"How much do you know about the Hester girl then?" was one of Sirius' first question when Remus arrived back in school. He furrowed his eyebrows at him, not entirely sure how this was a welcome.
"She's one of Lily's friends," he replied, a note of incredulity in his voice that Sirius still hadn't realised how ridiculous this was. They hadn't seen each other in nearly a month and instead of asking how Christmas was or thanking him for his gifts, he was asking him about a girl. "I think she should be in your divination class."
"Maybe," Sirius said, a pensive look on his face. "Alright then, thanks Remus!" And off he bounded to some unknown place to woo Hester Lavington and then, once the chase was done, forget about her entirely in the pursuit of a new prey.
I shook my head, "Forget about him, he's had a rough time." Remus gave me a worried look, "No, nothing big this time, I got him through it. Only I'm not exactly gonna drag him back down from his high until I absolutely have to. Never mind, how was your holiday?"
After hearing about Sirius' episode Remus was more reluctant to tell me about his Christmas, feeling it paled in regard to our excitement, but finally he relinquished a few details of being with his family and of finding another werewolf with whom he could identify and who shared his pain. I noticed on his wrists as he levitated some of his clothes and his sleeves slipped back. They were bruised.
"Chains," he explained feebly. "Hurt my wrists but meant I didn't..." meant his hands weren't free to tear at his chest. I nodded. "Anyway, thanks for your present. Mum really appreciated five bottles of Firewhiskey stashed away in my room." I winked at him.
"What are friends for?" He chuckled but didn't return with any retort about how friends didn't get their friends in trouble with alcohol and their parents, so it was safe to assume that the bottles were opened and their actual contents of pumpkin squash discovered.
"So you hid them then?" I asked with a smile.
"What did you expect me to do? Mum near had a heart attack when she saw them. Blamed you a mighty lot!" I feigned comedic hurt expression, jabbing my finger into my chest.
"Me? A bad influence? Why I never..." before I could finish the sentence the three of us were laughing too hard. I wondered what Remus' mother would do if she found out that his son brewed us a hangover cure every time we played a Quidditch match? Or that he had helped us set up row upon row of alcoholic drinks only two months ago? Or that his friends were planning on becoming unregistered animagi just so that we could go galavanting at night with him?
These were all the thoughts which invoked the hysterical laughter into which Sirius entered, opening the door to our dorm and leaning against the doorpost with his arms folded, smiling to himself. We were an odd bunch the four of us, the werewolf, the blood traitor, the rebel and the fool. When finally we wiped the tears from our eyes and looked back up at the door, the last bouts of chuckles fleeing our bodies, Sirius spoke.
"Hey Jamie," he said with a sly smile, "she's back."
"Really?" I asked, springing up from the mess I had collapsed into with Remus and Peter.
"Came in on the train with Remus, not that I suppose he mentioned it?" he shot a look at Remus who tried a few weak apologies before shrugging.
"She's still a bit shaken from..." We nodded, "I guess I didn't think she was up for your harassment just yet, James." I nodded. No, he was probably right. If he had told me straight off I would probably have acted just as Sirius had, bounding off to find a certain Gryffindor girl. But now, thinking about it, it was probably best to give Lily a bit of a break. Who knew what kind of hexes she'd put on me after just spending Christmas without her father but instead with her evil sister.
"Sure, Remus. You're probably right. How is she?"
"Quieter than she used to be, but better I imagine." I was happy to hear it, hoping that her fire had not died too much that I would no longer hang around with the half fear of being burned.
"Find Hester, did you?" I asked Sirius in an attempt to change the subject.
"Yeah," he sighed, stepping over the threshold and closing the door behind him. "She was listening to some muggle music and drawing a skeleton on her hand."
"That sounds cool," I said, imagining the bones in my own hand.
"It was until it leapt off her skin, reached out and tried to throttle me the second I started making a move." I let out a bark of laughter.
"Smart girl," I replied and Sirius crossed the room with the sole objective of punching me in the arm, then plonking himself down beside Remus, his back against the foot of Peter's bed, upon which Peter sat. He gave a little yelp at the thought of a skeletal hand reaching out for his throat but we were too busy laughing at Sirius to notice. Suddenly, Remus snorted.
"Something funny there, Remus?" he asked.
"Oh no," he shook his head and bit his lip, his face going red with the effort. "Only I'm glad to know there's one girl in this school who doesn't swoon at the advances of the infamous Sirius Black."
"Shut up!" Sirius protested, giving him another punch. "Maybe she won't swoon, but sooner or later she'll submit."
"I said that about Lily once..." I began.
"Three years later..." Remus continued. Peter laughed at the easy banter between us as he usually did, not quite intellectually capable of taking part but always a good onlooker.
