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“Hey James!” Sirius yelled up from the ground on the Quiddich Pitch, “We should head in soon!” Their practice had just ended. “Alright, Sir’!” James called down, doing a back flip and then zooming down to Sirius, dismounting smoothly. “Hey, did you see Remus?” Sirius asked, walking back up towards the castle with James after having had showered and changed back into their normal clothes. “Nice flying today, you two!” Gideon called over from behind them. “Same time on Wednesday!” “Okay!” James hollered back to him as he and Sirius waited until they had exited the field to speak again. “No…” James said to Sirius, frowning, “I didn’t see him at all.” “…if he’s studying—“ Sirius began hotly. “—He’s not.” James said reassuringly, “He promised he’d be watching us… maybe something else came up…” He said darkly. Sirius and James exchanged looks of deep concern. Then, with a jolt, Sirius came to a halt, so did James. “Maybe Snivellus got him into trouble.” Sirius said suddenly, his eyes widening. There was a pause, then… The two of them bolted up to the castle. They ran up towards the doors, then into the entrance hall. “Check Gryffindor Tower?” Sirius suggested, panting. “Yeah.” James gasped as they tore off again. “I swear to god if that greasy git tried to hex him, I’ll shove my foot up his—“ “—Animagus!” James shouted loudly; they had reached the portrait. They both ran into the Common Room. “Hey, anyone seen Remus?” Sirius asked loudly. “I think he’s up in your dormitory.” Andromeda told them, looking up from her game of Wizard’s chess that she was playing against Lily, Fabian and Peter looking on. “Thanks.” James said. He and Sirius then ran quickly across the room and up the dormitory steps, James in the lead. “D’you reckon Snivellus slipped something into his pumpkin juice?” Sirius asked, running hurriedly up the steps. “Dunno…” James said as they reached their dormitory door, “Maybe he is studying.” Sirius opened the door and they both walked into the room in silence, peering around and spotting at once that Remus’s hangings were closed around his bed. They both began to approach it slowly. “Remus?” Sirius whispered. They heard a rustling of sheets that sounded like the person behind the curtains had just started. “Yeah…?” A tired-sounding Remus responded from inside. “You alright, mate?” Sirius asked. “Er… yeah, I’m alright.” Remus said weakly, groaning slightly afterward. James and Sirius exchanged worried looks. “Snivelly didn’t hex you or anything, did he?” James asked. “No.” Remus gasped. “You gonna come out of there?” Sirius asked. “No… no, I’m alright.” “Rem,’ how come you didn’t come to our practice?” James demanded. “Uh… I—Uh…” “Remus, come off it, why are you hiding up here?” Sirius snapped. “I-I’m just, uh, really tired, that’s all.” “Okay Remus, I’m pulling back your hangings.” James said, reaching for the ropes. “No—wait!” Remus cried, but it was too late; James had pulled them back. Sirius and Remus gasped; Remus looked terrible. His eyes were droopy and he had big dark circles underneath them, his face was ghost-pale and clammy, and he looked dead-tired. Remus heaved a huge sigh, pulling the covers up to his chin. “Remus, you should go to Madam Pomfrey.” Sirius said fearfully. “Yeah, mate, you look horrible… you’re worrying us.” James added, frowning. “I was going there later.” Remus replied slowly, “When everyone went to the Great Hall, I swear.” “Go now, Rem’.” Sirius said, “C’mon, we’ll take you on our way to dinner.” Remus hesitated at first, but then recognized defeat and nodded in agreement. James and Sirius went to either side of the bed and helped him out. After a few seconds, Remus was on his feet, being held steady by the both of them. He was weak and shivering, not to mention wincing every now and then. Sirius took a blanket that was folded at the end of Remus’s bed and wrapped it around Remus’s back to keep him from shivering so much as they made their way out of the dormitory and down towards the Common Room. When they entered the room, several Gryffindors peered up at them, all staring at Remus. Lily, Andromeda, and Peter stood up and came hurrying over to them, looking deeply concerned. “Sirius, is he okay?” Lily asked in a deeply worried tone. “I dunno, Lil… but we gotta get him to the hospital wing.” And so they all went out of the portrait hole in a group, heading for the hospital wing as one. Sirius and Remus were in the lead; Sirius