Five Minutes

Chapter 28

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!

Can I just say a quick thank you to everyone who has reviewd my story! It really makes my day to find out that someone has taken the time to write me a little note so THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your lovely comments! :)

Anyway, here's chapter Twenty-Eight!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Lily raced through the school. She didn't know what to do. Of course, she was rather happy. She had just found out that James didn't actually have a girlfriend and he still liked her. However, through all her imaginings of how she would react to James telling her that he still liked her, with all of her feelings in the air too, she had never imagined herself running off with just the words 'I'm sorry'. If anything, she had imagined something from a fairy tale or romantic story from one of the many books she had read. But that's not what had happened and now she was rushing to the Gryffindor tower for some advice.

She said the password to an irritable Fat Lady and entered the common room. Of course, no-one was there. She'd have to wake someone up to talk. It was past midnight. She headed towards the stairs but was soon stopped by the mention of her name.

She turned around. 'Hello?' she whispered wondering who would be up at this hour. It was Hestia. She was sat on the armchair near to the extinguished fire with a cat on her lap. She picked the cat up and placed it onto the floor. It hissed in disapproval at being dismissed and stalked away whilst Hestia watched it leave. She then walked towards Lily and yawned. 'Where did you go? I woke up and you weren't there.' she said.

Lily paused. 'Doesn't matter.' she replied with a shrug, 'Is Alice upstairs?'

'Err…yeah.' Hestia replied, a little bit confused, 'She's asleep….Why?'

'I need some advice.' Lily said bluntly. She turned around and walked towards the spiral staircase which led to the girls' dormitory.

'Wait, wait!' Hestia said hurriedly, walking over to Lily in a state of shock, 'Why Alice?' she wondered, 'I'm your best friend.'

'You're fired!' Lily said simply.

'What? No!' Hestia whined, upset. 'Why can't I give you advice?'

Lily turned around to face Hestia and thought for a moment, her head tipped on its side. 'Oh I don't know,' she began, her tone dripping with irritation and a little bit of sarcasm, 'maybe because you told James that I like him after I specifically told you not to.' she finished, folding her arms and giving Hestia a look which dared her to deny it.

Hestia shrank back a little bit. She couldn't deny anything. Lily obviously knew. But how? 'Who told you that?' she asked quietly.

'James did.' Lily stated, looking disappointedly at Hestia for betraying her trust with her biggest secret.

Hestia, however, instead of being ashamed, she was very curious, 'Why did he tell you that?' she questioned.

'Because I told him that I liked him.' Lily said with a sigh as if it was an obvious fact that Hestia, as her, now fired, best friend, should have known.

'Yay!' Hestia exclaimed in hushed excitement, being careful to be quiet so as not to wake anybody who was sleeping up, 'Well what happened?' she asked with eager anticipation.

Lily stared at her as if she had lost her mind. 'I think the more pressing question is why did you tell him when I told you not to?' she demanded, looking at Hestia in a way which said she would not give in until she got the answer.

Hestia turned her head towards her hand and started to pick at the loose threads on the couch that she was stood next to. 'I thought he deserved to know.' she said, her voice going up at the end of her sentence.

'He did.' Lily said, causing Hestia to look up towards Lily expectedly, as if she believed that Lily would forgive her there and then. Lily continued, 'But he deserved to hear it from me.' she finished shaking her head disappointedly.

'Sorry.' Hestia murmured silently before returning back to the question she so desperately wanted answered, 'So what happened?'

Lily held back a smile and this time shook her head fondly. It was classic Hestia. She believed sorry should fix everything straight away and just returned back to normal after it had been said. Lily debated whether to tell her. She was still mad at her but she knew that it would kill Hestia if she didn't know the gossip or what was going on in her friend's life. Then again, Lily still had a strange compulsion to punish her in some way, if only for personal satisfaction. In the end, she decided to tell her. She was after all, her best friend. However, for the advice she wanted, she would still go to Alice. That would be Hestia punishment.

'He took me to meet Sophie.' Lily said finally.

