Five Minutes

Chapter 37

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-Seven!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Thirty-Seven

The sixth year students had just had their final apparation lesson with Wilkie Twycross and wouldn't be seeing him again until those eligible took their test the following week. The week after that their end of year exams would start and they wouldn't have a real break until the end of the school year in five and a half weeks. So, taking probably their last opportunity to mess about, James, Sirius Remus and Peter decided to head to the fourth floor and pull a little prank.

They were hidden in plain sight and yet, the first and second years they were tricking didn't seem to notice them until they actually walked into their prank. Remus was sat leaning against the wall with his forearms resting on his knees. Peter was trying to imitate him but failed, gave up and sat crossed legged instead. Sirius was bouncing around, not being able to stay in one position as their victims walked into their trap and James was stood leaning against the wall in his usual position watching the fun from there.

They laughed as a small group of second years walked into their trap. What they had done was combine the strongest shield charms they could muster and cast them across the hallway. This created had a solid invisible wall of sorts, straight across the corridor. The fun came to the marauders watching the unsuspecting lower years walk into it. It was their childish nature coming out to play before they had to pack it away and focus on their end of year exams. Or at least, it was their childish nature coming out before they attempted to pack it away and try to focus on their end of year exams. They wouldn't ever really stop being immature but sometimes they had to pretend that they could.

A group of first years walked headfirst into the invisible wall and the marauders once more, laughed at their infortune. They weren't laughing long though as a voice of authority that matched Remus' spoke next to them and would most likely tell them to stop.

'What are you doing?' Lily asked the marauders with folded arms and a look of curiosity and exasperation at yet another prank of the marauders.

'Standing.' James said.

'Spinning.' Sirius said.

'Thinking.' Remus said.

'Sitting.' Peter said.

'Breathing.' James said.

'Speaking.' Remus said.

'Blinking.' Peter said.

'Eating.' Sirius said.

'You're not eating.' James stated to Sirius with one raised eyebrow.

'Oh yeah.' Sirius replied, actually looking rather upset that, at that precise moment, he wasn't eating. It was rather odd that he wasn't. Sirius would eat all day if he could.

'Are you done?' Lily sighed rolling her eyes. She didn't really want to deal with their silliness at the minute. All she really wanted was to have a serious conversation with James. It was all she seemed to want to do these days and the repetitiveness was even starting to bug her and yet, she was the one repeating the actions.

'Yeah.' Remus said, turning his head to watch a couple of second years walk into the invisible wall. 'Heh, heh.' he chuckled softly to himself, 'Classic.'

'What? What?' Sirius asked, stopping his spinning to look back and forth between Remus and the invisible wall, 'What did I miss?'

'You wouldn't have missed anything if you hadn't been too busy spinning.' Remus said, widening his eyes in a sarcastic fashion.

Sirius narrowed his eyes jokingly in response as Peter laughed.

'Well you seem to be having fun.' Lily said indulgently to the boys before turning to James, 'Can I talk to you please?' she asked him.

Sirius and Remus looked at each other curiously before looking back to James and Lily. James looked extremely reluctant to talk to her and, in truth, he was. He had heard Sirius use that tone of voice with some of the girls he had gone out with and it always ended the same way; Sirius broke up with them. Now he and Lily weren't actually together so there was nothing to break up but still, that tone of voice didn't sound like anything good would follow. He had a sneaking suspicion that she wanted to talk about what happened when they had finished their Felix Felicis potion for Slughorn. That topic combined with her tone of voice didn't make for a conversation that would make him happy. In fact, he believed that if he went to talk to her, she would say something along the line of 'we should just be friends' which would effectively break his heart as she was really all he wanted. After all, when he had tried to kiss her she didn't exactly react the way he would have wanted her too. In fact she had pulled away and now she was doing it again.

Not wanting this to happen, James just said, 'You're talking now.'

'In private?' Lily said with a questioning lilt.

'Ohh…' Sirius and Remus began before being silenced with a harsh look from Lily.

James glanced down at his friends, really unwilling to go and hear the words he was all too sure were coming. He closed his eyes and exhaled deeply. 'Can it wait?' he asked her.

'Can I just talk to you please?' Lily replied becoming impatient.

