Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw

“I really think we should go to bed after this chapter” Lily voted, glancing at the clock for a moment and taking a worried glance over at Remus, who was rubbing furiously at his eyes; and not for the fate of Scabbers she knew.

“It’s a bit early” Harry disagreed, clearly not noticing the same thing but still eying the book with undisguised hope. She could tell something was bothering him, but the fact that he hadn’t voiced it out loud meant whatever it was he knew he couldn’t fully discuss without having a headache. She didn’t press him for it, but instead said “well, it would do us all some good to turn in for the night, we’ve had a rather long day I think.” Knowing it would come up again at the end anyways, she went on and started her chapter without anymore protest.

Ron and Hermione’s friendship seemed to be over.

They all winced in horror at what this could really mean. If Ron and Hermione really never did makeup for this then that would mean that Harry would have to choose one of his friends in the end, a fate no one was hoping for. Harry was so distracted by this that it finally clouded over his annoying little insistence Scabbers wasn’t dead at all and gave him something new to focus on.

They were so angry at the other, Harry wasn’t even sure how they could begin to make up.

“Can’t rightly blame Ron” Sirius frowned “but I really hope he cares more about Hermione’s accident then Scabbers fate.”

“You saying if I’d let my owl eat yours you’d forgive me” James couldn’t help but tease.

Sirius pretended to deliberate for a moment before asking “did he try to attack mine several times before he’d done it?”

“Yes” James agreed at once.

“Then absolutely not!” Sirius cried in mock outrage, turning away and crossing his arms as dramatically as he possibly could.

“You two put on a good show” Remus snickered “but I’m afraid the two who needed that lesson aren’t here. Good try though.”

Ron was insisting it was all Hermione’s fault for never having taken Crookshanks trying to eat Scabbers seriously,

“Which she really should have back when she bought him” Lily sighed loudly before Sirius could say anything.

and Hermione told Ron to try looking under his bed rather then blaming the rest of the world.

“Really Hermione” James groaned “she can’t really believe that! You don’t think Ron tried that before he came tearing down the stairs?”

Hermione was insisting Ron was overreacting, those hairs could have been there since their break,

“Yeah, I’m sure Ron just cuddles with those in his bed, never would have made sure to get rid of them” Remus rolled his eyes.

and how Ron had hated her cat ever since it crashed into his head at the store.

“Well yeah” Harry scoffed, though his own distil at how daft Hermione was being was minimal to how upset he really felt at his two friends possibly losing their friendship.

Harry was on Ron’s side, and tried to give Hermione the facts, but then Hermione lost it at Harry too.

“Urho” Sirius winced, already knowing Hermione’s attitude was likely to spike.

She screamed at Harry for always siding with Ron, that everything was just her fault.

That left all five of them shrinking into themselves a little, realizing they may have been picking on Hermione a little too much this year on top of everything else she’s been dealing with.

Ron was very torn up about his pet,

“Saw that coming” Lily sighed in pity, knowing quite well how much someone could care for their pet.

and Fred chose the wrong way to cheer him up by reminding Ron how he always called him useless,

“Ron was just doing that to complain, I highly doubt he meant it” Sirius winced, the twins clearly weren’t doing a very good job of cheering their brother up this time.

and how he’d been getting old for how long? It was kinder this way, one bite and he hadn’t felt a thing.

“Merlin, none of the Weasley’s really know what comforting someone means do they?” Lily sighed.

Ron was still depressed as he reminded Harry that Scabbers had once bit Goyle.

“I do” James brightened at once with a wide grin.

“The rats proudest moment to date” Remus agreed fondly.

Fred agreed that the scar on the Slytherin’s hand would be a testament to his life.

Sirius couldn’t help but snicker, feeling like now the twins were on the right track to making Ron feel better.

Then Fred added on Ron could just go and buy another rat whenever he wanted.

“And that just killed it” Sirius huffed.

Harry decided to get his friend’s mind off of it by giving him that promised ride on his Firebolt.

“If that doesn’t cheer him up nothing will” James perked up at once.

Ron agreed he’d like to try and shoot some goals,

“Wonder if Ron’s going to try out for the team next year” Sirius grinned, remembering how Wood was going to be gone at the end of the year which would leave a place open for a bodily enthusiastic player.

and so they left for the pitch, finding Hooch who was just as keen at Harry’s new broom as anyone.