Hestia's jaw dropped. She was gob-smacked at this piece of news. It took her completely by surprise. When she finally managed to pull herself together, all she could say was, 'That's so insensitive!'

Lily chuckled. 'That's what I thought too.' she said with a small grimace.

'So…' Hestia asked, folding her arms and glancing at Lily compassionately, 'What's she like.'

'Oh she's err…' Lily said pausing for a second, '…she's something all right.'

'I'm sorry.' Hestia replied, not really sure how she should react to this. No-one she knew had been in this situation before.

'She's beautiful.' Lily continued, 'Magnificent really. Brunette I'd say.'

'Brunette? Really?' Hestia asked, not being able to imagine James with a brunette. She couldn't actually imagine him with anyone but Lily.

'Yes.' Lily said before adding, 'Oh, and did I mention that she's an owl?'

'An owl?' Hestia repeated.

'An owl!' Lily confirmed.

Hestia burst into hysterical and uncontrollable laughter. Lily had to wait for five minutes for her to calm down enough to squeeze out the words, 'that's hilarious' only to have her continue laughing for another two minutes.

'Are you done?' Lily asked impatiently. It wasn't that funny and it wasn't as if her assumptions were unfounded. Granted, when she first believed she had overheard them talking about Sophie being James' girlfriend they were in the Owlery. But, it was very likely that anybody who didn't know that Sophie, or Sox, was an owl, would have made the same assumption that she did. It wasn't so unimaginable that James would have a girlfriend. Plenty of girls threw themselves at him every day.

Hestia stopped herself laughing enough to say, 'I'm finished'.

Lily exhaled and turned away from her friend. She began to climb the stairs up to her dormitory and sensed Hestia was following her. They managed to climb two floors up before Hestia realised that Lily still hadn't told her something.

'Why do you need advice? What happened after you met Sophie? Does he still like you? Are you going on a date? In Hogsmeade? Is that why you need advice?' she reeled off, her one question expanding into an extensive list after she had asked it.

Lily sighed and, in very much the same way as Hestia had just done, reeled off a list of answers for her. 'No, we are not going on a date in Hogsmeade or anywhere else. Yes he still likes me. He prefers Sophie to be called Sox and the reason I need advice is because of what happened after I met her.'

She opened the door and crept over to where Alice slept, Hestia on her heels behind her. Lily sat down on the edge of Alice's bed and stared at her for about her minute. This was always a sure fire way to wake Alice up. She had a sort of sixth sense and could always, well, nearly always tell if someone was staring at her. Even in her sleep. She hated the feeling of someone watching her and, sensing this discomfort now, woke up.

Alice's eyes fluttered open and she looked between Hestia and Lily slowly. She slowly yawned and pulled herself up so that she was sitting-up straight. Her eyes flickered over to the old-fashioned cuckoo clock which hung on the wall and widened at the time. It was twenty to one in the morning. She finally turned back to Hestia and Lily and glared at the both of them. 'Yes?' she asked shrewdly, wondering why on earth her dorm mates had stared her into consciousness at this time when she had been sleeping soundly. It would now take her a long time to get back to sleep and the dream she had been having would now be abolished.

'I need some advice.' Lily whispered, taking on an anxious tone in her voice.

Alice sighed. 'My office hours are nine till five. Go away.' She lay back down and pulled her quilt over her head, struggling a little bit for Lily and Hestia were still sat on it.

Lily pulled back Alice's covers and pleaded with her desperately. 'Please Alice. I could really use some advice and I could really use it now.'

Alice groaned loudly and sat up once more. She hung her head and rubbed her eyes, yawning again, before turning to face Lily with watering eyes. 'Fine.' she breathed, 'What do you want?'

'Well,' Lily began planning to tell Alice the whole story but upon looking at her tired face, decided to just speed through it, 'basically, I told James that I like him and he told me that he still likes me but when he asked me what I wanted to do about it I just said, 'I'm sorry' and ran out of the room.'

Alice shook her head slightly. 'I thought you said he had a girlfriend?' she asked, biting back yet another yawn.

'Yeah but she's really an owl.' Lily shrugged.

