"I'll be fine, mum," I said, taking the coat she held out for me and embracing her tightly.
"And you're sure there are no full moons?" she asked wearisomely, chewing on her bottom lip and stepping back to look me over.
"Yes mum, I'm positive," I said, waving my star chart instinctively.
"Do you have your wand?" I hooked the notebook under my arm and pulled my wand out of my satchel that I was carrying atop my trunk.
"Got it. Now I've got to go, mum. The Potters are only keeping their floo open until twelve thirty," I said, hugging her again to appease her.
"Mr. and Mrs. Potter are alright with James having you over?" she questioned as I walked towards the fireplace.
"They're fine with it, mum. In fact, Mrs. Potter told me she feels safer if I'm there." She smiled at me warmly and snuck another small box of bandages into my bag while she gave me her last hug. "I'll write you when I get back to school." She nodded happily and let me go.
"See you soon, Remus." She leaned on the back of the chair and waved to me as I stepped into the fireplace and shouted,
"Moony!" Sirius exclaimed as I spun into the Potters' home.
"Mate," I responded, dragging my trunk in and coughing a bit as the smoke caught in my throat.
"What took you so long?" James asked, bounding in from what I supposed would be the drawing room. We were always fooling around with something in there.
"My mum. You know how she is." I put my things in the corner of the grandiose living area where I usually left them until I took them up to James' room.
"Yeah, my parents are about to leave. Come say bye before they go," James said, jerking his head towards the front door where I heard some low whispers and cluttered movement. We walked down the hallway, and I could hear James' steps growing increasingly and unnecessarily louder as we grew closer. He knew his parents didn't like him to overhear things about the war.
"Remus," Mrs. Potter gasped in surprise. James and Sirius parted as she came to give me a hug. "How is your mum?" she asked as she pulled back and took hold of her trunk again.
"She's doing okay. She told me to let you know that she's free for tea next week." Mrs. Potter frowned instantaneously. She had forgotten, of course.
"Oh, dear. I've forgotten again, Remus. I'll be sure to write her when we get back," she said cheerfully, Mr. Potter placing a hand on her waist as she stood next to him again.
"Alright, lads. Keep the house clean," James' dad said, relaying his spiel he went through whenever James was left alone. "And remember no parties." The three of us smirked involuntarily, so he sighed and continued. "But if you must, make sure no one gets hurt and the place is clean before we come back." James nodded, smiling at his parents and stepping forward as his mum extended her arms a final time.
"Be safe, mum," he muttered quietly into her ear, before moving onto his dad. They both clapped each other on the back, and Mr. Potter ruffled James' hair a bit before shoving him back to us playfully.
"We'll see you when we get back," Mrs. Potter said, waving to the three of us cheerfully as they exited the front gate.
"We're free!" Sirius yelled, jumping on the spot and racing down the carpeted hallway back to the drawing room.
"I've got my trunks, don't worry about it," I said sarcastically as James and I each took one. "So do you know where they're going this time?" James was pretty silent whenever his parents left. He always asked us over because it scared him to be alone. It always had, even when we were just eleven. I remember the ride to Hogwarts, maybe it was third year, when he told us about what his parents did. I knew what Aurors were, but Sirius had never been exposed to that occupation before, and Peter was simply more ignorant.
"Nah, I don't. They said it was classified this time. They'll be back after I'm gone though," he said forlornly. We dropped them off at the start of the main staircase, and went to meet Sirius.
He didn't tell us directly that it scared him to be alone, but I picked up on it after not too long. He constantly had to be around people and got very moody if we ever left him alone. I realized why that was when he started to tell us all about what the job of an Auror consisted of.
He told us that they were always on the road, never really home for him. He told us that he had fun with his house elf, Hally, but I knew better. I knew the feeling and guilt you felt when you lied to your best mates, and I knew he had it. That's why they let him do whatever he wanted. They felt guilty as well.
"So what's up with the drawing room, anyway?" I asked, not knowing what I had started. His face lit up, his smile blinding me when he grabbed my sweater and dragged me forward.
"We were thinking," he said, and I rolled my eyes knowing nothing good could come from this. "We were thinking that we could try making a map for my house."
"You mean like the Marauder's Map?" I asked skeptically.
"Yeah, just like that! You did it all, right? It'll be easier, too. The house isn't as big as Hogwarts," he said quickly, fumbling over his words in excitement.
"Yeah, I did it, but it took a lot of time," I said in frustration.
"Just try, will you?" I saw the desperate look in his eyes, and I felt bad for him. I don't think he made to do it, but they always made me feel guilty. In fact, I know they didn't mean to do it. It's just, I really did owe them so much.
"I'll take a look, I guess. You know Dorcas helped me a lot, though. We'll need her to look it over. She's the one that did the spells."
"Did you ask him?" Sirius asked, swivelling around in the worn leather chair that sat behind the polished wooden desk.
"Yeah, I'll take a look," I said, kicking the wheel of the chair to move him over and leaning over their plans.
"What's this?" I asked pointing to a small door that lead through a guest room and into the back courtyard.
"Small passage the elves use," James said, waving it off. "I don't even think I could fit in there anymore."