“But of course” Remus nodded in complete understanding “she’s as much a nut as any of us.”

She spent quite some time fantasizing about some of the other models as well, telling how a flaw of the Nimbus line was that they began to drag after a few years,

“Something I’ve noticed” James agreed with a roll of his eyes, a few things coming to mind he’d like to try and improve upon that.

and an older model called Silver Arrows, which they’d stopped making.

“Really” Sirius asked in surprise “guess that must have stopped not too long from now.”

“Better cling to them while you can then” Remus frowned.

She kept going for so long that it took Wood cutting in asking if they could get to their warmups.

“Oh, but she was enjoying herself” Lily giggled, finding this just as mundane then if James had gone on like this, but at least it was keeping their mind on more pleasant things.

Wood began by telling Harry about the startup Ravenclaw team, the Seeker of whom was Cho Chang.

Harry felt a funny sort of swooping feeling in his gut, quite apart from the little tick of his memory being replaced with yet another name he was sure he felt some kind of connection to. The feeling was so foreign though that he didn’t think long on it.

He hadn’t been expecting that, as she’d been in the hospital wing for something, but Wood scowled as he told of her recovery in time clearly to his displeasure.

“The horror” Lily scowled, her annoyance at Wood still managing to grow the longer this carried on.

He then said that the best model that team had was a Comet Two Sixty, which pailed next to Harry’s Firebolt, then he got them all in the air.

“What an enjoyable pep talk” James rolled his eyes.

Harry finally got to live his dream and soared through the air, where his broom responded to the lightest of touches, and went so fast the rest of the world blurred.

All four boys sighed, more pleased than they could ever put into words that such a broom could exist, and also silently agreeing Lily was hardly putting the right amount of enthusiasm into describing this momentous event.

He flew around so fast, he spun from one end of the field to the other, dive bombed the ground, then shot off into the air just as fast.

“Mom” Harry half groaned half laughed “nothing happened, I didn’t fall off. Quite sounding like you’re reading about me riding on a dragon.”

Lily gave him a maternal glare, like ‘I’ll worry as much as I want to young man’ but she did marginally relax, which is why she may not have noticed Harry’s odd little frown, trying to understand why he’d used that particular comparison.

Wood released the Snitch then, and Harry gave it a few moments head start before darting around and catching it seconds later.

James was bouncing around in unrestrained glee, unable to put into words how happy this was making him. His son finally being able to properly enjoy flying around on the best broom like he should have been able to do all the way back during his first year.

He released it, turned away again, and when he came back found it not moments later and made another easy catch.

“That’s it” Sirius declared “Lily needs to give up the book now, there is no way you should be able to read in such a bland tone of voice about something so momentous.”

“I’m proud Harry’s doing so well” Lily rebuked “but I’m not going to feel any better about this until he actually manages to get through one bleeding game without something awful happening.”

Sirius huffed and grumbled she was missing the point while Lily decided to ignore him.

Wood was nearly crying in pleasure, saying if they played like this there was no way they could lose, then he hesitated and asked Harry about his dementor problem.

“He’s certainly in more control of it” Remus nodded encouragingly when he saw Harry look hesitant at the question.

Harry agreed, keeping to himself he wasn’t at the level he’d like, but saying aloud he could handle it.

“You’ll do fine” James soothed at once. “I am positive that shouldn’t happen again, but if it does you are more than prepared for it this time.”

Fred convinced the lot of them it wouldn’t even be a problem, Dumbledore would go mad.

“And there’s that” Sirius nodded in agreement, his ill feelings towards the headmaster not lingering too much on this subject, he liked to think he still had faith in the man to do this simple task.

The rest of the team turned to leave, but Harry stayed out a bit later so Ron could have his go, while Hooch had fallen asleep in the stands.

“Oh she’s doing a great job at guard duty” Lily scowled in annoyance.

“You’re in a bad mood” James noted lightly “you do know there’s nothing for Harry to be guarded from.”

“I know” Lily snapped “I just don’t appreciate her taking her job so lightly.”

Ron looked like he was going to explode from happiness as Harry handed the broom over,

“Perfectly understandable” Sirius nodded.

and spent as much time as possible flying through the air, only stopping when Hooch woke up and told the boys off for not waking her up and telling them to get back to school.