was holding him steady, followed by James, Lily, Peter, and Andromeda. When they arrived at the hospital wing Sirius opened the door and led Remus in. Madam Pomfrey, who had been sitting at her desk, leapt up at the sight of them and hurried over. “Okay dear, here you go, lie down now alright.” She said, taking Remus to the nearest bed. Remus sat down on the edge of the bed, staring up at her tiredly. “Okay, so in a few, I’ll—“ But she broke off, looking down at Remus, who was shaking his head frantically and looking over at the door. She frowned and then peered over at the doors where Sirius and the others stood. She turned her head slowly back to Remus. “They don’t—“ “—No.” Remus said quickly. She nodded slightly to him, like she did not want to be noticed doing it. “Madam Pomfrey… is Remus okay?” Sirius asked. “Oh yes, Sirius dear.” Pomfrey told him brightly, “Yes, I’ll just be keeping him here for the night. He should be just fine by tomorrow.” She added. “Now you lot should be heading off to dinner.” She said, rushing up towards them. “But—“ James said. “Go on, Go on!” She said, and before they knew it she had shoved them out of the wing and closed the doors. “What was that all about?” Sirius asked, frowning at the doors. “No idea.” James breathed, “But I’m sure not up for any sleeping tonight knowing he’s in that condition. I’m going to check on him after dinner.” “Me too—definitely.” Sirius said, nodding. “—And me.” Andromeda, Lily, and Peter all said in unison. One by one they all turned around and headed over towards the Great Hall. “Remus is sure acting strange.” Sirius said as they entered the Hall. James nodded, “Yeah… he doesn’t have to hide being sick. We don’t care.” Lily tripped over her feet but straightened up almost instantly. They barely said anything to each other during dinner, all apparently wondering about Remus. After dinner they headed straight towards the Hospital Wing again to check up on Remus, only to find it empty when they wrenched open the doors. “He’s—he’s not here!” James said in shock, his eyes scanning the wing. “Neither is Pomfrey.” Sirius said, leaning against the doorway in confusion, but just as he said that, the doors to the entrance hall opened. Madam Pomfrey came hurrying in from the cold, closing the doors behind her and making her way into towards the hospital wing. She looked up and started at the sight of them, clutching her chest afterward. “Oh, Mr. Black, Mr. Potter—“ “Where’s Remus?” Peter asked. Pomfrey looked slightly out of breath, which was curious, but quickly tried to cover up for it. “I just escorted Mr. Lupin into one of the carriages to go home.” She said quickly, smiling faintly, “His mother is ill—He isn’t anymore—I made sure of that… it’s alright.” She said, noticing their suspicious expressions. A few long seconds went by where everyone seemed to be staring at either James or Sirius for their opinion. “Okay…” Sirius said finally, in a little uneasy but understanding tone, “Yeah.” “Well, if he’s all better.” James shrugged, a little sign of relief in his voice. The next after noon they were heading off to double potions (Potions that was an hour and a half long), feeling a little glum; Remus still wasn’t back yet. Sirius and James walked slowly down towards the dungeon, both feeling worried when Lily came running up to them, a paper clutched in her hand. “Hey guys.” She said, “I know it’s not big or anything, but everyone’s talking about it—look.” She said, handing them a copy of “The Daily Prophet” and pointing out an article. Sirius took it and held it out I front of him so they could all see, reading aloud: HAUNTED HOGSMEADE Witnesses say that the old abandoned house atop the hill of the village of Hogsmeade has evil spirits lurking inside of it. According to reporters, last night there could be screaming and howling issuing from the house, causing the Villagers in the area to believe that the source of the noise if from deceased former residents. All are warned not to venture inside the house, now dubbed “The Shrieking Shack,” and use extreme caution when around the premises. “Hmm… interesting.” Sirius muttered thoughtfully, beginning to roll up the paper when it, suddenly, shot out of his hands. The three of them looked up quickly to see it fly right into the hands of Severus Snape. They paused. “What’s this, Black?” Snape sneered, holding his wand out while he peered down at the paper. “A newspaper.” James began in an extremely patronizing