Where in the world did you hear that I was at Hogwarts? I mean, there have been a few times where I've wanted to go there and kidnap you, but obviously I've lost my nerve every time (I'm joking). I miss you so much, Sirius, and I can't wait to see you in just a few short months. I'm sorry this is brief, but I'll write again soon.
Sirius peered down on the letter with his eyebrows clenched together. She had drawn a complex heart on the bottom of the parchment and had enchanted it to have a beating motion to it. As he read through the wording again though he realized that Jasmine hadn't really answered the question. She skipped around it and made a joke instead, probably hoping to distract his mind away from the situation.
When he showed the note to the rest of the group they weren't fully convinced, but were intrigued at the same time.
"She did mention to us a few times that had an in with Dumbledore. Maybe she came to talk to him about something," James said.
"Why wouldn't she have come and said hello though?" Peter asked.
"If she came specifically to talk to Dumbledore she probably didn't have time to come up," Remus reasoned, "Then it would've been more like a tease to Sirius anyway. Say hello for ten minutes and then have to leave again."
"I would've taken one minute," Sirius muttered.
"That's what you say now," Remus said, "But then you'd want two minutes, and then five minutes, then five minutes more and eventually you'd be begging her to stay the hour."
"You know, Padfoot, I give you some big props. If me and Lily had to be away from each other for this long..." James gave a small shudder, "I can't even imagine."
"What do you guys think though? Team Figment Of My Imagination or Team Sirius Isn't Crazy?" Sirius asked.
"Figment Of Your Imagination," Remus laughed.
"Me too," James raised his hand.
The three all looked to Peter who was deep in thought. "I think I'll go with Sirius Isn't Crazy."
"Interesting choice, Wormtail," Remus nodded his head, "Going for the underdog. I have to say, I'm surprised."
Peter shrugged his shoulders, "I suppose it's about time I took a chance on something."
"Good thing you're starting out with something small," James said mockingly serious, "Wouldn't want you to start with something dangerous like a werewolf or something."
Remus rolled his eyes not bothering to respond to the comment. "Speaking of chances," he said instead, "Has anyone started a betting pool for the Gryffindor-Slytherin match?"
"What's the point if we already know who's going to win?" Sirius said folding the note up and sticking it away in his robe pocket. "We're looking way too good this year to lose to anyone."
"Well, we still have a few tweaks, but nothing that's going to make us lose," James agreed.
"Better get them straightened out though. It's only two weeks away!" Peter said.
"We've got it under control," James reassured them.
In the coming two weeks though, James drilled his team harder than it felt they ever had been. James had them all flying across the sky, while Remus and Lily sat in the stands and charmed objects to float around the sky to force the players to fly around them.
"It's all about constant vigilance!" James lectured.
"Those poor players," Remus mumbled, "He's gone Moody on them."
"Moody?" Lily laughed, "What do you mean?"
"There's an Auror that we've all met throughout the years at James' parents holiday parties named Mad-Eye Moody."
"I think I've read about him..."
"Well, 'constant vigilance' is his own coin phrase. It's a rule that he leads his life by and never forgets to tell everyone else to do so with every little thing that they do. He can be a nightmare, Mad-Eye, so when James starts yelling 'constant vigilance' you can tell he's getting on a roll."
"Oi!" James yelled from the field, "What are you two talking about? These objects don't move themselves, Moony!"
"Aye, aye, Captain!" Remus saluted him.
Lily laughed and moved the object that she had control of (an old bludger bat) in front of James. He swatted it away at first with his hand, but Lily kept it dangling in front of him. James let out a small huff and tried to float away from it, but again the bat followed him.
"Lily," he groaned, "You're supposed to be doing that to them, not me!"
"Constant vigilance!" she yelled to him.
"I already have constant vigilance!"
"There's no such thing as having it, you do it!"
With a glint in his eye James raced around the bat and down the field where his team was practicing passing while flying in and out of each other. Lily sent the bat after him, making sure to avoid hitting any of the other players, as he went through the goal hoops and down by the grass.
