Author's Note: CW for references to basically magical drugs

-x-

Detention with Professor Charlemagne turned out to be very nice, in Remus's opinion. Actually, beyond nice. More than fun. It was not detention at all… at least not for him. Charlemagne gave him an answer sheet and then a pile of tests from the first and second years, and told him to mark off all the wrong answers, tally everything up, and put the grades down. Remus held the sheet, unable to believe his luck.

"Are you s… sure?" he asked.

Charlemagne gave him a strange look. "Yes, this will help me," he said, "and you cannot do the third year tests since that is your year."

Remus sat down at a desk and began going through the papers, trying not to grin; he didn't want Charlemagne to know how much he was enjoying this. It gave him such a thrill to look through each answer, find the correct and wrong ones, and mark them. He itched to add his own comments, but managed to refrain. For instance, one second year wrote a rather witty answer even though it was wrong. Remus wanted to write in the margins that it was a clever wordplay, and give encouragement. Instead, he put a red X next to the answer. When he tallied up that test he was saddened to find it was one point below passing. He reluctantly wrote down the numbers and a P.

One of the tests had the name Regulus Black written in very neat, pretty cursive at the top. Remus hesitated then raised his hand. "Professor, this belongs to Sirius's brother. Do you still want me to grade it or would it be… erm… conflict of interest?"

"Mark the test, I will be going over all these when you are done so if there is anything you have done wrong whether on accident or purpose, I shall see," Charlemagne responded.

Remus was conflicted, though, after giving Regulus the O for a perfect score. His short, neat answers were correct but they lacked something. It felt so textbook. He knew damn well Regulus didn't deserve anything less, however he wished Sirius's brother didn't sound so much like a statue come to life.

I wonder how he is doing with his spells, he wondered as he pulled the next paper over. B. Crouch Jr was scrawled along the top. At first Remus gave the check marks until…

Frowning, he pulled Regulus's paper back and compared.

Merlin.

"Um. P-Professor?"

"Yes?"

Remus stood up, shaking a little. "This is… er… I mean to say… the thing is…"

Charlemagne looked up at him, warmth in his eyes. "What is wrong?"

He took in a deep breath and set the papers down. "The answers are identical, sir." Did Regulus cheat? No way! He wouldn't! Would he? Did the pressure of getting a good grade for his parents push him into doing this? Or was it the Crouch kid?

Charlemagne looked over both tests. "It seems you are right," he sighed. He quickly wrote a note and handed it to Remus. "Please fetch Professor Slughorn, would you?"

Remus made his way through the school, heart pounding. What if Regulus got into big trouble? Would Sirius blame Remus? Professor Charlemagne would have seen it, though, even without Remus… right? No, yes, of course he would, it wasn't Remus's fault… still, he couldn't help but feel like it was.

"Come in," Slughorn said when Remus knocked at his office door.

He pushed the door open and stepped into the office, muttering that he was sorry to interrupt (two older students sat in front of his desk) but Charlemagne had a note for him. He set the note down and scurried back, not sure what to do as Slughorn read the note. He was seized with a sudden panic that somehow Slughorn would know he had some Polyjuice potion in his bag, as he hadn't had time to put it in his trunk. It was silly, to think his teacher could sense it like that, but he couldn't help it.

"I see. Dolohov, Armaunt, you may go, we will finish our discussion at a later date."

The two Slytherins left, both of them shooting Remus rather dark looks. A shudder went down his spine, and he could smell something rather nasty in the air. Not a tangible scent, but something from emotions. Something vicious emanating from them. He shuddered again, glad when the door shut.

Slughorn stood up and left his office without another word, Remus trailing behind him. Charlemagne was waiting in his office, studying the two tests carefully. He looked up, smiling when Slughorn and Remus came in.

"Your note says you think one or two of my students are cheating?" Slughorn asked immediately, sticking his thumbs into the waistband of his trousers and rolling back and forth onto the balls of his feet. His tone was a false pleasant sort of tone, with a hint of warning.

Charlemagne handed Slughorn the two pieces of parchment. "Regulus and Bartemius seem to have come to identical responses for every single question in the test I gave them yesterday. Including the misspelling of the word 'verdimillious'. I understand that these two young men are friends but it seems more than mere coincidence for something of this nature."

Slughorn looked back and forth between the papers before putting them together, straightening them out. "I'll have a word with them."

