Friday was started with double potions. No matter how simple professor Slughorn said the potions were, the partnership of James and Sirius couldn't seem to get it right. It had been nearly and hour, and most of the other teams had finished their solution to fix a stomach ache. Each cauldron of potion gave a nice silvery color, theirs took a suspicious looking color of brown.
"Excellent job, Mr Snape!" They heard Slughorn exclaim as he examined Severus and Lily's cauldron. "You as well, Mrs Evans. You work together nicely. Lets make it ten points to each of your houses,"
Frustrated at Snape's success, Sirius threw a handful of mandrake leaves into their potion, causing it to explode.
Later Sirius, James, Remus and Peter at his side were following the flow of students through the corridor towards the Defense Against the Dark Arts room. Peter was still trying to calm himself from his giggles from the potions lesson. But every time he looked at the bandages that madame pomfrey had wrapped on Sirius' face, he burst out into another fit of high pitched laughter. Peter's laughter alone made Remus and James laugh as well. But Sirius did not find any of this amusing. Madame Pomfrey had informed him that his singed eyebrows would be grown back in a couple days.
Last period that day they had another lesson of Astronomy. Professor Sinistra was very impressed with their moon charts and they received full marks and five points for the Gryffindor house.
After dinner that night they all headed back to the common room together. James pulled his schedule from his bag and looked over it.
"Yes!" He exclaimed. "We've got flying first thing Monday,"
"Flying? You mean with brooms?" Sirius asked.
"No, Sirius. We are going to sprout some wings," Remus commented with sarcasm. They all chuckled.
"Yes, Sirius," James finally answered. "We are learning to fly on brooms," They were approaching the portrait of the fat lady.
"Umm," Sirius stepped up to answer. He hesitated for a moment and looked back at them apprehensively.
"Flobberworm," Remus spoke to the Fat Lady as he rolled his eyes at Sirius. They entered the common room and found their seats at the same table they had sat last night. Automatically they all opened their potion books and some blank parchment along with ink and a quill. They stared blankly at their paper for a minute.
"What are we doing again?" Sirius asked looking up from his paper at James and Peter who were both still staring at their parchment, zoned out. But Remus was already fast at work, scribbling words down on his paper, only taking a break to refill his quill in more ink.
"The properties and uses of mandrake leaves," He spoke as he continued writing.
"That sounds hard,"
"Its only half a parchment of it," Remus replied.
"Half a parchment? That's a lot. How are we supposed to start that?" Sirius exclaimed, aghast.
"Well, you've already got a lead," Remus said.
"Oh yeah? And whats that?"
"Why not to use too much of it," He smirked as he looked up from his page at him with a smile. James and Peter laughed at this but Sirius ignored it.
"Seriously, Remus. I need help. Tell us what you're writing," Sirius said. But Remus just gave him an unreadable look and reached for his thick Beginners in Potions book. He opened it, flipped a few pages then lay the book back down on the table for them all to see. The three of them hung their heads over the book to read the heading on the top of the page: The Importance of Mandrake Leaves.
"That should give you everything you need to know," Remus said while turning back to his essay. None of them interrupted him again because the edge in his voice sounded a bit threatening. They all began to take notes from the book, but James caught Sirius sneaking a peek at Remus' paper.
About ten minutes later Remus folded up his essay and put it safely in his bag. And instead of bringing out a book to read as they all expected him to do, he pulled out another blank parchment and began to write. Nobody asked.
Peter was the next to finish. When he did he looked up with a proud look on his face, but immediately looked over at what Remus was doing.
"What you up to now, Remus?" He asked as he leaned over to try and see what he was writing. But Remus shielded it from his view.
"I'm writing a letter to my parents," He answered. "I promised them I'd tell them how the first week went,"
"What exactly are you telling them?" James asked. Remus smiled as he finished the last sentence on the letter.
"I'm telling them I've made friends," He folded up the letter nicely. He was just about to get up when Peter interrupted him.
"You do know that you aren't allowed to the Owlery at this hour?" He asked. Remus looked at him.