"You're keeping up with him fairly well," Remus said impressed.
"Thanks," she nodded, too intent on concentrating. For a moment James disappeared behind one of the stadiums making Lily stop the chase. "Where'd he go?" she muttered, "You don't think he fell, do you?"
"Constant vigilance," a whisper filled Lily's ear.
The unexpected voice made her jump out of her seat and turn to see James sitting in the stands with a smug smirk. "You jerk!" she immediately yelled smacking him on his arm. Remus bent over in laughter, and was soon joined by the rest of the team who all had tight grips on their handles to keep themselves from falling. "How did you get over here?"
"Swung around the backside of the stands and while you were looking left, I went right!" he explained, "You know, that's cute you would think that I could fall of a broom."
"I should've hit you with the bat," she muttered.
"Don't be mad, love!" he said jumping down a row so he could be closer to her, "All in good fun. Take the rest of the night off, lads," he said to the team.
"Excuse me," Lucy raised an eyebrow.
"And Lucy," James said to appease her.
Sirius joined them in the stands still laughing from James' stunt. "That was honestly an instant classic. I wish we had something to record it so we could show everyone."
Lily glared hard at Sirius and sat back down in a seat with crossed arms. "Ridiculous," she muttered.
"You're lucky this is the first time he's done anything to you," Remus said, "Do you realize you've been dating for all of these months and yet this is the first joke he's pulled on you?"
James sat next to her and put his arm around her to pull her close and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "You're so cute when you get mad. I almost miss it from the old days." Lily finally relaxed and gave him a smirk. "Right, well, lets go get changed, Padfoot. We've got to eat dinner and go to bed. We can't take any chances for tomorrow."
"I'm not going to bed right after dinner," Sirius told him in a matter of fact voice.
"Fine, you'll all get a ten minute grace period, but that's it."
"Mate, who are you kidding? It'll only be 7:30 by then!"
They all stood and began walking down the stadium steps. "We'll compromise once we get back to the common room."
Lily and Remus waited outside the locker room as James and Sirius grabbed their things. Lucy surprisingly beat all of the boys out of the locker room giving the pair a quick wave hello before heading up to the castle. Lily had never really talked to Lucy more than a quick 'hello' or 'excuse me', but she loved watching Lucy play Quidditch. Her small body made her quicker to the Snitch and more able to do twirls and dives.
Lily had only ridden on a broomstick in their first year when Madame Hooch gave them all lessons, and though she loved the idea of flying, her balance was as bad a toddler. For some reason she could never find the right position to keep herself steady on the thin handle.
When Sirius and James came out from the locker room, they were followed by the other boys; Robby, Blake, Freddie and David. James didn't waste any time in throwing his arm around Lily's waist and pulling her close to kiss her on the cheek when Freddie brought up a point.
"You know, Captain, you haven't fully introduced us your girlfriend yet."
"I haven't?" James said, "I must've figured you knew each other already. Lily, this is the team; Freddie, Blake, Robby and David, team this is Lily," he said lazily.
The four boys took their turns winking or saying hello when their name was announced making Lily realize that the team was full with younger versions of James.
"Hello, all," she waved.
"Lily, did James ever tell you about his plot to win you over last year?" Freddie asked making Robby chuckle.
"Which one? The one with all the owls, or bird shaped papers that followed me that had his undying love written on them for me?" she listed off throwing a wink to James.
"Show some respect for the creativity, Evans," Sirius said with a smirk on his lips.
"No, no, the Quidditch one!" Freddie said.
"The Quidditch one?" Lily mumbled to herself, "No, I don't remember that one. What was the plan?"
"Well, it was the Ravenclaw game last season and James spent his whole time practically dancing around the other players, but only in front of the Gryffindor stands. He almost lost the Quaffle multiple times just by trying to fancy for you."
"Yeah, it only took him half the game to realize that you weren't even in the stands," David snickered.
