A lean teenager walks up a staircase at a brisk pace, with two boys trailing behind him. The shorter of the two following. is tailgating his target, barely a step behind him. The taller of the two boys is dragging his feet along the floor, in a childish way, clearly not wanting to proceed any farther.

"James, why can't we go to the kitchen?" The tallest boy whines, making sure to drag out the syllables of James' name.

The lean boy, presumably James, abruptly stops, sharply turning to face the one questioning their destination. His motion, however, was too swift for the boy tailgating James to catch, and he crashed into James, causing them to awkwardly stumble up the two remaining steps onto level ground at which point James manages to gain a grasp on the closest wall, with his legs at an odd angle. The shortest boy falls on his chest, but manages to throw his hands out to prevent his face from smashing into the cold marble.

"Damnit, Peter! Why don't you-" James starts on the boy who was the cause of the accident.

"Sorry, James! You turned too fast, and I wasn't paying attention. I was about to answer Sirius and then you stopped." Peter interrupted hoping it would assuage James' momentary anger.

"James, mate, it was an accident. Who cares." Sirius cuts James off when he sees James open his mouth in a retort. The boy, who by process of elimination must be Sirius hoists Peter up by the back of his arm, and gives him a courtesy pat off.

"More importantly, why can we not go to the kitchen? It's not that far away! It'll only delay us a couple minute, I swear," Sirius continues only to have James raise his eyebrows upon hearing the end of his statement.

"A couple minutes?" James sputters. "Last time we went after getting back, and you were in there for an hour. Then we tried to get you to leave, and you decided that you wanted to ask the elves if they could give you something to put extra food in, because you were still hungry. And house elves, being house elves, felt compelled to to make sure you were fully satiated, which took another half hour-" James' voice had become more and more resentful and swift as his tirade went on, and at this point he has to look away from Sirius as to not strike him.

"Then on our way back, we ran into Professor McGonagall, and she gave us detention." Peter supplemented in a very matter of fact tone.

"So what? It's just-" Sirius started incredulously, only to be interrupted by James

"We had Quidditch try outs that day."

"Did we really?" Sirius asked, seemingly uncertain.

"Yes," James deadpanned. "we really did. And we really had to postpone it for a week." James finishes woefully.

"Well, we should still go," Sirius argued, "we've been in the woods all night, we need our energy." Sirius finishes with that afterthought.

"Yeah, well, we have food in the dormitory," James says flatly.

"Oh, fair point. I'm kinda tired anyway, we're almost to the dormitory anyway." Sirius says sheepishly.

James with a small smile starts walking up the next set of steps, with his two friends close behind. The walk up the next flight of stairs is in a comfortable silence, only broken by Peter's faint wheezing. James is looking at the ceiling and trying to count the vaults that he sees in the ceiling when Sirius grabs him and he is forced to level his eyes. A portrait of a plump lady, adjourned in red, fills his field of vision.

"Good morning, doll," Sirius coos to the portrait, as James rolls his eyes. Had the woman in the portrait not moved and blushed, one would have thought Sirius to have been strange, but Sirius continued when he sees the lady open her mouth "and the password is 'Lion's Ruby."

"Oh, Sirius, you're always so sweet to me, but you boys shouldn't stay out so late. What were you up to?" The lady begins with a coo, but her tone shifts towards worry upon taking notice of James' circles under his eyes, with dirt on his face and his disheveled robes. His robe was torn along his side and it was doubtful any amount of cleaning would help the button up shirt he had on underneath. Sirius didn't look any better, he was sporting a gash on his left hand, and ripped pants with the skin on his knees bleeding. Peter seemed to be in the best of heath amongst them, with him being only dirty.

"Just stuff, dear, slaying dragons, looking for a princess." Sirius says charmingly, only to be greeted with a loving look from the lady as the her entire frame swung forward to reveal a large tunnel leading into a den of a sort.

