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The month of April was tense. Tense with studying for OWLs and NEWTs starting up. Tense with training for the final Quidditch matches of the year, and the Quidditch Cup Final between Gryffindor and Slytherin drawing nearer. Tense because stress about finding a date for the end of year dance was already kicking in. Tense because the Head Boy and Head Girl hadn’t spoken since sharing thoughts that day in the Common Room, and the entire house was waiting for them to explode at one another, which they felt was bound to happen sooner or later. And to top all the tension off, even the teachers were tense with more reports of muggle killings. It appeared that the Ministry of Magic was becoming more aware, and accounts of the latest attacks on muggles were found in the Daily Prophet with more frequency. The name “Voldemort” was occasionally thrown in, as though the Ministry doubted such a person existed and the entire thing was just a conspiracy to shake things up and frighten people. James knew perfectly well that Voldemort wouldn’t remain killing just muggles for long, and although many students agreed with the Ministry that Voldemort wasn’t all that the rumors made him out to be, everyone was certainly frightened. Lily was too concerned about the upcoming tests to pay too much attention to the circulating rumors that muggles and muggleborns were in danger. All of her friends were very worried about her, and Lily was quite honestly fed up. She was fed up with them trying to look out for her, fed up with Freddie trying to look out for her, and fed up with James for cursing Snape whenever she and Snape happened to be in the same room. One good thing did brighten her mood in April, however, and it was a very cheery thing indeed. Dear Lily, How are you? Don’t fret so much about your exams, I’m sure you’ll be fine. I am so happy right now, I just feel like I’m going to explode with joy! You’ll never guess why, I couldn’t wait to tell you! Just last Saturday, Vernon and I went out for dinner. We were just sitting there, you know, eating our salads, when he started this long speech about the future. He told me all about his father’s drill company that he worked at, and how it was time for him to make some changes in his life. I honestly thought he was going to break up with me, right then and there! But then, he got down on one knee, pulled out a box, and asked me to marry him. Marry him! Can you believe it? Lils, I’m engaged! I’ve finally found the right guy for me, we’re in love, and everything is so wonderful! The wedding is probably going to be this summer, so you can attend and be my maid of honor. I’m just so excited right now! I’m getting married! I miss you terribly, and I can’t wait for you to meet Vernon. Write back soon, and keep studying hard. Love, Petunia Just reading her sister’s letter made Lily smile. She was so happy for her sister. Vernon sounded like a great guy. Alas, Lily was a little jealous, getting engaged sounded so wonderful! *** No matter how many times Lily tried to explain to the Common Room that exams were closer than they thought, all the students were exceptionally rowdy with the start of May. No matter how many times she reminded them that even though they might not want to study, there were other people in the Common Room who did want to, all the students were just so psyched about the Quidditch Finals that it was impossible for them to settle down. And it didn’t help that the Head Boy, who was also the Quidditch Captain, was the rowdiest one of all. James and Sirius had been bouncing off the walls ever since they found out the finals would be between Gryffindor and Slytherin, the biggest rivalry of the school. Even Crystal was more loud than usual, annoying her friends as she cheered with the team and talked about the victory that was sure to follow. Lily hated to admit it, but as much as she wanted Gryffindor to win, she didn’t want to deal with the Common Room if they did win. It would be out of control. Perhaps it was because of this excitement that James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter made such extravagant plans for the full moon in May. It was going to be a complete rummage of Hogsmeade, as they had to stock up with sweets, gags, and fireworks for the party they were already planning for a Gryffindor victory. James had plans to nick some fire whisky, and Peter and Remus were in charge of getting the celebration Fireworks as to surprise Sirius and James for the win. And Sirius, he had plans of his own. Sirius and James, although best friends and alike in many respects, differed in a few key traits. Their choices in girls for example, and their relationships with them. James was more likely to remain in a relationship for a long time, such as Lily or Emma, while Sirius tended to bounce from