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Another Meeting of the Marauders

Remus: Can we make this quick? I'm meeting Abby at five.

Peter: Yeah, me and Panda have plans.

James: This is exactly why we called this meeting. Where's Sirius?

Sirius: -stumbles in, out of breath- Right here.

James: Do try not to be late, Padfoot.

Sirius: Do try to give us more than five minute's notice, Prongs.

James: Deal. As I was saying before Sirius arrived, the Marauders have encountered an obstacle of the gravest kind.

Peter: -gasp- The thestrals have left the forest!

James: For the last time Peter, the thestrals are a myth.

Peter: Nuh-uh.

Sirius: Peter, I thought you grew out of this.

Peter: Never!

Remus: Anyways, James, what is this obstacle of which you speak?

James: -dramatic tones- We are being pried apart!

Peter: -squeak- No!

James: Yes. It's true.

Remus: And who is this fiend who is doing the prying?

Sirius: -snicker- He said 'fiend.'

James: The person who is dragging our eternal brotherhood apart is….

Remus: Hurry up and tell us.

James: The female gender.

Sirius: He's right!

Peter: Oh my gosh!

Remus: Took you long enough.

James: Moony, you knew?

Remus: Of course I knew. I was just waiting for one of you to notice.

Peter: Shame on you!

Sirius: And you didn't take action?

James: Well, now that we have, we must take immediate measures to ensure that this does not result in a split of the Marauders.

Sirius: We must remove ourselves from the beast!

Remus: Excellent. Winter break is the perfect chance.

James: Well, uh…heh.

Sirius: I have a better idea.

Remus: Do tell.

James; Yes, do.

Sirius: We need to pull a prank. A big one.

James: Yes…yes…make it impressive.

Peter: But we'd have to do it when we get back from break.

Remus: Not necessarily. I have a Muggle cousin who can help us.

Sirius: It would be pretty sectacular if we could pull something off without our wands.

James: But specifically, what should we do?

Remus: my cousin told me of something he did a few years ago.

Sirius: Well, we don't want to be dull and repetitive.

Remus: Trust me, this would be pretty awesome if we pulled it off.

The remaining conversation is top-secret and confidential.

(In other words, Moony's hand cramped up.)

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!" I crooned, my voice hideously off-key. Sirius winced.

"Stop yowling, Kitten." Sirius scowled at me. "Leave the singing to that Senatra bloke."

I glared back at him. "What put a cockroach in your trousers?"

"Where the fuck is the train?" Sirius was starting to sound like my father. Of course my father rarely cussed, and then only under the influence of alcohol.

James, who wore a bright red and green striped felt hat, complete with fleshy elf ears sticking out from under the brim, leaned in, whispering conspiratorially in my ear. "He always gets like this around the holidays. I have no idea why Remus and Peter are so glum, though."

The former glared at James. "You'd be glum, too if you were leaving your girlfriend behind for Christmas."

"Indeed I would." James pronounced, underlining this by giving Lily a bear hug from behind. Lily, who had been talking to Adriana, yelped, and glared affectionately at her enthusiastic boyfriend.

"At least you still have your girlfriends." Peter grumbled, shifting uneasily.

"Panda finally moved on?" Sirius asked, compassionately.

"Let me guess," James grinned. "She had some wild bamboo that needed sowing." He burst into cacophonous roars of laughter at his wit.

"Shut up." Lily backhanded him in the gut.

"Now why are you upset?" I asked Sirius. I didn't think he'd be the type to become saddened by my leaving, but this was the first time we'd be apart since he asked me out.

"I'm visiting my parents tomorrow afternoon." Sirius muttered.

"Oh. I know how you feel. I'm braving Mum and Dad on Thursday."

He gave he a puzzled look. "Why do you go an visit a family that disowned you?"

I shrugged one shoulder. "Why to you visit yours?"

"Mum and Dad need to keep up appearances so the ministry won't catch on."

"Mine would rather risk being polluted by the devil then face the wrath of the other church members, who operate under the belief that I am at some ordinary boarding school."

Sirius chuckled grimly at that.

"Train's here." Remus observed.

"Finally." Sirius hefted his bag, and I swung mine onto my shoulder, just as the Scarlet train pulled into Hogsmede.

We all mobbed towards the thin doors leading onto the train. Suddenly, a feeling of complete and utter exhaustion swamped me. I yawned, my jaw cracking.

"Tired, Babe?" Sirius asked, tossing an arm over my shoulders.

"Very," I replied, fighting a second yawn. "I was up until one or two last night packing."

"Crazy bitch." Adriana muttered. "She did all the break's homework last night."