"Well, it seems simple enough. The only hard thing would be the people. I don't know everyone who comes here. I don't know if it works on people you don't know."
"It should, shouldn't it?" Sirius asked. "It's a modified Homenum Revelio charm I think."
"No, it's something different. I think it's called a Homonculous Charm or something. I've never heard of it."
"Well that's just perfect," James said in frustration, waving his hand through his hair.
"It's no big deal, Prongs," Sirius said, leaning back in the chair. "We'll just try it when she and Peter get here."
"She's not going to be here until Saturday," James answered. "Lily let me know in her letter."
"Are you kidding?" Sirius asked, his cool demeanor falling. We both looked at him in confusion.
"What's wrong with you?" I asked. His eyes fell a bit, and his anger subsided. James and I had been trying to get the two to admit their feelings for a while. They're stubborn, though. Not too into the whole relationship thing either.
"Shut up, Moony," he said, pushing me out of the way and leaning over the plans again. "Well when is Wormtail coming?" James shrugged and looked at the map again He was pouting now that he wasn't the center of attention.
"He's supposed to be here tomorrow morning. They just came back from Greece, apparently." I had written the three of them the first day of break, just to ensure our plans. I always liked to have plans set. It made me more comfortable.
"Alright, well we'll figure it out Saturday then I guess," James said, pushing off the table and walked to the other side of the room and slid open the wooden panels, letting in the light from the book room. Their small library had full windows, up to the ceiling and down to the floor.
"I'm going out, boys. Ask Hally to make you something if you need anything." He walked through the library and up to his room, probably to find some shoes. Sirius looked at me, his eyebrows raised in bewilderment.
"What was all that about?" he asked, finally getting up from his comfortable position.
"It's his parents. It scares him, you know."
"He'll be fine," Sirius said, roping his heavy arm around my shoulder. "Let's go play chess."
"Done," she said, putting the map back down on the bed and dusting off her hands by clapping them together as if they were dirty.
"That's it?" Peter asked, peering over Dorcas' right shoulder at the new map.
"It only took us two days, but yes that's it," she said, looking back at me and smiling.
"It's not as fancy or pretty as the other one, but it's functional," I said unfolding it and revealing the house plan.
"Can we come in now?" Lily yelled, banging harshly on the door. "Bloody hell," she muttered, and I heard an Alohomora, then saw a shot of golden light through the lock.
"What have you been doing in here?" Lily asked, lifting her head up from dusting something off of her trousers. Peter grabbed the map from my hand and stuffed it into the large pocket on the front of the sweater he was wearing.
"Alright fine," she said as the three of us sat there on James' bed, our mouths snapped shut. "So this is his room?" she asked, looking around as she forgot about the reason they were trying to ram their way in here.
Lily and Alice had arrived with Dorcas. Maybe it had made for an awkward arrival, but they would be here tomorrow for the party anyway. What's one more night? Anyway, James and Sirius had been off in the basement collecting some things for the party. They probably were just sitting down there drinking and reading some Quidditch magazine, but we knew James couldn't be in the same room as Lily. Not just yet anyway.
She walked over slowly to his desk and looked at the scattered mess. I'm sure she saw her name scribbled down a couple of times, but she would have to be daft to not realize James was obsessed with her. Well he used to be, at least. Not so much anymore, I don't think.
"What are you lot still doing in here? We were going to go to a pub on-" Sirius cut off his sentence as he saw Lily moving some papers aside and running her fingers over the words carved into James' old desk. Her name was probably carved in there as well. The room was suddenly very still and tense, as Lily hadn't come out of her trance yet and we were all just standing there, watching. Her eyes flashed up quickly as if she just remembered we were all in there, and she cleared her throat.
"We're coming," Dorcas said, getting up from the bed and hooking her arms in Alice's and Lily's. "We're just going to get our cloaks." The two were dragged by Dorcas out of the room and she was almost up the stairs to the third floor when Sirius stopped her.
"Get muggle coats. We'll be in muggle London, probably." Dorcas nodded, her mouth shut tight like it was before and pushed Lily and Alice in front of her to run up the stairs. Dorcas and Sirius had been strange, too. James told me that they kissed, but it was weird. They'd done it before, they'll do it again. I just didn't see the big deal, I guess.
"Come on Peter," I said, as we were the only two left in the room besides Sirius who was hanging on the door frame, watching Dorcas go up the stairs. "You're staring again, mate," I said, walking out and towards my room to grab a jacket.
"Shut up, Moony," he growled quietly, heading back downstairs to get James. I think it was hate Remus week.
"Where are we even going?" Alice moaned, clutching her windbreaker closer to her body. We had been walking around, quite aimlessly, for a while now. We had apparated just outside of Diagon Alley so we wouldn't be seen, and now we've been out here for an hour looking for a pub or restaurant of some sort to just sit down at, really. Dorcas had thrown up twice since we apparated, and she was looking pretty sick.
"Maybe we should stop," Sirius whispered into James' ear. He glanced back at Dorcas one more time, who was talking with Peter about something, drinking a bottle of water that Lily had brought with her.