Don't compare me to the likes of him!" Sirius protested, pointing at me as I sat back down opposite them, my back to my own bed. "He's just pitiful!"
"So kind," I grimaced. "Anyway, Remus, I'd like you to look at some things. Accio prank sheet," obediently my drawer opened and relinquished a seemingly innocuous sheet of parchment we had once swiped from Remus with simple Arithmancy notes on them. "Care to do the honours?"
Sirius and I were planning something big. As our first prank back from our little hiatus from friendship, we needed something so that we could come back with a bang, and so we had spent the whole Christmas holidays thinking of possibilities, and now we only needed Remus' help to make them so.
Drawing his wand from his cloak, Remus tapped the parchment. "I solemnly swear I'm up to no good." He began to skim through the sheet, a blotchy mess of three different, scrawling scripts and Remus' own neat one somewhere in between, spells and the like, nothing too incriminating.
"This looks good," Remus announced, pointing out one of the ideas on the sheet.
"Yeah, that one's a favorite." Sirius agreed, and then said "Kettleburn," to let me know which one we were talking about, considering that from my place sitting opposite them I couldn't tell which they were pointing at, and the sheet was very nearly full.
I grinned, "Nice choice, Remus."
So it was to be that in Professor Kettleburn's lesson amid the fully grown mandrakes and skrewts, we found a small trickle of water begin to lace itself between the legs of the students. Few noticed, except for some of the girls who began to find their shoes caked in mud where before there had only been dry soil.
"What is that?" One asked, pointing at the seemingly sentient stream as it wove around her legs.
"Oh no, not my shoes! They're new!" another cried.
"Students, students! Please, settle down. Now what is all this racket..." he stopped dead, just as one tendril of the water rose languidly from the ground right in front of his head. As the thing grew it took form, the unmistakably hissing form of some massive snake.
Someone shrieked, hopefully not Peter, as its head swam closer and closer to the face of petrified Professor Kettleburn. Another began to rise, and then another, all around us animals- predominantly snakes- took form out of the water that was steadily rising, well past the knees of the shorter few.
More shrieking was followed with cries of complaint as books and notes were drenched, clothes were ruined, skirts floated up revealing concealed ladders in tights. Oxen snorted, wolves howled and the snakes, so many snakes all lethargically making their ways towards the weak, crystalline fangs trapping sunlight's terrified rays as a weapon for seconds and setting them free only to attack new ones.
It was then, amid the cries of the third-year Care of Magical Creatures class, surrounded by the most magical of creatures all turned their heads towards some mounting tide, the main event. The water was now up to most people's stomachs or chests when all the creatures collapsed back into the water, traveling quickly to gather behind Professor Kettleburn, who watched in horror as the thing grew behind him, casting a shadow, gathering every drop of water that had been left on the ground around the students.
The wave reached full height and, to the astonishment of all and the feigned astonishment of four, grew wings.
They stretched out from the middle, water from lower down gathering in on itself, lending itself to the massive wingspan as above a head began to take shape. The class fell silent as suddenly a giant dragon stood before, them, opening its massive mouth and showering the class with curling tongues of water.
Then, with a flap of its gargantuan wings, it collapsed.
Many tons of water were released upon the head of the Care of Magical creatures professor, who struggled against it but soon realised that there was nothing to do but wait it out. His arms flopped hopelessly by his sides as all that had remained of probably the closest he would ever see to a dragon seeped into his clothing or puddled around his feet. It was all topped off by one last, comical drop.
Angry and soaking, Professor Kettleburn spluttered for a while, blowing his nose with a sodden tissue and rubbing his eyes. When finally he was ready to speak, his voice was hoarse.
"Which of you did this?" he demanded, albeit a little less frightening then he meant it to be with his clothes a mess and what little hair he had left plastered to his face. Nobody answered. He tried again.
"Which of you did this?" he cried. A few looks were shared, but none by the guilty party who knew well enough that suspicion already lay upon them. However Professor Kettleburn, quite exhausted by this ordeal, threw his hands up in the air. "Fine. Don't tell me, I'll find out some way or another. Class dismissed."
The two most wonderful words which made the wet uniforms and notes Ok. An hour of freedom they had been granted, thanks to the jokers who had built the water dragon. Any anger towards them was gone from the class as everyone gathered their things and fled as quickly as possible.
The who trick had been set up with a small object, a watering can we had cursed earlier and from which the curse had now been lifted to it lay beside the mandrakes looking perfectly normal. We had done no magic ourselves, removed no wands from our pockets as everything took place. We were never found to be the culprits because we left no trace.
Well, one trace. There had been no lions, no badgers, no ravens, but many, many snakes.
A/N: Sorry this took so long to upload, it was my birthday this weekend and all but that's all over so back to my main priority, writing FanFic instead of doing my homework! Love you all and thanks for reading, do review for me won't you?