Life was good. Remus and Alice and Lily and Cal were still going strong, and, despite small doubts that crept up here and there, so were James and I. It was quite nice that all three of us were coupled up. We spent a lot of time discussing our boyfriends every night before bed, and it made me giddy that we were all so happy. Peter was over the moon at securing his first ever official date to Hogsmeade the previous weekend.
Sirius, on the other hand, had never been more of a womanizer than in the past three weeks. His already humongous ego and popularity had soared even more after the crash and he was constantly harassed by girls. I’d not be surprised if he caught an STD. It was incredibly irritating every time he was late to class and showed up with messy hair and a badly arranged tie. Often, it led to shouting matches between us. We kept arguing over the smallest and most insignificant things, but he was just so annoying.
I had practiced my animagus transformation a few times per week since the Hufflepuff game. The first time, I was terrified my accident had somehow interfered with my new skill but turns out I had nothing to worry about. A few nights in, I had even dared to go out for a run around the grounds. I had met a friendly big black dog, probably owned my one of the Hogsmeade locals, and spent some time frolicking by the owlry.
That night, I had been out again with my dog friend and we’d been almost all the way to Hogsmeade and back, running and playing freely. I’d come back late, and overslept as a result so I had to hurry straight to potions, skipping breakfast.
I arrived just as the last few Slytherins were walking in. I ignored their nasty comments, as per usual, and headed to the desk I shared with Lily and Alice only to find Lily and Sirius there.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Sleeping beauty graces us with her presence” Sirius joked. I rolled my eyes. He took an apple out from his pocket and gave it to me. I looked at him with surprise and he just shrugged. “You do it for us all the time” was all he said.
“Thanks” I grinned at him.
“We’re working in pairs today” Lily said. “Remus is not feeling well, so he’s skipping lessons. Alice is with Peter, she thought you’d like to work with James”
I nodded and joined James by his desk. He gave me a quick peck on the lips that caused the Slytherins behind us to sneer. What a bunch of losers.
“Is Remus alright?” I asked him as I started to check the ingredients list.
“What?” he knocked over an empty vial.
“Lily said he’s not feeling well?” I picked it up and put a piece of parchment and my quill on the desk.
“Right, yes, no, he’s a bit ill” he said before muttering “ingredients” and rushing to the cabinets.
I waited for him at the desk, fleetingly wondering if there was any reason for James to be acting a bit nervous around me today. I knew we had only been dating for a month, but we were usually much more at ease with each other.
“I was thinking it would be nice to spend some time in that room, you know the one? Where we went after the party that time?” I told James towards the end of the lesson.
“That is an excellent idea. Tomorrow around six? I will even prepare dinner for you” he said. I frowned.
“Tomorrow night we’re having girls’ night, James. I told you this ages ago, remember? We get the prefects’ bathroom thanks to Lils” I pouted. “Let’s go tonight”
“Class dismissed” informed us the professor. I packed my stuff and followed James out.
“James, let’s go tonight” I said again. He leaned against the wall on the corridor to wait for the others and I moved closer to him. I had a few tricks up my sleeve when it came to persuading him.
“I can’t tonight, I’m busy with the boys” he said, putting his hands on my shoulders.
“Are you sure?” I pulled him in for a kiss, and pressed myself against him.
“Get a room!” someone shouted. I ignored them.
“Please?” I batted my eyelashes at him when we broke the kiss. I could tell he was flustered. I knew he knew we were very close to our first time, and that he couldn’t wait, so I was very, very surprised, annoyed and disappointed when he shook his head.
“Sorry, not tonight” and he walked away. I had never felt more rejected and unwanted in my entire life.
I didn’t really feel like seeing or talking to James much after that, so I decided I was going to sit next to Sirius at lunch. But, when I got to the Great Hall, I noticed that he wasn’t there. Neither were James or Peter. I ate with Lily and Alice, listening to them chatting about Lily’s upcoming date with Cal.
“It’s good to know one of us has a normal boyfriend” I commented in irritation.
“Woah, what’s wrong with you?” Alice asked me.
“James? Are you having your first fight?” I looked a Lily. Now that I thought about it, James and I hadn’t really fought over anything yet. We had had small arguments, mostly about either him hexing people for no apparent reason or about my recklessness during quidditch practice, but we had never fought. It was quite easygoing our relationship, kind of like dating a good friend.
“I think I am having our first fight. He didn’t really seem bothered” I replied truthfully.
