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The Marauders Kiss by sweetprofanities
Chapter 58 : The Minister of pranks.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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Remus was beside Peter in charms class, watching Sirius out of the corner of his eye. He was a little worried about him. Since Ali had left to go home a week ago, and classes had started back up, Sirius was down and out. Mostly the boys had tried to let him regain his flame on his own. But the way Ali had left wasn’t exactly something a normal person wouldn’t focus on.

James had come upstairs to let the boys know Ali had snapped out of her stupor and come to her senses. She was finally crying and ostensibly ready to grieve. Remus and Peter had jumped up at the notion, glad to know it was progress. But Sirius… Sirius was just a little dazed over the fact that it had been James to bring her around.

‘But… she wasn’t even looking at me, how did you get her to decide to go home?’

It was quite the awkward moment all around. James didn’t really agree or explain. He just kind of shrugged and shook his head dismissing it with, ‘it’s just… shared experiences. Come on, Madam Pomfrey has her in the dorm getting her things.’

And that wasn’t even the worst of it. When they had all rushed down the stairs, and Sirius had grabbed some stuff to go along with her, Ali had looked exhausted and broken. Sirius had gone straight to her side, but she’d hesitated. She took a deep breath, and spoke just six words through her silently streaming tears.

‘I think I should go… alone.’ And without so much as a goodbye, Madam Pomfrey had ushered her out of the Gryffindor common room, followed by Professor McGonagall. No one knew what to do. James had put a hand on his shoulder and told him not to dwell on it, that she was in a strange place and would need some time to think.

It had been a week and Sirius had just sort of, blanked. When classes started up, he dragged his feet through the halls and followed James around, but he wasn’t himself. Instead of leaning back on the back legs of his chair and day dreaming, he had his head rested on his arms, slouched down at his desk. James was taking random bits of notes beside him. James had been neglecting Lily this past week in favour of staying by Sirius’s side. Lily had mentioned it to Remus once, but had said she understood completely. Lily and Marlene were together in front of them. Lily was looking back at Sirius from time to time, as worried as Remus. Marlene was stealing chaste glances back at Remus himself and he was trying to act like he wasn’t noticing them.

He was happy that Marlene was talking to him again, but he didn’t like the vibe he was receiving from her. He still had feelings for her, very much so. And he was guessing she felt the same. But he just couldn’t risk that again. He couldn’t handle the way he’d hurt her. It devastated him to see her so glum and downtrodden for so long. He just could not do that again. He gently turned his head upwards from the notes he was taking for their NEWT’s and his eyes caught hers. Instead of instantly turning away, she just gave him a sweet smile.

Remus felt a pang in his chest as he returned it, then went back to ignoring her. Professor Flitwick was going over some important things about their NEWT’s and seeing as Sirius wasn’t copying anything down, Remus thought it would be best if he had both James’ and his notes to go over when he was ready.

Later on that afternoon, as they were on their way down to greenhouse three, Remus pulled Peter back from where they were traipsing along behind James and Sirius.

‘What was that for?’ Peter frowned at him, rubbing the space Remus had grabbed on his forearm.

‘We have to cheer him up.’ Remus ignored his whining and flung his hands out before them, gesturing towards the other half of their foursome.

‘Oh.’ Peter watched them walking, and Sirius stumbled over a rock in the path and barely managed to catch himself in time. ‘I don’t think anything we can do is going to cheer him up, Moony. His girl has basically told him she doesn’t want him around when she’s at her worst. I’d take that personally, too.’

Peter shrugged, but Remus had an idea.

‘What’s the one thing that always put a smile on that bored face?’ Remus asked with a grin.

‘Uh… Adams?’ Peter suggested, looking as if he didn’t think this guessing game would get them very far.

Remus sighed, ‘Trouble, Wormtail. We have to cause some kind of trouble and he’ll crack a smile. It’s been ages since the Pranks Committee have had any real tasks on their filthy hands. Let’s grime them up.’

