Breakfast the next morning was a sorry affair

Breakfast the next morning was a sorry affair. Apparently, Remus' 'furry little problem' had been quite a handful for the four boys. Remus was resting his head on the table, next to his plate of food. His eyes were closed, and he had a large bruise on his check.

Peter was so tired that he kept falling asleep as he was eating, resulting in a rather large portion of his breakfast appearing on his school robes.

Sirius was supporting his head in one hand, holding a fork in the other. His eyes were closed and he was smiling sleepily. His plate was loaded with food, but he had apparently not eaten a thing.

James was in a similar position to Sirius, but instead of a fork in his hand, he held his quill over a piece of parchment. Lily could see, as she approached with Mary, that he was attempting to finish their Charms paper.

Lily was nervous to sit next to James, after all that had happened last night, but she didn't want to appear embarrassed or afraid. As she sat down, James' eyes fluttered open and then closed and he whispered hoarsely, "Morning." Lily felt a strange happiness in her stomach. Apparently James wasn't upset about last night. Or he was simply too tired to care.

"Well, well," Mary said as she sat down next to Peter, "Look what the cat dragged in. You four look terrible."

"Dog." Sirius muttered.

"I'm sorry?" Mary questioned, looking at Sirius strangely.

"What the dog dragged in…" Sirius muttered, putting his fork down and shifting his head to the other hand. James snorted without moving.

"What are you talking about?" Mary asked looking at both of them.

"Never mind." Sirius whispered, not opening his eyes.

Mary and Lily looked at each other and shrugged. After she had eaten most of her breakfast, Lily called down to Remus, "What is this furry little problem of yours, Remus? You look like you've been beaten."

"Lily," Peter groaned covering his ears, "Don't talk so loud."

"I'll give you a hint," Sirius said opening his eyes blearily and grinning at them, "It's bigger than a rat."

There was a moment of silence while both James and Peter straightened up and stared at Sirius. Suddenly, they were wide awake.

"But smaller than a buck." Remus said softly without moving from next to his plate. He smiled slightly.

There was another pause and then James, Sirius, and Peter broke into laughter. Not just the usual raucous laughter they normally shared, but the wild, uncontrollable I've-not-slept-all-night-and-I'm-dead-tired-so-everything-is-funny laughter. They finally stopped, but not before all three of them had tears running down their faces. Remus never moved, but had smiled sleepily through the whole thing.

Mary and Lily exchanged confused looks while this was going on. After the boys had finally calmed down, Mary said cautiously, "That must be some," she paused, searching for an animal bigger than a rat but smaller than a stag, "Rabbit you've got Remus."

This started another chorus of laughter from the boys, this time with Remus joining in. "Rabbit," scoffed Peter through his laughter, "A rabbit!"

"Boys." Mary said, exasperated. She stood up, slung her book bag over her shoulder and stalked off to class.

The bell rang, signaling the end of breakfast and the beginning of the five minute pass period to get to class. James was wide awake now, his eyes gleaming merrily as he hastily scrawled a few lines across his parchment and shoved sausages in his mouth with the other. "See you," Sirius said, standing and stretching, "We'll get a few more winks in History, after the Defense test."

"Mmph." James nodded, mouth full. He kept working on his paper, apparently oblivious that Lily was next to him.

"James," Lily said hesitantly, "Would you like me to look over your charms paper?"

James turned, and his eyes widened as if he suddenly realized she was there. He swallowed all his food with a loud gulp, "Lily." He faltered, "Uh, no, I've just finished up."

Lily's heart sank. Of course he wouldn't need her help, not perfect James Potter, number one in every class except Charms. And Potions, she thought with a surge of pride for Severus. "But thanks." He added, rolling his parchment up.

They stood up together and looked at each other awkwardly. James looked distinctly uncomfortable.

"James," Lily blurted out suddenly, "I'm sorry. I was a complete idiot last night."

James smiled, a smile that reached his eyes and made them twinkle, "So am I." He laughed, "Sorry and an idiot."

They smiled nervously at each other for a minute and then James stuck his hand out, "Friends?" He asked.

"Friends," Lily said happily, shaking his hand. Their hands lingered a moment longer than was normal with a handshake, and they both pulled away, embarassed. Lily knew she would be blushing, and James' ears were red.

"So…ahh…I'll see you later." James stammered, looking at the floor and ruffling his hair. He seized his backpack and strode out of the Great Hall in a hurry to get to class.

"Bye James." Lily said softly, gathering her own things.