Charlemagne tilted his head. "Ah? It is my lesson, Horace, I believe I should be the one to speak with them. I only wished to give you… hmm, a heads up, shall we say? And to ask for your advice on what to do, of course."

Slughorn bristled slightly. "Charlemagne, you—"

"Sylvain, please," Charlemagne said politely.

"Sylvain," Slughorn said, sounding a little strangled, "if you wished me to know, then surely you must prefer this incident to be placed fully into my judgment. And to be perfectly frank, I think my judgment is a little better than yours. I know both of these boys better than you. In fact, they are both in my Slug Club. They are both outstanding young men and it's difficult for me to believe they cheated."

"You have the evidence in your hands, Horace."

Slughorn coughed. "I'm sure there is more to it than meets the eye."

Remus curled his hands into fists, remembering when Slughorn accused him of cheating, refusing to listen to his pleas or McGonagall's of how it was accidental. He had been pressing to get Remus suspended, and somehow McGonagall managed to convince him to cut it down to only a week of detention. Was it because Regulus and Crouch were Slytherins, or because they were part of the Slug Club?

Charlemagne finally stood, his hands resting on his own round belly in a similar manner to how Slughorn often stood. "Do you insist on not allowing me to have authority over this? In my own class?"

"You do use anti-cheat quills, do you not?" Slughorn asked and Remus suppressed a gasp of shock.

Charlemagne's nostrils flared slightly. "Naturally I do, but you know as well as I that the quills do not catch everything. A simple matter of looking over at another child's test… well, the quills would miss that. And the two do sit together."

Slughorn put the tests onto Charlemagne's desk. "How about I go and fetch these two boys right now, and bring them here. We can do this together."

Charlemagne shrugged. "That is a good idea. Remus." Remus jumped, hoping he would be dismissed, however Charlemagne gave him a note. "Please go and find a Slytherin Prefect—"

"They are my students," Slughorn reminded him, taking the note and adding his own signature. "Mr. Lupin, go find a Slytherin Prefect and have them fetch Misters Black and Crouch. Then you are dismissed."

Remus looked at Charlemagne who nodded. "You can finish your detention another night, Remus. Thank you, and I am sorry about this turn of events."

"Yes sir," he squeaked out to both of them, grabbing his bag before fleeing the room. Slughorn doesn't like Charlemagne at all, he thought as he headed down to the dungeons, keeping an eye out for a Prefects' badge. Finally, near the Slytherin common room, he came across one of the Prefects and handed him the note. The Prefect nodded and went towards the common room while Remus left, going to the Gryffindor tower. He had only served about forty minutes of detention and wondered how much he'd have to make up, and if this would keep happening all week—

No, he thought, climbing up a staircase. It won't happen all week, because I'll be gone Friday night.

He realized at the top it was the same staircase he had heard the voice at ages ago, and he paused, turning to look down the stairs, waiting to hear if the disembodied voice spoke again. If it warned him again. He clutched the railing with one hand and pressed his other hand to his chest, feeling his heart thumping…

After a few minutes of nothing happening, he started walking again, deciding once and for all he had imagined the whole thing or it had been a prank.

-x-

Remus knew that over the past few days that something had been going on with Sirius. Sometimes, he worried Sirius suddenly hated him but the Polyjuice potion proved otherwise. But there was no denying that Sirius was acting a little different around him now. Finally, he decided it was because of Cassie, because Sirius was seeing someone now. At least, he hoped that was all it was. Although, he had to admit without Sirius hugging him or putting an arm around him or being in his face all the time it did make other things easier.

But it also felt a little sad.

Either way, because of all of that Remus didn't tell Sirius about what happened in his detention. Didn't want to upset him. It wasn't his business anyway, he really shouldn't have even known about what happened. It was only an unfortunate coincidence. If Regulus wanted to tell Sirius, he would.

However, Remus also felt very curious after seeing thirty points removed from the Slytherin hourglass. So before lunch the next day he told the Marauders he needed to talk to someone, and went to wait for Regulus. He soon showed up, walking with a boy Remus thought was Crouch Junior. Neither seemed stressed out or upset. Neither was suspended, apparently, either.

"Hey, erm, c-can I—can I speak with y-you a moment?" Remus asked, hurrying to get in front of the two boys, both of which were taller than him, though Crouch Junior only barely.

