all his years of Hogwarts pranks that went unexpectedly bad, James didn’t think
he had ever felt worse than he did now.
Granted, the prank the Marauders played on Snape back in their fifth
year wasn’t the brightest thing they ever did, but they were fifteen. It was
quite another thing to be in your twenties and be berated for immaturity and
managed to get yourself into quite a predicament, Prongs,” Remus stiffly
motioned for the barkeep at the Leaky Cauldron to supply another round, “How is
it that you keep doing things like this when it comes to Lily?”
“It’s three days later and I can still hear Lily screaming.
Remind me not to Apparate directly into your sitting room ever again,”
Sirius ran his hand over his head as he grimaced, “If I had used the Floo
network I would’ve at least heard the row and jumped several grates over to the
Three Broomsticks. There would have been a round waiting for you.”
tried to look hopeful, “Maybe she wasn’t really as mad as you think, James. I
mean we all know Lily has a temper. She could’ve just been having a bad day…”
no, it was not a bad day. She was right. I had it coming.” James hung his head
as his blunder echoed back again.
was as if someone had zapped James’ brain with a Cyclicus charm. Lily’s
words kept repeating in his head over and over and over again. He relived the
scene every five minutes or so. Every detail of the row was crystal clear.
can count to twenty-eight, James; I learned the lunar cycle back in my Muggle
schooldays. Why did you leave me a note that said you were going to work on
something for Professor Dumbledore? You couldn’t just tell me that you went to
make sure Remus was all right? I don’t understand why you lied. Did you think
I’d say, ‘no, you can’t take care of one of your best friends?’ Do you think
I’m that controlling and heartless?”
Lily, of...of…course not. I...I…just didn’t want to involve you…”
me in what, helping someone who is my friend too? Maybe I wouldn’t be strong
enough to lift him up or to help him Apparate, but I happen to be pretty adept
at healing charms. I can’t imagine why you’d think Remus would refuse my help.
You’re acting like you four were up to something illegal.”
makes you say that?” James responded nervously, visions of three unregistered
Animagi flashed before James’ panicked eyes.
the way you’re acting so clandestinely about having gone to meet Remus...but
that’s besides the point-”
then, what is the point, Lily?” James regretted the question the instant
it left his lips.
was the straw that broke this camel’s back, James.” Her voice was getting
louder as she went on, “I am so tired of discovering you’ve gone off and done
something that affects the both of us on your own: changing our vault number,
telling the Ministry I wasn’t interested in their job offer-”
A sudden POP signaled Sirius’ arrival
into the tempest, “You ready to head on over to the Three Broomsticks
was obvious that his unexpected arrival only added to Lily’s ire, “Hello,
Sirius” the greeting was saccharine sweet, “I gather that you and James have
plans that I didn’t know about...again.”
Lily turned back to face James, her face had transitioned from a shade of red
that merely clashed with her hair to a frightening hue of purple he had never
GO OUT WITH SIRIUS! WHEN YOU GET BACK, MAYE YOU’LL
REALISE THIS IS A PARTNERSHIP, A TEAM, A GROUP EFFORT. YOU CAN’T JUST MAKE A
DECISION THAT AFFECTS THE BOTH OF US WITHOUT CONSULTING ME. SO STOP PRETENDING
THAT IT’S YOUR INSTINCTUAL AND PROTECTIVE GRYFFINDOR BRAVERY TAKING OVER WHEN
ACTUALLY IT’S JUST YOUR FAILURE TO TAKE THE TIME TO REMEMBER WE’RE EQUALS!”
stormed off into the bedroom, leaving James and Sirius in an awkward, silent
moment before they headed to the Three Broomsticks. Some serious cooling off
time on both their parts was obviously needed.
everyone he knew had warned James that marriage was an adjustment. Advice had
come freely from all corners:
can’t always be in charge.”
Head Girl can more than keep up with the Head Boy.”
have to make some sacrifices.”
end the day mad at each other.”
at least James had listened to that last bit. We he returned home, he apologised to Lily. That night, down on one knee, he swore
he would never decide anything without her, or keep things from her again. It was just plain stupid to act the way he
had been acting.
was wonderfully understanding as she sat before him on the edge of their bed,
considering how mad she had been earlier in the day. After James apologised, she had even given him a way out.
brushed James’ hair tenderly out of his face, “No more secrets James? There’s
nothing else that’s going to surprise me, right?”
sat beside her and gently took her face in his hands, “No more decisions
without you Lily. No more secrets. I promise.”
right, because if there is, I swear-” James kissed her.
broke free, “James, as much fun as making up is, next time I’m not getting mad,
since that seems to have little effect; I’m getting even-”
took Lily into his arms, lowered her down to the bed, and kissed her into
silence. Unfortunately in all the fun of making up, he neglected to mention one
very important detail concerning his past. If only he had picked that moment to
be totally honest before he was distracted by his wife’s charms.
back to the present, James pounded his fist in frustration on the table as he
looked desperately at his friends, “So you see my problem. If I tell her, that
we are unregistered Animagi, she is just as guilty as we are for suppressing
the information if we are ever caught.