“I wanted to spend some time alone with him tonight and he wouldn’t budge. He said ‘busy with the boys’ and left me there” I groaned.
“Why is it bothering you so much?” asked Alice. “They spend time alone all the time those four, they’re like a little cult”
“I just been having this feeling, like he’s keeping something from me” it was true. James and I were perfect, except he never told me much about what he did when he was alone with the boys. When it was all seven of us, sometimes eight as Cal now joined often, it was wonderful. But if I asked, at first out of pure curiosity but lately more out of suspicion, what it was they got up to when they weren’t either with us or pranking people (or in detention) he got weird and changed the subject.
“Like what?” Alice and Lily looked at each other, then at me again.
“I don’t know” I said, simply.
“Are you worried he might be cheating?” Lily whispered. I stared at her in horror.
“Absolutely not. Whatever it is, James isn’t cheating on me. He just wouldn’t do that” I was aggravated that she’d even think that. Whatever this was, it wasn’t about us. It was something else. ‘I bet Sirius would tell me’ said an annoying little voice in my head. I pointedly ignored it, turning my attention back to Lily.
“Sorry…” she looked down and a little lightbulb went on in my head.
“But you are worried about Cal, aren’t you?” I asked. Alice caught my eye and nodded subtly.
“I want to be wrong so badly, but I have this horrible suspicion that he is…”
“And you are the most perceptive witch I’ve ever met. If you think he is, I think he is, too” I said. Alice looked appalled.
“Can you not give the guy the benefit of the doubt?” she said.
“Well, he’s innocent until proven guilty, of course. I just know Lily hasn’t been wrong once about a hunch” I hugged her firmly. “We’ll find out the truth, I promise you” she nodded.
I did not see James that night. I looked for Sirius but he was also totally gone. Their room was empty, so I gave up and went to bed sulking. In the morning, however, I decided to put aside my little one-sided fight with James in favour of helping Lily. I marched up the boys’ staircase with determination but this time, I did remember to knock.
“Who is it?” I heard some strange noises, a bang, a yelp and then, “who is it?” again.
“Ah, yes, come in” the door opened, and I walked in. The room looked as messy, if not more, as the last time I’d been in it. A quick flashback to Sirius’ towel situation and the electric feeling of touching his bare skin shot through me.
“Hey… oh, James, what happened to you?” he looked at me from his bed and touched the gash on his cheek.
“Oh, this? I fell and scratched myself against the corner of the desk” I rushed over to his side and had a look at it.
“Has Madame Pomfrey seen it?”
“There’s no need”
“Do you want a scar on your face?” I asked him, shaking my head.
“I thought you thought scars were sexy and manly” he wiggled his eyebrows at me, and I giggled. He grabbed me and pulled me down on top of him.
“Absolutely not!” shouted Sirius. “We are still here!” when we ignored him and kept kissing, I heard his steps approaching us.
“Here we go” I groaned just as he jumped on top of both of us. “Ouchmpfpf”
“Sirius and James sandwich” he said. I couldn’t see him, crushed as I was under his weight. How James had strength to laugh, I didn’t know.
“You indecent people need to be taught a lesson” Sirius continued, rolling to the edge of the bed to let me breathe.
“You are in no position to call anyone indecent” James pointed out. “May I remind you that on Wednesday…”
“I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THIS” I panicked. I really, really didn’t want to know any details of Sirius’ escapades. I was pretty sure I would be permanently scarred. “I came here to ask for your help. All of your help… where is Remus?”
“He’s just gone to get his medicine from Poppy, he’ll be back any moment. He was a bit ill yesterday” I heard Peter say from somewhere in the room. I sat up on the bed, half on James and, now, half of Sirius as well.
“Cool, well, I can start without him. I have a strong suspicion that you guys know some more secret passages in this castle. Besides the one we used to take Sirius to the infirmary that one time and the ones you use for pranking” I said. They exchanged looks.
“What makes you think that?” James looked everywhere but at me. I felt the same irritation I had been feeling lately resurface. Before I could snap at him, however, Sirius spoke.
“Mate, I think we can trust her, you know? She’s like an honorary marauder anyway” I wanted to hug him so badly that moment.
“Thank you! Thank you, THANK YOU” I shouted instead, grinning at him and making heart shapes with my hands in his direction. Sirius was beaming. I looked at James. “See? He knows best, you should listen to him”
“All right” he said, hands up in defeat. “We do know some passages”
“Ace, well, the thing is… hold on” I added as an afterthought. “What is a marauder?”
