After the feast, the prefects led the first years out of the Great Hall and towards their dormitories. Prefects were students chosen in their fifth year, by Dumbledore himself, who got special privileges such as assigning detentions and getting to know the passwords to the house Common Rooms each term before anybody else. Sirius was a little uneasy as the prefect explained the fact that the staircases were able to change themselves and that some steps were trick steps that you could get your foot stuck in. They were now walking along a long corridor that seemed to have a dead end, except for a large portrait of a fat lady mounted on the wall at the very end of the hallway. The prefect continued to lead them all down it though, and then stopped right in front of the portrait. “Password?” The fat lady asked. “Animagus.” The prefect muttered, and the lady’s portrait swung forward, revealing a hole large enough for people to walk through. He walked through the doorway and the first years followed suit. There were yet more gasps as they entered a nice cozy room with a blazing fire, a comfy couch, and several armchairs. “This is the Gryffindor house Common Room.” The prefect said in a dignified sort of way. He then walked over to another doorway that had steps leading upstairs through it. “Boys dormitories are up these stairs and to your right, and girls dormitories are upstairs to the left. Your stuff has already been brought up to your dormitories, which are marked by what year you are in.” Sirius, James, and Remus didn’t stick around to test all of the armchairs or sit by the fire, but all bolted up the steps, turning left and finding a door marked “First Years.” James wrenched open the door and they all were left staring into a round room with five beds lying vertical against the wall and a little caged-in heater in the center of the room. Sirius smiled widely; this is where he would be staying for the next several months. He ran and jumped backwards onto the bed that had his trunk beside it, throwing his arms behind his head. “This is so cool.” He sighed, relaxed. “Yeah, it is.” Remus said, sitting down on the edge of the bed that was to the left of Sirius’s. “No, it’s way beyond cool…” James added, running his hand along the scarlet sheets of his own bed, which was to the right of Sirius’s. “But, we’re gonna have more fun than everyone else, of course.” He added in a mysterious tone. Remus and Sirius looked at one another and then back to James with raised eyebrows. James just smiled slyly and then bent down, opening his trunk. Suddenly, the door of their dormitory swung open once more and in came Peter Pettigrew followed by Fabian Prewett. James shut his trunk and sat down on his bed frantically all in one quick second. Obviously, whatever it was, he was only going to show Sirius and Remus alone. Prewett and Pettigrew were paused in the doorway and were eyeing them all suspiciously. Remus, thinking fast, got down and opened his trunk, pulling out a deck of cards. “Exploding Snap, anyone?” He asked, shuffling the cards in his hands impressively like he was playing an accordion. “Yeah!” Sirius said excitedly. He, Remus, and James all sat down on the floor in between Sirius and Remus’s beds, joined by a smiling Pettigrew and Prewett shortly later. After about five minutes, they were heavily into it. People one by one took turns placing a card on top of another, in fear that at any moment, their card may be the one that causes the whole pile to explode. Sirius went. Remus went. Peter went. Fabian went. James went. It exploded. A loud bang sounded in their dormitory; it sounded like a mini bomb had just gone off. All five of them began laughing loudly. “Rats!” James cursed, his hair now standing on end from the explosion. Shortly later, they heard the pounding of footsteps coming upstairs. They all jumped into their beds, pulling the sheets over them and pretending they were asleep. James turned off the lamp, as he was closest to it. Then, Remus held his wand out from under his sheets and muttered “wingardium leviosa” and all the cards zoomed neatly into his outstretched hand exactly as their door swung open with a bang almost as loud as the cards had made. “What are you--! Oh…” The prefect who had led them into their dormitories began to shout, but stopped. He looked around the room, fury in his face, and then went back out, closing the door gently behind him. Sirius heard the muffled words of the boy as he headed up the stairs to no doubt check on everyone else (“First night, I tell you… no respect for prefects!”). Sirius snorted with laughter and, gradually, so did all of his other dorm mates. They all got up out of their beds and changed into their pajamas, occasionally muttering or chuckling about how funny the prefect looked when he found them all in bed. Prewett and Pettigrew climbed into their beds first, pulling the curtains of each of their four-poster beds closed. Sirius, Remus, and James all sat in Sirius’s bed though, whispering and laughing. When they all decided that they had enough, James whispered, “I’ll show you guys what’s in my trunk tomorrow.” Remus and Sirius nodded, and then James and Remus crawled into their own beds. Sirius yawned and pulled his own curtains shut, hearing James and Remus doing the same. Sirius had just rested his head on his pillow when he heard, “GOODNIGHT SIRIUS!” James had shouted it. “GOODNIGHT JAMES!” He shouted back. “GOODNIGHT REMUS!” He then shouted over to Remus. “Goodnight