Chapter 15 : What Happens in the Potions Room Stays in the Potions Room
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A/N -> Alrighty. First. Let us address the fact that many of you, (and I'm talking many), have been begging me to update. Well. When someone nags you to do something repeatedly over and over and over and over again, it doesn't make you want to do it that much faster, does it? With that being said, no I did not withhold this chapter out of annoyance. I actually just finished writing it about 10 minutes ago. I'm posting it as soon as I possibly can. So...ya. Some horrible stuff has happened in my life lately. That's the reason. Nothing else. All right?
With that being said, here's chapter fifteen. Thanks to all those who have been patiently waiting for it. It's kind of different in a way as it starts the second half of this story. Enjoy.
This chapter is dedicated to 'padfoot and prongs foreva' for being a wonderful person who reads all my stuff, encourages me to write more, and who leaves the longest reviews. She was also the one who realized that everyone had been begging me to update and personally apologized. I love ya. Thanks for the support. This one's for you, (hence why it revolves around James and Sirius...*wink*).
Sirius ran down the empty hallways of the school, getting used to the new feeling of running in flat shoes as opposed to the high heels he had worn in Lily’s body, on his mad search for James. It was past the school curfew; apparently the meeting in Dumbledore’s office had lasted longer then he had originally thought it had, and Sirius knew that he wasn’t allowed to be running in the corridors at this hour. But he didn’t care in the slightest what would happen to him. In fact, he was looking forward to a detention since he had been deprived of them while pretending to be Lily.
After every turn he rounded and every flight of stairs he put behind him, Sirius still had no idea where James had gone. He hadn’t been bothered to look in the Gryffindor common room because he knew James well enough to know that when he was mad he wanted to be somewhere quiet and alone where he could think.
Since it was after hours, the lights had already been diminished so Sirius was having a hard time seeing where he was running. With one graceful leap into what he thought was another open corridor; Sirius felt his head crash into a door unexpectedly and painfully.
Cursing, Sirius rubbed his forehead where he had banged it and looked up in horror to see the handle of the door he had just run into turning. Within seconds, McGonagall’s face appeared from behind the door and she looked around before noticing the boy on the floor in front of her door.
“Mr. Black, then? What was so urgent that you felt the need to come running head first by the looks of it into my door when you are suppose to be in Gryffindor house?” she asked with a tiny hint of amusement in her voice as she watched Sirius rubbing his forehead.
Sirius quickly stood up, ignored the pain pulsing through his forehead, brushed off the dust from his robes and put on his most charming smile. After a minute of silence in which Sirius just smiled and raised his eyebrows at the head of his house, McGonagall sighed in light frustration and gave in.
“Very well, Sirius. Detention tomorrow night for being out in the school after hours without an adequate excuse. My office at seven. Oh, and don’t bring your mirror again,” she said as she made to go back into her office.
Sirius did his best bow before adding an, “it’ll be my pleasure.”
After he heard the click of the door and knew that McGonagall was on the other side, Sirius ran off as fast as he could into a new hallway. The mirror comment had forcefully reminded him that he needed to find James soon and talk to him before the later had time to sit and think about the events of the night too much in depth.
Taking many turns and entering new corridors within seconds, the only thing Sirius knew about his route was that it was getting further and further away from the Gryffindor common room. He had no doubt however that his feet would somehow lead him straight to James. If anyone could find James Potter it was Sirius Black, and Sirius knew that.
Not knowing why, Sirius instantly stopped running. He looked to the left and saw three suits of armour that were very familiar to him for he and the rest of the students of Hogwarts past them every time they entered the great hall. As Sirius stared at them, he suddenly got a feeling of certainty and somehow knew that James hadn’t come past here on his attempt to find a quiet place to think. Making up his mind, Sirius turned around and run from the direction he had just come from. He then turned down a dark hallway to the left instead of the right one that he had just previously come down. Checking in every empty classroom, Sirius kept on moving, not seeing his friend anywhere. Just as he was about to retrace his steps and look a second time around the castle, he felt a tingling in his right pocket. Not knowing that the object was in his pocket since Lily had dressed him this morning while she had been in his body, Sirius reached down into the deep black pockets of his school robe. With a feeling of relief, Sirius quickly pulled the two-way mirror out of his pocket hoping to see James’ face in it.
With a shock of disappointment, Sirius saw the face of Remus Lupin instead in the used-looking mirror.
“Moony! How did you get James’ mirror?” Sirius demanded, as he talked to the mirror quietly in the dark, deserted hallway.