Alice blinked a couple of times and sniffed. 'I'm too tired to question that.' she said solemnly, 'So, do you want to do anything about it?' she continued.

'Well I do like him but,' Lily paused, 'I don't know. It just doesn't feel right. Like it's not the right time for anything to happen.'

'Okay.' Alice said matter of factly, pulling herself up even more and sitting crossed legged in a determined fashion. She wanted to get this done as quickly as possible so that she could attempt to salvage the rest of her night's sleep, 'All relationships need time to grow. You and James have only just admitted to each other how you really feel so, instead of diving in feet first into a proper relationship, I would just see how things progress and if at the end you do start going out then great. If you don't, it's not like you've made anything official and you could probably still be friends.'

'So,' Lily said, trying to figure out what Alice had just said to her in her head, 'I should just be friends with him. And see if anything happens?'

'Exactly!' Alice replied with relief and flopping herself back down onto her bed and wrapping herself back into her quilt. 'Now go to bed!' she said lastly through muffled sheets.

Lily and Hestia made their way back to their own beds. Hestia fell asleep straight away. As soon as her head hit the pillow she was out of it. Lily however, took a bit longer to get to sleep. When she did finally fall asleep, her last thought was about Alice's advice. She was right. Lily would just have to see how things progressed naturally with her and James. If things happened then that would be great. If nothing did, it was just meant to be and she would have to live with it.

The next morning, Sirius, James, Remus and Peter were all at breakfast. Sirius was, as per usual, stuffing his face with every piece of available food which he could get his hands on. He even resorted to stealing some of his fellow marauders breakfasts when they weren't looking. He was eating enough to feed a crowd but anybody who knew him knew that this wouldn't be enough to sustain him for the day and he would be hungry again in about an hour. By the way he ate it was a wonder how he stayed so in shape.

Remus, who was sat opposite Sirius, was deep in a book, reading about the newest devised techniques to use in defence against the dark arts. It was a very popular book at the minute considering the chaos and crisis of the wizarding world at the present moment. Every so often Remus would snort of chuckle derisively, knowing that the methods described in the book wouldn't have a cat in hells chance of working if they were ever put into practice.

Next to Remus was Peter. He was scribbling away, trying to finish his astronomy homework which he believed to be due in today. He often mixed up the days of the week and, even though the calendar that was hung up in their dorm room stated that it was Sunday, he was still one day ahead of time. None of his friends bothered to tell him that he had one more day to finish his work in instead of the one hour deadline he was attempting to work to. They just let him continue to write furiously.

James, who was sat opposite Peter and next to Sirius, wasn't eating. He wasn't hungry and even if he was he doubted if Sirius would let him eat his own food. It would be gone before he could start. He wasn't reading any of the latest top sellers. He had only ever seriously read one book for pleasure and that was Quidditch through the ages. He had started other books such as the one he stole off of Lily earlier in the school year or his father's favourite book, but had never had the patience to finish them. He would find one thing he didn't like in the book, fixate on it and be unable to read the rest of it. He wasn't doing any last minute homework either. Any work that needed to be in for the following week was, miraculously, already done. So James wasn't eating, reading or doing homework. He was however sat in thought. But his thoughts were soon and suddenly interrupted by Sirius.

'I had the strangest dream last night!' he said loudly, spraying bits of food everywhere from talking with his mouth full.

James turned to face his best friend with raised eyebrows. 'And what was that?' he asked, trying to sound interested but failing miserably.

Sirius didn't seem to notice and just continued with a description of his odd dream from the previous night. 'Well,' he began, turning to face James, 'you came into the dormitory and everyone was asleep and then we all woke up at the same time.'

'You're right that is odd.' Remus said sarcastically, turning the page in his book.

Sirius again, took no notice of one of his friend's tone of voice and continued with his dream. 'So we had all woken up and you said that Evans told you that she liked you and that you were dating your owl and then I think I laughed and then…I can't remember. Weird right?'

'No.' James said, raising one eyebrow, 'That happened. And I didn't say that I was dating Sox I said that Evans thought I was.'

Sirius blinked a couple of times at James. 'That's perverted.' he said solemnly.