Peter nodded to him enthusiastically. He was just as down as the rest of them since Ali had left and a cloud of gloom had descended on the Gryffindors. The death of Ali’s mother hadn’t just affected the seventh years. Nay Aswad had left also, and his friends had taken the hit just the same way Remus and the others were, and that included the entirety of the quidditch team. Remus hadn’t even been aware that Ali was related to the loud Aswad kid. And apparently he had a twin sister that had gone along with him from Ravenclaw that he was willing to bet would have upset friends also. There was a damp feeling all around. Remus didn’t want to dismiss such a horrible event. But he wanted to see a smile. He wanted to hear some laughter. There was too much sadness in their world. If they let it consume them they would never live.

As they filed into the greenhouse and Professor Sprout instructed them of their tasks, the cogs in Remus’s mind started to turn. He let a discerning grin settle on his face without realizing it and suddenly Peter elbowed him.

‘Lupin! Did you hear me?’ Professor Sprout’s voice was tested and when Remus directed his attention to her face, it was just as irked. ‘This isn’t first year! You could lose a limb if you’re not paining attention.’

‘Personally I think it might add a little character Professor, don’t the ladies find scars attractive?’ He smiled sweetly over to their professor, and the face she gave in return was as dumbfounded as it got.

There were scattered snickers around the crowd of Gryffindor’s and Ravenclaw’s. He could distinctly hear James’s laughter among them. But when he allowed his eyes to dart quickly to his left side, Sirius was just standing there, unperturbed.

‘I don’t know what’s gotten into you Lupin, but if you don’t cut the cheek, you’ll be serving detention with me tonight.’ Professor Sprout gave him another warning look, and Remus knew this was testing it. But he had to, and they were leaving soon, after all. How many more chances would they have at pestering their professors?

‘Professor Sprout, really, don’t you think such seductive remarks should be kept between the two of us? It’s unorthodox.’ Remus raised a loosely closed fist to his smirking lips as if he were flirting. Had it been any other professor, Remus was sure he would have seen steam shoot from their ears. But Sprout had always been a bit of a player in their antics.

When the whole class burst out into laughter, she joined in for a moment. Remus looked to his left once more, and Sirius was cracking that grin. But it wasn’t enough. Professor Sprout came around to smack him over the head with her dragon hide gloves and told him to watch his mouth. The rest of the class operated quite fluidly. Remus tried to continue with his little jokes while the four of the boys worked together.

When they went down to lunch, Remus pulled James aside while Peter distracted Sirius.

‘The Minister of the Pranks Committee has a plan that needs to be set in motion.’ Remus started when James looked ready to question him.

‘Well,’ James’s facial features settled on a very sly looking expression, ‘as Advisor to the Minister, I have to say, Sir. About bloody time.’

Remus wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him into a hug as the boys laughed and began discussing their ideas. They were interrupted by Lily, Marlene and Mary as the girls passed them on their way into the hall.

‘What are you two up to?’ Lily asked, giving them the once over. The way she looked at James always made Remus smile. Anyone that couldn’t see how absolutely and completely these two adored each other, would have to be blind. Amidst a war with people dying all around them, it was a very rare thing to be able to watch blossom. Remus was happy his friends were able to find each other, and allow themselves to fall so completely for one another.

‘Just working on some really secret stuff, Lily. Sorry, it’s strictly committee business.’ James nodded, his head still trapped under Remus’s arm.

Remus smirked, ‘I’ll allow it.’ He said, tightening his grip on James.

James whooped with excitement, ‘right on! Let the ladies join the ranks! Destroy the patriarchy!’

Remus let him loose laughing at his ridiculous display as he fist pumped the idea. Then he launched forward, swooping Lily off her feet and dipping her back to kiss her. Mary and Marlene burst into giggles and made their way over to Remus to be out of the range of fire.

‘Do you really want our help?’ Mary asked innocently. Remus turned to the shorter girl and smiled.

