Five Minutes

Chapter 73

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 readers! Well I'm back from my lovely holiday, (thanks for wishing me well), and back to give you the next part of the story. Before I do though I'd like to thank everyone for their support and reviews and just answer a few question that have been asked. :)

Laura - I'm gonna go right through to the night they are killed by Voldemort hopefully, just not all in this story. I have it all planned out and, if I'm brave enough, I'm gonna do it in a trilogy. This story goes to the end of their years at Hogwarts. The next story, (which I'm thinking of calling Seven Moments), picks up where this one leaves off and runs to the day they get married and then the final one will go to the end. I hope that's what you wanted to hear and if you stuck with me through them all I'd be very honored.

cflat - With Harry visiting the Potter mansion, well, it's intrigued me. :) I am thinking about doing this now, (it's been plauging my mind since I read your review!), and I think I have a way to write it but because of how I've planned everything for the next story I want to write, I'm not sure how to do it at the minute. So leave it with me and I'll try my hardest to figure it out and write it for you :)

Awesomeme - I'm so glad you like Severus! I wasn't sure if I was doing him justice because of the way J.K wrote him in the books. My only problem is, when his story ends in this one, I don't have many ideas on how to keep him going. I am still writing him into some of the upcoming chapters and I hope that you like the stuff I've done but I am really sorry if he doesn't crop up as much. So even though it wasn't a question asked I just felt I needed to tell you that.

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed! I love when people review! :) It's like a little party on my computer everytime I get an email notifying me of them.

Anyway, here's chapter Seventy-Three!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Seventy -Three

James stayed in the Transfiguration room after Lily had left for a good twenty minutes, thinking things through. The argument was raging in his head and it had been for a good few weeks or more before now. However, he had only just reached a decision, a decision he had to admit he felt rather selfish in making. But he just couldn't lose her, he couldn't lose Lily. He didn't think he could stand it. He couldn't bear the thought of it. He loved her so much. Admittedly he had yet to tell her this but he did. It was undeniable now. And, as he was at this stage, he needed to tell her or he might lose her. But before he could tell her anything though, he needed to talk it over with his friends. Because, at the end of the day, he could want to tell her, he could try to tell her, but if his friends didn't allow him to do so, he knew he wouldn't be able to go through with it. Because if it came down to it, if it came down to choosing between keeping this secret for his friends, (not because he wanted to), or telling Lily their collective secret without their permission, he would never be able to live with the guilt of doing the latter. His friends had been with him through everything and betraying them now would be an injustice, an insult towards them. More than anything James believed in friendship. And, not even for Lily, could he go against them. Still, he had made a decision.

Taking a deep breath, James walked out of the Transfiguration room, heading up to his dormitory where he knew his friends would be. There was only one thing he could do now and that was to ask Remus' permission to tell Lily the truth. If Remus didn't want him to tell then he wouldn't, but James couldn't live with himself if he didn't try. If he and Lily broke up now and he knew he hadn't done all he could to salvage the relationship, he would never forgive himself. If he had asked and Remus had said no and he and Lily broke up, then at least he would have the comfort of knowing that that would have been the only possible way it could end. He wouldn't be constantly imagining different endings to their story. He would know it was final. And he would force himself to be ok with that. If Remus didn't want James to share his secret with her, he would never hold it against him. He knew his reasons. He would accept them and try his hardest to move on. Even though he loved Lily, he had made Remus a promise a long time ago and he was damned if he was going to break it now. Unless he was allowed to. And it was selfish to ask he knew. But he had to. Especially after the thinly veiled threat that Lily had just made.

He entered the common room, climbing through the portrait hole, and headed straight to his dormitory. Anyone could have been in that common room. Lily could have been in there and he wouldn't have noticed. For he had purpose and, whilst he had the confidence and motivation to face his friends, he needed to roll with it. Otherwise, he was sure, he would wimp out and things would just end. And in the days that followed, he knew he couldn't handle that.

Before he entered his dormitory, he stopped outside the door and took another deep breath. He was about to be the most selfish person in the world and he needed to prepare himself for the backlash that he expected. He was going to ask his friends to risk everything, to put everything on the line, just to give him a chance to be happy. To be happy with Lily. To have a future. So he took a deep breath before he opened the door and when he entered the room, he realised how much he had needed it.