The face of Remus smiled a little before he answered in a hurried voice.
“He left it in the dorm, Sirius. Honestly, did you think I stole it or something when he wasn’t looking? But anyways, that’s besides the point…” Remus started before he was interrupted by Sirius.
“I can hear another voice, who’s that in the background?” Sirius asked and watched the face of Lupin turn around to look at the speaker that couldn’t be seen in the mirror.
“Oh, that’s Lily,” Remus said.
Sirius raised his eyebrows due to the fact that he was confused but didn’t get the chance to say anything for Remus continued.
“He’s in the potions room.”
Sirius raised his eyebrows even higher.
“What?” he asked in a tired voice. He didn’t want to play any games at this point.
Remus sighed and rolled his eyes at Sirius through the mirror before answering quickly.
“James, you idiot. James is in the potions room down in the dungeons. Lily told me you went to go find him and I’ve been watching you on the map run about the castle like a wild animal or something. I thought I’d help you out,” Remus said with a mischievous smile.
Sirius showed signs of understanding now and another wave relief came over him. He wished he could hug his friend at that very moment.
“Ah, thanks Moony old pal, you’re a lifesaver!” Sirius said as he shook the black hair that had fallen into his eyes.
Remus put a fake disgusted look on his face.
“I’m sorry, did you just call me old?” Remus asked.
Sirius put his most innocent look on and stared back at Remus with puppy dog eyes.
“I believe it was right before you continued to call me a lifesaver. Which by the way is a muggle candy,” Remus added with a smile now on his face as he watched Sirius’ attempt at innocence go down the drain.
“I thought you liked to be called old candy,” Sirius said with a smile on his lips, deciding to play up the scene he had created.
“Think again,” Remus said which caused Sirius to laugh quietly to himself.
“Would you prefer aged sweet then?” Sirius asked in mock seriousness.
Sirius watched Remus’ face in the mirror laugh, and heard the laughter of Lily who he guessed was standing near to him at the moment.
“Just go, Sirius,” Remus said.
Sirius didn’t need telling twice. He stuffed the mirror back into his pocket, eager to now have a destination. He continued running in the direction that he had been going in before Remus had contacted him. The turn he had chosen when he had been at the suits of armour had turned out to be the right way after all, as he knew it would. His feet could usually lead him to James and this time proved no different.
After only a couple of minutes, Sirius slowed to a walk as he entered the dungeon area of the castle. The hallways were much narrower down here, and the air was one of stuffiness. Why James had willingly come down here was beyond Sirius but he didn’t care at the moment. The previous joking mood he had had with Remus was now lost as the darkness and closeness of the corridor reflected the situation at hand.
Feeling that no teachers would be down in the potions wing at this time at night, Sirius decided to risk some light. He took his wand out of his pocket, muttered a short spell, and instantly a light appeared at the end of it, illuminating the hallway.
Down a little and to his right was their potions classroom, so Sirius decided to make right for it. He hadn’t heard any sounds yet except his own shuffling feet, and that fact alone was making him wonder if Remus had been playing a sick kind of joke on him and that James was really up in the common room or something with them all laughing at silly little gullible Sirius. But as soon as Sirius reached the doorway to the classroom, he instantly bit on his own thoughts and felt stupid for even thinking them.
There, sitting cross-legged on top of a desk facing the chalkboard was James, cupping his face with his hands and making no sound at all. There was a single lantern hovering in the air at the front of the classroom that Sirius guessed James must have conjured himself for some light.
Before Sirius could think of a way to let his presence known without startling James in the process, James sighed and spoke in a sad voice without even turning around.
“How is it that you always seem to know where I am, Sirius?”
Sirius almost dropped his wand at the sound of James’ voice. He had not been expecting James to know that he had been there and the heavy silence from before had made his voice sound odd.
“I know everything,” Sirius stated in an attempt to lighten the mood.
James remained quiet and still had not looked at his friend.
Evidently the attempt hadn’t worked. The mood was not lightened in the slightest.
Sirius walked into the classroom, shutting the door behind him.
“I’m going to lock the door so that you can’t leave until you forgive me, James,” Sirius said, not joking anymore.
James finally turned around as he heard Sirius cast a locking charm on the door with his wand.
“You do know that I am equally as skilled as you and could unlock that door at any second if I wanted to, right?” James asked as he looked questionably at his friend.
“Yes I’m aware,” Sirius said as he walked over to a desk in front of the one James was sitting on.
