Five Minutes

Chapter 78

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! :) Only a few chapters left I thinks and stuff that I've mentioned in these chapters leads into the next story I am planning. :)

Just an answer to a review that one of my 'guest' readers left.

Firstly, hey! And thank you for your review but it has got me to thinking and I just want to explain a few things and answer your questions. The first of which is, yes, Lily did make up with her father. He's not happy in her choice of boyfriend but I don't think many fathers would be if they knew the sort of things that James had gotten up to in his first few years of Hogwarts. But at the end of the day, she's his little girl and always will be and, we all fight with our parents don't we?I never meant for Lily to come off as a shallow person who's life revolves around James so I'm genuinely sorry if that's the way it's come across to you or anyone else. She does have a life outside of her relationship with James but, unfortunately, through no particular fault of her own, a couple of her friendship have crumbled. Her childhood friendship with Severus fell apart because of their differences and, well, we all know the story behind that. She lost him but she did gain all four of the marauders as friends and I think that that did help her to grow as a person. By becoming friends with them she has grown to be more carefree and accepting. Her friendship with Hestia is a different matter. She doesn't want to lose her friendship and it really hurts her that they're not friends at the minute because she loves her like a sister. She was forced into an impossible situation which there was only one way out of. Nobody should be given an ultimatum like that and, in the same situation, I don't think I could continue to be as close to the person who forced that decision on me. My aim in having her lose Hestia that was was to show her commitment to James and the marauders as a group. Keeping their secret is a huge commitment for her to make and by having her choose them, not just James but all of them, shows that she won't ever disclose their actions or Remus' condition. I wanted to show an involuntary isolation from her childhood friends, something which forces her to grow up. By Hestia's reaction to Remus' problem, she is learning that the world is prejudice to more than just her blood-status and this will help her later on, in my next story, when she is faced with the choice to join the Order of the Phoenix. Their fall out was also supposed to be a parallel reminder of what happened with Severus, the similarity being that they both seemed to end because of James, even though both times that was never his intention. I just want to finish with the fact that Lily does have friends. She has James, Remus, Sirius, Peter, Alice and Frank. She doesn't have many friends but those she does have are there for her in times of need and they are the ones that help her to grow as a person. She has a few precious people who she would trust with her life and ends up doing just that. In my opinion, you don't need to be the most popular person in the world to grow as a person. You just need the right ones.

To everybody else who has read and reviewed my story I would just like to say a HUGE THANK YOU! It is readers like you that boost my confidence and inspire me to continue writing. Your continued support is brilliant and I can honestly say, I think I probably would have given up on this without your amazing words so, again, just THANK YOU! You're brilliant.

Here's chapter Seventy-Eight!

Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter Seventy-Eight

It was the day of the Quidditch match but that wasn't particularly the first topic on everyone's mind. For the majority, it was the news that the Minister of Magic's assistant had been found snooping through files which pertained confidential information involving the muggle Prime Minister. The files were restricted meaning only the muggle Prime Minister, the Minister of Magic and the head of the auror department were allowed to view the contents. The Minister of Magic's assistant knew the rules very clearly and it was out of character for him to break them. This led to an enquiry and an investigation so the Daily prophet was theorising that the poor young man had been put under the imperius curse by Voldemort or one of his death eaters.

The paper had become more vocal as of late as to theories and stories involving Voldemort and his death eaters. Of course, there were still those who refused to believe anything was going on in the wizarding community. These people either enjoyed the idea of peace too much or were in agreement with Voldemort twisted ideals. And it was these people who had been writing into the newspaper demanding that they stop printing such lies. Granted not every story the Daily Prophet printed was completely factual but they were by no means false either. For a while now they had stuck to the truth about what had happened, whether that be disappearances, murder, tortures, or in the case of the Minister's assistant, odd goings on. It was always a true story. The reason behind it could be made up though. Still, in Hogwarts, thanks to Dumbledore's calmly telling the school that Voldemort was indeed a threat but they mustn't let him win by fearing him, the most recent injection of Daily Prophet news had caused quite a stir. Everyone was on pins and needles at how close Voldemort could get to the Minister of Magic without detection. It was the first topic on the student body's mind. That was, of course, excluding the marauders who found it wiser to waste their worry on something which, in their eyes, was much more pressing.

