Five Minutes

Chapter 13

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! Thank you to my second reviewer: JunW22054. I shall try to take all your suggestions on board cause your review was so nice and constructive but I hope you understand if I don't change certain things. But thank you ever so much for the nice comments. :)

Here's chapter Thirteen!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Thirteen

Jane Potter rolled over in bed to put her arm around her husband only to find he wasn't there. He was gone forever. Her heart sank. She missed her husband. Even his constant snoring which she should be listening to right now.

Jane forced herself to sit up in her bed and swing her legs over the side, slipping her feet into her slippers. She side and looked around her room lost, her eyes settling on the picture she kept by the side of her bed. It was when her son James was twelve years old and her husband and herself had managed to get a day of work. It was the only one they had that summer so they had decided to take James on a picnic to a wildlife park. It was a few miles away from the Potter mansion though no one would have known it as the Potter mansion was protected by many enchantments and could only be found by those who were invited or had been told of the location by an authorised person.

The picture was of James and his father. They had matching crooked, laughing smiles and their messy hair. James' glasses were swinging off of his face and he trying to stop his dad from taking them off him completely. His dad was ruffling his hair as well, making it even messier.

Jane looked at her husband as he played with his son in the moving picture. She smiled a wet smile before deciding to go downstairs. She grabbed her dressing gown and, putting it on, walked through the door and out of her bedroom.

She was at the front corner of the second floor corridor in the Potter mansion. The corridor was a three sided indoor balcony. Each side was placed at a right-angle to the other like a square missing one of its sides. Around this balcony, were four grand bedrooms, (with individual en-suites in each one), as well as three family sized bathrooms unattached to the rooms and four corridors leading from the balcony. One lead to a back staircase which lead to another floor above, which you could see if you looked up as there was a similar layout on the third floor, (they both had the three-sided balcony). The staircase along the corridor led to the many large attic rooms on the third floor and the second floor of the library. That corridor, along with the other three, also lead to other rooms further along the back and sides of the mansion; eight more guest bedrooms with en-suites, the library and two upstairs sitting rooms.

At the other side of the balcony from where Jane was stood, in the room dead opposite from hers, James and Sirius slept. When James was thirteen, he decided he didn't want the bedroom next to his parents anymore, (too mature for such close proximity), so, with the help of his dad, he had dragged all his personal belongings to the last bedroom on the left hand side of the corridor. Jane smiled at the memory.

She walked down the corridor, turned left into the next straight, and then into the middle of that one. This was where the grand staircase which led to the second floor was placed. Jane walked halfway down it. Here there was a middle platform which housed the fact that the stairs now split into both directions, both curving round to lead to the middle of the grand foyer. Jane chose to walk down the left side of the now split staircase, careful to miss the eighth step down because it was a sinking step. When James was seven and developing his powers, he had pulled a strop towards his father who had walked away from him. When his dad was on the eight step, James became so angry he had unintentionally caused the step to sink. They hadn't been able to fix it. Jane smiled at the memory.

She began to walk through the Potter mansion and made her way to the third sitting room. (There were only three on the ground floor; one for her, one for James and one to entertain guests in.) When she got there she sat down in her high-backed armchair which faced the fire. She missed her husband so much she was literally aching. Just walking through the mansion brought all her feelings to the surface and caused her to miss him more. At least she had her memories to remember him by.

There was a loud crack which suddenly filled the room, but Jane, completely used to the sound, didn't flinch. Jane looked up and saw Linda, her house-elf, with a tray loaded with breakfast.

'Morning Mistress Potter!' Linda squeaked putting the tray down on the end table next to Jane's chair.

'Thank you Linda.' Jane said with a small sad smile.

Linda looked up at her with her big round eyes. 'Is you alright, Mistress Potter?' she asked Jane.

Again, Jane smiled a sad smile. 'Yes, Linda dear. I'll be fine.'

Linda didn't look convinced but bowed and disapparated out of the room leaving Jane on her own once more.

