It's been a looong time coming, but here it is! The long-lost fourth chapter of "The Origins of Snuffles"! Enjoy your chapter, O Patient Readers, and I promise I'll update much sooner with chapter five!

The Origins of Snuffles
Chapter Four: On Love and Loathing (and Breakfast)

"Lupin's so dreamy, eh?" Riley sighed, eyes sparkling.

Lily threw a pillow at the other girl's face. "Get over it! He was just playing nice. I can tell he's up to something," she added with a scowl. She was changing into a shirt and slacks in the bedroom, and was highly annoyed at the exchange that had taken place in the common room below.

Sirius was lying curled on Lily's bed, looking thoroughly depressed. This was quite possibly the worst thing that had happened to him yet at Hogwarts. He was stuck as a dog, forced to live with a bunch of chattery, snappish girls, and his best mate was currently plotting how to make him miserable.

"Well, let's get down to breakfast, then," Lily said, voice muffled as she pulled her robes over her head and jammed her pointed hat onto her red hair. She whistled. "Come, Snuffles."

"I don't wanna."

Lily clipped the leash back onto Sirius's collar and practically dragged him from the bed. The collar pulling suddenly on his neck, Sirius gave a sort of cough. Lily blinked in surprise at the strange 'gack!' sound coming from the dog, then bent to inspect him.

Maddie crouched down beside Lily. "You know, Lupin did say the collar looked a bit tight."

"I suppose I could loosen it a little," Lily said, rubbing her chin. Sirius's eyes lit up at the words. If he could perhaps slip it off... He unconsciously began to wag his tail, thumping it loudly against the stone floor.

Erin, who was straightening her robes in the mirror, glanced over at the dog. "He's fine. Look, he's wagging his tail."

Sirius could've killed himself as Lily nodded. "Oh, yeah, you're right."

"So close..."

Lily led a reluctant Padfoot down the stairs to the Gryffindor common room. To his immense relief, James, Remus, and Peter were no longer there. Suddenly a bit happier, Sirius trotted along side the girls down to the Great Hall. His dog's nose picked up the smell of food, and he was glad. His stomach had been growling for hours; with the exception of little treats snuck to him the day before, he hadn't eaten since the evening before last. That was another bad thing about not being human: you couldn't tell people when you wanted something.

The small group entered the Great Hall, and the overpowering scent of breakfast accosted Sirius's sensitive nose. He could feel himself starting to salivate, and angrily swallowed. He would not drool like some common mutt! Besides, the other Marauders would never let him live it down...

He followed Lily to the Gryffindor table, subjecting himself to the pleased squeals and furious patting of multiple students in order to reach the food. None of it mattered so long as he could just get something to eat. Instinctively he headed toward his normal seat beside James, but was stopped short as Lily tugged on his leash. He would be sitting with the girls at their normal spot. How irritating.

That irritation soon became less important as he helped himself to massive amounts of bacon, ham, and eggs. The girls had placed a plate on the floor for him, and he was downing the food with gusto. Even the Marauders' sly glances and whispering from further down the table couldn't keep him from enjoying his meal to the fullest.

Hunger sated, Sirius sat back on his haunches and examined the room around him. Breakfast was in full swing, and the Hall buzzed with the chatter of students. Suddenly he noticed Snape entering the Hall, oily as ever. As if by instinct, all of the fur on his body stood on end, as if preparing for attack.

A plan slowly began to unfold in Sirius's mind. McGonagall had said that if there was any trouble with the "dog," he'd have to go. So, the simple solution was to attack someone, then. And what could be better than harassing Snivellus? He could pick on the greasy git with no consequences, save having his furry self expulsed from the school like so much canine garbage. And of course Evans would take the collar off at that point, right? So all he'd have to do is turn back into good old handsome-as-the-devil Sirius Black and sneak back onto school grounds. Piece of cake.

He checked on Lily: she seemed to be in a lively debate with Anne over the ethics of some ancient goblin uprising. Ever so slowly, he began to tug the leash out from under her hand. When she raised her hands to make an emphatic gesture, he wasted no time in pulling the leash free and taking off down the aisle between the House tables, fully intent of the Slytherin before him.

Sirius was in mid-leap when the flash of light hit him, knocking him off-balance and sending his huge form tumbling under the Gryffindor table. For a moment he was stunned, unable to focus on anything besides the ringing in his head. Then he noticed the entire room was in an uproar.

He could hear the distant voice of McGonagall assigning someone a week's worth of detentions as well as a shriek of dismay from Lily. When Sirius really came to, the first thing he realized was that his fur--all of it, from snout to tail--was a hideous shade of magenta. Scrabbling out from under the table, he heard the loud and derisive laughter of a good three-fourths of the Great Hall.

Proud spirit injured, the big bla--er, magenta--dog instinctively went into a snarl, hackles raised. Searching for the origin of the jinx, he spotted James laughing harder and louder than anyone else. Sirius's snarl increased in ferocity as he realized that the messy-haired boy had been the one who had cast the spell. Of course, that fact was only made more obvious by Peter's worried and Remus's apologetic expressions.

