…A little trip to Hogsmeade…

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"Oi, hurry up will you!". James was banging on the bathroom door, obviously anxious to get going. He, Lily and Peter had been talking about this shopping trip to Hogsmeade all week, but Remus couldn't for the life of him understand what could be so exiting about shopping. And Hogsmeade? With their monthly trips to the Shrieking Shack he felt he was seeing altogether too much of that place as it was.

He looked at himself in the mirror one more time, seeing a rather skinny and pale youth with floppy hair and (some would say)startingly golden-brown eyes. He tried ruffling up his hair a bit, but instantly felt silly and straightened it down again to its usual sensible style.

"Moony, come on! The others have already gone downstairs! Sirius said we'd better hurry before the snow turns into a proper storm.." Remus suppressed the sudden tingling sensation in his stomach by the mention of his best friends name, like he'd been doing so often recently.

"Allright, allright" he grumbled, and got out of the bathroom to follow James downstairs.

The rest of their friends were standing outside the Great Hall waiting, all dressed up in their warmest winter-attire. Sirius was wearing a thick black, tailored winter coat which emphasized his broad shoulders and slim waist, and torn black jeans stuffed into those old army boots he insisted on wearing all the time. It was so typical of him to put on jeans like that while everyone else was doing their best to cover up against the cold, reflected Remus. Flashing skin is a snow storm? Only Sirius would be that thoughtless…Not that Remus minded though.

Around Sirius' neck a red and gold Gryffindor scarf was casually draped, and a pair of gloves stuck out from his pocket. He stood lazily leaning on the doors to the Great Hall, contentedly chatting with Peter and Lily, and seemed unaware of the more or less concealed stares from the various girls in the hallway. As Remus and James decended the last steps from the stairs Sirius looked up to brush his silky black hair out of his eyes, and smiled at a fifth-year Ravenclaw passing by. This caused a violent ripple of giggles among the girl and her friends as they ran outside. Remus uncomfortably tugged at his own sensible overcoat, but his expression turned from annoyance into a friendly smile as he and James joined the group by the doors.

A few minutes later they were trudging through the snow on the path down to Hogsmeade. Lily and James led the way, holding hands and murmuring with their heads close together, while the three remaining marauders followed. Remus walked with his hands in his pockets to defend them against the cold, and amused himself by watching the two other boys hopping about in the snow. Sirius was enchanting snowballs and making them circle Peters head, occasionally whirling them at him from an unexpected direction. Peter squealed and tried to defend himself against the unexpected attacks, but he'd never been as good a wizard as Sirius and only managed to lose his wand in a surf of snow.

Remus couldn't help laughing despite himself, his irritation from this morning disappearing. Sirius always had that effect on him – his presence alone cheering him up for no apparent reason. Remus felt his cheeks reddening, and coughed to himself. Jesus Christ, Sirius affected everyone like that, it was no big deal! No-one could argue with the charm of that boy. The dog was undoubtedly one of the more popular guys in school, especially if you asked the girls. And the odd boy too. Remus quickly forced his thoughts elsewhere, ignoring his burning cheeks.

When Hogsmeade finally came into view Peter was soaked, red-faced and breathing hard, but content after successfully managing a few hits at Sirius. Both boys were brushing the snow out of their hair, while Lily had volunteered to charm Peters clothes dry for him.

"Honestly Sirius, what where you thinking? It's freezing out here! You'll both catch colds!" Lily sighed. After she and James had officially become an item, she had gotten into a habit of a good-natured mothering of the boys. They all complained a bit about the fussing, but secretly of course they enjoyed the attention.

"We'll be fine" grinned Sirius. "So, where does everyone want to go first?"

A couple of hours later the gang was laden with bags and boxes from various magic shops, and quite tired from all the carrying. Remus had gotten a self-pouring tea set for his parents, a quill-set for Lily and big boxes of Honeydukes' Holiday Mix for James and Peter(getting them quickly while the boys were busy gift-hunting themselves), but still needed something for Sirius. Lily seemed to be in the same pickle.

"Hey guys" she said, "how about we split up a little for a while? I mean, I guess all of us have to get something for each other, and we can't do that if we're all together all the time right?"

Remus noticed Lily shooting a meaningful glance at James, whose eyes widened slightly in understanding. "Yeah, sounds good to me. How about splitting up in two? Me, Pads and Wormtail'll go together" he shot a glance at Peter, "and then Moony, you can go with Lily?". Remus nodded with a smile. He and Lily had always gotten along, even while she and James were still bitter enemies, and they enjoyed each others company even more now that their friends weren't constantly at war.

"Great!" smiled Lily a little mischievously, "See you in the Three Broomsticks in an hour or something then? Come on Remus, I've got a really good idea for a present and I need your opinion…". And with that she took him by the arm and dragged him off down the main street again.

Remus turned when they were halfway down the street and saw James putting his arm around Sirius' shoulders and leading him off around a corner flanked by Peter. The wolf wrinkled his eyebrows. What exactly was going on here?