Sirius climbed onto the desk and sat atop it just like James was doing except that he had his back to the chalkboard so that his face was facing James.
“It was just the dramatic effect I was after,” Sirius said as he tried to get James to look at him.
James was currently looking at his hands that were now in his lap.
After a minute of uncomfortable silence, (which had never happened between the two before), Sirius rolled his eyes and tried to start conversation, something that before today had never had to have been forced before.
“Okay, well just say it then,” Sirius asked in desperation, “I can take it, I’m a big boy. I know you’re mad at me. I knew you would be, so go ahead and yell. Let your temper out.”
But James remained quiet, something that was unsettling Sirius very much at this point. So Sirius raised his voice a little bit, starting to get a bit aggravated by James’ stubbornness.
“Look I…we should have told you the truth, Prongs. But Dumbledore told us we couldn’t. This isn’t my fault and it isn’t Lily’s,” Sirius said as he felt his temper rising.
James looked up at him with dull hazel eyes.
“But,” he started.
“James, come on!” Sirius exclaimed, hands flailing, “You know why we had to tell Moony."
Sirius at this point almost could have laughed at James’ jealousy.
He instead decided that the time called for brutal honesty.
“Look mate, if I could have told anyone about this, you would’ve been number one,” Sirius said now in a gentle voice trying desperately to get James to grasp the truth in the words he was saying.
James put a hand through his hair; something he did whenever he was uncomfortable or nervous.
“Sirius, you can say all you want but how do I know you’re telling the truth anymore? How do I know truthfully that you would have told me if you could have? Tell me that,” James asked now with desperation in his voice.
The response came almost instantly.
“Merlin’s beard, Prongs! Because you’re my brother.”
Silence then rang though the room. James caught Sirius’ eyes and held their gaze. People had been calling them brothers for years, either to their faces or behind their backs. But never had they themselves voiced the comment to each other in all seriousness, with all joking and the need to impress aside.
James looked torn and Sirius shocked at the words that had just filled the empty quiet potions room and the effect they seemed to have. They knew them to be true this time. There was no denying it. The way Sirius had said his last ringing comment had been so emotional and raw that no sentence seemed good enough to follow it.
What did follow was still the strong silence. But it was different then the ones earlier. Sirius waited for James’ reaction and was a little startled when James hopped off his desk. He watched his friend start pacing the room, clearly lost in thought, clearly wondering how to approach the situation.
“You should have told me,” James finally said as he continued to pace in and out of the rows of desks.
Sirius sighed. He had hoped that they had past this accusing and blaming phase.
“I know, I know! But like I already said, James, I couldn’t,” Sirius replied trying to get through to James even a little bit.
James stopped walking and turned to look at Sirius.
“No, not that Sirius. You should have told me what you’ve been going through lately. Look, I’m no stranger to stress. I could have helped you. We could have made it better,” James said quietly.
And at that moment Sirius knew what had really been bothering James. It wasn’t so much the switch as the fact that Sirius had been keeping things from him.
“Prongs, I didn’t want to bother you with my stupid little problems, when I know you’ve got your own to deal with,” Sirius simply said.
James resumed his pacing.
“Your problems are my problems, Padfoot. I’ve been wondering for weeks what was wrong with you. I mean, no one else could see it,” James said but avoided eye contact with his friend, “Everything just sort of caught up for you all at once didn’t it?”
Sirius looked at his best friend in awe.
“Yes. How did you-”
But James cut him off.
“I just know. Usually the people who seem the happiest and who seem to have a perfect life are just trying to hide something underneath.”
It was a conclusion that James and Sirius had come up with years ago. They used to always talk about how the perfect people were probably the ones with the problems and the stress. It had never occurred to them how right they were, until now that is.
“Here I come, racing around the castle like a house elf on firewhiskey trying to find you with a thought in my head to talk about you and here we are talking about me,” Sirius said to the back of James’ head since the latter was still pacing around the dungeon room.
“Funny how that happens, isn’t it?” James asked and Sirius could tell that he had a smile on his face.
“Look, I’m sorry that you feel we’ve drifted because of this. It’s so easy to joke around with you and have fun and stuff but when it comes to real life…it’s just harder,” Sirius said and the mood shifted once more back to seriousness.
“I know,” James answered.
There was another silence that followed except for the sound of James’ shuffling feet. Sirius decided to take up the conversation again.
“What would the school population think if they could see us now? How weak would we seem to them, do you think?”
