delicate fingers in the front were doing. He felt himself respond accordingly as her shirt slipped off her shoulders, and her skirt fell after. She locked her gaze with his for just a moment, and he needed no more encouragement. He resisted the urge to grin wildly, knowing this was not merely a need for her to fill her lust for him, but to inform him that her feelings were, in fact, the same. Sirius shrugged his clothing off quickly, and he was at her side instantly.

His lips trailed from her mouth down her neck, and his grip on her tightened as she pulled him onto the bed. He moved from her touches only to draw the curtains to his four poster bed. Her tender touches grew more intense as they continued to revisit territory long forgotten, and Sirius was determined to memorize every curve of her body. The pulling feeling in his gut turned all the more with his desire as Lily took her turn, her lips venturing from his neck down his chest, gently across the odd assortment of scars that littered it, and down abdomen to the excited skin she knew would make him long for her all the more.

He could stand it no longer, and pulled Lily back up to him, and their lips met heatedly. What was left of her clothing soon found its way to the foot of Sirius' bed, as Lily's voice met his ears. He remembered everything like they'd been together only the previous day, and he loved how well his body met hers, how eager they were to please one another. Unlike any other lover, her fingers never stilled or ignored the more prominent scars on Sirius' back. She gently caressed each one until he came for her, upon which time neither one were particularly paying attention to their hands rather than the point of their desires.

He'd lost all track of time, but it was pleasant aftermath as he felt her nuzzle into his bare chest. His hands gently stroked her equally bare back, making their way down past the depressions of her hips and back up to her shoulder blades. His eyes drooped with tired contentment, and he could feel her breathing calming significantly. He pulled his covers up over the pair of them as she shivered due to her cooling sweat from their love making. She was easing into sleep. He finally pushed aside some of her auburn hair that tickled his chest. She felt so good on top of him, tiny as she was, she was certainly an explosive little package. He gently kissed the top of her head.

"Sirius?" she whispered, her lips brushing his chest softly.

"Mmmm?"

"I love you too."



He waited until he was certain that she was sleeping before he slid from under her and quickly gathered her clothing, the darkened sky outside told him that if he was lucky, James and Remus hadn't been by, meaning there was no need for the lock off of their room...and if that was the case, he could keep Lily hidden behind the curtains, but if her uniform scattered their messy floor, it might be a dead give-a-way to what they'd been doing.

He just hoped that he was lucky.

As he climbed back into bed with his favorite red-head his thoughts turned back to her words that made him feel like nothing in the world. It was better than sex, it was better than kisses...better than anything. She loved him.

His thoughts turned dark, however, as he thought of what Snape had done to her. Mental images that sickened him made a vivid appearance in his mind. Had Snape touched her in anyway more than that? Had he hurt her? What had he forced her to tell him? Remus said he wasn't in earshot of the pair, and that Snape had, for the most part, kept Lily at arms length. 'For the most part' bothered Sirius a great deal, particularly since Remus wouldn't go into detail. And there was still the unaccounted time in which Remus had spent straightening out Sirius and James. It was enough to make Sirius' blood boil. His grip on the sheets surrounding him and Lily tightened, if only for a moment, for the next moment the door opened and he could hear Remus and James whispering.

"Why the hell do I have to whisper? I don't give a damn if he wakes up," James growled quietly. He heard a thump and knew Remus had cuffed James in the back of the head, partially from experience, partially from the curses that were now making their way from James' mouth. "Fine! Stop being a prat and I'll keep my mouth shut."

"Good," Remus retorted. There was an odd silence, and Sirius knew it better than anyone. While Sirius and James were the closest of the four Marauders, Sirius was the closest to Remus. Remus was a listener, but he sometimes needed an ear as well. It was from Sirius' loyalty to Remus and the friendship developed from there that Remus knew of the unspoken question that would never leave their furry friend's mouth. The only information Sirius lacked was what that question would be.

"What's that face for Moony?" James inquired. He was instantly shushed by Remus. While Sirius could picture James' indignant look, James' voice quieted all the same. "What's wrong?"

"It's nothing."

"Come on Remus, I've been lied to enough recently, I don't need you adding to it."

There was a quiet shuffle, and a soft sigh.

"Really, James, it's nothing important."

Sirius caught onto the question then, and instantly felt horrible for it. Of course Remus wouldn't ask that. He was too humble. He would never ask it because he wasn't a selfish person. Not that Sirius found the question selfish, of course. And neither, apparently, did James as he caught onto it moments after Sirius did.

"Remus," he whispered in an almost patronizing tone. "You didn't actually think we'd abandon you over a silly fight, did you?"

"Come off it," Remus retorted, sounding annoyed in his whispers. "Besides, you don't seem to think it's so silly."

James' face came to Sirius' mind, and he knew full well what it was doing, frowning, and giving Remus a disbelieving look.

"Prongs, it's not just that, even if the two of you do come it could be more dangerous. Werewolves aren't just drawn to human blood...they're drawn towards violence, and if you and Sirius start fighting...well I might not turn a stag and a dog into werewolves, but it won't stop me from trying to hurt you. Fights are what I live for then...and..." Remus trailed off.

"And what?"

"Well there's not much your stag form can do against Padfoot...dogs are made to hunt and...well Prongs is made to be the hunted...Sirius will beat you as a dog as he did as a human. He's got teeth and claws and the only thing you've got are antlers and strong legs. That would help you win if it were just you and Sirius, but if you're fighting around a werewolf—"

Remus let the thought hang. Sirius, for a moment, sat in shocked disbelief that Remus would even think that he would, even for a second, allow himself and James to fight during such a time, but in the next moment he was thinking something entirely different...Lily was awake.

"That's illegal!" she hissed, and none too quietly. Sirius shuttered, as he heard both Remus and James shut up quickly. Sirius pulled his hand up to his face and let it drag down slowly, expressing his sudden thoughts of oh shit. Sighing, he pulled on his boxers and tossed Lily his shirt. She looked at him questioningly, but pulled the shirt on all the same. Sirius climbed out of his bed, and pulled the curtains that hid them to the side.

The disbelieving, even angry, faces of Remus and James met him and he gave them a half hearted smile as Lily peaked at them from the other side of the curtains. He saw James' eyes flicker between himself and Lily behind him. Remus just stared, gobsmacked, at Sirius. He sighed, knowing little good was going to come of this.

"Hey guys," he said, his voice giving way that he knew he was in trouble...again.

Chapter 18: Promises & "Pranks"
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A/N: Graduation=May 25=Super excited me. *squee* Not much else to report here, except I've got a new beta: wicKeDwitch1316. Thanks Kavya!






There was an awkward tension in the room as Lily watched the boys figure out how best to approach this new hurdle in their path. They knew that Remus' lycanthropy wasn't news to Lily, and hadn't been since the incident in Hogsmeade during September; it was the remaining Marauders' illegal status as Animagi that had not been brought to her rather expansive knowledge. Remus was sitting next to her as Sirius and James paced, doing their best to avoid one another. The sandy haired Marauder gave her a look that she knew meant he was as confused as she was, and one that she understood as saying that her best move would have been to keep her mouth shut.

She felt like an idiot, but in waking from her somewhat blissful slumber, she had spoken from surprise. It wasn't everyday that she found out her boyfriend was an Animagus. Not only was he one, but so were James and Peter. She looked up at the Sirius and James, who were still avoiding one another's eyes. James' pace was furious and saddened, but at the same time, it was surprised without being unprepared. His stance confused her. Sirius, on the other hand, was quite readable, even through all his masks; Lily had learned them one by one. Sirius was upset that he was unsure what to do next.

"Maybe we should explain everything to her," Remus spoke up at last, causing the two boys to cease their pacing. Lily looked at him expectantly, but he looked over at James. She followed his gaze to the bespectacled boy. James ran an uncertain hand through his hair. Following Remus' suit, James wasn't looking at her either, but he sat on the edge of his bed, sighing deeply.

For a long moment, Lily didn't think James would say anything at all. He remained silent until Sirius finally sat down on the other side of her. She felt out of place. She was not a Marauder, and yet she was about to be pulled into what had to be their ultimate secret.

