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Falling Star by Lioness06
Chapter 14 : Shaded Moon
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Chapter 14: Shaded Moon

Severus Snape was absentmindedly tracing the pattern of wood on the library table. He’d been studying alone in the library for a few hours. He was glad for the solitude, but was eagerly awaiting Lily’s arrival. They were meeting to revise Potions, and she was about five minutes late.  

Snape heard her familiar laughter before he saw her. The sound brightened his thoughts, but also produced feelings of nervousness. He wanted the afternoon to go smoothly. He wanted to sound clever and make her laugh. He didn’t want any argument to sour the mood between them. Most of all he wanted some indication that Lily was beginning to view him as more than a friend, but even he had to admit at the moment that he had very little to offer her.

Snape stood and walked toward the aisle to flag Lily over. He had found a quiet area where they could be alone. His stomach dropped when he spotted her conversing with Remus Lupin.  He did not like that Lily was wasting the precious hour they had allotted on the werewolf. He was about to call out, but was glad he didn’t because Potter, Black, and Pettigrew descended on the pair.

Snape stepped slightly back behind the bookshelf so he wouldn’t be seen, but he kept an eye on the group through a gap in shelved books.  Potter said something to Lily ruffling his hair to make it ridiculously messy. Then to his astonishment Lily said something back to him while ruffling her own hair in a perfect imitation of James. Her words caused the four Gryffindors boys to erupt in laughter and Snape noticed a tint of pink on Potter’s cheeks. It took all of Snape’s inner strength not grab his wand and hex Potter to oblivion. The librarian shushed them and then Lily left the group glancing around – presumably looking for Severus. Her eyes were bright and happy; and Severus was loath to admit the Gryffindors had been the cause.

Snape quickly returned to his table; his anger at the Gryffindors lessoned when Lily spotted him and smiled broadly. He smiled back even though it was a bit forced after what he had witnessed. It was silly of him to think Lily suddenly fancied Potter after having one short positive conversation, but the fear was in the back of his mind.

“Sorry I’m a little late,” Lily said sitting down and beginning to unload her bag. Snape grunted in response.

Lily paused, frowning. “What’s wrong?”

Despite knowing this would end up in an argument Snape, something he had wanted to avoid at all costs, he couldn’t help blurting out, “I saw you walk in with Lupin.”

“So? We were headed to the same place. It isn’t as if I don’t spend time with him every week during prefect rounds.”

“That’s forced on you.”

Lily gave him a look. “He also wanted to tell me he switched patrolling days with Andrews from Ravenclaw for Thursday.”

“Oh, of course.”

“What do you mean of course?”

Severus leaned in closer to Lily and stated in a low voice, “There’s a full moon that night.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “Don’t start on that again.”

“I’m just saying.”

“I don’t want to hear it. Lupin isn’t replacing you as my best friend; if that’s what you are worried about. Now that he’s friends with Black again, I am sure I will only correspond with him during prefect patrols.” She paused and twirled a piece of her red hair. “I’d just rather you didn’t speak ill of him. He’s a good person and I consider him my friend.”

Snape frowned at her mention of Black and Lupin. He tried not to care that the four Gryffindors were friends again. He certainly wasn’t part of the camp of students that were eager for the Marauders’ pranks to start again. He had never found their jokes at all amusing, even when they weren’t directed at him. He knew though that Black and Lupin being friends meant things were going back to normal; and back to the normal interactions he usually had with them. For the past few years he had become an active participant in their feud, and there was little doubt in his mind that it would continue.

He knew Black and Potter still believed instigating him would lead to the revelation of Lupin’s secret, but the secret held no real power. It would only take one time for Black or Potter to lose their temper, hex him, and then come to the conclusion that Severus wasn’t going to tell anyone about Lupin.

There were now two factors preventing him from telling the truth about Lupin’s disappearances. The first was Dumbledore’s threat that his delving into Dark Magic would be investigated. With the current political atmosphere, Dark Magic accusations were serious and Snape had high ambitions. Without family influence, he could not afford any tarnish to his name. He had to walk a fine line; show his interest and ability in Dark Magic, but avoid being caught using it at Hogwarts. He wasn’t absolutely sure he would end up joining the Death Eaters after Hogwarts, but with his growing desire for power and respect, it was becoming each day more apparent that it would be his best option.   

