…And in the Twenty Fourth Hour…
"James, please," Remus pleaded quietly, but he knew there was no point. The horrible secret of his name that Remus had kept secret for all these years was about to come out and there was nothing he could do about it.
Already he was thinking up different plans of revenge in his head, but he had to wonder if what Lily had said earlier had been true. Maybe the universe was getting him back for locking them all in here.
Though when he thought about it, they hadn't really had such a bad time in here…forgetting the hunger, the fighting for their lives against killer birds and Lily Evans, being ripped from amazing dreams, being handcuffed to bedposts and tortured, having things drawn on their face when they were knocked out cold, and then finding out that one of his best friends had been lying to him about his relationship with Lily were not things that he would like remembering later on.
But on second thought…Sirius being handcuffed to the bed and taunted by Lily had been fun to watch.
But let's get back to the subject.
James was about to tell Remus's secret, and Remus was none to happy about it. If he told…well, Remus was still concocting that list.
"Peter, everyone," James grinned, "Remus's middle name is," James paused for dramatic affect as Sirius and Peter leaned in closer. Remus was already cringing, silently imagining himself throwing James under the wheels of the Hogwarts Express.
James opened his mouth, deliberately taking as much time as possible to further dramatize the moment. He took a deep breath and-
"Hey James!" Lily piped up and ran over to him. To Remus's surprise, she cupped a hand over his mouth as she smiled sweetly at the other three boys. "I have to talk to you for one quick second," she told James before half dragging him away, her arm wrapped around his head and her hand still over his mouth.
She dragged him into the bathroom and slammed the door shut before letting him go. He moved away from her before sending her a what the hell look.
"You can't tell them his middle name," she said without any preamble. "Whatever it is, I gather that it must be atrocious for him to be begging you not to tell anyone."
James nodded. "It is atrocious. His middle name isn't John like he tells everyone, it's J-"
"I don't care what it is!" Lily waved a hand in annoyance. "But you can't tell them."
"Why not?" He asked in confusion. "Don't you want me to tell? It would be perfect revenge for all of this," he gestured towards the door leading to the bedroom.
"I know," she said quietly, "but I have my reasons."
"And they are…?"
Lily dropped her head, causing her hair to fall over her face. She didn't want to tell James that she wanted to help Remus because he had said that he didn't like her. She didn't want to admit that she hoped that maybe if she did help Remus out, he would like her the tiniest bit. It wasn't like she cared about how everyone thought of her and had to be friends with everyone. But this was Remus, one of James's best friends. And she had always kind of liked Remus in a weird way.
Sure he could be annoying, and went along and broke every school rule with the rest of his friends, but there was always something different about Remus that she had noticed.
And the difference was…he had a nice butt.
It was no where near as nice as James' (no one's could ever be nicer than the butt of the one you loved), but it had its good qualities. James's butt was toned and muscled from quidditch workouts. Remus's butt was his natural God-given good looks. Don't get her wrong, she loved James (and his butt) and wouldn't trade him for the world.
But…she wasn't blind.
But this wasn't the only reason she was helping him out of course. It was also because he was one of James's best friends, and since she and James were husband and wife now, Remus, Peter, and Sirius would always be there. And if Remus didn't like her, then things might not be so pleasant when she wanted them to be.
So for obvious reasons, Lily only told James that last part. He nodded slowly in understanding and then pouted.
"OK, I get it…I just wish I haven't been bursting with that secret for years." He sighed. "I guess I'll just have to deal with it. Remus is my friend after all and I don't want to damage him too badly." He grinned as he pulled her closer and into a hug. "Thank you for convincing me."
She nodded into his chest before slipping away and opening the bathroom door.
"Ok, lets…" the words died on her lips as she opened the door and was met with the sight of Sirius and Peter looking oddly disgusted and amused at the same time as they stared at them, and Remus standing behind them and grinning evilly.
"What?" She asked slowly just as James came out behind her and met them with a curious stare.
Sirius blinked slowly. "Remus just told us a story," he said as he looked at James, "that your mother told him…he said that she said…that when you were little you used to put on your grandmother's knickers and run around the front garden while screaming, 'I'm old lady James, look at my teeny weenie.'"
Sirius looked like he wasn't sure whether he wanted to laugh or cry. Peter's expression mirrored his own while Remus looked to be fighting very hard not to laugh. Lily gasped at hearing this and turned to James to find that he was blushing a deep scarlet as he gaped at Remus.
"You son of a bitch!" He yelped in horror. He opened and closed his mouth over and over again as though he wanted to say something to defend himself, but couldn't quite think of the right thing to say. Really though, what could he possibly say to rectify the situation?
