DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything of the Harry Potter universe. Cover art by burdge-bug.

This fic begins with the following characters in sixth year: the Marauders, Lily Evans, Alice Prewett, Marlene McKinnon, Severus Snape, Avery, and Mulciber. Seventh years will include Frank Longbottom, Rodolphus Lestrange, Bellatrix Black, Amos Diggory, Gideon & Fabian Prewett, and Bertha Jorkins. Regulus Black is a fourth year. (Not all of these characters are seen or even discussed right away, but they will come into the story at some point.)

Remus and Lily are Gryffindor prefects.

The events/memories of "Snape's Worst Memory" (OotP) and "The Prince's Tale" (DH) are relevant.

I think that covers the basics, and I will add any other facts to the beginnings of chapters as they come along. I just didn't want to disrupt the narrative flow.

Hope you enjoy! -K.

Monday, 5:26 P.M.

"That was an incredibly stupid thing to do, James."

"I know it was, Moony," James said for what felt like the umpteenth time. He did know, too. He'd been sitting on the floor next to his bed for the past half an hour, thinking about how very much he knew and listening to Remus remind him, anyway.

"Give him a break already," said Sirius, who was sitting on the floor across from James. "Besides, Prongs, it wasn't bad for your first Muggle duel."

The grin that flickered across James's mouth was short-lived, though, as Sirius continued, "Not bad, but I don't know why you bothered with it in the first place. You've got a wand, you know."

"I know." James sighed and leaned his head back. "I just… forgot it."

"Said the pureblood."

"Oh, sod off."

Sirius barked a laugh. "Come off it, Prongsy," he cajoled. "I bet Evans was right impressed."

James groaned. If there was another thing he'd been thinking about for the past thirty minutes besides how much he knew, it was how much he wished Lily Evans hadn't been there at all.

"I don't think so," Peter said from his seat on James's bed. "Did you see her face after Lestrange got carted off to the hospital wing? She looked put-off, really..."

"Peter!" Sirius interjected. "Peter. Shut. Up."

Remus, however, wasn't having it.

"She should be put-off!" he said as he paced. "She was probably embarrassed, James, you can't keep playing the hero like that. She doesn't need it –"

"Oy, would you sit down?" Sirius interrupted. "What are you pacing about, anyway? You're not the one serving a week's detention."

"Neither would the two of you, if James hadn't thrown the first punch and you hadn't helped him."

"Look, Lestrange's fine, he's twice our size, and Slytherins practically live off their ability to draw blood –"

"I don't care that he's a Slytherin!" Remus shouted. "And it would appear that certain Gryffindors live off their ability to be idiots, so I wouldn't be so pleased with myself if I were you, Sirius!"

James groaned loudly. He'd had enough fighting for one day, and he didn't need to be the cause of a row between his best mates. Besides, Lestrange had done rather well in the fight and despite Madam Pomfrey's fussing, James still felt like his brain was trying to escape his skull.

Remus quit pacing and dropped himself on top of Sirius's bed. "I'm a prefect, you remember, and I look just as bad when I can't keep my mates from doing stupid things."

"Aw, Moony." Sirius reached up behind him to pat Remus's arm sympathetically. "You're uncharacteristically edgy. Wormy, when's the full moon?"

"It was a week ago…" Peter said slowly, and James snorted with laughter at Sirius's poor memory.

"Remember, Padfoot, you got into that house's backyard before realizing they had a wild turkey penned up there," James reminded him. "Have your injuries healed?"

"Seems like they have, and now he's reverted to a state of denial," Remus offered with a tired laugh.

"Shut it, you lot," Sirius said as his friends continued to laugh at his expense. He looked pointedly at James. "At least I didn't forget I'm a wizard."

"Too soon, Padfoot," James said. He thought of Lily again and added, "It's always going to be too soon."

"Touchy, touchy." Sirius grinned, guessing the direction of his friend's tortured thoughts. "I still think it was brill, though, even if Evans won't go out with you. You know she's got a soft spot for the Slytherins."

Remus frowned. "Nah, Padfoot, you saw how she dealt with it this afternoon," he said, shaking his head. "Who could blame her, either, after last year?"

James cringed at the memory, but Sirius was unperturbed.

"Don't look so guilty, Prongs," he said. "You're not the one who called her a – well, a you-know-what. That was all Snivellus."

"You don't think we sort of egged him on a bit?" James said, voicing the fear that had been plaguing him for the past few months. He probably loathed the greasy-haired Slytherin more than anyone, but that didn't mean he felt completely innocent in the decimation of Snape and Lily's friendship.

Sirius snorted. "'Course we did. We always do. Doesn't mean he's got to turn against the only person who was on his side."

"It's not your fault," Peter added, patting James's head in what was meant to be a consoling way, but it only served to fuel James's headache.

"Besides," Sirius went on, "did you see old Snivelly's face today? He looked right pleased when Lestrange was beating your head against that wall. That's why I jinxed him before I got Lestrange. Slimy git."

"And what did Evans think about that?" James wanted to know.

Sirius shrugged. "Dunno. I was busy saving your rotten life. Plus there was a lot of shouting. You know, I think Hogwarts is a rather excitable bunch."

James groaned again and buried his head in his arms. He felt like a right idiot, just like Remus had said, but he was always an idiot when it came to Lily Evans. The thing of it was, he hadn't even gone after Lestrange to impress her. Of course, it had been for her sake and all, but Remus was right again when he said she didn't need a hero…

He hadn't meant to land himself in detention, which was saying something, but he'd been trying hard to keep out of trouble. At least, most trouble, because where was the fun in making no trouble at all?

But he still hadn't meant to forget that he was a wizard and by extension, break Lestrange's nose with his own fist. And by extension he'd done a lot of other things he hadn't meant to do – like the detention and landing Sirius in there with him and making a complete tosser out of himself in front of Evans for the thousandth time (and "thousandth" was being generous).

But he supposed that's what he got for being a Gryffindor, although he didn't quite remember the Sorting Hat saying anything about how stupid it was to be brave.