James smiled and shook his head. Typical Sirius.

'So Evans likes you!' Sirius announced happily, reaching for yet more food to stuff himself with.

'Yeah but she doesn't want to do anything about it.' James said glumly. Everything he had ever wanted, Lily returning his affections, had happened but the overall outcome was not something he had even considered. He always believed that she would come to like him eventually. However, he had also believed that when his happened, they would ride of in the sunset together, or so to speak.

'How do you know that?' Remus asked, placing a bookmark onto the page he was on closing his book and putting it down on the table.

'I asked her what she wanted to do and she said 'I'm sorry' and ran off.' James recalled. Yes he had told them the previous night but, after all, it was the middle of the night and they were all tired. They wouldn't be able to remember much of what he said so he'd just have to repeat it again, tedious as it was.

'That'll do it!' Remus tutted. He looked at his friend in sympathy who just returned his look accompanied with a small shrug which meant, 'hey, what you gonna do'. It was a reluctant and defeated motion.

Suddenly, making all of his friends jump and causing Peter to spill some ink on his freshly completed astronomy homework, Sirius slammed his fist down on the table. 'No.' he stated, 'I do not accept this.'

'Well you're just gonna have too.' James said simply, 'I have to so you can too.'

Sirius glared at his friend. He couldn't believe James. He had put up with him, chasing after one girl for almost six years, casting anybody else who tried to strike up a relationship with him to the side. (This was actually beneficial for Sirius as he did become a shoulder for those girls to cry on and managed to get almost all of them to go out with him, being his girlfriend for the week, but that wasn't particularly the point.) Through all of James' failed attempts to get Lily Evans to go out with him. Through the countless times Sirius had to hear about James' next ridiculously over the top plans to ask her out again, knowing that no matter how hard he tried she would still just reject him anyway. Through his best friend's constant miserable state at the situation and all of his whining that Lily Evans didn't like him, Sirius had supported his decision to desire the one person in the school who couldn't stand him. (Well, most of the time anyway.) But now James was giving up even though at long last the feeling was mutual. Sirius couldn't stand it anymore.

He looked around the table and spotted her. 'Oi! Evans!' he yelled across the table.

She looked up to see who had called her. When she saw it was Sirius, her eyes immediately looked for James and, upon making eye contact with him, she blushed furiously.

'Come here!' Sirius continued to shout, 'It's an emergency!'

Lily waited for a couple of seconds, reluctant to go. Then she saw Alice and Hestia urging her to and she slowly stood up and made her way over to the marauders.

Whilst Lily was making her decision to go and join the group of boys, even for just a short conversation, James was angrily whispering at Sirius.

'What are you doing? Don't make this worse just leave it alone now alright.' James was hissing to his best friend who just waved his hand at James in a way which told him that he had the situation under control and not to worry.

James however, couldn't help but worry. Although he always had the best intentions set at heart, whenever Sirius tried to fix something or attempt to make it better, more often than not he just ended up screwing everything up for everyone involved.

Lily reached Sirius and James and stood behind them. 'Yes? she asked nervously.

Sirius grabbed James arm and placed it in Lily's hand ignoring his protesting looks and warning eyes. 'Feel this.' he demanded to Lily, taking a bit of James' robes between his thumb and his forefinger and rubbing the fabric together, 'Know what this is?' he asked.

Lily did the same as Sirius albeit quite a bit more hesitant than she was. She tried to control the blush that was seeping into her face. She eventually shook her head. 'No.' she answered.

'That's boyfriend material.' Sirius said, nodding his head slowly as if he thought he was the coolest person in the world.

Remus chuckled as did Peter. James took his arm out of Lily's hand and smacked his hand to his forehead in embarrassment. Lily raised her eyebrows.

She couldn't think of anything witty to say so, not knowing what affect her words would have, she said, 'I know.', and walked away from the marauders to re-join her friends who were wiggling their eyebrows at her suggestively.

'I'm sorry.' James called after her, extremely embarrassed by what Sirius had said.

'Wow.' Sirius said, 'They must be her favourite words. 'I'm sorry'. Huh?'