Regulus's face went all hard and haughty. "Me?"

"Yes."

He thought about this then shrugged. "I'll see you in a moment," he told Crouch, who went into the Great Hall. Regulus then followed Remus to somewhere a little more private. "What is it that you want?"

Remus hunched over, not sure how to broach the subject. "Did… d-did Professor Charlemagne t-talk to you last night?"

Regulus's face flooded with color, meaning yes. "Pardon?"

"I wanted to—"

He took a step back, the smell of panic filling Remus's nostrils. "How do you know about that?" he demanded. "Did someone tell you?"

"No!" Remus folded his arms, trying to make himself look smaller, look like less of a threat. "I was in d-detention with Professor Charlemagne, when… the tests were discovered."

Regulus's head whipped back and forth as he tried to see if anyone was listening in. Then he pulled Remus farther away from the main halls. "What do you know?"

"Only that your answers and, erm, Crouch J-Junior's answers were… id-identi-iden—were identical."

"You haven't told Sirius, have you?"

Remus shook his head. "No. I—I just w-wanted to make sure you were all right."

His brown eyes narrowed, and his lips thinned much like McGonagall. "Why? You don't know me. And don't pretend it's on behalf of my brother."

Remus held his chin up. "Because I was curious to know if you were sabotaging yourself even more than you already are," he answered angrily. Why did he care? Regulus Black hated him, despised him, looked down on him. They weren't friends, they were barely even acquaintances. But for some reason he wanted to help Regulus. Perhaps because Sirius had asked him earlier in the year, or perhaps it was something else. Remus wasn't sure, but it was there, and he wasn't going to ignore it.

Regulus snorted. "I am not sabotaging myself. Don't say that. And no, I did not cheat."

"So… C-Crouch cheated."

Regulus didn't answer. He looked down, brushing nonexistent lint off his trousers. "It isn't any of your business, Loopy. Anything else? Any other interrogation? No? Goodbye." He turned on his heels and marched off.

Sighing, Remus went to the Great Hall feeling like an idiot. That had been pointless. He shouldn't have stuck his nose into Regulus's business. But… if Crouch had cheated, why wasn't he suspended? Unless the teachers decided simply looking at another student's paper and copying it wasn't 'cheaty' enough, but a potion was. That did make sense, and made Remus feel less angry towards Slughorn.

-x-

Thursday night, after helping Jean-Marie, was spent working on a lot of homework. Remus had finished almost all of his, however he wanted to help out his friends for what they did, as a sort of apology for the potion not working. He did more than he usually did; he didn't just correct spelling or tell them something was wrong. This time he scribbled in new sentences and rewrote bits of the essay.

I'm never going to be able to make any of this up to them, he thought as he worked on Pete's Astronomy homework. He chewed at his quill, wishing he had more to give them. Except he didn't have anything except his brains. Unless he started knitting again which he couldn't, he had to be careful—very careful—of being as masculine as possible so nobody else would guess. He couldn't make them anything, he couldn't buy them anything, so this would have to do.

"Come on." James tugged at Remus's sleeve. "You've been working for ages, we're going down to the common room. Let's go!"

Remus went with them, joining in their games, and then stayed up late to finish the homework. It didn't matter about his sleep since the next day was Friday, and that night was the full moon.

"Are you going to be visitable?" Peter asked as they headed to breakfast.

"I… I don't know, maybe."

"You do look awful," James informed him.

Remus shrugged, knowing he did. The dark circles were particularly bad from not getting much sleep and his skin was an awful sickly pale shade. "I'll say I am the sick one," he finally said, figuring that would make his friends happy which it did. "Besides, that way I don't need to wait until Monday to find out about the game tomorrow. Or see pictures of Lily in the shirt."

He struggled to stay awake during Potions. It was mostly lecturing and slides, not making or working on anything, so it was difficult to keep his eyes open. He did sleep in History, which turned out to be a mistake because after class Magpie approached him and said she had seen him sleeping so she made him copies of her notes. She held them out, brown eyes shining a little, cheeks flushed pink. Remus slowly took the notes, stuttering a thank you.

"Anytime," she said, arms jerking back to clasp her sides. "Er, are you… feeling all right? You don't look well."

"No. Um. I'm—I'm n-not."

Magpie tilted her head. "Do you want me to take you to the hospital wing?"

