‘Merlin!’ Lily muttered sleepily. ‘What time is it?’ When she sat up, Remus realised she was still wearing her slightly crumpled school uniform.
‘Three in the morning,’ Remus said from the other side of the room. He was loading books into his bag, ready for the Marauders’ usual early morning study session. Lily made a rude hand gesture and tried to roll over, failing because she and Sirius were still stuck together.
‘Paddy, get up!’ James bellowed. Remus watched without surprise as James shot a jet of water at him and chuckled when Sirius yelped and sat upright, cursing and just about pulled Lily’s arm out of its socket. Remus winced.
She muttered severl hexes she’d very much like to use and tried to bury her head under her pillow. James looked at Remus and winked. ‘Lily, honey,’ James said gently, ‘McGonagall said to wake you. The library’s on fire.’
‘No, it’s not,’ she muttered. ‘They would have evacuated us by now.’
‘Good point,’ Remus said thoughtfully. ‘James?’
‘On it. The spell’s “Incendio”, right?’
‘Potter!’ Lily growled sitting up. She looked quite scary with her bed-tussled hair.
‘Joking!’ James said hastily, tripping over his pile of bedding. He landed sprawled on the floor. Remus chuckled. ‘Lils, you know I would never do that!’
She gave him a hard stare that Remus was sure he would have quailed under, but James held his ground. Suddenly, Lily looked away, blushing. James went red too as he looked down at his bare chest.
Sirius relieved the tension in the room by shaking his head like a dog would, trying to get dry. Peter squealed when water hit him, so Sirius pulled out his wand and blasted the fair-haired boy with more liquid. Remus and James laughed hysterically.
‘It’s not funny!’ Lily said, waving her wand to dry the soaking boy.
Peter smiled at her. ‘Actually, it was, Lily,’ he said. ‘But thanks.’ He grinned and waved his wand at Sirius.
The shaggy haired boy easily dodged the slow-coming water and shook his head at James. ‘More force next time, Wormtail,’ he said grinning.
Peter laughed as James asked, ‘Where did we go wrong, Pads? Pete had such potential... Next he’ll be rubbing shoulders with Slytherins!’
‘And what’s wrong with that?’ Lily asked coolly. ‘Sev-’
‘-No!’ James shouted. ‘You can’t say that name in here. We hexed the room,’ he added guiltily.
‘What?’ Peter demanded. ‘Is that why I get those boils?! You told me the house-elves mustn’t have washed the sheets properly!’ Sirius and James shared a guilty look. ‘Moony, did you know about this?’
‘It doesn’t surprise me,’ Remus admitted, amused. ‘I certainly didn’t believe it was the sheets.’
Sirius clapped him on the back with his free hand, looking proud. ‘Nothing gets past you, does it.’
‘Very little these days,’ Remus said. James sniggered.
‘You’re all idiots,’ Lily said, exasperatedly. She wasn’t looking at any of them.
‘Lily, none of us sleep in shirts,’ Sirius said, rolling his eyes. Most people thought Remus was the perceptive one, but Sirius seemed to be able to read people’s minds whenever it suited him. It was quite uncanny.
‘I-’ she started, still not looking at him.
‘Then look at us.’ When she didn’t, he laughed. ‘Get over it.’ She managed to look at him incredulously, but baulked when she realised he too was shirtless. He held his own, not looking embarrassed at all, but then, with the number of girls he had slept with that was not really surprising. ‘Yes,’ he in a decidedly exasperated voice, ‘it’s a bellybutton. You have one too.’
James howled with laughter. Lily blushed and looked away quickly while Remus and Sirius caught each other’s eyes chuckling.
‘It’s indecent exposure,’ Lily insisted, glaring at the ground.
‘Hardly,’ Remus scoffed. ‘It’s our dormitory.’ Lily opened her mouth to protest but though better of it.
James scooped his pile of books up and squeezed past Peter to the door. ‘Are you coming?’
Remus nodded and followed him out. Everything was quiet on the stairs until Lily spoke. ‘Wait,’ she said slowly. ‘How did you get your shirt off without going over me?’