'Look, she's a smart girl-'

'Smart my arse!' Sirius scoffed.

James smirked and let out a chuckle but went on with what he was saying. 'She's Quidditch smart. She should pick up on what we're doing.'

'That's not the point though!' Sirius said, a little angrily. He grabbed some bacon and put it on a slice of toast with his fork. 'She shouldn't have to pick it up. She should know. We could lose points because she has to pick it up!' he declared, jabbing his fork in the air towards James to emphasise his point.

'We won't lose points.' James said assuredly, he cocky attitude clearly present in his voice, 'She's never let us down before-'

'What about when-'

'Not too badly anyway!' James cut Sirius off.

'What if she doesn't pick up the new tactics?' Remus asked conversationally, biting into a slice of thickly buttered toast.

'Well,' James began, thinking of a way to resolve this 'what if' dilemma, 'worst case scenario, we go back to the tactics we used last game.' He ended with a shrug.

'But they already know those moves!' Sirius sighed in obvious frustration. 'Merlin I hate her!' he said angrily, banging his fist hard on the table and causing Peter to spill the orange juice he was pouring for himself.

'Who do you hate?' Lily asked as she joined the boys along with Alice and Frank who had come to eat with her, Remus and Peter so that they could make their way up to the stands together ready to cheer on the team.

'Hestia Jones.' Sirius replied venomously with an evil look in his eye.

'I don't think anyone's getting on too well with her at the moment.' Alice said, taking the jug of orange juice from Peter as he offered it to her, 'She's such a pain in the dorm. She won't speak to anyone so I think everyone's kind of given up on speaking to her now.' she went on. She poured herself and Frank a goblet each before giving it to Lily so that she could pour herself a drink too. 'Except maybe Lily,' she added as an afterthought as Lily tool the jug of juice off of her, 'She still tries.'

'You're not gonna succeed Lils.' James muttered to her.

'It's called being civil.' Lily retorted, not wanting to be made to feel bad about trying to coax her once best friend back to the normality they had been used to. Yes she had chosen and yes she had James and Alice and Frank and the marauders but she missed Hestia. 'Why do you seem to hate her so much today anyway?' Lily asked Sirius, keeping the topic alive. None of them were particularly paying too much attention to the news in the whole of the wizarding world, the conversations around them. The seven of them were in their own little war bubble; the war between them and Hestia Jones.

'She's gonna cost us the game!' Sirius whined, picking off the crust from his toast, (something he never did), whilst letting the bacon slide greasily off of it.

'How?' Frank asked curiously.

'Stupid bitch hasn't been showing up for practice and-'

'Sirius!' Lily reprimanded, realising what he had said first. 'Is there really any need to call her that?'

'Yeah.' Sirius said after a pause, 'Cause she is a-'

'What do you mean she hasn't been showing up for practice?' Alice interrupted, directing her question at James and expertly preventing a spat between Lily and Sirius, 'I though she just missed that one we went to.'

James sighed. 'And the one before that and the five that followed so…all of them since…we fell out.' James said with a nonchalant shrug only choosing his words very carefully. 'She knows none of the tactics we're using for this game or the chaser formation or the buzz word-'

'Buzz word?' Frank queried.

'Doesn't matter.' James said, waving away Franks question. 'Point is she's coming into this match cold turkey and out of practice.'

'Why didn't you force her to go to practice? Bring it up with McGonagall? Kick her off the team?' Alice asked.

'Because that's far more trouble than it's worth. I try to make her come to practice, I'm being mean to her and things get far worse than they already are and it doesn't matter how they just would.' James started, cutting Alice's question of how things could get worse out of the conversation. 'I go to McGonagall and Hestia gets a bollocking from her and so do I for not being able to control the Quidditch team. Things still get worse just as they would if I had forced her to practices and the captaincy of the Quidditch team probably gets passed off to this dufus here.' he said, jerking his thumb at a stony faced Sirius who frowned at James but did nothing more. 'And if I kicked her off the team, things still get really bad only, with this one, I have to find and train a new chaser and, no matter how much she's pissed us all off recently, I could never get a new chaser up to her level in time.' James finished, 'There was just no point.'

