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The Marauders - Sixth Year

"C'mon, Wormtail!" Sirius Black shouted over his shoulder. "I swear, you're the slowest rat I've ever seen!"

Peter Pettigrew shook his head at his friend and put on a burst of determined speed, though it didn't help. The two were running across the Hogwarts grounds toward the castle, and Sirius had his mind set on reaching it before the sun set.

"Padfoot! Why can't you slow down for at least one minute?" Peter whined, his short, stout legs getting slower by the second.

"Wormtail, I'm done arguing with you. Now, I want to get to the castle before sunset!" Sirius yelled.

Peter sighed but kept running.

After a few minutes, what seemed like hours to Peter, they reached the big wooden doors of the school. Sirius glanced toward the horizon and saw that the sun still had a way to go before it disappeared for the night. He grinned triumphantly.

"I told him I could do it, but did he believe me? No! Well, time to catch him!" Sirius said, grinning mischievously as he took off again toward Gryffindor Tower. Peter let out an exasperated breath before following suit. He wondered what Sirius had meant by "time to catch him". Peter knew who "he" was, though what Sirius wanted to catch him at was a mystery.

In front of him, he saw Sirius halt in front of the Fat Lady's portrait. Peter finally caught up to him just when he was giving the password.

"Tyt – oomph!" Peter had ran into Sirius' back at top speed, almost knocking him on the floor.

"Sorry." Peter said quietly as Sirius eyed him with annoyance. "Maybe if you had slowed down in the first place..." Peter added under his breath.

Sirius shook his head. "As I was saying, Tytonidae." The Fat Lady swung open to let them in and without hesitation, Sirius clambered through as fast as he could. Peter followed with another sigh.

"Now," Sirius said, scanning the Common Room, " If I were an oversized cow, where would I hide?"

He looked at the students sitting comfortably in the red cushioned chairs and then at the stairs leading to the dorms. His face split into a grin. "Ah, if I was an oversized cow, I would hide in the most obvious place!" This said, he made his way toward the stone stairs and quietly padded up them toward the boy's side. Before opening the Sixth Year boy's dormitory, Sirius turned to Peter and held his finger to his mouth, unnecessarily shushing him. Peter was grinning, and could barely keep himself from laughing out loud. Sirius rolled his eyes and turning back to the door, slowly pulled it open.

The room was rather large, containing 4 four-poster beds arranged in a circle against the walls. The bed curtains, sheets, and almost everything else was coloured red and gold – Gryffindor colours. The beds were empty, except for one. Sirius cursed under his breath and Peter let out a breath of disappointment.

The person sitting on the bed directly across from them was grinning triumphantly at their reactions. "Can I help you?" He said, barely able to keep a straight face.

Sirius was looking at his feet, his face flushed in anger and his hands flexing. Peter looked from one to the other, a blank look on his face.

"How the hell did you...when...I thought...damn." Sirius finally managed, confusion replacing the anger in his eyes.

"We thought you were..." Peter started, but James cut him off.

"You thought I was what?"

"Well, we thought you were with Evans. I mean, come on! Why else would you have us run all the way from Hogsmeade trying to beat the sun? That's obviously a "Lose Padfoot and Wormtail" plan that you'd think up. And since Moony was gone anyway, he wouldn't have interrupted, now would he? That left us to get rid of." Sirius explained, a note of annoyance in his voice. Peter nodded in silent agreement.

James' smile grew wider. "Oh, honestly. I wouldn't get rid of you two because of a girl."

Sirius rolled his eyes and Peter made a face. Of course he would, was what they were both thinking.

"So, did you make it?" James asked in a mildly interested tone, which confirmed Sirius and Peter's suspicions.

"Of course we did! Really, Prongs, next time you want to get rid of us, try thinking harder. That was so easy it was almost sad!" Sirius said mockingly.

James Potter rolled his own hazel eyes at his friend. "Oh, don't worry. I will."

Just then, another boy walked into the dormitory.

Sirius turned, as did Peter at the new boy's arrival. "So, how was detention, Moony?" Sirius asked with a grin.

Remus Lupin looked at Sirius and smirked. "It wasn't that bad, except McGonagall had me change all the quills back. I guess she doesn't like caterpillars all that much." He said, repressing the urge to laugh.

James, Sirius, and Peter all burst out laughing at Remus' comment, the memory of it still fresh in their brains. Earlier that morning, they had transfigured all of McGonagall's quills into furry white caterpillars. She had only caught Remus, and the answer that got him a detention still made them laugh.

"What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Lupin?" McGonagall asked sternly.

Remus looked at her innocently. "I was transfiguring. This is Transfiguration."

"Seriously, Moony, you need to practice your escapes! Even the best mischief maker is nothing if he can't get away from the scene of the crime. Have I taught you nothing?" James fake scolded.

Remus pulled a face. "No, actually you haven't taught me anything, Prongs. I learned all I know by myself."

"That would explain why you got a detention in the first place! Really, for a second there, I thought I was losing my touch." James stopped and snickered.

"I'd say you lost it a long time ago, mate, judging by the way you got rid of us this morning." Sirius said mockingly at James.

James stopped laughing and looked at Sirius with a grin. "And yet you still fell for it."

Sirius was about to reply when Remus looked at James curiously and asked, "What are you two talking about?"

Sirius scowled while James told Remus about the day's event. When he had finished, Remus looked over at Sirius with a glint in his grey eyes. "So, you're even more gullible than I thought, Padfoot."

"Shove off."

"Nah, I don't think I'm going to. It'll make good blackmail sometime." Lupin said with a grin.

"So, were you with Lily, Prongs?" Lupin asked, turning to James. James fell silent as they all looked at him curiously.

"Well...Good Night!" He finally said with an evil smile. The other three looked at each other in amazement, then shrugged. They knew the answer, anyway.

Putting his glasses on the table beside his bed, James reflected on the day.

He had been in Hogsmeade with Padfoot and Wormtail, when Lily Evans came up to him and said hello, or something. He couldn't explain it, but whenever she was around, he couldn't pay attention to anything but her striking bottle-green eyes. Never had he seen eyes so bright, so green. They were amazing. Anyway, when she had talked to him, he had suddenly wanted to be alone with her, without the other two tagalongs. So, he had come up with the plan to have Padfoot and Wormtail run from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts, starting as soon as the sun started setting. It had seemed clever to him at the time.

He and Lily had walked back to Hogwarts, talking about school, their families, Quidditch, and some other things. Then, they had gotten all quiet, and James couldn't help looking at her. She had looked so pretty, with the sun silhouetting her features and the wind gently blowing her red hair. He didn't know what possessed him to do it, but one minute they were walking in comfortable silence, the next, well, he was bending down and planting his lips on hers. Her eyes had widened in shock, then she relaxed and kissed him back. After what seemed like forever, they broke apart. Lily had looked at him with a strange expression he couldn't read in her shining eyes. Then, he noticed the sun, how it had begun to set, and he grabbed her hand and they made a beeline for the castle, not stopping until they reached the Gryffindor Tower. There, he bade her farewell and ran up the dormitory steps three at a time, making his way to his bed, where he plopped himself down. Only a few minutes went by before Padfoot and Wormtail burst in the door, wearing stupid grins and looking for dirt. That was pretty much it.

James sighed at remembering that kiss, then turned on his side and fell asleep.

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