Sirius decided to switch tactics. Why go for grease when he could simply bite James's face off and achieve basically the same effect? Unfortunately, this new plan also ground to a halt. Firstly, Evans was now running towards him, evidently keen on calming him down; secondly, Professor McGonagall was shouting at her to get him and come to her office immediately.

Moments later Sirius was sitting stiffly in McGonagall's office, a deep snarl still rumbling lowly in his throat. He was just! Lily, hands trembling (but whether it was with nervousness or suppressed rage it was difficult to tell),was attempting to change his fur back to its normal color, but she couldn't undo the jinx. They were both waiting for the teacher to arrive.

Soon the tight-lipped woman strode briskly through the door and sat down behind her desk. Staring at the silent pair over the top of a stack of yet-to-be-graded essays, she asked bluntly, "What happened?"

"Weren't you watching? That git Potter jinxed me!"

Quickly patting the head of the dog, whose growl was once again increasing in volume, Lily responded, "Snuffles kinda slipped free, and James Potter jinxed him. It was a powerful one, too; it sent him flying under a table."

McGonagall's expression didn't change. "And why did he slip free?"

"I...I guess I wasn't keeping a good hold on the leash, ma'am, and he'd been cooped up in my dorm all night, so I guess he'd want a chance to stretch his legs."

The professor leaned forward and rubbed her temples. "I see. Miss Evans, I told you that if there was any trouble with that dog, I wouldn't allow you to keep him."

Sirius began to thump his tail against the ground expectantly.

Lily paled. "I know, Professor, but it wasn't his fault! I accept all responsibility for the scene at breakfast today. Please, let me have one more chance!"

McGonagall took a long look at Sirius, then took a long look at Lily. Unfortunately for Sirius, Evans was one of McGonagall's favorite students. (Then again, she was one of all of the professors' favorite students. Except for Madam Hooch. Hooch had attempted to teach the Muggle-born Lily to fly a broom back in first year and had ended up with a broken nose and a decidedly persistent headache for her trouble. Since then, the relationship between the two females had been rather cool.)

"Fine," the teacher sighed. "But be sure to walk him more often. He needs to release some of that pent-up energy. He's not like a cat, you know."

"Again! I think you have it in for me, Minnie. Always did like Evans best."

"I will, honest! Thank you so much, Professor!" Lily beamed, patting Sirius's head with rather more force than necessary.

"And please change his fur back," McGonagall added. Upon seeing Lily's suddenly despairing expression, she stifled another sigh and said, "Bring him here."

Lily's face was clouded. "I don't understand why I can't get it back," she admitted.

McGonagall twitched her wand over Sirius's head. The fur remained stubbornly magenta. The wand twitched again. Equally as successful results. Now the wand did a petite twist and glowed a bit. The fur was still the same hideous hue. Suddenly, with full arm motion, the wand cracked down upon Sirius's head and a sound like a small explosion erupted in his ears. As far as his watering eyes could tell, however, his fur remained resolutely pink.

"Hmm," said McGonagall.

"Uh-oh," said Lily.

"Ouch," thought Sirius.

As if to add insult to injury, McGonagall reached down and plucked several hairs quite sharply from the dog's ears. Sirius resisted the urge to bite her.

The professor studied the hairs pinched between her fingers for a moment. They had turned black as soon as they had left the dog's body. "How...interesting," she murmured, twisting the hairs.

"What? You can fix it, right?"

McGonagall nodded. "Of course, it makes sense now! This isn't a petty jinx or hex. This is Transfiguration...good Transfiguration, too. James Potter was alwaysexceptionalat this sort of thing! He's actually made it so that so long as it remains on the dog's body, every hair will grow in pink. Brilliantly done work, actually." the older woman trailed off to a halt under the seethingglares of Lily and Sirius. "Right. I'll just take a different approach, then."

Soon girl and dog were walking out of the office eating biscuits and plotting the downfall of one James Potter, albeit in very different ways. Lily was going to smack his face. Sirius was going to bite him, and aim a bit lower. At least Sirius was once again the color his surname might suggest.

Lily had to go to class soon after, so she left "Snuffles" in her dormitory. Of course, it didn't take Sirius very long to figure out how to open the door. He figured he might as well explore the school while he could. He certainly wasn't about to be cooped up in some girl's bedroom all day.

Unknown to him, however, teachers were starting to notice that one Sirius Black seemed to be missing all of his classes that day...

IMPORTANT! - I personally would like to thank all my reviewers. I love you guys so much! It always brings a grin to my face to see my inbox stocked with your kind words. Additional profuse thanks and adoration to all of those who have added either myself or my stories to their favorites lists! You all honor me! As a thank you, I'll be taking suggestions for a future story. Have something you really wanna see, and think I'd do a decent job writing it? If it can be made into a one-shot, just tell me via this site's messaging system. I'd love to have some way to thank you guys. Just a warning, though: I can't write slash or anything with a rating over T; those stories always turn out really bad... (Okay, so that wasn't really that important. But it was important to me to thank you all!)