A/N: Setting: the morning after. *cue ominous music* I know this is what you've all been waiting for, so I won't bore you with my blabbering. Read on!
James’s eyes popped open of their own accord, and he sat bolt upright in his bed. A glance at the sleeping bodies in the beds around his told him that it was not nearly a reasonable time to be awake yet. But from behind the canopy of one of the beds on the far wall, a pair of open eyes stared back at him. James squinted to see who it was, before gaining his wits and reaching for his glasses instead.
Remus Lupin sat stiffly within the shadows of his bed, looking exhausted and utterly miserable. His knees were drawn to his chest, and his arms wrapped around them. It looked like he hadn’t moved from that position for ages.
There were dark circles under his eyes. Before he could stop himself, James blurted, “Moony, did you even go to sleep?”
Remus turned his tired gaze in James’s general direction, but couldn’t bring himself to meet his eyes. Instead he stared at the trunk at the foot of his friend’s bed.
His voice was creaky and haunted. “I could’ve really hurt someone last night,” he murmured so quietly James almost didn’t hear him. He shuddered slowly, like he was cold.
James blinked. “Moony, what are you talking about? It’s like that every time, isn’t it? Last night was just another one.”
James wasn’t quite awake enough yet to remember what had happened last night. It wasn’t registering in his mind because, after all, he had stumbled into bed at dawn too tired to think about anything. He looked over at the clock. It was now seven-thirty. He had gotten less than three hours of sleep, and Remus had gotten none.
“It was almost real bad, wasn’t it?” Remus whispered again listlessly.
Now James remembered. “Almost, but it was a pretty damn close one, Moony.” James sounded murderous. “A certain git decided not to show up for duty last night, and it was me all alone against you. Well, me and a rat.” He laughed but the sound was empty.
James strained his neck to peer over at the empty bed that normally would have held Sirius. “He didn’t come back all night?” he asked.
Remus shook his head sadly. “Last night—”
“Moony, I told you, it’s not your fault. And besides, we should be glad nothing really happened, right? Although we would’ve been toast if Rosie—”
James broke off, trying to process the thought in his brain, which was still sluggish from lack of sleep. “Wait!” he cried when he finally got his thoughts straight. “But that means—this means—she knows now…”
Remus regarded him strangely. “She already knew before,” he said slowly. “I told her.”
“She knows…she knew?!” James whispered incredulously.
Remus frowned at him. “Why couldn’t I tell her? It’s about me.”
“Moony, you told her! About us! It wasn’t your right!”
Remus opened his mouth to explain, but at that moment the door opened with a creak, and James’s head whipped toward the source of the noise. Taking advantage of the fact that his roommates were supposedly still sleeping, the silhouette of Sirius Black crept furtively into the dormitory. He tiptoed in, eager to sneak into bed lest anyone figure out he had been gone for the night (although this was a highly delusional hope and only survived because Sirius had forgotten for the moment that last night had been the night of the full moon). Unfortunately, he was met with two angry boys who were very much awake. He squirmed under the scrutiny.
“You!” James rasped, grabbing his wand and pointing it furiously toward his best mate. “You—where…what the bloody hell—where were you last night?” he spluttered.
Sirius looked confused. “Calm down, mate. Don’t worry, I didn’t shag anyone…although what I did do is almost as good.” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively, eyes twinkling with excitement. “Just wait till you hear this, Prongs.”
“I don’t wanna hear anything from you, Pad!” James growled. “The nerve of you, out shagging people, while we were supposed to be—”
He jabbed his wand in the near direction of Remus, who had shrunken farther into the shadows like he felt he had been to blame for James’s wrath.
“What?” Sirius cocked his head, walking toward the bed James was pointing at. “I was in the Room of Requirement, Prongs. I didn’t hear anything about something we were supposed to…”
His eyes widened as Remus came into view. “Oh, shit…” he whispered. “Oh, shit! Oh, shit!” he yelped, slapping his forehead repeatedly and collapsing to the floor. The color drained from his face as he peeked up at James, who was showing no sign of relenting.