"Well I'm stopping," Alice announced, dragging Lily with her to the right side of the street and heading into a dimly lit restaurant hastily.
"What the bloody hell is wrong with you?" Dorcas asked James incredulously, breaking off of her conversation with Peter.
"Me?" James said back. "What about your little friend in there. Oh, James, my sister will never accept me!" he wailed mockingly. Sirius snickered quietly before Dorcas glared at him harshly.
"You're acting like a proper arsehole; dragging us around town while you and buddy boy over there," she said, motioning to Sirius, "are having a jolly good time whistling at girls who are too bloody old and too bloody out of your league!"she exhaled in one breath, drinking the last of her water.
"Calm down, Dorcas," I said, peeking over my shoulder to make sure that Lily and Alice hadn't heard any of this. I saw them seated at a large table, reading menus and taking sips of water from large glasses.
"I'm fine. Just had to get that off my chest," she said, turning to look both ways before crossing the street to join the other two females.
"Birds are mental," Peter said, rejoining the conversation after his stint of silence.
"Let's just go, then. I'm hungry," James said, heading towards the dingy Italian restaurant as well.
When we sat down, the table was quite silent, and we showered our waiter in thank you's when he came around with four more menu's.
"It's nice and empty," Peter said, noticing the silent and bare setting.
"It's a Monday night, Peter," James said cynically. Lily picked up her glass and began to chug down the water until it was almost completely empty and she had to come up for air.
"Nice one, Evans!" Sirius exclaimed. "Think you could do that with a butterbeer?" he asked, the conversation plodding along between the two that usually never spoke unless it was necessary.
"Probably not," she said, her eyes not leaving the clear glass. A younger boy came by this time and filled Lily's water up accordingly.
"Thank you....Harry," she said after searching his chest for a nametag.
"You're welcome...." he said, taking her hand as she held it out for a handshake.
"Lily," James answered from the other end of the table. "Her name's Lily." I saw her roll her eyes and lean into the boy named Harry.
"He's feeling a bit cranky tonight. I apologize." She smiled sweetly and falsely, releasing Harry's hand from her grip.
"So Harry, you going to do your job or not?" James asked, looking over at a table of four, three of whom were with no water. He nodded his head at Lily, smiling, and went over to the table without acknowledging James.
"You're acting like a prat, James," Lily said without looking at him just as Harry did.
"Shut up, Evans. No one asked for your opinion." He began nearly drowning himself in water after saying that, just as Lily did. Alice grabbed Lily's arm from across the table and gave her a quick but meaningful glance. I felt bad for her too, but this was all Lily's fault.
"Ready to order?" our previous waiter asked, flipping open a small notepad and not noticing the atmosphere laden with animosity.
"I think I'll have the small personal pie, extra cheese," Peter said first, having been invested in his menu the entire time. Dorcas and I glanced at each other, smiles forming on our face. It was almost involuntary whenever Peter asked for anything with cheese.
"No," I said, dismissing that order. "We'll just have three large pies." He nodded sharply and smiled while scanning over our moody table.
"Anyone want any drinks?" he asked.
"If Harry could come refill my water, that would be nice," James said bitterly, chewing on Harry's name. He nodded again and left quickly, finally feeling the tense air around us.
"Thank you!" Alice called to him, her sweater still wrapped around her.
The silence even more deafening now that the other family in here were chatting loudly. I was almost sure we were all focused on the sounds of men shouting in the back for more flour and the pounding of dough on a wooden board.
"How was Greece, Peter?" I asked, turning to the boy next to me.
"It was loads of fun!" he said, ignoring how depressed we all seemed. "We went swimming in Crete at the Elafonissi Beach. Mum made me shower before and after swimming, though." He picked at the bread that Harry had laid out when just Lily, Alice and Dorcas were sitting down, taking a piece and biting into it happily.
"What did you do for break, Lily?" Peter asked, not realizing that she was one of the two people that he shouldn't have asked that to.
"Well, I did one thing many times, but I didn't really have an awful lot of fun," she said, tearing apart a piece of bread for herself viciously. "I don't really tend to enjoy something when it's over way too fast." James coughed on his water and banged the table once or twice. I wondered if everyone else caught on to what Lily had been hinting at. James sure did.
"Lily!" Dorcas hissed in surprise, her eyebrows raising to her hairline.
"Three large pizza's!" our waiter said, spreading them evenly throughout the table. "Let me know if you need anything else."
"We need more water here, is what we need," he said, downing his third cup that evening. Harry came over again hastily and poured James his fourth cup of water. It was cold in the restaurant. Only Lily and James had to have their glasses refilled. This was absolutely ridiculous. Dorcas finally caught Lily into another conversation, and she served out some slices of pizza to herself and the other two.
"You do realize you're being completely insufferable, don't you?" I asked James as I reached over Peter for a slice. He ignored me and engulfed the pizza easily. "This sort of nonsense is the reason she broke up with you.." He finally looked up with me in loathing and gulped before speaking.
"Shut up, Moony." I sat back again, the conversation growing and the tension dimming. Sometimes James and Sirius are right. Just shut up, Moony.