The second factor and probably more important one was looking at him imploringly. She would be highly disappointed in him. The combination of her naivety in being Muggleborn and her innate goodness meant she would not care that one of her housemates was a monster. And word would get out that he was the one to drive Lupin from Hogwarts. Lily’s friendship meant more to him than letting out Lupin’s secret. He could find other ways to get back at Potter and Black.

Certainly he could do a better job than the Slytherins, whose attempts at making Black pay for being a blood traitor had only been mildly successful. Snape had been impressed by only one thing, and that had been the way the Slytherins had built a united front against Black the first two weeks back from break. Somehow without much more than a few dark looks and upturned noses, they had been able to show every student in the school their revulsion and disgust with Black’s choices. Snape wanted to be part of something that could exert that kind of authority over so many students. If Black had still being fighting with Potter, the Slytherins would have successfully isolated him from everyone in the school. Only a family with the amount of wealth and social influences as the Potters could have softened Black’s fall from grace as the eldest son of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black. It would have continued to be successful if the Gryffindors hadn’t suddenly rallied around Black, which caused the other Houses to rethink their stance on the matter.

“So you’ll leave Lupin alone?” Lily inquired breaking into his musings, clearly needing some sort of response.

Snape grunted, not agreeing or disagreeing to leave Lupin alone. He turned to his opened Potions book hoping it would be enough for Lily. He relaxed when she smiled at him. In retrospect Snape could have easily agreed to stop looking into Lupin’s monthly disappearances. He knew where Lupin went, so there was no need to keep tabs on him like he had before.

Snape decided he wasn’t going to waste another second thinking about Black, Potter, or Lupin. Lily was before him, he had a full hour of her company, and he intended to enjoy it.

***

James was watching Remus pack his bag for the full moon. Remus was heading early to the Hospital Wing to get a few hours rest before his transformation. He never took very much; a change of robes and some schoolwork for after. James was sitting on the top of his trunk at the foot of his bed. Sirius was on the ledge of the dormitory window, legs dangling and brooding silently. Peter was lying on his stomach on his bed with his head propped up on pillows.

The atmosphere was tense. While Remus had given them no indication he wanted them to join him during the full moon, the implication had not hit them until now. And Remus had left no room for them to interpret his words differently: “I’m going to the Hospital Wing. I don’t want you coming to the Shrieking Shack tonight.”

James had been the first to speak. “If that’s what you want.”

“That is what I want.”

“There must be something else we can do,” James added hopefully.

Smiling slightly, Remus shook his head. “I’ll be fine. Honestly.”

“No you won’t,” Sirius said abruptly. “It wasn’t for a lark that we became Animagi.”

Remus didn’t smile at Sirius. Instead his face turned tense and his mouth formed a rigid line. Sirius was right. Remus had been moody, tired, and peaky for days. He was getting paler and weaker with each passing hour, and this was nothing compared to the pain of the transformation and the inevitable self-inflicted injury.

“We don’t want you to hurt yourself as badly as before,” Peter said from his place on his bed. He looked anxious as if he expected that a fight would break out and someone wouldn’t be speaking to someone soon.

“And you are going to hurt yourself if we aren’t there,” Sirius interjected, frustration at the situation evident in his tone.

 “I’m not going to argue with you,” Remus said staring at Sirius. Sirius stared straight back, not backing down. They both could be very stubborn.

James pondered how best to diffuse the situation. Things were loads better between Remus and Sirius. The four of them sat together at meals, walked together to class, but their interactions were not the same as they had been before. Conversations between them were still stilted and the tone they used when speaking to each other was a bit off…just a little too polite. Still the fact his two friends had talked and mended their relationship to this point was a large step. James had only last week been unsure if even this level of friendliness would be ever possible. He was going to do his best to make sure this argument would not set them back.

