Five Minutes

Chapter 35

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!

Here's chapter Thirty-Five!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Thirty-Five

James ran through the school, desperate to reach the great hall where he was sure his friends would still be eating their dinner. He agilely avoided the Slytherin students who were heading in the opposite direction to him, presumably down to their common room. Usually, he'd have pulled a silly face at the older Slytherin students in return to the nasty glares that they were throwing at him, but he was in too much of a worrying rush. He dashed up a small spiral staircase which was hidden behind a portrait and led straight out to the entrance hall, a short cut he constantly used. Within no time, James was in the entrance hall, in sight of the great hall where he was positive his friends were. Keeping in with the pace of his journey, James ran into the busy hall, the sudden noise of overlapping conversations bursting through his ears. It didn't stop him however, he was determined to reach his friends as quickly as possible and that's exactly what he did.

He skidded up to the table and, in a lowered voice, so that no-one around them could hear, he said, 'We need to go see Dumbledore now!'

'What? Why?' Remus asked, putting down his fork to look at James confusedly. 'Aren't you supposed to be making that potion with Evans?' he continued.

'Yes but that's not important.' James said dismissively waving the subject away with his hand as he quickly sat down next to Sirius, frustrated that his friends weren't realising the urgency of the situation. 'Look, there's been an article in the paper about an attack. Now usually I wouldn't think anything more than sympathy for the people who were attacked but this time was different.'

'Get to the point.' Sirius said, annoyed that his dinner was being interrupted, not that it stopped him from stuffing his face with every available piece of food that was surrounding him.

'I'm getting there!' James said through gritted teeth before continuing, attempting this time to control his urgency in an attempt to break his suspicions gently to his friends, 'Well, I wouldn't have thought anything of it until I heard that the attack was on Dorset Street. In Darwen, Lancashire.' he took a deep breath, 'I think it's your mum Peter.'

Peter lowered his fork in shock, his mouth opening slightly and his eyes widening. He shook his head slightly as if to organise the thought in his mind. He wasn't the only one in shock though. Remus swallowed gravely and looked at Peter with sympathy, placing a hand on his shoulder in support. Sirius even stopped eating, worried for Peter.

James sighed. 'Look, I'm not even sure it's her. There was no name in the paper.' he said solemnly, 'It's just that the paper said that she was the only witch in a muggle area. That describes your mum Peter.'

Peter gulped and nodded, his bottom lip beginning to tremor with worry.

'We need to go see Dumbledore now.' James said, reiterating his original statement.

There was a brief moment's pause where the group silently agreed. Then, with sudden fast movements that shocked the students who were surrounding them, the four boys jumped up and sped out of the great hall. They ran upstairs as fast as they could, all determined to reach the third floor, where the headmasters office was located. Half way through their journey however, Peter began to slow down and run out of breath. He was the least fit out of the four of them. His stamina nowhere near reached the heights of James, Sirius and Remus and he was lagging behind. Not letting him stop, James grabbed his wrist and dragged him the rest of the way until they all eventually skidded to a halt in front of the large stone gargoyle that guarded the entrance to Dumbledore's office.

Once they were there though, they realised that their plan, their plan to go and ask Dumbledore to allow them to visit St Mungo's to see if the injured woman in the paper was Peter's mother, had a major flaw in it; they didn't know the password to get into his office. They all looked at each other in exasperation. What were they going to do now? There was no other way to gain access to the Headmasters tower. Or so they thought.

'Say 'emergency'.' Lily said, coming up behind them.

'Emergency.' Sirius practically yelled at the stone gargoyle which immediately sprang to life and moved to the side, revealing a moving spiral staircase which led its way up to Dumbledore's office.

'Brilliant.' James said, 'Thanks.' he continued with a fleeting look at Lily. He didn't have the time to look at her properly or even talk to her about the fact that he had tried to kiss her down in the potions room. He wanted too but nothing, not even the girl that he had liked for several years, could qualify for him to be distracted. His friend needed him and that was all that mattered at the minute.

The four boys made their way quickly to the still moving staircase as Lily shouted out behind them, (mostly to James whom she desperately wanted to talk too), 'Wait! What's wrong?' but she was too late. James had gone. He was the first one up the stairs.