"After that he was just mad the whole time, and we lost." Blake shook his head.
Lily put her hands over her mouth and laughed, "I remember that day! I was studying for the Arithmancy in the library. Half of the Gryffindor House wouldn't look at me like it was my fault for not being there."
"It was your fault," James said, "I was doing perfectly fine up until that moment, and boom! My game is gone."
"You should've listened to us when we told you not to let her control your emotions so much, Prongs," Sirius laughed.
"Anyway, thankfully we still won the Cup," Freddie said.
"Shocked the hell out of Diggory when Lucy rode around the field with the snitch in her hand," Robby said smugly.
"I was at that game," Lily nodded her head thoughtfully.
"Thank Merlin for that," Blake muttered.
"For that game the Marauders prepared him the night before incase Lily wasn't there," Remus said.
"But at the same time, we made sure that she was," Sirius said.
The group entered the Great Hall and took their seats by their own friends before dishing out their suppers. It went by uneventfully, except at the end when Dumbledore wished the best of luck to the Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch teams.
James took that as a signal to get his team up to the Common Room and away from any distractions that might keep them up late. When they were herded into the Gryffindor Tower, he even took a few minutes to lay out the night's ground rules.
"Okay everyone, the match begins at 9 sharp so that means we're going to get up straight away at 7 for breakfast, head out to the pitch by 8 before too much of the rest of the school gets in, do a few warm up laps and then play. Got it?"
The team all mumbled a reply before dispersing and going to join their own friends or up to their dorms. Lily and the rest of their group had settled by the book shelves, but James and Sirius went up into the dorm to do some final strategizing for the game.
James grabbed the Marauder's Map to make sure none of the team was trying to sneak out, and scoffed when he saw all of the Slytherin team gathered in their Common Room .
"Don't forget to keep a tight eye on Lucy tomorrow. Remember last year?" James said.
"How could I forget? They hit every bludger at her they could get their bats on. Almost knocked her off a few times," Sirius shook his head. It was never a surprise when the Slytherins played dirty, but it was hard to know to what level they would slink down to.
"And lets convince Robby to eat at least some toast for breakfast this season. He almost fainted in the post last time."
"Will do. Which flying routines are you planning on doing?"
"Well, we want to do the Gryffindor Twist in the very beginning. Freddie has gotten really good at catching the quaffle and diving right down into it. If one of the Slytherins get to it first though, it wastes a lot of time cause me and David will be half way down the pitch."
"Me and Blake will have it covered if that happens. We'll definitely get to the bludgers faster than their two goons."
"Okay, but take your time in aiming. You get messy when you hurry."
"Who are you calling messy there? Weren't we just saying earlier how you basically lost up the Ravenclaw game because of your mistakes?"
"That's different!" James laughed, "I've got my good luck charm now."
"Oh so you've been playing with luck all these years! Silly me."
James looked down to the Map again and noticed Dumbledore pacing back and forth in his office. Coming towards his office was Professor McGonagall and-
"Wow!" was all James could yell.
"What?" Sirius laughed, "Someone in a broom closet?"
"McGonagall and Jasmine half way to Dumbledore's office! Lets go!" Sirius was already half way out the door, but James yelled at him to stop. "We're using the invisibility cloak to get out. We can't let the team see us leaving, and if Mickey sees us we'll be suspended from the game!"
"Fine, fine, lets go!" Sirius hurried him.
James threw the cloak over themselves and they stealthily walked between students in the Common Room to leave through the Fat Lady. Once they were outside, they check the route to make sure no other teachers were around and took off the invisibility cloak to run as fast as they could.
Once they were a hallway away from the office, the cloak went back over them and the pair carefully eavesdrop and the coming girls.
"I'm just really excited to get started! I've been waiting for this for a while," Sirius heard Jasmine say.
They came into view and the boys held their breath scared that McGonagall would have un-human hearing.
