16. We are not allowed to hide other students in strange, yet obvious places and blame it on You-Know-Who.
17. Nor may we blame Wormtail.
18. Or Moony.
19. Or Snivellus.
20. Or Professor Dumbledore.
It was Christmas at Hogwarts, and the whole school was buzzing with excitement for Christmas break. Well, except for James and Sirius.
"I can't believe my parents are making me come home for Christmas!" Sirius complained. "I wanted to go home with you, Prongs."
James sighed. "I'm sorry, mate. If you could fit in my luggage I'd sneak you with me."
"Damn." Sirius put his chin in his hands and rested his elbows on the table. "What am I going to do all break?"
James put a comforting arm around Sirius's shoulders. "It'll be okay, Padfoot. In the meantime, what can I do to make you feel better?"
"How about a going-away prank?" Sirius asked, lifting his head to look at James.
"Sounds good to me," said James indifferently. "What did you have in mind?"
Sirius scanned the Great Hall, looking for inspiration as James removed his arm and did the same. Over at the Slytherin table, Snivellus was eating lunch with his greasy friends. Nah, too easy. Up by the Staff Table were several enormous Christmas trees, and Sirius decided he would use those in whatever prank he chose. Might as well be fitting to the holiday theme. What if someone ended up on top of them? Sirius grinned evilly. "I've got an idea."
"Well, let's hear it," James said impatiently. "Haven't got all day." Sirius leaned over and whispered his idea in James's ear. James's eyes widened. "Not her."
Sirius snorted. "What do you mean 'Not her'? She's the perfect candidate!"
James just shook his head. "Not Lily. I don't want to prank her."
Sirius chuckled. "Fine, I'll do it, wuss." Sirius got out his wand and was about to point it at Lily when someone tapped his shoulder.
"What are you up to, Padfoot?" Remus asked brightly. Remus and Peter had just walked in the Great Hall for a quick, normal lunch. "Not pranking anyone, are we?"
Sirius pouted. "But I'm not going to see you blokes all break! Come on, just one more prank before we leave. Please, Mum?" Sirius begged.
Remus sighed before setting his books down and taking a seat next to Sirius. "Fine, one more, but no blaming me."
Sirius grinned. "Deal."
"What kind of prank will it be today, Padfoot?" Peter asked as he sat down across from him.
"Seasonal," Sirius replied mischievously. "Sure you don't want to help, Prongs?"
James shook his head. "No, thanks."
Remus laughed. "You're pranking Lily? This better be a good one if you're pranking a prefect." The aforementioned Lily was saying good bye to her friends as they got up to leave.
"It's one of my best ones yet. Now, how does that Shrinking Spell go again?" Sirius waited until Lily's friends were gone before muttering the spell. Lily gasped as she shrank to the size of a Christmas angel. Before she could start shouting and attracting attention to herself, Sirius cast the Full Body Bind on her. He slipped down to her seat, picked her up, and carried her carefully back to the Marauders.
James, Remus, and Peter's mouths were all to the floor. "Padfoot, what the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" James hissed. "I'm sorry about this, Evans," he added. "I'll have you know I had no part in that or what might come." Lily rolled her eyes.
"Padfoot, I'm going to have to agree with Prongs," Remus said. "This is ridiculous. Give me Lily so I can un-shrink her." He held his hand out, but James slapped it away.
"I can do it," he said haughtily.
"No, neither of you can," said Sirius evilly. "Don't worry, she'll be fine."
Peter watched Sirius with awe. "That was amazing, Padfoot! How did you get so good at that spell?"
James threw a roll at him. "Wipe up the drool, Wormtail. This isn't good."
"Like I said, don't worry," said Sirius breezily. "You'll see her tonight at dinner."
Well, dinner came, and James and Remus were worried. Sirius and Peter both knew what was going on, and they would often whisper conspiratorially to each other. James and Remus just shook their heads.
"She had better still be in one piece," said James threateningly as the four sat down for dinner.