“Us” Peter replied. I turned to look at him.
“You? As in, you four?” he nodded, blushing a bit. “How did you come up with that?”
“It was second year” Sirius said a bit defensively.
“I think it’s super cool” I replied. They stared at me. “What? I do. I should have thought of coming up with a name for us girls”
“See? Told you, she’s an honorary member” Sirius grinned at me again, and I saw Peter nod solemnly.
“Okay, well, back on track, guys. I imagine you… know these passages through your marauding ways?” they nodded some more taking great delight in my acknowledgment of their ‘marauding’ around the castle. “Great, and, does this marauding of yours include ways of… ehm… spying on people, maybe?”
“Jocelyn Silverway, what in the name of Godric Gryffindor is going on here?” James asked. Now, I had their attention. Peter had hurried over and was standing by the bed (there was absolutely no room left for anyone else on it).
“We think Cal is cheating on Lily” I announced. Their faces went immediately from curious to angry.
“THE BASTARD!” “How dare he!” “TRAITOR!” I loved them all very much in that moment for the outrage they displayed on behalf of my friend. Although I guess she was as much their friend by now.
“Exactly” I encouraged their anger, hoping it’d persuade them to help me. “But we don’t know how to catch him. He’s good”
“Well, boys, this is an emergency” said James. Then he looked at me, “do you mind giving us a second?”
I rolled my eyes and made my way to their bathroom. A few minutes later, James opened the door and looked at me apologetically.
“Sorry, I don’t want to have secrets with you, but some are not my own” he said. I shrugged.
“Whatever” it did bother me that it had been Sirius, and not James, who had vouched for me. I would have liked my boyfriend to be the one to trust me most. But then, the little voice in the back of my head reminded that I trusted Sirius more than James, too. So…
“You have to promise you won’t speak of this to anyone” Peter said as I returned to the bed.
“What is this?”
“Promise first” he insisted.
“What about Alice and Lily?”
“We need to think about it” Sirius said. I supposed that was fair.
“Alright, I promise to keep your secret. Now, what is it?”
I watched as James opened a blank piece of parchment and placed it reverently on the bed. He pointed his wand at it.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” he said.
Fine, black lines of ink began to appear on the parchment.
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present
THE MARAUDER'S MAP
I was absolutely astonished. If this was what I thought it was… the possibilities were endless. “Is this…?”
“Hogwarts” Sirius chimed in. I looked up from the map briefly to see the hint of pride in all three boys.
“What are… are these people?” I saw little dots with name labels on it. It showed everything. Every corridor, every corner, every inch of the grounds. I saw Dumbledore in his office and Lily and Alice in our room. “You made this?”
“Took us a few years, but yes we did!” Sirius beamed.
“’Purveyors of Aid to Magical Mischief Makers… those are some big words” I joked.
“Remus helped… obviously”
“Are these your nicknames?” I asked them. They looked slightly uncomfortable at that.
“As Sirius pointed out, it was second year” said James.
“Sure… which one are you?”
“Try to guess”
I took a moment to consider. I had no idea, to be totally honest. They seemed to be random names. I knew that you ‘pronged’ meat with a fork but that didn’t really help me. Wormtail was slightly disturbing I seriously hoped there were no worms with tails anywhere in the world. Moony… moony I could work with.
“Are you Moony?” I asked Sirius. He chuckled.
“Sorry love, you’re wrong” he said. Ugh. I thought it might have had something to do with his silver eyes and the silvery light of the moon… but then again, I highly doubted any of these boys had realized that’s what Sirius’ eyes looked like.
“Tell us when you figure it out, for now, let’s get back to helping Lily catch the sick bastard” said James. I nodded.
“This is some of the most impressive magic I’ve ever seen in my life” I whispered, still unable to take my eyes off the map.
“This is exactly why I wanted to show it to you” Sirius said. I smiled at him. He winked and my heart did a strange little ‘oohh’. I ignored it.
“So, all we have to do is find Cal here and watch what he’s doing. We either need to show this to Lily, or have a very good excuse for someone to walk in on him cheating” I reasoned. They nodded.
They started debating what the best course of action was, and I lost track of the conversation. It occurred to me that I was on the map, too. I saw my dot, Jocelyn Silverway, in their room with them. I wondered if they had ever tracked me with the map. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. Sirius had been able to find me in McGonagall’s office that time I was late for practice despite the fact that I hadn’t told anyone I’d be there. He had also found me in the library, near the dungeons, and even outside the greenhouses one time I had gone there after a particularly big fight with him. I thought he just knew me very well and could figure out where I was, but obviously he’d had some help. Just how often did he look for me on the map?
