Five Minutes

Chapter 10

Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.

Hello reader! Sorry for the late update! Was trying to keep the chapters in line with Christmas and stuff but I think the Christmas chapters will be posted earlier than Christmas actually is but it still works out fine cause we're still in December! Hopefully anyway...Thats the plan!

Here's chapter Ten!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Ten

Severus was searching for a long stick at the edge of the forbidden forest. He couldn't see very well in the dark so he took out his wand and created a small beam of light which illuminated the ground where he was looking. He quickly discovered a wonky branch which was covered with some leaves which had fallen at the start of autumn. They crunched as he picked the stick up and shook the stick. He smirked, the idiots can't even hide a stupid stick, Severus thought. He took the stick in his left hand and circled the whomping willow, his wand in his right hand lighting up the trunk of the violent tree. He soon found the knot which Sirius had told him he was to press to open a secret passage way which would lead to where Remus went every month. He pressed it and threw the stick back towards the forbidden forest and watched as the tree immobilised and part of the trunk disappeared from view. Taking a deep breath he entered the passage.

Severus crept down the dark and dirty passage way. He was almost doubled over so that he could fit down through the sloping tunnel. Soon the tunnel rose a little so he was able to see a dim opening. He peered into the room and gasped. What he saw wasn't what he expected at all. There stood, in the broken room was a fully grown werewolf. It was sniffing hungrily. It turned around its eyes blazing and started towards Severus who was stock still in terror, unable to move.

Suddenly Severus was jerked harshly from where he was and pulled by the leg out of the tunnel that was inside of the whomping willow. The werewolf was hot on Severus' trail but he was being dragged out of the tree at such an alarming rate, that he could see the werewolf falling behind. He soon found himself being pulled out of the entrance to the whomping willow. He landed on the grass and turned to see the person who had dragged him out of harm's way poking the werewolf in the eye with his wand and forcing it to unwillingly retreat far enough into the tunnel for the person who saved Severus to tap the knot on the trunk of the tree, closing the entrance. He then darted from under the whomping willow just before it started to hit again. At this moment, Severus saviours face came into the light and he saw who it was; James Potter.

James bent over breathing hard and clutching a stitch in his left side. 'Whew!' He said standing up straight and stretching, 'You'd have thought with all the Quidditch I do, running down seven floors, across the grounds and through a secret tunnel would be a piece of cake!' James laughed breathlessly.

Severus looked at him in disgust. The boy he had hated for all of his Hogwarts education had just saved his life. Who was he kidding? He probably just did it to save Remus from doing something he wouldn't want to do. Or to save his stupid best friend from causing the death of a student in the school. He was probably in on it and just got cold feet and couldn't go through with it. Either way, he didn't do it for Severus.

Severus jumped up and began to storm away.

'Hey, where you going?' James said with his arms open in shock, 'I just saved your life don't I get a thank you?' Severus continued to walk away from James, ignoring him. James followed him still talking. 'A grunt at least?' James said, 'I would accept a grunt.'

Severus stopped and turned around. 'Don't act like you weren't in on this Potter!'

'Excuse me?' James said angrily, 'When I found out what Sirius had done I raced out here to save your worthless arse!'

'No. You raced down here to save your werewolf friend.' Severus sneered.

'I raced down here so you wouldn't get killed!' James said annoyed using huge hand gestures.

'Either way I'm sure Dumbledore would like to know Remus' little secret!' Severus smirked, 'I'm sure he'd also like to know that you and your filthy friends are helping to hide him on school grounds.

'What I'd really like to know, Mr Snape, is why you believe that I do not know what goes on in my own school.' Dumbledore said appearing behind the two arguing boys with Peter peering behind his billowing robes.

'Professor.' Severus said in surprise before composing himself and hurriedly trying to tell Dumbledore what had happened, 'It was Black and Potter! They tricked me into going down that stupid secret tunnel and did you know Lupin's a were-'

Dumbledore held up his hand sharply to stop Severus from talking. 'I think my office will be a more appropriate place to discuss this matter further.' he said looking between James and Severus. 'Mr Pettigrew. I would be most grateful, when you get back to the Gryffindor common room, if you send Mr Black to my office as well. Inform him that the password is Pumpkin Fizz. Rather appropriate don't you think, considering the holiday.'