"You can't tell anyone," James whispered at last, looking up at Lily, not even acknowledging Remus or Sirius beside her. "I—"

He stopped and looked up at Sirius.

"Peter needs to be here."

"Right," Sirius nodded, standing up. He turned back to Lily and offered her a weak smile. "I'll be right back."

He leaned down and gave her a swift kiss on the forehead, before pulling on his trousers and a shirt. She watched him leave with a look of concern. This was not good, not good at all, and she knew it.

Sirius' absence made the tension in the room twice as thick as it had been; and James once more blatantly refused to look at her. Lily looked back over at Remus whose amber eyes shone with worry. She knew his thoughts ran along the same as hers. She sighed lightly and turned back to James. After what seemed like hours, but couldn't have been more than a few minutes, Sirius returned with Peter in tow, the latter looking somewhat flustered.

"I was being nursed to health by Cordelia. Knock out potions have wicked effects on a guy that can only be tended to by a pretty girlfriend, you know. What the hell do you want?" Peter grumbled as Sirius let go of his arm. Peter's irritated nature was replaced with a curious demeanor as he saw the solemn face of James and the rather concerned one of Remus. His curious eyes grew all the more inquisitive as he spied Lily in Sirius' t-shirt. He turned to James, his round face looking indignant. "Surely you don't need me here to give them the owls and the pixies talk, because if they're doing it, I'm pretty sure they know the consequences..."

Peter's returned irritation vanished at the dark look that James shot him.

"She knows," Sirius muttered. At Peter's confused face, Lily heard Sirius sigh and reiterate. "She knows about our moonlit escapades."

A look of realization crossed Peter's face, and he instantly shot Sirius an accusatory look. Lily had watched him recently; he frequently took James' side during the spats between his two friends while Remus remained neutral. This time was no different as his azure eyes narrowed towards the dark haired boy to her left.

"You told her?" he asked. Sirius was the one shooting the dark look this time, and Peter grumbled as he took a seat next to James, who quickly explained why Lily knew. His tone still clearly indicated that he felt the blame lay with Sirius. Peter responded merely with an, "Oh."

James finally returned his attention to Lily again, and he took a deep breath. This time when he spoke, his voice was far more pleading.

"Please, Lily, promise us you won't tell anyone," he begged gently, his eyes locking with hers. With an odd sense of déjà vu, Lily found herself awed by the sheer emotion that he could hold in those eyes once again. She'd seen beautiful eyes, Sirius' eyes, for example, were stunning in their coloring and in the way they shone in different lights. Remus too had eyes that were indescribable. They were tame, yet wild, and calm yet passionate. But James' eyes, hazel and unimpressive though they were, drew her in. She saw past the bully, past the arrogant prat he could be. In them she could see James Potter, the boy who was fearful that she would hurt him with the information she now held. "Please."

"I would never tell on you for this James," she promised. "Azkaban isn't the place for you."

A light, hollow smile crossed James' worried features as Lily promised him, and as she didn't break the strong eye contact they held.

"But you've got to tell me how all of this happened."

"It's a long story."

"I've got time."

The wry grin that slid across James' face made Lily grin as well. The situation was tense, she knew that much. They were illegal Animagi and she had a terrible reputation for getting them in trouble when they did something wrong. She knew James was less than pleased to have found her and Sirius in bed together because she couldn't keep her idiot mouth shut, and she knew he was borderlining fear to tell her what he was preparing himself to say. But something, she knew, something in those hazel eyes of his told her that he was going to trust her, not only because he felt he had to, but because he felt she could be trusted. The one thing that seemed to be wrong was that James was unsure where to start.

"We...ah," he stumbled, searching for the right words. Lily watched him shift uncomfortably on his bed and it clicked as his eyes darted over to Remus. She followed his gaze and it struck her, as he looked with uncertainty towards his furry mate. They did this for Remus...werewolves could hurt animals, certainly, but they bite of a werewolf would be just a bite for a stag or a dog or whatever Peter turned into. If they were bitten as animals, the curse of the werewolf wouldn't harm them.

"Remus," she offered gently, looking over at her fellow Prefect. "They transform with you."

Remus smiled in acknowledgement.

"In second year, when they found out about me, James had the brilliant idea that perhaps it would be best if I weren't alone," he shrugged. Lily's eyes widened slightly as she looked back at James who was fiddling with a loose string on his trousers.

"That's dangerous," she said lightly, looking back at James. "In more ways than one."

"We're all for danger, Lily," Sirius commented from her left, she didn't miss the sarcasm. "It's what we live for."

"I hadn't noticed," she returned just as smartly. "Running with werewolves, unregistered Animagi...but how...how did you do it?"

"It was...difficult," James answered at last, drawing Lily's attention back to him. "We nailed it last year, and that was a task in and of itself. But second and third year were spent researching and researching...Remus here actually thought we were doing homework. Usually only one of us would do homework while the other two took notes and researched and we just copied the work later. And towards the end of third year and the beginning of fourth year we actually started attempting to transform."

"James got it first," Peter laughed, and Lily got the impression that, for this discussion anyways, things were almost normal for the Marauders. The accusing looks, and the sly comments that had been exchanged between James and Sirius were gone, and they were simply explaining to Lily how and why they were the Marauders. "And Sirius got it the day after that. They had to help me...a lot. Transfiguration's not exactly my best subject..."

For the first time in quite a long time...since James had discovered her and Sirius, in fact, Lily laughed. A warm smile lit up her face as Peter's round face gave her a timid smile.

"Peter," Lily smiled gently, looking at him with friendly affection, "there is no subject that is your subject, according to you."

"Sure there is," Peter grinned. "Lunch is brilliant."




In the week following Lily's discussion with the Marauders, Sirius was finding something had changed between himself and James. There were no more insults of 'traitor' thrown at him from James' direction, nor did he catch any glares from those familiar hazel eyes. James didn't storm from the room every time Sirius came in, and he didn't snicker loudly when Sirius was reprimanded by Professor Slughorn for getting his roots wrong. In fact, James ignored Sirius completely; it was almost as though Sirius no longer existed to James.

But they had to talk soon, very soon, because the full moon was tonight, and while Sirius was a fan of reckless abandon, the biggest fan, in fact, he was not fond of the idea of running rampant about the grounds without some sort of plan. The dangers of running about with a werewolf and with no plan was beyond reckless...it was just stupid.

Sirius, however, was proud, and he wasn't going to beg for James' forgiveness anymore than he already had. What did James want him to do...grovel? After all, there were some perks to James' cold shoulder, he could snog Lily publicly without fear of reprimand from his long time best mate, and he could expect no trouble for dragging her to his favorite broom closet knowing James would say nothing about it. He didn't actually do these things...well he snogged her once in a futile attempt to get James' attention...but he still had the option.

In all, while Lily and Remus were great fun on occasion, Sirius was growing bored without James. He hardly found any fun from hexing suits of armor to scare first year Slytherins out of their knickers. And he had come to find that Peeves was horrible at dual pranks, because he tended to have a hidden agenda...as did Sirius, for that matter...and the two lacked trust in one another. Instead they had treated a corridor of Hufflepuffs to a rather interesting shouting match. He hadn't even had any fun making Regulus shout during breakfast one morning by reintroducing a certain goblet with a rather foul vocabulary to the Slytherin table. It had made the corners of Lily's lips curl though, and her lips were so sexy when they curled in that maniacal sort of way.

But, Sirius reminded himself, he still needed to get with James...or at least with someone who could speak with James and was on somewhat neutral grounds. And he knew that said someone couldn't be so humble as to insist that Sirius nor James were required to come with him during his monthly transformation. It also helped if said someone wasn't in the Hospital Wing preparing to sneak to the Shrieking Shack It was for that reason and that one alone that Sirius had found himself in the Library with Peter, who had been 'studying' with Cordelia until Sirius had shown up. Peter's sallow hair stood out from the dark books of the library and the color met Sirius' argent eyes from the back of the Library. He cleared his throat to alert the pair of his presence. Cordelia, embarrassed, bade Peter a good night and excused herself, telling Peter that she had to return to her Common Room. Sirius looked around rather cautiously before he took a seat next to his mate.

"Has Prongs mentioned anything about the moonlit stroll that's usually planned for tonight?" Sirius hissed to Peter. Peter looked up at him curiously and shook his head.