I felt slightly panicked as I realized that any one of them could have seen me in the dungeons, or running around the grounds. Unless the map didn’t show people who… nope, McGonagall was there and, by the looks of it, she was currently in cat form as I highly doubted she’d be balancing on a windowsill in her human shape. But surely, if they knew, they’d mention it?
“We’ve decided that, for now, we want to keep this between us, Jo. It’s not that we don’t trust Lily and Alice, but the more people who know a secret the harder it is to keep it, well, secret” James said.
“Okay… we’ll just have to come up with something good” I shrugged. I looked at the map again. Cal was in his room, doing nothing remotely suspicious. “This could take a while, though”
“We’ll watch him in turns. We can take the map and keep an eye on him. If we see anything odd, we’ll let you know” Peter suggested.
“Morning!” James said as he sat next to me at the breakfast table.
“Someone’s in a good mood” I laughed, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
“We bumped into McGonagall on the way here and she took pity on us and lifted our detention for this evening” Sirius told me, sliding on the bench next to me.
“Ah, and what are you guys planning on doing with your newfound free time?” I asked.
They both leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, “we’re spying on Cal, of course”
“It’s been a week and we haven’t caught him doing anything suspicious, what makes you think today’s the day?” I whispered back.
“Lily has a meeting with Slughorn all afternoon” James informed me.
“Ah” that was all I needed to hear. “Right, I’m coming with you”
“That’s good, if we catch him Lily will believe you straight away” James said. I nodded.
“Is he free after lunch too or does he have any lessons?” I asked.
“I think he’s in Herbology, so he’s got an hour of class after lunch” Sirius replied. None of us took Herbology.
“We can hang in our room and keep an eye on him with the map” James suggested.
“Sure, Sirius still owes me a re-match at chess anyway” I grinned his way and he laughed loudly.
“Can you just not accept I’m better than you and let it go? This isn’t healthy” he teased.
“Giving up isn’t an option” I said.
“Amen, sister” James chimed in. We all laughed and got up, ready for the day’s lessons.
After lunch, Lily headed to Slughorn’s office and I joined James and Sirius in their room. Remus was with Alice in the girls’ room (don’t want to know what they were doing) and Peter was in the Library trying to catch up on some unfinished homework everyone else had handed in ages ago. I loved it when I had time to spend alone with James and Sirius, my favourite moments of sixth year so far had been like this.
“You cheated! I am sure you did! How did you do that?” I cried in aggravation as Sirius beamed at me smugly.
“I am just a great strategist” he said.
“You are breaking my heart” I pouted and pretended to cry.
“Stop being a drama queen” he threw a pillow at me.
“You did not!” I grabbed the pillow and retaliated. Before long, we were waging a full on war on each other whilst James sat on the floor munching on Bertie Botts and eyeing the map.
“Help! James help! She’s killing me!” Sirius shrieked when I pinned him to the bed and started tickling him.
“You should know better than to awaken the rage of Jocelyn” he said without looking at us.
“You should” I agreed, going in for another round of tickles. Sirius was laughing hysterically and thrashing hard.
"Herbology is over, but Cal is not on the way to the Gryffindor Tower. This is it!” James yelled, startling me. I let out a yelp as Sirius grabbed me and turned us around so he was now on top of me.
“Stop playing around, we’ve got to catch him!” James insisted. We sprang apart and hurried to get to our feet, laughing.
We caught Cal cheating. He was in an empty classroom near the Ravenclaw common room with none other than Iris, according to the map. We stood outside, deciding what to do. In the end, despite Sirius’ protest that he could come up with a better excuse, we had agreed to pretend James and I had been overwhelmed by our need to make out and tried to get into the same classroom they were in.
“You cheating bastard!” I exploded as soon as we saw them. Iris shrieked but Cal just looked dumbfounded.
“What… what… how… where’s Lily?” he stuttered.
“You disgust me. You shouldn’t even say her name, you don’t deserve her!” I shouted, taking out my wand. I was furious. I realised that somewhere deep down I had hoped we were all wrong and Cal wasn’t cheating on Lily.
“It was an accident!” he said. Iris glared at him.
“Oh for Godric’s sake mate, man up. You cheated on Lily, own up to it!” James said. I turned to look at him a bit surprised. He was as angry as I was, if not more.