Peter scurried off leaving Dumbledore smiling serenely at James and Severus before motioning them to follow him and sweeping into the castle.

They walked in silence as the followed Dumbledore who swept through the empty halls majestically. James had a sneaking suspicion that, even if the halls were brimming with students, the way Dumbledore strode confidently down the corridor, they would still be stock silent. He was just such a commanding figure and James had the utmost respect for him.

When they reached a large and ugly stone gargoyle, a sight which James was all too familiar with, Dumbledore and the boys stopped to stare at it for a few seconds.

'Pumpkin Fizz.' Dumbledore announced. At his words the gargoyle sprang into life and leapt to the side revealing a long spiralling staircase which Dumbledore preceded to climb, followed by the two boys. At the top of the staircase, Dumbledore opened a large oak door which was hiding the headmaster's office.

James stepped into the office and took a deep breath of the familiar air.

'Hello Fawkes!' he said as he neared the phoenix which was perched near Dumbledore's desk, 'You look close to your burning day!'

'Yes. It should happen any day now.' Dumbledore said looking at the bird that had lost most of its glorious feathers and was looking very wrinkly.

'You again?' came a snarling voice emanating from a portrait on the wall.

All three in the office looked up to see the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black, a previous headmaster of Hogwarts peering out from his frame on the wall. James shrugged at the portrait and smiled.

'Thought you'd have been expelled by now along with that poor excuse for a great-great grandson of mine. What have you done wrong now?' he sneered down at James who breathed deeply.

'Now, now, Phineas. Who's to say the boy's done anything wrong?' said another portrait of a previous headmaster, Dilys Derwent. She beamed down at James who, through his frequent visits, she had rather taken to.

'Oh shut up Dilys!' Phineas snapped.

'Oh Phineas. Stop. Please! Just because you are still sore that none of the students you taught as headmaster liked you doesn't mean you have to take it out on the students that the current headmaster is trying to instruct!' Armando Dippet sighed, sounding exhausted.

'Here, here!' Dilys said a little pompously.

'They liked me!' Phineas snarled.

'Oh please!' Basil Fronsac's portrait said pedantically, 'You have been voted Hogwarts least liked headmaster.'

'At the start of your term as headmaster, might I add!' Ambrose Swott inputted.

'Oh what do you all know!' Phineas mumbled causing all the portraits of the headmasters from the past to start arguing about what they did and didn't know, a conversation which could last year's considering the vastness of their collective knowledge.

'Sweet?' Dumbledore said offering James a bowl full of little yellow sugared squares, and blocking out the arguments coming from above his head which he had obviously chosen to ignore. 'Today I decided to have crystallised pineapple.' he continued as if he had no idea about the conversation the portraits had previously held.

'Thank you sir. Did Professor Slughorn visit you today by any chance?' James laughed as he took a sweet.

'How did you guess?' Dumbledore chuckled before offering a sweet to Severus who refused.

He, who had never been to Professor Dumbledore office before, had watched this exchange with disgust. It was clear to him that James Potter obviously spent a lot of time in this office and was no stranger to all its customs. Apparently, getting in trouble and being disruptive resulted in a friendly relationship with the Headmaster. Severus sneered as he was quite jealous that Dumbledore, although perhaps not purposely, didn't seem to show Severus the same kind of familiarity as he did James.

Dumbledore conjured up three chairs, (one for James, Severus and Sirius who was due to arrive any moment), before taking a seat himself behind his desk and looking at the two students with a small smile, but, James noticed, with no twinkle in his eye. They waited.

A few minutes later there was a knock on the door.

'Come in.' Dumbledore said loudly.

Sirius entered the room which he was also very familiar with and uncharacteristically shuffled over to the third chair in front of Dumbledore's desk. He didn't look up at James even though he could feel his disappointed and angry gaze burning into him. He had been growing steadily more ashamed of his actions as soon as James had dashed out of the Gryffindor common room.