He shifted, stomach twisting as he heard his friends snickering behind him. They did know! Why didn't they ever say anything? "No than—th—thank you," he whispered. Lily's voice rang in his head but he didn't know what to do. How in Merlin's name was he supposed to make it clear to someone he wasn't interested? Saying it outright seemed rude. And he still clung onto the little piece of hope that Magpie didn't actually fancy him.

Remus slept through the free period, trudged through Defense Against the Dark Arts, and then halfway through lunch said he was feeling too awful and that he needed to see Pomfrey. His friends walked with him, all three chatting about the upcoming game. Sirius was going on about how he was considering injuring Kirke so Cassie could play.

Pomfrey 'examined' Remus and told the Marauders he was doing very poorly and would need bed rest, shooing them out of the hospital wing before helping Remus get settled into his little room. He went ahead and changed into hospital pajamas so he wouldn't have to take his uniform to the house, and slept for about an hour before Pomfrey woke him up and wrapped the cloak around him.

It was wet outside, the grass slick. By the time they got under the Whomping Willow, the cuffs of Remus's bottoms were soaking wet and sending a chill up his legs. At least the house was dry, if not warm. Pomfrey went ahead and started a fire for him, asking if he needed anything before she went. He shook his head, thanking her for all her help, and then curled up on the couch to sleep until sunset.

-x-

Remus woke up for the second time on Saturday, this time at the sound of his friends' voices. He had first woken up a couple of hours ago when his body viciously turned from wolf to boy, and he had laid on the floor with bitten, bleeding legs until Pomfrey showed up. Once he was settled in his bed in the hospital wing he fell asleep again…

James was in his uniform already, and Sirius and Peter were dressed up. Both wore maroon jumpers and had gold glitter all over their faces; Peter had maroon glitter in his hair and Sirius had gold ribbons in his. Both had a bold black JP on each of their cheeks, and Peter clasped a pennant that said Gryffindor.

As Remus pushed himself into a sitting position, James and Peter both hugged him and then they settled into not their usual places to sit. James was in his chair however Peter—usually at the foot of his bed—sat next to him. Sirius settled at the foot instead.

"What time is it?"

"Nine-thirty," James said. "I don't have much time until I need to go to the locker room but I wanted to see you."

"You don't look so bad," Peter noted.

"No, it was… my legs, this time," Remus explained, twitching the blanket back. Under the pajama bottoms were thick bandages, making the trousers bulky and bulging. "A few scratches on my face but those have already healed. You shouldn't have wasted the time—"

"Pah!" James pulled a box out of his bag. "Here." It was a box with two double fudge chocoballs inside. "I know you like these, right?"

They used to be Remus's favorite before his taste for sweets started drifting towards fruity, gummy sort. "Yes, thank you."

"You're really giving 'em to him?" Pete asked and Remus glanced between him and James.

"Yeah?" He turned to face Remus. "I got them this morning, in the owl post. An anonymous admirer, wishing me support for the game. But I knew you loved these so I want—no!" he whined when Remus tried giving him the box back. "I want you to have them, please? Otherwise I'll just toss them."

"Liar," Remus said but set the box on the table by his bed. "You two look nice." He mostly said it because Sirius hadn't said a damn thing since coming in, and he was afraid that he was mad at Remus again for some reason.

"Thanks!" Peter said happily.

"Thanks," said Sirius with a grin. Well, one word at least.

James prattled on about the game and some of their plans, including thoughts about the Ravenclaw team. Peter kept peppering in his own comments mostly about how Gryffindor was going to smash them. Sirius remained quiet for the most part, occasionally laughing. James left first and Sirius moved over to his chair.

"I'll be able to take lots of pictures for you," Peter promised. "James lent me his camera. I wish you could be there. You know, you could be there for some of it maybe, 'cept it'd be weird, I guess, if you showed up, right?"

"Yes, it would be, unfortunately," Remus agreed. He decided to talk to Sirius directly. "Are you feeling all right, Sirius? You seem a little… quiet. Do you have another headache?"

"No," Sirius replied and Remus wanted to scream. But then he continued with, "I mean, I'm all right. No, I don't have a headache." He fiddled with one of the ribbons in his hair. "Hey, Pete, we should get going, to get good seats. You wanna go ahead? I wanted to talk to Remus alone for a minute."

"Okay." Peter hugged Remus again and left.

