Author's Note: This story is mostly comprised of tales my little sister and I made up as we played, pretending to be James and Sirius when she was young. I decided to not only write them all down for us, but to also add some new flourishes to make them a record of the lives of the Marauders at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed "living" it!

Managing Mischief

1. The Dance

Remus winced as the back of his head was struck by a paper ball. He waited a moment then slyly pivoted in his seat to peer over his shoulder, careful not to catch the attention of Professor McGonagall. The students in the row of desks behind him all appeared perfectly innocent, their eyes latched onto their professor as she lectured the fourth years about the importance of attention to detail in Transfiguration. Remus returned his attention to the front of the room, but his peace was short lived. A minute later and the back of his head was struck again. He whipped around this time, just in time to see Margaret Cullen, a large, thick-boned Slytherin, tucking her hand back under her desk. Remus narrowed his amber eyes.

He had never paid much attention to Margaret before, but given her bulk, massive height, and unibrow, she was hard to miss. But why would she be targeting him now? Maybe she was a new friend of Snivillus'. Maybe she was –

"Mr. Lupin?"

Remus snapped his attention back to his teacher.

"What did I just say?"

Remus' normally pale face colored slightly. "Sorry, Professor, I don't know."

McGonagall sighed. "A little more focus, then, if you please."

"Yes, Professor."

Once class was over, Remus hurried to lunch at the Great Hall where he found his three best friends, James, Sirius, and Peter waiting for him. Peter had already eaten an entire serving of stew before Remus arrived and Sirius and James were only just starting on theirs. "How was class, Remus?" James asked before taking a bite.

"Something odd happened," Remus said, setting aside his messenger bag as he sat down. "You see her?" The three looked in the direction Remus jerked his head. "Not all at once!"

"Lily?" James asked.

Remus glanced over his shoulder. "No, not her. The girl with her. The big one."

"That's Margaret," said Peter around a mouthful of bread. "One of Evans' Slytherin friends. Probably Snivellus' cousin or something."

"At any rate," Remus said with a sigh. "She seems to be my new enemy. She kept chucking paper balls at the back of my head."

James furrowed his brow. "That's odd." Out of all of them, Remus was the smallest. Next came Sirius, then Peter, and James was a head taller than the other four, having hit his growth spurt early and shot up all at once. Peter had grown at a steady pace up and out, Remus was always smaller because of the toll his condition took on his body, and Sirius, well, maybe he would be a late bloomer. At any rate, James didn't like the idea of the shortest among them being targeted.

"Yes, well, we had to expect Snivellus to recruit reinforcements, didn't we?" Peter said. "It couldn't always be four-to-one. Now he's got Margaret, Lily, and what's that other girl's name? You know, the one with the ponytail and purple ribbon who always hangs out with them? I think she's a Hufflepuff. Anyway, now it's even."

James sighed. "Just what we need…" He looked across the table at Sirius, who had been unusually quiet all day and was now aimlessly prodding at his stew, his face half concealed by his black mop. "You all right, mate?"

Sirius didn't notice the question so Remus lightly nudged him. "Huh?"

"You're awfully quiet," Remus added.

"Oh, yeah, Large Marge and all that…" Sirius muttered. The other three burst into laughter at the nickname. Sirius smirked but the smile faded before he leaned across the table earnestly. "We have to make an agreement. I mean it."

"About what?" Peter asked, still giggling.

"About this stupid dance. If we're going at all, we're going together. Just us."

"Fine by me," Peter said, scraping the dregs of stew out of his bowl.

Sirius laid his hand on the tabletop. "Promise?"

Peter laid his on top of Sirius'. "Promise."

James and Remus exchanged a glance then followed suit. "We'll go together," Remus said.
"Together," James added.

Sirius grinned. "Excellent." He felt as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders and finally tucked into his lunch. It was the first dance of the year, the Autumn Annual held on October 31st, and while many of the older students were abuzz with gossip about the event, the fourteen-year-old dreaded nothing more than being dragged into the messy adolescent world of holding hands with girls. Things were just fine the way they were and he didn't see why they needed to change.

Unfortunately, Sirius' comfort was short lived. Just as Herbology ended, Sirius caught sight of Marge making a beeline for Remus. Given that he and the werewolf were the only two of the Marauders in the class together, Sirius hastily shoved his textbook into his bag. Marge followed Remus out of the classroom. Sirius tried to dash out after her but was stopped by the crowd of students also packing up and exiting. He tried to shove his way through the crowd, only to be shoved back by Lily. Losing his footing, he slipped and landed hard on the seat of his pants. The redhead glared down at him, hands on her hips. "Just because you're a Black doesn't give you the right to shove other people about, Sirius."