A silence hovered over the table. James made some excellent points. If he had done anything, it could have set Hestia off and everyone in the school could be filled in on what James liked to call, Remus' 'furry-little-problem'. He couldn't have risked it.

Lily was the one to break the tension. 'Why didn't you ask me to talk to her?' she asked quietly, mostly to James but the others could clearly hear her. Remus was the one to answer her.

'You're not exactly her favourite person at the minute.' Remus said warily.

'None of us are.' Peter chimed in, feeling pleased that he too was one of the people on Hestia's list at the minute. It was an odd thing to be proud of but still, he was just happy to be included in the situation, even if it was really just by default.

'They're right Lily.' Alice said, 'What could you have done. She's not really talking to you.'

'I know!' Lily sighed frustratedly, 'It's just-'

'Lils,' James began, taking her hand in both of his and forcing her to look at him with the softness of his voice, 'It was my problem and I chose to deal with it this way. There was no need to get you involved and add another reason onto why you've fallen out with each other. And who knows? You might actually become friends again one day and I didn't want to delay that any longer with yet another conundrum concerning her.'

The rest at the table within earshot, so, their friends, looked a tad uncomfortable at being involved in this little moment between them. It was always uncomfortable when two people in a relationship were explaining things to one another, talking in such a tone as James used when speaking to Lily. Alice and Frank looked at each other and smothered smiles as they knew what it was like to have that connection. Peter looked around gormlessly and Remus suddenly became very interested in the condensation that was dripping down the side of the jug of orange juice. Sirius however, stared at the couple with reckless abandon, not caring that he was possibly intruding on an intimate moment. He didn't care. And James and Lily didn't seem to notice at that precise moment.

'I still could have helped James.' Lily said in exasperation.

'I took care of it.' James said.

'Not very well!' Lily muttered under her breath as she reached for the goblet of orange juice she had poured for herself beforehand.

Now everyone was still looking away but this time it was to avoid contacting the fight that they were sure was about to happen between the pair. Really no one could see how James hadn't gotten the brunt of Lily's anger at losing her best friend. After all, to everyone else, he was sort of the one responsible. He had been before as well. This was two best friends, both lost thanks to James Potter and, even though they were all friends, the group couldn't help but think that the worst might come to him soon. The only one who wasn't secretly thinking this was Sirius which explained why he still hadn't looked away. He wasn't expecting an argument. And he was kind of right.

'Come on!' James said, 'Give me some credit!' he went on. 'I used the word conundrum!'

Lily gave a small laugh, at which point, Sirius decided to chime in.

'That is a big world there Lily-poo!' he said with a wide grin.

James looked over to him with curiously narrowed eyes. 'Thank you.' he said before asking, 'Have you been watching us this whole time?'

'Yep.' Sirius replied.

'That's creepy dude!' James laughed, allowing everyone permission to look back in on the goings on at the table between him and Lily. He'd had no idea that he had made them all rather uncomfortable.

'I can't help it!' Sirius exclaimed before putting his elbow on the table, his head in his hand and fluttering his eyelids quickly as he said in a silly voice, 'You're just so damn pretty!'

James raised his eyebrows and gave a single breathless laugh, rolling his eyes and saying, 'And on that note!' He got up and jerked his head to instruct Sirius to do the same. 'We're gonna go.'

'On your honeymoon?' Remus joked.

'With Sirius?' James scoffed, pointing at his best friend who was now stocking up on slices of toast, 'No thanks!'

'Hey!' Sirius retorted, pretending to be hurt, 'You'd be lucky to have me!'

'Sorry mate, I'm taken.' he said, gesturing to Lily, 'Sure she wouldn't be too happy if I left her for you.'

'You do make a very handsome couple though.' Lily said.

James narrowed his eyes at Lily who just smiled at him sweetly whilst the other laughed. He shook his head and just bent down to give Lily a quick peck on the lips before going off to prepare for the Quidditch game. She however, turned her head away.

'Won't your boyfriend get jealous?' she asked in all seriousness.

'Yeah prongs.' Sirius said, 'What's that about?'

James ignored Sirius and spoke to Lily in a low voice so that only she could hear him this time. 'I'm sorry I didn't come to you for help with Jones.' he said, knowing that this was bothering her. Not enough to cause a real fight, just enough to annoy her. It didn't really show a lot of trust that he hadn't told her. Lily forgave him though.