"No," he whispered back, his blue eyes flickering past Sirius' head. He too was ensuring that their conversation wasn't overheard. "Not really, why? Are you actually planning on coming?"

Sirius gave Peter an offended look.

"Did you really think I was going to let this silly fight wash over to my friendship with Moony?" Sirius countered, still stung by Peter's inquiry. "Look, we need to have a plan for tonight..."

"I'm not so sure that's the best idea, Padfoot," Peter interrupted, his tones still quiet. "Moony's right, you could hurt James if the two of you go at it whenever we're out. It's not safe to have the two of you fighting and have our furry friend out. Maybe you should sit this one out and just let Prongs and me go...we'll stay in the Shack because without you there it's still too risky to let Moony out with only one scout big enough to keep him at bay..."

A dejected sigh escaped Sirius' mouth. He didn't want to sit it out...well he really had a detention tonight, but he could skip it. It wouldn't be the first time...actually, come to think of it, James had the same detention. Lily had given it to them.

"I've really screwed up this time," he shook his head, feeling ashamed. Peter looked at him pityingly. "My best friends don't even trust me to not fight James during such a delicate time with Moony..."

"I hardly expect anyone to trust you...ever, really, Black," a new voice chimed in. The snide tone didn't escape Sirius as his eyes flashed up to the voice's greasy source. "Even Evans can't trust you with something as simple as a friendship with me...pity."

"She's no friend of yours," Sirius hissed, his temper rising dangerously. Snape had been clever enough to steer clear of Sirius for the past few days. What did not make sense was why Snivellus would approach him now. Idiot.

"Ah, I suppose she is a bit sore with me for attempting to show her the error of her ways," Snape smirked, undaunted by Sirius' threatening tone. Peter eyed the arguing pair warily. "But I have no intention to discuss the Mudblood with you at the moment. I couldn't help but over hear, and I do believe that you were just discussing something pertaining to Lupin...I must inquire, what has a shack got to do with his mother being ill, as that is where you claim he goes every month...I know he's poor, but surely he doesn't live in a shack."

Sirius made to rush at Snape, but Peter swiftly grabbed his arm, stopping the attack before it happened. Sirius glared at his mate before returning it to Snape.

"You're one to talk of lack of money, Snape," Sirius said. The crisp, almost cruel tone that years of Pureblood training had placed in his mouth was directed full force towards the slimy, grease-ball in front of him. "Those second hand robes are a disgrace. Our uniforms are supposed to be black, not a dark faded grey."

Snape's face soured significantly at Sirius' words, and his next words came out bitingly harsh.

"The only disgrace in this room is you, Black, who required your competition for Evans' affections to save her from the potion she gave me to save your pathetic arse."

"You never should have brought her into this," Sirius snarled, standing up now, ignoring Peter's attempts to calm him.

"I did no such thing, it was you who brought the girl into it, and it shall be you to push her out of it if that's where you wish her to be."

"Maybe I should just ensure that you get pushed out of the equation, or over a cliff, I'm not picky really."

Snape paused for a precious few moments, as though trying to think of something to counter Sirius' statement. Sirius was satisfied when the Slytherin failed to do so. He wasn't satisfied with the fact that that infuriating smirk was far from gone. He had half a mind to hex it off, and was in the process of reaching for his wand to do just that when Snape spoke again.

"So where does Lupin really go every month, because I must tell you that girl of yours has quite the mouth when she's dying for her needs to be satisfied..."

"Her brain was warped by your potion; she would have told you anything to get what she wanted."

"She told me Lupin's mother is dead."

Sirius started, and it was a fatal mistake because Snivellus' smirking face told him that anymore lies about Remus that came from Sirius' mouth would be recognized as such. And that wretched little mouth that was curling into that horrible smirk had forced itself on the lips of Sirius' girlfriend, and had blackmailed her into making a potion to turn her into a pawn in Snape's sick little game. And Sirius wanted it to end, he wanted to scare the Hell out of Snape so that the sick little bastard would never again touch Lily, that he would never again bring her into matters that she was not connected to.

"You want to find out where Remus goes?" Sirius hissed, halting all thoughts, and his mouth betraying him. If he thought he'd never finish this revenge. He'd never be able to pull through with the plan his mind had just irresponsibly created. "Fine. Tonight, after the sunsets, go to the Whomping Willow, prod its base and follow the tunnel from there—"

The rather sudden slam of Peter's foot into Sirius' shin stopped Sirius quite suddenly. His thoughts finally caught up to his arrogant, foolish, headstrong mouth which always seemed to get him in trouble. His face paled instantly as he realized what he'd just done, and his eyes flickered over Snape's shoulder to the window. It was dark.

"Actually," Sirius said, his voice never wavering from the calm pureblooded mask he always gave it around Snape. "Forget I mentioned that. No fun is to be had from that tree."

"Naturally," Snape hissed, his victorious smirk not missed by Sirius' observant eyes. "I wouldn't dream of following blindly into whatever mischief you Marauders may be up to. Somehow it usually ends rather bitterly for me...or with Evans viciously angry with Potter..."

But Sirius didn't buy it and Snape left far too quickly for Sirius to actually do anything. Not that he really wanted to, he suddenly realized. If Snape was fool enough to listen to anything that came out of Sirius' mouth, then it was his own fault if he actually did what Sirius had told him to. He'd deserve it, after what he'd done to Lily; she hadn't asked to be his slave. He didn't know what that sick bastard had done to her, and Lily wouldn't tell him what had happened.

"What the HELL do you think you're doing Padfoot?" Peter whispered urgently. "Snape could be killed!"

"No he won't," Sirius countered, his voice was not quite as quiet as it should have been. Madam Pince instantly shushed them, shooting them a stern look. Sirius sat still for a moment as Peter fidgeted uncomfortably. "He'll hear Moony's howls and run before anything happens...besides, he's not that stupid. He's not going to listen to anything I say."

"Fuck that, Sirius," Peter breathed forcefully. "He's always wanted to know where Moony goes off to! He wouldn't pass this chance up for anything!"

Mouth opened to object, Sirius started as Peter quickly gathered his things and stormed away from the table. A sense of dread nestled its way into Sirius' chest and he found himself desperately hoping that Peter did not run into James. With a sadistic sort of humor, Sirius found himself wondering why the same phrase seemed to follow him everywhere this year. Perhaps he really was a stupid traitor.

"Shit," he grumbled, once more, as he stood up and followed Peter's steps out of the library.

Chapter 19: House of Wolves
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A/N: Yes, yes, I know I’ve been horrible at updating, but I’m sorry! I graduated and moved and it’s just been hectic. (Hasn’t helped that this chapter’s been a pest...*glares particularly at Sirius*) Anyways, here you go! Enjoy!

Title inspired by My Chemical Romance. ;-) I thought it fit even if Remus doesn’t make an actual appearance in this chapter...







There was a bad feeling in Sirius’ gut as he cautiously stepped into the classroom that he and James were assigned to for detention. His gut dropped as he saw James in a somewhat forced looking conversation with Lily, both waiting for him to show up. Neither party looked too comfortable. Lily had told Sirius that James had been pretty much ignoring her as of late as well. But he was speaking to her now, though Sirius didn’t miss the hurt look on James’ face as the two spoke.

His silver eyes darted to Lily first; she looked up from her conversation with James and gave him a warm smile. For the first time he could recall, that beautiful smile of hers offered him no comfort...in fact, it made him feel guilty. She trusted him.

“You’re late,” she said, her smile not fading. “Not going to have to give you another detention am I?”

Unsurprisingly, James didn’t turn around; he didn’t even acknowledge that Lily had engaged someone else in a conversation. He didn’t speak, though, and his face hardened a bit. Sirius’ felt his gut twist, but another look at Lily, and he knew he wasn’t brave enough to tell James with her in the room. James, Sirius often felt, was already a lost cause, no matter how much Lily assured him that James was going to forgive him eventually. But Lily…Sirius didn’t know what he would do if she too left him.

“Sorry,” he said, not using a witty response like he normally would have. He saw Lily give him an odd look at his unusual answer. “Regulus decided to be a pest…”

He internally grimaced for the lie.