She was wallowing. It was the only word left to describe how she was feeling. She was wallowing in the misery that was now her life. It wasn't all bad though. She still had her treasured son James, her only child, the only living piece of her late husband left. And although she still had him, this didn't begin to fill the void she now had in her heart.

Jane was busy thinking about her son when she heard him and Sirius thudding down the stairs and through some of the downstairs rooms on their way, assumedly, to the kitchens for breakfast. They would take around half an hour to fill their stomachs before they would come rampaging through Jane's living room to get to their Christmas presents. And if, when they stormed in, her was still food displayed, Sirius would be sure to find a way to eat it. So Jane pulled the breakfast tray on to her lap and began to eat. The food turned to mush in her mouth as she didn't particularly want it. It was more out of necessity that she was eating.

It took her ten minutes to pick at her food. When she felt she had eaten all she could, she called for Linda to take the tray away.

'Was everything all right for miss?' Linda asked as she grabbed the tray.

'Yes thank you Linda. When will lunch be served?' Jane asked, not really because she wanted to know, but so she had something to say.

'At one o'clock mistress Potter.' Linda said, 'Is there anything else my mistress would like?'

'Yes. When will dinner be served?' Jane said, actually wanting to know this time.

'At six-thirty mistress Potter.' Linda said, taking a low bow before disapparating out of the room.

Jane looked up and took in a great sigh. In a few moments her quiet despair would be interrupted by two sixteen year old boys running through her sitting room. She began to prepare herself for this, wiping the silent tears which had been dripping down her cheeks. She composed herself and waited.

Sure enough, five minutes later James and Sirius ran through.

'Hi Mum. Bye Mum.' James yelled as he entered and exited the room respectively.

Sirius said nothing and just followed his best friend through only making contact with Jane Potter as he waved to her on his way past.

Jane laughed a little at the boy's behaviour. They were both coping with the death of Mr Potter rather well. Jane had a sneaking suspicion it had something to do with the coconut pie she had made the other day. As Sirius had said that day, unthinkingly so, 'Pie makes everything better!' Jane smiled at the memory.

She listened to the boys next door. Hurried ripping sounds were all she could hear. The sound of tearing paper stopped and started, the pauses being filled with gasps of surprise and excitement and the occasional voiced exclamation of glee. Jane smiled. Their happiness was now her first priority so it was good to hear their delight, even if it was too soon for her to be around that kind of unfathomable joy. At least they could find it in themselves to be happy.

James ran back into the room unexpectedly. Jane looked at him questioningly.

'You. Are. Awesome!' James said, his voice so happy it couldn't be described.

Jane smiled at her son and simply asked, 'Is that all right then?'

'It's the new Nimbus 1500! Of course it's all right! It's more than all right it's-'

'You. Are. Awesome!' Sirius butted in also too happy for description. He held in his hands an instruction manual on how to build a motorcycle, plus an armful of parts.

Jane smiled a Sirius and repeated her question to him.

'Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesy esyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesye syesyesyesyesyes! YES!' Sirius shouted quickly.

'That's good then.' Jane said with a genuine smile.

James and Sirius smiled back at her. 'Thank you!' they said in unison with James adding at the end, 'Merry Christmas Mum!'

The two boys ran out of the room, anxious to get to their new presents.

Jane watched them out of the room. 'Merry Christmas.' she said.

'Peter!' Mrs Pettigrew yelled lovingly to her son who was in his room in the small two-bed roomed bungalow, 'Will you come out of your room! Preferably without hurting yourself!'

A door opened and closed. Heavy footsteps got louder until they stopped outside the living room door where Mrs Pettigrew was waiting for her son.

Peter opened the door and walked into the room.

'Good. You didn't fall over your own feet!' Mrs Pettigrew smiled with shining eyes at her son, 'I bought you a Christmas present but I didn't wrap it in any paper just in case you give yourself a paper-cut.'