'So,' Dumbledore said gently, 'I am to understand that you, Mr Black, were the one who informed Mr Snape of Mr Lupin's whereabouts. What you failed to mention is why Mr Lupin was in the Shrieking shack.'

'The Shrieking shack?' Severus exclaimed, 'Is that where that tunnel leads too?'

'Yes Mr Snape.' Dumbledore said calmly. 'Mr Black,' he continued, 'was there any particular reason why you willingly led Mr Snape into danger?'

Sirius stayed silent and just kept looking at his hands which were twisting in his lap.

'Mr Black?' Dumbledore repeated.

Sirius slowly looked up and saw the disappointed look in Dumbledore's eyes. A look that he had never seen before, even after all the trouble he had caused. He suddenly no longer felt just ashamed, but guilty as well.

'I'm sorry sir.' Sirius muttered quietly, 'I…I…mmm…I'm sorry.'

'It's quite alright Mr Black.' he said softening at Sirius apology. He was obviously remorseful.

'It is not alright!' Severus yelled outrageously leaning forwards. 'He tried to kill me! Both of them did!' he gestured to James and Sirius, 'Only Potter got cold feet and chickened out!'

'Mr Snape. I hardly believe that is how you should speak to the person who saved your life.' Dumbledore said peering over the rims of his half-moon glasses.

Severus ran out of things to say and shrank back into his seat with a grumpy face.

'I assume you now know about Mr Lupin's condition - yes - I also know about his condition -' Dumbledore said at Severus' shocked face, 'I was the one who made the arrangements for the whomping willow to be planted so he could transform safely. I hardly think that his lycanthropy, a condition which he has no control over and which he never asked for, is any reason why he should be deprived of an education. Now, I must ask you to never, Mr Snape, never, tell anyone about Mr Lupin's condition.' Dumbledore looked at Severus with an almost pleading look. One you couldn't refuse.

'Yes sir.' Severus said, 'I won't tell anyone. But they still tried to kill me! Shouldn't they be expelled?'

'I do not think expelling these two is the correct course of action.' Dumbledore said, 'Mr Black will receive punishment as his actions were foolish, but I do not believe that he intended to put your life in danger. Mr Potter, however, achieved a great feat of bravery, putting his own life at risk to save yours. He will not be punished for being a good Gryffindor.'

Severus sighed in frustration.

'Mr Snape. You will not repeat what you have seen or heard tonight. As far as you are concerned, you do not know that your fellow classmate is a werewolf. The prejudice against him is too great and you would ruin any chance he has of a halfway normal life. If you do ever tell anyone, I shall be most disappointed in you.' Dumbledore said to Severus gravely.

'Yes sir.' Severus replied. Even though he was now in alliance with Voldemort and his death eaters, he couldn't help but respect the old man who had helped him through his Hogwarts education so far. He had provided school robes and supplies for Severus as he couldn't afford them. To betray Dumbledore would be a great injustice. No matter the difference in their beliefs.

'Thank you Mr Snape. You may leave.' Dumbledore nodded at Severus as he scraped back his chair and left the room.

'Mr Black.' Dumbledore said, the tone in his voice making Sirius want to tell him everything.

'I'm sorry sir.' Sirius said, 'It's childish really.' he continued. Suddenly he blurted out in one breath the reason why he had done what he did. 'He had been following us around for almost a month but that's not all, if that was all I wouldn't have gone to such an extreme, it's just that he was cursing James at every available moment and James wouldn't do anything about it or even let us do anything about it, even after Snape had turned his drink to ink or when he froze his drink in his throat so he almost choked and died so I just got so tired of sitting back and watching him torture James daily so I guess I snapped and did the first thing that came to my head and didn't think it through so-'

Eventually Dumbledore held up his hand to stop Sirius babbling.

'I understand that you did not purposely put Mr Snape in danger and that your decision was based on frustration, and if I'm not mistaken, hunger.' Dumbledore said.

Sirius averted Dumbledore's gaze and looked towards the ceiling. He obviously knew Sirius had been sneaking down to the kitchens.