“Yeah, Pad,” James spat, “shit is right. What kind of shitty position did you put me in? I couldn’t leave Moony just because you didn’t feel like showing up, but did you honestly think I could take him by myself? He’s a bloody werewolf! Me and Pete could’ve died last night—”
At this, Remus twitched so violently that he almost fell off of the bed. James shot him a concerned look before amending, “Well, maybe not, but it was bad. What kind of shitty friend are you, Sirius? To me and to Moony?”
The accused party shrugged uncomfortably. Sirius was no good at apologies, even if they were sincere. “I have something to tell you that might make you feel better,” he offered cautiously.
“Not the best of things to say, hot shot,” his voice muttered.
James’s eyes narrowed. “Feel better?” he asked incredulously. “What could you tell me that could possibly make me feel any better? I feel great, Pad! I’ve had two hours of sleep, I fought off a werewolf by myself last night, and I feel wonderful!” he growled. “There’s also the insignificant fact that I might just now owe my life to Rosie—”
For a second time, he broke off. Sirius looked at him, confused. James felt confused as well, until for a second time the thought sunk in. James whipped his head around to face Remus again. “You told her?”
Remus cringed. “Prongs—”
“You told her!”
“You told her?” James and Remus both looked to Sirius, who immediately snapped his mouth shut. Apparently he was in enough trouble.
“Yes, I told her,” Remus began. James furiously started to interrupt again, but Remus pressed on, “but only about me. Not you guys. And if you want to keep your secret you’d better not go chasing after her today, thanking her for saving your life,” he said quietly.
James flushed. “I wouldn’t think of doing such a thing,” he said loftily.
Sirius grinned, but it immediately disappeared as James turned a frosty glare back to him. “Now that we’ve got that all sorted out…Pray tell, dear Pad, what kind of bullshit story you have for us today?” he asked Sirius sarcastically. “What hath prevented thy presence until now?”
Tentatively the grin returned. Sirius bowed low with a flourish. “My lord, I thought you’d never ask.” He straightened up and walked uninvited over to James’s bed, sitting down with a thump. “You see, yesterday as I was heading out of the Room of Requirement—”
“What were you doing in there in the first place?” James asked coldly.
Sirius blushed. “I…I wanted a smoke,” he lied casually. “Anyway,” he continued before James could interrupt again, “when I came out, guess who was waiting outside but Rachel Bailey.”
“Rachel Bailey?” James exclaimed in surprise. “Gryffindor Rachel—”
“Rachel Bailey?” Remus, who had dozed off partially, piped up.
Sirius nodded smugly. “Yes, it was she. So, like the gentleman I am, I invited her in—”
“Figures,” Remus grumbled, while James began to look angrier than ever, so angry he couldn’t speak.
Sirius pressed on to no avail. “And we got to talking and I realized—”
“You’re digging your own grave now, hot shot.” It was his voice’s new favorite nickname for him.
Remus snorted. As miserable as he felt, he had to admit that this was funny. Almost as funny as the shade of purple James’s face was turning. “So you snogged Rachel Bailey,” James forced out in a growl. “And this is supposed to make me happy why?!” he practically shouted.
“Shh!” Sirius hissed as a nearby boy rolled over in his sleep. “Just let me finish! Prongs, you know how brothers are about their sisters. And Rachel’s brother—”
Once again, Sirius was interrupted. But instead of yelling at his mates to stop interrupting, he smiled. James was finally getting it.
“That little bastard,” James grumbled, more to himself than to the others. “I could’ve finished him off, calling my Flower a whore, his sister is the real whore—”
“Exactly!” Sirius exclaimed, unable to contain his own excitement. “When he finds out his sister will get with just any old dog…”
James realized it, laughing. He couldn’t help himself. He wasn’t done being mad at Sirius, but this was just too great. Sirius had triumphed over the Ravenclaws once and for all. “Any old dog and a Gryffindor at that—”
“Not just any Gryffindor, but a Marauder—” Remus said proudly.
“And James Potter’s best mate!” Sirius finished it off.
“Well, aren’t you a genius,” his voice said supportively.
But James sobered up almost immediately. “Whoa, Pad, I don’t know about that yet. I’m still hurting from last night. And…” he trailed off, realizing something.
“You’d better hope Lily doesn’t find out about this, darling,” his voice chimed.