Peter sighed and quickly wished he was back at Hogwarts with Remus and James. People, friends, who didn't treat him like a walking disaster zone. Who trusted that he didn't need twenty-four hour observation to make sure he didn't burn off his eyebrows. Not Sirius though. Sirius patronized him and was unnecessarily cruel. Peter hated the way Sirius made him feel. It was the way he felt when his mother mollycoddled him. Small.

'I was going to put it in a plastic bag but I didn't want you to suffocate on it.' Mrs Pettigrew said sweetly as she handed her son a long, flat and thick cardboard box.

Peter accepted it and smiled gratefully at his mother, muttering his thanks.

'I thought you'd be safer with a box.' Mrs Pettigrew said with a sympathetic face.

Peter lifted the lid off of the box and saw the hand knitted scarf in the colours of Gryffindor. He picked it out of the box and stared at it. 'I already have a scarf.' he said tonelessly.

'It was getting old and tatty.' Mrs Pettigrew said as she hurried over to him and took the scarf off of him. She wound it round his neck and said, 'It could have given you a rash so I thought a new one would be safer for you. The wool is silkier.'

'Thanks.' Peter said ungratefully. 'I'm going back to my room. Merry Christmas.' he said.

Severus looked around his empty bedroom holding a tin can; a port key. He looked at the mucky and tatty bed, the thin brown blankets, the stained, thin pillow, the worn mattress with springs poking out. He looked at the broken wooden chair; splintered. The only other thing left in his room was his Hogwarts trunk, still packed, from when he came home from school. He hated his room. It held unhappy memories. But they would be taken care of soon enough.

He closed his bedroom door behind him and walked down the narrow staircase in his house, crept past the open living room door where his father was drinking, again. Past the kitchen, where his mother was preparing his father's dinner in contented silence, and out of the front door. He shoved his hand in his pockets and walked across the street. When he reached the house opposite his, he turned around and leant against their wall, staring back at his house and through the living room window.

It was ten minutes past eleven in the morning. The time he had been told to leave his house so family matters could be taken care of.

He was waiting for five minutes before he heard a faint pop coming from inside his house. Through the living room window he saw a tall figure in a black cloak towering over Severus' father. The figure raised his wand. Severus smiled. A flash of green and the figure turned around to face the window. Lord Voldemort smiled evilly back at Severus before turning around on the spot and disapparating. It was done.

Severus didn't bother waiting to see what his mother's reaction was. He had other walls he wanted to sit on today.

He kicked a stone and followed it down Spinners end to the corner of the street. He walked into the next street, and the next, until he stopped in the middle of the fifth street he went down.

He had stopped outside the back of Lily Evans' house, just hoping to catch a glimpse of her. He had given up on trying to rebuild their friendship for now. She had made herself perfectly clear that she now wanted nothing to do with him. Severus still hadn't accepted her decision completely, but had decided to respect it. A small part of him wished she would change her mind and another part was convinced that, after the space he was giving her, she would.

He entered the back gate, (the only entrance the Evans' used for their house), which had a path leading to the back door of Lily's house. Ignoring this path, however, he stepped off it and onto the grass of the small back garden. He sat on the wall, which separated the property from the street, and gazed in through the kitchen window. He was placing the tin can, which he was still carrying, onto the wall next to him when he saw her.

He saw Lily, still in her pyjamas, helping her mother prepare the Christmas dinner they would all sit and eat together, as a family, in a couple of hours. He smiled wistfully, wishing that it was him she was cooking, having fun and laughing with. He ached to talk to her.

Severus sat watching Lily for several minutes. He memorized everything about her. Her flowing red hair, her shining emerald eyes and her laughing smile. He had very little time to take all of Lily's beauty in. He had a meeting of sorts to attend. He took one last fleeting look through Lily's kitchen window. She was tucking a loose strand of her deep red hair behind her ear. Severus sighed and, regretfully, grabbed the port key and disappeared.