Remus was the first to back down. He slung his bag over his shoulder before facing Sirius once again. “I’m not going to change my mind. I’ve thought it over. Accept my decision. My transformation is only going to be worse if I’m agitated…and I don’t think you want that.”

Sirius gestured violently with his hands. “It’s just stupid for you to suffer when something can be done about it!”

James understood the difficulty of the situation. Sirius racked with guilt was viewing Remus’s refusal to their presence as punishment. Remus still struggling to get over the betrayal was obviously not ready to trust them in his most vulnerable state.

“Then I’m being stupid! I’m not changing my mind!”

James cleared this throat. “If Remus doesn’t want us to join him, then we won’t.” Both Remus and Sirius stared at him.

“Fine,” Sirius said flatly.

Remus took a large breath. “I’ll be fine, Sirius,” he murmured quietly.

“We’ll visit you in the Hospital Wing tomorrow,” James offered. He waited for Remus to protest hoping he wouldn’t deny them that.

“I’d like that.”

 “And we’ll take detailed notes as always in all our classes,” Peter said eager to keep Remus in good spirits.

“Thank you,” Remus stated. He looked somberly around the room. “I’d better go.”

James stood clasping Remus on the back. “Take care. We’ll see you in the morning.”

Remus nodded tightly. James knew despite the brave façade Remus was dreading the transformation as much as they all were.

 “Bye, Remus,” Peter called out.

It wasn’t until Remus was almost through the door that Sirius spoke again.

“Remus – wait.”

Remus turned unsurely.

“Don’t – don’t hurt yourself too badly.” Sirius’s voice wavered, his expression pained.

Remus nodded stiffly, yet somehow Sirius’s words gave him courage. Remus left the room with a steadier gait than he had a moment before.

Remus’s departure left the boys in a gloomy silence. Sirius pushed himself off the window ledge. “What are we supposed to do the rest of the night?”

“Besides detention?” Peter questioned.

Sirius groaned. “This is going to be the longest night ever.”

James frowned. He couldn’t help but worry about Sirius’s state of mind. If he remained this unhappy and restless all night, trouble was likely to occur…unless Sirius’s energy was redirected. An idea popped in his head. “Who do you have detention with?”

“Flitwick. Why?”

“Skip it.”

“Skip it?”

“That’s what I said.”

“McGonagall will likely allow Filch to use those chains and thumbscrews he’s always threatening us with. Any good reason I should take such a chance?”

“I thought we should go exploring. We could all use a night of fun.” James felt a little guilty planning an adventure when Remus would be having an awful night, but not guilty enough to backtrack on his idea.  If they did make a grand discovery, it would make a good story for them to regal to Remus when they visited him tomorrow. Certainly telling him about their boring night stuck in the dormitory would do nothing to distract Remus from his pain. “Peter, do you think you can remember where you found that hidden tunnel on the fifth floor?”

“I should be able to,” Peter said looking pleased at having such an integral role James’s plan.

“Good. I have an idea…there’s even a chance McGonagall won’t find out you skived off.”

Sirius shrugged. “I’m listening, Potter.”

***

Snape walked out of the Hospital Wing having left Mulciber to recover there from his injuries.  Mulciber had attacked a mudblood third year Ravenclaw, not realizing his target had twin seventh year brothers. The twin brothers had gotten the best of him. Mulciber generally won duels because of his ruthlessness, but that strategy didn’t work so well when one was outnumbered, two to one.

Mulciber had been rather cross that Severus hadn’t jumped in to help him. Avery hadn’t either, but that hadn’t bothered Mulciber as much. He supposed it was because it was expected of Snape to do things like that to stay in the purebloods’ good graces. It wasn’t a secret that Severus was trying to rise in the Slytherin’s hierarchy and he needed a good standing among all purebloods, including his roommates, for this to occur.

It wasn’t until Snape turned the corner to see Lupin trudging towards him that he remembered what night it was. Snape knew it was up to him to decide how to treat Lupin. He probably should have ignored the werewolf, but he just couldn’t pass the chance to exert the power he had over Lupin; not when most of the time he had so little because he was half-blooded and unpopular.

