Sirius, Remus and Peter were lazing about in the Hospital Wing telling James about the rest of the Quidditch match.
"...then Luffkin scored four goals. We really thought we were done for" continued Sirius
"the team was so shocked by what happened they kind of lost it." said Peter
"Anyway," began Sirius again "out of nowhere Robinson scored two belters and Jenkins pulled back one so it was all square. Then Nicholson hit a blinder at the Hufflepuff keeper leaving for a completely open goal. Robinson took back one more and then before I knew it Ferncombe had the snitch."
"It was amazing James you must have trained up that team so well!"
"It was unlike you to fly in to the path of a bludger" said Remus looking at James with concern.
"I cant really remember what happened" said James now rubbing his head
"Lily was a mess. She's been here everyday" Piped Peter
"I saw her when I woke up but as soon as I said hello she left."
"It's a good sign though Prongs. She still loves you. No doubt about that" Peter said smiling
"I just don't know anymore" James yawned
"How are you tired? You've been asleep for a week!" Sirius chuckled
"I didn't sleep well last night. I was woken up by some guy rooting around in the cupboard's for some bottles."
Lupin whirled around knocking James' medicine off his nightstand. "You saw him?" said Remus his eyes wide
"Who?" asked James
"The person from the first night. With the potions!"
"Of course I didn't even think..."
"What are you on about?" interjected Sirius
"On the first night there was someone walking around at 2 in the morning making potions." said Remus very quickly still looking at James in astonishment.
"Why weren't we informed about this?"
"Was it him James?"
"Snape?" said Sirius, now thoroughly confused
"The potion was good so me and James thought it might be Snape"
"I don't know", said James "It could've been. I couldn't really see it was dark."
"It sounds like the kind of creepy thing that Snape would do" said Peter shuddering
"He was tall though. Really quite tall"
"Snape is tall" replied Sirius
"Plus you were lying down which may have made him seem bigger." said Remus standing up from his pirched position on the end of James' bed. "So where was he?"
"By those cupboards" said James pointing to the white cupboards about two meters away from him
"And did you see anything he brought out?" said Remus standing as the boy the previous night had.
"I couldn't see his face let alone the labels on the bottles" James smirked
"I should have gone after him."
"No, no who knows what he's up to. He could be dangerous" pointed out Sirius
"What do you think he was doing?" said Peter timidly
"I don't know" said Remus gazing out of the window.
James thanked the Matron and left the Hospital Wing followed by the others. They continued to discuss Snape and his obsession with potions on their way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. They entered the class and saw that all the desks had been pushed to the side of the room. "Excellent James, come in, I will use you as my demonstration"
"Actually Professor James has just come out of hospital so if you're planning on throwing him across the room then perhaps its better that you use someone else to demonstrate" said Remus condescendingly. Remus did enjoy Defence Against the Dark Arts but always had the opinion that they were being taught badly and that one day he would teach students how to really defend themselves.
"alright then Mr Lupin. You can help me. I want you to show your ability to use spells without speaking the incantation. They will be looking out for it in the NEWT exam. So wand at the ready" Lupin and the Professor adopted the correct stance. There was a few moments of quiet before a bright red light erupted from Lupin's wand. With this the Profesor deflected it with a perfectly cast shield charm and then quickly threw his own stunning spell back at Lupin which hit him squarly on the chest and sent him flying backwards.
"Good effort Remus" said Sirius as Remus stood up rubbing his soar buttocks.
"oh do shut up Sirius"
"It was not a bad attempt from Remus but it was predictable and that is the key. You must be unpredictable, never let your opponent know your next move. Always stay ahead, always stay on top. Now split into pairs and practise some spells although try to keep them reasonably cival. I don't want anyone else ending up in the hospital."
James paired up with Sirius and Remus with Peter. James and Sirius were a fairly equal match and always had been. James tended to be better at DADA but Sirius had the edge in charms. Remus was however far superior to Peter. Remus was a tremendous student, he worked extremely hard. James wasn't sure if that was because Remus himself was ambitious or because his parents were. The lesson concluded, without any injuries, which signalled the end of the day.
The night was drawing in quickly as the four friends made their way up Gryffindor Tower after a hearty supper. They spoke in hurried whispers, discussing there plan to catch Snape.
"That's ridiculous Sirius" remarked Remus " We can't incarcerate the poor boy. After all what he is doing isn't illegal its just against school rules"
"How do we know it isn't illegal?" said James leaping over the trick step "He could be brewing a Draught of Living Death and could be plotting to kill us all so that he can run off into the sunset with Lily!" They all began laughing and shoved their way throught the Portrait Hole Into the Common Room where they sat at a cosy table in the corner.