“Well she’s quite the killjoy” Remus smirked, noting Lily only looked marginally happier at this.

They walked off, still chatting happily, when Harry spotted the eyes.

Sirius couldn’t help but startle happily, suddenly wishing Ron wasn’t there, suddenly hoping against hope he might finally be getting his chance to really talk to Harry.

Harry froze as he looked at the glowing orbs, but Ron dragged out his wand and used the Lumos spell, spotting Crookshanks.

“Damn” Sirius scowled, his anger possibly a little more than was necessary at his want being dashed because of that cat, his actions in eating Scabbers not exactly one hundred percent forgiven even if it was in his nature.

Ron lost his temper at once, trying to chuck the nearest available rock, but he hadn’t even swung when the cat disappeared again.

“Least he was smart enough to do that” Remus sighed, knowing it would only make problems worse if Ron really had hurt Hermione’s cat.

Ron stamped off in a temper now, exclaiming how Hermione still wasn’t handling this, and that cat had probably been eating someone else’s pet as dessert. Harry wasn’t really listening anymore, too ashamed at his automatic reaction in thinking that had been the Grim.

“If only” James grumbled, knowing he’d have much rather that been another Sirius sighting then a rekindling of annoyance.

The next morning Harry went down to breakfast encircled by his team while he carried his broom, all of the players seeming to think the Firebolt needed an honor guard.

Sirius’ bad temper only increased when he realized yet again he was getting skipped off of a Quidditch chapter.

When they entered the Great Hall, Harry’s good mood increased when he caught sight of the Slytherin team.

James was willing to let it go that he hadn’t gotten this chapter just to hear about this one small moment of pleasure.

They made it to the Gryffindor table, where Wood had Harry put the broom in the center of the table.

Lily couldn’t help making a little ‘tsk’ of annoyance at these boys fawning over a broom like this, admittedly projecting a lot of her bad feelings of Harry and Ron continuing to treat Hermione the way they were on anything associated with the game.

Several admirers from other houses came over to have a look, including Percy’s girlfriend from Ravenclaw house Penelope. Percy made the joke she shouldn’t sabotage the broom while she looked it over.

“Well if she does, then Percy’s dating a girl far more interesting than he is” Sirius snorted.

“You’re an idiot” Remus told him pleasantly.

He told the others that they had a bet running on today’s game, ten Galleons to the victor. Before he joined Penelope at her table though, he quickly told Harry that it would be good if he won, because he didn’t have ten Galleons.

James couldn’t help snickering a bit at that, having no doubts in his mind his son would win and that wouldn’t be a problem.

Then a less welcomed person arrived, asking if Harry could handle that broom.

“Far better than you could” Sirius sneered.

“Sadly I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Malfoy actually came to school next year with a Firebolt as well” James frowned.

Harry returned he was more then confident he could, and Malfoy shot back that he hoped they’d installed a parachute on the broom, so that when dementors appeared he wouldn’t fall as bad again.

“And that joke is still not funny” Remus rolled his eyes in contempt.

Harry wished Malfoy could install an extra arm on his broom, to catch the Snitch for him.

Which caused the three boys to release a gale of laughter for that comment.

Malfoy sulked away, and the Slytherins converged on him, probably to make sure that was a real Firebolt over there.

“Damned right it’s real” Sirius puffed out his chest in pleasure.

They left for the stadium then, the weather absolutely perfect for the gameday,

“Lily I don’t think you truly understand how lucky you are” James huffed, a touch of envy gleaming in his eyes at his wife getting this match.

Lily was still studiously ignoring them all.

but it didn’t stop Harry from keeping his wand on him as he dressed in his Quidditch uniform.

“Something you really should do more often” Remus nodded in approval.

“Still blows my mind they don’t do that at all” Sirius chuckled.

Lily eyed them for a moment before explaining “I’m actually quite happy Harry’s never had to do this but once before. Remember that the schools not living in the same era as we did.”

Sirius and Remus exchanged a curious look before nodding in understanding.

Harry couldn’t help but wonder if Lupin was in the stands today.

“Well I should hope so” James scoffed “as far as I could tell, he’s not got a reason to miss it this time.”