Remus looked over at Sirius, wondering if he was going to yell or snap or something else like that. Sirius kept fiddling with one of the ribbons until finally he stood up, going over to the small window and peering out at the sky. Remus stared silently at his back, waiting with misery for the storm about to come as he tried to figure out what he did.

"If you want me to stay, I will."

"Wh-what?"

Sirius turned, sticking his hands in his pockets. "I don't have to go to the game. I'll stay, if you like."

"No!" Remus sat upright, clutching at his blanket. "You don't want to miss James's first game!"

He shrugged. "I don't care, and James'll understand."

"I don't want you to stay—"

Sirius returned to the seat and lounged back, crossing one leg over the other. "I don't mind. I don't want to leave you here all alone again."

Again. Remus slumped a little as he realized what this was really about: the fact that the previous time, they had missed one of the days. "Sirius, first of all Pomfrey wouldn't let you stay all afternoon. And… truly, I want as many of us to be there for James as possible." Sirius didn't say anything. "If the game ends early you can come see me again, if you like."

"If it goes on too long I'll leave it early and swing by again," Sirius said slowly.

"Oh no, you might miss something fabulous that James does," Remus argued. "Please go to the game. I—I appreciate you willing to stay here with me, I do, but Pomfrey really wouldn't allow it and you know she wouldn't."

Sirius began chewing at his bottom lip. "I don't want to leave you alone."

"You visited me," he said softly. "You didn't leave me alone. And when I'm here you don't need to come see me every single day—"

"I'd be here every minute if I could," he argued.

"I know you would, thank you."

Sirius stared at him some more before getting up. "I'll come see you again before you leave tonight. I promise." He suddenly bent down to hug Remus tightly—very tightly. Too tightly. Then he let go and disappeared through the door without another word.

Remus lay back, dizzy from the rush of Sirius's scent but relieved he wasn't angry. Still, Sirius had been acting so bizarre over the past week. What was going on?

-x-

Sirius returned far too soon and when Remus opened his eyes, he knew that the game couldn't be over. He hadn't even fallen asleep, it had barely been an hour. Sirius confirmed the time as being eleven-thirty which was when the game started, and Remus told him to get back to the game.

"Can't." He flopped into the chair, forehead creased, a slight frown on his lips. He didn't look at all like someone who was skipping a game. "No game."

"No… what?" Remus pushed himself up again, studying Sirius carefully. "What are you talking about?"

Before Sirius could explain the door opened again, and this time McGonagall came in looking and smelling absolutely furious. Peter scurried behind her, wringing his hands, and then James, also furious with a hint of fear.

"There it is," he said, pointing at the box of chocoballs he had brought not long before.

McGonagall picked the box up, turning it over in her hands. "Remus," she said sharply. "Did James bring this to you this morning?"

"Y-yes, only an hour or so ago."

"Have you opened it?"

"N-no, I—I haven't, I w-was going to have them after lunch."

She turned around and told James to come along, telling Peter he could stay if he wished. Then McGonagall and James left, and Remus just gaped at the door before asking what the hell was going on?

Peter nearly burst into tears. "It's horrible!"

"It isn't horrible," Sirius said calmly.

"James could be expelled—"

"He shan't be expelled," Sirius said and finally looked at Remus. "There were traces of a strengthening potion in his blood when he was tested before the game."

Remus's jaw dropped and he flung his blanket back, swinging his broken legs out of bed. He cried out in pain, and Sirius got up. "What happened? What do you mean?"

"Get back in bed, you oaf." Sirius gently took Remus's legs and pushed him back into bed, tucking him in. "It's fine, it will be fine."

"It won't be!" Peter sniffled.

Sirius gave an exasperated sigh. "Shut up, Pete! They knew perfectly well James didn't take it, that's why McGonsie took the chocolate!"

Remus felt completely out of the loop. "What are you t-talking about? Chocolate?"

Sirius flung his jacket at Peter. "Stop being a crybaby! It's fine!" Except Remus could detect a trace of fear in Sirius's voice; he wasn't yelling at Pete because he thought Peter was overreacting, he was yelling because he was worried it wasn't an overreaction. Peter sank down onto the foot of Remus's bed, and Sirius returned to his seat, his skin extremely white underneath the glitter and paint.

Remus massaged his temples. "Please tell me what is going on."