Peter was the only one to actually hear Lily's words but he ignored them. Half of his brain was worrying about his mother whilst the other half of his brain was concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other as he moved up the turning staircase. He had no time to answer her. He was too busy following his friends, led by James, to the door of Dumbledore's office. When he looked up, Peter noticed that James was already at the door which meant that they were one step closer to finding out if the woman in the paper was indeed his mum.

Not even bothering to knock when he approached the headmaster's door, James barged in and walked straight over to Dumbledore's desk saying, 'We need to go to St Mungo's.'

'And hello to you too Mr Potter.' Dumbledore said continuing to write in a big, black, leather bound book with an eagle feather quill. He finished his sentence and closed the book to look up at the four worried and anxious boys. 'I assume your desire to visit St Mungo's is for a legitimate reason and not just a way to avoid your pre-exam studies.' he carried on.

'We think the injured woman in the paper is Peter's mum.' Sirius said for his friend who could only nod in agreement. Sure most the time Sirius couldn't stand Peter. His tolerance level for him was low at best but all of that went away in situations like this. When it came down to it, no matter how forced upon him the friendship between him and Peter was, they were friends and that meant that Sirius would stick by him through thick and thin.

Dumbledore placed his fingertips together in thought, looking over his half-moon glasses at each of the boys in turn. 'Ahh,' he said, 'I see.' He was very calm in his mannerisms and, after a brief moments pause, he opened his desk draw and took out two spare pieces of parchment. 'It's going to take a few minutes for the ministry to make allowances and connect my office to the floo network so I suggest you wait here.' he said gently as he began to write once more with his elegant eagle feather quill.

'Won't it take longer than a few minutes to send an owl though sir?' Remus asked his headmaster, genuinely intrigued but unable to hide the impatience coming through in his voice.

'By owl yes, but I am sending these with Fawkes.' Dumbledore said, gracefully standing up and walking with a slow pace over to his magnificent phoenix. 'I am also sending a letter to your mother Mr Potter so she can meet you at St Mungo's and escort you to whom you presume is Peter's mother. Is that okay?' he asked James who just nodded. It's not like it would be an inconvenience. His mother would be at St Mungo's anyway, working. Plus, it would give a chance for James to see how she was doing. It must be hard for her without his dad.

As Dumbledore sent Fawkes out of the large window that covered one of the small walls in his oddly shaped office, James, Sirius, Remus and Peter watched as the fiery bird quickly disappeared over the horizon. When the bird had gone, James flopped himself down onto the only chair in front of Dumbledore's desk. However, he soon thought twice about it and stood up to offer the seat to Peter whom he thought must be so worried. Peter wasn't going to take the seat up until Remus pushed him towards it. When Peter was finally seated, James leant on Dumbledore's great desk and Remus and Sirius occupied themselves by looking over Dumbledore's various knickknacks. His office was like a treasure trove full of oddities. It was deathly silent. Neither the marauders nor Dumbledore spoke.

The silence didn't ensue long though as Fawkes returned in less than ten minutes. As soon as the phoenix flew into the office, Dumbledore stood up and walked over to a crowded stack of shelves hung up on the wall next to the wall with the window. He took, from the third shelf up, a heavy stone urn and took it over to his desk. He then took off the lid and offered the contents, floo powder, around to the four boys who had immediately lined up in front of him.

As the boys took the powder, Dumbledore said, 'Please inform me of when you wish to return as soon as you know. I shall inform your professors. There is no rush to return, especially in the case of you Mr Pettigrew, however, not returning at all would be unwise as you would miss your end of year exams and I am sure you wouldn't want that.' he said, chuckling a little bit at his last whimsical sentence.

'Thank you sir.' James said for the four of them.

Dumbledore nodded and watched the boys leave his office through his grand fire place, disappearing in a haze of green fire.

The four boys whirred through the floo system. Having said their destination as they left, all they needed to do was spot the grate where Mrs Potter would hopefully be standing to await their arrival. They whirled and twirled through the network of connected fireplaces, all of them used to the sensation as they all came from wizarding families, pure blood for James and Sirius and half-blood for Remus and Peter, they were able to finish the journey without any feelings of dizziness or sickness. It was a quick journey and when they arrived at the wizarding hospital, Jane Potter was there waiting for them.

'James!' she said as she spotted her son, she rushed over to him and squeezed him in a tight hug.

