DISCLAIMER: We continue not owning anything but the vaguest idea of a plot and some of the ideas. In the interests of remaining on good terms with others, we own nothing of consequence on this site. Yup.

AN: Hello, again. We're getting closer to finishing the story. We have been, as per usual, lax in our updating; however we are planning on finishing this story.

AN2: We would appreciate it if all of the people who are still reading this story (yes, you! you are our inspiration!) would leave a review and/or a comment in the newest feature on this website (forums!). Thanks for all the feedback!

AN3: One last thing, before we get to the meat and potatoes. There is a short section in this chapter that may be found offensive to some audiences. We are not, I repeat not trying to be offensive in any way, shape, or form. It is meant merely for the humour of the situation. I must also add, because of continued questioning, that this story is not slash.

---previous chapter---

What he saw made Remus' vision go dark around the edges for a moment, nearly causing him to lose consciousness. For an instant, Remus thought he had seen one of his best friend's animagus forms… a stag.

'James is dead,' Remus reminded himself.

'So am I, Remus,' Lily responded, 'and that certainly looks like him.'

A moment later, a scruffy, black dog replaced the stag.

'Oh, just great…'

Chapter 23: Of Meetings

!QUIRRELL!

Professor Quirinus Quirrell was sitting in his office trying to correct essays, when he found himself being distracted yet again.

The whole reason he was now at the school was to capture that damn stone and he had not made anywhere near enough progress. Quirrell was sufficiently frustrated and the situation just kept getting more and more complicated.

Quirrell made a violent motion with his wand hand, causing his quill to pierce the table along with the last few essays from his first class of the day.

Sighing, he leaned back in his chair and placed his hands behind his turban. Taking a quick glance over his desk, Quirrell spotted something that plainly did not belong.

There was a fat rat sitting between the pile of second period's research and a pot of black ink. The small, glistening eyes were staring right at him, unblinkingly.

Nearly toppling backward, Quirrell scrambled from his seat and placed his hand onto his wand.

The rat crawled to the front of the desk and suddenly grew larger and larger, taking the form of a man.

The man now sitting on the desk gave Quirrell what might have been a smirk if the eyes above it had not been so frightened.

"H-hello," the man squeaked. "I've got something you'll w-want to hear."

!SIRIUS AND JAMES!

Sirius Black and James Potter traveled the distance from the Ministry of Magic to Hogwarts in less than four days, thanks to magic and some good, old-fashioned luck.

It had been rather exhausting, but even being the self-appointed brilliant, not to mention handsome, men that they were, the two were extremely hesitant to attempt any more obvious or speedy means of transportation such as apparating or using floo powder. Mostly, this was because neither of them was sure how their… ahem… unique situation would be affected by this.

When the two passed through Hogsmede, they were in rather good spirits, knowing that they had nearly reached their destination.

Without incident, they snuck into Honeydukes, pausing to examine the new products, and then they stole into the tunnel that led to Hogwarts. They prodded each other with playful banter until they arrived at the other end, when they both fell into silence, reliving memories like mad.

"Bloody…" whispered James, currently in control of the Sirius' body.

'Blast from the past,' agreed Sirius.

After a few moments, Sirius regained his mental speed, 'Er, James, we probably shouldn't stand out in the open like this.'

'Oh, right,' James turned into a dog made quickly for a relatively vacant corridor that they knew from their marauding days.

When they had settled comfortably into an abandoned classroom, locking the door with several different spells, Sirius brought up an interesting question that they hadn't had time to answer during their trip.

'We can obviously use each other's animagus forms, but what does that mean for our magical signature and each of our magic individually?'

The two pondered this for a while and then decided to test it.

After doing a multitude of spells, in Sirius's human form, James relinquished control to Sirius, who checked each of the spells with one he had learned just after school and found that each spell cast had a different magical signature.

'That's odd,' James bluntly stated.

'Yeah,' agreed Sirius, 'and look at this; each of them have different intensity as well.'

James contemplated this for a moment, before suggesting that their individual proficiency influenced the spells. Sirius agreed in that possibility, but wondered how deeply their magic was fused.

The two decided to try an experiment and separated their souls to the different sections of Sirius's mind.

They managed to separate both their minds and their magic, before the world started tilting violently. James grasped for control of the body, but Sirius got there first and stuck his tongue out at the wall.

'I win,' Sirius thought, before crashing to the ground.

James mentally shoved Sirius out of the way and took control of the mind, saying, "You are a cruel man, my friend, a cruel, cruel man."

'I know,' Sirius acquiesced, 'but you are so much worse.'