‘Oh yes. I want the whole school involved in this before classes are over.’ He winked at her and Mary brought her bottom lip into her mouth from excitement.

‘Well, we’re in for anything. This school could use some of the ol’ dork patrol charm.’ Marlene stated very matter-of-factly.

Remus had to turn to her to gauge her expression. She was smiling at him only very slightly and looking as fierce as she once used to before Remus had gone and broken her heart.

‘Hey, we are not dorks.’ James fought, bringing Lily over to them now that he was done snogging her.

‘You guys are definitely dorks.’ Lucinda Talkalot, the Slytherin quidditch captain piped in behind them followed by a large group of Slytherin’s, ‘and you’re blocking the way to food, dorks, move aside.’

‘Talkalot!’ James shouted bouncing away from Lily, ‘we could actually use a woman of your calibre in this particular plan. Would you be interested in the shaming of our professors and potentially serving time to inject some life back into this pile of stone?’

Lucinda Talkalot was known to have been harbouring a crush for James, and so when Remus noted her cheeks turn to a lovely shade of pink as James pulled her into one of his infamous side hugs, Remus wasn’t all that surprised.

‘Oh, sure.’ She sighed, ‘why not?’ James voiced his victory while Lucinda rolled her eyes, albeit smiling. If they had the Slytherin’s mostly on board, it would be easy work getting the Hufflepuff’s and Ravenclaw’s included, too.

*

Remus was watching the old clock in their Transfiguration class. It had started just five minutes ago and it was the last class of the day. Remus, James, Peter, Lily, Mary and Marlene had spent both their breaks today plotting. They had spread the word to as many students as they knew would participate. Those students were then told to spread it further.

Remus could still see the look of sheer delight on the little first year’s faces when he asked them to be a part of their prank. The little kids he had shown around the castle on their first night at Hogwarts… the ones he had been in charge of with Ali. He sighed heavily looking at Sirius who was staring off into space as McGonagall made her way down the lines of desk.

‘Mister Black!’ McGonagall reprimanded when she had to ask him for a second time the importance of concentration in the practice of transfiguration.

‘Yes, Professor?’ Sirius replied, coming out of his stupor.

‘Were you even listening to me, Black?’

‘I hang off your every word Professor.’

‘Tell me, Black. What was I just explaining to the class?’ McGonagall was starting down at Sirius with her stern lip while Sirius looked as if he still wasn’t quite tuned in.

‘Sorry Professor, I wasn’t listening. What was that?’ The class around them broke into dispersed giggles and then the clock hit their selected time, and not a moment too soon.

‘Dear old Professor Gonnie, she’s quite the sprightly lass. Don’t let her in on all her nicknames, ‘cause her reactions will most certainly be crass.’ James had taken a stand by Sirius and started the planned rendition.

Professor McGonagall just looked at James with bored annoyance. The poor woman was used to them by now. She had the makings of an argument heavy on her lips when one of their Hufflepuff counterparts, Amos, stood at a desk towards the front and continued.

‘Sweet old Professor McGoogles, don’t let her catch you cheatin’ to pass. That bun on her head if full of rage, she’ll unleash it on your sorry ass.’

‘Mister Diggory!’

‘Come now Minnie, don’t be lame, won’t you play along with our little game?’ Remus stood now and he couldn’t help his smirk. Professor McGonagall looked almost ready to boil over and hex someone. Just as she told them all to take their seats, another Hufflepuff stood up, closer to them and began the next part of their rehearsed chant. That’s when they heard yelling down the hall, just as they had expected.

The students all started to stand and crowd around McGonagall as she made her way towards the door of the classroom. She kept instructing them to take their seats, but they had already been instructed by the Minister of the Pranks Committee to do otherwise.

As they began to file out of the transfigurations classroom, following a flustered and agro McGonagall, they heard the shouting coming towards them. Then they saw in the distance, rushing towards them as fast as his little feet could carry him, Professor Flitwick. And he was being chased by more than a dozen second year students all chanting furiously, taking their involvement in one of the boys pranks very seriously.