Shaking his head, James dropped back down onto his pillow. “You’d better hope Lily doesn’t find out about this, Pad. I think we’ve finally hit the big time.”
Sirius got up and moved onto his own bed. “She won’t,” he said easily. “If she does, you won’t have to be the one to explain it to her.”
“Fat chance,” the voice muttered in James’s ear.
“Ro…Ro, wake up!” Lily practically shrieked in Rosie’s ear. Rosie mumbled something and rolled over so she faced away from Lily. It was past eight o’clock, the normal time to wake up on a weekday, as classes started at nine. But last night, Rosie had been up until dawn, giving her a total of three or so hours of sleep, although Lily didn’t know as much.
“Rosaline!” Lily hissed, grabbing Rosie’s shoulder and shaking it violently. It didn’t help that her hands were trembling already. To Rosie’s half-asleep, semi-functioning mind, she sounded on the brink of tears. Her voice clamored for her to get up despite all her efforts to shut it out.
“What? What?” She pried open her eyes and blinked rapidly, glancing around the room. It was empty of girls, except for the sad heap collapsed on the foot of her bed that was Lily. “Lils! What’s the matter?”
Lily’s eyes were glistening but she bit her lip. “It’s stupid to cry over it,” she mumbled, ashamed. “It’s just Rachel again.”
“That bitch. Why can’t she mind her own business and stay out of yours?” Rosie rolled her eyes. She had gotten up for this?
“This time, it is my business.” Lily sighed mournfully, but her tone was murderous. “I guess Sirius just couldn’t keep his hands out of her pants.”
Rosie gasped and leaped out of her bed. “Sirius?” Shivering in her thin camisole and shorts, she slid across the covers to envelop Lily in a hug. “Oh, Lils, I’m sure he didn’t mean it! He was drunk, or he was high, or he was asleep…or it never happened at all!”
Lily shook her head. “This is Sirius we’re talking about. I believe it.” She sniffed. “And James…he didn’t stop him.”
“He might not have known—”
“Oh, please, stop bullshitting, Ro. They’re best mates, remember? They tell each other everything…especially things like these,” she muttered, disgusted. “Sirius probably knows about everything we’ve—” She broke off, horrified at the thought.
Rosie was too worried about her to smile at this. “Lily, I don’t think you’re being fair to him,” she said seriously.
“Just give him a chance to explain!” Lily’s voice protested.
“Oh, but I think I’m being very fair,” Lily said. She wobbled between bursting into tears and screaming with anger.
“Lily…” Rosie sneezed.
“For god’s sake, put some clothes on!” Lily scolded. “This conversation is done! My relationship is done!” She leapt up from the bed. “Hurry or else you won’t get any breakfast—”
She squealed, flailing her arms as she slipped on something, lost her balance, and fell to the floor. “What the hell?” she exclaimed, picking a long round wooden object off of the ground. “Ro, what were you doing with your wand in the middle of the night?”
Rosie gulped. “Nothing, it must’ve fallen,” she said offhandedly. She couldn’t deal with this right now.
“One thing at a time, honey, or you’ll just end up driving yourself crazy.”
“I’m already crazy,” she muttered. But in a way, her voice was right. Last night was done, over with. She could ask Remus about the strange stag later…or not at all. If she could just let it all go, maybe they’d never have to talk about it again, ever. Or at least until the next full moon.
And for now… “Hey Lils?” she asked cautiously.
“Yeah?” Lily was already halfway to the door.
“You go ahead. I need to take a shower, and besides, I’m not hungry.”
Lily’s eyes narrowed. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with avoiding a certain potentially heartbreaking scene of hurt and anger, would it?”
“No, Lily,” Rosie sighed. She couldn’t help but add, “I still think you should give him a chance, though,” before scurrying into the bathroom and shutting the door.
A/N: I've crammed as many AP courses as I have room for this year, so I'm suffering in school (do they have APs in places other than the USA?). I'm working hard to get these chapters up, and I'd love some feedback, no matter good or bad. What do you think of the story so far? Thanks in advance for helping me out! =]
Coming next chapter: The shit finally hits the fan, and nobody is more dismayed than our boys. Well, maybe a certain Lily Evans. Do our boys know how fast they need to run to outrun a Quidditch broom?