girl to girl weekly. James was the more magically talented wizard, while Sirius was the shrewder scheme planner. And when it came to Snivellus, though their hatred for him was equal, their methods of revenge were different. James tended to blow up on the spot, able to curse Snape senseless just as fast as he could catch the snitch. Sirius favored savoring sweet revenge by tricking Snape, luring the Slytherin unsuspectedly into his trap. Sirius may have tried to prevent James from getting back at Snape in front of the entire school in the Great Hall that morning, but his own anger had yet to be vented. And he decided to get Snape back by teaching him a lesson about sticking one’s own overly large nose into other’s beeswax. The idea had come to him during their previous potions class, and it was Snape who had given it to him in the first place. “Keep your beak out of this, Snivellus.” James had told Snape hotly after the Slytherin had been trying in vain to overhear the conversation about the upcoming full moon. “Why, you sound like you’re hiding something, Potter!” Snape had retorted back. “I’m sure Dumbledore would be delighted to hear all about whatever it you’re planning, and I would be too!” “Yea, yea, yea Snivellus.” James had waved him away, but Sirius continued to watch Snape. He knew Snape wasn’t stupid, meaning that Snape had figured out Remus’s absences were not all they seemed. He also knew that Snape would gleefully do just about anything to find out what they were up to. And Sirius was planning that it might be a good idea to let Snape in on the secret as well. What a laugh it would be when Snape met a full-grown werewolf! Sirius had laughed to himself. Now was the time to set his plan in motion, luring Snape and his big nose into the trap. Snivellus- If you want to know a little secret, all you have to do is prod the knot on the Whomping Willow tonight. Follow the passage, and you’ll find a pleasant surprise! Don’t tell anyone what you’re up to, or the glory you’ll receive you’ll have to share…. Sirius smiled as the owl he had tied the friendly little note to earlier swooped down to the Slytherin table. He was positive Snape would take the bait, he wouldn’t be able to resist finding out a secret. Tonight would be a night to go down in Marauders’ History! “What are you smiling about, Padfoot?” James asked, looking at the silly grin on Sirius’s face. He hadn’t told James about the plan, something told him that James wouldn’t be as keen as he was about it. “No reason, Prongs. Just excited about tonight!” He replied. After the day’s classes finished, Remus said good bye to his friends and winked. When darkness had begun to fall after a couple hours, the other Marauders sneaked out under the invisibility cloak and headed for the Whomping Willow. Pausing in the Entrance Hall to check the Map, James abruptly stopped them, staring hard at the parchment. “What is it? What’s wrong?” Peter asked nervously. “What’s Snivellus doing out by the Willow at this time?” James wondered incredulously. Sirius shrugged. “We’ll just have to wait til he clears out, that’s all.” Sirius replied, wishing he could witness his plan unfolding, but knowing how wonderfully it was about to happen made him giddy all the same. “What the hell does he think he’s doing? He’s going into the passage!” James exclaimed, and Sirius broke into a wide smile despite himself. “Sirius, what’s going on?” “Well, let’s just say Snivellus is finally going to get what he deserves for that big nose of his…” Sirius told them delightedly. James’s jaw dropped in horror. “Sirius, you didn’t… please tell me you didn’t…” James pleaded. “I did!” Sirius grinned even bigger. However Sirius expected James to react, he certainly hadn’t planned on him darting out from under the invisibility cloak and tearing out of the castle. Sirius and Peter exchanged shocked looks before following. James sprinted towards the Whomping Willow, which was still frozen from Snape prodding the knot. He ducked quickly into the passage, and hurried as fast as he could while stooped in the passage. He heard Snape not far in front of him. “Snape! Get away from there!” He hollered, and Snape turned around ahead of him to see who it was. “You won’t stop me, Potter! You’re secret will be out soon!” Snape called back, turning and continuing to head down the passage. Stupid git! James thought. “Snape! I’m serious! Don’t go any further if you want to live!” He yelled again as he chased after him, gaining on him. “Threaten me however you like, Potter! You won’t be able to keep me quiet!” Snape shouted as the passage inclined upwards, telling James how close they were to the house. “SNAPE! DON’T!” James cried out in frustration, grabbing one of Snape’s ankles as he dove, desperate to save him, although he would have very much liked to have let Snape fend for himself against the