guys…” Remus yawned. The next day, Sirius awoke to hear the laughter of Remus and James on what sounded like James’s bed. He figured Pettigrew and Prewett had probably already gone down to breakfast. “…Do you think he’ll know it was me if I tried putting a hideous charm on my face and stood over him?” James said excitedly. “Do you know how to do that?” Remus asked curiously. “Uh… I think so…” James said with uncertainty. Sirius sat up slowly, listening intently. “I think he’d kill you if he woke up to see you all deformed like that.” “Yeah, I think I would.” Sirius said loudly, pulling back his hangings. Remus and James jumped. “Oh… hi Sirius!” James said, trying to act innocent, “We were… we were just talking about…” “Uh… Peter.” Remus said, going along with James. They both grinned up at Sirius. “Right…” Sirius began, smiling, “…and Snape’s just told me he loved muggles.” After Sirius got dressed, they all left the dormitory and went down to the Common Room. They left the portrait hole and began walking down the steps towards the Great Hall. “Oh—wait!” James said, freezing and holding his arms out to keep them from going any further. Sirius was just about to step off of the staircase that led up to the portrait and was balanced on one leg, looking sideways at James. “What?” He asked. “I forgot to show guys that thing!” He hissed, turning around. They all ran back up the steps to the portrait. “Animagus!” James shouted. “You just came out!” The Fat Lady said, annoyed, as she swung forward to let them in. “I know.” James grumbled as he strode into the Common Room. “Sorry!” Remus called back to her as they all scrambled inside. James led them quickly across the Common Room to the stairs, Sirius and Remus exchanging a look of curiosity and excitement as they began to run up them. They had just reached the top of the steps when, James, not paying attention to where he was going, ran straight into Lily. “Oh!” She cried, landing flat on her bottom at the base of the stairs. Andromeda was with her too. “Oh, Evans, I’m sorry!” James said, “I’m so sorry!” Sirius stepped forward and helped James and Andromeda lift her up back on her feet. “Where are you guys so eager to get to?” Lily asked, brushing herself off. Sirius and Remus said nothing. “I was going to show them something in our dormitory.” James said, almost bragging. “Ooh, what is it?” Andromeda asked. “You two can come see it too.” James told her and Lily. So, they all headed up to the first year boy’s dormitory, and huddled around James’s trunk as he opened it. James looked quickly around the room before he took out a long, silvery… cloak. “That’s it?” Lily said, “A cloak?! That’s what’s making us late for break—“ She broke off, noticing the rest of their faces; they were all gazing at the cloak, speechless and in awe. James was holding it out in front of him with great pride. “It’s—It’s…” Andromeda stammered. “A… a…” Remus sputtered. “Invisibility Cloak.” Sirius said, dazed. “Yep.” James said, enjoying their reactions. “You mean…” Lily said quietly, “That that thing can make you invisible?” “Sure can, Evans. Watch this.” James threw the clock over himself, disappearing instantly beneath it. Everyone gasped. “Cool!” Remus shouted. “Wow…” Sirius said, letting out a low whistle afterward. “BOO!” They all heard James yell, somewhere behind Andromeda, because she jumped. James pulled off the cloak and reappeared to the right of her, laughing gleefully. “Gotcha Andromeda.” “Aw, man!” Sirius said, nudging both Remus and James. “We’ve got ‘Defense Against The Dark Arts’ first!” “So?” Remus said, looking at Sirius sideways. “It’s with the Slytherins!” They all groaned. They had all gotten their course schedules that morning at breakfast and were now in the entrance hall reviewing them. They all headed up to their Common Room to get their books and schoolbags and then headed back down towards the dungeons to their first ‘Defense Against The Dark Arts’ lesson. As they approached the entrance, they were all puzzled to find a large crowd segregated into two that were each made up of the Slytherins and the Gryffindors. “Hey, what’s up?” Sirius asked Peter Pettigrew as they joined the Gryffindors. “Professor’s inside,” He said, “Won’t let us in yet.” “Well, that’s super.” James exclaimed in great sarcasm. Remus shook his head. “So, we’re stuck with them?” Sirius said in disgust, nodding his head towards the Slytherin crowd. They all laughed, but Remus, not so much. “Yeah… that’s right, girly boy.” Somebody called to them from over by the Slytherins. A couple people parted in the front to reveal, of course, Snape. “Ooh… severed-brain’s starting up a fight!” Another Slytherin called from the back. It was the boy Sirius recognized as Avery from the sorting. Him and the other Slytherins laughed viciously. Snape now appeared a little less threatening from Avery’s words. “Looks like he hasn’t gotten any friends in his own house!” Peter piped up loudly, afterwards impressed at his own joke. All of the students in the hall roared with laughter. Snape now looked embarrassed, but then suddenly showed fury. He whipped out his wand and pointed it right at Peter’s heart. “Hey!” James called angrily; stepping in front of Peter to protect him, “Pick on someone with your own amount of balls!” “Yeah, none!” Sirius added, stepping beside James. The laughter rose. “I CAN CURSE YOU DEAD, MUGGLE-LOVER!” Snape exploded, shaking with rage. “Whoa… calm down.” James said calmly, holding his hands