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James was kind of disappointed by the whole affair. No one was out of bounds, or even out of bed it seemed like. He and Lily just walked up and down the empty hallways, not talking much, nor doing much of anything else. James sincerely hoped that their next meeting would be more fun, that people would get over the first of the year innocence and be out again causing trouble, to finally give Lily and James something to do.

The one good thing about the night was that they were able to turn in early, and once they reached the Gryffindor common room, everyone had gone to bed. This made it easier to do their homework, which ahd been left untouched, and they pulled some chairs over to the same table by the fire and worked on it together, talking quietly and making perfect use of their time.

"So....Want to play a game?" Lily asked, after a few moments of rare silence.

"A game? I dunno, Lily, I've still got that Potions essay to start.," James said gloomily.

"Not like a board game, or chess or anything. It's this one game, I don't know what it's called, but I read about it in a book."

"How do you play?" James asked, flipping open his Potions book.

"Well, I'd name a food, and then whatever letter it ended with would be the first letter of the food you'd name," Lily explained, also opening her book.

"Sure, why not? I'll start. Spaghetti."

"Ice cream."

"Mango," James replied, feeling that the game was somewhat pointless, and thinking of a whole host of games he'd rather play with her.

"James, c'mon, it's not that hard. I gave you an s, those are easy," Lily suddenly said.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"I said 'oranges'," Lily said, laughing.

"Spinach," James responded, and as he did so, he wrote the word on his Potions essay.

"Honeydew...or..no wait! Honeydukes chocolate!" Lily said, as James, who had just finished crossing out spinach began to write Honeydukes on his paper instead.

"Uh, Lily? I can't play this right now. It's distracting me too much," James said, and showed her his paper.

"Okay," she said, trying not to laugh. "We can stop. But that just means I win."

"It's only because it's your game," James said, returning to his essay. "If it had been my idea, I'd have won."

"So, wait. You're saying that if you had come up with the game, I wouldn't win?"

"That's excatly what I'm saying." He looked up at her. "It's simple, Lily, really, I don't understand why you're so confused."

"I'm not confused. That's just...stupid. I could win any game you come up with, if I put my mind to it," Lily said.

"Wanna bet?" James asked.

"Yes," Lily said, and James looked up at her again, taken aback.

"Let me come up with something first, then I'll get back to you," James said.

Lily laughed, and then began writing her essay. Twenty minutes passed and James hadn't written more than two words. He glanced over at Lily's parchment and saw about six inches worth of writing, which was a third of the homework Professor Slughorn had assigned. He signed, knowing he'd never get any work done while she was around.

"I think I'm gonna turn in for the night," James said, packing up his materials.

"Okay..same time tomorrow?" Lily asked.

"Hopefully, I have Quidditch tomorrow, so I might be a little late. Oh! And on Friday I can't patrol. I'm really sorry, but I can't. I have something really important going on."

"Oh..that's okay," Lily said, but her face fell.

"I'm really sorry," James repeated. "Good night."

"Night."

The days proceeding Friday passed by slowly, but once the day finally arrived it felt like it came altogether too fast. All day James had a sense of dread filling the pit of his stomach that he just couldn't shake. When he shared these feelings with his fellow Marauders, he found he wasn't the only one who felt the unease.

"I don't get it, James, but I feel it too," Remus said, ignoring the fearful look on Peters' face and the exaggerated look on Sirius'. "What do you think it is?"


They were seated in Charms, the perfect class for a private discussion, but James still felt the need to put up the Muffliato spell, to keep others from over hearing.

"I don't know, James said, glancing back a couple rows behind him, where Lily was seated. "But I think it has something to do with Lily."

"Where is she, anyways?" Sirius asked, stiffling a yawn, and glancing behind him, as well.

James did a double take. Her seat was empty. James turned and looked Remus, and they exchanged a meaningful look.

"C'mon, let's go," Remus said, getting up, as James reached in his bag for his Invisiblity Cloak. Sirius put the front two legs of his chair down on the floor and stood up too.

"You're not leaving us," Peter squeaked.

James was just about to tell him that he would have to, because it would be too suspicious if all four of the Marauders left, when the door opened and Lily walked in. James stood up, and as he did, he knocked over the chair he was sitting on. The sudden movement caught Lily's eye, and she looked at him, smiling. She looked completely calm, and James felt himself relax slightly. He picked up his chair and sat down, but continued to watch her as she walked up to the Professor and handed him a not, apologising for being late.

"She's okay," Remus said, sitting back down too, but still looking slightly flustered.

"Damn," said Sirius. "I was really hoping on getting out of this class. I'm so bored."

He picked up his wand and preformed the charm they were supposed to be practicing, before reaching into his bag and drawing forth a very old, very battered piece of blank parchment.

"Sirius..." James said, watching him turn the parchemnt into a map of Hogwarts.

"What?" Sirius replied, continuing to look at the map. "Oh, this is no fun, everyone is in their classes. We need to go to Zonkos soon, to get some more stuff to do. We could do that tonight...."

He looked up and saw James and Remus watching him. "What?" he said again.

Remus and James exchanged a look, and Remus opened his mouth to explain and James looked back at Lily.

"Oh, no! Are you serious? We need it! She can't use it tonight," Sirius interrupted Remus before he could start.

"Sirius," Remus began gently. "We know Hogwarts like the back of our hand. Lily doesn't. If something bad is about to happen, and James can't be here with her, she'll need some sort of upper hand. We'll be fine without it, really. We could walk around the school with our eyes shut, and be fine, but without this, Lily will be doing just that, walking into an open trap."

"Oh alright," Sirius, said, and threw the map at James. "You have a point."

At the end of class, James held Lily back as everyone else filed out.

"What's up?" she asked curiously.

"Have you felt odd or anything today? Like you're in trouble or something?" James asked, without preamble.

"No, I haven't...should I?"

"I don't know, but I feel like something bad is going to happen," James said frustratedly and sat down on a desk. "But take this, it'll help you patrol the halls tonight. It's a map of Hogwarts, it shows you what's going on through out the whole school. All you have to do is say I solemnly swear I am up to no good when you want to open it, and when you're done, clear it by saying mischeif managed or anyone can read it."

"Okay, thanks," Lily said a little shakily.

"If there's anything suspicious, anything wrong, tell Dumbledore, okay?"

"Okay. I probably wont see you at all again tonight, remember, I've got things to do. But be careful. Please," James said sadly.

"I promise," Lily said, folding the map and puting it in her pocket. "Thanks."

James watched her walk out of the room, and for a minute had a wild urge to follow her and take her with him, just insure her safety, but he knew that was foolish and the moment passed.

A/n: Okay...so...I know not much of an update...especially after months of no updates...but..I have a valid reason....I've had no inspiration...Please forgive me? I'll try to update sooner though, really, I will. This chapter was really forced, but it kind of got me back in the mood...so..just bare with me...and reviews would be nice. ♥AMW

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