Remus was sat on the edge of his bed, reading a book, obviously awaiting James' arrival for they had planned to go out to Hogsmeade that night. Peter was also sat on Remus' bed, looking over the notes he had made for their shared subject, care of magical creatures. Sirius was in the bathroom, getting ready to leave, making sure his hair was just so. He was a girl in that way and Remus and James constantly made fun of him for it. If James hadn't had other things on his mind, the first thing he would have said as he entered to room, would have been a mocking jibe against his best friend. But as it was, that was not the first think out of his mouth.

'Hey.' Remus said in a short greeting, briefly glancing up at James and alerting the other two marauders to his presence.

Peter waved at him whilst Sirius shouted with a cocky smile in his voice, 'I'm gonna get some pretty girls tonight Prongs!' through the open bathroom door.

James ignored them both and focused on Remus. 'Remus I need to ask your permission for something.' he said simply, approaching him, stopping only a few yards in front of him and nervously shoving his hands in his pockets.

Remus looked back up and James and saw his stance was not the confident arrogant poise that he usually had. And from the look on James' face, Remus knew what was coming. He had been expecting it for a while now. And now was apparently the time to make the decision. 'You want to tell Lily about me. About Moony Wormtail Padfoot and Prongs and who we really are.' Remus stated.

James began to frown slightly. 'How did you-'

'What else would you need my permission for?' Remus replied with a half sighing laugh. He closed his book and studied James' face, trying to search for the reason behind it, though he already sort of knew. Still, he looked at James' face, a desperate plea in his eyes and formed his decision. But Sirius cut in.

'You can't tell her Prongs.' he said, walking out of the bathroom and wiping his face with a towel.

'Why not?' James asked Sirius, really just needing to know the answer. However, his words sounded stubborn. He sounded as if he was a spoilt child who had just been refused his own way.

'It's got nothing to do with her.' Sirius clarified with a small shrug.

'She's my girlfriend.' James said, 'It's got everything to do with her.'

'No it doesn't.' Sirius said with a shake of his head. 'Look mate,' he began again, throwing his towel across the room at Peter, landing on, and covering, his head, 'I'm really happy for you and everything and don't try to turn this round into a thing where I don't like Evans cause I do. You just can't tell her.'

James paused and looked down at his feet, his hands still in his pockets. 'She needs to know.' he said quietly.

'No she doesn't.' Sirius objected, 'She doesn't come first. Keeping this secret, protecting Remus does. That's our main priority.'

'I can't keep lying to her.' James whispered, his voice sounding as if he was actually in physical pain.

'You're gonna have to.' Sirius said bluntly, 'What if she reacts badly to it and tells people about Remus. You want to put him through that?'

'She'd never tell.' James replied adamantly, looking up now, 'I trust her.'

'That's all very well but this isn't your decision.' Sirius said. 'This affects us all.' He went on gesturing around to Remus and Peter now, bringing James' attention back to them.

James looked at Peter. Peter avoided his eyes and instead looked at his fingers. James looked at Remus. Remus looked back at him. There was no readable expression on his face. James couldn't tell whether he had made up his mind yet or not, whether he agreed with Sirius or not. He just looked thoughtful.

'We could go to Azkaban for what we've done.' Sirius went on, 'This is serious.'

'I know it is and if I thought that any of that would happen do you think I'd even consider asking permission to tell her?' James asked, hurt that Sirius, his best friend, would think that he would put them all at risk like this if he wasn't certain about it. He knew the risks. He could go to Azkaban too. And he and Sirius had always talked about hating the idea of the wizarding prison. They knew it would drive them mad. So how could Sirius think that he would even ask permission to tell Lily their secret if he had any doubt in his mind about her?

There was asilence in the room. James could tell that Sirius was becoming frustrated. Remus could tell. Peter could tell. Peter gained confidence. He knew the side to be on.

'James it's not that we don't like Lily but-' he began quietly and rather measuredly before Sirius cut him off, coming to the end of his rather short tether.

'Let's face it you're not gonna be in this relationship with her forever.' Sirius blurted out suddenly, interrupting Peter mid-sentence.