“Lupin,” Severus sneered, startling the Gryffindor who had been looking downward lost in thought. The werewolf looked terrible – gaunt and frail; and it was hard to believe the terror he’d felt standing before the entrance to the Shrieking Shack had been caused by the boy in front of him. It was unbelievable that someone who looked so pathetic and weak at the moment would turn into a powerful killing machine in a few hours. “Where you off to, Lupin?”

Remus threw him a look. “You know very well what tonight is.”

Snape’s eyes raked over Remus from head to toe and then toe to head. Lupin squirmed under his gaze, and Severus didn’t attempt to hide his loathing or disgust. “Half wizard. Half beast.”

Instead of cringing or hanging his head like Snape expected, Lupin seemed to draw himself taller. His eyes were steely with a wolfish quality. “I- I want to thank you for your discretion.”

Snape raised his eyebrows. This was most unexpected.

“And I wanted to assure you that I won’t be a threat to anyone when I – transform.” Lupin’s voice had grown steadier with each word. He now looked Snape right in the eye.

Though impressed Lupin was showing a backbone, Severus was not going to back down because of it. He would just have to work harder to get to him.  “Professor Dumbledore was trying to convince me that you’re harmless. And looking at you now barely able to stand upright because of the moon cycle – it’s disgraceful.”

“I really need to get to the Hospital Wing,” Lupin answered, though he didn’t attempt to move when Severus walked a slow circle around him; didn’t even make a grab for his wand.

Snape stopped in front of Lupin after he’d made the complete circle. “I did some research on your transformation. It must hurt terribly,” he remarked with mock concern. “Bones breaking. Bones stretching.” Severus paused and he could see something flicker in Lupin’s eyes. “Then the lust for human flesh. The book I read said the severity of the need is almost impossible to imagine. Even being tied up for two days without water in front of a large pitcher of it would not even come close to the agony of being denied prey.”

“Sounds rather accurate, which is surprising. Most books on werewolves I question whether the author has even met one.” Lupin’s voice was hollow and carefully void of emotion. Severus knew the words had somewhat gotten to him, but not in the degree he had hoped. He didn’t expect Remus to start cursing him like Potter or Black…but at least lose more control of his emotions.

“I told Dumbledore that if he was going to allow werewolves in the school, at the least you should be part of the curriculum. I’m sure it would benefit the third years to see a real, live half-breed. Be able to study, poke, and prod you. You’d have to be tied up, of course, for the younger students’ safety. And they’d need to test to see if you had any diseases…”

“I don’t know what your problem is!” Remus stated loudly; Snape’s goading having finally gotten a rise out of him. “To the sort of people you associate with Muggleborns or should I say Mudbloods aren’t any better than half-breeds and isn’t your best friend one?”

Snape balked; one because he never expected a Gryffindor to use the term Mudblood and another because of Lupin bringing up Lily. He was furious that Lupin thought he could talk as if he knew anything about his friendship with Lily.

Lupin eyed Snape’s rigid body coolly. “I’ll be on my way. Madam Pomfrey is expecting me.”

Lupin started to move forward, but Snape stepped sideways so he was blocking Lupin’s path. There were only an a few inches of space between the two teenagers.  “I’m not ever going to forget what happened, Lupin. I will make sure Black and Potter pay…and you too will get what you deserve,” Snape growled, menace lacing each of his words.

They stared each other down for a few moments.

“You shouldn’t threaten a Prefect,” Remus advised.

“It’s not a threat. It’s a fair warning. One I hope you pass on.” Severus stepped back so that Lupin’s path was no longer blocked.  Remus threw him an unreadable look before passing by him quickly. Snape turned and watched as Lupin slowed his pace again once he was further down the corridor.

He expected Lupin to tell Black and Potter about the altercation; it was the main reason he had brought them up in the end. He wanted to show he wasn’t frightened of them just because they’d tried to feed him to a werewolf. He wanted to show them he still detested them and that he wasn’t going to wait around for them to have another go at him. He’d drawn the first sword this time and he now only had to wait for retaliation.

