James wasn't in the hospital wing for long. A few days after the Quidditch match James had returned to the common room much to the excitement of the whole of Gryffindor. He made his way into the common room late on Tuesday night. Everyone burst into applause around him. He was patted on the back by several people and congratulated by still more. He quickly made his way through the crowd that had gathered and joined his friends by the fire. He sat in his favourite arm chair and pulled out the golden snitch that Renee had given him; the one he had caught. His friends nodded at him before returning to their previous conversation. Alice was telling everyone about her cousin Molly's brother in law, Pilatus.
"I read about it in the paper," James commented. "What actually happened?"
"She was at home with her parents – they didn't mention them in the paper – they were muggles you see. She was a muggle-born. The neighbours – muggle neighbours – heard a scream but by the time they made it into the house they were all dead. The house was locked and everything – the muggle police couldn't understand it. Lucy was so nice," Alice told them, "her and Molly had become really good friends."
James sighed, "I heard they were thinking about getting married."
"Yeah – he was going to propose at Christmas."
The Gryffindors quickly fell back into their normal routine. They had more homework than ever before and even the marauders had been seen in the library albeit only briefly. James and Sirius were sat in the common room late on Thursday evening working on their care of magical creatures essay. The Billywig is an insect native to Australia. Rated XXX by the ministry of magic. It is around half an inch long with the colouring of a vivid sapphire blue. The speed of the Billywig means that is rarely noticed by Muggles, and wizards and witches only spot them once stung. The Billywig's wings are attached to the top of its head and rotate extremely fast, spinning so that the Billywig can fly. The Billywig has a long, thin stinger at the bottom of its body. Being stung results in giddiness and levitation. Young Australian witches and wizards have been known to try to catch Billywigs and provoke them into stinging them. The symptoms can last for days and are uncontrollable and it is possible that the victim will suffer from a severe allergic reaction at which point they find themselves permanently floating…
James sighed before looking around the room. There were several people working on their homework. Everyone was trying to get everything done before the half term break. Sirius frowned, "I'm bored – can we give up on this stupid paper now?"
James laughed, "I'm not finished."
"Come on man – it's not due in until after the holiday."
"Fine… what do you want to do instead?" James asked.
"I don't know. Where's Remus and Peter?" Sirius frowned again.
"I don't know," James admitted before looking at his watch. "We should probably just go to bed."
"Are you even a marauder?" Sirius asked feeling completely astonished.
"Yeah, of course I am. I'm just tired. I've been up since 6am."
"Well, whose fault is that?" Sirius laughed.
James sighed, "What do you want to do?"
Sirius laughed, "I don't know." Sirius looked around the room, "hey look isn't that Kate's brother?"
James looked at the boy that Sirius was pointing at, "I think so."
"Come on," Sirius stood up and made his way over to the 1st year student who was sat on his own by the fire. "Alright?"
"Er… yeah," Will smiled nervously.
"So I'm Sirius and this is James. We're friends with your sister."
"Yeah. I know who you are," Will replied.
"So… what are you doing?" Sirius asked.
"Not much – just reading," Will replied.
"What's your name?" James asked.
"Nice to meet you Will," James smiled. "So how are you finding Hogwarts?"
"Yeah i-it's great…"
"Keeping up with your homework?"
"Er… we haven't had much," Will smiled.
"That's good," James nodded.
Sirius lounged across the sofa opposite Will, "Right – here's the thing Bill,"
"It's Will," the eleven year old replied.
"We're bored. So you need to think of something fun for us all to do," Sirius continued.
"But…" Will stuttered.
James laughed, "Sorry. He's slightly demanding." James noticed Will was only giving them half of his attention. James looked over his shoulder and saw a group of girls sat together at a table in the corner, "so which one is it?"
"You like one of them. Which one?" James smiled.
"Er…" he looked nervous at the idea of telling the older boys.
"Come on you can tell us. We might be able to help!" Sirius smiled.
"Rebecca Kerr," Will whispered.
"Ah, I know Kerr. She's sweet." James told the boy, "Her parents know my parents."
"Have you actually spoken to her?" Sirius asked Will.
He shook his head sadly. "Looks like we found ourselves a mission Jim boy," Sirius smiled.
"You want to help?" Will asked, nervous once more.
"Why not – might be fun," James nodded.
"Right I'll be back in a second," Sirius smiled.
"Where are you… where's he going?" Will looked terrified.
James shrugged his shoulder. Sirius made his way over to the table of girls. "He's not going to tell her is he?" Will asked.
Sirius gave the first year girls his best smile, "alright ladies!"
The girls smiled back. Several of them began twirling their hair in their fingers. They were stunned that the Quidditch star Sirius Black was speaking to them. "So what's your names?"
None of them seemed to be able to find their voices. Rebecca laughed gently, "I'm Rebecca Kerr, this is Sophie Fowler, Sharon Tompson, Ava Hobbs and Tegan Ryan."
"Well nice to meet you. I'm Sirius Black. Me and my friends – James and Will over there – were wondering if you'd like to come sit with us by the fire?"
The girls all nodded excitably and got to their feet following Sirius over to the fire where James and Will were waiting nervously.