The Snitch of Secrets Three

Dementor In The Castle

"Party in the common room James!" Sirius called from his place in the crowd.

James nodded excitably, his arm around Holly's waist. They walked up to the castle in their Quidditch robes. Sirius whispered in James' ear, "better not go to Hogsmeade tonight. Kitchens?"

"Sounds safer," James smiled.

They quickly grabbed food and butterbeer from the kitchens – the house-elves were more than willing to help – and made their way back to the common room. Even Lily and Remus had put their books away, choosing to join the party. James sat with Holly on his lap as they talked to several students about the match. "You're such a show off," James heard a voice behind him.

"I know – but sometimes I just can't resist," James replied, winking at Lily.

She shook her head in disgust. "Never mind – can I talk to you?"

James looked surprised but walked out into the corridor with her, "What's up Evans?"

"I got a letter from Severus today. He says it's your fault that he's been temporarily sent home…"

"And you thought you'd just come and have a go," James sighed, "I thought we were passed this."

"No – I – I just wanted to know what happened," Lily frowned.

James was surprised, "The Slytherins attacked Holly. Used the imperius curse on her to get her into the grounds. The dementors went for her. Luckily I saw and me, Remus and Sirius came down to help her. The aurors decided on the punishment – not me."

Lily nodded, "I don't know what to think. He says you framed him."

"Wands don't lie. Look – what was the last spell you cast?" James asked.

Lily pulled a face as she tried to remember, "I'm not sure."

"Can I borrow your wand?"

She raised an eyebrow. She didn't like the idea of giving James Potter her wand. It would leave her unprotected. She resolved to trust him, placing the wand in his outstretched palm. He touched the tip of his own wand to the tip of her wand, "Prior incantato." A small silvery doe flew out of her wand – a miniature version of her patronus. James stared at the little doe that was galloping in the small space between them. He then looked into Lily's eyes, "The p-patronus charm. See wands don't lie." He returned her wand to its rightful owner. He began to walk back towards the common room but paused and turned back, "nice patronus Evans."

The Gryffindors celebrated so loudly that you would have thought they had won the tournament. The party only ended when Professor McGonagall walked in at one in the morning in her nightwear. The boys made their way up to their dormitory. Frank opened the window as wide as it would go, "it's a tad warm isn't it." The boys lay in bed discussing the finer moments of the match before drifting off to sleep.

Harry watched from the doorway as James tossed and turned in his sleep. He was clearly dreaming. Peter was snoring loudly and Sirius was muttering in his sleep. Only Remus and Frank seemed to sleep peacefully. Harry gasped as he saw a grey, decaying and scabby hand lean in through the window. Harry was powerless. He watched unable to do anything, unable to warn his father, as a dementor climbed through the window and into the dormitory. Harry could hear its rattling breath. He could also hear the distant scream of his mother trying to protect him on the night she died. The dementor glided towards the four beds. He seemed unsure which to go for first. The dementor went towards James' bed. Harry almost screamed as he realised that the dementor had chosen. It had chosen his father. James was going to die. No… the dementor was pulling down its hood. Harry could see a large hole where its mouth should be. No… James wasn't going to die. His fate would be worse than death. The dementor was going to suck his soul out and leave him as nothing more than an empty shell, alive but completely, irretrievably gone. Harry rushed forward. He tried to call his father's name, "James wake up!" James Potter couldn't hear Harry call him. Even if James had been awake he wouldn't have heard a sound the boy made.

The dementor leant down to perform the kiss. James felt a strange sensation on his face. It was a horrible dry sensation. He opened his eyes and there directly above him was a dementor. He tried to speak, to scream but nothing came out. He grabbed his wand from underneath his pillow. "Expecto Patronum!" His stag patronus burst forth chasing the dementor back out of the window. James got up and closed the window.

"Bloody hell, what just happened?" Sirius asked.

"I nearly got kissed by a dementor," James said quietly. He didn't want to admit it but he was suddenly terrified.

Remus jumped at the word dementor, "we need to tell Dumbledore."

The five boys wrapped their dressing gowns around themselves and began the journey to Professor Dumbledore's study. "Crap – we don't know the password," Sirius frowned.

"What are you five doing out of bed?" Moody asked from just up the corridor.

"Dementor – there was a dementor in our dormitory," Peter replied.

"It was my fault – I – I left the window open," Frank said looking sheepish.

"Right – we better go see Dumbledore," Alistair Moody told them.

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