***

Sirius glared up at the canopy of his bed in Gryffindor Tower. He was angry and restless – a bad combination. He’d done many rash things because of those emotions. He hated that he was lying here when he could have been helping Remus out. As angry he was at Remus’s stubbornness that was nothing compared to the guilt assailing him. It was because of him Remus didn’t trust their presence during the transformation despite the fact it would make it so much more bearable for him.

Earlier Sirius had almost suggested that only James and Peter accompany Remus. Without Sirius’s large dog form they wouldn’t be able to take the werewolf out, but having just the stag and the rat in the Shrieking Shack would have helped distract the werewolf. Sirius hadn’t said anything for purely selfish reasons. He was worried that Remus would have agreed. He was worried that the transformation would go well enough that Remus would decide Sirius’s presence would never be needed again. Tonight would be dreadful enough, and he could not imagine going through two and a half more years of full moon nights like this.

He grabbed for his wand, and sliced it through the air; once, twice, three times. There was the satisfying sound of his red bed curtains ripping and for a moment he felt better as he gazed upon the shredded fabric, but it didn’t last long.

Sirius perked his head up as the door to dormitory opened, and was relieved to see James and Peter stumble in. He was now about ten minutes late now for his detention, and there was still a possibility he’d be caught skiving and forced to serve his detention tonight.

“All taken care of,” James announced as he entered. His bag was bulging, as was Peter’s. “Just stopped in Flitwick’s office to tell him you were ill in the Hospital Wing.” James took in the tattered curtains and raised his eyebrows.

“There was a moth. I was trying to zap it,” Sirius lied. He flicked his wand and the curtains were back to their original state before his burst of anger.

“We got you food,” Peter said dropping his bag onto his bed.

James and Peter both began empting from their bags the food they’d snuck out from the Great Hall.  They had napkins full of buttered rolls, roast beef, and slices of fruit pie.  Sirius had been forced to miss dinner; if he was pretending to be too sick for detention that meant he had to pretend he was too sick for dinner.  

 “Thanks,” Sirius said. He didn’t realize how hungry he was until he started eating.

“I’ve been wondering,” Peter began turning to look at James, “Why didn’t you just tell Professor Flitwick that Sirius was sick in the dormitory? What if Flitwick checks with Madam Pomfrey?”

Sirius nodded chewing on a piece of roast beef. “He has a fair point. What if he does check with the nurse?” 

“Have faith in me gentlemen. I thought Flitwick could just as well check to see if you were in the dormitory by asking Prewett or another male prefect… this way if he does check with Madam Pomfrey it will look like I was just lying about Sirius being in the Hospital Wing. No one will be able to prove you weren’t ill in the dorm all night. We can stuff some pillows underneath your blankets and close your bed hangings. As long as no one looks closely, there is no way for certain that even our roommates can claim you weren’t in your bed.”

“Oh!” Peter exclaimed. “That is good plan.”

“Brilliant plan,” James amended.

Sirius grinned. “We’ll see. I certainly won’t be calling it brilliant if I’m given another week of detention.”

He wondered if James realized that including the one he was skipping today, he had only two more of the nights of detentions. He still had several all day Saturday detentions to serve.  It seemed senseless to test the Professors at this point after being so well behaved, but it was too late to back out now. Anyway a detention-free night of exploring was just what he needed to keep his mind off the full moon.

Sirius managed to eat most of the food James and Peter had brought. The boys began discussing how they’d sneak out of the Gryffindor Tower while he ate. After five years of exploring after curfew they had figured out the best and worst ways to leave without being detected.

It was decided that all three of them could just fit under the Invisibility Cloak if Peter changed into his Animagus form and perched on James’s shoulder. The crowded common room made it difficult for them to maneuver from boys’ dormitory staircase to the Portrait Hole, but they made it into the hall without detection. It wasn’t until they reached the designated floor that they took the Cloak off and Peter transformed back to his human self.