The two chuckled for a moment as James changed into his animagus form. He took a loud step, his hoof making a clacking sound, before noticing his error.

'Whoops, forgot to be you, Padfoot.' James mentally grinned before switching forms.

'That could be potentially bad. I think we should add some horseshoes,' Sirius agreed, before there was a soft noise outside the door.

The two were immediately wary. James backed into a shadowed corner, transformed silently, and pulled out a "borrowed" wand, muttering a few brief incantations.

For a moment, the silence was absolute, but then, James sensed that the complex locking spell he had put on the door was undone.

The door creaked open, revealing… a blank stretch of wall and some air.

'What do you think?' Sirius asked, fear gripping his heart.

'I think they're invisible or hiding,' James responded, silently.

The two saw a brief ripple in the air just to their left and James lunged out and grabbed the disillusioned figure by the ankle.

Quickly canceling the charm, James whipped the figure's wand out of his hand and pointed his own at the newcomer's throat.

He only pulled back when he realized that it was his best living friend he had just pinned to the ground.

Remus Lupin had a slightly startled look on his face from being overtaken so easily, but his expression changed rapidly to one of extreme shock.

"S-Sirius? You're really alive, then?"

James sat back on his knees and let a maniacal grin creep across his face. "I dunno. Sirius, are you alive?"

Lupin's brow furrowed and he tried to back away slightly, although this was made slightly awkward by the fact that he was splayed out on the ground.

Neither spoke, until the convict's mouth responded into the silence, "Er… Sirius says that he doesn't know if he qualifies at the moment, but he's still more or less here and I would like to add that his cadaverous body is still walking around."

Sirius's mouth pulled into a wide grin and Remus lifted an eyebrow.

"I suppose we have quite a bit to discuss, then," Lupin suggested, quietly.

!HARRY!

As Harry hurried back to his friends, he saw that they had begun packing up. When he questioned this, Hermione answered, "Well, of course. We're going after them, aren't we?"

Hermione picked up a few more books from the pile. Harry didn't think it was physically possible to get anything else into her bag, but she shoved them in anyway. She and Ron were anxiously waiting at the library door by the time Harry had snatched his things and caught up.

They hurried along endless passages until they reached the place Harry had last seen the mysteriously labeled blotch. "It was just here when Mr. Lupin went off to have a look. I think it was going this way."

The three turned down the next likely looking corridor. Unfortunately for them, the suspicious person in question, plus one Mr. Lupin, had just turned a completely different corner, heading for the library.

!THE SUSPICIOUS BLOTCH AND REMUS!

"But now they're all gone, right?"

"Well, we think so. They've stopped irritating us, at least."

"And then…?" Remus wondered.

"Well, we just made our way to Hogwarts. We decided that you'd probably be here, still, and there's Dumbledore, of course."

"Yes…" Remus agreed, "I had wondered if you two had… er… realized that I've come under the same predicament that you have."

James tipped Sirius's head curiously to one side, "You've been in a fight with a dementor, have you? Chopped off its head, I would imagine."

Remus rolled his eyes, "No, I have not. I am currently sharing my body with your wife, James."

Sirius's eye twitched involuntarily, "Lily?" James wondered.

Remus sighed, "No, Prongs, your other wife. Of course I meant Lily."

"C-can…" James cleared his throat, "Can I talk to her?"

Remus bit his lip, thinking hard, before nodding and relinquishing his control to Lily Potter.

Sirius and Remus tried to ignore what the other two were talking about, however, this became a problem after a short while.

Their bodies were sitting cross-legged on the floor, looking each other in the eyes and speaking in whispers, when Sirius and Remus began to struggle for control, again.

Their protests grew, the longer the couple spoke, until they regained control completely.

'What was that for, Remus?' Lily demanded, mentally.

At the same time, James threatened, 'Sirius, I was having a moment with my wife!'

"I'm not letting me kiss Sirius!" Remus shuddered, scrambling to his feet.

Sirius agreed wholeheartedly, "I would never be able to forget that!"

The silence that fell was as thick and easy to breath as a roomful of cream. For several moments, no one spoke, even mentally. Then…

Raucous and enthusiastic, mentally and aloud, laugher filled the room rather a bit faster than the oppressive silence could leave.

The whole situation brought forth memories from their school years and beyond. It was quite the most shocking state of affairs that had occurred to the lot of them for at least ten years.

"Do you suppose we should proceed with the next part of our plan," Sirius asked, when the laugher had faded away.

"I was thinking we should head for the library to pick up your son, James."

!END CHAPTER!

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