He reappeared in front of a small mouldy looking wooden shack and threw the tin can to the ground. He purposefully, and more confidently than in previous times, strode towards the shack. He felt the familiar cool sensation washing over him as he walked through the protection charm which ensured only people with permission could enter.

Severus opened the shacks rickety door to reveal a large hall with high raised ceilings which had oak beams running across them and candle torches running along the stone walls. He made his way to his place at the long rectangular table, in the middle of Avery and Mulciber, and sat down to wait for the meeting to begin.

'Welcome my friends!' Voldemort hissed softly as he came out of the shadows and to the head of the table. He sat down and looked around at his loyal followers before continuing. 'I have summoned you all today to discuss our, ha, New Year's, celebrations. But first,' he said, 'Merry Christmas.'

Lily, Petunia and their parents were sat in a stiff silence at the table in the dining room. The turkey was sat in the middle of the table, un-carved by her father. The Christmas dinner was slowly cooling as the Evans' waited for Petunia's boyfriend to arrive.

The Christmas spread looked mouth-wateringly tasty. Richard Evans, unable to resist, reached forward slightly to try and sneakily grab a roast potato.

'Put. It. Back.' Heather Evans said sternly to her husband enunciating her consonants.

Richard looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a car as he slowly returned the roast potato to its original position in the bowl on the table.

The silence returned, now more awkward than ever. Lily could hear the gentle ticking of the kitchen clock in the next room.

There was a knock at the door and Petunia hurriedly scrambled out of her seat to get to the door and let her boyfriend in. Lily watched her disappear out of the dining room and down the hall.

'About bloody time too! I'm starving!' Richard said grabbing his napkin enthusiastically and tucking it into is shirt below his neck.

Lily giggled to herself and smiled at her father whilst her mother gave him a disapproving look.

'You better be nice to this boy Richard.' Heather said to her husband whilst rising from the table, 'Take that napkin off and come and greet him.'

'But…' Richard said motioning to the food on the table.

'Richard!' Heather said impatiently.

'Yes dear.' Richard replied with a sigh as he took his napkin off and rose from his seat. 'Come on Lily.' he continued as he walked over to his daughter, 'If I have to greet him, so do you!' He patted Lily's shoulder and left the room.

Lily sighed and followed her father reluctantly out of the room. She went down the hallway and met her family at the door where her older sister was being engulfed by a whale of a man.

Lily's eyes widened when she eventually took in the mass which was Petunia's boyfriend. Petunia was a pretty girl and sickly thin. Lily, shamefully, couldn't help wondering how her sister had ended up with this man. Then again, there is no rhyme or reason to who you fall in love with and, they do say opposites attract.

Petunia was finally released from her boyfriend's grasp and Lily was finally able to take him all in. He was an inch taller than Petunia and was about twenty times her size. He had no neck and his face was a dull red as if he was constantly hot. He had a retreating mop of mousy brown hair which was unusual considering he was only around twenty-two years old. The last defining feature of this man was the patchy moustache under his nose. He was clearly trying to grow it but it hadn't filled out yet.

Lily took her eyes off of him to look at her sister's face. She was looking up at her boyfriend with a sappy look in her eyes. It was rather disturbing.

'Vernon Dursley.' he said pompously bobbing up and down on his heels looking at the Evans family as if they smelt bad. He sharply stuck his hand out to Richard and grasped his, almost breaking his hand in the shake.

Richard looked down at the hand shake in pain and, struggling, took his hand away. 'Hello Vernon.' he said nodding his head and shaking his hand to relive the ache. 'This is my wife Heather and my youngest daughter, Lily.' Richard motioned to both of them in turn.

'Come through Vernon.' Petunia said pushing past her family with Vernon in tow, 'Dinner's already on the table. I helped cook it you know…' Her voice disappeared around the corner and Heather Evans followed her eldest daughter through into the dining room.

Lily and her father however, stood near the front door looking at each other with raised eyebrows.