Peter immediately began scanning the hallway of paintings. It was one of the longest hallways in the castle, and there were eighteen paintings tacked along the walls.  While Sirius had been fighting with James and Remus, Peter had taken to exploring the castle in rat form a few times. He’d discovered a secret tunnel, but he hadn’t been brave enough to check it out himself.

“Should we keep watch while you look for the tunnel?” James questioned.

Peter nodded. “The painting had a dragon in it, I think. Everything looks different though when you’re a rat…and I only found it because of the crack in the wood bordering the hall…”

“Sirius, you can wear the Cloak. I’ll keep watch on this end and you can take the other end of the hallway,” instructed James

Sirius reached the end of the corridor, scanning left and right. He turned back to see Peter inspecting the paintings, and pushing lightly on the area below each. He turned back to check to see if the hallways were still free and then his eye caught the slowly rising moon out of one of the windows. For the thousandth time that night, his thoughts turned to Remus and the fact they should be out there with him. He kicked the wall in frustration.

The minutes ticked by, first five, then fifteen, and Sirius was quickly growing bored. He didn’t want to be stuck standing here all night. Sirius was about ready to suggest that Peter transform back into a rat to get the same perspective he had before when Peter called, “Found it!”  

Sirius verified one last time that both directions of the hallway were clear before bounding over to Peter. He didn’t take the Cloak off until he was right next to Peter, causing Peter to jump in fright. James was already kneeling beside Peter, having seemed to expect Sirius to show himself that way he was not startled. Sirius bent down to inspect the section of the wall Peter had pushed in. A small door had formed without any outside handle, swinging inward. The three Gryffindors peered in, but all that could be seen was darkness.

Lumos,” James said and he inched closer so that his wand lit up the entrance. The tunnel wasn’t very large, but Sirius was sure they would just be able to fit. There was a layer of dust on the floor and along the edges, but otherwise, it looked safe.

Peter was biting his lip looking nervous. Sirius shared a look with James. “I’ll go first,” he offered. He handed James back his Invisibility Cloak so it wouldn’t get dirty and lit his own wand. He had to crawl on his hands and knees, and it has hard not to be disgusted by the layer of dust each time his hand touched the ground or wall.  It wasn’t until the tunnel was about to make a sharp turn that he checked to see if James and Peter were following behind him at a decent pace. James was about a foot away and Peter a few inches behind James.

 “All right?” Sirius called.

“We’re good,” James said. “We’ll probably have to take a long bath after this…”

They continued onward, the tunnel was very winding, and went up and down a few times. At one point Sirius heard Peter cry out in fright, convinced a spider had crawled over his hand. James was able to calm him and they continued forward. Then without warning there was a rather steep drop, and since Sirius was first and had no warning, he found himself sliding and tumbling down it, unable to stop the momentum until he was at the bottom.

“Sirius? Sirius?!” James yelled out.

“I’m fine,” Sirius said picking himself up. “Watch out for the drop.”

Sirius found he could now fully stand and using his wand light inspected the area. The room was empty except for three empty wood crakes stacked in the corner.  He waited for James and Peter to join him; making a much more graceful entrance having had the proper warning.

“Where are we?” Peter asked as he tried unsuccessfully to dust himself off. They were all covered in grime, dust, and cobwebs.

“Wherever we are, it’s a dead end,” Sirius muttered. He was rather disappointed that the tunnel had only led to this empty room.

“What’s that?” James questioned suddenly. “There’s a square of metal on the wall.”

The boys drew closer to inspect the bit of metal James had spotted. Sirius had missed it during his surveillance. James pressed against the wall and like it had with Peter out in the fifth floor corridor a square door shape emerged. The moment James took his hands off the wall it melted back into the wall as if had never been there.

“Looks like there used to be a handle where that metal was,” James observed.

“The door probably swings inward from the outside. We’ll need to pry it open,” Sirius remarked.

“With what?” Peter asked.

Sirius frowned. “James, push lightly on the wall and don’t stop the pressure. I might be able to force it open just using my hands.”

After several failed attempts, Sirius was ready to give up. They needed something thin to push between the door and the wall.