'You are, permanently, to be in detention on Wednesday and Friday nights. They will take place in my office from seven o'clock until nine. Your place on the Gryffindor Quidditch team will be revoked and you are also banned from all Hogsmeade visits for the remainder of this school year.' Dumbledore said writing down what he had just said with an eagle feathered quill. He gave the parchment he had written on to Sirius and told him he could now leave.

When Sirius had closed the door, James and Dumbledore sat in silence for a few moments before Dumbledore smiled proudly at James.

'Mr Potter.' Dumbledore began, 'Your actions tonight were extremely courageous. You have shown true Gryffindor spirit tonight and I am extremely proud of you.'

'Thank you sir.' James said unenthusiastically. 'That means a lot.'

'I am sensing you are still deeply unsettled with this matter?' Dumbledore asked James who nodded.

'You're sensing right sir!' James grimaced, nodding his head, 'Even being annoyed and…and hungry doesn't make what he did, ok. It's not. He could have killed someone. He could have forced Remus to attack. We've…studied werewolves. He knows that when they smell a human, their instincts take over. It doesn't matter that during the day, and the whole of the month, that Remus wouldn't hurt a fly. When he is a werewolf, he has no control over what happens. It's all instinct. Sirius knows this.'

'Yes, Mr Potter, I expect he does. But you must remember that humans too, sometimes act on instinct, without considering the consequences.' Dumbledore said gently. 'I understand that you will most likely, as a loyal friend, need to tell Mr Lupin of what has happened tonight. I don't expect you not too. I also do not expect you to forgive Mr Black straight away. However, you, Mr Potter, as I said mere moments ago, are a true and loyal friend. It is a quality which I admire in you. You will not stay mad at him for long and you will forgive him.' Dumbledore smiled at James and breathed deeply. 'I have kept you here for long enough. I suspect you are tired and would appreciate some sleep. Off you go.'

James rose from his chair in a trance like state which was only broken when he reached the door. He half turned around to face Dumbledore.

'Thank you.' he whispered, and exited the room.

Severus walked into the Slytherin common room in a trance. He walked through the low-ceiling room and passed his two dorm-mates, the closest thing he had to friends and didn't stop when they called out to him. He passed the grand grey-stone fire place, the green leather sofas and the skull ornaments and made his way up to his dorm room. He climbed the dimly lit, dark oak staircase, the green glare bounced off of his greasy black hair and his hooked nose giving his face a sickly glare. Before he knew it he was sat at the desk next to his bed trying to think of a way to tell Voldemort the information he had without breaking his vow of silence to Dumbledore. It was a tricky situation.

Avery and Mulciber walked through the door, unnoticed by Severus. They smirked at each other when they saw Severus sitting at the desk with his head in his hands. Mulciber started to creep forwards silently followed by Avery. They leant forward on the desk either side of Severus, who had still not noticed their arrival.

'If you get much closer to that desk you'll have to buy it dinner!' Mulciber snickered.

'Then again, if you were a good Slytherin, with a bit of sweet talk, you could probably get away with not paying!' Avery guffawed.

'Why you slobbering over that stinking' desk anyway?' Mulciber sneered.

'Never mind that!' Mulciber said in a low voice, 'You got that information for the dark lord. I hear through the grape vine that he's getting impatient with you.'

'Yeah.' Avery said defiantly, 'We all delivered. Why aren't you? Not worthy?'

'I have the information!' Severus said through gritted teeth, 'Don't know why he-'

'Don't question the dark lord!' Mulciber whispered furiously. 'He has his reasons for wanting that information! Just give it to him or we'll all suffer!'

'I can't!' Severus burst out suddenly, 'I've been silenced by Dumbledore! I can't say anything!' Severus said frustrated.

'Well can you think it?' Avery asked.

'Why does that matter?' Severus retorted angrily.

'Because the dark lord is a master Legilimens. You don't need to tell him the information. He already knows it!' Mulciber whispered creepily.

'You can't keep a secret from the dark lord.' Avery continued, 'I heard that one man, formally a death eater, had once dated a mud-blood and they had stayed friends. Anyway he told her to go into hiding, trying to make sure none of her dirty blood was spilt. Traitor.' Avery stopped with a disgusting look on his face.