There was only one thing.
He pointed an accusing finger at Remus. "His middle name is Jingleheimer!"
Peter, Sirius, and for some reason, Lily, all gasped and had big grins on their faces at this. They all looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves now. Now it was Remus's turn to blush, though he was no where near as red as James.
"You're name is Jingleheimer?" Sirius shrieked in disbelief and he, Peter, and Lily looked at him anxiously to see his answer.
"Yes," he said quietly before turning murderous eyes to James. "And James's mother also told me a few other stories." He said maliciously. "Like how when she would finally get him inside after he frolicked around outside in his grandmother's knickers, he would put on her dresses and prance around like a pretty princess."
"She did not say that I pranced like a princess!" James spluttered. "You…you…" he glanced around at the other three who were watching him in excitement now. "I was three years old! I don't even remember that! I only know it happened because they told me."
"And the pictures," Remus said casually, causing Peter, Lily, and Sirius to jerk their attention to him again. "Those were fantastic."
Lily struggled not to laugh. She couldn't laugh; it would just hurt James's feelings if she did. Peter started giggling, however, and Sirius slowly shook his head with his grin still in place.
"This is just sad," he said, "Remus Jingleheimer Lupin and James granny panties Potter."
Lily couldn't help it; she snorted loudly but managed to turn it into a long, drawn out cough. James lifted an eyebrow her way and glared at her suspiciously before turning to Sirius.
"Oh yeah? You think that's sad?" James asked. "I think it's sad that you lied about snogging Sarah Duggins in the broom closet just to impress us."
Sirius gasped. "HOW-"
"Sarah Duggins was with me that day," James said flatly, "snogging behind greenhouse two."
Sirius glared, Remus glared, Peter was still laughing over James's underwear story, or Remus's name, they weren't sure, and Lily looked up at James and asked curiously, "Why didn't you say that when he first told you that story?"
James shrugged. "I didn't really care. And I figured that I could use the story to my advantage one day."
"Oh, now who's the son of a bitch?" Sirius asked, glaring at James.
"Still Remus," James replied easily.
"YEAH," Sirius said loudly, looking like he was thinking up something to say, "well—I guess if you're going to tell everyone about that,then I won't have any trouble telling anyone about last summer. When you peed all over yourself."
"Ew," Lily wrinkled her nose as Remus and Peter snorted.
"I was laughing-" James flushed, "I couldn't help myself. It didn't help that Sirius purposely blocked the door to the bathroom."
Sirius looked at him innocently. "What? Prongs, don't make things up. You peed on yourself because you felt like it."
Lily giggled behind her hand but quickly stifled it when James shot her a look. Sirius was nodding as though this was true, Peter was laughing in a ball on the floor, and Remus was stepping forward to stand in-between them.
"Ok, I think that's enough," Remus said, "How about we get back to the game-"
"Be quiet Jingleheimer!" James snapped and the other three burst into giggles.
Remus's face fell into a glare as he stared at James. "You are a horrible man."
It took ten minutes for Peter to roll out of his ball and stop laughing, though now he and Sirius were standing next to each other and snickering. Lily was trying desperately to keep herself from giggling. Everytime she thought she might be losing her control she simply thought of something disgusting and NOT funny at all.
The first thing she thought of had been of Hagrid in a pink tutu. That image alone would probably (sadly) stick with her for a while and it efficiently grossed her out and made her stop laughing. But eventually her mind had drifted, and she figured that keeping her mind set on the picture of Hagrid in a tutu, twirling around in a giant pair of pink slippers was not something she should concentrate on for very long or very hard.
So the next unfunny thing she had thought of had been of James and Slughorn in a heated snogging session. That hadn't lasted long—she had simply thought of the expression on James's face if she had told him she had pictured such a thing. That thought was too funny and she had accidently snorted quietly into her hand.
She was most definitely going to have to tell James about that later.
And that was when her thoughts drifted to James's butt. James butt in blue jeans, James's butt in a pair of boxers, James's butt on his broomstick, flying through the air, James's butt sitting on a stool, James's butt being pinched, and James's butt shaking furiously to a fast beat in a pair of sparkly bellbottoms…
The snort she let out that time was a lot louder and James jerked his narrowed eyes at her.
After casually clearing her throat and looking at the ceiling, Lily quickly thought of something else.
Her thought of choice turned out to be of Slytherin house. Slytherins weren't funny; far from it in fact. But then…for some strange reason…probably the alcohol she had consumed…the image of every Slytherin dressed in a pair of sparkly bellbottoms and shaking their butts like there was no tomorrow plagued her mind.