“Ah,” she said, with an understanding nod. “Very well, have a seat,” she motioned to the desk next to James, and Sirius took a hesitant seat where instructed. “Tonight the two of you are to get rid of the doxies in these curtains,” Lily said, pointing up to the tall deep purple, velvet cloth that draped windows looking over the grounds. Sirius’ eyes ventured to the moon that wasn’t quite yet visible over the forest, and then to the Whomping Willow that swayed lightly in the wind. He saw no figure on the grounds, and a mild hope that Snape wouldn’t listen to him filled his chest.

“I’ll be back in about an hour to check on your progress,” Lily continued, bringing Sirius back to his detention. She handed them buckets, gloves and doxy spray. “Wands,” she said, holding out her hands, giving them both pointed looks. Sirius reluctantly reached into his pocket and gave her his wand, knowing that James was probably going to want his back in the near future. “I’ll see you in an hour.”

Sirius watched her leave, the sinking feeling in his gut growing stronger. James had already started on one of his curtains, and Sirius cast him a side long glance.

“You’ve done something,” James noted, never looking over at Sirius. “Regulus hasn’t spoken to you at all today,” Sirius didn’t answer, somewhat shocked that James was talking to him, and mostly feeling his gut tug uncomfortably. “What did you do?”

It wasn’t a pleasant feeling at all, this guilt, Sirius decided. His pride insisted that Snape would deserve every bit of what he was headed for. A damn good scare, because surely Snape wouldn’t be stupid enough to keep going once he heard the werewolf’s call...surely. Sirius glanced back out. The full moon hung low over the forest now, Moony was out to play by this time, Sirius knew. His eyes darted down to the grounds, and he felt his chest clench up as a tiny figure was making its way, slowly but surely to the Whomping Willow. And it defiantly was too tall and thin to be Peter.

“...Moony’s going to have a visitor tonight,” Sirius said, his voice cracking slightly. He saw James go rigid as his eyes fell to the figure on the grounds. “You know...really, he won’t be stupid enough to go all the way...just a good scare...really.”

“Snape,” James snarled, his eyes quickly moving from the grounds to Sirius. The fire that was suddenly burning in those hazel eyes made Sirius’ chest swell with a fear that he normally associated with his father. “You told Snape how to get to Remus?!”

“James I—”

“FUCK, BLACK! HOW MUCH CAN YOU SCREW UP?!”

“James—” his voice was getting terribly weak sounding.

“Get Dumbledore,” James said, his voice cold, slicing through Sirius with the painful thought that James was about to go after Snape...James surely wasn’t that stupid, and Sirius was about to open his mouth and voice this thought when James stopped him quite quickly. “GO DAMN IT!”




Sirius had been late for their shared detention, and James could tell by the quivering note in his voice and the lack of an angry look on his face that Sirius was lying to Lily when he mentioned Regulus. Not only was he lying to Lily, but Sirius wasn’t looking like he was staying for a detention. In fact, he was looking quite peaky, and while James was still harboring the hope that Sirius was going to laugh it off and tell him the whole thing with Lily was a clever joke, that he would never lie to James about anything, most importantly not a girl, and that he would never sleep with said girl, James knew it wasn’t going to happen.

He knew it so well, in fact, that he had, for the most part, stopped talking to Lily recently in addition to Sirius, save for the light conversation he held with her while they awaited Sirius. Not because he was mad at her, well he was mad at her, but not as mad as he was with Sirius. Part of him, a strong part wanted to lash out at her, hurt her with such a stunned disbelief as he had. Part of him stung, hadn’t they become friends? Over the course of fighting Death Eaters and teasing each other over things like James’ hair to Lily’s lack of a chest to their inability to do anything but laugh at the other one. He had thought, even hoped to dare that Lily felt something for him, that she was sending him positive signals, that they were actually getting somewhere, and then…she had lied to him. She had picked Sirius over him. It stung, though he didn’t show her as much as he could have. While initially he was convinced that he couldn’t be angry with Lily, he quickly found that he could be angry with her. She had led him to believe that they were well enough along that she could have told him about her boyfriend. So technically she had told him that she had a boyfriend, she only did it to save Sirius’ hide…which probably classified her properly as Sirius’ girlfriend. That’s what she was supposed to do; hell, once upon a time it had been James doing idiotic things to protect Sirius.

There was a conflict in him now, the commanders of either side of the army that made up his mind and his heart were preparing themselves for a battle: to forgive Sirius or not. How could he really blame Sirius? Honestly? There had to be lies every once in a while. James had once lied to Sirius when he’d started dating Sirius’ ex-girlfriend, Angela, hadn’t he? Then again, Sirius had never really liked Angela and she only lasted about a week. Certainly not three months, and she defiantly didn’t mean much to Sirius. She didn’t drive him crazy with her ability to look at him and communicate that she was simultaneously angry with him and amused by him. She didn’t give Sirius chills by that half-smile and those emerald eyes that held so much emotion and defiance and innocence all at once. James didn’t know what to do anymore. Sirius was, and always would be his best friend, and friends stuck together no matter what. Remus was right, much as James didn’t like to think it. Lily was just a girl, and even though Sirius lied, even though he let himself be blackmailed…James would have done the same had their places been reversed. Sirius was his friend, and James loved him, he wouldn’t have been hurt so badly if he didn’t.

James’ full intention was to apologize for acting like a git to Sirius, to make up with him, to be the ringleaders of the Marauders again, and to lead the school into mass chaos once more. His intent, unfortunately, quickly changed as Sirius spoke first. His peaky face looked half shocked, half amused, but mostly scared.

And then, then, Sirius had pointed out what information he had given to Snape and all thoughts of forgiveness for the Black was thrown out of James’ mind.

“SIRIUS, GO!” he yelled a second time.

Sirius didn’t hesitate again, and James ran out, going the opposite way. He ran faster than his legs had ever carried him. Sirius’ eyes had told him all he needed to know, just as they always did. He didn’t know the details, but he knew who had told Snape how to get to Remus, and he had a sneaking suspicion of the reasons behind it. For telling James about the secretive couple in the first place was one, and of course misplaced anger was another. James had seen Sirius pacing with irritation the past few days as James had adopted the policy of completely ignoring his former best mate instead of insulting him or being just mean to him. But, as most things with Sirius were, it was impulsiveness, and probably a sense of heroism. He was defending Lily in a way that he hadn’t been able to when Belby had disrupted James and Sirius from beating Snape to a pulp.

James threw open the doors leading out on the grounds. He could see a figure in the distance, just against the shadows of the Forbidden Forest. He watched with horror as the Whomping Willow froze as the figure prodded the base with a stick. Sirius had told Snape everything. James’ speed increased tenfold as his adrenaline kicked in.

“SNAPE! STOP!” he warned at the top of his lungs. Snape either didn’t hear him, or didn’t listen to him, for his figure disappeared under the tree. James cursed under his breath, arriving to the tree barely a minute after Snape had. He found the same branch that Snape had used, and prodded the base as well, following after. His heart pounded in his chest as his feet made contact with the dirt tunnel. “Lumos.

His wand light was jerky, and ahead, Snape’s was too. James cursed again, Snape knew he was there, and was running from him.

“SNAPE! IT’S DANGEROUS THAT WAY, STOP!”

A wicked howl resounded in the tunnel, and James saw Snape’s wandlight freeze, if only for a moment. He seemed to decide that James was playing yet another trick on him, and started running again. But Snape was neither as fast, nor as fit as James, and as the howls got louder, James finally caught up to Snape. He could see the stairway leading up to the shack ahead of him, and knew that Moony could smell the humans in the tunnel. From experience James knew there were ways out of that door, he just hoped that the werewolf had a brand new memory each month. There were deep growls now, and when the door shuttered under the heavy weight of a body colliding with it, James knew Snape was aware that this wasn’t a trick anymore.

“We’ve got to go now, Snape,” James hissed, grabbing the other boy’s arm. He didn’t stop to think, he couldn’t stop, if he stopped he would panic, and if he panicked…it just wasn’t a good situation. He pulled Snape around and pushed the Slytherin in front of him, both running as quickly as they could to get out of the tunnel. There was no slow pace, James wasn’t willing to risk a slow pace if Moony could remember how to get out of the Shack without his other furry friends. Snape’s breathing was becoming ragged and his run was slowing. James refused to carry the other boy. “Keep running, you bastard!”