Remus grinned as well at what he only hoped was an absurd question, of course he would want to come, or he would now. In this rather bleak future where he hardly seemed able to hold a conversation with Harry, well if Harry didn’t catch sight of him it would only chalk up to another heartbreak.

Wood tried to give his speech, but all he could really manage was to encourage them to play like they had in practice the other day, then they went out.

“Wood’s pep talks have actually gotten worse over the years” Sirius snickered.

Harry sized up the other team as they met on the grass, and couldn’t help but notice his opponent Cho Chang had long dark hair, and was rather pretty.

Lily’s tone finally changed from mild indulgence, to outright joy and glee at this. That was calm though compared to the boys reactions, who lost it and began laughing at once, despite Harry’s berated face and mutters that they could shut up now.

“Sorry Harry” James gasped, rubbing at his ribs and hardly looking sorry at all. “I won’t deny I’ve been dying to find out the first girl that would catch your fancy.”

“Epically since one of your friends is a girl” Remus nodded in agreement with a stupid smile still plastered in place.

Harry blinked for a few moments before going even more red and spluttering “wh-Hermione? No, no way. She’s like my sister or something, it’s nothing like that.”

“Alright” Sirius waved him off, hardly sounding like he meant it as he said “we get it, just amused us is all.”

Still giggling slightly herself Lily decided to keep going while Harry was still more embarrassed than argumentative on the subject.

She gave Harry a friendly smile when she spotted him, which caused Harry to have quite a different nerve jump then the game.

“I’m positive it is” James muttered in agreement, giving Harry an obvious wink Harry chose to ignore.

Then the whistle was blown, and they were in the air, Lee Jordan doing his normal commentating.

“Always worth the listening” Remus nodded happily, easily remembering this boy’s previous commentaries.

Jordan started off by commentating about the Firebolt, noting it was a world class broom, but McGonagall cut him off by snapping that he was supposed to be talking about the game play.

“I find this very relevant for the match” Sirius snickered.

Jordan didn’t pay it much mind, still talking about some of the many perks the Firebolt had, and McGonagall cut in again.

“I never get tired of that kid” James laughed, knowing he’d be just as bad about endearing this broom if he was commentating.

He relented then, stating the score. Harry was only half listening as he followed his own job, finding Chang was keeping on him rather then doing her own search.

“Tailings never a bad idea” Sirius nodded, his eyes narrowing as he continued mentally mapping out the game with every little detail Lily gave.

Harry could tell she knew what she was doing, always cutting him off and keeping him from making any kind of beeline.

“And keeping him off guard to boot” Remus praised at the girl’s obvious skill.

Then Harry spotted it, a flash of gold near the center field.

Lily couldn’t deny it anymore, her voice was spiking with just as much excitement as any of the boys as her son continued to show his prowess at yet another swift sighting of such a tiny little object. Yes, she was still ticked at her son for the way he’d been treating his friend, but she could never deny how proud she was of something he was so obviously good at.

Harry tried to go for it, but a Bludger forced him to swerve away,

“Oooh” all the boys groaned, the couch nearly shaking with them they were all bouncing in place so much.

“S’alright Harry” James said at once when he saw how annoyed his son looked “you’ve still got the better broom, you’ll still get there in the end.”

and the Snitch took its chance to disappear.

“Rats” Sirius muttered, snapping his fingers but low enough Lily had no reason to stop.

Jordan couldn’t help but notice all of this, returning to talking about how the players just couldn’t match up against Potter’s superior broom, and McGonagall lost her pateince as she shouted at him he wasn’t getting paid to advertise brooms!

“For some odd reason, I think McGonagall’s a little upset herself” Remus snickered.

“What on earth would give you that idea” James cackled.

Ravenclaw was starting to win out in points, and Harry was starting to get jumpy as he realized if Chang got the Snitch first, they’d lose.

“Come on Harry, you can do this” Sirius muttered with absolute faith.

Then he saw it again, the Snitch was fluttering around their team’s goal post,

“It’s got to be a sign” James grinned wickedly that his son must have just set another record for spotting the snitch again so fast.

Harry made to go for it again, but then Cho was there right in front of Harry and he had to madly swing out of the way to avoid her, much to Wood’s displeasure as he yelled at his Seeker to stop being a gentleman and knock her aside.