James paused, taken aback by this because he knew, in his heart of hearts, that he could be with no one else but Lily. He had known it from third year. And he would be damned if his friends couldn't see that. 'What's that supposed to mean?' he asked Sirius with a slight frown.

'Come on she's your first girlfriend.' Sirius explained as if the point was obvious, 'She's not gonna be your last.'

'I hope she is.' James replied.

'Look I know your infatuated with her,' Sirius began, still not understanding the word properly but using it anyway to make his point, 'but it's not like you're gonna marry her. When you meet the girl you're gonna marry you can tell her. Not Lily.'

'How do you know Lily's not the girl I'm gonna marry?' James argued, unable to help himself picturing Lily in a white dress.

'Again, first girlfriend.' Sirius pointed out, shattering James' vision. 'Trust me.' he said with a slight derisive laugh, 'I've had loads of girlfriends.'

'And you've never felt about any of them the way I feel about Lily.' James replied, rather loudly, 'And I doubt you ever will.'

Sirius sighed and rolled his eyes. 'It's an infatuation.'

'I'm not infatuated with her I'm in love with her.' James stated, confessing how he felt about her for the first time out loud. It sounded odd to hear it out loud but it also sounded right. And Remus' suspicions were confirmed. 'I'm in love with her.' James repeated, returning to a normal volume, 'And I hope to be with her as long as possible.'

Sirius shook his head a fraction, trying to get it right in his head. His best friend was in love. It seemed too unbelievable, especially as James and Lily's relationship was, in many ways, purely platonic. They hadn't done anything. Sirius couldn't quite understand it. 'How can you be in love with her?' he asked dismissively, 'You haven't even slept with her yet'

'That's not what love is Sirius.' James said in return, his jaw tense at his best friend's complete and total disregard at what loving someone actually meant. It didn't have to be physical. It just had to be.

Sirius scoffed. 'And I suppose you're an expert in it cause you believe-'

'I don't believe I know!' James cut in, a little angry now, his voice slightly raised.

James and Sirius were about to get into a fight, an argument. They had only had a few throughout their friendship. This would have probably been the fifth. But Remus entered as the voice of reason but, mostly, at the voice of decision.

'Do you trust her?' he suddenly asked James.

James paused and looked towards Remus. So did Sirius. So did Peter.

'Yes.' James replied.

Remus looked at James, studying his face to ensure he was telling the truth. Peter and Sirius looked at Remus, as did James, awaiting his decision because, inevitably, the choice was his to make.

'And you love her?' Remus continued in his line of questioning.

'With all my heart.' James said, such an honest conviction in his voice which meant that there could really be only one answer to his request.

'Then you need to tell her.' Remus said.

Sirius sighed and tried to fight the decision, 'Remus-'

'He needs to tell her Sirius.' Remus said, making it clear that the choice was final. This was what was happening now. Remus continued to look at James. 'She needs to know and if he really wants this to last as long as possible, he needs to know too. He has to tell her. And we have to let him.'

Lily was sat in the common room with Hestia, actually regretting threatening to break up with James if he didn't tell her his secret. It was childish of her and cruel of her to play with his emotions like that. There really was no need for it. But Lily was stubborn and even though she could see the wrong she had done, she knew she would find it hard to actually apologise to James for putting him in this situation. She had basically given him an ultimatum and Lily didn't like ultimatums. Fortunately for Lily though, she wouldn't have to apologise because James had had the courage to make his choice. He had made it straight away and when he strode up to Lily in the common room, she could tell he had purpose.

'Lily can I talk to you please.' he asked her with no hesitation.

His abruptness and seriousness frightened her a little. Yes she had wanted to know his secret and she had thought it would be big, but the way he had just spoken made her think his secret was bigger than she had expected. And worse. 'Ok.' Lily said, unmoving.

James looked at Hestia. She looked curious. Lily had obviously told her that she suspected he had been keeping something from her. But that was nothing to worry about really. James would just have to get Lily in private. 'Not here.' he said offering her his hand so that she could go with him. He knew the perfect place to explain it all. It would put everything into perspective and help with his explanation. But Lily didn't take his hand.