Snape swore, but did as instructed. The end of the tunnel was in sight, James could see the light of the moon shining down through the entrance. Snape got there first, and fumbled trying to climb out of it. James shoved him up and forward, forgetting about the swinging branches of the tree as he climbed out after the Slytherin. His side was instantly met with a strong blow, and he had lost sight of Snape. He howled in pain as another branch hit him on the other side, and tossing him into the air. He was caught by a branch to his legs, and grabbed onto a thicker brach, trying desperately to find a way out. He didn’t look long because the tree, after two more shots, one at his head and a third at his torso, sent him out onto the cold ground.

James lay face down in the grass for a few moments, his breathing was rapid, but more painful than any breathing he’d done before. His heart still pumped wildly, and blood rolled down his face from the cut on his head. He groaned lightly, blinking the blood out of his eyes as he rolled over on his side. He couldn’t tell if the world was blurry because his glasses were gone, or if it would have been blurry regardless.

A thump and a groan told James that Snape had landed beside him, and it wasn’t long after that the cursing began. It was jumbled at first, but James quickly found that he could comprehend the tones emitting from Snape’s mouth, and while most of them were wishing Sirius a long and painful death, some of them were directed at Remus, and even others at James.

Pulling himself up into a sitting position, in more pain than he could ever recall being in, James let out a muffled growl of pain and held a hand to his bleding side, flinching as he did so. From the corner of his blurred vision, he could see Snape in a similar situation.

“James!” a deep voice rumbled from behind him. James and Snape both turned sharply, and James groaned as his head throbbed painfully in response. A long white beard and deep purple robes were what James could make out on the figure in front of him. “Severus.”

Dumbledore’s voice sounded both concerned and relieved. James felt himself being pulled up with both gentleness and surprising strength. He winced as his chest moved and his ribs groaned underneath the sudden movement. The muscles in his legs pounded fiercely and his foot twinged painfully.

“Let’s get you boys inside.”




Sirius shifted nervously in the Entrance Hall as Dumbledore brought Snape and James back into the castle. He could never describe the sudden look of fear and disappointment that had filled the Headmaster’s eyes as Sirius informed him that two Hogwarts students were headed for their resident werewolf. Sirius had no idea how the ancient man could move so quickly, but move he had, getting Snape and James back as both emerged from the Willow.

He felt his chest twist as his eyes caught sight of James’ bleeding brow and limping walk.

“Mr. Black, if you’ll escort James to the Hospital Wing, tell Madam Pomfrey that Severus will be along shortly,” Dumbledore said. Sirius nodded absently, feeling lost at the sudden look of absolute loathing that James shot him. From the corner of his eye he saw Snape shooting him a similar look, but before he could compare the glares properly, Dumbledore had taken Snape up the stairs towards his office. He looked back over at James, who wasn’t looking at him now, but rather pushing himself along the wall in the direction of the Hospital Wing.

“James...”

“Don’t,” he grit out, his teeth barred. Sirius recoiled. “Just don’t.”

“James?” a new voice, startled and worried spoke in the Entrance Hall. The two boys both looked up to see Lily clutching a hand to her chest and her face contorted into one of deep concern as she rushed up to James and put a soft hand on his cheek, tilting his face to look at her so she could observe him properly. “Merlin...what happened?”

James remained silent, his hazel eyes snapping up to Sirius, and Lily’s weren’t far behind. Sirius’ face burned with a sudden feeling of shame.

“I—” he trailed off. He looked at Lily, her emerald eyes confused and concerned. A quick cry in the distance of Severus Snape rang through the otherwise silent halls. He saw a light go off in Lily’s eyes, and a sudden look of suspicion filled them.

“Please tell me you didn’t,” she said, her voice a low and almost deadly whisper.

So he didn’t. He felt his world slowly cave in around him as the silence grew between the three students in the hall. And he remained in the hall...long after Lily had taken James to the Hospital Wing. He’d lost the Marauders. That he knew, but it was many hours into the night as he sat alone in the Entrance Hall before he realized he was going to lose her too.

Chapter 20: Marauders Broken
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A/N: I know, I know! I haven’t updated in ages but, see, I moved out, and I went home to visit (this is a three hour drive, mind you) and I left my USB jump drive there which had this update on it, and I only got it back yesterday when I went for another visit. So I’m super sorry! Anyways, enjoy! Oye, and this is taken from JKR sayint that Remus didn't have a twin. ;)



The sheets felt scratchy along Remus’ arms, he noted long before he opened his eyes. And his body felt as though he’d tried to ram a rather strong door. He could feel that his shoulder had been popped back into place and the last time Remus recalled being in so much pain was when he was during the summers, when he didn’t have Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail to run about with. His vague recollection of the night consisted mostly with a sense of abandonment and a deep bloodlust.

Remus’ sense of smell kicked in next. There was a strong odor of dog, anxiety, and a hint of the cinnamon smell that he associated with Lily. Sirius was next to him and as Remus’ senses returned to a more stable location, he knew that Sirius was quite alone.

Finally, his golden orbs flickered open and he squinted his eyes against the sunlight as a slow, but certain headache over took him. He groaned lightly, as he always did when waking from such a damaging transformation. What had happened last night? Had they really not shown? Sirius jumped from where he’d been dozing in the chair beside Remus, and Remus smirked a bit.

“You look paranoid, Padfoot,” Remus mumbled sleepily, his voice only touched with pain. “What did you do now? Piss Lily off?”

He’d meant it as a joke, but when Sirius’ eyes flashed from Remus’ face to the clean floor, Remus knew he’d hit the nail on the head with that one. He sighed despondently; he wasn’t sure what Sirius was going to do with both James and Lily angry with him. Lily, of course, would get over it quickly, whatever it was that she was angry with him about.

“Look, mate, all lovers have their spats,” comforted Remus. “Why did you fight?”

Sirius muttered something so low that even with his acute sense of hearing, it escaped Remus and he had to ask Sirius to repeat himself.

“We haven’t yet,” Sirius said finally, his gaze unmoving from one of the tiles on the floor. “She knows I’ve done something, and James, fortunately, hasn’t told her what.”

“What?”

“He figures, and he’s right, that you ought to know first…”

“Me?”

A sinking feeling in Remus’ gut wasn’t helped by the wave of anxiety and regret that was flowing from Sirius’ eyes to the floor. Remus could see the small incline that Sirius’ back was taking, arching himself just so away from him. It was a hint at the moves Sirius made when he finally confessed to the Marauders the nature of his father, where his scars really came from. That look of fear. Sirius was afraid that Remus was going to be angry. Remus narrowed his eyes a bit. He’d been frustrated with Sirius plenty of times, annoyed, maybe a bit mad every now and then, but he’d never been angry enough with Sirius to earn that look from Sirius.

“Well, I—” Sirius started, before shaking his head, and starting again. “What happened—no…Remus I’m an ass, alright. I’m so, so sorry for it…well for you and—and James...”

“Just spit it out Sirius.”

“I told Snape how to find you last night,” he confessed. The sinking feeling turned icy cold and Remus froze where he lay, not breathing for a moment as he absorbed Sirius’ words. “And so he...well he’s right touched in the head for actually listening to me—”

“You what?” Remus asked, his voice barely above a whisper. No. If Snape listened then… “I didn’t...Merlin tell me I—is he—no, shit, Sirius of all the things…”

Remus wanted to cry, break down now, because he knew what happened when people and werewolves mixed. Snape could be transformed or worse and…

“He’s fine,” continued Sirius, his voice shaking now with his own fear and tears. Remus could see them hiding in the corners of Sirius’ eyes. “James saved him before he got to you.”

James?” Remus gaped, sounding even more horrified. James? James could have been...that was worse than the thought that Snape might have been...Merlin. Remus covered his face with his bandaged hands, shaking his head. He had known better than to take on friends at Hogwarts. How many times had Mother explicitly warned him what people would do? But this was different, the Marauders would have never...he sighed somewhere between a sob and a scream. Sirius would have never...Remus trusted Sirius, even more than the others. He was never James to Sirius, but he had thought he was something. He was obviously wrong.