'It's ok.' she said, placing her right hand on his cheek and kissing him softly, 'Good luck.' she whispered to his lips.

'Thanks.' James smirked, standing up and gesturing for Sirius to follow him to leave the great hall.

'And Sirius!' Lily said to him with a too sweet voice, 'If you ever call me Lily-poo again I will cut out your tongue and feed it to the giant squid.'

'You realise you use the giant squid as a reference in a lot of your threats and either or situations.' Sirius said as he and James started to make their way out of the hall at last.

'Sirius-' Lily began.

'See you after.' James called back to her, not letting her and Sirius to continue their discussion any further.

'You better be holding a trophy!' she called back with a smile on her face. James smiled back at her over his shoulder. He then swiftly exited the hall with Sirius to go and warm up for the last Quidditch match they would ever take part in.

'I hope it goes well.' Lily said to the rest of the group left behind. Immortal last words.

The game was long and tedious. It took two and a half hours for the game to finish. By the end the spectators were not cheering. It was far too hot anyway, the summer sun beaming down over the Quidditch stadium causing everyone to sweat and a few to pass out in the heat. People were annoyed and relieved when it was over. Gryffindor were facing Hufflepuff; an easy defeat. And it was for the Quidditch cup as it was the last match in the season.

The Quaffle was in possession of Gryffindor from the very beginning. Hestia Jones had a hold of it for ages. She wasn't sticking to the tactics James had laid down for the match but that was because she didn't know them. James had to call a time out twenty minutes in to attempt to fill her in. When they went back in the air however it was clear after five more minutes of game time that she had not listened to his instructions. She had forced him to call a second timeout within ten minutes, something he couldn't ever remember doing in his whole career as Quidditch captain, to inform the team that they were to return to the tactics they used for the Slytherin versus Gryffindor game. There had been moans and groans because they had been practicing with one specific game plan for weeks which highlighted and took advantage of Hufflepuff's flaws as a team. Still, after a sharp glare from James they soon shut up and took up the tactics that they had used in their previous winning match. They did work. They did score a good few goals but they weren't up to their usual standard. Everyone in the stands could tell. It was obvious. And Hestia kept hogging the Quaffle. Still, they did their very best under the circumstances and after a good forty-five minutes of initially spotting the snitch and an Ok from James, the Gryffindor Seeker caught it, welcoming half-hearted cheers from the crowd at the end. They had caught the snitch, but they had lost the match.

When the final whistle blew to signal the end of the game, James flew down to the ground without a word. He fluidly dismounted his broom, his expression unreadable from the stands, and walked almost calmly into the changing rooms. Sirius followed him as soon as he could and, from the stands, Lily, Remus and Peter made their way to the grounds as fast as they possibly could, saying a quick goodbye to Alice and Frank. The three met up with Sirius outside the changing room but James was nowhere to be seen.

'Where's Prongs?' Peter asked Sirius looking around him.

'He's right here Peter.' Sirius replied sarcastically. He was still in his Quidditch gear and holding his broom. 'He's just mastered the art of invisibility. Do say hello.' he went on in a patronising way.

'Not particularly a surprise considering he has an invisibility cloak.' Remus pointed out.

'Yeah alright, you know what I mean.' Sirius retorted in annoyance, looking over to the crowd that was heading up to the castle to see if he could spot James. 'He's not here anyway.'

'What do you mean he's not here?' Lily asked in concern.

'I mean. He's. Not. Here.' Sirius said slowly, annoyance clear in his voice at the circular conversation which was, at best, only pointing out the obvious.

'Well where is he?' Lily sighed, rolling her eyes and folding her arms, staring at Sirius for him to give her a straight answer.

'I dunno.' Sirius said, giving up. He knew James too well to waste time searching. 'When he wants to be found we'll find him.' he went on, turning around to go back into the changing room, 'I'm going to change, be out in a sec.'

'Ok.' Remus replied, standing in wait for him.