Peter had been rummaging around in his robe pockets, but Sirius took no notice until Peter produced a butter knife. “Do you think this will help get it open?”

Sirius stared at the knife. “Why do you have that in your pocket?”

Peter flushed. “I – uh – took it from the Great Hall. My mum sent me a jar of my favorite blackberry jam and I didn’t have anything to spread it on the biscuits.”

Sirius took the knife, James pressed on the door, and on the first try Sirius was able to wedge the knife, lift the door far enough from the wall so his fingers could get a firm hold of it. They had no idea what lay on the other side, so Sirius only cracked in open enough so that he could look just look through.

 “See anything?” James whispered beside him.

Sirius shook his head. “I can’t really see much. I’ll have to open in wider.”

“Wait,” James said. “Let me put the Cloak on. I’ll check it out. Just leave the knife wedged in so I can make a quick retreat if need be.”

Sirius and Peter waited patiently as James disappeared under the Cloak. James whistled when he was completely through and Sirius hastily shut the door. They extinguished their wands and the only light came through the sliver of the door. Sirius had no idea how long Peter and he stood there in the dark. With no warning the door swung wide open, knife clattering to the floor. The sound and light startled Sirius and he felt Peter give a squeak of fright.

James was peeking through, no longer under the cloak and grinning as if he’d found a vault of gold.  “Come through,” James beckoned. “There’s no one here and you both have to see where we ended up.”

Curious Sirius and Peter crawled through the opening; it was the same size as the one they had entered through. Standing up, Sirius was greeted by a well-stocked small pantry; there were packaged biscuits, cakes, and canisters of teas and coffees. Bewildered Sirius continued out of the pantry into the main room. He glanced back to see Peter falter at the entrance out of the tunnel. Sirius motioned him forward. Peter could be such a coward at times.

The room Sirius entered was not at all what he expected. It was spacious with several comfortable couches and armchairs. He counted four hand-carved wooden tables in varying degrees of state. Some painted and others kept in natural hue of the wood they were produced from.  There were two low bookshelves stuffed with volumes of thick books and a brick fireplace similar in design to the one in the Gryffindor common room. On one wall hung the Ravenclaw and Slytherin banner, and on another Gryffindor and Hufflepuff.

“Are we where I think we are?” Sirius asked in astonishment.

James nodded fervently; his eyes were dancing with excitement.

“Do you think they know about the tunnel?” Sirius pondered.

“I doubt it. Think they would have done a better job blocking it if they did.”

“The door handle was missing.”

“Wasn’t too difficult to pry open though with the right tool.”

Peter was still gazing about looking stunned. “We aren’t in the teacher’s lounge, are we?” he asked shakily.

“It appears we are!” James exclaimed. None of them had actually been inside the teacher’s lounge before, but it had crossed their minds to find a way in before. And now accidently they had discovered a secret entrance.

Sirius wandered around, running his hand over different items of room. “This is brilliant. We could properly prank the Professors without any chance of being caught.”

“Peter?” James said, looking perplexed.  “What are you doing? Is this really a time for a cup of tea?”

Peter had toddled over to an area that looked to be used for preparing tea and coffee. “I think we need to leave,” Peter said urgently. His watery eyes had a panicked look.

“Nonsense…most of the Professors should be patrolling or in their offices at this time,” James said with a dismissive wave.

“These cups of tea look freshly poured,” Peter insisted. He was already hedging away from the table towards the pantry.

“What are you talking about?” James asked, but he noticed at the same time that Sirius did the steam coming from the tea cups.

And that’s when they both heard it…footsteps, voices, and the jingling of a turning doorknob.

***

Author’s note: So what did you think? Leave your thoughts in a review

On a side note, I know this chapter had quite a bit of Snape. Since I’ve decided to take the story until the end of fifth year I needed to set things to make “Snape’s Worst Memory” Scene workable. J.K. Rowling definitely threw a curveball in my thinking of the events when in seventh book we found out the werewolf prank happened before “Snape’s Worst Memory”.


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Falling Star: Shaded Moon

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