Severus tried not to look worried. 'What happened to him?' Severus asked slowly.

'Well,' Mulciber snickered, smiling darkly at Avery, 'The dark lord used legilimency. Sent in the ones he could trust to fetch the mud-blood, without her friend knowing, and had her brought back to headquarters.'

'Where he tortured her, ordered her friend to kill her, and then killed her friend.' Avery finished jollily.

Severus was trying to control his face from dropping. Even though she didn't want to be his friend anymore, he still had very strong feelings towards her. Feelings he couldn't change. But was there a way to hide them?

'Isn't there a way to prevent legilimency?' Severus tried to inquire casually. He was successful.

'Yeah of course!' Avery said, 'Occlumency. The guy we were on about? Well my Dad was the one who told me the story, and he told me that the traitor tried to employ Occlumency against the dark lord. Fool. Obviously wasn't great at it!'

But I'll have to be! Severus thought.

Almost three weeks had passed since James had left Dumbledore's office and he had returned to the Gryffindor common room to find Sirius waiting for him. He had ignored his attempts to apologise and went straight to bed.

The morning after that, James had woken up early, grabbed Peter and left to go to the hospital wing to pick Remus up and leaving Sirius behind. He had then told Remus what had happened the night before. Remus was speechless.

James, Remus and Peter, until the twenty-ninth of November, hardly spoke to Sirius. They were all still hanging out with each other, but given the choice, James, Remus and Peter would just wander off without Sirius. Everyone in the school noticed the tense atmosphere between the marauders. They noticed that it was no longer James, Remus and Sirius in the front with Peter tailing behind. Instead, it was James, Remus and Peter in front and Sirius trailing behind with a guilty and ashamed look on his face. The thing that made it worse, was the fact that no-one knew what had happened. Rumours began to circulate about what had caused the rift between the Gryffindor's, some of them reaching the extremes; the marauders were experimenting with spells and somehow, Sirius and Peter switched bodies. None of the rumours came close to the truth though which greatly relieved Remus.

So, until the twenty-ninth of November, James and Remus still hadn't forgiven Sirius and were ignoring his constant stream of apologies. Until the twenty-ninth of November, they only really spoke to him when it was necessary. Until the twenty-ninth of November, they were no-longer close friends so much as estranged. And it was one letter which brought them back together. Unfortunately, it didn't bear the best news.

'My Dad has dragon pox.' James said stunned at breakfast that morning.

The mail had just been delivered in the ordinary fashion, by owl, and James had received a letter from his mum. This shocked James as his parents hadn't sent him a letter when he was at school since his second year. It had been brought by the family owl. A wheezing, old, grey-speckled owl which went by the name of Grison. He had flopped down into James' cereal spilling milk over the sides of the bowl and over the table. James had then tutted and plucked the owl out of the milk before giving him a piece of toast and tore the letter, which was attached to the owl's leg, open. His eyes had scanned over the letter quickly before his face had dropped and he had continued to tell his friends what it said.

When James had said his father's condition, Remus, Sirius and Peter dropped their eating utensils and looked towards James in sympathy. They all knew what this meant. Usually, when a wizard was to contract dragon pox, he or she would have to undergo a strenuous course of potions to remove the disease. This cycle of potions, however, would only work once. If the wizard was to have the disease again, there was very little hope of surviving it. This was the third time Mr Potter had had the disease. There was no chance of survival.

No one spoke for a few minutes until, at last, James couldn't stand the awkward silence anymore. He shook his head, and left the great hall.

The three remaining boys looked at each other sorrowfully. Remus and Sirius had a silent exchange before quickly rising and following James out of the hall. When Peter had realised what they were doing, he also followed.

They found James in one of the courtyards which lead off of the entrance hall. Outside, it was bitterly cold as winter was approaching fast. There was a thin, light layer of frost covering the ground which James was scraping away with his shoe. They walked towards him and stood silently by his side.

'I can't believe it.' James said blankly.

Sirius tentatively put a comforting hand on James shoulder. James turned and looked at him to see that Sirius' eyes were brimming with tears. In that moment, everything that had happened the previous month was wiped away and the two boys hugged each other, both trying to comfort the other.