“He really is a lovely one” Lily grumbled in just as much agitation as anyone when Harry was once again cut off from his victory.

In the mayhem though, their ball was once again gone. Harry changed tactics then, deciding if she wanted to try and keep up with him he’d make it a chore.

James didn’t hold back his laughter one little bit, going wide-eyed as a child at the mental joys of watching his son soar through the air like this.

Then it happend again, a flutter of wings and his eyes locked onto the Snitch on the Ravenclaw end, and Harry pelted towards it, and so did Cho.

“She’s lucky she didn’t smack into the ground” Remus muttered in admiration of the girls own skills at keeping up with Harry for so long.

They were racing forward, but Cho was a little bit closer when something caught her eye, and she screamed in fright as three dementors,

“Are you kidding me!” Sirius howled in outrage, nearly getting to his feet and all enjoyment gone in a single moment of frustration. “Dumbledore couldn’t bloody-”

Lily wasn’t listening, wasn’t giving him the chance to go on a full blown rant for two reasons. Mainly, she was too anxious to see the results, to make sure Harry would get to the ground safe and sound again. Also because, she randomly noted Harry had felt them before seeing them every other time, why hadn’t he this time? Were the effects finally beginning to wane?

were coming towards them, but Harry hardly gave them notice he was so focused. He yanked out his wand, performed the Expecto Patronum spell as something with a distinct silver shape came shooting out,

All five of them couldn’t help but beam with pride, Harry hadn’t been able to produce something so substantial since his first try, and this time he hadn’t even felt the side effects of it!

but didn’t glance at his handiwork as his hand still holding his wand curled around the Snitch in victory.

“Yes!” The room cried with such jubilation the parents felt lucky someone had yet again thought to silence their room from the baby’s so that it wouldn’t wake him. They couldn’t help it though, it felt like it had been far too long since they’d really had a chance to just be truly happy about something, and the winning of Harry’s game was definitely something worth celebrating. The boys spent quite some time interrogating Harry on every little detail he remembered that the book may not have said. Lily watched on with great enthusiasm and her two cents in whenever she could, but it was also she who demanded they get back on track and finish this chapter. Even Remus, who looked ready to fall asleep before she even finished, looked like he wanted to protest but Lily kept going anyways leaving them to forcefully fall silent.

The game was called, and the stands erupted as everyone began screaming with pleasure. Harry sunk back to the ground only to be swarmed by the fans,

Lily couldn’t help but sound like the proudest mother in the world in that moment, for the first time in her life angry that Hogwarts didn’t allow outsiders, like parents, to attend these games.

Percy could be spotted muttering to himself about finding his girlfriend who now owed him money,

“So glad that little issue was resolved” Remus’ laughter doubled at that random little thing being picked out.

but one voice made itself known by whispering in Harry’s ear that he had made quite the Patronus.

“Can’t imagine who would praise you for that” James nearly vibrated in pleasure when he realized Remus had managed to make this game. He wouldn’t even be too surprised if Harry managed to catch another shot of a black dog scampering away.

Harry turned to find Lupin, beaming but clearly shaken.

“Shaken?” Lily asked curiously.

“Maybe the dementors freaked him out to?” James offered with a clear shrug saying he really was guessing, mostly because they’d yet to seem to have that effect on him before.

Remus couldn’t help but wonder if he wasn’t in fact a little shaken up at seeing a ghost in the air after all these years. On a different position yes, but Harry would be nearly indistinguishable from James from that vantage point, he’d probably been having some happier flashbacks to sitting in the stands in his younger years, next to Peter and cheering their friends on.

Harry was bubbling as he said how he hadn’t felt the dementors one bit, and Lupin looked almost disappointed to burst Harry’s bubble as he told Harry those hadn’t been dementors.

“What?” Was muttered all across the room, most of them still too excited to really be listening to what Lily was saying exactly.

He pulled Harry away and showed him that Malfoy was plenty put out now.

“He didn’t” Lily muttered in disgust.

“He did” James nodded, his face twisting with dislike.

“Not that it really matters” Sirius said with bright-eyed glee “because whatever stupid thing they thought was going to happen not only blew up in their faces, but I’ll lose my damned mind if someone doesn’t tell them off for that, like Remus for one.”

