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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

“Stop ignoring me!” Sirius whined.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The smallest bit,” Moony agreed.

“I really should stop that,” James muttered.

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

“Because you like her!” Remus singsonged.

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

“You’re doing it again James.”

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

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

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


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

“Y’know what Remus?”

“What James?” Remus said resignedly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~x~

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

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

“Want to finish this tomorrow?”

“When?! It’s Monday!”

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

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

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

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

“As indeed do I, Mr Prongs!”

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

“Certainly is, have you got him anything?”

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

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

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

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

“Sirius – he isn’t gay!”

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

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

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

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

“And that was in English…”

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

James and Sirius looked offended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Uh, starting tomorrow.”

~x~

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

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

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

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

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

“Isn’t that just SO unfair Remus!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well, uh, yeah, but-“

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

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

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

James said severely, “And?”

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

“And?”

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

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

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

~x~

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

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

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

“ME?!” James exclaimed, looking scandalised.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James looked puzzled, “Daniel what?”

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

“Oh. No,” James said.

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

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

“No I’m not.”

“You must be.”

“Well I’m not.”

“Harry Potter is famous.”

“Tell me who he is then.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s Harry’s dad’s name?”

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

Now James and Sirius got it.

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

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

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

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

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

“So I’m not real?” James asked.

“None of us are,” Remus said.

“So I’m not real?” James repeated.

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

James ignored him, pondering for a second.

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

“What?”

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

“Got any muggle money?”

“No.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh yeah! That was so stupid!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Stupid,” Sirius muttered under his breath malevolently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now he had their attention.

“Peter Pettigrew!” Padfoot yelled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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