"listen, said James lowering his voice so that no one around the Common Room could hear him "I think Peter should transform, that way he can get himself into the Slitherin Common Room and listen to Snape talking to his cronnies. Im sure if Snape is up to something then he will have told Barty. Remus you stay here with the map so that we don't loose him and I will use the invisibility cloak and follow him."
"And what about me?" said Sirius
"Sirius, you go down to the potions lab and check the store cupboard. Write down if anything is missing."
"When do you think we should do it" asked Remus
"Tonight" replied James
The Portrait Hole swung open and Lily walked through and sat down at a table by the window.
Sirius stood up, "Well I am exhausted" he said loudly "I'm off to bed"
"Yep me too", said Remus also standing and giving a ridiculously fake yawn. He then nudged Peter with his foot, queing him to stand and make up some rubbish about needing to get up early to do some "extra Herboligy." Lily stared at this charade and giggled at the boys' unsubtlety. Lily had always got on with James' friends in fact, it was Remus that introduced them in the first year, and , although he refuses to admit it, Sirius was rather keen on Lily himself.
"Hello", said James turning around on the chair to face her
"Hello" she replied dryly
"Do you think you could help me with my charms homework?" He said standing and walking over to her table.
"You don't need help with charms. You never need help with charms" said Lily looking at him suspiciosly
"I do" James said insistently
"fine get it out." James opened his bag and pulled out a few bits of parchment. "Oh James this is easy, you can do this"
"All it is..." she began. She could have been talking in Troll and James wouldn't have noticed. The fact that she was sitting their talking to him was incredible. Her emerald green eyes sparkled in the moonlight that shone through the window.
"so that's it really and you have no idea what I just said do you?"
"I do." said James refocusing his mind "I think I understand"
"It isn't too difficult" she said turning back to her work
"Well, your a good teacher" he said smirking
She looked at him and raised one eyebrow
"Not that good" he added quickly, not wanting to sound soppy. Suddenly, the Portrait hole swung open once more and Professor McGonagall came rushing in.
"Oh Lily thank goodness, your here" she said trying to catch her breath
"What's wrong Professor?"
"I'm very sorry to say that a student; has been killed" she said her voice crumberling in to tears
"What?" said James getting to his feet
"We couldn't save him"
James could feel Lily shaking beside him. He slowly reached down and took her hand in his. "what would you like us to do Professor?"
"I need you to get everyone into the Common Room. Make sure everyone is here and then tell them what has happened. I need to get back to Professor Dumbledore"
"Wait Professor. Who was it?"
The Professor turned looking solemn "Charlie, it was Charlie Minhinnick"
Lily closed her eyes and a single tear rolled down her cheek. With nothing more to say Professor McGonagall hurried back out of the Portrait Hole.
"I don't understand" said James, sitting back down and putting his head into his hands. "How could that happen?"
"Not now James", said Lily wiping her tears away and pulling her hair up into a ponytail, "we have to tell the others. If you get the boys down here, I will get the girls." James nodded and sprinted up the stairs marvelling at the strength and bravery that bubbles inside of Lily. He went into each room and quietly asked all the boys to go down to the Common Room.
"what's going on?" asked Sirius who hadn't been asleep but was still disgruntled at being summoned at this late hour. When the boys arrived downstairs the Common Room was already filled with sleepy eyed Gryffindors. James looked across the room at Lily who although was not crying nor shaking, looked frail. He decided it was his duty to tell the House. "Listen," he said just loud enough to make the murmurings stop "I'm afraid I have some very bad news." The crowd remained still and silent, "a student has been killed" there were cries of shock, and horror spread through the faces of all the students
"who is it James?" asked someone from the crowd. James couldn't bring himself to say Charlie's name, so he continued " they did all they could but it was too late, there was no point in taking him to Saint Mungos because ..."
"James who is it?" called another person
" ...they don't quite know how it happened yet but..."
"It was Charlie Minhinnick the Hufflepuff Quidditch captain" said Lily walking through the crowd who now all looked as though they had been badly wounded in a fight. Many of the older students who had known Charlie began crying. Lily stood next to James and gripped his hand tightly. "You don't have to go back up to bed, just make yourselves comfortable and we will pass on any news that we can" she said calmly.
James looked at Remus who was staring blankly at the smouldering fire. Remus had been close to Charlie. They had both had a fascination with the Blood-Sucking Bugbear. "I'm so sorry Remus", said James as he and Lily walked over, "I can't think what he was doing" James continued to babble on and then felt Lily's hand on his shoulder which told him that he could stop.
"Is there anything we can do Remus" said Lily. She always knew what to say when things were bad. She made things seem simple, like one day, no matter how hard it has been, it will all get better.
"Not really" Remus croaked, "I didn't know him that well, its just...
"a shock" said Sirius quietly.
The five of them sat in silence for some time, thinking about Charlie. Thinking about how it had happened? Why it had happened?