Remus couldn’t help but nod in fervent agreement with this, but couldn’t help but wonder if someone else already was by his own rather laid back attitude about it.

Him, Crabbe, Goyle, and the Slytherins captain Marcus Flint were all dressed in the black hoods posing as dementors, but were now crumpled on the ground being told off by a furious McGonagall.

“Sweet justice” Sirius crowed, actually getting to his feet and bouncing around with unrestrained glee. Lily was too busy giggling at his antics to tell him off and they spent another long few minutes before Lily finally came back to reality and kept going breathlessly.

She was disgusted with the lot of them trying that stunt, and only slightly calmed down when she saw Dumbledore heading over.

James kept muttering things like “beautiful” and “perfect, sweet karma” under his breath with a manic grin still in place.

Ron had to wrestle his way out of the crowd to come over and see, and nearly fell down laughing as Malfoy was still half stuck in his robes.

“Perfectly understandable” Remus nodded with glee.

George called Harry back to the rest of them, telling that there was going to be a party!

“Oh boy” all of the old Gryffindors lit up with excitement. Even Lily, who never put much attention into Quidditch games, never denied the chance to enjoy one of their parties.

It was like they’d already won the Quidditch Cup;

“Well considering how long it’s been since Gryffindors really been able to celebrate like this, you can’t really blame them for going a little stir crazy” Lily laughed.

every person from the house was buzzing in the common room, and after disappearing for a time, Fred and George came back with treats for everyone, dipping them out of a bag with the Honeydukes logo.

“Right out of me own heart” James praised, smacking his lips and suddenly having the childish desire to go back in time and relive his own similar parties.

Angelina asked how they’d managed that,

“Magic” Sirius said in a goofy tone of voice, making Harry laugh all the harder at their antics.

but the question got lost in the crowd and no one really seemed to care as they all dug in. Harry spotted one person who wasn’t getting into the festivities, Hermione. She was curled away in the corner reading.

“Are you kidding me” Harry gasped. “How on earth could she- did she even go to the game!”

Lily was frowning all over again, all amusement drained right out of her as she once again was reminded of just how alone the poor dear probably felt right now. She didn’t however turn any of those bad feelings towards Harry again, recognizing how truly upset he looked that his friend was so clearly out on her own like this.

Harry forced his way over, past the twins who were now juggling to the crowds amusement,

James and Sirius couldn’t help but be just a little envious they’d never thought up to try that routine.

and asked her if she’d even come to the game? She said she had, though her voice cracked a bit.

“Stress” Remus frowned in concern.

While she was happy the house had won, she had to read her book by Monday.

“That whole book, by Monday?” Sirius demanded with a raised brow. “I somehow doubt Burbage assigned that.”

“Wow, so Hermione is still trying to outdo everyone in the class on top of everything” James said in pity.

Harry tried to convince her to put it down and join the fun, hopping that Ron would be in a good enough mood to put their issues behind them,

“Well I certainly hope so” Lily grumbled.

but Hermione refused, saying she still had over four hundred pages left.

“Then why is she in the noisy common room?” Remus demanded, wondering if that wasn’t perhaps her plan and she was actually trying to get her friends attention.

Then she scoffed that Ron wouldn’t want her to.

“Then tell him to get over it” Lily snapped “she needs to go over there and say it’s high time they talk this out right and proper.”

Ron picked that moment to say as loudly as possible that he wished Scabbers were still alive, he loved these treats.

“Timing” James scowled, personally thinking he may have even said that as a low blow at Hermione, he didn’t think he’d put it past Ron at this point.

Hermione burst into tears.

All of the boys started, suddenly leaning away from the book as if it were a crying girl too. Lily took the moment to give them all dirty glares for that reaction before continuing with unrestrained pity.

Harry tried to say something, but she ducked the book under her arm and ran up the stairs.

“Damn” the boys cursed, now knowing Harry had no way to go after her and really comfort his friend, Harry was clearly at least trying.

Harry stormed back to Ron and told him off for that, and Ron shot back he might apologize if she even acted like she was sorry.

“How much more does he want, she bloody just burst into tears in front of everyone!” Sirius gaped.

“I’m thinking Ron might be holding a bit of a grudge” Remus muttered softly, at least catching Sirius’ attention who nodded in understanding.