“Well what did you want me to do? She won’t let me fucking touch her!” Cal exploded. That was clearly the wrong thing to say. James’ fist connected with his nose and a sickening crack reverberated on the walls.
“Guys, someone’s coming. I think it’s Filch” Sirius appeared at the door.
“Sirius! Oh, hello” Iris said, batting her lashes at him.
“Tarantallegra” I acted before I even had time to think about it. Iris legs started spasming uncontrollably. “Let’s get out of here”
We ran until we got to one of the secret passages and were out of Filch’s reach. I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes.
“I can’t believe I’m going to have to tell Lily” I said. “It’s going to break her heart”
“She’s a strong girl, she’ll get over it” Sirius put his hand on my shoulder in a comforting way.
“I know, but she doesn’t deserve it. She deserves someone like you, James”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, when she first told me she was suspicious of him it was because I was complaining about you keeping secrets from me. She asked if I thought you were cheating and even though I was pissed off, and I knew you were hiding something, I had absolutely no doubt in my mind or heart that you would never, ever cheat on me, or anyone” I explained. Sirius had pulled his hand away hastily and James was looking at me like I was magic.
“That’s… thank you” he said, pulling me in for a kiss.
“I’m going to talk to her now, before Cal finds her” I said when we broke the kiss. Both of them nodded, and I walked out of the passage and towards Slughorn’s office.
“Professor, could you please let Lily go a bit early? There’s something important we need to discuss” I said politely after knocking on his door.
“Ah, miss Silverway, nice to see you. Yes, of course, Lily dear I’ll see you at the dinner party next week, yes?”
“Yes, I will be there”
“Excellent” he smiled and turned to his books. Lily walked out of the classroom eyeing me suspiciously.
“Right, what’s up?” she asked as soon as the door closed behind us.
“You were right. You were right about Cal. I am sorry” I said. She stopped walking and turned to look at me.
“Are you sure?”
“James and I walked in on him and… well, Iris”
“Oh” her eyes were filling with tears but she was trying hard to stop them from falling. She took a deep breath.
“James broke his nose” I added. She looked surprised.
“He was so angry, you should have seen him. One punch, straight to the face. The crack has awful” I said making a funny face. “And Iris may or may not be dancing uncontrollably still”
“Thank you” she said, giving me a hug. “I need to break up with him”
“You do. Do not even think about forgiving him!”
“Never in a million years” she said.
“I’ll come with you”
We walked to the infirmary in silence and I waited by the door whilst Lily Evans rained hell on Cal. She screamed at him at the top of her lungs and made him grovel and beg for forgiveness before delivering the final blow and telling him she would never forgive him for breaking her trust. She walked out of the infirmary with her head held high, but I knew my Lily and I knew her heart was broken.
Lily was, indeed, extremely upset, so I offered for her to come to my house over the Easter holiday. I knew the last thing she wanted was to deal with her sister and her boyfriend. She was very grateful and excited which made it easier to get through the last two weeks of term. Sirius had been acting a bit strange since the afternoon when we found Cal. I noticed it when I tried to hug him after we won a bet against James and Remus and he was all stiff and awkward about it.
“Hey, is something off with Sirius?” I asked James the afternoon before Easter holiday started.
“Not sure, he’s been acting a bit weird, hasn’t he?” he replied.
“Right, I’m glad you think so too. I have no idea what’s going on with him but yes, he’s definitely a bit off” I said, leaning against James’ chest comfortably.
“I’ll talk to him over the holiday, maybe he’s heard from his family or something. He does get moody when he gets any news from the Blacks” James informed me.
“It must really suck”
“Don’t worry about him, I’ll sort him out and bring him back ready to crush Ravenclaw”
“You better, Cap” I smiled and turned to give him a kiss.
Since finding Cal with Iris and telling James I trusted him blindly as a boyfriend, things had got a lot better for us. I felt like I was being silly, having doubts when I had the most wonderful boyfriend in the world, so I stopped second guessing myself.
“I am going to miss you” James said.
“I’ll miss you too. But it’s only two weeks. We’ll be back here in no time” I replied.
“Take care of Lily, yeah? She needs you” he told me. I nodded solemnly.
We spent the two weeks of Easter holiday doing girly stuff like shopping, watching movies and, of course, talking. We talked about pretty much everything but for some reason I found myself always avoiding two topics: James and Sirius. Being away was undoing all the progress we’d made the previous weeks, and the annoying voice in my head kept creeping up, especially when I lay in my bed late at night.
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