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“REMUS!”

Remus fell out of his bed and hit his head hard against the bed post. He looked up with slightly blurred vision and tried to make out who had yelled for him.

“What is it, Sirius?” he said after a while.

“Lily’s gone missing,” Sirius whispered back, his voice sounding panicked and amused at the same time.

Remus immediately forgot the pain in his head and looked up. “Are you serious? What time is it?”

“It’s past midnight, and yes I’m serious. Prongs was bringing her back and he left her under the invisibility cloak for a second and she was gone!”

“Oh boy,” Remus sighed. “Alright, I’ll meet you and Prongs downstairs in a few minutes and we’ll go look for her.”

Sirius shook his head. “No good, mate. Prongs has already gone looking for her – he’s looking in the stairwells, you look in the Great Hall and I’ll scan the entire floor – we’ll meet back in a few minutes.”

“So we’re a posse now?”

“No – well, sort of. But we need to find her! How good will it look when Dumbledore finds out that we lost his prized student?”

Remus sighed and held his hand out. Sirius grabbed the hand and helped him up. “I’ll be down a few minutes,” Remus said. “You start looking.”

“Thanks Moony!”

Remus rolled his eyes. “This is going to be a very long night.”

***
“Lily!”

James called out to Lily as he patrolled the stairwell closest to the Fat Lady’s portrait. “Lily Evans! Can you hear me?”

However, there was no reply. He tiptoed his way up the stairs and kept his ears sharp for anything that may remotely have sounded like a silly drunk girl.

And then he heard it.

A tiny giggle echoed throughout the desolate stairwell. The giggle was faint but definitely audible.

“Lily! Is that you?”

James waited for a few seconds and then a faint reply came.

“I’ll never tell!”

The voice was so obviously Lily’s that James couldn’t help but roll his eyes. He ran down the stairs to where he’d heard her and came to see nobody there.

“Young man!”

James turned around to see one of the portraits ushering him over. The portrait was that of a tiny, bald, fat man who held himself in very high esteem.

“That young girl went behind that one painting,” he said.

James turned to see where the man was pointing and saw him ushering towards a painting with a fruit basket and some food.

“Where does it lead?” James asked.

“To the kitchens of course!” the man said pompously. “It’s a rather unknown passage but useful to get a midnight snack.”

James nodded and then walked towards the portrait, his hands against the soft velvety texture. He placed his fingers on the frame and pulled the portrait forward. As a narrow view of the kitchen became visible, James heard footsteps near the stairs behind him.

“Are you sure she went in here?” James asked the man in the painting.

“Do you doubt me?” the man said angrily. “Of course she did!”

James heard the footsteps again and decided to follow them instead of listening to the painting. Mumbles of protest and rage came out of the man as James turned the corner and heard a whisper. There was a shadow on the other side.

“Found her!” James whispered to himself.

He immediately turned the corner when he suddenly heard a voice say loudly. “Locomotor Mortis!”

A light shot at James who fell backwards and hit his head hard against the wall. “I got her!” the triumphant voice from the other side said.

James cursed under his breath as Sirius came running into view and stopped short.

“Prongs?” he said. “What on earth are you doing here?”

“I’m taking a nap!” James snapped sarcastically. “What on earth are you doing here?”

“I heard voices,” Sirius replied defensively. “I thought it was Lily.”

“So you shot a spell at her?”

“It’s only a leg locking spell,” Sirius said casually. “Besides, it’ll keep her from running away again.”

James rolled his eyes. “Well undo the spell on me,” he told Sirius who whispered something under his breath and freed James from the spell.

“Do you have any idea where she is?” Sirius asked hopelessly.

“Yeah,” James said. “In the kitchens. Oh my bloody head hurts.” He rubbed the back of his head with his hand to dull the searing pain.

They both ran back towards the painting and swung it forward to reveal twenty or so house elves running around frantically. The kitchen itself was in chaos as the elves were screaming and carrying items of various sizes and shapes all around the room.