“Moony...”

“Sirius, do you know what would have happened if I’d even scratched one of them?” Remus asked, his voice quiet, but still shaking deeply. He peered at Sirius through his fingers; the other boy was looking at him with shameful self-loathing, and the utmost regret. There were tears, and he watched Sirius hastily wipe the one that escaped him away. “I’d be in Azkaban right now.”

“But you didn’t—”

“Apparently,” Remus had never spoken so coldly to Sirius. Never in all the years that they’d been friends. In fact he recalled once, in third year that he’d woken up to Sirius at his side. James and Peter had gotten in trouble and were speaking with the Astronomy professor as Sirius spoke to Remus. It had been one of their deepest discussions, all of their serious ones started off with Remus fresh from a transformation and Sirius at his side. Sirius’ eyes flashed in the same sad way they had that day in third year, and the memory came to the forefront of Remus’ mind, mocking him.

“It was clever though, Remus,” the thirteen-year-old Sirius exclaimed happily. “I didn’t know that a cat could survive being blown up to such a proportion…”

Remus chuckled in amusement as Sirius elaborated more on the tale of Mrs. Norris the Giant Floating Cat, brought to the viewers by James Potter and Peter Pettigrew. (The boys constantly pestered Filch, attempting to figure out how many Mrs. Norrises there had been because Sirius’ cousin, Andromeda, told them that as long as there’d been a Mr. Filch there’d been a Mrs. Norris.)

Sirius finally wound down a bit and tugged at his school tie, looking at Remus with the face that Remus knew meant he wanted to know something.

“What is it?” he asked, looking at Sirius. He was rather sleepy, and his leg was still throbbing rather painfully from a large cut in it. Sirius’ silver eyes shone for a moment, his curiosity leaking through, and his moment of silence telling Remus that he wasn’t sure how to voice his question. “Well spit it out, Sirius.”

“What happened?”

Remus gave him an odd look. He knew what had happened, James, Peter, and he had cleverly told Remus in second year that they knew about his ‘furry little problem’ as James had put it. “I mean...when you got the bite...when you were little.”

A clench in Remus’ heart let him know that the hand of grief wasn’t quite done with him from that night yet, but Sirius was looking at him with such a desire to understand, that Remus didn’t think he could actually refuse to relive that night. He took a calming breath. He could do this, he trusted Sirius.

“Promise to keep this between us?”

“Yeah, mate.”

Remus looked at him unsteady for a moment, gathering his courage. They were silent for what felt like an eternity to Remus, but could only have been a few moments. Sirius scooted his chair up close to Remus’ bedside and gave him a small smile.

“You have my word, Remus,” he said warmly. “This stays with you and me.”

“I was six,” started Remus, feeling encouraged by Sirius’ word. “And...and my brother and I decided to sneak out of the house for a nighttime stroll through the woods. He thought it’d be fun to sneak out.”

“You have a brother?”

His heart twisted again.

“Once,” he smiled sadly. “He was four years older than me. His name was Seath, but let me finish,” Sirius looked apprehensive now, and for a moment Remus wondered if he should actually stop. But Sirius nodded his head, encouragement for him to continue, and he did. “So we went out, even after Dad had told us not to. We stayed out for an hour or so until I started feeling spooked and begged Seath to take me back. Seath, being like he was, thought it would be...amusing...to scare me on the way back. He pointed to the moon and told me that werewolves were out on nights when the moon was like that and they liked to eat little boys like me.

“We were maybe a hundred yards from the house when he howled at the moon, mocking my fear, and he laughed when I told him to stop,” Remus’ voice tightened now. “And then there was another howl, and Seath stopped laughing, and looked behind us. I remember him looking scared and he told me to run,” Remus’ mind flashed with the memory of Seath’s terrified face, and his voice cracking as he spoke and pushed Remus as close to the house as he could. “The werewolf got him first, and by that time Mum and Dad had heard the noise. He bit my shoulder, and Dad was able to get the werewolf off of me and Mum took me inside. Seath wasn’t so lucky...”

Remus turned away from Sirius’ face, wiping a stray tear from his face. He wasn’t sure if Sirius had looked away to mind Remus’ pride, or his own. His voice was a whisper when he spoke again.

“I’m sorry, Remus—”

“Don’t be,” Remus shrugged, his own voice flirting with the line of whispers. “Just...mind...mind Regulus. Big brothers have more influence than they think they do.”


The seventeen-year-old Sirius had a deeper voice, and his face was lined with a shadow from not shaving. Remus could still read the other boy’s emotions through his voice and his eyes. But those eyes weren’t any different. They were regretful for the pain that they were causing the werewolf.

“I’m sorry, Remus—” he started in that same voice he’d used so many years ago. But Remus didn’t stop him with ‘don’t be’s’ now. He ought to be sorry.

“Go, Padfoot,” whispered Remus. “I don’t really want to see you just now.”

“Moony,” Sirius started, but he fell silent as Remus continued to refuse his gaze. He heard Sirius sigh, his breathing giving way that his tears were barely hidden. Where James took the place as Sirius’ brother, and Remus was on that level too, somewhere, Remus was Sirius’ best friend. The method of sharing secrets wasn’t exclusively reserved to Remus telling Sirius. While James knew more of Sirius’ secrets than anyone, Remus was the one Sirius trusted with issues of Regulus...and of Lily. They had a bond that Remus had once thought couldn’t be broken. He could hear Sirius shuffle his feet for a moment, and he finally rose from his chair and left the Hospital Wing.

Remus had once thought wrong.




The scenarios of what Sirius might have done paled in comparison to the confession Lily could hear through the doors of the Hospital Wing. Her heart rate jumped considerably. Sirius had betrayed Remus. Sweet, harmless, loving Remus? The talking stopped and Lily jumped when one of the oak doors opened and Sirius stepped out, his eyes instantly caught onto her and she saw what little color was left in his pale skin fall with the grace of a cross eyed troll.

“Lily,” he ground out painfully as she saw him take in her furious face.

Lily didn’t say a word, afraid she wouldn’t be able to stop. Her emerald eyes flashed at the open doors, before she turned on her heel and stormed towards the stairs leading down to the Entrance Hall. She knew Sirius would follow her, and she could take care of this outside.

For Sirius’ part, he felt like an oversized cow finally being taken to the slaughter house. Only he highly doubted that anyone would chop him to bits and enjoyably eat him with a healthy helping of potatoes and stew. No, if Lily were going to off him, Sirius doubted she’d leave any pieces of him to be found. She had a sadistic sense of humor and Sirius highly doubted that his approaching death would be clean and simple or any measure of quick.

The redhead in front of him finally stopped her fast pace when they were out on the grounds, next to a large tree that they’d once snuggled together underneath during one of their late night excursions. He felt fear well in his chest as she finally rounded back on him, her beautiful eyes flashing with a promise of a lot of pain. If looks could kill…no wait, she wouldn’t want to kill him off with looks anyways.

“You did this on purpose,” her voice was eerily calm for the furious look on her face, and her words were more a statement than a question. “You put Remus and Snape and James in danger on purpose, and don’t contradict me,” Sirius had opened his mouth to defend that he’d never meant to put them in harm’s way. It snapped shut at her reprimand. “What should I do, Sirius? How am I supposed to be with someone who is willing to risk a life for a silly school boy rivalry?”

It was a rare thing to make Sirius Black stand silently, but Lily Evans had done it quite efficiently. He rammed his shoe into the cold hard ground, watching as his sneakers dug a small hole in the dirt wondering if what was left of his pride, when Lily was finished, would fit into the hole to hide from further damage.

“Well?”

Sirius sighed and looked up at her helplessly. “Well what do you want me to say, Lily? That I think you should dump me now and forget that I ever existed, or that you should forgive me and love me anyways?”

At the hard look Lily gave him, Sirius decided it was in his best interests to belt up or answer properly. With another hard sigh he stood up straight and stopped fidgeting, and with more than a bit of force, looked up into Lily’s angry eyes.

“I don’t deserve you Lily,” he admitted quietly, his voice shaking. “You’d be well within your rights to break it off.”