Lily looked aghast. She watched Sirius walk back into the changing room with his broom slung over the shoulder as if he hadn't a care in the world. She turned to Remus who was looking up to the sun in the sky, obviously wondering when the heat was going to die down for he was sweltering in his jean and long sleeved jacket (scars). She then looked at Peter who had been biting his nails but was now trying to see whatever it was Remus was looking at in the sky. Remus noticed Peter trying to follow his eye line and chuckled, ruffling Peter's hair in fondness.

'What are we going to do about James?' Lily asked Remus, trying to ensure that the shock of how little his friends seemed to care that he had just vanished was covered up.

'Err…' Remus began, blowing out hot air as he sighed and wiping the beads of sweat off of his forehead, 'Nothing?'

'Nothing?' Lily questioned, her eyebrows rising so high they were in danger of disappearing into her deep red hair.

'Yeah.' Remus replied casually, 'You know him. He does this occasionally. If he doesn't like what's happened or what's been said, he'll disappear for a bit to cool off.'

'Well I thought perhaps he'd grown out of it!' Lily snapped, 'After all that's very childish!'

'Have you met James?' Peter laughed before being silenced with a glare from Lily. He looked up at Remus who just shook his head at him in a gesture which told him to shut up.

'Look, he's somewhere. And when he's cooled off, he'll come back.' Remus shrugged.

'Great.' Lily said, 'I have great comfort in the fact that he's somewhere!' and with that she turned around and went off in search of him herself.

'Find him?' Sirius asked Lily as she barged into the boys' dormitory. He was tossing a Quaffle up in the air laid down lazily on his bed. Peter was watching the Quaffle go into the air and back into Sirius' open hands in fascination like a gormless puppy. Remus was sat on his own bed reading

'No.' Lily retorted stroppily, catching the Quaffle mid-air.

'Hey!' Sirius protested loudly.

Lily ignored him. 'I don't get it!' she said, irritated, 'What on earth does he have to disappear about anyway?' Lily sighed with exasperation, 'You played the best you could!' Her sentence was directed to Sirius but he wasn't the one to respond.

'But they lost.' Peter said timidly.

'All right Wormy, no need to sound so cheerful about it!' Sirius snapped at him.

'I wasn't-'

'Just leave it alone Pete.' Remus said quietly to him, silencing Peter the way he had outside the Quidditch pitch before.

'There's only so many places me and Alice can look. Why aren't you lot trying to find him?' Lily asked, tossing the Quaffle over to Remus, expecting him to catch it but, as he was too busy trying to find where he was in his book, he didn't catch it. Instead it hit him on the forehead.

'Ow!' he said instantly, dropping his book like it was a hot potato and rubbing the lump which was now sure to form on his head. The Quaffle rolled onto the floor with a feeble bounce and Peter watched it go like a cat following a mouse. He went to go get it so he could try tossing the ball into the air like Sirius had but things didn't go according to plan.

'Toss it Wormy.' Sirius said, holding his hands out ready to receive the ball.

Peter looked at the ball wistfully and regretfully threw the ball back over to Sirius who caught it efficiently and continued to throw the ball up and down as he had been doing when Lily first entered the room.

'Don't look so glum Wormy! Jeesh!' Sirius said, noticing as Peter moped back to his bed and sat down at the end with his head down.

'Hello!' Lily said, flailing her arms about quickly over her frustration.

There was a pause as the boys all stopped what they were doing and looked at each other. Peter looked scared. Sirius shrugged and Remus, very cautiously, said to Lily, 'Hi?'

Lily tutted and stood up. 'Fine!' she said in angry annoyance, 'Fine. Don't care that your best friend and, let's face it, ring leader-

'Ring leader?' Sirius contested.

'-has just, as you put it, 'disappeared'.' Lily went on as if she hadn't heard Sirius' irritated interjection. 'Do you not care that he's gone AWOL? Do you not care that he's just gone off the map-'

'He's done it before.' Remus stated in a casual matter of fact.

'-and vanished?' Lily continued, ignoring Remus as she had done Sirius. 'Things are more dangerous now and you don't care that you don't know where he is?'

'He can't have gone far.' Peter said, looking for back up from Remus and Sirius who, for the first time in what seemed like ages to Peter, agreed with him with a supportive nod of their heads. He smiled to himself but it was short lived as Lily snapped at him to wipe the smile off of his face.