"Really?" He said while sitting back down. "Oh, well I guess I'll just mail it tomorrow-"
"Hold on..." James said as he placed his quill down. "I think I know a way we can mail that letter tonight,"
"Don't be ridiculous. I'll just mail it tomorrow,"
"No, no," James said with a smile growing on his face. "We're mailing it tonight,"
The Fat Lady muttered a few words of confusion when the portrait had opened but nobody exited or entered. But little did she know that four boys slowly made their way down the staircase before her.
"I can't believe we are doing this," Remus whispered sharply.
"Would you calm down, Remus?" Sirius whispered back.
"And to do it with all four of us. We are going to get caught,"
"Oh for crying out loud, Remus. This is going to be fun!" James said. "Peter- Stop giggling in my ear,"
"Just be quiet and lead the way, Remus. Or we will get caught. You know the school the best,"
All four of them slowly edged down the stairs under Jame's invisibility cloak. It was a tight fit, but they all managed to keep themselves completely concealed beneath it as the made their way to the main floor.
Remus managed to navigate them down without any detours but it still took a while. When they touched down at the bottom landing they all felt a sense of accomplishment.
"Stop!" Remus whispered, stopping dead. Sirius bumped into his back along with James the Peter.
"What now?" James asked.
"Its Filch's cat..."
"Yes." And sure enough, there was the cat standing in he middle of the hallway, glaring right through them with her sharp, amber eyes.
"Well it can't see us. Let's just sneak past..." Sirius suggested.
"It's a cat, Sirius," Remus whispered sharply. "It has other senses you know. If it doesn't hear us, it will smell us,"
"Well what do you suggest we do, then?" Sirius said, beginning to sound frustrated. Remus hesitated.
"Is there another way to the Owlery, Remus?" Peter helpfully suggested.
"Umm," Remus thought. "Oh! Yes. There is. But it will take a little longer,"
"That's fine," James said from behind Sirius. "It's not like we need to get up early tomorrow or anything,"
"Yes, but you still need to finish those essay-"
"Oh for Merlin's sake, Remus. You're such a goody two-shoes. Lets just go," Sirius spat.
"Okay, fine. Follow me," Remus turned and lead them in the other direction.
They pushed open a large door just wide enough so they could fit through. It gave an echoing creak. They rushed through and shut it behind them. They had made it outside. They pulled the cloak off of them and looked around.
"Brilliant!" James exclaimed. He looked to Remus. "Which way?"
Remus pointed to the left.
"Let's go then," Sirius said happily as he began to run in that direction.
"Wait!" Remus called. They all stopped and looked at him. "Stay behind me,"
"Why?" Sirius asked.
"Just this way might be a little dangerous,"
"Dangerous?" They all asked a once.
"No- not dangerous- just- just stay behind me, okay?" Sirius shrugged and did as he said.
"I'd like to see what could be so dangerous that you need to protect us," Remus ignored him and broke into a fast run along the side of the castle. They all followed close on his heels. When they rounded the corner, they saw a small cabin sitting at the bottom of the hill they ran at the top of.
"There's Hagrid's cabin," James said.
They were now nearing a large tree that sat eerily in the moonlight.
"There's the Owlery," Sirius said. "Just over there. Come on. Let's take a shortcut," Sirius strayed away towards the tree. It was true. The Owlery sat on a hill in the distance just behind the tree.
"Sirius, stop!" Remus cried, pulling his wand out of his jeans pocket beneath his robes. "Sirius!"
Sirius kept making his way in his own direction. "Come on! You're so paranoid, Remus-" Sirius ate his words as the trees branches began to sway. He stopped dead in his tracks. The trees thick trunk began to twist with an eerie creaking. Just as one of its thick branches flung back, loading up for a swing, Remus shoved him on to the ground.
"Immobulus!" He yelled at the top of his lungs, pointing his wand straight at the tree. It's branches gave a quick jerk, several of its dead, drying leaves fluttered to the ground and the tree froze in place.
"What the hell, Remus!" Sirius shuddered as he still lay on the grass. "What just happened?!"
Remus ignored him and reached a hand down to him to help him up. When Sirius just stared at it, he forcefully grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet.
"Come on, Sirius," he grumbled as he heaved him up. He then turned on James. "And this was a stupid idea," He snapped at him. "All to mail a letter!" But all three of them stood petrified.