She looked at him, now reluctant to hear this secret. She had no idea what it would be but the serious expression on his face concerned her. Surely it couldn't be all that bad. Could it? There was only one way to find out and her curiosity had once again gotten the better of her. She stood up but she didn't take his hand.

James let his hand drop and he sighed. 'Follow me.' he said, leading the way out of the common room.

Lily followed him, thinking he would just be taking her to a private classroom somewhere but he didn't. He took the biggest detour he could possibly imagine, she was sure, just to make sure that no one, (namely Hestia), wasn't following them. Lily always walked a few paces behind him and noticed how he kept nervously looking over his shoulder at her. This wasn't in character for James. She had only seen him break character once before and that was when she had gone round to his in the Christmas holidays. However, then, he had snapped back into it instantly. Now he was worrying her. Yes his arrogance, cockiness and 'look at me aren't I brilliant' attitude did annoy her still but she wouldn't want him any other way. Because with all that came a sweet, caring, trustworthy, private person who she didn't want to give up for the world. She couldn't see any of that now. All she could see was nerves.

They reached the entrance hall and Lily had to ask, 'Where are we going?' but James didn't answer her. He led her outside and across the grounds. Summer was setting in now so, despite the late hour, it was still relatively light outside. The sun was setting, creating a lovely pink glow across the horizon and, if Lily hadn't been so concerned about what was happening, where she was going and what James was going to tell her, she probably would have stopped to admire it. She would have probably stopped to wonder about the day becoming longer. What she didn't know was that her night would be longer still.

James motioned for Lily to stop and she did so. He looked at her for a couple seconds longer than necessary. She looked curious. And suspicious. James went to the edge of the forbidden forest, where they were standing, and went in a little ways. He disappeared for a minute before reappearing with a long stick.

Lily raised her eyebrows. What the hell was he doing with that? Her question was answered when he approached the whomping willow, the trees limbs flying out brutally. The tree could take someone's eye out and had almost done so previously. Lily would have told James to be careful but he looked so purposeful, she assumed he knew what he was doing. And he did. She watched him as he pressed a knot at the base of the trees trunk and the tree froze. She gasped slightly and breathed heavily, becoming extremely nervous about what was about to happen. She didn't know. And it scared her slightly. However, she assumed that, if she was with James, she would be safe. So when he beckoned her over to him, she went straight away, no holding back. She still had no idea what the hell was going on the or where the heck she was going. She just did as she was asked.

James let her go first down the whomping willows tunnel, cautioning her to mind her head as she went and informing her that the passage was very muddy. They went through the passage and didn't say a word to each other. They came to the incline quickly and came into the run down shack at the edge of the picturesque village of Hogsmeade.

Lily looked about her as they entered the building. There were broken bits of furniture everywhere. The walked through a decaying door into a badly ruined room. The bed in the corner, rotting and ridden with termites, had torn pillows on it, feathers strewn across the floor. There were holes in the walls and great big chunks taken out of the table legs and chairs that sat in the room. There were scratch marks everywhere which looked as if they were from an animal. And lastly, there were splodges and pools of dried blood stained into the wood of the structure. Lily wasn't ashamed to admit that being in this room scared her a little. It set her teeth on edge. Why had James brought her here? Where had he brought her?

'Where are we?' she asked him, glancing over her shoulder slightly and seeing how close he was behind her. She could feel his breath on her neck.

'The shrieking shack.' James said simply.

'What?' Lily said, unable to believe it, beginning to turn around, still scanning her newfound surroundings. 'What's going on?'

Before Lily knew what was happening, James crushed his lips down on hers. His mouth moved hungrily over hers, relishing her taste, every moment of it and it wasn't long until his tongue was pushing on her bottom lip, searching desperately for entry into her mouth which Lily couldn't help but grant. He kissed her ravenously, savouring her, revering her as if it was the last time he would ever get to kiss her and she kissed him back, trying her hardest to match the passion he was showing. He was pulling her tightly into him, holding her as close as humanly possible. His hands ran up to and round her waist from her hip and round to the small of her back. They ran into her hair, brushing through it because he loved it so much. His pushed her lips closer to his and deepened their kiss as much as he could until finally, he brought one hand to her cheek and reluctantly pulled away from her.