Sirius took point this time and strides forward with James shaking his head and following, Peter taking caboose. Sirius makes a beeline for a staircase, and the others mutely follow him, James staring at a fire place which only had faint embers as evidence that it had once been alive, while Peter found an interest with the floor, probably due to the poor lighting within the room.

James watches as Sirius leaps up the last several steps and into a room which had it's door ajar. All three file out going to a bed, and begin to remove their articles of clothing.

"Rough night out, aye?" Sirius asks while tugging his shirt off of his figure.

"Yeah, it was, actually. It could have gotten bad." Peter shudders.

"I suppose, but it didn't. Prongs made sure of that," Sirius says casting a glance at James, who had just removed his shirt. "Damn, Prongs, Mooney sure got you, didn't he?" Sirius says with a hint of concern lacing his voice as he gestures to a rake of gashes along his right side, beginning at his kidneys and ending just shy of his spine.

"Woah, James, are you alright?" Peter asks as soon as Sirius had finished his questioning syllable.

"Yes. I'm fine, it's just a small wound. It's better than the alternative," James says while climbing into his bed. "much better." He adds with conviction.

"Yes, it is. They could have died." Peter affirms grimly.

Peter's remark is greeting by silence. Moments pass, and the only motion is a slight shift in the shadows when a clock turns from a zero to a one.

"James, Pete, don't you think this is one of the best things we've ever done?" Sirius quietly asks.

"Yeah." Is the mutual reply, both almost saying it simultaneously. There was no question as to what Sirius was mentioning. James continues "we spent a couple years trying to achieve it though, probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, well, probably one of the most challenging feats you can do in this world."

"I know, I thought you were insane when you first proposed it. I really thought you'd gone bonkers." Sirius said with a laugh.

"Me, too. I remember when you first found out about Mooney, James. And how you confronted him in the bathroom. You didn't even tell Sirius or me." Peter stats simply.

"Sirius was pissed at me for a couple days after, I thought it was-" James starts only to have Sirius finish his sentence, "Immature, I know. I was like twelve when that happened. I was being stupid, it wasn't your secret to tell. I can't believe he thought we'd ditch him...."

"He even started to pack his trunks, that was one of the only times I've ever seen Mooney cry." Peter said, quietly.

James stared up at his ceiling, wish it had more structure than a simple sheet across a post. He wanted it to be a dome, maybe with a painting of a twilight sky on it, maybe a moon hanging in it. James always felt a stab of sympathy whenever he thought of his dear friend. What a terrible curse it would be to have that affliction, now that he thought of it, the actual affliction wasn't that bad. The societal repercussions were what made the affliction horrid. Being labeled a "dark creature," and not being allowed to function within an economy, or even most relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic. Oh how he was so thankful that he had followed his instinct to do what he had done in response to discovering of Mooney's condition. It'd taken years to do, but in the end it was finally worth it, they could finally roam with-

"And then Prongs slipped and fell into the river!" laughed Sirius while kicking in his bed.

"What are you talking about?" James asked with a faint idea what it was.

"The first time you transformed and slipped on the rocks."

"Are we seeing Mooney tomorrow?"

Sirius opened his mouth, but paused at the sudden change in subject matter, before responding.

"Yes. I think so at least. We'll gather our pup up, and go eat breakfast."

"Remember what we did when we found out about Mooney? How we all-" James begins to say, only to have Sirius bark in laughter.

"Yeah, we hugged. Like faggots! Merlin, don't remind me."

James laughed a sincere laugh, for the first time that night.

A/N: This is my first fanfiction. I've been reading it for years, and I've always wanted to give something back to , so this is one of the ways I'm trying to. I'll probably do another fanfic. But, this is my first, so I'm really curious to see if it sucked or not. ALL criticism is welcome, all compliments are, too. On the note of grammar: regarding the dialogue, some of it is incorrect on purpose, I was trying to use a vernacular. And I tried to keep an active voice, but I probably slopped up on it once or twice. So if you see anything, tell me and justify it, and I will thank you. =D I hope you enjoyed it.