werewolf he was about to meet. Snape shook his leg, trying to shake James off. A loud howl from the house startled them both. Snape broke free and started off again, but James pounced. Landing squarely on Snape’s back, James brought him down to the ground. Snape seemed to have taken no notice of him, however, and was gazing in horror from the ground at the werewolf tearing a sofa to shreds. “Get up, you idiot! Run!” James instructed him, heaving Snape to his feet. Any minute and Remus would charge. The normally gentle boy was not himself while a werewolf, and nothing would prevent Remus from attacking James or Snape if he spotted them. Snape seemed to have lost all control of his body with shock of seeing a fully grown werewolf. James really longed to hightail it out of there in the other direction and save his own skin, but he knew Snape would be a goner if he left him there. James began to drag the stunned Snape back down the way they had come, when Remus whipped around and saw them disappear down the passage. Another howl rattled James again, and still dragging Snape he broke into a run. Hoping that Remus wasn’t following them, James didn’t stop until he dragged Snape out of the passage. The Whomping Willow seemed to have regained the use of it’s branches, and nearly knocked James off of his feet as he emerged. Dodging branches and still dragging Snape, James hurtled towards the castle. Clear of the Willow’s reach and blows, he collapsed from exhaustion, Snape’s weight, and sheer disbelief at what had just happened. “Mr. Potter! Mr. Potter! Bring him here!” James heard someone calling to him in the back of his mind. It was Dumbledore, along with a very frightened looking Madame Pomfrey. Next to him, Snape sat up, a look of pure terror on his face. “You okay, Snivellus?” James gasped, still breathing hard from his excursion. Snape’s eyes, wide with shock, narrowed slightly at his words. “What a great prank, Potter! I shouldn’t have put it past you and Black to get me killed…” Snape muttered, the initial shock wearing off. Madame Pomfrey helped him to his feet, and was about to lead him away to the Hospital Wing, when Dumbledore stopped her. “Just one second, Poppy. Mr. Snape, I’m sorry for what just happened to you, and I just want you to know that I’ll speak to Mr. Black. I forbid you to tell anyone what you have just seen, or next time I will allow Mr. Potter to let you face Mr. Lupin on your own.” Dumbledore spoke to him kindly, but at the same time sternly. Snape looked loathingly at James for another moment, before nodding. “Very well, then. Off you go!” Dumbledore held out a hand to James, and helped him up. “I just want you to know, Mr. Potter-” He began to say, but James interrupted him. “Honestly, Professor! I didn’t set this up!” James protested, and Sirius, who had been standing nearby after fetching Dumbledore interjected as well. “He didn’t do anything, Professor, the plan was all mine. James was just trying to rescue him!” Sirius confessed, and Dumbledore held up his hands. “Let me finish, let me finish! I just want you to know, Mr. Potter, that what you did showed true bravery and moral fiber. I am now more sure than ever that you were the right pick for Head Boy this year.” “Oh, well. Um, thank you, sir.” James answered, embarrassed by his rude interruption. “As for you Mr. Black, I won’t deny that I am disappointed in you. Your behavior was very childish, and your actions could have killed Mr. Snape. You will be serving detention with me till the end of the school year.” Dumbledore told him finally, and Sirius hung his head, knowing fully well that Dumbledore could have easily just expelled him. “Now, please return to your dormitories if neither of you are hurt. 8:00 in my office starting tomorrow, Mr. Black.” James and Sirius set off for the castle in silence, Peter following at a distance. Neither one knew quite what to say to the other. “James, I-” Sirius began. “I know you’re sorry, Sirius.” James cut him off, and Sirius went silent again, as e had just about apologized. “I didn’t mean to-” Sirius started again. “I know you didn’t, Padfoot.” James silenced him again, looking grave. “Snivellus just-” Sirius ventured. “I know Snivelluss just had it coming, mate.” James sighed. “Then are you-” Sirius tried to get out. “No, I’m not mad at you. I’m just tired.” James told him with a slight hint of disturbance in his voice. They returned to the Common room in silence, where James went immediately to the dormitory and to bed. Sirius cursed himself for what he had done, not so much as he had almost gotten Snape killed, himself expelled, but how he had almost gotten James killed in the process. Tricking Snape into finding himself face to face with a werewolf hadn’t been exactly very smart on his part, Sirius admitted dully.

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