“I guess we know she’s here,” James said to Sirius quietly and then sighed. “I can’t deal with house elves, they get so whiny all the time.”

“Don’t worry about it, mate,” Sirius said confidently. “Just go for it.”

James cleared his throat loudly and shot a few sparks into the air. The elves paid no heed to him and kept on bustling. There was a massive spill of pumpkin juice all over the floor which, it seemed, was already covered in tomatoes and onions.

“Excuse me!” James said loudly. “Has anyone seen a girl go by here?”

One of the elves stopped running and turned to James. “Of course we has!” he squeaked. “She made this whole mess.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“She tries to make us sing and then drops all this food everywhere! Oh the headmaster will be so upset!”

“Hold on a second,” James said. “Did you see where she went?”

“Yes sir,” the elf squeaked. “I is seen her leave myself. She is gone l-”

“SIRIUS BLACK!”

The elf stopped talking and turned to see a tiny elf pointing angrily at Sirius. The rest of the elves turned around as well and gave him a nasty look.

“It is Sirius Black!” one of them said, its eyes wide open.

“How do they know you?” James whispered to Sirius.

“There may be a slight chance that I’m banned from the kitchens,” Sirius said guiltily.

“Banned?!” James said. “How do you get banned from a kitchen?!”

“You is not allowed here!” the elves squealed. “You is supposed to be banned!”

“I used to come in here a lot last year,” Sirius whispered frantically. “And once I accidentally kicked one of the elves who dropped the centrepiece for the staff’s banquet. I got in so much trouble and Dumbledore banned me.”

“GET HIM!”

The elves began to reach to the floor and grab tomatoes and onions to throw at both James and Sirius. As they threw the vegetables, James and Sirius ducked out from under the portrait hole and in their haste, tripped on the landing and fell out into the corridor. The portrait was shut and James knew they were safe from the flying tomatoes.

“I can’t believe this!” James huffed.

“Well don’t blame me,” Sirius said. “It’s not like I knew they’d start attacking us with food.”

“Also, how one earth do you accidentally kick a house elf?” James asked incredulously.

“They’re small! I couldn’t see!” Sirius sighed.

“Well thanks to you we don’t know where Lily went,” James said. “That murderous house elf recognized you before the other one could tell me where Lily went.”

“Lily?” the man in the portrait said. “Is that the young girl’s name?”

Both Sirius and James looked up at the pompous, round man staring at both of them very snobbishly.

“Did you see her go by?” Sirius asked the man.

“Oh perhaps,” the man said coolly.

“Well…where did she go?” James asked.

“I don’t think I feel like telling you,” he responded. “You hurt my feelings when you didn’t believe that she’d gone into the kitchens.”

Both James and Sirius rolled their eyes. “Hurt your feelings?!” Sirius said. “You’re a bloody painting! DO YOU WANT HIM TO GIVE YOU A HUG?!”

“Well I certainly won’t tell you now!” the man said indignantly.

“Please,” James pleaded. “We need to know.”

“I’m not telling anyone!” the portrait huffed. “Especially such rowdy boys!”

“I’ll show you how rowdy we can get,” Sirius threatened.

“Sirius!” James warned and then turned to the man. “Give us a hint.”

“A hint?” Sirius said dubiously. “We’re not playing bloody games with a fat man at midnight.”

“This boy is irritating me!” the man said angrily.

“Well, he’s staying, so shove it,” James snapped back. “Give us a clue!”

Suddenly a clutter came from behind and both boys turned around to see Remus standing in the back with an amused expression on his face.

“For an entire year,” Remus began. “Whenever you wanted to do goof around, you used it but when the time comes to use it for a good cause, you forget it.”

“What’re you bumbling about Moony?”

Lupin held up the Marauder’s map in his hands and rolled his eyes. “She’s headed towards the library.”

***
Reviews much appreciated! <3

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