James grimaced and ran a hand through his hair. 'Alright.' he said, following her further down the corridor and out of earshot of his friends. He didn't want this to happen and so, resolute on this, he decided not to go through the humiliation, determined to nip things in the bud before they started. He wouldn't let himself or his pride be wounded. James Potter had a big ego.

As soon as they were around the corner of the corridor, out of sight of the other marauders and their invisible wall, Lily turned to face James to talk to him and tell him that she wanted them to be together and she didn't regret what had almost happened in the potions room and she kind of wished that they had kissed. She wanted to tell him that they had been stuck in this awkward phase for too long now and, although it was her fault initially, she wanted to do something about it now and perhaps go on an official date.

She took a deep breath and began, 'I wanted to talk to you about what happened when we finished our potion and I just want to say that-'

'I know what you're going to say.' James said, cutting her off.

'You do?' Lily asked, excitement building in her stomach. This was it.

'Yeah.' James sighed grievously, 'You're going to say that I over-stepped and that we should just remain friends because it's working and we shouldn't ruin that and…I agree. I like the fact that we're friends now and I don't want to ruin that so, don't worry, I won't try anything like that again. Ok?'

'Uh-huh.' Lily said in shock, not actually being able to reply. That wasn't what she was going to say at all. Was that how he felt? All she was sure of now was that she was a little bit embarrassed. Evidently, she was in a much different place than he was.

'Don't worry then.' James said, 'We're still friends.' he finished before turning around and walking back to his friends. That was painful enough, he didn't want to increase anything and he didn't want her to see his pain. If she did, she'd know that he was lying. He wanted to be more then friends. He just thought it was a shame that she didn't.

Lily watched him walk away. Not for the first time, neither one of them had any idea that the other felt the same way. If they had, things would have probably been a lot simpler. At least you'd think they would be. At the minute though, Lily just stood in shock. She was sure that he would have felt the same way. After all, he was the one who initiated their almost kiss in the first place. But a lot can change in a month. You never can tell with some people.

'Has he upset you?' came a voice from behind Lily.

She turned around slowly to face the last person she really wanted to see in the world; her ex-best friend and all-round, proverbial pain in the arse. Severus Snape.

'I thought we'd established that we weren't friends anymore.' Lily said to him moodily, not having any patience to tolerate him at the minute. 'It's been a whole year. How have you not got the message?'

'Just because you aren't my friend anymore…' Severus stopped thinking better of his next words, 'You said you'd never be his friend.' he spat at her angrily, reminding her of words she had spoken several years ago.

'Yeah, well, things change.' Lily replied quickly in an attempt to end this unwanted conversation as soon as she possibly could, 'I thought I'd always be your friend.'

'I know.' Severus said, glancing down in regret for a second before looking back up, staring intensely into Lily's vivid emerald eyes and stepping closer to her.

When Severus stepped closer to her she stepped backwards, not wanting to be that close to him. She took in a deep breath and held it for a few seconds raising her eyebrows in a warning to Severus. She knew what he was capable of now. She had seen him ruthlessly attack one of his fellow Slytherin's and leave him bleeding on the floor. She had seen him cruelly taunt the younger years with the spell he had invented and had so often been used on him by James Potter. She didn't know what happened to the sweet boy that she had been friends with before Hogwarts, but he was no longer the boy she saw before him and she didn't really want to be anywhere near him.

'You said that Potter was an irresponsible, arrogant, big-headed toe-rag!' Severus hissed to Lily in an attempt to remind her of the type of person James actually was, 'You said he was the last person in the world you could like or even be friends with.'

'I know.' Lily said, 'I don't suffer from memory loss. I know what I said. And truth be told, James probably is still all of those things. But I'd rather be friends with someone like that than someone like you. You, a…vindictive...evil, little…wanna-be death eater who obviously has no respect for personal boundaries.' she continued, stepping backwards once again from Severus who had just taken another step towards her.

'I'm not like that.' Severus insisted through gritted teeth, his fists clenched down by his sides, 'I'm not like that. I'm not vindictive and I'm not evil.'

'Yes you are!' Lily said with a half laugh, not believing that he was trying to deny what she had said. It was all true.