"Wow. That's pretty hardcore." Remus looked impressed.

"Well, wizarding books in a Muggle household aren't exactly legal."

"That's why I put a disguising spell on mine." Adriana said proudly, showing Sirius a book that read "Calculus 1"

"But then you'll panic when you're halfway through your potions homework, and the letters start changing.

We had reached door to the train. Ignoring the jostling and bumping, I climbed precariously through the small door, while Sirius hopped gracefully aboard.

My duffel bag banging against my legs as I walked, I made my way through the car, knocking on compartment doors, trying to find an empty one. Upon finding one, I motioned for the rest of the group to follow me inside.

We all tumbled into the compartment, and just barely managed to arrange ourselves in the compartment. Remus got bullied into sitting on the floor amongst our legs in order to fit all seven of us into the compartment, I was smashed between Adriana and Sirius, and Lily sat across from me, leaning on James, who Remus guilt-tripped into getting various items from the lycan's trunk, which successfully maddened Lily, and Peter, who was moping to the side of the compartment was thoroughly squished.

Once we were all settled and general whining subsided, I promptly laid my head on Sirius's shoulder and fell asleep.

"Livvy, we're in London. Wake up so Sirius can get off the train."

Over the course of the journey, 'resting my head on Sirius's shoulder' had turned into sprawling across my seat and his torso. My head was resting on the soft skin just below his collarbone, and his arm was flung over my waist. My shoulder was digging into his side. He grinned down at me.

"Hi Kitten."

I groggily sat up, and let Sirius up as well. He tossed my duffel bag onto the seat beside me, saying, "Come on, Babe. I think you should get off the train before it heads back to Hogwarts. It'd be awfully lonely there."

"Someone should be there to keep Abby company…" Remus looked willing to volunteer.

"You're welcome to go home." James told him, looking very tall from where I was sitting, as he stood and retrieved bags from the racks above for those who lacked his height. "Just think of all you'd be missing out on."

Still a bit muddled by my nap, I registered a kind of hidden meaning in that between the four Marauders in the compartment. They were planning something sneaky, I suspected. With a mental shrug, I followed everyone out of the train, and onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters, and through the barrier into King's Cross Station. Most of the students had opted to stay at Hogwarts, but there was still quite a line to get through the barrier, and we were at the end. Looking around, I thought something was off. I looked Sirius up and down, trying to think what was different about him. He noticed my scrutiny and smiled.

"I know I'm sexy, Babe, but you don't need to stare." Suddenly I realized what it was. Sirius was wearing a thick cotton sweatshirt and dark jeans, complete with sneakers.

"Oh shit." I muttered, tugging at my wizard's robes. I had forgotten to change on the train. How had Sirius changed? I vaguely remembered him being dressed as we waited for the train at Hogsmede.

I rushed to Adriana a few steps away, leaving a puzzled Sirius in my wake, and whispered in her ear. She let out a whoop of laughter.

"I swear, 'Liv, when you grow up you're going to leave your kid at Gringotts, and then when you realize it, run around in circles in hysterics instead of doing something about it. There's a bathroom right over there, go change." She was still chuckling.

"You're such a bitch to people who haven't woken up yet." I whined, making my way to the bathroom she had pointed out, my duffel bag bushing the ground slightly.

I appeared a few minutes later, dressed in a Muggle outfit consisting of a black hoodie, jeans, and a bright purple beanie-way too loud, but it was all that I had on hand.

"I can't believe you forgot to change." Sirius obviously found this funny.

"Believe it." I was more than a little grumpy.

"Aww, Babe, we're just joking." He engulfed me in a hug. "But it would have been hilarious to see all the Muggles giving you weird looks."

"Yeah, real funny." I mumbled into his chest, which was very soft, by the way. "Everyone's picking on me. I bet you all took weird pictures of me sleeping."

"Sadly, no." He ran his hands up and down my back.

"You kids, break it up! It's time to go through!"

"I hate Adriana right now."

Sirius laughed, his eyes crinkling up at the corners. "Let's go."

He gallantly offered me his arm, and I giggled, as he bent at the waist in a bow, one eyebrow arched above the other. "Shall we?"

"We shall." I laid my fingertips on his arm.

We passed through the barrier.

The station was bustling with holiday travelers. Harried-looking mothers tugged children with so many layers on that they resembled colored puffs of fleece and cotton. Businessmen wearing overcoats in varying shades of gray would occasionally sidestep one of these puffs, some looking, annoyed, other smiling down at the bawling bundles, as though they made them think of their own children.