Lily breathed deeply for a few seconds for he had quite literally taken her breath away with that kiss. He looked more serious than ever now. 'What was that for?' she wondered nervously.

James paused and looked into her eyes. He reached out and tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear, holding her cheek in his palm as he said, 'Just in case.' for James knew what would happen if Lily reacted badly to this. He knew that, right now, could be the last moment they had together as a couple. They might not be one much longer.

'James you're scaring me.' Lily confessed, 'Just tell me what's going on.'

James continued to look into her eyes, taking a picture in his head. He took his hand away from her face and forced himself to take a step back. He looked at her one last time. 'Ok.' he said. He dropped his gaze and began to explain.

'When Remus was little, his father severely ticked off a werewolf named Fenrir Greyback.' he began, diving into it from the beginning for he knew that would be the only way she would understand why he had done what he had done, 'To get back at him, Greyback infected Remus and now, every month at the full moon, Remus has to come down here to transform. He's a werewolf Lily. He never asked to be, he doesn't want to be but it's what he is and he can't do anything about it. He doesn't tell people because of the stigma attached to his condition. But it doesn't change who he is.' James paused and looked back at Lily, studying her eyes as he asked her, 'Do you understand that?' to ensure she had taken everything in so far. That it was all right to continue on.

'Mmm.' was all Lily said. She had taken an unconscious step backwards from him.

'But that's not all.' James continued, tearing his gaze from her again, 'You see, when Remus comes down here he had no one to infect. So he gets frustrated and he used to take it out on himself. He bit himself and scratched and scarred and attacked himself. He made himself weaker and it took him longer to recover. And we hated seeing him like that. So me, Sirius and Peter decided to do what we could to help him. We worked tirelessly through our fourth year to try and find a way to help him. We did some research and…there was only one thing we could do.'

Lily froze and her eyes widened. What the hell had he done? What…

'Now, I'm not gonna lie, we are proud of what we've done because we did it to help a friend who really needed us.' James said truthfully, 'But it's bad. We shouldn't have done it but we couldn't just sit by and watch him hurt himself anymore.'

'Most…' Lily began with a gulp, knowing that what he had done, whatever it was, was a lot bigger and a lot more serious than the cruel tricks he used to play on people, the bullying or the pranks. But she tried to convince herself otherwise. '…most the stuff you do…is bad…' she stammered on.

'No.' James said simply, shaking his head. He looked as though he was in pain as he said this because he knew he was disappointing her. He was letting her down. And he hated it. But he hated lying to her even more. 'This is worse. This is illegal Lily. What we've done, what we do is illegal.'

Lily's bottom lip and chin was quivering. No. He couldn't have broken the law. There were tears forming in her eyes. Confused, angry, disappointed, scared tears. He had broken the law. He could go to Azkaban. He had broken the law. He was a criminal. She could cry. But she held it in, and held her breath as she listened to his offence.

'I'm an Animagus Lily.' James announced, looking at her once more to measure her reaction as he went on, 'So is Sirius and so is Peter. We taught ourselves how to do it in fourth year. We mastered it in our fifth. Now, every month since fifth year we sneak down here so that we can keep Remus company whilst he's transformed. When we're with him, he doesn't attack himself and he starts to become…he remembers who he is inside. We allow him to be himself. We let him run around. We take him over the cliff face behind the village and into the forest below it and we give him the space he needs. Then when the full moon is over, because we've been with him, he can recover quickly and go back to being Remus again.'

James paused.

'We did it to help him Lily.'

He paused again.

'Do you understand?' he asked her searchingly.

Lily was shaking her head slowly in denial. She couldn't believe it. It took a fully trained wizard to master an Animagus transformation and there were only a select handful who could do it. And a handful literally was a handful. From what she could remember there were only around half a dozen Animagi on record, one of which was their Transfiguration teacher and head of house; Professor McGonagall. She had explained to them how difficult the change was. She had said not many dared attempt it because practicing it was brutal and sometimes, if done incorrectly, painful. You had to have a special licence, pass a test because of how dangerous it was. It was more dangerous than apparition. You were literally changing your body, your organs, and your bone structure. If something went wrong you would be in excruciating pain, Lily was sure. And they had taught themselves. They couldn't have known how to do it properly. They could have really injured themselves and Lily couldn't help but wonder if what James was telling her wasn't actually true because there was no way she could believe that three fourth years, including Peter Pettigrew, a transfiguration dummy, had been able to master it without killing themselves in the process. Fully grown wizards couldn't do it. They couldn't either. Could they?