'I'll never be as bad as Potter.' Severus said, sneering at James' name.

'Oh you are way worse than he is or will ever be!' Lily exclaimed in truth, 'James Potter is a much better person than you are and a much better friend to me than you ever were. He doesn't call me a you-know-what. You can disbelieve it all you want but that won't stop it being true.'

Severus breathed heavily not liking what she had just said. 'Have you forgotten what he did to me over the years? The way he hexed, cursed and jinxed me and everyone else in sight.'

'He's not like that anymore-'

'No one changes that quickly!' Severus spat at her.

Lily turned her head away from him, not particularly wanting to be reminded about that side of James' personality. She breathed deeply. It was true that James had hexed, cursed and jinxed everyone he could, especially Severus. But he hadn't done that this year. He had changed. She knew he had. And she liked who he was now. She wasn't about to let Severus make her feel badly about it.

Severus watched her turn her face away. He was about to say more on this subject but he had a feeling that it would only make things worse. If he tried again to make her believe that he was a better person than James Potter, if he tried to remind her of the git that tortured him for the first five years of Hogwarts and press upon her the fact that he hadn't changed as she thought he had, then she may hurt him more. Plus, apart from a gut feeling, he had no proof that he hadn't changed. He hadn't hexed him this year. So Severus said nothing more on this subject. He thought better of it. 'Has he upset you?' he revised, returning to his original question.

Lily sighed and folded her arms before forcing herself to face him again. 'No.' she said defiantly. She then walked away from him coming completely to the end of her tether of patience for him.

Severus breathed heavily, his eyes brows lowering and creating dark shadows over his evil eyes. His sallow cheeks were pinched in and his lips had almost disappeared completely. She was lying. He could tell. He had loved her since the moment he first laid eyes on her all those years ago and he couldn't bear the thought of her being hurt, especially by Potter. He had to do something about it.

Sirius was still spinning, Remus was still telling him to stop and Peter was still sitting crossed legged watching their invisible wall when James returned from talking to Lily. He looked extremely deflated when he came back, an unmistakable air of despair in his eyes, the usual mischievous glint that highlighted them gone. He came to a standstill next to his friends and ran a hand through his hair.

'I'm gonna go to the Quidditch pitch.' James said to them bluntly, no hint of an invitation for them to join him.

They knew by his tone of voice that he didn't want them to come with him and they all respected that. Even Sirius. It didn't stop them being concerned though and Remus had to ask, 'Are you alright mate?'

'Yeah. Just…' James started but never finished.

'What happened Prongs?' Sirius asked James, finally stopping spinning out of worry for his best friend. 'What'd Evans say to you?'

'Nothing much.' James replied truthfully. 'Just about the potion that we made.' he shrugged, 'I'm going to the Quidditch pitch.'

'Alright then.' Remus said for the group, 'See you later.'

'See ya.' James said depressively as he walked away from his friends and the second year students that had just banged into their invisible wall.

He walked through the school slowly, his hands shoved deep into his pockets and his mind whirring. He felt extremely empty. Just over a month ago, he had hope. He had believed that Lily felt the same way about him that he felt about her. At one point it was a fact and she had even told him. He had already been told by Hestia Jones but Lily had still told him the same thing. At that moment he thought it was inevitable that they would end up together. Then he had found out that Lily had thought that he already had a girlfriend. So he had explained to her that he wasn't in a relationship and asked her what she wanted to do and she had replied, 'I'm sorry'. But even at that point, James still didn't lose hope. He still believed that they had something and he had evidence for it. They flirted a lot and hugged and he had genuinely thought that she had become jealous when she had heard about him hugging Gwenog Jones. Obviously, he was wrong. He had misread the signs but he just couldn't understand how.

He mooched sluggishly down three flights of stairs and stood still on one moving staircase before he reached the entrance hall. He strolled through the great doors which served as the entrance to the grand castle. As he walked through it a group of girls giggled as he past them. He smiled at them and they blushed furiously. Sometimes, he just thought that it might be simpler for him if he just chose one of those girls to go out with. He was sure that they would jump at the chance as they and many other groups of girls were always following him around. He wasn't stupid. He knew what people thought of him. But James had never liked any of those girls; mostly because they liked him and, in his eyes, they were all the same. Lily however, was the complete opposite. She was different and, for several years, couldn't stand James. That's why he had first been attracted to her and it didn't hurt that she was a beautiful person and very attractive. Deep red hair and emerald green eyes. Then as he got to know her he liked her even more and he made it well known. He kind of regretted that now. Now he knew that all they would ever be was friends.