Sirius screwed up his face and wanted to say something nasty, yet nothing came to mind, so instead he kicked at her foot. Lily glared and side-stepped his blow.


The classroom had largely cleared, and had Sirius been able to see out of the hair on the right side of his face, he would've seen Professor Sprout glance at the two and roll her eyes, pretending she didn't see since she didn't have the energy to discipline them. "You asked for it!" he barked.

With a groan, Lily extended her hand to help him up, though she didn't look happy about it. Sirius eyed her for a moment, wondering if this was some sort of trick, then took her hand and let the taller girl help him to his feet. "No 'thank you?'" she asked.

"You shouldn't do nice things expecting something back," Sirius responded, doing his best to sound like her.

"I'm not expecting something back, I'm expecting decency, but I guess that's too much to ask for." And with that, Lily swished out of the room. Sirius shouldered his bag and marched out after her, sticking his tongue out at her back. He was about to try to trip her, when he saw that Marge had little Remus pinned to the castle wall by his neck "Hey!" Sirius shouted, immediately sprinting to his friend's aid. Remus' eyes were wide, his hands clutching his Herbology textbook to his chest instead of his wand.

"You got that, Remus?" Marge asked in her impossibly deep, gravelly voice.

Remus nodded enthusiastically.

"Good." Marge released him and Remus did his best not to slump. "I'll be seeing you at seven, then."

She pulled away from the wall just as Sirius reached them. "Hey, you beast, lay off my –"

Marge casually knocked Sirius over with such force that he wondered if she were part Giant. "Outta my way, Skinny!" she growled then stalked off.

Sirius coughed, the wind having nearly been knocked out of him. In a moment, he felt Remus grabbing his arm, pulling him to his feet. "Are you all right?" Remus asked.

Sirius took a shuddering breath. "What is with these girls today?" He dusted off his robes then turned to look Remus up and down, dusting him off as well. "You all right?" Remus nodded, still clutching his book to his chest. "What the bloody hell happened? What's at seven?"

Remus swallowed hard, paling.

Sirius furrowed his brow. "Did she hurt you?"

Remus looked about to cry. "No… not really, but…"

Sirius pulled out his wand, ready to hunt her down. "But what?"

"She… she… she asked me to the dance on Friday."

Sirius felt as if the air had left him all over again. "She what?" He was suddenly torn between laughing and shivering with fear.

"She said she wants to go with me," Remus squeaked. "So I said yes."

Sirius' eyes widened. "You idiot!"

"I didn't have a choice! If I don't go, she'll do something awful, I know it!"


"She might kill me!"

"But this is awful! What about our pact? You promised."

Remus had a tear or two shining in his eyes now and Sirius regretted raising his voice. The other boy was clearly traumatized. "I know I did, and I didn't mean to go back on my word, I just… she… I have no choice."

Sirius sighed. After how Marge had just flicked him like a fly, he knew there wasn't much use in trying to go up against her. "Yeah, well, it's not the end of the world, I guess. James and Peter and I will be there to look after you. You can hang out with us the whole time and just arrive with her."

Remus nodded enthusiastically, looking calmer. Sirius patted his shoulder and the two headed for the Gryffindor common room to fill James in on the situation. James listened to the story, a line forming between his brows when Sirius was done. Yet instead of commenting on Marge, he was stuck on the part about Lily.

"Hang on," he said. "You mean like, she shoved you? Over?"

Sirius blinked at his bespectacled friend. "It's what I just said, isn't it?"

"Yeah, but, I mean… she touched you… with both hands?"

Sirius straightened a little, his hand subconsciously going to his sweater where Lily's hands had been. "You reckon I've been cursed or something?"

"No… no," James bit his thumbnail. "What was her voice like when she talked to you? Did it sound like she was faking that she was angry?"

Sirius furrowed his brow. "No, she was angry. Or annoyed. Whatever. What's this got to do with anything?"

"Nothing," James said, waving a hand dismissively. "Except that… you two, you know… when she helped you up…"

"We what?"

"Well, you… I mean, you must've… held hands. When she helped you up."