Sirius began explaining everything that James and Seo-Yun Kim told him. Apparently in the locker room, he was 'walking around' (his words) or 'strutting around' (Kim's words), and Kirke seemed to be getting annoyed. Then James was going on about how he wished Remus was well enough to be at the game. Cassie asked how he was doing (which made Remus feel touched) and James said he was very weak though he hoped the chocolate made him feel better. Kirke wanted to know what chocolate, which was strange that Kirke cared. James said he had been given some chocolate earlier in the day and he had given it to Remus. Kirke seemed to get 'completely flustered' (James's words) or else 'frowned' (Kim's words). Then Kirke went to his locker (James's words, Kim didn't notice) and then sat by James. He stayed by James's side for a moment before going back to his locker (Kim confirmed this, she noticed that part).

Hooch and Pomfrey showed up and Pomfrey tested James. Nothing specific came up but her test showed there was something in him. So they waited ten minutes, tried again, and it turned out to be a strengthening potion.

Chaos ensued. Kirke kept shouting that he knew it was true, James denied taking it, Pomfrey went to get McGonagall while Hooch went through James's things. There was absolutely no evidence of any potion in his bags or lockers, and James pointed out that if it hadn't specifically shown up during the first test it meant he had just taken the potion, so there would be something there if he had, right? They even went through the rubbish bins and found nothing.

McGonagall showed up along with Slughorn, and Slughorn tested James's flask of water. There was strengthening potion in it. More chaos, more denials from James. Kim told Sirius that James said he wasn't stupid enough to do that before the test, why would he do that? He was stupid, but not that stupid.

That's when James's attention turned on Kirke, asking him why he was sitting by him earlier when he hated James, asking why he wanted to know about the chocolate, why he seemed panicked when James said he had given the chocolate away. Kirke said he had no idea what James was talking about, and James accused him of slipping the potion in his water when he was sitting there.

More chaos, and arguing. Screaming. James and Kirke kept screaming at each other, James also accusing Kirke of being the one to start these rumors. McGonagall broke up the fight and said it would be a simple matter of searching Kirke's things. Kirke said it wasn't fair, and he didn't give permission. Which of course made him look guilty. He then claimed to have pornographic material in his bag and didn't want anyone to see. That's around when Sirius and Peter showed up, wondering what was going on, along with a few other friends of the teammates. McGonagall sent them out of the locker room, but Sirius said he could hear what was going on, because Kirke was shouting. McGonagall demanded to search his things and when he refused again, she asked James about the chocolate.

"James told McGonagall about the chocoballs he received this morning, told her that he gave them to you, and here we are," Sirius said. "James explained everything on the way over here, to me and Pete."

Remus covered his mouth, shock freezing him to the spot. Kirke—would Kirke do such a thing? "Wh—what did—why would—?"

"James thinks Kirke sent him the chocoballs and that they're laced with the potion," Sirius said. "When Kirke found out James hadn't eaten them himself, he dumped some of the potion into the water."

Peter gave a loud sniffle. "James would never."

"Of course not," Sirius snapped. "McGonagall will see that, she'll find the chocoballs have stuff in them and—and it will be fine."

Remus thought for a moment. "James's flask with the lion's head top? Is that what he had?"

"Yeah."

Remus frowned. "It had to have been open already, if Kirke did it, because it growls like a lion when James opens it. He would have heard Kirke open it."

"Huh, you're right. It's enchanted not to fall over, so James does leave it sitting open all the time."

"But that means he was already drinking from it." He looked at his friends, expecting them to get what he was meaning. "That means if it already had potion in it, it would have probably shown up on the first test if it showed up that quickly."

Both stared back then Sirius jumped to his feet. "I need to find McGonagall, I'll be back. Merlin, Remy, you're a bloody genius!" He took off out the door, nearly falling over.

Peter scrambled closer to Remus, his eyes red and watery. "You gotta be right, his flask is noisy when it opens. Maybe that will help. But if there's stuff in the chocoballs… erm, Sirius and I and the girls—you know, Cassie, Alice, and Lily—can confirm he got those chocoballs today in the owl post, and he put it in his bag, and he didn't take them out again until he gave them to you."

Remus reached over, taking his hands. They were very shaky. "It will be all right. James did not cheat." He couldn't believe Kirke or anyone would have done something like that… but it made more sense than James cheating.