When James reached the Quidditch pitch, he didn't fetch his broom to fly. Instead he made his way into the Gryffindor section of the spectator's stand, a place he only went when Gryffindor wasn't playing and the other house teams were. Now he just liked the solitude that it provided. Nobody else was there and it gave him time to sort through his own mind. As it wasn't raining it was all he could get. He walked into the middle of the Gryffindor stand and sat down in the middle of the long bench which provided the only source of seating in the stands. He flopped down and looked up to the sky. June was really kicking in now and the sky above him was a beautiful clear blue. There were still a few clouds hovering around in the sky but those that were, were a bright white.

Still looking above him, James saw a small brown speck coming towards him. He squinted through his glasses and tried to focus on the flying dot, attempting to make out what it was. It was only when the brown speck came closer to him that he realised that it was his rufus legged owl; Sox. James smiled as she flew down and settled on the bench to the right of him. He held out his hand to her and she nipped him affectionately, hooting slightly as she did so. James smiled down at his little owl. He had a feeling that Sirius had sent her to try and cheer him up. It was a nice thing to do but James knew that Sirius had only done it because he didn't want him to be alone. Sirius always believed that if you were sad, you should never be by yourself. 'It will just make you sadder' he'd say.

James tickled Sox' head. Her feathers were extremely soft and her eyes closed slowly as her stroked her. It was a sign of liking. It was sweet.

'What did you do to her?' came a voice from James' right hand side.

James looked up and saw Severus Snape walking cautiously towards him with his wand outstretched. James wasn't alarmed as others would be in his situation. He knew he could take Severus if he wanted too. However, instead of taking his wand out and provoking a duel with the Slytherin half-wit, James just rolled his eyes in exasperation and looked away from Severus and out onto the Quidditch pitch. 'You know Snivellus,' James sighed, 'you're going to haveto stop stalking me or I'm going to have to say to you what I say to all the other little girls who follow me around.' he looked back to Severus with raised eyebrows, 'Stop it. It's creepy.'

'What did you do to her?' Severus asked again through gritted teeth, twisting his wrist round and angling his wand to James' face.

James looked at Severus' wand with exhausted derision. He looked at it as though it was nothing more than a toy and could do him no harm. Instead of answering him, he went back to stroking Sox.

Severus asked his question one more time, taking a step towards James as he did so. 'What did you do to her?'

'Hey she came of her own accord!' James said, 'And she's my owl anyway. Why do you care?'

'Not her!' Severus sneered, looking at the small owl as though she was diseased, 'Lily.'

'Lily?' James asked standing up and moving Sox over to the side railings which kept the spectators safe from falling down into the pitch.

'Yes Lily!' Severus spat in reply, 'What did you do to her?'

James turned to look at Severus with a curious look. He had just realised something. 'You like her don't you?' he questioned, attempting not to laugh at what he believed was a ridiculous idea. He could never see Lily, beautiful and kind, with Severus Snape, greasy haired, hooked nosed and an evil wanna-be death eater. It was an insane notion. 'Look mate,' James started, trying to hold back his mocking smile, 'If she won't go out with me, she definitely won't go out with you.'

Breathing deeply, Severus took another step towards James and raised his wand arm higher. 'What makes you so sure?' he hissed.

James laughed as if Severus was crazy for even asking this question. He shook his head. 'Well,' he started, 'for one…' James motioned down at his body, toned and handsome, tall and smart, which was the complete opposite of Severus', hunched and sickly thin, slightly shorter and scruffy. He nodded approvingly at himself with a smirk. 'And for another…' he continued, motioning at Severus with a look of disgust and a shake of his head.