'Hey mum.' James said, hugging his mum in return.

As Jane released her son she moved onto his friends who had also just appeared in the grate. 'Remus.' she said in greeting to him.

'Mrs Potter.' Remus said to James' mother, politely returning her hug. It was how she always greeted the boys when she saw them so he was used to it, sort of. (Remus had only really seen Mrs Potter around five times since he had known James)

'Peter.' Jane continued, moving down the line of boys, embracing him as well.

'Mrs Potter.' muttered a very timid and uncomfortable Peter.

'Sirius.' Jane finished finally, holding her arms out for Sirius, her adoptive son.

'Jane!' Sirius said enthusiastically, mirroring Jane's actions and embracing her in a tight hug, very similar to the way she had hugged her real son. He loved Jane Potter and he had no issues in showing it. He was often jealous of James for having such a great mother. Sirius' own mother was what he referred to as, an 'old bat'.

'Now,' Jane said as she released Sirius and stood back so that she could see all of the boys at once, 'before I take you to identify this woman,' she began solemnly, addressing Peter in specific, her joyous greetings now over and done with and her mind snapping back into Healer mode, 'I must warn you that it is quite a gruesome sight.'

'I'll stay here.' Sirius gulped, his face gone a little bit white just at the word gruesome. He was a wimp really when it came to blood.

'What do you mean gruesome?' James asked his mum with a quizzical expression, pushing his glasses up his nose in an intellectual way.

'It looks as though she has been…mauled by an animal.' Jane continued.

'I'll stay here too.' Remus said unable to help but think that the 'animal' could be a werewolf. He knew that Voldemort wanted werewolves on his side so it wasn't a very far-fetched assumption to believe that they could be involved in the most recent attack. He felt the need to justify himself and his sudden decision to stay with Sirius to Jane though as she looked at him with raised eyebrows. With Jane Potter not knowing that he was a werewolf though, he couldn't tell his friends the real reason as he would have done if they were alone. Instead he said, 'Shouldn't really leave Sirius on his own. Who knows what could happen.'

Jane Potter nodded her head and lead James and Peter away from Sirius and Remus who stayed where they were. When Jane, James and Peter had turned a corner, Sirius and Remus were finally able to drink in where they were and, where they weren't.

Sirius was overjoyed. He was out of school and for a legitimate reason. He didn't care that he was in a hospital. The wandering healers bustling about the main floor where they were standing didn't bother him. The magical maladies, the inflated heads, badly splinched wizards and laughably stuck together witches didn't bother him either. He didn't know them personally so their injuries were no issue for him. Seeing Peter's mother in a 'gruesome' state however would just be too much to handle, even if he had only met her when she picked Peter up at the end of the school year on platform nine and three quarters, he still knew her. And blood on people he knew he didn't like.

Remus on the other hand, didn't want to be in the hospital for the same reasons he didn't want to see who they thought was Peter's mother. This place was the home to many people like him. When he was younger, before his parents were able to afford to magically reinforce their basement through the ministry's defence department, he had to spend his transformations in a magically enhanced locked room on the first floor. Every month he had needed to spend three days and three nights in a place where people looked down on him for an infliction he couldn't control nor had any desire to have. It was a form of mental torture and, if it wasn't for his loyal friendship and wish to support Peter, he wouldn't have been able to make it into the hospital at all. And even if he was unable to take that last step and see Peter up to the room, the gesture that he had made it this far should be enough because usually, he wouldn't have come near St Mungo's with a barge pole.

Sirius turned to Remus and blurted out, 'I'm not a wuss.' referring to his not wanting to see Peter's mum because of the gruesomeness.

Remus turned to Sirius and simply said, 'Yeah you are.' nodding his head. 'Let's go find a drink.'

'Ok.' Sirius replied with a grumble as he begrudgingly followed Remus over to the main reception desk.

As they went, a short wizard wearing a dress passed them by with large boils growing all over his legs. He looked as if he had been stung over forty times by a poisonous bee but, in reality, it was probably just the work of a simple stinging hex. It did however get Remus and Sirius laughing as he ran by screaming, 'You'll never take me alive' at the same time as five healers chased him down the corridor in an attempt to restrain his so that they could administer the potion which would heal his wounds.