'You can always judge a man by his handshake Lily.' Richard said, putting his arm around his daughters shoulders and beginning to walk slowly with her down the hallway. 'If I'm right, by my almost broken hand, that man is brutal.'

Lily looked at her dad with wide eyes, a little scared. 'How is he brutal?' she asked.

'Stands for no nonsense.' Richard clarified in a whisper as they turned into the dining room. They separated and returned to their respective seats.

Lily's dad carved the turkey. He dished it out to everyone in turn.

'Help yourself to the rest Vernon.' Heather said as she passed the carrots to Lily.

'Thank you.' Vernon said stiffly, giving the food a look over with slight disdain. He settled with spooning out some runner beans, roast potatoes and some carrots once Lily had finished with them.

'So where did you two meet?' Lily asked Vernon as her sister shot her a dirty look for even daring to talk to her boyfriend.

'Petunia had a summer job typing at Grunning's didn't she?' Vernon grumbled to Lily who he didn't particularly want to talk to. He also couldn't understand why his girlfriend's sister didn't know about her summer job. It was all very strange, but he humoured her. 'She did some dictation work for me.'

'Oh.' Lily said.

Silence ensued. It was extremely awkward. Lily could see her father attempting to restrain a silly comment, her mother getting ready to tell him off, her sister ignoring her dinner and looking at Vernon lovingly as he pushed his food around his plate with a grimace.

'So, Vernon,' her mother started attempting to break the silence, 'do you still work at Grunning's?'

'Yes I do.' Vernon said seizing the opportunity to put down his fork and disregard his dinner, 'I'm up for a promotion at the moment to go into orders…'

For the next half an hour, Lily sat through the most boring monologue she had ever heard. Vernon Dursley went on and on about filling out various forms to order in drills for the company. But he didn't stop at the different forms. He went on to tell the Evans family about the different drill heads you needed to do various jobs.

She found herself thinking what could make this situation better and eventually came to the conclusion, that if the marauders were listening to this, they would make some joke or pull some prank.

Lily was snapped back into reality as her mother tapped her on the shoulder and asked for help clearing the dishes away. She realised then, that everyone had finished eating their Christmas dinner and were now making their way through to the living room for tea and biscuits.

Lily watched them go whilst she collected the dinner plates. She carried them into the kitchen where her mother was filling the sink with soapy water ready to wash the dishes.

'What do you think of him then sweetie?' her mother asked her as she squirted some more washing up liquid into the water filled sink.

'Do you remember when I was nine and I said I liked whales because I thought they were interesting?' Lily said thoughtfully as she planted the dirty dishes on the side.

'Yes.' her mother replied turning the tap off and grabbing the scrubbing sponge and the first plate on the pile Lily had just deposited.

'I take that back!' Lily said rolling her eyes. She walked back into the dining room to collect the rest of the dirty dishes on the table. Whilst doing so she peered through into the living room where she saw Vernon still going on about his drills, Petunia staring lovingly up at him and her father staring at a pencil on the coffee-table which she was sure he was trying to move with his mind. She laughed to herself and walked back into the kitchen, heaving the last pile of plates onto the side.

'Do you need any help?' Lily asked her mother who was humming as she washed the dishes, 'Because I think Dad needs rescuing.'

'Lily Evans your sister's boyfriend is not that bad!' Heather said putting a clean but still soapy dish on the drying rack, 'But by all means go and rescue him. There's only so much one can hear about drills.'

Lily smiled at her mother who was trying hard not to smile back. She turned around, walked through the dining room and into the living room. She sat down on the sofa next to her father who was now blowing at the pencil on the coffee-table.

Vernon went on for another half an hour about drills. Lily admired the Christmas tree, Richard admired his shoes and Petunia admired Vernon.

Heather walked in to see all this admiration. Strangely, her entrance seemed to shut Vernon up about drills.

'Ah good. You're done.' he said gruffly as Heather sat on the sofa, sandwiching Lily between her parents.

'Yes I am.' Heather said blankly, wondering why this mattered.