"Remus, what happened?!" Sirius asked again with urgency. Remus turned on him and marched towards him in a huff.
"It's a whomping willow! I told you to stay away," Remus was furious. He gave them all some sort of angry look but then took a deep breath to calm down. Next he spoke to all of them. "Let's just go to the Owlery. This time actually listen to me," He finished speaking more to Sirius.
They reached the winding staircase up the Owlery tower and began to climb them. Remus sped up the steps in an incredible pace. Peter, James and Sirius had trouble keeping up with him. And when they reached the top, wheezing and out of breath, Remus was already in the Owlery, gazing at the selection of school owls.
"Don't use any of those owls, Remus," James gasped and he entered. He walked up next to Remus, Sirius and Peter following behind and took a second to catch his breath. Suddenly he stood up straight and whistled. "Thorn!" He called the name up the tall circular room. A beautiful tawny owl took flight from a perch far up and landed on his shoulder.
"You have an owl?" Peter asked in amazement as he walked over to Remus's side.
"Yeah, my parents got her for me as a going away present,"
"Is your family rich or something?" Remus asked as he read through his letter.
James shrugged at this. "I guess,"
"Well anyway," Remus said while folding his letter back up. "Let's mail this and get back to the common room as quick as possible. It's already-" He turned his hand over and looked at the watch that fit loosely on his wrist. "Past eleven,"
Remus tied the letter to Thorn's ankle and James brought her over to the window. With a few strokes of her wings she was off.
"Right then," Remus said with a sense of accomplishment. "James, you got the invisibility cloak?"
James held up the silky, silvery sheet. "Yup,"
"Good then. Lets g-"
The door to the Owlery burst open. The moonlight that seeped through the entrance was blocked by a huge figure. He ducked and stepped through the doorway then stood at his full height before the traumatized boys. It was Hagrid.
"What der ya think yer doin' at this hour?" He asked in his deep voice.
"Umm-" James stuttered. "We were- uh- mailing a letter?"
Hagrid looked down at them through his thick hair and beard. But to their surprise, his dark eyes showed no anger or disappointment. If anything. He kind of looked proud.
"Yer do realize this is agains' the rules now, der ya?"
"Yes sir," They all muttered, hanging their heads low. James slowly moved his hand behind his back to hide his invisibility cloak.
"I should report ya all ter Mr Dumbledore himself," There was a silence that hung in the air. "But I'm not gonna,"
The boys were relieved to hear this, but looked up at him with a questioned look. Hagrid seemed to read it.
"I know ya boys. Yer jus' a few first years. I know ya mean no harm," He smiled at them. "But I've got no idea how yer got out of th' castle without bein' caught. I'm giving yer a warnin' now. I don't want to see yas wandering around outside, picking fights with a tree." They all smiled. "Now follow me yer four. I'll take yas back to yer common room,"
Without another word, Hagrid lead them out of the Owlery and back down the winding stairs. They headed back up the grounds to the nearest entrance to the school. They started down the hallways and eventually they ran into Filch's cat, Mrs Norris. When she came running up to Hagrid, meowing angrily he just kicked her off to the side.
"Outta my way ya darn kitten," He muttered.
When they finally reached the Fat Lady, Hagrid bid them a quick goodbye, but warned them that he wouldn't stick his neck out for them again.
"Password?" The Fat Lady asked.
"Flobberworm," Sirius remembered.
When entering the common room, they forgot about everything else and just walked up the dormitory steps. When they got into their room, they all headed to their beds, pulling their pajamas out of their trunks to change into, except Remus who just flopped down on his bed, still in his robes and fell fast asleep.
When they were all ready and were crawling under their covers, Peter spoke up.
"When Remus was reading over his letter at the Owlery tonight, I read it too over his shoulder," He said in a monotone voice.
"What did it say?" Sirius asked eagerly. James as well looked very interested.
"Well it just said everything was great and he mentioned us as his friends," He paused and they all smiled. 'But then he said: 'I'm ready for tomorrow night'..." There was a long silence where everyone was considering this.
"Tomorrow night? What comes tomorrow night?" James asked, sounding very confused. Peter shrugged.