James finally stopped his pacing for a brief second and faced Sirius before answering.
“We’re not weak, Padfoot. Sometimes it’s harder to talk truthfully with your best friend then it is to take on an enemy or win the house cup or something,” James said which was very out of his character.
Sirius smiled and knew that James had probably been thinking about that for the past couple of days.
“I’ll remember that,” he finally said.
“You always do,” James replied as he resumed his pacing once more.
A couple of minutes past in which James just walked and Sirius just stared at the floating lantern that was their only source of light. Their silence wasn’t uncomfortable anymore.
“You know,” Sirius began, “sometimes I wish people could hear what you have to say, James. You’re really smarter then you let on. I know people would think I’m crazy, but I’m surprised that Dumbledore didn’t make you a prefect or something,’ Sirius joked.
James looked up thoughtfully before answering.
“Sure I’m smarter then I let on, but I’m not so good at the responsibility thing. It’s just easier to pretend I’m some crazy, immature marauder who’s obsessed with himself. You’re the only one that’s seen the serious side of me,” James said honestly.
“And you me,” Sirius replied feeling connected with his friend in way he couldn’t explain, “so I guess we’ve been brothers for a long time then,” he finished.
James stopped walking again, turned his head to the left so that he could see Sirius and smiled.
“Well, family is-" he started.
"-what you make it," Sirius finished with a smile.
And they were back to finishing each other's sentences.
“So am I forgiven?” Sirius asked in his joking voice.
“I’ll sleep on it,” James said which caused them both to laugh.
He then walked over to the teacher’s desk and threw himself down on the comfortable chair. Sirius turned on his desk to that he could face James once more who was now at the front of the class.
“So you ready to be our old charming selves again? None of this ‘heart to heart’ stuff when we go back to the common room?” Sirius asked, not being able to keep the smile off of his face now.
James plastered his trademark smirk on his face, the smirk that hadn’t made its way into the dungeon yet.
“What happens in the dungeon stays in the dungeon, agreed?” James said as he picked up a quill from the teacher’s desk and started rolling it back and forth over his fingers.
“Agreed, oh wise one,” Sirius answered, and nodded his head at the same time.
Their common personalities were already surfacing already.
“You know, maybe girls would like to see our sensitive, non-joking sides,” James put forth to the room.
“Nah,” they both answered in unison, which only caused them to go into a fit of laughter.
After they caught their breath, they both realized how weird it was that they were sitting in the potions room that they both hated with a passion. Sirius knew that James had only come down here so that he could be alone. But he had underestimated the powers of friendship and for that Sirius was grateful.
“So what’s with the single floating lantern light thing, Prongs?” Sirius asked. He had been staring at it for the longest time and was somehow drawn to it.
“Dramatic effect,” James answered immediately.
They together smiled.
Five minutes had past in the cold dungeon and when Sirius checked his watch he saw that they had been down there for at least an hour. Knowing that they should get back, he felt a sudden urge to stay out all night just to spite the school and its rules. Just as he was in the middle of imagining what it would look like to be found sleeping in the potions class by the potions master, James spoke from the teacher’s desk that he was still sitting behind.
“By the way, welcome back to manhood.”
Sirius laughed at his friend and rolled his eyes.
“What, you didn’t think I made a good girl?” he asked in a fake hurt voice.
James sat up straighter in his chair before addressing Sirius.
“Quite rankly I was a little afraid of the amount of vanilla lipgloss you went though,” he said in an accusing voice.
But Sirius had a counter attack.
“I wouldn’t even go there if I were you, James. Don’t forget, you have been putting the ‘Potter charm’ on me for the past week,” Sirius said with a smile.
James looked horrified before his face broke into a small grin.
“Erm…sorry mate,’ he said quietly.
Sirius could have laughed at James’ embarrassment. And he did.
“It amused the hell out of me, so I forgive you. Just don’t do it again,” he added at the end for fun.
James twiddled the quill in his fingers and glared at Sirius before he assured him that it would not ever happen again.
“So anyways, tell me everything then.” James said as got an excited look in his eyes.
Sirius knew what was coming.
“What do they sleep in? What do they talk about? What does Lily look like in the morning without make-up? What are high heels like? Or, oh! How about a bra? Oh my god, Padfoot tell me everything!” James said in a very ecstatic voice as he clapped his hands in amusement.
Sirius let out his bark like laugh at the sound of his friend asking what it felt like to wear a bra.