'I…I can't…' Lily stuttered, 'I'm sorry…I don't believe you.' she finished, looking back to James with a small disbelieving frown.

'I can show you.' James said.

And without another word James transformed into his Animagus state; a stag. A brilliant stag which made Lily withdraw from him slightly again and put her hand over her mouth to cover her shock. Her breath had caught in her throat and she couldn't retrieve it, not even when Prongs disappeared and James was once again the one in front of her.

After a good five minutes, Lily spoke again. 'I don't know what to say.' she said honestly before she found the words. They weren't words of judgement against Remus or they boys. They were words of concern for James. For his safety. 'How could you do this?' she asked, wondering how he could care so little for his life, 'It's so dangerous.'

'I know.' James agreed, 'But Remus needed our help.'

'You could be hurt.' Lily said with yet another shake of her head.

'We know.' James said, perhaps a little harshly. But what Lily was saying, he already knew. 'And I can't say that's not happened before. There has been the odd occasion where we've lost control of Remus and one of us has had to take the brunt of it. Worst that happens though is we have to take a couple of weeks off school. But we don't care because at the end of the day, if what we do helps Remus get back to himself, then we have to do it.'

Lily stood looking at him and he her. She didn't know anymore. He had such little regard for his life. Such a precious life and he willingly risked it. Every month. She knew it was for a friend. But for her, maybe this was just too much. If he didn't care for his life, how could she? She began to fidget with her hands and looked down at them. She took on a tone of voice she thought she would never have to use for him. Ever. 'James I-'

'No.' James cut her off, hearing the tone she had taken on and wanting to hear no more of what she was about to say. 'No. No, don't say anything. I know this is a lot for you to process and I realise that this might be the limit for you.'

Lily continued to look down. James knew what she was trying to do and that made it harder. Still, she continued. 'You broke the law.' she went on, 'I can't-'

'Lily please.' James begged her, interrupting her once again. He didn't want to hear her say anything else. He couldn't hear her break up with him. He couldn't go through it. He loved her too much. 'Don't say anything yet.' he said, now averting his eyes from hers as she had looked up. He wanted more time. He bargained for it. He told her the truth. Or part of it at least.

'Don't…don't tell me what you're thinking. Just…take some time.' he requested of her, telling her straight, 'Take some time and think about whether you can still be with me. Think it over. Don't tell me that you…' he paused. He ran a hand through his hair. He was going to say don't tell me that you don't love me. But he couldn't. They had never told each other that they felt that way. He wasn't even sure if she did love him. But he loved her. At this point in time though, he couldn't tell her. The timing was wrong and, if he did tell her, it would be a form of emotional black mail and that was something he didn't want to do. So he simply said, 'Don't tell me until you're certain. Don't tell me now. I don't think I could handle it.'

Lily looked at James for a couple more seconds, waiting for him to look up. He didn't. And she couldn't deny his request for more time. After all, she did want it too. She didn't want things to end even though, at this particular moment in time, she felt that that was the only direction things could go. Perhaps if she thought about it, she may feel differently. But she just didn't know if she could cope with the fact that he had broken the law. So she would go away and think about it. Think if she could accept this.

She began to leave but as she walked past him, she felt him gently take her wrist. She looked at him. He was looking down, still averting his eyes from hers as he spoke.

'One more thing.' he said, thinking of his promise to Sirius, thinking of the one condition that he was allowed to tell her by. It was all they had asked and so, he had to lay out the rules for this secret. 'You can't tell anyone.' he instructed, 'You don't realise what this could do to Remus. And we could go to Azkaban. This is serious. Don't tell anyone. Please?'

Lily looked down at James' hand on her wrist. 'Ok.' she said. And then she left.

It took James twenty minutes to gather the strength to leave the shrieking shack and return to the common room where Sirius, Remus and Peter sat waiting in the comfy chairs around the fireplace. When he got there the common room was practically empty apart from a couple of second years in the corner. It was half past ten. People would have gone to bed for an early night or else, they were still out over curfew. And they could get away with it tonight because he and Lily had never finished the patrol rota. There were no prefects out. He didn't know where Lily had gone.