"It said more after that but he folded up the letter before I could see," They all sat there on their beds thinking hard. Peter looked over at Remus as he slept.. "I have no idea. But I feel like he's hiding something very important,"
James, Sirius and Peter were up quite early, considering it was Saturday. When they entered the Great Hall there were only a group of Hufflepuff second years sitting over at their table. Most of the staff weren't even there yet. They sat down and picked at the platters of food that were in front of them. There was a silence where nobody seemed to know what to say. But Peter broke the silence by cheerfully bringing up the topic of the night before. Both James and Sirius were very tired and would have honestly wanted to be back up in bed, enjoying the chance to sleep in. Since it was Peter who had woken them when he decided to get up and noisily rummage through his trunk. But they did appreciate his enthusiasm.
James first discussed how Hadrid had let them off the hook, but careful to keep his voice down, considering the Great Hall was fairly quiet and professor McGonagall was sitting at the staff table. But when the topic of the whomping willow came up, they all just fell silent. They were thinking of Remus. They all had the same question on there mind but knew there was no point asking it because no one knew the answer. So they finished their breakfast in silence."
"When they got back up to the common room, Peter was the one to convince them to finish their essays on Mandrake leaves.
"What page in these books was the one on Mandrakes?" Sirius asked. looking at the heaping book, a little overwhelmed.
"I don't know. Just go off what you have so far," James suggested. But Sirius frowned at his paper.
"But I have no idea what I've been talking about,"
They assumed that Remus was still sleeping while they had worked on their homework for a couple hours. But when noon rolled around was when they started to become suspicious. Peter decided he would go up and check on him. Moments later he came running back down the stairs looking concerned.
"He's not there,"
"What? Then where is he?" Sirius asked.
"How should I know?" Peter shrugged.
"Then let's go look for him," James said firmly as he stood up from next to Sirius from the comfy couch in front of the fire. They didn't argue and followed him towards the portrait hole. Just as they passed the girls dormitory stairs, Lily came down them, dressed casual in jeans and a sweater with her long, red hair tied back.
"What're you guys up to?" She asked.
"We're going out to look for, Remus. Wanna come?" James asked.
"Sure," She said without hesitation, joining James by his side as they left the common room.
"Where do you reckon he'd be?" Lily asked as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Dunno. But I say we start with the simple stuff," James suggested. "Let's check the Great Hall. Maybe he went down for breakfast or something,"
They made their way down the corridor, rounded the corner into the entrance hall and peaked through the doors to the Great hall. Considering that it was noon and lunch would be served soon, it was packed with tired looking people eating their breakfast. They even pointed out Dumbledore just sitting down at his tall seat, yawning heavily as he dished himself some breakfast. Lily giggled at this.
With no success at the Great Hall, they just began to wonder the school quite aimlessly. They went down the halls, peering into every classroom, not there.They checked the dungeons, not there.The Owlery, not there. They went down to Hagrid's hut to ask if he had seen Remus but he didn't seem to have a clue. They even went back up to the common room to check for him, just in case. But was still nowhere to be seen, the Fat Lady giving them a few angry words as they entered and left so briefly.
"Where the hell could he be?" Sirius said, hitting his fist against the railing, frustrated. "It's like he disappeared off the face of the earth,"
James checked his watch. It read that it was already quarter past three. He was shocked to see how much time had passed while they searched the school but pulled the sleeve of his sweater back over his watch, not saying anything about the time. They just continued to slowly walk down the stairs, not really having an objective.
"We haven't checked the Library let," Lily said with some hope in her voice. The three boys stopped and looked at her.
"There's a Library?" Sirius asked, sounding quite shocked.
Lily gave him a weird look. "Yeah...?" She said slowly, watching him to see if he was just joking. But he, along with Peter and James had quite confused looks on their faces. "For Merlin's sake. You haven't been there yet?"
They looked at each other with questioning looks. But when they all seen that they had the same look on their faces they turned back to Lily and shook their heads, muttering the word 'no.'
"Fine. Follow me," She huffed as she pushed past them to lead the way, annoyed, shaking her head in utter disbelief.
She took them to the first floor and turned into a corridor. It was rather dark and small, but suddenly they had entered a huge room. It glowed beautifully with lanterns hanging from the walls and shelves. These shelves were covered in what must have been thousands upon thousands of books.