Again, Severus took another step towards James. What he had said wasn't untrue. In way of looks, James beat Severus down pat. James was a very good looking lad. He was tall and handsome, with alluringly cool messy hair and glinting hazel brown eyes behind round glasses. He had a face full of laughter and wasn't ever without a good-natured smile for anyone who passed him by. And he was toned and muscular. Severus on the other hand was in opposition to James. He had greasy black hair which hung in curtains over his face and hard black eyes which looked dead inside. He had a hooked nose and a constant sneer for everyone, even those he was supposed to be friends with. And he was shorter than James with hunched shoulders. He looked out of place.

Severus exhaled furiously, his nostrils flaring as he looked at James with a malicious sneer of jealousy. He watched him pet his annoying little owl with his index finger. It kept hooting with joy. Annoying joy. Annoying Severus to the point where he just couldn't take that annoying bird anymore. Even animals seemed to like Potter better than him. Stupid little bird which kept hooting. Hooting. Annoying. Hooting.

Severus couldn't stand it anymore. 'Sectumsempra!' he yelled, throwing the curse he had invented at the innocent little owl.

As soon as James heard the words come out of Severus' mouth, he looked up at him and saw his wand pointed at Sox. He saw it in slow motion and, with a need to protect his beloved little owl, he threw his arm in front of her, scaring her in the process so she flew away, and taking the spell on his arm in place of her. Straight away, James' arms began to bleed frantically; just as Avery's whole body had done when Severus had placed this curse on him. It hurt. James had a pretty good threshold for pain but this really hurt and, for probably only around the third or fourth time in his life, James swore.

'Ah crap!' he said, shaking his arm and then, when the full extent of the pain set in, his robes becoming drenched in blood, he changed his words. 'Ah shit! This hurts! What the bloody heck do you think you're playing at?' he shouted at Severus, gripping his arm hard to try and stop the bleeding.

'WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?!' Severus shouted in return, now pointing his wand at James' chest, his hand shaking in complete anger.

'Look,' James started, fumbling in his robes for his wand with the arm that wasn't dripping in blood right now, 'I don't know what you're talking about and to be perfectly honest, I don't care, cause it's probably all in your head, so before I go and get Slughorn to sort this mess out, I'm gonna say this again; stop following me, it's creepy.' He found his wand, 'Accio broom.' he said, casting the spell into mid-air.

When he had finally, put his wand back in his robes, he saw his broom zooming along towards him. Not saying anything else to Severus who, in his opinion, was not worth the time of day, and using his one good arm, James swung himself agilely over the railing, into the Quidditch pitch and dropped a good ten feet onto his broom.

He flew away from the Quidditch pitch and towards the grand castle that was Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he went he heard Severus shout out to him one more time, 'WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?' but he just ignored him as his arm was in excruciating pain and he just needed to concentrate on flying to Slughorn's office in the dungeons without passing out from blood loss.

As he flew over the head of some of the students of Hogwarts, he caught their attention and, unfortunately, he also caught Professor McGonagall's.

'Mr Potter!' she said sternly, looking up to him and not noticing his bloody arm, (he was hiding it very well), 'No brooms in the school.'

'Sorry Professor!' James shouted as he passed her, making no attempt to stop and get off of his broom.

'Mr Potter, if you don't come down from there I'll have no choice but to give you detention.' she said, putting her hands on her hips and giving him an ultimatum.

'Fair enough!' James yelled back to her as he flew away, 'See you in detention then.' It was just another detention to him. He didn't care. Right now, all he wanted to do was get his arm healed by the one person whom he knew could do it; Professor Slughorn.

'So you're just going to be friends?'

'Yep.'

'And you're ok with that?'

'Yep.'

'Liar!'

'I'm not lying.' Lily said as she pulled her huge Hogwarts trunk from under her four poster bed, 'It's what he wants and it's what I want too.'

'You are such a liar!' Hestia said in disbelief. She was sat crossed legged on Lily's bed, watching her pull out her trunk to start packing five and a half weeks before they were actually due to leave Hogwarts for the summer. (It would take Lily that long to pack things 'properly'.)

'Will you stop calling me that please?' Lily said, annoyed.