"Miss Potter, we're certainly glad to have you," McGonagall nodded. Before either of them spoke the password to Dumbledore's office though, McGonagall said, "I just want to make sure this is what you really want. I know you've been around the organization for a while now, but actually taking part in it...it's very dangerous. The war hasn't truly begun yet. You could always wait until it gets more serious before taking on such a crucial job."
"Professor, I've been working at the Ministry for a couple of years now. I'm sure my parents have told you many times that there is so much more that could be done than they currently are. Even then, all I've been doing in the Charms department is paperwork. I've got to do something."
"You know Dumbledore would still insist you have a mentor, right?"
"Well, of course, but I expected that. I may know a lot of charms, and I know a lot of defensive spells, but I would appreciate learning from a mentor to keep on the safe side."
"Okay then," McGonagall nodded, "You always were one of my brightest students," she cracked a smirk.
"Brighter than my brother?" Jasmine joked.
McGonagall shook her head, "He's certainly exceptional in many subjects, but you're more level headed with your knowledge, and that makes it more useful. Lollipop," she turned to the gargoyle.
The two women disappeared into the spiraling stairs leaving Sirius and James dumbfounded in their spots.
"Who cares if I'm not always level headed?" James scoffed, "I've always used my magic perfectly fine."
"What in the hell is Jasmine getting herself into?" Sirius muttered.
James turned his attention to Sirius who was staring down at his feet. "Well," James decided to get on the subject, "Mickey mentioned the war and an organization. It must be a resistance group. Remember back in the summer when the Death Eaters came to the house?"
"And then afterwards Dad wanted to set us up to talk with Dumbledore, but Jasmine told Mum?"
"Oh, yeah," Sirius brought up his head, "You think that's it?"
"I don't see how it could be anything else. Dumbledore must be asking Jasmine to take on a bigger role."
"She's not prepared for that kind of thing. She works in the Charms department for goodness sake!"
"And you don't think that could be valuable?" James reasoned.
Sirius walked out from under the cloak not being able to handle the close proximity to James; He needed air.
"Don't get me wrong, she's bloody good when it comes to defending herself, and we both know she's learned things from Dumbledore, but it's different when you're actually out there in the middle of a fight."
"It's not like you're any better, Padfoot. She's-"
"I'm not saying I'm any better than her, just that..." Sirius shoved his hands into his hair and let our a long breath, "Merlin..."
James realized that Sirius wasn't judging Jasmine's talents, but trying to express his worry for her.
"Dumbledore won't let anything happen to her. I'm sure he won't even let her do anything grand until she's properly trained by someone."
Sirius took a few random steps, lowering his hands from his head to the back of his neck. "You're right...You're right," he said more confidently, "Maybe by the time she's ready, we'll be in the group too."
"Maybe," James shrugged, "We've still got to get that appointment with Dumbledore. He's the key to all of this."
James looked down at the watch on his arm and glanced at the map for an update on people's positions.
"Lets get going. We've still go some things to go over with Moony and Wormtail before we go bed, and it's getting close to the team's bed time."
"They're going to rebel against you before this season is over if you keep being a dictator," Sirius smirked.
"Nonsense! I'd like to see them without my drills or rules. They'd look like muggles trying to play for the first time."
Sirius laughed and the two of them huddled underneath the cloak once more to make their trip to and through the Common Room. They passed by Peeves on one floor, but thankfully he was too busy squeezing himself into a suit of armor to hear their soft steps.
Just as a precaution, the two went half way up the boy's dormitory stairs before taking off the cloak and coming back into the Common Room to usher everyone to their rooms.
"Quidditch Team!" James yelled across the noisy room, "Up to bed! Lets go!" The five team members groaned as they departed from their friends and made their way to their appropriate stair cases. When they all disappeared, James walked over to Lily who was reading over a homework assignment. "Good night, love," he said.
Lily put down her papers and gently pulled James down to her level by his robe. "Good night," she replied with a kiss. "Do you want me to wake up early and eat breakfast with you?"