“As long as you see it my way,” she said coldly. Sirius visibly shuttered. All humourous thoughts left his head now as she looked at him. He could see the tears in her eyes, and her bottom lip trembled just so. “Why did you do it?”

It was the first time he’d been asked that question, and Sirius almost wished she hadn’t asked him. He looked away from her again, finding that the blade of grass next to her left foot exceedingly fascinating.

“He deserved it,” he mumbled darkly. “Remus didn’t and James didn’t, but Snape did.”

He could almost feel her narrowing her eyes.

“What?”

“He did. After what he did to you, how he blackmailed us, he’s a slimy git who needs a good scare now and then, and I didn’t think he’d—”

“Listen to you?” Lily finished for him, her voice bordering on a tone so devastatingly threatening that Sirius looked up at her with a mild touch of fear. “How could you be that thick Sirius?” She really was crying now, but her tears fell down slowly, and there wasn’t a hint of a sob in her voice. “He’d jump at any chance to get you four in trouble! You know I—” she stopped, and Sirius watched her face change slowly from rage to exhaustion. “I don’t want to hear excuses anymore. I don’t want you to challenge someone for my honor again. I’m done with this Sirius, I’m done with lying for us, I’m done with listening to you say stupid things like Snape deserves something that awful to happen to him. I’m done with us. I’m done with you.”

There it was. Somewhere in the deep corners of Sirius’ mind, he had hoped, even dared to pray that Lily would forgive him, that despite his actions, and despite his friends dropping him, that Lily alone would see that he needed nothing in the world more right now than he needed her.

“Lily, please,” he started, only to be cut off by a tearful shake of her head. She left him alone on the grounds, and Sirius sat down, using the tree as his leaning post. The grounds were silent save for a gentle breeze that was blowing through. But Sirius paid no attention to it. He’d lost everything in one stupid move. The Marauders were gone, Lily was gone. Sirius had nothing left. He had no family, he’d disowned them as much as they had him. He had no friends, no girlfriend, no anything. And for the first time in many years, Sirius cried, in the most undignified, childish way he could, curled up in front of a tree with only his own bitter thoughts to keep him company.

Chapter 21: The Running Rat
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A/N: So…I guess I haven’t updated in forever, but I am very sorry. To say the least I hit a massive writer’s block. (Which, of course, means that I’ve written this chapter about 6 times until I got it right.) I’m not 100% satisfied with it, but seeing how long it has been since I’ve updated, I’ll take my 95% satisfaction. Please don’t kill me for taking so long!

~Jaggy~







Sirius felt about as bad as he was beginning to look. His hair fell limp in his handsome face, which was starting to look less handsome and more gaunt and grey. His eyes did not shine, nor did they spark with mischievous ideas that were crossing his mind. He did not smile; he hardly ate; and, most importantly, he did not talk.

He attended class, sort of. However, he was merely in physically. Too many years of relying on Remus to catch him up to speed during naptimes/plotting through class left Sirius inept to take proper notes on his own. Besides, he was far too busy wallowing in his own self-loathing and pity to care that he was on the brink of failing more than half his classes.

It was the first time since he was Sorted into Gryffindor that Sirius had ever considered dropping out of Hogwarts. He could easily have other friends, in fact Alexandra Trent and several of her friends had more than once shown their concern for his sudden lack of friends. More importantly, Sirius’ sadistic thoughts added, his sudden lack of a girlfriend. Nevertheless, he turned them away, coldly, telling her it was none of her business why he was not with Lily any more.

“I hear she’s dating James now.”

“No, I was told this had to do with Lupin.”

“You’re both wrong, it was Snape.”

“No way! She’d leave Sirius Black for Snape? You’re full of it!”

“That’s what I heard, but she’s not too keen on Snape either, so I’m not sure how he—”

The rumors ran amuck anywhere Sirius went in the school, there were clusters of girls, and even clusters of guys, trying to figure out what in the world would cause the Marauders to break up. And better, what would cause Lily Evans to dump Sirius Black? There was one rumor, though, that Sirius would not tolerate.

“My bet is that she’s just fooling with the both of them. Get’s Potter off of her back, shuts them both up, problem solved, Prefect Evans hasn’t got to deal with either of them anymore,” Jane Herpo was saying to Walden Timms. “And then she threw Snape into the mix to get back at him for that whole love potion mess. She’s a twisted bi—”

But before Herpo could finish her words, Sirius had ripped her around to face him full on, his grey eyes blazing furiously as he practically snarled, “Shut your mouth you sodding cow. Lily broke it off because I did something stupid. It was my fault. She’s not some vindictive wench who’ll go off and play with someone like that, so you can stop that nonsense now.”

Herpo was rubbing her sore arm from Sirius’ vice grip, and shaking with fear when Timms pulled her away.

“Black! Back off it man, she’s just—”

“She knew what she was saying,” hissed Sirius at Timms. “And don’t make excuses for her when she’s just glad that you’re paying attention to the rumors of my love life that you can’t hear the ones about her shagging Nelson Monroe two days ago on the fourth floor.”

Sirius did not even stay to hear the angry argument between Hogwarts next broken up couple.



Peter’s mind was far from complex, but he was not stupid, and he certainly was not happy. His best friends had lost their entire luster in a manner of days. Over Snivellus. And Lily, but she was slightly more understandable as she was female and she was pretty. The point, however, he reminded himself, was that he was facing a conflict where James hated Sirius, Remus hated Sirius, and Sirius hated Sirius. (Peter was a little bit sore with Sirius, but he hardly hated him.)

The only other person who, at one point anyways, had been close enough to Sirius to care was Lily. Peter noticed that her emerald eyes rarely left Sirius sad form as he walked into the Common Room with his eyes on the floor and his feet shuffling on the ground. He knew, too, that Lily brought Sirius blankets at night (as he was sleeping on the couches). From what Peter gathered, Lily never stopped caring about Sirius; she simply no longer could love him because he made an unforgettable, but not unforgivable, mistake. Snape had not died, and that was the important thing.

However, Lily also had a temper, and Peter, being an observant, cautious creature by nature, had seen her tell off Maggie Smith for asking about how she was handling “the break up”. He also saw her threaten Sarah Lessard with a rather nasty sounding hex for offering to set Lily on a blind date. Peter decided that a less temperamental person might be best to approach first.

“Remus?”

The sandy haired youth continued to concentrate on the crossword puzzle that he was working on rather than answer. Peter sighed slightly and looked over Remus’ shoulder at the word that he was looking for.

“Luxor,” answered Peter, to the inquiry of the Modern-Day location of the ancient city of Thebes. “And the next one is Luxembourg.”

“Thanks Pete,” Remus muttered, filling in Luxor across and Luxembourg down. “Was there something you wanted?”

Staying silent as Remus filled in two more words (Lumos and Lexington), Peter went over his speech in his head one last time. Marauders were Marauders for life. Sirius was a Marauder, a misguided one, but a Marauder none-the-less, and he deserved to remain their friend…in the end. Peter had his mouth poised and opened to begin his lecture on how the Marauders should be friends again when the portrait swung open and a loud, angry voice hit their ears.

“—YOU SAY THAT? I’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG, JAMES!”

“I SAW YOU!” James’ voice roared back. Remus and Peter looked at each other warily as Lily and James stepped into the Common Room. Peter almost wished he had popcorn again, because such an argument had not happened in some time. He could hear a group of fourth years behind him beginning to take bets. “I THOUGHT YOU BROKE UP WITH HIM?”

Lily made an angry noise with her nose that Peter thought he might have once heard come from an angry rhino.

“NOT that it’s any of YOUR business, Potter, but just because I broke up with him doesn’t mean that I can’t make sure that he’s not FREEZING in the common room that he has to sleep in because YOU kicked him out of the dormitory!” she seethed, her eyes sparkling fiercely. “You have NO place to be angry with me for something as simple as putting a blanket on him—”

“LET HIM FREEZE! YOU KNOW WHAT HE DID AS MUCH AS I DO, HE DESERVES IT!”

The movement Lily made with her hands made Peter believe that she was about an inch from strangling James, but instead, her hand went clean across his cheek and the loud slap resounded in the room. James’ face remained to the side, his breathing was hard and angry as Lily’s was. Her eyes glared at him coldly.