Sirius didn't even know what to say. He was sure he'd told James the story exactly as it had happened. How was his friend misconstruing facts? "We didn't hold hands, James, she helped me up!"

James' lip twitched a little and he lowered his voice. "What did it feel like?"

Sirius scowled. "What?"

"Her hand. What did it feel like?"

"For the last time," Sirius shouted, rising to his feet. "We didn't bloody hold hands!"

James blushed and just as Sirius realized the entire common room was staring at them, Remus yanked him back down.

"So… you don't like her then?" James whispered.

"Of course I don't!" Sirius hissed.

For a moment, a corner of James' mouth lifted.

"Why would you even ask that?" Sirius sneered.

"Well, I mean, look at Remus here. He was just minding his own business when Large Marge started to pick on him. Turned out she was picking on him 'cuz she liked him. What if Lily was picking on you 'cuz she likes you too?"

"NO," Sirius said, more forcefully than he meant to.

James grinned. "Excellent. Problem solved."

"What problem?" asked Peter.

"Well, I was worried that both Large Marge and Lily were going to ask one of us to the dance, pretending they like us, you see, when really they wanted to do something mean to us there. Like a trick."

Sirius narrowed his eyes as James spoke. There was something in the slightly older boy's voice that sounded suspicious, but Sirius couldn't place his finger on it.

That night, Remus couldn't sleep. He lay there, staring at the ceiling of their dormitory, feeling as if he were as white and cold as a ghost. Visions of Large Marge waltzing were plaguing his mind. She was abnormally large for her age, just as he was small, making her nearly twice as big as him. He was afraid that even if his friends were at the dance with him, they would be no match against her strength.

Peter was snoring and James was murmuring in his sleep. Sirius was twitching about, as if he was having his own nightmares. Remus sighed. Tomorrow was already Thursday. He needed to get some sleep. The end of the week was approaching far faster than he liked.

The following afternoon, James and Sirius took a stroll around the grounds after Care of Magical Creatures. Sirius always had a fondness for Hippogriffs so their path wandered to their paddock. James was keeping a few steps back, his hands in his pockets, kicking at any rocks they came upon. Sirius was a few paces ahead, swinging a stick about as if it were a sword, making the sound effects of the blade slicing through the air.

"So, Sirius," James began, his voice unusually strained.

"Yeah?" Sirius flicked some of his shaggy hair out of his grey eyes so that he could better see his imaginary opponent while they hoped for a Hippogriff to take an interest in them.

"I, um, I have something to tell you."

"All right." Sirius slashed at his imaginary enemy's legs.

"IaskedLilyEvanstothedance," James murmured so quickly and quietly that Sirius almost didn't hear him.

Sirius stopped fake fighting and turned to face his friend. "What?"

"I asked Lily to the dance," James repeated, his spine stiff.

Sirius dropped his stick. "Lily? But she's the enemy!"

"I know, and I'm not sure what happened, but we were in History of Magic together and it just slipped out. I don't even know why I said it. It was like I was possessed or something. But anyway, she said yes."

"But you promised!"

"I know! I'm sorry, but I didn't think it was a really real promise –"

"What the bloody hell else would it be?"

"Well it's not breaking the promise! We agreed that we'd all go together. We're still all going together, just… with another person, as well."

"James!" Sirius grabbed at his own hair. "This isn't fair!"

"Well you could find a date, easy," James said.


"Yeah. Loads of girls would go with you if you asked. They think you're –"

"The point is to go – just the four of us! No girls! I can't believe I ever trusted you."

James sighed as Sirius continued their walk. "Well, it wasn't really me, was it? It was Remus who first ruined things."

"He didn't have a choice. You did. Now what am I supposed to do?"

"Just ask Stephanie, I'm sure she'd –"

"You don't get it," Sirius murmured. He grabbed another stick and broke it in half. "I'm not going at all then. I've been betrayed."

James sighed. "Well, if that's what you want."

"It isn't. What I wanted was for all of to –"

"I know. It'll still be fun. Don't worry," James said with a smile.

Sirius wanted to glare at his friend. Wanted to shout at him that he'd ruined everything and opened a door that couldn't be closed. Instead, he smiled meekly, hiding the revenge plot hatching in his mind. "You're right," he consented. "You go and have fun. Just because I won't be having any, doesn't mean you shouldn't."

James smirked and squeezed his shorter friends' shoulder before stepping by him. Sirius' smile grew sinister as James passed. Oh, he'd make sure this was a dance to remember, all right.

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