"Wow," They all muttered as they followed behind Lily who lead them in with a proud smile on her face.
"Brilliant, isn't it?" She said over her shoulder.
"Absolutely," Sirius said. "And that's saying something because I don't even like to read,"
Lily laughed along with James but Peter was too busy taking in his surroundings. "Okay, now all we have to do is find Remus," She said simply. But the boys found the idea to sound quite exhausting, considering on how big the Library seemed.
"Well, he's probably curled up in a dark corner or something. Let's start there," Sirius suggested sarcastically. James and Peter chuckled but Lily had her attention to a group Slytherins who appeared to just be leaving the Library.
"Hey, Sev!" Lily called over to them happily. James and Sirius turned and looked immediately at the name.
It was a group of second year Slytherins. They all looked at Lily with a look that James could only guess was outrage. Snape was standing next to another Slytherin boy. He looked at Lily quickly and gave her a half-hearted wave, but he seemed more determined to leave the Library.
Lily seemed slightly appalled at his reaction to her greeting, but shrugged it off and turned back to them. "Okay, well let's just start searching around. Keep your eyes peeled. It can be easy to miss someone in here."
She was right. The long tables that sat between each row were almost full of people, sitting, hunched over a book. To avoid getting lost, the three of them decided to tag along with Lily as they swept through the rows. But Lily seemed to have most of her attention drawn to the lines of books that stood all around her.
"Whoa! Let's go there!" Sirius wailed excitedly. He strayed away and ran off in the direction of a fenced off portion of the library that was labelled, 'Restricted Section.'
"No, no no." Lily said, trying to tell Sirius to come back. But he kept going. "No. NO! SIRIUS- GET BACK HERE-" She yanked on the back of his shirt so hard that he almost fell backwards. "Its Restricted for a reason, you idiot. A careless first year like you can't just go wandering around in there,"
Madam Pince, the librarian, came around the corner and glared at them. "I'm going to have to ask you to keep it down," She almost hissed at them.
"Yes, madame," Lily said in a sugar coated voice, releasing her iron grip on Sirius' shirt innocently. Madame Pince gave them one last glare and left. And Lily returned her angry expression back to Sirius who was a little frightened.
"What's in there that I can't read? He asked.
Lily opened her mouth to speak but paused and thought for a moment. "Dark stuff," She said grimly. "Magic no student should learn about," There was a silence that followed. "Come on," She finally said, obviously trying to sound cheery. "Lets find, Remus. I know he's here somewhere. I can feel it,"
"Remus?" James called quietly to a boy that lay with his face down in an open book, fast asleep. James crept closer to him to try and see who it was. He turned over his shoulder and called to Peter, Sirius and Lily. "Guys, I think I found him,"
"Really?" Peter came scurrying over. "Where?"
James pointed down the row at him. "I think that's him,"
"Oh, it is!" Peter exclaimed and hurried over to him. Sirius and Lily joined James and they followed behind Peter.
"Remus? Wake up, mate," Peter called into his ear softly as he gently nudged him.
Remus suddenly sat up quickly with a snort, "Hmm?" He muttered, sounding confused. He looked around and blinked his sleepy looking eyes rapidly. "Oh!" He snapped awake. "I fell asleep didn't I?" He said sounding ashamed as he closed the book titled: 'The Development of Cures and Antidotes Through the Ages.'
"What's the matter with you, mate?" Sirius said, sitting in the seat next to him.
"Nothing, Sirius. I'm just a little tired," Remus replied solemnly. He stretched out his arms and yawned, as he finished he checked his watch. It was half past four. His eyes slightly widened at the time, but got up and put his book back on the shelf rather calmly.
I- um- Gotta go now. I'll see you guys later..." He turned and swiftly left out of sight before anyone could stop him.
It was six o clock when they returned to Gryffindor tower and there was no sign of Remus there. They all felt a little concerned about it but weren't going to go out looking for him because they knew he didn't want to be found. So the four of them stayed in the common room and played wizards chess until the late hours.
When they returned to their dormitories, Remus wasn't there either. They all noticed but no one had the energy to address the elephant in the room. It was one thirty in the morning. Instead they all climbed under their sheets and fell asleep under the light of the full moon as it glowed through the window.