Disclaimer - You know the drill. You don't seriously think I created Harry Potter, do you? Give me a break, I'm not that smart. No, these characters are the sole property of J. Rowling and a number of publishing companies.

A/N - This is the last chapter, unfortunately. I've enjoyed writing this so much that I'm going to get straight to work on a sequel, the first chapter of which should be up by tonight. Thanks to all my readers, especially Sirius Padfoot!

THE MORNING AFTER

Remus, Sirius, and James all marched up to the hospital wing together and presented themselves to Madam Pomfrey.

This in itself was nothing new. She was accustomed to the three of them arriving together on nights after the full moon, it had been that way for years. Although she had never asked, Madam Pomfrey was fairly sure Remus had told the other boys of his condition, and assumed they must be showing their support by walking with him. It was possible Remus had even told them how to get into the passage under the Whomping Willow; perhaps they snuck in and cleaned him up a bit before bringing him in. More than once she had seen him come in with bandages over the worst of his wounds.

Today, however, something was different. Usually Remus came in exhausted and in pain, but today he was almost giddy. There was hardly a scratch on him; in fact, aside from a bloodstained cloth tied around his wrist, he looked unharmed. James and Sirius wore huge grins on their mischievous faces, and Sirius' face was covered with scratches. Claw-sized scratches. One didn't have to be a trained healer to guess what had happened here, and yet when Sirius approached her, he announced, "Me and James crashed our brooms into each other."

James nodded solemnly, then turned around and displayed his back, which was scratched to hell. "Your brooms," she repeated skeptically.

"Yep," James said soberly. "We're real crummy fliers."

This set off a round of giggles from Remus. James was the best flier in their year.

"What were you doing out flying at four in the morning?" Madam Pomfrey asked.

"Well," Sirius began. "We, uh…Quidditch practice." Sirius wasn't on the Quidditch team.

"Yeah," James agreed, grinning. "We had to practice."

"How," Madam Pomfrey demanded "did you manage to crash your brooms in midair in such a way as to scratch your back and his face?"

"I was, er, riding backward," Sirius began, "and then I turned upside down. It's a new maneuver. The Padfoot Roll."

"The Padfoot Roll."

"Yeah," James grinned. "The Padfoot Roll."

Madam Pomfrey wasn't buying it, but the boys clung to their story and there was nothing for it but to clean them up. She glanced at the happy, contented smile on Remus' face. She'd never seen him so calm the morning after a transformation. Whatever they'd done, she decided, it must be worth it if it made this poor boy so happy. Nodding to herself, she went to get Remus' potions.

Sirius clambered up onto a bed, and Remus settled into the neighboring one. James flopped down on a third, on his stomach. "Pretty good night, eh?"

"The best," Remus grinned."

Peter came bursting in, pushing a food trolley he'd liberated from the kitchens. "Breakfast! I got fruit, eggs, toast…" All alight with triumph, he began handing out plates.

"Wow, good one, Pete," Sirius took the plate Peter was holding out to him and went to town on a stack of waffles. Peter pulled a chair over and listened as James began outlining the night's events.

"There's one thing I still don't get," Remus said. "How come you didn't come last night, Peter? You missed a good time."

"Oh, well…" Peter blushed. "I can't quite transform just yet…I mean, it's a lot harder than these guys make it look. But I'll be ready next month!"

"You're not that far off," James was inclined to be kind, considering the breakfast buffet before him. "You've got the tail."

"Yeah, that's the hardest part," Sirius agreed. "I couldn't get the tail for months, remember? I looked like one of those damn sheepdogs."

Peter laughed, remembering. "You did look like an idiot. Remember how James couldn't get the antlers at first and looked like a doe?"

James was annoyed. "I did not!"

"You did, Prongs," Sirius laughed. "At least you were better than last year when I tried it and didn't have any fur."

"Or," Peter interjected, "Remember the time I screwed up the tail, and you guys said it looked like a worm was biting my butt?"

James laughed at the memory. "Yeah. Wormtail."

"Wormtail…" Remus tasted the new nickname. "Let me see."

Glancing around to make sure Madam Pomfrey was still occupied, Peter screwed up his face. A moment later, a thick tail appeared. Remus howled with laughter. "That's fantastic! Wormtail!"

"Yeah," Sirius grinned. "Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. There'll be no stopping us."

Giddy with relief and pride, the boys turned their attention to breakfast.

END