Harry couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t some kind of backstory to that comment since it also made James look away in a rather guilty way but Lily still wasn’t giving them much of a chance to discuss anything.

The Gryffindors only ceased when McGonagall came in and told them it had been enough, and to get to bed.

“Well she’s just a right killjoy, least that hasn’t changed” James muttered sourly.

Harry and Ron went up the stairs, still happily dissecting the game,

“We would be too if Lily wasn’t such a killjoy” Sirius snarked.

but they did eventually fall asleep, and Harry had an odd dream.

“Because your dreams have always been so pleasant before” Remus snickered a bit, wondering if this one would be Quidditch related, at least that wouldn’t be so bad.

He was walking through a forest, his Firebolt over his shoulder,

“Now this is a strange dream” Sirius laughed, knowing in any normal circumstances Harry would be riding that any given chance.

following something silver through the trees, though it stayed to far ahead for him to see it properly.

“Guess Harry really wants to know what his Patronus is to” James smirked, this being the only thing that made sense to him.

He tried to run and catch up, but still wasn’t making progress, the sound of hooves getting louder.

“Hooves?” Lily reread in surprise.

“Think he’s chasing after Buckbeak or something?” Sirius wondered, remembering how Harry was supposedly helping with that beast in his free time.

He was jolted awake though, by someone screaming at the top of his lungs ‘no!’

Lily may not have shouted that as loud as the book implied she should have, but it was definitely loud enough to startle the others who had just been so invested in that dream, Harry hardest of all. He had been trying to so hard all day to ignore this sickly feeling that something bad was going to happen on this day, and he’d even gone to bed so surely he must have been wrong this time, this didn’t bode well...

He tried to pull back the curtains around his bed, and heard the sound of his door being slammed shut.

Lily felt a cold chill crawling up her spine, wondering who on earth would go slamming the door like that right then.

The other boys had woken as well, all of them calling out sleepily what was going on, while Ron was scrambling around in bed, part of his hangings torn.

“Torn?” Remus muttered, wondering if Ron had perhaps damaged them in his nightmare, what else could it be?

He was looking around everywhere, white faced with shock as he stammered it had been Black with a knife!

Sirius fell back against the couch for all the world looking like he’d just been stabbed himself.

Lily had to blink hard several times to convince her eyes she’d really just read that while ignoring the fevered chill that made her lean in close to Harry on impulse, but she was being stupid of course. Sirius would never really hurt any of those kids, least of all Harry, he’d obviously just brought the knife for defense while he finally figured out how to get in there and...and what? There truly no longer seemed like a logical explanation to explain away a mad man’s actions for this nonsense, because no one would really think it a good idea to go into a crowded boy’s dormitory in the middle of the night just to talk to Harry. That didn’t even begin to explain why he’d rip up the hangings on Ron’s curtain...

Remus came out of his shock first, taking a moment to give a glance at Sirius before snapping at Lily “keep going, I’m sure Ron was just having some sort of nightmare,” while rubbing furiously at his chest.

Lily swallowed hard, wondering if Remus really did believe that, but gave no counterargument and only hesitated another second because she wasn’t even sure if James and Sirius were still listening, they looked like they’d just closed off from the world. Her only real reassurance was a glance over at her son, who was frowning in utter frustration. That look meant that he was trying to remember something though, there still wasn’t a single trace of fear in her boy at this, so there must be something they were all missing.

They tried to tell Ron it had just been a dream, but Ron was adamant that he hadn’t ripped up his bed, Black had been here!

Remus felt physically torn, wanting to agree with Dean that Ron may have just done that himself, as implausible as that was it was still better than the alternative. Then his mind kept reminding ‘heard a door slam shut.’

Then Ron jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, waking every boy along the way it seemed as he reached the common room to find trash still littered about in the dying fire.

‘The house elf’s are slacking’ was the first thought that finally reentered Sirius’ mind, and that random little tidbit finally put some color back into his skin, though in no way seemed relevant to anything so he pressed his lips together hard to stop himself from interrupting what he kept hoping was just some really elaborate and not funny prank done by the twins.

The twins came stumbling in, rubbing sleep out of their eyes and asking if they were still going to party?