'You tell her?' Sirius asked as James approached them.

'Yeah.' James said. His voice was expressionless. He sat down in an armchair, just as Remus was. Sirius was lounging across the sofa. Peter was sat on the floor.

'And?' Remus asked.

James paused and looked at his hands. 'I don't know.' he said.

Hestia entered the common room and the first thing she noticed was that James Potter was back in the common room. That could mean only one thing; Lily was back too. She headed up to their dormitory to find her. The boys didn't see her pass them and she didn't bother to say hello to them as she walked by. She just wanted to find Lily and, as her gossiping nature was nagging at her, find out if James Potter had told her his secret. The one her best friend had suspected he had been keeping from him. She found Lily sat crossed legged on her own bed, staring down at the quilt cover and drawing circles on it. She was frowning. Thinking.

'Hey Lily.' Hestia said, walking into the room and leaving the door open behind her.

Lily didn't answer her. She didn't hear her really. She was just too consumed in her own world to notice she was beingspoken too or that there was someone else in the room with her. She was too busy trying to get to grips on what she had learnt. But not just that. She was trying to understand how she hadn't discovered certain thongs before. Why she hadn't noticed.

'Lily?' Hestia questioned, 'Are you ok?'

'I don't… understand…' Lily murmured to herself. She had been talking to herself, mumbling along for the past twenty minutes. She was still unaware that Hestia had entered the room.

'Did Potter tell you his secret?' Hestia asked, putting her bag gently down on her bag, still looking curiously at Lily.

'How didn't I see it?' Lily continued on.

'See what?' Hestia asked, confused. Was Lily talking to her or not?

'I should've have known.' Lily muttered, gripping her bed sheets in annoyance at herself, 'Even more so since I took over being head girl. I should have noticed.'

'Lily?' Hestia questioned cautiously.

'All the signs were there.'

'Are you even listening to me?' Hestia wondered, taking a brief step towards Lily and gripping the post of her four poster bed, taking it as some kind of assurance in the situation. 'Has Potter told you his secret?' she pressed on cautiously.

'It's wrong.' Lily said more boldly than before but she still hadn't registered Hestia's presence, 'He shouldn't risk his life like that.'

'Risk his life?' Hestia said getting increasingly frustrated by Lily's ignorance, 'What are you on about?'

'I know it's to help.' Lily said, retreating back into herself, not knowing how crazy she looked or sounded just sat their talking to herself, beginning to rock back and forth. 'I know…I just can't believe I didn't see it…we've studied it…how did I not get it then? It should've been easy to spot. I knew Severus had suspicions ages ago but I brushed them off. It was just too unbelievable. Remus seems so sweet. How can he be…? How did he cover up…? Why didn't I see…? A werewolf. Why didn't I see it?' she suddenly clicked into the presence of another person in the room with her. 'Am I that self-centred not to notice?' she asked Hestia, looking up at her. But it was too late. Hestia had gone.

'Hestia?' Lily repeated, wondering where on earth she had disappeared to. Had she imagined her there whilst she was talking to herself, whilst she was confessing her feelings towards James' secret. James and Remus' secret. Remus…

'Hestia?' Lily repeated worriedly in realisation. 'No!' she gasped, hurriedly jumping off of her bed, rushing to the door and running down the spiral staircase after her best friend.

She made it to the common room, almost catching up with Hestia. But she wasn't quick enough because when she arrived in the circular room, Hestia was already marching up to Remus Lupin and the marauders, all completely unaware of what was about to go down. They wouldn't be for long though.

'You!' Hestia shouted at Remus, striding up to him with a temper.

The boys looked up at her. They continued to look at her. All but James. When James saw her coming he looked behind her at Lily.

'How could you put us all at risk like this?' Hestia yelled.

James stood up straight away and walked over to the second years that were in the common room also, looking rather scared at Hestia's temper. 'Get out.' he ordered, 'Now. Don't let anyone in until I say so.'