'That's the sort of thing you'd do.' Remus said nudging Sirius in the ribs with his elbow, a cheeky smile growing on his face as he turned to the witch behind the counter.

'Hey! I'm not that-'

'Shh, shh!' Remus cut Sirius off with the wave of his finger before addressing the lady at the desk with a charming grin, 'Is there a place to get a good drink around here?' he asked her, leaning forwards on the desk.

'There's a visitor's tea room on the fifth floor.' the witch said in a nasal monotone, not looking up at either Remus or Sirius, despite their close proximity to her. She was reading Witch Weekly instead as it was apparently more interesting than the two handsome young boys who had just approached her.

'Yeah…' Remus said, unconvinced, 'I've tried the drinks from the tea room and…well to be perfectly honest my dog,' (he jerked his head in Sirius' direction, unnoticed by the obviously bored witch behind the information desk), 'could do a better job. So let's give this another go. Is there a place to get a good drink around here?'

Within two seconds it became blatantly obvious that the witch had taken absolutely no notice of Remus or his sarcastic tone as she simply repeated, 'There's a visitors tea room on the fifth floor.'

Remus absentmindedly patted on the desk and gritted a smile as he said, 'Thanks for your help!'

They were, (and by 'they', it was really just Remus), about to leave when Sirius leant on the desk, pulled his best 'sexy' face and said flirtingly, 'Would you, like to join us?'

'Get away from my desk.' the witch said, still not looking up but rather flicking through her magazine and pointing away from her desk as an instruction to Sirius.

'Are you su-'

'Now.' she continued, cutting Sirius off before he had a chance to finish his question.

Sirius nodded his head slowly and, just like Remus had done previously, absentmindedly tapped his hand on the desk, pausing. He was about to say something else but thought better of it and turned around to walk over to Remus who was standing near the lift with raised eyebrows. Sirius stopped next to him as they waited for the lift to arrive. 'She wanted me.' he said, trying to convince himself more than anyone else.

'Clearly.' Remus replied putting his hands in his pockets and bobbing up and down on his heels, holding back a mocking smile.

'It's just,' Sirius began, folding his arms dejectedly, 'I'm obviously too much for her to handle.'

'You're too much for anyone to handle mate.' Remus chuckled. He stopped though when he turned to look at Sirius and saw his 'evil' look.

Thankfully for Remus, Sirius' 'evil' look, (which was, at best, a slight frown and flickering narrowed eyes.), didn't last long as the lift finally arrived in front of them.

A group of healers stepped of the lift and Remus and Sirius stepped in. They held onto the hanging rails hung from the top of the lift. As soon as the grate door slid shut, the lift jolted jerkily and flew backwards. It then dropped down, almost like a free form vertical fall, for about ten feet which caused Remus and Sirius to jump slightly as they dropped. The lift then moved left, right, left, up, right, right again, up, down, diagonally right and then up, until it finally arrived on the fifth floor with a harsh bump.

They stepped out of the lift and Sirius' first words, which made Remus roll his eyes, were 'Awesome, student healers.'

'You're a pig.' Remus said to him as they made their way over to an available table near a lighted window which, from the outside, would appear as a boarded up, glassless hole in a derelict building. From where Remus and Sirius were however, the window was clear glass and they could see the bustling London street below.

'No Moony, I'm a dog.' Sirius replied cheekily as he sat down, glancing over his shoulder at the girls behind him. They were in a tight group stood around a tall table, gossiping and drinking pumpkin juice. Sirius stood up and took off his Hogwarts robe, (which he and all the marauders were still in as they had literally just rushed to the hospital from school), and smoothed down his hair. 'Wish me luck!' he said to Remus before he swaggered away to the girls a few tables away.

Remus watched as his overconfident friend shredded his school boy persona and went after a group of student healers well out of his league. Well, at least his age range. He strolled over to them with a definite wiggle in his hips, a failed attempt to make himself look desirable and older than he actually was. With a slightly bemused smile, Remus saw Sirius lean on the tall table that the healers were gathered around. Remus watched carefully as Sirius said his opening line to the young ladies which surrounded him. It was a quick jump from that one line, the contents of which Remus had no idea, to each of the student healers, one after another, threw their pumpkin juices in his face. As Sirius paused at the table he was at, watching the young student healers walk away from the table, leaving him soaked in pumpkin juice and shock, Remus let a small chuckle at Sirius' humiliation escape him. He wouldn't let Sirius see him laugh. Why embarrass him further?