Vernon turned towards Petunia on the two-seater sofa they were sat on, and took her small bony hand into his beefy one. 'Petunia.' he began with an almost bored and grave voice, 'I wanted to ask you something but I thought I'd wait for your family. We've been together for almost three years now and I think it's time we take this to the next level.'

Lily looked at her parents and saw that they two were looking a little cautious.

Vernon continued as if he was making a business deal, 'Petunia, the next step is marriage. Will you marry me?'

It wasn't the most romantic proposal in the world but Petunia seemed to be welling up over it. Lily didn't quite get it. She would be so mad if someone put that little thought into the most important question of a girl's life. He didn't even get down onto one knee. But Petunia was now in a flurry of tears, overcome with emotion, and had thrown her arms around the bug lump which was Vernon Dursley. She had said yes.

Richard looked like he was in a state of shock and Lily heard him faintly mumble, 'He didn't even ask my permission.'

Heather had tears in her eyes but seemed to be a little bit angry. She was muttering, 'She's only nineteen. She's not old enough to get married.'

Petunia's euphoria was clear to see on her face. She was laughing and crying whilst she was clasped in Vernon's fat arms. They were rocking side to side happily and seemed to be in a bubble of their own. They broke apart and Vernon began to dig deep into his pocket. Petunia bounced happily on her seat knowing what was coming whilst Richard and Heather took in deep horrified breaths, also knowing what was coming. Lily was interested to see if the ring was a horrible as the proposal. It was.

The velvet box was a mustard yellow colour with bronze trim. It opened to reveal the engagement ring. It was a large square diamond on a too tiny gold band. It looked as if it had been glued on wonky. It didn't look as if it had been made by a real jeweller or at least a decent one. More like a plastic ring you would get out of an arcade machine. But Petunia seemed to like it. In fact, she loved it.

Vernon slipped the ring onto Petunia's bony finger and they hugged again, their bubble once more encircling them whilst Lily, Richard and Heather sat across from them; speechless.

Lily was in shock but was able to find one thing to say to her parents as they watched Petunia embrace her new fiancé; 'Merry Christmas' she said.

Remus opened his eyes and saw the ceiling above him. He had no idea how long he had been asleep for, but he was almost certain that it was now mid-afternoon. He was sure he had missed most of Christmas day. The breakfast and the light lunch. He just hoped that he wasn't going to miss the spectaculars Christmas dinner that was bound to be served to the few Hogwarts students left who didn't go home for the holidays.

He tried to roll over but was stopped by a sudden wrenching pain in his stomach. He'd forgotten about the giant gash in his side. He had fallen asleep almost immediately after he had lain down on the bed so he hadn't been able to drink the healing potion which had been placed by his bedside. So now, he dragged himself painfully up into a sitting position, took the goblet full of potion, and drank it all down. Remus felt instantly relieved and when he looked down, he saw that his wounds had been healed enough for movement. They couldn't, however, heal them completely. Only time would heal his cuts fully.

He put the goblet back down on the bedside table and threw his sheets off of himself. He swung his legs over the edge of the hospital bed and stretched them. The sensation ran all the way to the very tips of his toes. He had a dull ache through the whole of his body but he tried to ignore it. He looked around to find the last set of clothes he had brought in to the hospital wing a few days ago. He spotted them neatly folded on the chair which visitors used in the corner. Remus suspected that Madam Pomfrey was the one who had folded his clothes as he never did. He grabbed his jumper and pulled it on, wincing at the slight pain that came when he moved his shoulder. The potion obviously didn't cure bruises. He then pulled his trousers on and stood up. He turned around and made the bed before pulling apart the curtains that surrounded it.

'Ah you're up!' Madam Pomfrey said, bustling over to him, 'You've had some mail delivered and there are some presents in my office for you.'

'Thank you.' Remus said. He followed her to her office where she heaved a mount of presents into his open arms. He thanked her again, wished her a Merry Christmas, and left the hospital wing. He wouldn't need to return there for another month. He relished in that piece of news.