“Changed, you say,” she said quietly, her voice shaking with anger. “You’re about as changed as I am Slytherin. You are not my master, stop trying to control me.”

“He could have kill—” James started, but stopped as a rather sultry figure appeared from the boys’ dorm, and James’ voice died.

“Thanks James,” said Sirius, his eyes dark with something that Peter identified as a mixture of grief, anger, and loneliness. “Really great to know I’m so low that I don’t even deserve a blanket. I’ll keep that in mind.”

With that, Sirius pulled his cloak closer and stormed out of the common room. Peter knew that stalking gait that Sirius was using, all of the Marauders did. Sirius was in self-destruction mode. He had been like this when he left home and got back from St. Mungo’s. Sirius said that he felt as though he had abandoned Regulus, the brother he loved and hated in the same breath. He wasn’t going to be okay if they left him to his own devices.

Peter glanced over at Remus, who had more reason than anyone to hate Sirius. Remus’ golden eyes were focusing on the back of the portrait. James, on the other hand, was now avoiding the hard look Lily was giving him.

“What?” he said as though nothing had happened. He finally looked back up at Lily, and even Peter could tell that it was a mistake. Lily arched a dangerous eyebrow at James. “You can’t honestly expect—Lily he can take care of himself—stop looking at me like that! He’s a—FINE, I’ll go, but don’t expect me to bring him back if he won’t come.”

Peter wondered if Lily perhaps possessed some sort of psychic abilities which enabled her to control James in ways that no one else could dream of. She had effectively won an argument with James without opening her mouth once.

“And only if Remus says its okay,” added James, the pair finally looking at both Remus and Peter. Remus made an odd clicking sound, giving James a look that said he did not want to get involved. James gave a slightly apologetic look before raising his eyebrows as though hoping Remus would say no.

The moment of silence stretched to five minutes, and Remus still remained quiet. Peter shifted uncomfortably, he thought, for a moment, perhaps Remus wanted to let Sirius go on his self-endangering escapade and not stop him. But then the werewolf sighed as he always did when he picked what was right over what he wanted.

“See if he’s still on the grounds. If he’s not, we’re going after him.”



Had he been Muggle, he might have been termed a pyromaniac. Had he been Muggle, he might have been viewed as a youth with a drinking problem. Had he been a Muggle, Sirius decided, he would not be in this wretched situation; and had he been a Muggle, he certainly would not have the satisfaction of blowing crates up with his own wand.

He aimed his wand again, smiling mundanely as another crate blew apart in a fiery blast. He really wished he had brought some gold with him, it would have been nice to have some of the Firewhiskey that those crates had once held. He laughed a bit sadistically as he noticed that it had begun snowing. Looking up into the November night sky, Sirius spread his arms up to the heavens in a sign of gradual defeat.

Was it really worth it? James hated him, Remus hated him, and Peter hated him. Lily, it seemed, did not quite hate him, but she was not so fond of him either. But James hated him. James who was his brother-in-friend…hated him. Why did everything insist on going to hell at once for him?

“Well it could hardly be worse,” he mumbled to himself, kicking a rock out of the alley. He started a bit when the rock rolled back, knocking into his foot. Rocks did not kick themselves back on their own…

“Oh, I’m sure it could be much worse,” a deep voice drawled. Sirius’ eyes darted up in surprise and fear as he looked into his much older, more evil reflection. “Hello, son.”



“It’s cold,” Peter repeated for the tenth time in the five minutes since they had snuck out of Honeyduke’s and into Hogsmeade. It had taken James a full hour to finally admit that Sirius probably wasn’t hiding out in the Forbidden Forest. After a sweep of the Three Broomsticks, it was clear that Sirius wasn’t there either. He had not snuck into Zonko’s, he was nowhere to be found in the Inn. They had checked every haunt the Marauders ever had, and there was no sign of Sirius. “We’re never going to find him if he doesn’t want to be found…”

“I don’t want to be here anymore than you do Wormtail,” snapped James. “But Lily will have my broomstick if I don’t bring him back, which makes no sense as she’s angry with him too.”

Remus remained silent, and Peter decided not to challenge James’ reasoning. Instead he pulled his scarf tighter to his neck and rubbed his hands together for warmth. This was silly, Peter did not want to be out in Hogsmeade looking for Sirius. Did the others not realize how dangerous it could be with the dementors guarding the grounds? Could they not see the potential for the Death Eaters, or even worse, You-Know-Who, to attack the wizarding village again? Peter shuttered at the thought of the Wizard who's name he didn't even dare to think. He kept his mouth shut about these issues, though, knowing it would be worse for him in the end.

“It’s still cold,” stated Peter. He flinched from the hard hit that he knew James would give him for his response, but James was interrupted mid-swing by a horrified cry some blocks away. The last time Peter had seen James’ face turn so pale, Sirius had been fighting death in St. Mungo’s.

“Sirius,” it was not a question for James. He took off running in the direction of the shout. Remus followed suit, and Peter trotted along behind. He hated running, but the sudden fear for Sirius that James had sparked kept Peter from complaining aloud or to his own person.

“Running to the Potters, Sirius,” a deep voice echoed from the alley in front of the Marauders. James put his finger up to his lips, to show the other two Marauders to be quiet. He pulled his wand out of his pocket as the voice continued to speak. “And a Mudblood. What shame you bring to our name. Regulus brings us pride and joy, and you have your poor mother distressed over what she’s done wrong…STAY AWAKE!” the voice roared. Remus had his wand out now. “You think this is bad, boy? Do you? Do you think what Bella did to your filthy girlfriend was horrible? That’s nothing to what you’re going to look like when I’m finished. I think I should finish the job I started this summer. Cruc—

“EXPELLIARMUS!” James had leapt from where he hid behind the corner of the alley. Remus jumped in after him, shooting an immobilizing curse at Sirius’ father. “Get away from him, Orion!”

Peter peaked around the corner, trying his best to ignore every nerve in his body that was telling him to turn tail and flee from such a dangerous man. Orion Black stood taller than Sirius, and his angular face mimicked both of his sons’ faces exceptionally well. His black hair had long strands of grey weaving in and out as though trying to hide from the oil he used to slick his hair back. He had a nasty sneer on his face, but without his wand he seemed unwilling to taunt James. Behind Orion lay Sirius, bleeding and burned in several places. Peter could see that part of Sirius’ pant leg was still smoking. His eyes darted from the injured Sirius up to the powerful Orion.

“Potter and a half-blood,” said Orion. “Imagine my surprise.”

“Was I not clear the first time?” asked James. “Step. Away. From. Sirius. Now,” his wand did not budge from where it was aimed at Orion’s chest. Peter was very glad that he was not on the receiving end of that dark and dangerous look coming from James’ eyes. On the other hand, he was glad he was not getting the dark look that Orion was giving James either. The Black held up his hands in the gesture of giving up and side-stepped away from Sirius. “Now sit down and don’t move. Peter, go to the Three Broomsticks and get some wizards over there to come help us contain this bastard.”

But they never did get the chance, because James had made a fatal mistake in turning his head to look at Peter. Orion leapt for his wand, gained it successfully, and stunned the three boys in the alleyway. Peter, who had yet to be pointed out from his hiding spot at the corner, watched with horror and relief as Orion Apperated. Sirius' father seemed to decide that a triple murder just was not on his schedule for the day. Peter now gave up his hiding spot and ran into the alley way.

“James? Remus? Sirius?” he whispered, looking at his three unconscious friends. He bit his lip. Sirius’ injuries were much worse up close…he did not need to be unconscious, in the cold, and untreated. “Guys? Guys?” Peter, knowing he was no good with even the most basic spells, thought it best not to attempt to magically awaken them. Instead, he went with plan B. “HELP!”

To his great surprise, he was actually answered.

“Peter?” Lily’s voice met his ears just before her eyes landed on the unconscious Marauders. Peter could see the brief flash of panic cross her lovely face before she regained control, and in an instant Peter could see the strength that Sirius and James loved in her so much. “Go to The Three Broomsticks and get help, I’ll do what I can.”

Nodding, Peter ran from the ally as Lily knelt down next to Remus and woke him first.

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