"What are you thinking about?" Remus asked as he glanced over at her curiously.
For a moment, Lily considered telling him. But then she decided against it…that would be very traumatizing…It would be like…perfect payback.
"I was thinking of every Slytherin wearing nothing but a pair of sparkly bellbottoms and shaking their butts." She said seriously…or as seriously as she could while saying such a thing and not burst into laughter.
Remus simply stared at her for a long moment, looking none too pleased at hearing this. Behind him, Sirius and James wore identical repulsed expressions. Hearing her words was what had finally gotten Peter to stop laughing.
Remus continued to stare at her, but Lily could see in his eyes that a piece of his mind had just shattered. She was glad. He deserved it.
"Why?" He finally asked, sounding distressed.
She leveled her gaze with him. "You know why." She told him firmly. Then she added quickly-"Now imagine them all naked and mud wrestling and I'll forgive you."
"AH!" Remus shut his eyes tight but that only served to worsen the image since he had nothing else to look at. He quickly opened his eyes again and shot Lily a look that could blister paint. "I find it sick that that image was made up in your head!"
Lily could honestly agree with him on that. Who knew why her mind was suddenly so sick and procuring these obscenely disturbing pictures and scenarios. But like everything else so far that day, she was ready to place the blame on the alcohol. Hm…maybe she had been wrong. Maybe alcohol didn'tmake everything better.
Ha, yeah right.
Though she agreed with him, and was also repulsed by the images that she herself had conjured up in her own mind, Lily played indifference as she waved a bored hand in Remus's direction. "Whatever," she said in a bored tone.
"Whatever?" Remus said loudly with a touch of panic to his tone. "That's all you have to say for ruining my LIFE?"
"Whatever you say Lupin," she sighed, "Hey look, a blue jay!" And she rushed away from him to the look out of the window, though she hadn't seen any blue jay at all. She had only wanted to the chance to stand with her back to him so she could smirk to herself.
It took five minutes for Remus to stop shuddering. In this time Peter and Sirius had stopped snickering (mostly) and James looked slightly less angry and embarrassed. Lily was sitting on her bed and eating what James had left of her Easter basket, and the unpleasant stomach ache after eating so many sweets was starting to creep up on her.
"OK," Peter said loudly as they finally got settled back and ready to resume the game. "I guess Remus's middle name was answered so James, you have answered all three correctly, and Remus you have answered two. And it's your turn," he said as he turned to Remus. "Are you ready?"
Remus nodded, though he still looked upset. Lily snickered.
"Alright," Peter nodded as he looked down at the parchment in his hand. "Remus, once—I don't remember exactly when—Sirius expressed his strange desire to be what underwater creature?"
"A merman," Remus said in a bored tone of voice.
Lily snorted loudly but then groaned at the pain in her stomach. The strange part of that question was that no one laughed about it. Peter, James, Remus, and for some reason Sirius, all nodded and continued on as if the thought of Sirius with a giant fin instead of legs wasn't amusing. They all just stood there as if that topic was completely normal and not at all insane.
"James," Peter turned to look at him, "before I came to Hogwarts I was completely obsessed with what?"
James blinked before narrowing his eyes in concentration. "Oh…Uh…something to do with food I suppose…or was it…no, that wasn't it…" he drifted off as he thought.
"You can always use your lifeline," Sirius reminded him cheerfully.
"Yeah, sure," James shrugged, "because I don't remember."
"It was muggle music," Sirius said instantly. "Mostly the Beatles."
Peter nodded. "Correct."
Wincing in pain, Lily stumbled out of the bed and headed for the bathroom. She felt like she was going to be sick. Turns out drinking alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach and eating nothing but candy wasn't so good for your health. Who would have thunk it?
Obviously not Lily.
"Are you ok?" James asked her retreating form but she waved a hand at him.
"I'm fine," she said through gritted teeth before running into the bathroom and….well…we know what she did.
She sat slumped on the floor several minutes afterward, listening to the muffled sounds of the boys in the next room. Someone was screaming. At least it didn't sound like anyone was being murdered. It just sounded like someone—she thought it was Remus—screaming NOOOOOOOOOO very dramatically. She smiled quietly to herself before forcing her legs to stand and walk over to the sink.
After a whole minute of furiously brushing her teeth, Lily exited the bathroom and came back into the room to find James on his hands and knees and screaming into the floor, Remus pumping his fists in triumph and hopping around, and Peter and Sirius watching James and looking worried.