Her worry was frustration that James had disappeared without telling her where he was going. It wasn't made any better by the anger she felt towards Hestia for practically throwing the game and basically, if you pinpointed it, causing Gryffindor to lose. She also felt a little bit paranoid that James wasn't returning because he was ashamed to face her after she had told him that he had better be holding a trophy next time she saw him. She felt guilty about that. It was a silly little thing and probably had nothing to do with the reason for James disappearance but it was still weighing heavily on her mind. Plus they hadn't had a fight in ages and she thought it could just be pent up anger she was storing, reading to blow at any minute.

'Lily calm down.' Remus said reasonably, closing his book and standing up to walk around to where Lily was stood near James' bed, 'He does this a lot ok? He's never come back hurt before and he has always come back. And I don't think he would ever put himself in harm's way but if he did get into trouble, he's skilled enough to handle it. But,' he sighed, 'if you want us too, we'll check the map. If he's not on it, we'll check Hogsmeade and anywhere else he could be ok?'

'Thank you.' Lily said with a stubborn apologetic tone in her voice.

Severus was roaming the halls with Avery and Mulciber, doing nothing in particular. It was actually rather nice. They weren't being mean to other students. They weren't discussing the imperius curse that the death eaters had place on the Minister of Magic's assistant, nor were they discussing the information that they had gained from it. They weren't worshiping the Dark Lord from afar and they weren't criticising the school, (a place that Severus was actually proud to call his home). They were just wandering and talking about the upcoming N.E.W.T's and the following summer holidays as if they were normal students.

'Wish we could leave now!' Avery was saying, 'I wanna go somewhere! My mum want the family to go on holiday before Dad gets bogged down with too much work and I get a job.'

'You're gonna get a job?' Mulciber laughed harshly, 'I'll believe that when I see it!'

'I have to get a job!' Avery retorted, perhaps a little more brusquely than he genuinely intended for he know Mulciber was just joking. 'Not all of us can live on daddy's wage packet! Isn't that right Snape?'

Severus just gave a single breathless laugh in agreement and continued to walk with them through the stony corridors of Hogwarts. He would have to get a job no doubt about it. He had no income. His mother had always been useless with money and his dad was, well, dead now. Still, never in a million years would he have gone to that waste of space for money!

He didn't mind getting a job. He thought he might rather like the monotony of it. Coming into work every day at the same time. Sorting out the stock. Talking to the customers. Well most of them. He didn't particularly want to be speaking to any mudbloods, (with one very notable exception), but then again, there were a few purebloods he wasn't too keen on either. And it didn't take too many guesses to figure out who they were. Really, if he had to serve James Potter and his idiotic friends, he wouldn't. To put it simply. He would just refuse. He couldn't stand the idea of James Potter walking into a shop where he worked and ordering him about, taunting him and being unable to do anything about it. With this possibility out there, he might be more suited trying to find a job down Knockturn Alley. Potter would never go down there, he was sure of it. Lily wouldn't allow it.

Getting a job down Knockturn Alley, moving out of Spinners end and away from his psychotic mother, being a death eater. Not being at Hogwarts. All things meaning he wouldn't ever see Lily again. And, to be honest, he was probably relieved. Maybe not seeing her, not seeing her be happy without him and be happy with others instead was good for him. He could forget about her. Move on and grow up and get over her for once! It'd work. It would work. He was certain. Because now, every time he glimpsed her he was reminded of his failure to win back her friendship or his failure to earn more than a friendship with her. Now was no different.

She was walking with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. No Potter. She didn't just hang around with them for him now. She was friends with all of them. He saw her laughing with them daily. Having a good time and making plans for the future. She had fallen out with Hestia Jones so she was never with them anymore. Severus didn't exactly know why but he hadn't believed the rumoured reason that had reached his ears. He never would believe that in a million years but he would also never know the true reason behind their break in friendship. He did however tally up the total of best friends Lily had lost to two; him and Hestia. Based on his break with her, if he had to guess why she was no longer friends with Hestia, he would have to say it was because of James Potter. He didn't know he was right. He did know however, that, from a distance, it seemed that Lily believed that James could do no wrong. He was a saint. And she had fallen victim to his charm.