Then Sirius winced so horribly James and Remus had to wonder if his heart had just skipped one too many beats. This really did sound bad, nearly as bad as the time they’d stopped speaking to him all those years ago, but it wasn’t the same thing now! Sirius had just, just... and none of them could still come up with a thing.

Percy barged in, telling them all to get back to bed while putting his badge in place.

“Trust me, I think we all know by this point” Harry muttered to himself.

Ron tried to tell his brothers Black had been in his room, had a knife over him, and Percy said that he was being ridiculous.

Remus quickly opened then closed his mouth, unable to break the long drawn out silence with some dumb comment in true Sirius style.

They stood their arguing for a few moments before McGonagall returned.

“How would she know so fast?” Harry blurted out a little too loudly, causing all of them to jump since Lily had nearly been reduced to a whisper by this point she was so fearful of what she was reading.

James startled hardest of all, he’d clearly still been in shock, but in an effort to brush it off he exclaimed “I’m positive there’s something so the Head of House knows when someone’s in the dormitory who’s not supposed to be. At least it would explain those times we snuck in and a Head of House would appear a few seconds after we left.”

Lily waited a moment longer, almost praying someone else would have something to say about this that would delay her reading, but no one did and the sticky silence had returned the moment James had gotten done speaking.

She turned on Percy first and told him off for allowing this to continue,

Sirius gave a huffy little noise, like he dearly wanted to make some sarcastic comment to that, but his mind was still floundering over a nightmare of a future no one could answer and he just couldn’t get the words out.

Percy huffed back he hadn’t okay’ed this, it was just Ron having a nightmare.

Remus made an odd sort of noise. He dearly wanted to make the comment that he felt bad for Ron and nobody believing him, but that would mean that he did believe him, and he was still banking on the fact that Ron really did have a nightmare, because otherwise...

Ron shouted at the top of his lungs he hadn’t dreamed that! McGonagall still told him it was impossible, Black couldn’t have gotten past the portrait.

Sirius flinched like he’d just been struck. He wanted that to not be answered, would have given all the money in Gringotts for Lily to keep going and say of course that hadn’t happened because he really didn’t know the password, but already scenarios were running through his mind of all to easy ways he could spy on current Gryffindors to get that password. Surely though, if he was thinking like this now, he couldn’t be so mad then that he’d even pull this stunt, right?

Ron was insistent though, so she stepped out to check herself.

This time it was Harry who had to fight back the impulse to mutter ‘poor Ron’ because he knew deep down that Ron hadn’t been having a bad dream and he really wished these people did believe his friend. Of course that didn’t help the current mood in the room one bit, who were all practically paralyzed at the endless implications to Sirius’ mind set in the future.

She asked Cadogan if an adult male had come in recently, and Cadogan agreed at once.

Remus shuddered and leaned back into the couch, grumbling something that Sirius had no desire to make out the exact words of, because he either wouldn’t believe them or he’d truly lose his mind in the next few seconds if this continued train of thinking really was leading his friend somewhere he knew he’d die before going.

McGonagall was as shocked as anyone to hear it, asking why he’d been let in. Cadogan explained he’d had a list of the passwords.

James said something so foul Lily’s first instinct was to grab her wand and scrub his mouth out. She didn’t though, none of them did as they remembered not that long ago about how Neville had somehow gotten a list of passwords, and had somehow lost them. Then again, that begged the question how Sirius had gotten a hold of those? Had Neville managed to lose it on the grounds somewhere and Sirius had just happened to come across them? Circumstances of that aside, it still didn’t answer the deranged question of what he was doing?! If his true purpose was to see Harry, then he was going about it in the worst and most criminally implicating way possible, which meant that the last line of reasoning really was Sirius had lost his ever loving mind. Lily had to suck in a long, deep breath and control every impulse in her not to continue throwing worried looks over at Sirius as she finished.

McGonagall stepped back in to ask which student had been stupid enough to write down passwords and leave them around.

Lily finally found a whole new emotion to scowl at, never finding it okay for a teacher to publicly call out a student and insult him like that. Of course it wasn’t nearly as bad as when Snape had done it and she recognized McGonagall was stressed out of her mind right then but it finally gave her a chance to keep reading without sounding like she was reading a death warrant.

Neville had no choice but to raise his hand.

“Give me that” James snapped at once, hands shaking nearly as bad as his voice as he violently flipped to the next page.

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