'I'm so sorry James!' Sirius sniffed trying to hold back his tears.

'I know.' James said. He wasn't close to crying. He didn't cry.

They broke apart and Sirius wiped his eyes.

'I'm really sorry Remus.' Sirius said, tearfully.

'I know.' Remus replied. He pulled Sirius in for a quick hug before releasing him and turning to James, who almost collapsed on him in sadness. But still, he did not cry.

'I don't know what to do!' James said in a broken voice. He hadn't been close with his dad since he began attending Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He had seen him in the morning on his way to work and in the evening before he collapsed into bed. His father had never been around for James since his first year and was always too busy making a career for himself. He had always been kind to him, surrounded James with all the material things he could ever desire, but they never really bonded like a real father and son.

'I do.' Sirius said trying to compose himself for James. He was falling apart. Even though Mr Potter wasn't directly related to Sirius and they had spent even less time together than James had, he had been more of a Father to him than anyone in his family.

James looked to Sirius, waiting to be told how to continue.

'You remember when…when your Uncle died.' Sirius sniffed, his breathing uneven, 'I was at your house and we were…playing Quidditch in the…err…the ball room. It was the only day in the summer holidays that your parents were home. They were filling out some paper work in the office even though they were both off duty. We were making such a racket that your mum came in. She was so mad. But…she forgot about it when your Dad walked in and told her that he'd just received an owl and that…her brother, your uncle, had died. She was so upset but she didn't want us to see her cry so she left the room.'

'Please say you have a point Sirius.' Remus muttered to him as he believed he could see James' eyes becoming sad over another painful memory. In reality it was Remus projecting his feelings over to James.

'He does.' James said smiling a miserable smile at Sirius. (He had heard Remus muttering to him.) 'When mum left the room, I asked dad if there was anything we could do for her. He told us that the best thing we could do was to stay out of her way.'

'How does that help you now?' Remus asked utterly confused as to why this story was relevant.

James and Sirius smiled at each other, Sirius very sadly. It was he who continued.5

'After he told us this, as he was about to walk out of the room, he turned back to us. He told us that James Uncle never wanted anyone to cry over his death. He wanted a Mexican themed party with a giant piñata. Then James' Dad said that he would never want people to mourn over his death either because there was no use dwelling over something that they had no control over. He told James that if he did ever look at his death at anything else other than an excuse to party, then he hadn't raised him right. He then told us he wanted a Hawaiian themed party when he died. With grass skirts and people drinking out of coconuts. The limbo. The whole thing.'

James smiled at Sirius for reminding him of his father's requests. Now, he may not be able to carry on as if nothing had happened and that no news had reached him, for it certainly had, but he could try to do what his dad wanted him too. Not to dwell on what he couldn't change but to put on a brave face and throw an awesome party.

'Happy first day of December!' Hestia squealed excitedly as she pulled the covers off of Lily who was still trying to enjoy a restful sleep.

She yawned groggily and curled up into a ball because she was now cold, her eyes still shut.

'Oi! Lily!' Hestia squealed pulling the pillow from beneath her head and proceeding to hit her with it.

'Hey!' Lily moaned grabbing the pillow back of Hestia and hugging it close to her. She glared at Hestia who was smiling deviously at her. Suddenly Lily was hit in the back with a pillow.

'Hey!' she said turning away from Hestia's laughing face and finding Alice's behind her. She was holding her own pillow loosely in her hand and before Alice knew what was happening, Lily had whipped the pillow out of her hand and was hitting her back with it.

'Why - did - you - hit - me?' Lily said with every hit.

Alice ran around the bed and hid behind Hestia who was now holding her hands up in defence as Lily began to hit her. The seams of the pillow were coming apart by now and feathers began to fall all around.

'Because if I was up and Hestia was up and Emmeline is already at breakfast, it's not fair that you're still in bed!' Alice squealed as she and Hestia jumped on the bed to avoid Lily's raging pillow.

'You three have a lesson. I don't! Can't I have one lie in?' Lily asked still waving the pillow around which was fit to burst.