The castle was decorated to the hilt. There were Christmas trees in every available corner and a few of the suits of armour were wearing funny hats which had obviously come out of some wizarding Christmas crackers in previous years. A few mice were being chased through the halls by Mrs Norris but were allowed a moment of relief when the scraggy old cat saw Remus.

Remus smiled. Maybe it was because he spilt a shrinking potion on her in his second year, or, more likely, it was because he was a werewolf and with Mrs Norris' cat senses, she could smell it, but she had always disliked him. She shrank away when she saw him coming or else she would hiss and her hair would stand up on end in alert. Now Remus usually loved animals as he felt he was somewhat part of that kingdom, but there was always an exception to the rule, and Mrs Norris was it.

Mrs Norris was still frozen in the corner where she had stopped when she had first seen Remus. She kept her eyes on him and he her as they past each other in the hall. Neither of them blinked. Suddenly, Remus lurched forward a little scaring Mrs Norris out of her skin. She ran as fast as possible past him and round the corner. Remus chuckled a little to himself before checking his watch. He saw that it was ten minutes to four and decided it was time to head up to Gryffindor tower.

Before they had left to go to the Potter mansion for Christmas, James had given Remus his two-way mirror from the set he and Sirius shared. This was so they could contact and talk to each other on Christmas day.

So Remus walked up many flights of stairs until he reached the portrait of the Fat Lady on the seventh floor. He said the password and was granted entry. He looked around the common room and couldn't help but notice it seemed to be desolate. Hardly anyone stayed at Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays so the common room was empty and oddly enough, tidy. Remus bypassed the common room however and walked up to his, also empty, dormitory.

When Remus opened the door, he was greeted by the voice of Sirius, singing. He rolled his eyes and walked further into the room to find the two-way mirror.

'Moony! Your head is shaped like a banana! I am a charmer! Pancakes are great! Prongs is now irate!' Sirius sang, his voice getting louder as Remus approached the mirror.

'You're a terrible singer Padfoot!' Remus laughed as he picked up the mirror which displayed Sirius' smiling head.

'MOONY!' Sirius shouted happily before being shoved aside by James in the mirror.

'Oh Moony thank Merlin you're here!' James said in a relieved voice, 'One more verse of that and I'd have shoved my head through the wall!'

'Why didn't you just use a silencing charm on him?' Remus asked.

'Because I'm a good boy and don't use magic out of school!' James said.

Remus raised his eyebrows at this obvious blatant lie.

'Ok so I didn't think of it!' James sighed, giving up, 'Not all of us are quick-thinking geniuses!'

Remus laughed before taking on a bit of a sympathetic face, 'So…are you alright?'

James sighed sadly before saying, 'I'm dealing.' There was something in his voice which told Remus he didn't really want to talk about it, especially through a two-way mirror, so he decided to change the subject.

'What did you get for Christmas?' Remus asked.

James suddenly became very animated, as did Sirius. Whilst James was saying, 'You'll never believe it! I got the new Nimbus! You know, the Nimbus 1500! Latest model!', Sirius was saying, 'I got the best present ever! I'm telling you moony! It's so awesome you won't believe it! I got a book!'

'Whoa, whoa, whoa!' Remus said, interrupting his two best friends who were talking over each other. He hadn't heard a lot but he had heard one word. 'You got a book Sirius? And you liked it?'

'Yeah! It's an instruction one to build my very own motor-bike! I got all the parts too!' Sirius exclaimed enthusiastically.

'That makes more sense!' Remus muttered. James laughed and Sirius looked confused for a moment before catching on and saying, 'HEY!'

The three boys talked happily for ten more minutes, James and Sirius convincing Remus to open the presents he had received and brought up from the hospital wing. He had received three books, one on care of magical creatures, another one called one hundred and one undetectable prank charms and the last on how to care for your pet dog, a joke present James had bought him. He thought it would come in handy for coping with Sirius. Remus also got lots of sweets and chocolate, homemade baked goods and some new clothes.