'I said that.' James said after a short pause, moving his hand out in a questioning gesture.

'Wow.' Sirius repeated, 'You sounded so much like Evans just then. Spooky.'

James rolled his eyes and ran a hand through his hair in his usual fashion. 'Why did you do that?' he asked exasperatedly.

'Well you could be a little bit more grateful!' Sirius replied haughtily, 'After all, it's not like she said no. She said that she knew. I just gave you hope.' he finished cockily, stealing James' muffin from his plate.

'Yeah.' James said thoughtfully, 'Maybe you did.'

The day sped along. It was the first day where the weather was decent enough for the students to go outside. Everybody took full advantage of that fact. Every professor urged the children to stay outside so that they could have some peace and quiet. Any student who had work to do took the opportunity to use the library which had been restored to its usual quiet atmosphere and everybody else went outside to get away from the people who did this and their professors. It was a winning situation all round.

Severus and his gang of wannabe's were outside in a dark corner near the castle wall. They were talking about what they would do once they had been branded and were fully fledged death eaters. The most frequent response was what the current death-eaters likes to call muggle baiting. They would go into a muggle town, find a muggle who was sat on their own and randomly start shooting spells here there and everywhere. The muggle in question would then usually run screaming for the hills, but the sport didn't end there. The death eater would follow the muggle who would, usually, immediately tell everybody and warn them about what had happened. Now, thanks to the wizarding community being secret and kept on the down low, nobody would believe him and the muggle would slowly go insane. The death eaters would play tricks on him when nobody else was looking and finally, when they got bored with their current muggle, they would kill him after his personal torture. They would then find another muggle in a different town and repeat the process again, all for a laugh.

Bellatrix was particularly keen on this idea. She saw it as a way to prove dominion over the far less powerful and a way to show them who should really be in charge. Avery didn't mind the idea and just believed it to be some sort of hobby to do when you got bored unlike Mulciber and Wilkes who would gladly take it up as a full time job. Severus was looking forward to it. Rosier wasn't particularly bothered. He preferred to be hunting blood traitors and muggleborns or, as they called them, mudbloods. He had never been any good at any sport, failing miserably at Quidditch like Severus. Maybe this could be the one which he excelled in.

Their conversation was dark and twisted, but if anybody was to walk by, they wouldn't know. They could probably guess as it was common knowledge that they wanted to be death eaters, however, without any evidence that they had actually taken steps to make the dream come true, Dumbledore, within his rights and role as headmaster, couldn't do anything about it. They covered up well. If anybody did walk past, they would immediately turn their conversation to something far more likely to be socially accepted. Like any homework assignments they had due in. It wasn't often that they had to do this though as nearly everyone found any excuse to steer clear of them.

Of course, not every student in the school stayed away from the group of Slytherin's. The Marauders for example. But it wasn't because they didn't know what the Slytherin's were all about and what they aspired to be. It was because they knew that, even if they did become death eaters, they would be no match for the marauders in a duel at their current level of skill and they enjoyed annoying them. Unfortunately, when other students interrupted the Slytherin's underhanded and sly goings on, they couldn't match them, hence the reason nearly everyone stayed out of their way.

A couple of first years from Hufflepuff, obviously unaware of the Slytherin's in the shadows, walked by talking about their families back home. They were excited about the summer holidays already even though it was five or so months away and were talking about everything that they were going to do. They were so excited talking about going to see their old friends from their previous school, that they didn't notice the sixth years walk up behind them. They only knew when they heard Bellatrix Black whisper in their ears the word, 'Mudbloods'.

The two first years turned around, fear and fright plastered across their faces. They cowered in the silhouettes of the six older students and attempted to escape from them. But they were like giants with a mouse; they let the first years believe that they could leave but then just blocked their path.

Severus took out his wand and muttered a spell of his own creation, (though not only used by him since James Potter snuck a look at his potions book and tried it out), to hoist one of the first years into the air by the ankle before intentionally breaking the spell and dropping her again. 'Levicorpus.' he whispered, saying the spell again and this time, hoisting the other first year into the air by the ankle, again intentionally breaking the spell and dropping her on the floor. He continued the cycle with a malicious smile to amuse his fellow Slytherin's until a call of his name, his given name, stopped him.