'No.' her friends said blankly. They could see Lily's deathly glare forming. They looked at each other and nodded before saying, 'See ya!' and quickly dashing out of the room.

Lily shook her head and threw the pillow, which was still in her hand down on her bed where it immediately fell apart on contact, feathers spilling everywhere. Lily sighed. She got dressed into her Hogwarts robes before picking up her wand off of her bedside table and cleared away the mess, repairing the pillow. She then tucked her wand into the inside pocket of her robes and proceeded to make her bed before exiting her dorm room and heading down to the common room.

She saw James in one of the armchairs near the extinguished fire. During November they had become, what Lily would call, 'new friends'. They didn't hang out with each other all the time but weren't against the idea. They didn't share all the details of their lives or their big secrets, but they did have a good laugh with each other and weren't averted to helping each other out with school work.

'What you doing up Potter?' Lily asked as she flopped down in the armchair opposite him. He had his nose in a book which, before this year was a very high novelty, but now, was a usual occurrence.

'Are you kidding?' James laughed as he looked up at Lily and smiled, 'Sirius woke us all up early this morning even though he's not a morning person.'

'First day of the month?' she asked, thinking of Hestia.

'No. Pancakes.' James said with a small chuckle. 'It's written on the calendar in our room. First day of December, February and March, the house elves make pancakes.'

'You have a calendar in your room?' Lily asked with one eyebrow raised.

'It's…err…Remus'.' James said cautiously. He knew Lily was very smart and if, given too much information, would deduce Remus' secret. If she had already figured it out, she would realise he had the calendar to keep track of the moons monthly cycle and his transformation.

'Right.' Lily nodded, 'So why aren't you at breakfast with them?' she questioned, changing the subject.

'Looking through the Quidditch supplies catalogue.' he said flicking the pages of the book on his lap. 'The team needs a new grooming kit.'

'Right…' Lily said, not fully understanding what exactly the grooming kit was for. Was it so the players looked dapper whilst playing or was it for the brooms? She wondered why brooms would need grooming. She then imagined a group of broomsticks in bowties and top hats at a ball in a broomstick cupboard. She then realised she had a very weird imagination and was suddenly snapped back into reality.

'Anyway,' she said drawing James attention back into their conversation, 'where did you get the catalogue from cause I'm sure it's not in the library.'

James smiled at her. 'We have a library?'

She looked at him exasperatedly and shook her head whilst he chuckled softly. It was a warm pleasant sound which she liked to hear.

'Nah.' James continued, with a slight grin on his face, 'I know we have a library. Not sure where it is, but I know we've got one.' he sighed and closed the heavy catalogue before throwing in gently onto the small end table which was beside his chair. 'The catalogue's Sirius'.' he said, eventually answering her original question.

Lily looked awkward for a second. She hesitated but then decided in the heat of the moment to ask, 'So have you all made up now?'

James looked at her curiously and suspiciously. 'Excuse me?' he said.

Lily bit her lip, (a sight which made James heart beat quickly), 'Sorry.' she said shaking her head, 'I shouldn't have said anything.'

'It's all right.' James said truthfully, 'I'm curious to know what you mean though. How exactly did you know that we had fallen out? Not that I'm saying we did.' he added quickly.

Lily carried on carefully, almost as if she was scared to say anything that might upset him. Their friendship was still new and she didn't know if it was acceptable for her to be prying into his other friendships.

'Well, I'm not the only one who has noticed by the way, but, I've sort of noticed that since Halloween, you and Lupin, oh! And Pettigrew, of course. Well, you've been…freezing him out? Giving him the silent treatment. But a few days ago, things seemed to return to your, somewhat normal, behaviour.' she said tentatively.

James looked at her curiously. He didn't think that the rift between him and his friends had been that blatantly obvious, but apparently, almost the whole school had seen it. At least, that's the way it sounded.

He and Lily sat in an awkward silence for a few minutes before Lily had the guts to continue.