Sirius shook his head then smiled sheepishly. ‘Prongs transfigured it into a belt so I could take it off. He changed it back after.’ Lily’s eyes narrowed.
James hid a chuckle behind his hand but Remus decided to forgo subtlety and laughed loudly; it was rare for Sirius to mess up a spell, but then, he had had to do it left-handed, since his right was attached to Lily.
‘Clever,’ Lily said. She sounded like she wanted to deny that it was, but couldn’t. She was always impressed by advanced magic.
‘Moony thought of using transfiguration,’ James said brightly. He dropped his books on the common room table. ‘I wasn’t going to do more than give him the spell then he screwed up and gave himself wings.’ Lily snorted, but her eyes shone with laughter, a give-away. Remus did a double-take. Lily Evans was laughing at something James had said.
While James was looking pleased with having amused Lily, Sirius had carefully maneuvered around the table and gone straight to the armchair that he and James always fought over. He sat down with a smug expression, despite the uncomfortable looking position his arm was in, connected to Lily.
James stayed on his feet, watching, looking equally smug. Finally, Lily who had nowhere to sit cleared her throat. Sirius looked up at her expectantly and then pouted. He shuffled over to the couch with a disgruntled expression while James dove onto his vacated seat.
Remus pulled a Charms textbook toward him. The other three Marauders mimicked him.
The only sounds in the quiet common room were those of scratching quills, pages turning, the dying crackles of the fire and Lily’s occasional sigh. She hadn’t brought any books down and Sirius refused to go back up until he was finished.
‘I’m not hallucinating am I?’
‘What?’ Peter asked absently. Remus wondered if he realised he had ink in his nose.
‘Are the Marauders really doing their homework?’
‘Yes.’ Remus grinned.
‘But Black and Potter never do homework,’ Lily said.
‘Don’t we?’ Sirius asked crossing out a word. ‘Since when do you know so much about us?’
Remus knew very well that her opinion of James and Sirius was already changing. About time too, he thought wryly. He and Lily had always gotten along, and Lily and Peter had always been on reasonably neutral ground. He knew though, from their time as prefects that she thought Sirius and James were lazy, attention-seeking boys.
Remus thought himself a good judge of character, and knew that while they could be obnoxious and occasionally arrogant, they were the best friends anyone could ever want; loyal, funny, helpful, selfless, brave, moral- the list could go on forever.
‘Figures,’ she muttered, finally. ‘You study at night so you can show everyone else up in class.’ James was paying a little too much attention to his Potions essay and had a slightly hurt expression that Remus doubted came from writing about the Essence of Euphoria.
Remus intervened on his behalf. ‘That’s where you’re wrong, Lily,’ he said politely. ‘In first year, Padfoot forgot to do his Transfiguration homework so he got up early to do it. Prongs offered to help so he got up too and they woke Pete and me up in the process. We decided we were more alert in the morning, and that we liked the quiet of the common room, so it became routine. Not long after that, you cornered James about never doing his homework so we started doing it in the evenings again. About a day later you told him not to bother pretending to work because it wasn’t going to impress you, so we went back to doing it in the mornings.’ He glanced at James who was still fixated on his homework. ‘He decided you were happier not knowing.’
Lily looked stunned and lapsed into thoughtful silence. James went red and hid behind a textbook. Peter and Sirius looked at each other and Remus could tell they were choking back laughter.
After another few minutes of silent work, James began to talk quietly to himself as he always did when he was thinking hard. ‘One spoon of powdered- no, that can’t be right. No, wait, yes it is. That was the day Sirius added an extra fig to...’
He continued to mutter which didn’t bother any of the others who were well used to ignoring him, but they had stopped working anyway. Remus and Sirius were done and they had nudged Peter in the ribs until he looked up; Lily was watching James chatter away.
Remus could tell she thought his talk was endearing, which amused him, partially because James was oblivious to the whole thing and partially because he would sing while he worked if he thought it would make Lily happy.