They sat in silence for a while, eventually just laying down together, Pete snuggled against Remus. He asked a few questions—about Remus's legs—but for the most part neither spoke. Remus eventually fell asleep, waking up when the door banged open. He opened his eyes, squinting through the light to see Sirius staring at the two of them with a strange look on his face.

"What is going on?" Remus sat up, nudging Pete to wake him up. "Did they—"

"The chocoballs had strengthening potion in them," Sirius confirmed, sliding into the chair. "The bit about the bottle of water wasn't as helpful, since nobody could confirm seeing James drinking from it earlier. Only that it was, in fact, open when Kirke sat next to him."

"Did they look through Kirke's things?" Pete asked.

"They didn't have to." A thin smile spread on his face. "Kirke confessed."

"WHAT?!" both boys shrieked.

"Oh, not quite a proper confession," Sirius said, shaking his head angrily. "He says he was paid to do it, and he 'didn't know who' paid him."

"That is absolute hippogriff shit!" Remus spat out just as the door opened and Pomfrey stuck her head in.

"I heard shouting," she said disapprovingly. "Remus, you need rest—"

"Please let them stay a moment longer," he begged. "They're telling me about James. Please."

She glanced at them but nodded. "Very well, but you do need rest."

As soon as the door shut Sirius was on his feet and pacing. "He says it was supposed to be a potion that made James fart a lot. It was a prank. It was supposed to be a prank. That's what he was told."

"Nobody believed that, did they?" Pete asked.

Sirius shrugged. "I don't know, that's all I know. Either way, James isn't in trouble, although the team is."

"What?"

"Bell refused to concede to Ravenclaw." He pushed his hair and ribbons back, looking out the window again. "She was given the choice to play without James and Kirke, or concede defeat, because the Ravenclaw team unanimously refused to postpone the game to another day. Because there have been loads of games played with only two Chasers, Hooch said it was by the book if they did that. It would be no different than one or two of the players being hurt during the game and unable to continue."

"Two Cha—? Oh, Cassie is playing?" Remus asked, and Sirius nodded.

"That is not FAIR!" Pete shouted. Remus elbowed him and put a finger to his lips to indicate to be quiet. Pete hunkered down a bit. "Whoops, sorry. That's completely unfair though, James—James should—but—"

"I know," Sirius mumbled. "I agree. It's blasted dementor vomit, is what it is. But it's either that or Ravenclaw automatically gets 150 points and the win. Seo-Yun says Bell is confident that they can still win."

"But if they lose it could be to more than 150 points…"

Sirius finally grinned. "Charmer's gonna get it, she's better than that stupid Ravenclaw Seeker. I'm fairly sure that Bell is gonna try to go right for the Snitch as soon as possible. Winning by only 150 is gonna be rough for us, but better than losing by it."

"You two should go, then," Remus said. "If they are still playing. Especially you, Sirius; your girlfriend is playing." He was very proud of himself for the way he said girlfriend. No hesitation, no weird tone. Simply said it like it meant nothing to him. Not something he could be victorious about with anyone besides himself but… a victory nonetheless.

"I want to be with James, if I can," said Peter.

"And I want to stay here," Sirius said, plopping back down in the chair.

A rush of warmth filled Remus's chest. "You can't. You heard Pomfrey, I need rest."

"Hmph."

"I do, though," he added softly. "I am very tired. I think you should go to the game. Here." He got his wand out and tapped Sirius's cheeks.

"What did you do?"

"I changed the JP to CI," he said, again feeling proud of himself. "Go on, you can't stay here so you might as well go there. Besides, James will want to know every detail of the game, won't he?"

Sirius was rubbing his cheek looking dubious. "I suppose…"

"Go on, you go, and I'll sleep, and if the game ends early you can come back and tell me about it."

Sirius reluctantly stood. "All right, then, if you're sure."

Remus nodded. "I am, because Pomfrey is walking over here right now and is most likely going to kick you out anyway, so there isn't any point of you—"

The door opened and Pomfrey glared in. "You've had enough time. Come on you two, out. The boy needs rest! Out!"

Sirius and Peter hurried from the room and Remus sank down against his pillows, head reeling with what was going on. Of all the times this had to happen of course it was under a full moon where he was helpless to do anything. Well. He wouldn't be able to do anything anyway, but he could have at least been there for James!