'It's just, you guys are so close and your friendship is so strong. It's actually amazing at how close you are and many people marvel at the level of trust and loyalty you show each other that, it was…well it didn't go unnoticed that something was wrong between you guys. Now, because we've been spending some free periods together, the one's where my other friends are in divination, I think I may have noticed a bit quicker. It's just, before Halloween, it was always you and Black that seemed to lead the conversation whilst Lupin entered the voice of reason and Pettigrew just kept quiet. But after Halloween, the conversations we had weren't as…silly, if you like. And Black was the one who was quiet.' Lily stopped and looked into James warm hazel eyes. Her hands went clammy. Nerves, she thought. She did carry on one last time however.

'Now, I don't know if we are what you would call friends, but I would say that we are. But, I'm not sure if we are good enough friends yet to be prying into each other's lives this way. Especially as last year we, well, I, didn't like you. I'm sorry if I've crossed the line but…I don't think that Hogwarts would have been the same, if you lot had all stayed mad at each other for the rest of the year. I admire the friendship you guys have. I just wish I was that close to my friends. It's like you all have a secret bond or something. Or just that. A secret. One that ties you together. I mean-'

'Evans!' James cut her off. He smiled a crooked smile at her surprised look and chuckled a little bit before saying, 'You were rambling Evans. I've noticed you do that when you're uncomfortable or nervous.'

She looked at him questioningly.

'I've seen the way you acted when McGonagall told us we were going to have a test before the Christmas break. You didn't stop talking for twenty minutes. And you've been rambling for ten minutes just now.' he explained.

Lily nodded.

'Anyway.' James said, 'You're not wrong. We did have a bit of a fall out. Sirius did something but, that's in the past now. Can't dwell on what we can't change.'

Lily saw the sad look in his eyes and assumed it was something to do with what Sirius had done. She decided not to pry any further.

'I'm gonna go get breakfast then.' she said standing up and looking down at James, 'Do you want to come?'

'Nah thanks.' he replied, 'I'm not too hungry.'

Lily nodded and turned to leave.

'And Evans,' James said causing Lily to turn back to face him, 'We are friends.'

She smiled at James broadly and James smiled back. Lily was suddenly overwhelmed with a surprising happy feeling inside at the fact that they, her and James Potter, the boy she had despised, were now friends.

James watched her leave. When she had disappeared through the portrait whole he opened the Quidditch catalogue and took out a crumpled piece of parchment, a letter he had received that morning, and read it one more time.

My dear son James,

I have a feeling I won't be around for much longer. The healer tells me that the dragon pox is now irreversible considering this is the third time I've had it. So, I'm writing this letter in case I don't have the opportunity to tell you this in person.

I want to say I'm sorry for being so busy during your childhood. I never meant to be and I realise that you were disappointed when we didn't see you off to Hogwarts again this year. I also know that it must have been hard on you when we always left you with Linda and we never spent any time with you. I have missed the opportunity to get to know you personally and for that, I am sorry. I am sorry we were never that close. I want you to know that it was not because I don't love you, but because I was trying to make the world a better place for you. Unfortunately, that meant we weren't able to spend a lot of time together when you were home. I've talked to your mum about this though and I want you to know that things will change. Even though I won't be able to see you off to Hogwarts and spend time with you during the holidays, your mum will.

I love you son and I am so proud of you. Also, a little bit jealous that you still have the Potter good looks whilst I'm covered in giant spots. Not fair in my opinion. Keep doing what you're doing and I am sure you will do well in life.

I'd like you to do me a favour and keep your sense of humour. You have made so many people smile and laugh with it, me included. I remember when I was late for work one morning, when you replaced all the yolks in our eggs with golden snitches! Linda wasn't best pleased but I was amazed at your magic. Never did figure out how you did that. You were only twelve! It would be a terrible thing to waste. Your…unusual talent, for mischief. I received more owls about your antics then I would care to count.

Look after your mum when I'm gone and don't forget to throw me my Hawaiian party! A luau I think their called? Ah, what the hell, throw a Mexican party too! A fiesta! I do like piñatas!

From what I've seen, but mostly heard, (unfortunately,) you're a good kid and I couldn't have asked for a better son. You're loyal and brave and loving. A Gryffindor through and through. Just like your dad!

I love you.


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