Severus watched her turn a corner with the three marauders and, subconsciously, through a couple years of doing just this, he tried to follow her. He was stopped though by his fellow Slytherin's.

'Where you going Snape?' Avery said. He and Mulciber had stopped in the middle of the corridor facing Severus who was facing a wall, undecided on which way to turn.

'The rooms this way.' Mulciber put in, 'Bella and Wilkes are already there.'

Severus took one last look to the corner where Lily had disappeared around, unable to stop himself, before turning to walk once more with his, for lack of a better term, friends. Here they went again. Their brief moment of normality was now over. They were finished talking about N.E.W.T's, holidays, jobs and families. Those topics were done with for now. Now they were to go into a dusty disused classroom, only to tirelessly discuss the death eaters, the imperius curse, new information and the Dark Lord. And what they would be doing when they were released from the grasps of Hogwarts.

Remus had looked at the map, several times, and kept constantly checking it just in case James had somehow made it onto Hogwarts grounds before they made it down to Hogsmeade where they assumed he'd be. Lily kept trying to hurry them along and, as a result, kept annoying the three boys. Every time she would say something Remus would look to the skies and pray that they would find James soon just to stop her worried babbling, Peter would tend to walk a little bit more behind Remus in an attempt to hide before Lily would look oddly at him and tell him to keep up and Sirius would make little puppets with his hands which yammered on, pulling faces to go with it.

Lily had noticed all these little things but it didn't stop her complaining about the fact that James had just waltzed off without a word and his three, supposed, best friends in the entire world hadn't batted an eyelid and wouldn't go off in search for him without an irritating little push from her. She didn't care if she was annoying them. It got them to tell her about all the other times that James had disappeared and, if she was completely honest, she found the whole thing rather ridiculous. He was an eighteen year old boy for goodness sakes! This was no way to be acting when things didn't go your way. Now more than ever, she believed she saw his rich upbringing. This was a temper tantrum of sorts. He was being the spoilt little rich boy he had been raised to be when he didn't get what he wanted. She could only assume, that when he was younger, he would do this exact same thing until he got his way. It really pissed her off. Sure he had some, well, a lot of amazing qualities which his parents did a great job of drumming into him but this had somehow slipped through the cracks.

They were walking down the main street of Hogsmeade after going through one of the seven passages out of the castle. Remus had suggested the shrieking shack passage first but Lily said no as she didn't want to see something that would make her worry more when the final full moon of the year came around. Sirius had suggested the Honeydukes cellar passage but Lily vetoed that as quickly as Sirius had suggested it because she didn't want to waste time waiting for Sirius to steal some sweets. Finally Peter had suggested the mirror passage and Lily agreed, (elating Peter no end), and the four of them had set off in search of James.

When they were on the main street, Lily stopped and asked, 'Where would he be?'

'In Hogsmeade?' Remus joked, trying so hard to lighten Lily's mood which was completely black at the minute with annoyance and frustration.

'No shit Sherlock!' Lily said sarcastically, 'What other possible reason would you give me for being in Hogsmeade at this time if it wasn't to look for James and Sirius if you do that one more time I will feed you to the giant squid!' Lily ended, rounding on Sirius and raising her eyebrows with a very threatening look.

Sirius put his hands down which he had been using to perform his low budget puppet show of imitating Lily to Peter with. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights for a second before his expression turned into one of realisation. 'There it is again!' he exclaimed, pointing a finger at her, 'The giant squid! Do you have some sort of thing for-' Sirius stopped suddenly. Remus had shaken his head at him and Lily was glaring. 'Not the time.' he went on, clapping his hands together and exhaling, 'Got it. Should we check the three broomsticks?'

'Good idea.' Remus said, leading the group to the small pub in the centre of the street. He opened the door for Lily and then followed her in with Sirius and Peter coming in after her. They scanned the scene. The pub was very crowded.

'I can't see him.' Lily said, standing on her tip toes and craning her neck to try and look over the top of Rosmerta's very tall patrons.

'He's right there.' Remus said, pointing to James who was nursing a mulled mead, 'Over at the bar.'

'Right.' Lily said, spotting him and taking a breath, 'I'm gonna talk some sense into him.'

'Err…' Remus said, holding her back by her shoulder, 'Maybe we should let Sirius go.' he suggested.

