The following morning James was sat at the breakfast table with Holly Moresby, "Sirius wasn't joking – that was deadly. You sure know how to tire a girl, James Potter."
James laughed, "Just wait until I'm captain – you're going to hate me."
Lily was sat opposite Sirius further up the table, "what's that about?" She asked nodding her head towards James.
"I set that in motion yesterday. He's liked her a while. They've had a little fly around this morning."
"I hope they had a teacher present!" Lily replied, almost angrily, how dare James risk his life like that.
"He's out there every morning," Sirius replied, "His dad arranges an extra auror to be around every morning so James can have his morning fly."
"He's so spoilt!" Lily was shocked, "what a waste of the ministry's resources."
"Since most of their resources come from pure-blood families like James', I don't think they mind too much."
Lily snorted in disbelief. She returned her gaze to her paper, reading the list of muggle-borns who had gone missing in the last week.
Craig Schneider, Jackson Sheppard, Robert Bailey, James Downs and Alfred Weigel.
Alice looked over Lily's shoulder at the list, "no way – he only left Hogwarts last year!"
"Who?" Sirius asked, suddenly gripped with fear, what if something has happened to Ted?
"Jackson Sheppard – remember the old Gryffindor prefect?" Alice continued.
"Bloody hell – me and James only saw him like a few weeks ago at Astix and Etta's wedding," Sirius was filled with a mixture of shock and relief. It was such a shame but he couldn't help but be grateful that his eighteen year old cousin wasn't a widow.
Peter was sat next to Sirius reading a letter. Mary noticed his expression, "Pete what's the matter?"
"M-my dad's not well," Peter told his friends. "He's got Spattergroit. Mum says he's at St Mungo's. He's not allowed visitors because he's too contagious."
"Oh, I'm sorry Peter," Mary puckered her brow, "he'll get better soon though. They know what they are doing at St Mungo's."
Peter nodded, "you're right."
The rest of January practically flew by. On the last night of the month, James was sat by the window in the common room when he noticed something outside. There was a girl out there. He recognised her automatically. It was Holly Moresby. James saw the dementors coming towards her. Where are the aurors? James wondered. He grabbed his invisibility cloak and pulled Sirius and Remus from the common room, "What's going on James?" Remus asked.
"Holly – she's in danger," he blurted out as he covered them in the cloak. They ran through the corridors, not caring if they were heard.
Sirius only stopped James when he realised they were going outside, "we're not allowed."
"Are you Sirius Black or what?" James asked.
Sirius merely nodded before opening the door. James led them to the place where he knew Holly had last been. She was there, trying desperately to cast a patronus but the charm wasn't working. James rushed forward, "Expecto Patronum!" His stag ran from his wand and charged at the dementors, driving them away instantaneously.
"James?" She whispered. James noticed that she was shaking.
He picked her up and began to carry her back towards the castle, "I'm here Holly. What ever possessed you to come outside?"
"I- I – I don't know," Holly cried.
James stopped short as he realised that they were not alone. Several Slytherins were stood on the front step staring at them gloatingly. "Well well – Potter the hero. The damsel in distress plan never fails to work when you're involved," Malfoy laughed coldly.
"Piss off Malfoy," James said angrily.
"I don't think I will," Malfoy said as he pulled out his wand. Wayne Burke was stood just behind him with his wand held high, ready. Macnair was to his left and Mulciber to his right. But where are Snape and Avery? James suddenly thought. He searched around quickly. He soon saw them coming up behind them. They had them surrounded. Shit. James held his wand, ready to duel, but luckily Remus had a thought. He began sending red sparks into the air in the hope that the aurors would see. Lucius pointed his wand at Remus, "What are you doing Lupin? Quit it. We're here to duel not produce fireworks."
Remus laughed, "yeah? Flipendo!"
Malfoy was knocked back against the large oak doors to the school. James turned around to face Snape and Avery, "Inflatus!" Avery began to blow up like a balloon.
Snape shouted, "Levicorpus!" but James managed to block it.
"Relashio!" James could hear Sirius shout.
"Engorgio skullus," James flicked his wand at Snape but the hex was blocked.
"Densaugeo!" James kept firing spells at Snape, hoping that at least one would hit him. "Flipendo!"
Snape went flying across the lawn, landing at the feet of three aurors; Alistair Moody, Lavinia Greengrass and John Macmillian. "What have we got here?" Alistair Moody asked in a gruff voice.
James sighed in relief, "Sir – I saw Holly was outside alone and the dementors were closing in on her. I couldn't see any of the aurors and there wasn't time to find a teacher so we came down to help her. We got rid of the dementors – just in time – but it turns out that the Slytherins were using her as bait."
"I see… did they curse her to come out here?" Moody asked.
"I'm not sure sir but she doesn't know why she's here."
"Right – take her to the hospital wing. You two go with him. I'll take these lot to see the headmaster and then I'll meet you in the hospital wing."
James nodded, "yes sir."
James paced back and forth as Madam Pomfrey checked Holly over. When he was finally allowed to see her, he practically ran over to her. She was lying in bed. She smiled at him, "I'm so sorry James. I had to go."
"What do you mean Holly?" James asked.
"The voice… it told me to. I had to." She looked like a small child who was about to get into trouble.
"It's ok – it's all over now," James calmed her, stroking her hair.
Moody walked into the hospital wing moments later, "Miss what is your name?"
"Holly," she told him.
"I see – why did you go outside tonight?" He already knew the answer. Burke's wand had cast the imperious curse on her but he needed to hear her say it.
"The voice – it told me to. I had to. I'm so sorry sir." She began to cry.
"Very well – an unforgivable curse was used on you tonight. Get some rest and whatever you do – don't blame yourself. Potter, a word?"
James followed Moody out into the hall. "I understand that you have something of a hero complex but it has to stop. You need to stop risking your life. Don't let Kilmont have died in vain." Moody sighed, "Your father taught you to communicate via patronus I believe?"
"Yes sir," James nodded.
"Next time – send me a message. You are too much like your old man for your own good."
"Sorry sir," James looked at his feet.
"Don't apologise – just be careful. Constant…"
Moody laughed, "sounds like that dad of yours has taught you well."
James returned to Holly's bedside moments later, "thank you James. You saved my life."
"It was nothing," James shook his head.
"Nothing? It was everything," Holly leant up and kissed him gently on the lips.