"Did I miss the end?" Lily asked them.
"No," Peter said as he shook his head. "You just missed James missing a question that he shouldhave gotten.
"I got CONFUSED!" James wailed as he stood up again.
"The question was," Peter looked down at the parchment in his hand, "Last night Remus made up a story to Lily about how Sirius had put WHAT fruit juice inside of Remus's boxers?"
"Lemon," Lily said automatically.
"Yes," Peter nodded and then he pointed a finger at James. "Prongs here said lime."
"Oh James," Lily shook her head and tried not to laugh.
"Alright lets go!" Remus clapped his hands. "I'm about to beat James!"
Remus and James both prepared themselves as they leaned towards Peter.
"Ok," Peter said, "Remus, you've missed two and James has missed one. If he answers this correctly, he wins. If he gets it wrong and then you answer the next question correctly, you win."
Remus nodded anxiously.
"Huh?" Lily asked in confusion. "I thought James just went?"
"No," Sirius grinned, "that screaming he was doing was from two questions ago."
"Ok James," Peter said slowly, building the tension. "Remus's great grandfather was Irish. Remus only knew him for a short time before he died, but he has fond memories of him. Remember he was Irish…WHAT is the national flower of Ireland?"
"OH!" James clapped his hands together gleefully. "That's easy! It's the shamrock!"
"Correct! You win!"
"Yay!" Lily said and jumped up and down while clapping.
"WHAT!" Remus said in disbelief as he shook his head, looking confused.
"That's right, I won," James smirked as he bowed to them.
"That's not fair, that's not a question about us!" Remus argued with Peter.
Peter scratched the back of his head. "Well, I kind of ran out of ideas."
Remus glared at him. "And what was my next question going to be?"
Peter blushed as he glanced down at the slips of parchment in his hands. "Uh…How many planets are there?"
Remus stared at him for a moment, but he couldn't help it, he burst into laughter. He was quickly followed by the other three as Peter continued to blush.
"So—aha! After all this," Remus laughed loudly as he struggled to get the words out, "we still haven't—haha—we still haven't settled the argument?"
Peter shrugged. "I suppose not," he replied, but was drowned out by the loud laughter of his friends.
"Oh, that hurts," Lily groaned as she once again tried to steer her thoughts to the Slytherins in the mud…wrestling…naked…Thankfully in her head a giant elephant came up and squashed them.
"I know," James sighed as he tried to stop, "I don't think I've laughed as much as I have these past twenty four hours."
Their laughter dwindling down, they all nodded in agreement. The past day had had its ups and downs, but Lily realized with a jolt that it had been fun at some points and she had laughed until she had cried several times. To think that she had been so mad when it had first happened, and here she was now, clutching her stomach and laughing with the group of them as if they were all best friends.
In an odd sort of way she almost felt like they were. It wasn't everyday that you went through some of things that they had. It wasn't everyday that you could say, 'Today I chained Sirius to the bed and tortured him' or 'Today I fought off an evil owl bent on trying to kill me'. She couldn't remember a time when she had laughed so much, and she couldn't recall when she had had so much fun in someone's company and at the same time wanted to kill said company.
But one thing was to be said about the day that they had spent together. And that was that Lily somehow felt…closer to them than she had before. Before they had been Sirius, Peter, and Remus, James's annoying friends who she avoided at all costs.
Now they were Sirius, Peter, and Jingleheimer, James's friends who made her laugh until her stomach hurt and weren't sobad to hang around with. Just as long as it wasn't for twenty four hours straight.
It was odd that at that exact moment, the door decided to let out a tiny click sound and open an inch or so.
"And we're free," Sirius said, sounding relieved. His stomach rumbled and so he rushed for the door, leaving the others behind as he stepped out into the brightly lit hallway. But as he stepped out, his foot nudged against something and if it hadn't been for the doorway to cling onto, he might have tripped.
After standing back, he looked down to find his wand sitting innocently down at his feet.
It had been right there next to the door the whole time. In fact, if someone had thought to stick their fingers under the door they would have been able to grab hold of it and let them all out. Sirius picked it up quickly and looked behind him, but no one seemed to notice. He quickly stuffed it into his pocket and tried to look innocent.
"Hurry up Padfoot, I'm hungry," Remus shoved him lightly from behind. Peter, who stood right next to him nodded in agreement.
"Hey Lily," Remus called over his shoulder. "Come have lunch with us and I'll teach you a new trick having to do with a spoon and," he gasped, "magic!"
"Alright," she said as she and James followed the other boys out of the door.
Lily grinned brightly, though Remus wasn't sure why.