Lily looked at Sirius who was waving childishly with a wide grin on his handsome face. 'Why?' she asked.

'Cause you're pissed and if anyone can talk James round it's him.' Remus explained simply to her before instructing Sirius. 'Sirius, fetch.'

Sirius went off dutifully, winding his way expertly through the crowded bar to sit next to James.

Lily watched him go and then followed Remus and Peter to a booth that was free near the back with a good view of the two boys. It was the booth in which Lily had her forced second date with Joshua hunt before the marauders interrupted. On their way over, she asked Remus, 'How come he does what you say? He never does anything I ask.'

'James got me a 'How to Train Your Dog' book for Christmas year before last.' Remus smirked as they sat down.

Over at the bar, Sirius was trying to act casual, pretending to just be there ordering a drink and attempting to catch madam Rosmerta's attention when he happened to notice James. It was so fake.

'Hey mate.' he said with a jolly grin, patting him on the back once in greeting, 'What's up?'

James turned his head slowly to look at him with a sad glare written across his face. 'We lost.' he stated simply.

'I know I was there.' Sirius said, imitating James' sadness with a slow nod of the head before cheering up immensely in the space of a second to shrug and say, 'Don't matter though.'

'Yeah it does.' James said, a pleading look in his eyes for Sirius to see it his way. He spoke slowly with a sombre passion and said, 'It was the last game of the season, the last one we'll ever play in, for the Quidditch cup and we lost. We'll never be able to play Quidditch like that again.' he turned and slumped back over his drink.

Sirius slumped over the bar. 'Yeah you're right.' he mumbled in agreement.

Lily was staring at the pair, drawing circles on the table and trying to make out what was happening. 'I don't know what's going on.' she sighed in frustration, 'I wish I could lip read.'

'What they saying Pete?' Remus asked Peter, who was also watching the pair, but not looking up from watching Lily's hand draw four continuous circles on the table. It was odd. Like she didn't even know she was doing it. An unconscious action, and an odd one at that. He had seen tapping before but never circles. James was right. Lily was a bit weird.

'…looks like Padfoot just said…'I guess I never thought of it like that'…' Peter said, squinting at the two boys sitting at the bar.

'Peter can lip read?' Lily asked in surprise, stopping drawing circles abruptly.

'…'ah man. Butterbeer then please'…' Peter continued.

'I never knew that.' Lily said, continuing on with her unconscious action.

'…'This blows'…' Peter

'Oh no.' Remus sighed.

'…'you're right'…and they've stopped speaking.' Peter finished, looking to Remus for approval which he wouldn't get.

'Great.' Remus rolled his eyes.

'What's wrong?' Lily asked him, once again stopping with her circles.

'Well, you know I said if anyone could talk James around it would be Sirius?' Remus said as Lily nodded, 'Well James has talked Sirius around instead which has also been known to happen. More often than not.' he finished, hoping against hope that Lily wouldn't be mad at him. She wasn't thankfully. It just seemed she became more annoyed with James.

'Oh for Gods sakes.' she mumbled irritatedly, standing up and walking purposefully over to the bar. She stopped herself the other side of James to where Sirius was and let him have it.

'James! Will you stop being so childish and come back to the castle. This is pathetic! You're an eighteen year old man! You shouldn't react in such stupid ways like disappearing! It's childish! There are more important things going on in the world so stop feeling sorry for yourself. The only person who has a right to feel sorry for himself at the minute is that poor bloke who was the Ministers assistant. So Gryffindor lost the Quidditch game, big deal! It was one game out of however many that you've coached and won as captain. It wasn't your fault. It's not going to stain your record and it's not gonna cause a big revolt against you from the school. I doubt that would ever happen anyway. So for God's sakes will you please grow up and finish your drink so we can go back to the castle.' she ranted before turning away and walking back to the booth where Peter had been telling Remus what Lily was saying. They both looked shocked. As did James and Sirius back at the bar.

James' eyes had widened slightly at Lily angry little speech. He had listened to her and he had picked up at what she had been getting at. 'She thinks I'm a man.' he said happily, with a real smile on his face as he turned to Sirius.

Sirius chuckled. 'Little things bro.' he said, 'Little things.'

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