"I can assure you, Prongs, that Lily has never been better," said Sirius confidently. "Well, as long as she isn't afraid of heights."
Sirius clasped a hand over his mouth and directed his attention to the largest Christmas tree. "Look on top."
James licked Sirius's hand to get him to move it. "What's up –" James cut off as he realized what was there.
"YOU PUT LILY ON TOP OF THE TREE?" James exploded.
Sirius quickly covered his mouth again and said to the curious onlookers, "We're working on a new language. What that really means is 'You saw Lily in the library?'" Some of the onlookers sighed and shook their heads at the Marauders' crazy antics while most gasped and decided they would learn this new language. "Prongs, shut up!" Sirius hissed.
Sirius and James continued arguing, with Peter occasionally jumping in for Sirius and Remus thinking of how to get Lily down without it appearing like he did it. Finally, he came up with a plan. Remus muttered the counter curse, as well as the charm to amplify her voice, and suddenly the entire Hall was filled with Lily's shrieks.
The students and staff quieted down and tried to find the source of Lily's voice, for she had been missing most of the day.
"I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU! YOU SHRUNK ME, KIDNAPPED ME, DRESSED ME UP AS AN ANGEL, AND STUCK ME ON THIS TREE!" Every head in the Hall turned to the top of the biggest tree. "I MISSED ALL OF MY AFTERNOON CLASSES TODAY! HOW DO YOU PROPOSE I MAKE UP MY CHARMS TEST, HUH? AND WHAT ABOUT MY TRANSFIGURATION HOMEWORK? SIRIUS BLACK, YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!"
Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall quickly went to the tree. Dumbledore Levitated Lily down, and McGonagall restored her to her original size. Lily was wearing a gold robe that, of course, hugged her body nicely. Her hair was curled and framed her face beautifully, and a little halo sat atop her head like a crown. Considering that it was Sirius who dressed her, she was very lucky to even be clothed.
Professor Flitwick and Madame Pomfrey tried to sooth Lily, but no one was about to be able to sooth McGonagall. She was red-faced as she walked to the Gryffindor table. "MR. BLACK! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?"
Sirius had a shocked looked on his face. "Professor, I don't remember doing any of this." James and Remus shook their heads. There was no way he was getting out of this one. "You-Know-Who must've Imperiused me! That's the only explanation."
McGonagall was fuming. "You and I both know that there is no way this was You-Know-Who's doing! You will not be getting away with this one, Mr. Black!"
Sirius sighed sadly. "It really wasn't me, Professor. I was just trying to cover for a friend." He sighed again before pointing to Peter. "It was Peter!"
"No way, I don't know how to do the Shrinking Spell," said Peter. McGonagall could attest to that one. "Remus did it!"
"You promised you wouldn't blame me!" said Remus angrily.
"Sirius did, not me," replied Peter.
Remus scowled before turning to McGonagall. "Professor, you and I both know that I didn't do it."
"Yes, we do, Mr. Lupin," said McGonagall curtly. "But we need to know who did do it." Her gaze began to shift back to Sirius, so Remus said the first thing that came to mind.
"I saw Snape with his wand out at lunch," said Remus accusingly as he pointed his finger to Snape.
Snape's eyes widened as the rest of the Marauders made more false claims. He knew no words would save him, so he quickly pointed to Dumbledore.
The entire Hall gasped. Even McGonagall had to blink a few times to recover. "Black, Potter, Lupin, Pettigrew, and Snape, to my office!"
"What did I do?" each instantly asked.
"Black, you know what you did. Potter, I'm sure you helped."
"No, I didn't!" James protested.
"He really didn't, Professor," said Remus as sincerely as he could muster.
"Ah, but Lupin, you lied to me, so I don't know that," said McGonagall almost mockingly. "Pettigrew and Snape, you also falsely accused others, even though you were never in any danger of being blamed for this. All of you, to my office, now!"