'Well it's true!' Hestia said, 'I don't get you two at all. You like him, he likes you-'

'He doesn't'

'-why can't you just be together?' Hestia continued, talking over Lily. She grabbed Lily's pillow and hugged it to her chest, staring down at Lily. 'And I don't care what he said or what you think, he does still like you and I just don't see how you can keep dancing around the inevitable!'

'It's not inevitable Hestia.' Lily sighed. 'Can you pass me that book please?' she asked Hestia.

Hestia looked behind her and noticed Lily's book on her bedside table. She picked it up and handed it to he and Lily put it in the little box she kept in her trunk full of her favourite books from home. Inside it she had 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'The Go-Between', Erich Segal's 'Love Story' and about eight other books which added considerable weight to her luggage.

'It's just obviously not in the cards for us and I'd appreciate it if you wold just accept it.' Lily said, squashing the book Hestia had handed her into her box. 'I mean it was just a crush anyway. And I don't see why you care so much because it's not even your problem. Anyway, don't you have a boyfriend?'

'Yeees.' Hestia said, extending her vowels.

'And are you ever going to tell me who it is?' Lily asked her. She had finally fit the book in her little box and closed the lid putting it in the top left corner of her trunk. She then changed her mind and moved it down into the bottom left corner. Changing her mind again, she took the box out completely and started to pack away the shoes she wasn't going to use in the upcoming weeks. She was an extremely strange packer.

'Maybe if we're still together after the summer holidays.' Hestia said, passing Lily some flat blue shoes that were the other side of her bed. There was something in her tone that suggested maybe things weren't quite all that peachy. As if there was a chance they wouldn't be together by then.

'Thanks.' Lily said, taking the shoes and putting them in the corner of her trunk on top of her spare-spare pair of school shoes. 'Well you know what they say; absence makes the heart grow fonder!'

'Does that apply to you and James Potter?' Hestia asked suggestively.

'Noooo.' Lily replied, elongating her vowels just as Hestia had done before, 'And I thought we'd moved past this. It's getting tedious.'

'Tell me about it.' Hestia said, 'I have to listen to you pretending to swap and change your mind saying you like him, you're over it, you like him again. Seriously,' Hestia continued handing Lily another pair of shoes, 'It's like an on-and-off-again relationship with no relationship!'

'So you're not going to tell me who you're dating then?' Lily said, returning to her chosen topic of conversation with her best friend. She was fed up of what Hestia wanted to talk about.

Hestia thought about it for a moment before deciding that she would tell her. 'Alright.' she said with a smile, moving forwards on Lily's bed and leaning forwards excitedly. 'He's a Hufflepuff and he's really sweet.'

'Well that's a given being from Hufflepuff.' Lily said, rolling her eyes and unpacking the shoes she had just packed away neatly in her trunk. 'What's his name?' she continued.

'Matthew Davies.' Hestia grinned shyly, 'He's the beater on their Quidditch team. For our first date he took me to the Quidditch shop in Hogsmeade and bought me a broom grooming kit. Well…kind of. We went halves.'

'That's still sweet.' Lily said with a questioning tone. She wasn't too sure of what Hestia wanted from her. At the beginning of her first date story, Hestia had seemed very gooey and misty-eyed but by the end something had changed. Lily couldn't quite put her finger on it. All she knew is she didn't want to know what her best friend would be like if the romantic in her was crushed.

'Yeah. Anyway.' Hestia continued, bouncing back and smiling again as she absentmindedly watched Lily repack her book box into her trunk, 'The best thing is, he's a seventh year.'

Lily stopped packing and looked up. She blinked a couple of times in annoyed shock and slowly shook her head at her best friend.

'What?' she asked, 'He's a seventh year? So you weren't going to introduce me to him until after the summer holidays in case the relationship wouldn't last all the while knowing that when we came back from the summer holidays you wouldn't actually be able to introduce us as he would have left the school already?'

Hestia thought for a second. She nodded. 'Yeah!'

Remus, Sirius and Peter had been sat in the common room for two hours now. Remus had been studying and attempting to get Sirius to do the same. He didn't succeed. Sirius, instead of studying for their exams which were hovering over them like an impending black cloud, sat attempting to balance a teaspoon on his nose.