out in front of him, “You’re getting grease everywhere.” Some kids were clutching their sides; others were rolling practically on the floor with shrieks of laughter. Snape was looking venomous. Suddenly, he yelled and a flash of light appeared. A good-sized gash appeared on the side of James’s face. James looked murderous; he shoved Snape roughly against the stone wall and dug his wand into Snape’s throat, holding the neck of his Snape’s robes tightly in the other. “Do you want to try that again?” He snarled, blood dripping down the side of his face. Snape now looked frightened. “Stop! Stop it, James!” Lily shouted from behind Sirius. She pushed her way through the crowd and placed her hand on James’s shoulder. James jerked his shoulder out of her grip and turned around to face her, still keeping a firm grip on Snape. Lily backed up a few paces, now looking frightened. “No Evans.” James said, turning back to Snape, “This prat can’t have any help from you. He’ll get what he deserves.” “I DON’T NEED HELP FROM FILTHY LITTLE MUDBLOODS LIKE HER!” Snape shrieked, yanking his robes out of James’s grip. Lily let out a sob. Sirius didn’t know how it happened, but one minute he was standing next to Remus looking on, the next he had Snape pinned on the dungeon floor with his knees, punching the living daylights out of Snape’s face as much as he could. Snape was screaming with tears, defenseless, Remus was comforting Lily, and Peter and James were now trying to pull Sirius off of Snape with all the strength they could muster. After a few seconds, with great difficulty, they succeeded. “YOU DIRTY, GREASY LITTLE GIT!” Sirius bellowed at the top of his lungs, now being restrained by James and Peter. Snape got up weakly, blood pouring out of his now-broken nose. He took one look at Sirius and then took off, running down the corridor towards what looked like the other end of the castle. “AND IF YOU GO AND RAT ON ME, YOU’LL HAVE MORE THAN A LITTLE BLOODY NOSE NEXT TIME!” Sirius called after Snape as he disappeared around the corner. James and Peter finally let go of him, panting. Not a second later, the door of their classroom opened. A man in navy blue robes stepped out, looking around at all of the students. “Hey, what’s going on out here?” He asked suspiciously. “Nothing, Professor Viridian.” Lily said quickly, giving Sirius a half glance, “Just… nothing.” She added sounding disgusted. “Okay…” Viridian said, not sounding fully convinced, “Well, then, come in.” He said, gesturing them into the classroom. Sirius opened his mouth to apologize to Lily about what he’d just done as they shuffled in, but she shot him an angry look and took a seat next to Andromeda in the front of the room. James and Sirius took the desks at the very back of the room, right behind Remus and Peter. Sirius sighed greatly and began leaning back on his chair, balancing himself on the two back legs and staring into space. He felt really bad about what he just did, but another part of him was angry at Lily; he had, after all, done that in defense of her. “Ha! That loser’s probably still crying.” James said with a satisfied smile. Sirius said nothing. Remus turned around looking sympathetic, followed by Peter. “Lily can’t be that mad at you, can she?” He asked hesitantly, “I mean, you were just trying to defend her.” Peter nodded in agreement. “Well…” James began, still in the zone, “She isn’t mad at me at least.” He leaned over his desk, “PSST!” He hissed. Lily turned around to look at him. James flashed her a smile and a wink. She did not return it. Instead she just scowled at him, turning back to listen to Professor Viridian discuss his class expectations. James frowned and put his back against his chair, turning to Sirius. “Sirius, look what you did.” He said, sounding hurt, “Now she’s mad at me.” Sirius couldn’t control himself; he let his chair land back on the floor with a loud bang and rounded furiously at James. “What I did? WHAT I DID?!” He shouted in outrage. Everyone’s head spun around to the back of the room. Avery and his gang began to watch with excitement. “YOU WERE THE ONE WHO STARTED IT, JAMES!” Sirius roared, trembling with anger. At this point, both boys were standing. “—YOU WERE THE ONE WHO PINNED HIM AGAINST THE WALL! HE WOULD’VE NEVER CALLED LILY THAT IF YOU HADN’T TRIED TO SHOW OFF!” “What?!” James yelped. “I don’t ‘show off’!” He yelled angrily. “OH, YEAH RIGHT! YOU STRUT AROUND ACTING LIKE YOU OWN THE WHOLE CASTLE AND IT’S ONLY THE SECOND DAY!” “Boys…” Professor Viridian said warningly, beginning to make his way towards them. “WHY DO YOU CARE SO DAMN MUCH AT A WORD ANYWAY?!” James shot pointedly. “I DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT WORD, I CARE ABOUT LILY!” Sirius paused, his jaw beginning to quiver as he searched for his next words. “I-I’m in love with her!” Sirius blurted out. James’s face dropped. He stared at Sirius, perplexed. Viridian was now standing right next to them. “But… you said… but you said—“ James sputtered. “Yeah, well I lied!” Sirius spat, “I was trying to be nice. I didn’t want you to hate me or something.” He said, staring down at the floor. “I don’t, Sirius.” James replied quietly, “Sirius, I don’t.” Sirius looked up at him again. “I was trying to be nice—trying to be a friend. But when I thought of the two of you doing everything later—together—I realized how much I cared about her.” Suddenly, Sirius felt a pair of arms wrap around his side.
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