When Sirius turned around to walk back to the table, Remus put his fist over his mouth to attempt to smother his laughter so Sirius couldn't see him. When he had finally muffled his laughter, regaining control, Sirius had reached the table. Remus took down his hand. 'Strike out?' he asked rhetorically.

Moodily, and thoroughly soaked in pumpkin juice, Sirius simply answered, 'Yep.'

'Now, Peter,' Jane Potter said as she, Peter and her son reached the room in which the only magical victim of Voldemort's last attack resided, 'You have to prepare yourself. This woman may be your mother but it might be extremely difficult to identify her.'

Peter nodded meekly and took a deep breath. As a show of support, James put his hand on Peter shoulder and patted it gently. Peter looked up at him and gave a timid and scared smile. He then turned to Jane Potter and nodded, a signal that he was ready to take in whatever gruesome sight awaited him.

Jane opened the door and led Peter and James to the end bed which was enclosed by a curtain, ensuring that none of the other patient in the ward could see the woman beyond the curtain. Peter took another deep breath and swallowed nervously as Jane opened the curtain slightly to grant them entrance. Peter, followed by James, walked through the open slit and stepped forwards to view the woman in the bed. Nothing could have prepared them for what they saw.

One of the woman's eyes was missing, completely gone, and where it should have been, instead was a large crater cutting deep into her face. Her other eye was swollen to three times its usual size, meaning she couldn't see at all. Half of her nose had disappeared and what was left of it was tinged with a gooey orange residue. Her bottom lip was also swollen and her top lip was nowhere to be seen. She had deep cuts and lacerations all over her face, overlapping her other wounds. These scars were framed with purple and black bruising's so that the only natural and unharmed skin that you could see was just underneath her left ear. Her other ear, was mangled and looked as if it had started to be gnawed off. Above that, atop her head, her hair was riddled with blood, or at least what was left of it was. Half of it was missing or falling out onto the white pillow which was growing in a red stain. Obviously they hadn't been able to control the bleeding, only slow it down. It was an unsightly bloody mess.

'That's her.' Peter said, his eyes cold and unwavering, a fixed stare on the body of the woman whom he claimed to be his mother.

'Are you sure?' James asked carefully. He didn't mean to be sceptical, after all, it was he who originally thought that the woman could possibly be Peter's mother, but now they were here, it was hard to tell. She looked nothing like the woman James had seen pick Peter up from platform nine and three quarters at the end of the school year.

'Yes.' Peter whispered faintly, walking over to sit in the chair by his mother's bedside. He took her hand as he sat down, stoking it softly with his thumb, 'It's her. I can tell.'

Jane nodded her head and put an arm around her sons back. 'We'll leave you in peace for a few minutes.' she said sweetly, leading her son away from his friend's distress. 'Call if you need anything.'

'Thank you Mrs Potter.' Peter mumbled as James and his mother left him in privacy.

Jane led James out into the corridor, her main goal to give Peter a moment alone with his mother but, also, and underlying desire to spend some time with her own son whom she had not seen since Christmas. Since her husband, James' father, had passed away she had been worried about how her son was coping. 'How are you?' she asked James, her healers persona disappearing and the all too infrequent mother personality shining through.

James shrugged. 'I'm fine.' he replied, knowing exactly what she was referring too. He wasn't lying. He was fine. Apart from his years before Hogwarts, James had never really spent a lot of time with his dad and, as a result, didn't know the person he was. He missed his father figure but it wasn't like he was gone. He lived on in James' memory and the thought of him had kept James strong. He hadn't cried. He never did.

Jane, with an unbearably strong mother's intuition, sensed that James didn't want to talk about what she desired and so, she changed the subject to a less painful one. 'How's school?' she asked him.

James chuckled and ran a hand through his hair. 'Still there.' he replied, putting his hands in his pockets which were hidden deep in the folds of his school robes.

'You know what I mean James.' Jane said, putting her hands on her hips and looking at her son through raised eyebrows.

James sighed. 'Don't know what to tell you mum.' he said with a shrug, 'School's school. I go to classes, I eat, I sleep and anything else I do I'm sure you already know about.'