'So when you coming back to Hogwarts?' Remus asked Sirius and James after they had exhausted the topic of Christmas and the presents they had received.

'Were coming back on the thirty-first of this month so we can go to Hogsmeade on New Year's day. I think Pete's coming back then too, but I'm not too sure…' James said.

'Who cares what Wormy's doing! Point is we're going to Hogsmeade!' Sirius continued, 'Gotta stock up on some Zonko's products! Ooh! And some Honeydukes chocolate!'

'Didn't you just get both of those things for Christmas? Giant baskets full?' Remus asked through the mirror. He didn't comment on the fact that Sirius wasn't actually allowed to go to Hogsmeade anymore.

'Really Moony?' James said in disbelief, 'He ate all his Honeydukes chocolate within ten minutes of receiving them and there are currently six holes in the roof of my four poster bed which prove he has used all of his Zonko presents too!'

'You're right!' Remus laughed, 'What on earth was I thinking?'

All three boys laughed until Sirius realised they were sort of laughing at him so he stopped and was suddenly moody.

'Anyway, I've gotta go!' Remus said as he checked his watch, 'Christmas dinner will be served soon and I am starving!'

'Alright Moony!' James said, 'See you in a few days'

Remus put the mirror down and sighed. He missed his friends, especially for the past few nights when he was cooped up in the shrieking shack. He was lonely on his own. But when his friends were there, he wasn't. When his friends were around, he didn't feel like a werewolf. He felt focused. They kept him in his human mind. Kept him from doing something he might regret. And when they weren't there, he worried he might do something awful. It plagued on his mind. Next month, his mind would be clearer however as his friends would be back and he and everyone in Hogsmeade and Hogwarts would be safer.

Remus walked down the staircase that led down from the boys dormitories into the common room. He saw Alice, Hestia and Emmeline just coming down the girls staircase. They were the only Hogwarts girls not to go home for Christmas. They exchanged pleasantries and left the common room together.

All four of them walked down the seven flights of stairs to the great hall. It was decorated fabulously. There were twelve Christmas tree's all decorated with extravagant strings of icicles and frosted baubles. The ceiling had falling snowflakes and the windowsills were covered in glimmering snow. In the centre of the great hall was a huge round table with seventeen chairs and place settings around it.

Remus, Hestia, Emmeline and Alice sat down in the last four available chairs at the table. The other thirteen were taken by two Ravenclaw's, four Hufflepuff's, three Slytherin's, one second year Gryffindor, Professor Flitwick, McGonagall and Dumbledore.

'Ah. So glad you could join us!' Dumbledore said as they sat down.

No sooner than the words had left his lips, and the four sixth year Gryffindor's had sat down, the table was filled with a delicious feast. One that very few Hogwarts students got to experience, and one which was, without a doubt, the best meal of the year. There was a great range of food. You had the traditional English Christmas foods; the turkey, roast potatoes, vegetables, pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puddings. There was also a honey glazed ham, a large leg of lamb and a cut of gammon. These were the more normal foods which Dumbledore had requested the house-elves make for this Christmas dinner. The more unusual were; haggis, escargot, cold fish and strangely, a dish called battered mars-bars.

In jugs around the table there was mulled wine, eggnog, pumpkin juice and some sparkling apple juice.

The students and teachers alike reached forward and grabbed what they could and scooped it all onto their gold plates. They also reached for the jugs of drink and filled up their golden goblets to the brim.

When they had grabbed all the food and drink they thought they would be able consume in this sitting, Dumbledore stood up to address the table.

'Well, this is quite a feast which has been put together.' he began with a kind smile. 'Just out of interest, who is going to try a battered mars bar? I came across them a few weeks ago and found them rather curious.'

The table chuckled. Classic Dumbledore! Remus thought.

'Before we dig in,' Dumbledore continued, 'I'd like to say one more thing. Merry Christmas.' he said.

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