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“Alright, we better be careful,” James warned. “That stupid old bat has the entire library filled with traps. One wrong move and the entire school will be awake.”

Sirius scoffed. “Why’d she bug the whole place?”

James shrugged. “I don’t know – maybe she thought people would sneak in in the middle of the night to read.”

They both sniggered as Remus made a slightly disapproving noise indicating that calling the librarian a “stupid old bat” wasn’t at all prefect-like.

“Moony, where is she?”

Remus held his illuminated wand up to the Marauder’s map and saw the little dot labelled Lily floating in the right wing. “She’s near the Forbidden Books section.”

James grunted. “Perfect. Just bloody perfect.”

Sirius grunted too. “Why on earth does any school library have a Forbidden Books section?” he asked. “No one’s ever going to read them because they’re bloody forbidden.”

The three boys carefully entered the library, cautiously hidden under the invisibility cloak and headed towards the right wing.

“Lily!” James whispered. “Can you hear us?”

“I don’t get it,” Sirius said after a while. “Why didn’t she set of any of the alarms here?”

“She has Prefect clearance,” Remus replied. “If you’re wearing a prefect’s badge, the alarm doesn’t go off. She’s wearing one but I’m not.”

“Shh!” James said. “I hear her!”

“You hic know what? I think you aren’t hic very nice! hic I’ve been talking to hic you for so hic long and you have not even said hic a word!”

All three of the boys looks confused as Lily came into their view.

“Prongs?” Remus said.

“Yeah, Moony.”

“She’s talking to a wall, right?”

“Yeah, Moony.”

“Good. I thought I was hallucinating.”

Lily began to sob slightly. “I think she’s crying because the wall won’t reply,” Sirius noted.

James couldn’t bear to see Lily like this and got out from under his cloak. “Lily?” he said softly, making the red-head turn around.

“Potter!” she said happily, wiping the tears away. “I was hic - how hic did you find me?”

“That’s not important,” James said. “Let’s go back now. You shouldn’t have run away in the first place.”

“But I wanna hic play!”

“Play what?” James asked. “It’s past midnight - you’re supposed to be in bed right now.”

“Hey! Don’t go all mother on hic me!”

“Lily, please!” James pleaded.

“No! I’m talking to the wall!”

James rolled his eyes. “Lily! It’s a wall – it won’t hear what you say and it won’t respond! For the love of Merlin, even at Hogwarts walls don’t talk!”

He smacked the wall hard with his hand and a tiny flash of white light appeared and then disappeared again.

“Moony! Padfoot!” James called out. “What was that?”

Both Sirius and Remus came out from under the cloak with apprehensive looks on their faces. “I’m guessing that was one of the traps.”

“But…it was just a white light?” James said.

“It’s marked our position to alert whoever it is to come here.”

“Who on earth would they send to punish a bunch of students at 1 in the morning?” Sirius asked incredulously.

Before he even finished his train of thought, he heard a loud thud outside.
“It’s Sirius Black!”

Sirius turned just in time to see four very angry house elves getting ready to hurl oranges at him and the others. “Oh boy!”

James and Remus ducked just in time to avoid the storm of fruit but Sirius got an orange right in the nose. “Bloody Elves!” he growled.

James pulled Lily down with him who seemed to be enjoying the food fight- or rather, the food attack.

“Why are they so angry?” Remus asked.

“Padfoot kicked one of them accidentally and they’ve been edgy ever since,” James explained.

“Accidentally?” Remus mused. “How on earth do you accidentally kick someone?”

Sirius led out a huge grunt. “I COULDN’T SEE IT!”

“Let’s just get out of here!” James cried. “I swear these guys are going to start chucking knives at us soon.”

James grabbed Lily’s hand and guided her towards the exit. However, his grip loosened for a second and she broke free.

“Hey!” James said loudly. “Lily! Get back here!”

“Nah Nah Nah Nah!” Lily said cheerfully. “Catch me if you hic can!”

“Moony,” James said. “Stay here and keep the elves distracted. I’m going to get her back.”

James ducked under some of the flying fruit and dove out the library’s side door, where he fell into an empty corridor – only it wasn’t that empty. Lily was walking around figuring out where to go next.

“Lily!” James called out and grabbed her wrist. “Listen to me!

“What?!” she yelled.

“Just please stay with me. We need to go back now!”

“No!” Lily pleaded. “I…hic…don’t want to …”

Something in Lily’s eyes made James feel weird. She wasn’t acting like she was drunk anymore – she wasn’t playing hide and seek. Her quivering voice and watery eyes told him that even though she was drunk, there was something she really did want to do. Then, without knowing why, he released the grip on her wrist. Her soft skin slipped through his fingers and he saw her run away.

“Prongs!” Sirius yelled as he came out. “Get down!”

James turned in time to see the house elves emerging from the library, stampeding back towards the kitchens. After they’d all left, a very amused Lupin alongside a much shaken Sirius emerged.

“Where’s she go?” Sirius asked.

“She…she got loose,” James said hesitantly. “I don’t know what it was about her but…but she begged me to let her go.”

“Well obviously she’d do that,” Sirius said bluntly. “She’s drunk.”

“No, no…you don’t know how she said it. I mean…she seemed so…hurt. I don’t know what came over me.”

“Well we’d better find her before a professor does,” Remus interjected.

“Check in the map,” Sirius suggested.

“We can’t. It fell out of my pocket in the library and we can’t go back to get it.”

“Why not?”

“It’s got traps all over the place and I, for one, don’t feel like getting attack by house elves again.”

“Don’t worry about it,” James said. “No one will be able to figure out what the map does without the words – we’ll just get it tomorrow morning.”

“So how do we find out where Lily went?”

James shrugged. “She went towards the Great Hall,” he said, pointing to the hallway where Lily had run through.

“Alright,” Sirius said. “Let’s go.”

“Excuse me?” Remus said. “WE are not going. You are going to stay here and clean up the mess.”

“What?” Sirius spat out. “Why me?!”

“Because if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be in the mess.”

Sirius grunted. “Why does it need to be cleaned though? It’s the bloody library – no one ever goes in there.”

Remus didn’t bother responding. “Just clean up and we’ll meet you in the Great Hall.”
***
James dashed through the corridors followed by a breathless Remus. But as they had expected, Lily wasn’t in the Great Hall either.

“Lumos,” James whispered as his wand lit up, illuminating the path in front of him.

“Do you reckon she passed out?” Remus asked.

James shook his head. “And I don’t think she’s running around randomly anymore either.”

“What do you mean?”

“In front of the library…I don’t know what it was but the way she looked at me, it seemed like she was looking for something.”

“Looking for something?”

“I think so,” James said. “At the beginning she was just so playful but when she asked me to let her go, she wasn’t joking around anymore.”

“So where do you think she’s gone?”

“I have no idea maybe sh-” James was cut short but a frantic ghost running into the hall and wailing loudly.

“OH DEAR!” he cried. “OH DEAR SOMEBODY HELP!”

“What’s wrong?” James asked the hysterical ghost.

“There’s an intruder in the dungeons!” he sobbed. “There’s an intruder in the dungeons!”

“Who? Who is it?”

“I didn’t see the person!” the ghost said huffily. “She was running too fast!”

James rolled his eyes. “She?”

The ghost nodded. James looked at Remus and gestured towards the dungeons. “Let’s go.”
***

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