"No, you probably shouldn't. The team is going to be a nervous mess and I don't want you seeing us like that."
Lily laughed at the serious tone in James's voice. "Alright then. See you on the pitch."
James stood back up and waved to Remus, Peter and Sirius to follow him back up to their dorm.
"Are they your lackeys now?" Marie laughed from her seat.
"We are no one's lackeys!" Peter said with dignity.
"He just knows when it's time to buckle down for some, uh, business," Remus winked.
"Come on, lets go!" Sirius said anxiously. He was barely holding in the news of what he and James had seen and heard between Jasmine and McGonagall.
"Night, ladies," Remus said and the boys went up into their dorm.
"Guess what Prongs and I saw!" Sirius yelled once the door shut.
James stopped him though, "First things first, Padfoot! Operation Lion Fire is almost here. Does everyone have their parts memorized?"
"Is that a serious question?" Sirius laughed, "You're talking to the Marauders now, Prongs, not the team."
"Right, sorry," James sat down on his own bed, "We're going down to set it up at 6. That way we can be back by 7 to eat breakfast with the team."
"You don't think Lily will suspect anything, do you?" Peter asked.
Sirius rolled his eyes at the question. "She's Head Girl Evans, Wormtail, what do you think? It's like she can smell mischief. She won't be able to stop us though. By the time she realizes something is going on it'll be too late."
"We can only hope so. She's already onto us thanks to our little slip at Hogsmeade. I told her to sleep in with everyone else though just as a precaution," James said.
"So what did you guys see earlier?" Remus asked.
"Lets just say that Wormtail here made the right decision about joining Team Sirius Isn't Crazy," Sirius said smugly.
"What?" Remus looked to James to see if Sirius was telling the truth, however, there wasn't an etch of joking on either of their faces. "How?"
Sirius leaned forward and told the story of Jasmine joining ranks with something that Dumbledore and McGonagall were in. Remus slightly shook his head in disbelief that the pair had been able to eavesdrop without being caught while Peter simply listened as if it was story time.
"So how are you going to get her to spill what's going on?" Remus asked.
"Well," Sirius rubbed the back of his neck, "I'll keep hinting to her in notes that I know something is going on, but if that doesn't work I'll either have to intercept her one of the times she's here, or wait until Christmas Holiday when I can see her and talk to her without the chance of getting caught by a professor."
"You think you'll have the patience to wait that long until?" Peter said.
"I'll have to..." Sirius shrugged.
"Anyone want to make a bet on how long it takes him to go crazy waiting for Christmas?" James said.
"I'll bet a knut he tries to talk to her eventually, and will possibly fail. Of course, that's to say if she even comes on the grounds again," Remus laughed.
"Well, now that I'm a winner at betting, I'm going to go with the under dog again," Peter nodded, "I'll match your knut, but I think he'll wait it out until Christmas."
James shook his head at both of their bets, "You two obviously don't our dear Padfoot. I'll bet two knuts that he jumps at the next chance he gets. Not tonight though. Next time." At this James safely tucked the Marauder's Map into his pillowcase.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Sirius mumbled.
The boys all changed into their pajamas and all but one easily drifted to sleep. Sirius waited until he could hear James's breathing get deep and heavy with sleep before pulling out his wand and whispering, "Accio Map" The map easily slid out from the pillowcase and into one of Sirius' hands while the other was already grasping the invisibility cloak. With the magic words, Sirius made sure that Jasmine was still on the grounds, and sure enough it looked as if she was still discussing her plans with Dumbledore.
Without a second thought, Sirius ran down the dorm stairs and out into the school hallways where he would sit and wait for Jasmine to come out of Dumbledore's office.
Author's Note: Oh my goodness, readers! My apologies for the wait! I went on a short vacation, and unfortunately (as hard as I tried) I couldn't get the chapter done before I had left! But!! I'm back now :) And got to finishing the chapter! So I hope you enjoy, and as always, thank you for the patience!!
Prettyyy pretty please don't forget to review! :)
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