Families of Hogwarts students gathered around in clustered, the 'muggle wear' of some were more than questionable. Sirius gestured to one such group, where the parents were dressed more suitably than most. James stood next to a tall man with salt-and pepper hair (Who could only be his father), beaming as what I assumed to be his mother (a willowy woman with mousy brown hair), embraced Lily in a welcoming hug. Remus looked a bit left out, standing a few feet back, and hugging his arms to himself in the chilly station.

Looking for Peter, I found him crushed in the embrace a an overly plump woman, with mousy, graying hair pulled into a fussy bun, wearing a bright Christmas sweater with knitted white Reindeer on it.

"So…I guess this is goodbye." I said.

Sirius smirked. "That was cheesy, babe."

"Well, you're supposed to say something cheesy after it. Like, 'No, not good bye. Never goodbye.' Then we go in for the finale kiss."

"Let's just skip to that part, then." He leaned in to kiss my lips.

We pulled apart a moment later, and I hugged him one last time.

"Have a good Christmas," of course he would. He was Sirius after all. I doubt it was possible for him to not have a good time.

"You too."

Adriana always said that to make a proper exit, you need a door or a corner, or at the very least a large crowd to disappear into. Just walking separate directions is tricky, because you don't want to be the one to walk first lest the other person interpret it as you being eager to leave. So we both kind of ambled off in different directions, very awkwardly.

"Finally." Adriana commented as I trudged up.

"Who died and made you bitch of the year?" I snapped.

"I guess this is a kind of roundabout way of saying hello to your grandmother." Grandma smiled, the loose folds of skin on her thin face were stretched taut over her broadened face. She was an elderly woman, with dark gray hair in a short bob that curled in to frame her face. She had deep blue eyes, which were framed by thin crow's feet. Thin lines outlined her lips, which were painted over with bright fifty's lipstick. She wore a thick turtleneck sweater, and tapered-leg jeans with black boots. No one ever said she had style, unless she was in a foreign country, where she opted for the traditional gear of the country. But because so many countries had European and American influences, very few had particularly different fashions, so the various countries she's been to have seen her in her oversized windbreakers and tapered legs jeans in winter, and tank tops and kakis in summer. I did have a shot of her in a kimono, though. (She explained this all to me one snowy, pre-Christmas morning, as well as her passionate belief that it was what people did on the inside that mattered, not their dress. Very noble of her, but I think it was just her way of sticking her tongue out at the suited journalists she had once worked for.)

"I already said 'hi'." Adriana announced.

I hugged Grandma, saying, "How was the China shoot?" I stuck my tongue out at Adriana over the older woman's shoulder.

"Filled with tea. And rice. And people jabbering at me in a language I can't comprehend. It was marvelous." She got that look in her eyes that she always got when she talked about foreign countries. She called it "Wonderlust."

"That's great."

"Until the jetlag it was. Anyways," She shot me a grin. "Who was the boy?"

Adriana grinned like a Cheshire cat. "Livvy's boyfriend."

I rolled my eyes hefting my bag, and flexing the fingers that gripped the plastic handle of my violin case. Both bags were getting heavy. "You talk about it like it's some scandal."

"Since when did you have boyfriend, Olive?" Grandma was the only person who could get away with calling me "Olive."

"Since….what was it, a month ago?"


"Is he a good kisser?" Grandma asked slyly. I think she aged too fast.

I blushed.

"Good. What's his name?" We were walking towards Grandma's ancient station wagon.


"Seriously?" She laughed at her own joke and popped the trunk with her clicker for us to throw our bags in.

"Shotgun!" Adriana hollered sliding smoothly into the front seat next to Grandma.

"So, how's school?" The dreaded question.

"Magical." Adriana said with a chuckle. I elbowed her in the gut to shut her up.

"You mean making out in the corridor with Louis was magical." I rolled my eyes.

"What are you two studying this year?"

Adriana glanced at me, looking for help. I just grinned at her. This was going to be funny.

"We're taking um…. maths, uh…cooking, and, uh, biology, self-defense, um…history…"

"No languages?"

I decided to rescue Adriana. "Our school doesn't offer languages."

"Not even English?"

"Well, we know how to speak it, I think we're fine."

Grandma muttered irritably about education at 'those ridiculous boarding schools'.

Adriana and I exchanged a bemused glance, and a smirk, before she engaged Grandmother in a conversation in a conversation concerning Christmas dinner.

I'm finally back! I feel terrible for leaving you guys for so long! The next chapter won't take so long, I don't think.

I would like to recognize and thank my fantastic beta, Lady Jane Doe. She did an awesome job on the corrections and whatnot.

You probably haven't noticed the flame I received, but I've left it up, so you can read it in all it's terror. That's part of the reason this chapter took so long. .

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed this chapter!