Remus tried to ignore him. If Sirius wasn't going to study then that was his decision, but Remus was determined not to let him distract him from his studies. He actually cared about getting a good mark in the end of year exams. They were a good indicator of what they could achieve in their N.E.W.T's the following year. Even if Sirius didn't want to have a rough guideline of what he might get, Remus did and Peter did too. (He was sat studying next to Sirius) Unfortunately for Remus, the annoyance of Sirius in his peripheral vision was too much to handle and he had to stop.

'Will you please stop doing that?' Remus begged Sirius, turning his care of magical creature's book over in annoyance, 'It's very distracting!'

'Good!' Sirius said. As soon as he spoke though, he regretted it as his spoon fell off of his nose. 'Ah man!'

'You're such a child.' Remus muttered under his breath, turning his care of magical creature's book over again to carry on studying.

They were quiet again for a few more minutes. Sirius once again placed his teaspoon on his nose, going cross-eyed as he looked at it, concentrating with all his might on balancing the tiny metal object as long as he could. Remus continued to read his book, every so often writing notes on the section he was studying and every so often throwing an annoyed glance at Sirius accompanied with a throaty sigh. Peter also continued to read his care of magical creature's book. However, unlike Remus, he wasn't throwing dirty looks at Sirius. Instead, he was peering over Remus' notes looking extremely confused, upset and rather pathetic.

'I've forgotten everything!' he whimpered to Remus, putting his head in his hands.

'Didn't know you knew anything Wormy!' Sirius mocked, his spoon falling off of his nose again as he spoke. 'Ah man!' he said, picking the spoon back up and, for the third time that evening, rebalanced the spoon on his nose.

'Ignore him.' Remus said, taking Peter's book away from him and closing it, 'I bet you know more than you think you do. I'll test you. What's a Crup?'

'A wizard bred dog.' Sirius said, answering for Peter, the teaspoon falling off of his nose one more time.

'Let him answer!' Remus reprimanded, looking at Sirius with wide warning eyes.

Sirius didn't answer him. He didn't like being told off by Remus. So, instead of answering, Sirius scowled at Remus through narrowed eyes and, extremely accurately, threw his spoon at his head.

Remus wasn't fazed when it hit him and went on to ask Peter another question about the subject that only they shared. 'What's a…Porlock?'

Peter paused. His eyes darted back and forth, left to right, his little mind working hard to try and find the answer. Little lines started to form between his eyebrows as no answer came to him.

'We did this on Thursday.' Remus said with one raised eyebrow, not believing that this was taking Peter so long.

Still nothing came to Peter and he looked at Remus, pleading for the answer.

'A horse guardian.' Remus stated, sighing and shaking his head.

'I knew that!' Sirius boasted.

Remus fumbled around on the floor for the spoon Sirius had just thrown at him. When he found it, he lobbed it back at Sirius, hitting him on the shoulder. Sirius just laughed at the childishness, happy that he was two for two on some Care of Magical Creature's questions, a subject he had never taken in his life. It felt good to know things and never learn them. It was what he did every year at Hogwarts and his main reason for vowing not to study. Why should he study when he knew the stuff anyway?

'Alright.' Remus breathed, calming himself down as the combined efforts of coping with Sirius, trying to help Peter study and studying himself was getting him rather stressed. 'Let's try something simple.' he said to Peter, 'What creatures are combined to make a Hippogriff?'

Peter didn't answer.

'Sirius is right! You know nothing!' Remus said, frustrated. He threw Peter's book back to him and tried once more to get on with his own studying but something else distracted him. Something he wasn't expecting.

The portrait hole swung open and James walked in quickly, walking straight past his friends who noticed him, but whom he did not notice. His school robe was folded over his shoulder and the sleeve of his white shirt on his left arm was torn and rolled halfway up his forearm. He was attempting to roll it down when Sirius, Remus and Peter saw it.

The three boys looked at each other with curiosity and suspicion as James disappeared up the spiral staircase to the boy's dormitories.

Remus was the first to voice their witness. 'Was that…blood?' he asked.

The group paused for two seconds before making a mad scramble to get up and see what was up with James. Why had he disappeared earlier looking thoroughly depressed? And why had he returned with blood all over his shirt?

Thanks for reading!

Galindaba

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