“Well, are you ready for this? They have pictures of me hanging up in their dorms,” Sirius said and tried to conceal a smirk as James widened his eyes.
“No way!” he exclaimed as he brought a hand up to his face for drama.
“Totally. I told you they liked me better,” Sirius said.
James just looked happy and said nothing like he was thinking about something.
“Oh by the way, Padfoot, Lily knows about your special boxers,” James said and couldn’t contain his laughter at the horrified look on Sirius’ face.
“What! Prongs! You are so dead!” Sirius yelled. It was an empty threat however. Sirius didn’t care if a girl saw his boxers.
“Relax, she saw a lot more then that,” James said and he continued to laugh uncontrollably.
Sirius just glared at his friend.
“Thanks. Now I can relax,” he said as he shook his head in the process, “ah, it’s ok. You won’t want to know all the stuff I found out about her.”
James immediately sat up in his chair and focused every ounce of his attention on Sirius.
“I’m listening,” he said as he placed the quill that he had been holding into a small empty case on the edge of the teacher’s desk that seemed to have been there for no apparent reason.
Just as Sirius was about to answer his friend, something happened that made the both of them freeze in confusement and turn their attention to the blackboard behind James.
A rumbling noise had started behind James’ back and when they looked at the clean board at the front of the class they saw thin silver markings forming on it slowly.
James looked back to Sirius who had now gotten off of his desk and was walking towards him.
The silver markings on the chalkboard had evolved to now show the shape of a door with a fancy handle that looked real enough to turn.
As soon as Sirius reached the desk that James had stood up from, he turned his attention away from the board and instead looked at his friend who had been staring at the ‘door’ as well.
“James…did you do something?” Sirius asked as he looked around to make sure that nobody had heard the rumbling sound and had come to see what the noise was about. But there was no one.
“I…I don’t know, all I did was put this quill into that weird jar thing at the corner of the desk,” James said as he motioned to the quill that he was referring to.
Sirius and him then shared a meaningful glance before they both ran over to the jar on the desk. It turned out to be permanently stuck to the old wood desk, as neither of them could remove it from its position no matter how hard they tried.
“You must have hit a button or something when you put that quill into it, James. Look around the side of it…it has the same silver markings on it as the door does,” Sirius said as he examined the little black jar that did indeed have silver markings on it in the shape of a door that mimicked the one on the blackboard perfectly.
James looked at the jar as well and agreed with his friend. They then both walked slowly over to the chalkboard.
Sparing one glance over at Sirius who was looking entranced by the silver door that was shining out into the otherwise dark room, James reached out towards the handle of it. With a bit of a surprise, James felt himself grab the handle that he had previously thought had just been a drawing.
James just stood there holding the handle before Sirius encouraged him to open the mysterious door.
With one swift movement, James had turned the handle and the door had swung open to reveal a dark passage that led to somewhere neither of them could see. Standing at the edge of their new found discovery, they caught each other’s eyes and took out their wands at the exact same time.
“Ready for another adventure?” James asked Sirius once they had both gotten a chance to look down the scary passage that could lead anywhere.
“Are you kidding? A chance to venture under the depths of the school?” Sirius asked as he looked at James once more.
And at that, they both lit their wands and took the first step into the deserted, thin passage that didn’t look like it had been used for years.
Which it hadn’t.
Alone in the boys’ dormitory in the Gryffindor house, Remus and Lily sat on the floor waiting for James and Sirius to come back from their little talk. They didn’t care that it was getting late. They were also both prefects and knew that James and Sirius shouldn’t be about the castle at this hour but it didn’t bother them in the slightest anymore. They just wanted the two to sort out their differences and come back as friends again.
Lily and Remus had been sitting on the floor reading books silently to themselves to pass the time when Lily looked up from her book and sighed.
“It’s been a long time, Remus. Are they still in the potions room?” she asked and raised her eyebrows as she did so.
Remus immediately reached onto the bed that he was sitting next to and grabbed a piece of parchment off of it.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” he said quietly and opened the map to reveal the school of Hogwarts.
After scanning it for a couple of seconds he looked up at Lily.
“They’re not in the potions room anymore, they must be heading back,” he said as he looked back down to the map to see where exactly they now were.
A couple of minutes had passed in which Lily watched Remus scan the map over twice.
“Erm…Remus, hello? Where are they?” she said wondering why he was taking so long.
Remus looked up to her, dropping the map onto the floor as he did so.
“I don’t know, Lily. I can’t find them. They’re not on the map.”
A/N -> Please be kind. Much love.
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