They quickly scarpered. It was now only the six of them in the room. Remus sat in a chair looking up at Hestia solemnly, ready to take whatever she gave to him. He was used to it. Hestia towering over Remus, red in the face and angry beyond all belief. Peter cowering down on the floor next to the table. Sirius staring at Hestia, his eyes aflame, a protective glaze over them. Lily stood at the bottom of the girls staircase looking shocked at Hestia in front of her, but mostly shocked at herself. And James. James stood where the second years had just scarpered from looking, not at Hestia or Remus or Sirius, but at Lily. Disappointed.

'You vile, ignorant, horrible monstrous person.' Hestia spat at Remus, 'You low-life, evil, disgusting-'

'THAT'S ENOUGH!'

Everybody looked around in shock. James had been able to tear his eyes away from Lily for a brief second long enough to look shocked too for Sirius had stood up.

'How dare you?' he said, 'How dare you judge him like that? You've known him for seven years. Seven years of knowing him as one of the kindest most trust-worthy people in this house. Then you hear one little fact about him and you change your mind? How dare you!'

Hestia looked just as shocked as the rest of them that it was Sirius to come to Remus' aid instead of James. Still, she managed words to find enough to say, 'You know what he is!'

'Yeah I do but unlike you I don't focus on that, I look for the person inside.' Sirius told her, 'It's who he is every day of the year that counts not what he's forced to be three nights of the bloody month!'

Hestia glared at him. She glared around at the other two marauders too. She glared at Peter and made him cower even more. She glared at James who looked at her, looked back to Lily, then looked at the floor. She breathed heavily before having another go at them. 'You lot are as bad as him!' she yelled, casually throwing her finger to point at Remus as if he was some small insignificant fly, 'Knowing and doing nothing about it! Putting us all in danger-'

'Bullshit!' Sirius scoffed, 'You were never in danger! Remus wouldn't hurt a fly!'

'He's a werewolf!' Hestia snarled unbecomingly.

'You don't think we know?' Sirius asked with a derisive and disbelieving laugh, 'Believe me, if it wasn't clear to us before, after your bloody display it'd be hard not to suspect.. But you see, the difference between you and us three, is that we don't judge him based on one tiny insignificant detail that he has no power over. We aren't as superficial as you are Jones!'

'I am not super-'

'Yeah you are.' Sirius cut in. He had been at a small distance before but now he stepped up to her and whispered to her, deathly quiet yet still audible in the shock still room, 'You are a superficial bitch with your judgement and your gossip and your painted nails. He is more real and kind and just an all round better person than you will ever be and and if I find out you've told anyone about Remus, if I catch even the slightest whiff that you've been gossiping about this, you won't be worried about being attacked by a werewolf. That will be the least of your worries because I will make your life a living hell. And don't think I won't!' he threatened before motioning to the other marauders, mostly Remus though who he just wanted to get out of there. He knew he would start to think the things Hestia had said true of himself.

When Remus didn't move, Sirius took him by the shoulder and led him up saying, 'Come on Remus.'

Sirius and Remus, followed by Peter walked over to the spiral staircase and up to their dormitory. Hestia stormed off in the opposite direction up to her own dormitory leaving James and Lily alone.

James looked at Lily with a desperate but disappointed questioning look of why. Why? Lily looked back apologetically. But it wasn't enough for James. With a sigh, his hands in his pockets and his head down, he went on after his friends, not looking Lily in the eyes anymore.

'James?' Lily said quietly as James passed her, lightly touching his arm. She wanted to apologise to him. She felt horrible. Her eyes were starting to brim with tears her bottom lip quivering, the quiver coming through in her voice.

James looked down at her hand on his arm, gently pulled away from her, took a deep breath to steel his nerves and walked away, leaving her there alone.

'James?' Lily repeated watching him ruffle the back of his hair as he walked up the staircase and away from her. Her tears started to fall. 'James?' she said again hopelessly. But now, he really had gone. And she was in limbo.

'No…' she whispered through her tears to herself, sitting down on the bottom step of the boys spiral staircase, hugging her knees and resting her head against the wall. She cried silently to herself, alone in the common room in her misery. What had she done?

I'm gonna be cruel and leave it there for a few days! Mwahahahaha! Hope you enjoyed it though!

Update on the 16th August

Galindaba

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