'Severus! Stop it now!' Lily said, rushing over to aid the two first years that were on the floor. She knelt down next to them and checked them over to ensure they weren't hurt at all before helping them to their feet and sending them on their way.

'What did they ever do to you?' she demanded of Severus stepping forward to him, looking up at him angrily.

'They exist.' Bellatrix hissed at Lily from beside Severus, 'Much like you do.'

'Well you exist much to my displeasure but you don't see me throwing you around the floor do you?' Lily retorted to Bellatrix before turning back to Severus, 'How could you do this!' she said to her former best friend with a fierce glare.

She turned around to leave but saw Bellatrix move suspiciously in the corner of her eye. Thinking fast, she whipped out her wand from the sleeve of her top, turned back the way she came and shot the first spell, 'Petrificus Totalus', at the Slytherin girl. The next thing Lily knew, Bellatrix was on the floor and four other wands were pointed at her. Severus was the only one who wasn't armed and ready to curse her.

Everything slowed down for Lily. One minute she was wondering how on earth she could possibly defend herself against four people at once. She was skilled but she wasn't there yet. She turned her head to every Slytherin in turn before, one by one, they fell to the floor face first.

From behind them, James, Sirius and Remus stood, wands outstretched in front of them, after just casting stunning spells to knock out the Slytherin boys.

'You all right Evans?' Sirius shouted at Lily as he turned his wand to Severus, not casting any spells but keeping it there as a precautionary measure.

James walked forwards to Lily, Remus close behind him. He stopped right in front of her, placing a caring hand on her arm and looking into her eyes. 'All right?' he asked, reiterating Sirius' question.

Lily nodded and walked away from him over to where Severus stood not saying a word. She looked at him with an appalled look. She shook her head disappointedly at him.

'What happened to you?' she asked him, searching his face for the friend she once knew.

Severus took a deep breath, breathing in her scent, flowery, something he hadn't smelt in ages. He took enough to last him. 'You stopped being my friend.' he said before turning around and walking away, leaving his so-called friends on the floor and surprisingly, walking away from the marauders, unscathed for once.

'Come on.' Remus said to Lily and his friends as he glanced around at the Slytherin's on the floor. They were beginning to stir.

Remus walked away, Lily coming up behind whilst James and Sirius took it upon themselves to transfigure the Slytherin's school robes, with the Slytherin snake emblem on them, into Gryffindor robes with the glorious lion emblem emblazoned on their chests. They then walked away, giving each other a high five as they went.

Peter was in the astronomy tower. He was tracking planets and plotting constellations. Earlier on in the day, in fact, just after breakfast, he had lost his friends and hadn't been able to find them all day. He looked in all the usual places; the kitchen, the common room, underneath the beech tree in the grounds and even on the Quidditch pitch. He couldn't find them anywhere. So, when he had failed to locate them, he headed up the astronomy tower and had been sat there for six hours, since half past twelve. It was now six thirty and, even though he didn't have a watch due to his mother worrying that he might break the glass and injure himself, he was sure that it was time for dinner. His belly was rumbling, growling at him to be fed but he had just gotten into the swing of plotting the constellation Piscis Austrinus, obviously unaware of the fact that it wasn't actually visible, and didn't want to lose his momentum.

He drew the fourth star in the unseen constellation, the one which wouldn't actually be seen until October, and looked out of the window to find the next one in the pattern when he saw two figures near a large tree whose limbs were waving wildly. He looked back towards the dark sky and saw that the moon was full and bright. Realisation hit. He dropped his quill and piece of parchment, on which he was plotting out the stars, and ran out of the tower.

He raced down the stairs, his blonde straw like hair bouncing atop his head. He became very sweaty very quickly because, with all the will in the world, he wasn't a particularly small lad. He left the tower jogging, his face now flushed. He was heaving heavily as he ran slowly down the corridor. He turned a corner and came to a sudden and unexpected halt. Severus Snape was stood in front of him with Avery and Rosier flanking him.