Jane couldn't help but smile at all of the owls she had received from Hogwarts detailing the various pranks and stunts that James and his small band of friends had committed throughout the school years. She had a stack of reports a mile high which all contained descriptions of James' indescrepencies at the famed magical school and, even though some of the pranks they had pulled were amusing to her, she couldn't help but wish her son would take a more active role in the academic part of the school system.

'I had hoped you'd be a prefect.' Jane said, following her line of thought perfectly. James however, was thoroughly confused.

'That was a bit out of the blue.' James laughed, pushing his glasses up his nose again and looking around him at his surroundings. They were in a long white corridor with lots doors leading off of it and many healers wandering in and out and of them.

'You're so smart. Couldn't you have channelled your energy into your school work instead of your childish antics?' Jane asked him with a desperate pleading look.

'Ah Mum,' James said waving his hand to wave away her comment, 'where's the fun in that? I get good grades anyway.'

'I'm not saying that you don't sweetheart.' Jane sighed, looking down and shaking her head, 'I just wish that you…your dad was a prefect.'

James nodded his head slowly. 'Yeah.' he said in acknowledgement of the fact. 'What's that got to do with me?'

'Don't you want to be an auror too?' Jane questioned him, knowing of his old dream to have the same career as his father. She didn't know if it was still his ambition.

'Well yeah but Dad didn't get to be an auror because he was a prefect.' James replied, 'He was an auror because he passed his N.E.W.T's. And I'm not too worried about that. I test well.'

'I'm never going to convince you to focus on your studies am I?' she said, recognising defeat.

James smiled his crooked smile which tugged at the corners of his mouth. 'You could try.' he said cockily. 'I wouldn't recommend it though. You'd probably loose.'

'Don't I always against you?' Jane said in exasperation to her nodding son. She opened her arms, 'Now give me a hug.'

'No.' James answered straight away, shaking his head once.

'Give me a hug.'

'No.'

'Come on. Just one hug for your mummy.'

'Mum, we're in public.'

'James!' Jane said sternly, raising her eyebrows at her son, sending a subliminal message through her eyes which forced a very reluctant James to hug his mother.

Jane held James very tightly in a motherly hug which James resisted at first but soon gave into. He patted his mum on the back before he pulled away from her with a tense smile on his face.

'Miss Potter.' someone said to Jane as they came up behind James, running frantically.

'Mrs. Mrs Potter. I'm still married.' Jane said under her breath so no one but James, who looked at her sadly, could hear.

'We need you on the fourth floor.' the healer panted as she reached Jane, 'Mr Connorsy is mooing again and no one can control him.'

'Alright. I'm coming.' Jane said to the healer who turned and walked away, taking her extremely obvious cue to leave, 'Now, about Peter's mother.' she said, turning to James and taking on her healer persona once again. 'Until the healer who is treating her can identify the assortment of spells that hit her and can rule out the possibility that she was attacked by an animal of sorts, her healing process will be slow. I understand if you want to stay around until she has made a decent recovery or has at least started recovering but you have to promise me that you and your friends will continue to study for your end of year exams.'

'Well Remus will.' James joked until he saw his mother's stern face, 'I will too.'

'Good.' Jane said taking James' shoulders and looking up at him, 'You can stay at the house. Just promise me you won't blow it up.'

'Nah.' James sighed, taking his mother's hands off of his shoulders and holding them in his own for a few short seconds before dropping them, 'I only do that to toilets.'

'Well try not to do anything to the toilets this time.' Jane continued, pointing her finger at James, 'I don't know what you did to your en-suite loo over Christmas but I've only just been able to stop it from dancing.'

James laughed with a proud nod of his head at the memory. That was a fun day.

'Now I've got to go.' she said, leaning in and giving him a kiss on the cheek, 'I'll see you later sweetheart.'

'Bye mum.' James said as he watched his mother bustle down the corridor and out of sight through one of the many large white doors which ran along it.

When she had gone, James turned around and walked through the large double doors which held the room where Peter and his mum were. He strolled passed the other patients in the room until he reached the curtain that they were enclosed in. He prepared himself again and opened the curtains a little bit, just enough for him to walk through. Even though he had braced himself before hand, the sight of Peter's mother still came as a shock to him. He shook his head to shake the shock away, and walked over to Peter, leaning against the wall next to Mrs Pettigrew's bed, legs crossed and arms folded, his usual pose. He looked down at his small friend and saw the sadness in his eyes. 'You alright mate?' he asked him concernedly.