‘Professor! Professor!’ Flitwick called out, waving his little arm towards McGonagall.

‘Come on Professor Flitwick, you stature doesn’t matter. Even if your two feet tall, your six foot on our ladder!’ The second years all shouted, trying their best not to laugh.

‘Professor!’ Flitwick fell into step with McGonagall who was frozen on the spot. ‘Professor the students! The students have gone mad!’

‘Tiny little Flitwick! You’re a size two, maybe three! But don’t let your size concern you, you should be happy as can be!’

‘Professor!’ Flitwick grabbed McGonagall’s robes trying to catch his breath, ‘they won’t stop calling me little!’

The groups joined with the seventh years all chanting about McGonagall’s stern temper and unfailing perfection, and the second years all going into detail about Flitwick’s height. Out on the grounds there were third years chanting about Kettleburn’s reckless regard for magical creatures and remaining limbs he still had. There were fifth years creating a ruckus in the dungeons with Professor Slughorn, going into detail about his quite frankly ridiculous regard for the names of students that were not his favourites and the fact that he was currently ban from the three broomsticks.

Upstairs there were sixth years chanting to Professor Vector about her strict teachings and potentially erotic fantasies about numbers and all things alike. Professor Sprout would no doubt be having a laugh with the fourth years about her crazed love of killer plants and her jovial take on their attributes. The entirety of Hogwarts, even the students out sick would be currently chanting to Madam Pomfrey and those with a spare on their timetable would be hounding Madam Pince.

None of the staff were forgotten, of course, because Peeves had been instructed to annoy Filch and James had allowed him to come up with his chants on his own, whereas the rest had been thought up between he and Remus. Hogwarts was in disarray.

As Flitwick clutched onto McGonagall’s robes and looked up to her fretfully, and the chants continued about his failing statue, the unthinkable happened.

Professor McGonagall broke into laughter. Remus’s jaw dropped as they all watched on as Professor McGonagall pointed down at Flitwick and laughed.

‘By heavens Fillius, stand up for yourself man. You’re going to let a bunch of twelve year olds chase you out of your own classroom?’ McGonagall laughed at the sight around them, and the chanting stopped only briefly as every student burst into laughter.

Remus turned to look at Sirius. Their plan had succeeded. For just a moment, Sirius had seemed to forget his troubles, and he was smiling. Laughing even. James had him around the neck and Lily was to his other side, smiling like it was Christmas, with a hand placed on his chest as she laughed along with them.

‘The Pranks Committee strikes again!’ Peter announced, laughing beside Remus as they heard Professor Sprout and Professor Kettleburn coming through into the great hall, and Professor Slughorn’s hearty laughter was heard coming up the stairs from the dungeons, all laughing along while their students stayed true to their mission and continued on with their chanting.

‘Well we can’t give them all a detention!’ Sprout yelled up over the first floor banister to where McGonagall was still laughing at Flitwick.

McGonagall’s laughter dried up so fast Remus felt a shudder erupt down his back.

‘Can’t we?’ McGonagall stared around at all the students close to her and the chanting stopped instantly. There was a silence over the entrance hall as steps were heard coming down the grand staircase, no doubt from the upper levels coming to join the crowd.

James and Remus caught each other’s eyes as Marlene fell in beside Remus.

‘Oh honestly, of course we can’t.’ McGonagall admitted allowing her laughter to return, ‘but my students, ten inches on the importance of concentration in regards to conjuration on my desk before your next class… you’re all dismissed!’ She continued to laugh at Flitwick as the students all began to cheer. Similar requests were being made from the surrounding Professors, as they took McGonagall’s lead.

They couldn’t have hoped for a better result.

‘Professor, are you perhaps ill?’ James asked which Remus thought was a bit of a test of her patience. But then he realised it was probably to keep Sirius laughing, who was still captured in his grasp.