'Where you running off too piggy?' Rosier sneered, looking Peter, who did at that moment, with his flushed pink face, straw-like hair and sweaty complexion, look remarkably like a pig.

'I…well…err…' Peter stuttered. He had no idea why he was so nervous. He wasn't breaking any rules. After all, curfew wasn't for a few hours even though you wouldn't think it due to the early darkness that the first few months of the year, including March, brought with it. Plus, even if he was breaking any rules, it wasn't like the Slytherin's could do anything about it. They weren't exactly prefects or even upholders of the rules themselves. He decided to leave. Nothing was keeping him there. But when he attempted to get by them, Avery pushed him back by the shoulder to where he started.

'He asked you a question!' he spat at Peter who was now quivering in his boots. The three Slytherin boys towered over him menacingly.

'Get out that pathetic piece of wood you call a wand!' Severus whispered, 'If you manage to beat us in a friendly duel, we'll let you go, if not…' he chuckled evilly, 'well, we'll think of a suitable punishment for you.'

Peter hurriedly searched through his robes for his wand, anxious to find it so that this nightmare would end and he could go and help his friends with Moony. He couldn't find it and so checked again in all the places he could possibly hide his wand. It was still no use. He had left it in the astronomy tower. It was a rookie mistake. James had told him to always keep his wand on him at all times.

'I can't find it.' he said meekly, hoping beyond belief that a miracle would occur and the three boys in front of him would let him pass. At the minute, there was no way around them. They blocked the whole of the corridor.

'Well then,' Severus smirked, 'this should be relatively easy then.'

The three Slytherin's took out there wands and aimed them, all three, at various parts of Peter's body. Severus pointed his wand right between Peters eyes, Avery had his pointed at Peters chest and Rosier pointed his wand at Peters knees which were now knocking together so hard that it was audible.

Peter, his cowardice instincts kicking in, quickly scampered back towards the direction he had come from. As soon as he was around the corner, he closed his eyes tight and transformed into his Animagus state; a rat.

Wormtail heard the Slytherin boys walk around the corner and scurried into a dark patch of shadows to hide from them, not daring to move or make his escape until he was sure that they were long gone.

'He's not here.' Rosier muttered, 'For a fat little boy he can sure run quick.'

Severus slapped Rosier across the back of his head for the comment which, in some twisted ways, could probably be construed as a compliment.

'Running fast won't help him in the real world.' Avery said, smiling darkly, 'He'll never succeed in a duel with the dark lord. He probably wouldn't win in a duel with a toad.'

The other two Slytherin boys laughed at Avery's comment.

'Let's just be thankful that the dark lord will never invite him into his ranks!' Avery continued, enjoying the fact that he seemed to be the popular one out of the three at this moment in time.

'He'd never do that even if he was any use in a duel.' Severus said, steering the conversation back towards a more serious topic, 'He's a blood traitor. And at least we know that's one person we could deliver to the dark lord. We just have to work on the rest now.'

The three boys turned and left calling out, 'here piggy, piggy, piggy' as they went in reference to Peter.

Wormtail peeked his little nose out from the shadows where he was hidden. He'd have to remember to tell James, Sirius and Remus about what he had overheard this evening. Obviously, that was proof that at least three of the Slytherin's were seriously pursuing a 'career' in Voldemort's army of death eaters. But right now, Wormtail had to get down to the whomping willow where his friends would be waiting for him.

The winter months were hard when taking care of Moony as were the first and last months of spring and autumn respectively. The nights were longer so Moony was transformed for longer too. The early darkness was a problem. Everybody was still up at about at half past six in the evening. Moony would be able to smell them but would become increasingly frustrated as he was cooped up in the shrieking shack, unable to get to them. At least when everybody was asleep there was less of a risk that someone might wonder outside and become a prime target for him. When everyone was asleep, Prongs, Padfoot and Wormtail could take him out of the shrieking shack for some air and some room because there was less of a risk that he might attack someone.