'Can we go?' Peter asked him, not looking at James but rather continuing to stare at his mother's face.

'Sure.' James said, pushing himself forwards off of the wall, 'We'll go and find Remus and Sirius, they're probably in the visitors tea room, then we'll head out, ok?'

Peter nodded and stood up. He and James walked over to the curtain which surrounded Mrs Pettigrew's bed. Peter turned to look at her one last time before he left, followed out of the curtain by James.

The pair walked out into the long white corridor and walked the length of it before they came to the grate which the lift sat behind. When the grate opened, the boys got in. James held onto the hanging hand rails from the top and Peter, too short to reach these, held on to the hand rail which ran along the side of the lift. The lift jolted backwards and, for a lift that only needed to journey up one floor, it took a long route. Much like the elevators in the Ministry of Magic, the lift jolted backwards and went up, down, forwards, backwards, left, right, right again, until it reached the fifth floor of the wizarding hospital.

James and Peter spotted Sirius and Remus in the corner of the large visitor's tea room. As they walked over to them, they saw Remus looking at his watch and Sirius looking and abnormally odd shade of pink.

'What are you doing?' James asked Remus when they approached the table.

'Seeing how long Sirius can hold his breath.' Remus said, not looking up from his watch on which he was counting the seconds which past.

James looked between the two and then, with no hint of hesitation, squeezed Sirius' nose between his thumb and fore finger, until Sirius' eyes bulged and he let out the breath he had been holding for almost two minutes.

'What you playing at?' Sirius asked James who was smirking down at him, 'I was on my way to a new record!'

'I'm sure you'll live.' James chuckled, pushing Sirius' head in a brotherly fashion.

'So,' Remus began, cutting Sirius off before he even had a chance to retaliate to James' last comment, 'Was it your mum Peter?'

Peter nodded solemnly, not finding it in himself to answer with words. He didn't' trust himself to speak at all as he didn't actually know how he felt about his mother, for all intents and purposes, being in a coma-like state. There was, of course, the devoted son part of him which obviously felt for his mum and couldn't wait for her to get better. That part of him just wanted his mum back. However, his relationship with his mother had always been a bit rocky. When he was a baby, his dad had died. Now he didn't know anything about him apart from the fact that he had always been ill. He had been a sickly man and Peter's mum had a constant worry that Peter would become the same. From this assumption, Mrs Pettigrew had babied her son, driving him to the extent of utter rage. The part of Peter that contained this anger, however horrible the thought was, wished his mother would just stay the way she was to enable him some much needed independence. His feelings upon the subject were mixed and he didn't know which side he preferred to feel.

'How did you know?' Sirius asked Peter who had been in silent thought for a couple of minutes.

'She was wearing a ring that she says my dad gave her.' Peter mumbled, fidgeting nervously.

'So what are we going to do now?' Remus asked, needing this question addressing desperately as he was worried about the end of year exams that were fast approaching. He was probably the only one who was worried about this but he didn't care. He still needed to know.

'Well,' James said clapping his hands together, being the only one who really knew what was going to happen next, 'We can stay at mine until Peter's mum recovers or starts to recover, depending on how long that is. Dumbledore says we can go back to school when we're ready so no real rush there. As long as we 'study' for the end of year exams we can just go back to Hogwarts when we're ready really.' he finished, air-quoting the word 'study' as the group knew that, out of the four of them, Remus would be the only one to actually revise. Peter would attempt too and, if they were at James', James and Sirius would play the childhood game, hide and seek. (In the Potter mansion, nobody won that game, they just got lost inside James' huge home. Since their first year at Hogwarts, or at least their first summer away from Hogwarts, Sirius and James were both determined to win.)

'Awesome.' Sirius said happily.

There was then a tense, lingering silence which followed. Remus, Sirius and James were all shooting worried glances at Peter who was just staring blankly at the table in front of him. It went on for at least a minute and by the end of this extraordinarily long minute, the other three marauders could no longer take the uncomfortable silence.

'I hear there's a guy on the second floor mooing.' James said.

Thanks for reading!

Galindaba

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