tone, “You know, a bit of parchment you can read that has articles?” “Shut up, Potter.” He snapped, “Hey, where’s shabby boy today?” He asked, looking around, “Not here to back you up this time, is he? I suppose he’s picking up some new clothes from the dump—“ Sirius and James whipped out their wands; Snape directed his wand at both of them in turn, apparently deciding on who to use it against. “Just try it, Black… Potter… you’ll be sorry.” He said, tossing the paper on the floor behind him. “Oh, I’ll be sorry, eh?” James said, walking up to him slowly, “I think you’ve forgotten that little number you did for us the other day… crybaby.” A flash of light appeared and instantly James was thrown backwards, crashing forcefully against the stone wall of the dungeon. Lily screamed. Sirius directed his wand immediately at Snape, crying “Rictusempra!” Snape was hit by a jet of silver and flew up high in the air, doing many flips, and landing forcefully on his stomach on the floor. Sirius and James—who was now back on his feet—were roaring with laughter. Lily was not. Snape scrambled back up to his feet, breathing heavily due to the wind being knocked out of him, wand raised. The look on his face was sinister. “You know…” He began, his eyes flashing with slight insanity, “I can do the Cruciatus Curse…” He whispered, looking straight at Sirius. “NO!” Lily screamed, jumping right in front of Sirius and holding out her arms to try and shield him. “Lily, no… stay out of it!” Sirius said desperately. “Get out of the way, mudblood.” Snape spat, grabbing her by her arm and throwing her sideways. She landed on the floor next to the wall, letting out a cry. Sirius roared with rage and started towards Snape aggressively, wand raised… only to be hit by a curse by Snape. Sirius’s body was now immobile from his shoulders down to his toes, helpless and furious. James, unfortunately, was hit by the curse next, as he had just tried to attack Snape also. “Now…” Snape began, raising his wand high above his head and glaring into the eyes of Sirius. Lily let out a scream. “CRUC—“ “—EXPELLIARMUS!” Came a voice from the end of the corridor, which echoed throughout the dungeon. Snape’s wand shot out of hand and he was blasted off his feet, landing on his back. Sirius turned his head, the only thing he could do, and smiled widely. “REMUS!” James cried, watching as Remus came running up to them from the end of the corridor, wand out in front of him. He looked perfectly fine from the previous night. “James… Sirius…” He said casually, reaching up to them. “Finite! Finite!” He cried, lifting the spells from the both of them. Then he turned and saw Snape, who lay motionless on the floor, so he began comforting Lily, who was sobbing hysterically on the floor, her hands burying her face. Bu then Snape let out a snarl, suddenly got up and diving quickly towards his fallen wand. “Wingardium Leviosa!” Sirius cried, sending Snape’s wand up in the air and into Sirius’s outstretched hand. “You know, Snivellus.” Sirius muttered, throwing Snape’s wand up into the air and then catching it again, “You ought to be in Azkaban for that… but I’m going to be nice, Snivelly, and give you a second chance.” He walked over and handed Snape’s wand back to its owner. Snape yanked it out of Sirius’s hand, not taking his eyes off of Sirius as he did. Sirius then bore his eyes into Snape’s. “If you ever say anything nasty to Lily again—or even touch her—I’ll see to it that you get cursed into insanity… get me?” Sirius threatened, trembling with pure hate. Snape said nothing, but turned immediately on his heel and then strode off, sneering, towards the Potions classroom. Sirius glared after him. “Wow mate…” James said after Snape had gone, “You really look scary.” Sirius looked up at him, his glare replaced with a shrug, “Nah… he just got me wound up is all.” “Should we tell on him?” Lily asked, wiping her eyes as they all began making their way to Potions, “He used an Unforgivable Curse.” “—Almost used an Unforgivable Curse.” Remus informed her, opening the classroom door where they were already five minutes late. “Oh yeah, by the way… you look loads better Remus.” Sirius said, taking his seat in between James and Remus after apologizing to their Potions Professor for being late; Sirius used the excuse that they had waited up for Remus. “Thanks mate.” Remus said, sitting between Sirius and Peter, “Overnight bug, I expect.”

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