‘I was young once, too, Potter.’

‘Whoa, really?’ Sirius stared at Professor McGonagall in disbelief, ‘did your parents call you Professor McGonagall, too?’ Everyone around them burst into laughter while McGonagall just shook her head at him. Mission complete, Remus thought.

‘You did good, Lupin.’ Marlene said to his left and when Remus turned to look at her, she was looking over at Sirius. Sirius still laughing with James, Lily, Mary and Peter and Remus felt complete.

‘Well, I’m not the Minister of the Pranks Committee for nothing, McKinnon.’ Remus turned to give her a cheeky grin. Marlene just slammed an elbow into his ribcage causing him to double over in pain.

‘You’re a dork. Don’t get a big head.’ She ended before walking over to join their friends. Remus watched her, while rubbing his side of the residual sting. He sighed heavily watching her as she messed up Sirius’s hair and Lily attacked her with a hug in their happiness of getting out of class.

It was very unfortunate that he had to let Marlene go. He was quite sure he was in love with her. And nothing hurt more than knowing the person you loved was three feet away from you, but you couldn’t be with them. For now, he would just be happy knowing she was getting back to her old self.

*

A full month went by since the boys had managed to break Sirius out of his coma. No one had heard from Ali. Her cousins had returned to school three weeks ago with little to say on the matter. Sirius at least was voicing his concern now instead of just keeping it to himself. The boys all liked Sirius better when he was up front about the way he was feeling. Sirius just wouldn’t have been Sirius if he wasn’t constantly complaining about something. One night when the boys were up in their dormitory, laying on their fronts and reading over their course work and, in James case, plays for their upcoming quidditch match, James voiced a concern.

‘You know Padfoot, I’ve just realised something.’ James turned to look at him while the others stopped what they were doing. ‘Your middle name being Orion… well, that makes you initials S.O.B, doesn’t it?’

‘Well done, Prongs.’ Sirius rolled his eyes at him.

‘No, I mean, your initials. They spell out sob.’ James smiled, discarding his doodling and sitting up, ‘well it’s fitting, isn’t it?’

‘How is it fitting?’

‘No, he’s absolutely right,’ Remus agreed, sitting up also, ‘you’re certainly the most emotional out of all of us.’ Remus nodded, and received a scrunched up bit of parchment straight to the head.

‘Sod off.’ Sirius tried to go back to his NEWT’s practice.

‘There he goes again, crying like a baby.’ Peter shook his head, ‘do you need a hug, Sob?’

‘Shut it!’ Sirius sat up now.

‘Oh, Wormtail! There you go again, hurting Sob’s feelings.’ James shook his head.

‘How am I the emotional one? Wasn’t it you who cried just last week because Lily refused to wear your quidditch jersey when you asked her?’

‘It was supposed to be a testament to our love!’ James argued.

‘It hasn’t been washed since the last game, Prongs!’ Sirius laughed at him.

‘Sob’s the one that was sobbing over Lily cutting his hair too short two weeks ago.’ Peter joined in nodding matter-of-factly.

‘Hey! You don’t know the emotional damage of a bad haircut, Wormtail. Your hair always looks shit.’

‘There he goes, lashing out at others in his grief stricken state.’ Remus shook his head as the boys all chucked at Sirius’s expense.

‘Sobby-sob, we understand you. It’s okay to cry. We’re here for you, mate.’ James glided fluidly from his bed over to Sirius’s and pat him on the back. Remus and Peter started to laugh when Sirius grabbed at James and it broke into a full-blown play fight as they rolled off the bed and tried to get one over the other.

But then the dorm door burst open and Lily rushed inside, ‘shut up! Shut up!’ She demanded and all attention settled on her.

‘Sirius, it’s Ali. Ali’s back.’ The stunted sentence completely obliterated any happiness from to room and Sirius was on his feet faster than any of the boys had ever seen him. He was out the door with Lily before any of them were even standing. 


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