Wormtail reached the whomping willow. James and Sirius were nowhere to be seen. They had evidently already let themselves into the tunnel at the base of the whomping willow which lead to the shrieking shack as Padfoot and, halfway down, Prongs. Wormtail did the same. He approached the trunk of the flailing tree and pressed the knurled knot that was hidden near the roots. The tree immediately froze and a small gap at the trunk opened revealing the secret passage way which led to the shrieking shack where Wormtail was positive his friends were.

He slipped easily into the passage way watching it shut near to his long tail. He then scurried down the dirty passage which, in his Animagus form, seemed huge to him. He moved quickly and silently, his paws making hardly any noise as he came to the incline near the rickety house. He entered it and dashed across the decaying wooden floor boards. Almost straight away, he heard Moony howl and heard claws scratching at the closed door which he was approaching.

The door flung open and there stood a huge werewolf which seemed even larger to Wormtail considering the animal that he had become. The large pair of yellow eyes were fixated on the tiny rat. Wormtail stood stock still, waiting and praying that Moony would recognise him and accept him into the room. He could see Prongs, a brilliant stag, and Padfoot, a scruffy black dog, lingering inside.

After what seemed like a lifetime to Wormtail, Moony allowed him entry to the room. He seemed more human with his friends by his side and, instead of doing the instinctive werewolf action of running back down the passage way to find fresh prey, he closed the door and went to lie on the splintering four-poster bed which stood in the centre of the room against the wall.

Wormtail followed him and went to curl up near the foot of bed on the floor. He received a gallant nod from Prongs who was looking very noble as a stag. Padfoot didn't acknowledge his presence and instead, rolled onto his back, paws in the air, tongue lolling out and panting heavily in a clear attempt to get some attention. None of the animals in the room were interested. They were all clearly bored in waiting for the evening to become later so that they could go and explore the forbidden forest as they had planned tonight.

Sensing his friend's boredom, Padfoot rolled back over and jumped onto all fours. His tail began to wag and he snuck up to Wormtail who had closed his eyes for a brief moment. Padfoot pounced on him, causing Wormtail to squeak and go hide by Prongs' hooves. Moony also jumped up, wondering about the commotion. He peered over the edge of the bed, his snout poised and sniffing the air.

Moony looked around the room for Padfoot who had hidden himself somewhere. Moony jumped lightly of the bed onto all fours with and arched back and began to sniff Padfoot out. He sniffed around the bed and under it. Around Prongs' hooves. He even sniffed Wormtail but that could have just been an instinctive act as a werewolf. Suddenly, Moony stopped in his tracks and turned to face the direction he had just come from, coming face to face with Padfoot. Padfoot licked Moony's snout and the two began to engage in a play fight, rolling around the floor. No claws were out so there was no danger of being harmed.

Prongs watched his friends with amusement and lay down, tucking his hooves in behind him. As humans, James and Sirius were the ones to mess around whilst Remus assumed the role of reason. As animals, Moony and Padfoot were able to let loose and play fight whilst Prongs, whose animagus form made it harder to engage in these activities, watched and supervised. He was the sensible one at these times.

Wormtail, afraid of the play fight, curled himself up next to Prongs' hooves and shook slightly in fear. He believed that as long as he was near Prongs, he wouldn't get hurt. Prongs was a good friend to him and wouldn't let anything happen to Wormtail if he could possibly help it. He was like this with all his friends; fiercely loyal, trusting and extremely protective. He was the same whether he was James or Prongs.

Moony and Padfoot's play fight simmered down after about an hour. For a couple more hours after that, nothing much happened in the shrieking shack. The four animals, one werewolf and three Animagi, sat in comfortable silence and relaxed, each one enveloped in their own thoughts until Prongs decide it was safe for them to venture out of the old house. Moony thought about what he would do if he wasn't a werewolf, he thoughts becoming more human thanks to the presence of his three friends. Prongs thought about his life. His situation at the minute and his parents. His mum and his dad. Padfoot thought about food. And Wormtail thought about himself and how he would show everyone one day that he was more than the tag along friend of James, Sirius and Remus. He thought about his dreams to achieve great things and how they could possibly come true. He would show them all one day. He wasn't worthless.

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