And if I don’t tell her, we are back to the secret problem.”
as I said before, James, you’ve got yourself into quite a predicament,” Remus
patted James on the shoulder, “I just don’t think you can keep her from coming
with you the next full moon. She thinks you stand guard in the shadows outside
the shack. So, when and how are you going to explain things to Lily? I don’t like lying to her anymore than you
could plead on your behalf,” suggested Peter, “We’ll all show up in animagus
form on your doorstep and maybe she’ll laugh.”
chuckled as he swigged back his beer, “That would be fantastic. There’s nothing
like first hand knowledge. Although, personally, I’d just as soon suggest to
her that she cook venison for Christmas dinner and have you explain why you
can’t eat the lovely meal she went through all the trouble to prepare.”
YOU THREE ARE OF NO HELP AT ALL!” roared James in complete and utter
several more days of ruminating, waiting for just the right moment, and shaking
with nerves, James knew that enough was enough. Whatever the repercussions were
going to be, he had to tell Lily. He resolved to do it as soon as he got home
that night, or the next, or at the end of the week...
Three Weeks Later
“Ick! As if the ants weren’t bad enough. Well at
least I have the problem solved.” through the open kitchen window, James could
hear Lily talking to herself as he came up the walk.
the matter?” inquired James as he walked through the door and entered the
kitchen. Lily sounded like their ongoing battle with pests was getting worse.
Yesterday, she had actually threatened to call in a Muggle professional known
as an exterminator. “The ant population multiplying?”
not the ants this time. It’s nothing really I suppose. I didn’t realise I was talking aloud, I probably overreacted…I mean
there was only one. It’s not like there was a whole family. It’s just that the
largest mouse I ever saw was on our doormat when I came home.”
“Mouse?” James raised an eyebrow and made a mental note to check on Wormtail’s
whereabouts and throttle him if necessary.
was so brazen sitting there. I swear it was staring at me. Then, it got up on
its hind legs and made these awful, squeaking rodent noises at me, like it was
trying to talk.”
coughed into the glass of water from the tap he had just poured himself. That
was Peter for you, as completely suave and subtle in animagus as in human life,
“So, where did the little furry piece of vermin run off to?”
I hit him as hard as I could with your broom. It was right by the door.”
The glass of water shattered on the floor.
hit him with my broom?” James gripped the counter so as not to join the glass
on the floor.
flicked her wand at the broken shards, “Reparo.
I know, James, I’m sorry.” Her face colored as she picked the reconstructed
glass up and replaced it on the counter, “I’ll clean the fur and blood out of
the bristles. I should’ve grabbed something other than your good broom.”
sure it was a mouse and not a rat?” James was utilizing every trick he learned in
Auror training to maintain his focus and to act as nonchalant as possible.
looked at him incredulously, “Well I didn’t ask his species before I hit him
James. I didn’t want him running inside and setting up shop. I mean it’s not
like we have a dog or cat or anything to keep vermin away. Although, I think
getting one is a good idea.”
just blinked. Lily’s words were going right through him. Comprehension had
slowed to an all time low. He was too busy running scenarios through his head
as to how he was going to explain Peter’s massive head injury down at St. Mungo’s to pay attention to what Lily was saying.
are you open to the possibility of us getting a pet?” Lily smirked, “Think of it as a dry run for parenthood.”
sure Lily whatever you want. Where’s the mouse now?” James voice cracked on his
the dust bin outside. Where else would I have disposed of it?”
was struggled to breathe before full-blown panic set in. The words, “disposed
of it”, clearly implied it was dead. She said “mouse” after all, not
“rat”. Surely, if it were a rat, or an animagus rat, Lily would have said rat.
Really there was no reason for undue alarm.
James, did you really mean it about us getting a pet?”
absolutely. A cat would be a great idea.”
I don’t know as I’d fancy a cat. Would a dog be all right? I’d prefer something
a bit larger. Something that would be a good watch dog, but cuddly, a frisky-”
a d-dog is fine.” James was opening cabinet after cabinet, desperate to find a
bottle of Ogden’s. There was none to be had.
we can talk about it more after supper. I’ll just get the food out of the oven.
Take a seat.”
throughout the supper that James barely touched, he assured himself that the
rodent couldn’t possibly have been Peter. It would all be fine in the morning.
He’d see Peter and Remus and Sirius and they’d all have a good laugh over all
dinner and some snuggling on the couch, James convinced himself that he had
just worked himself up over nothing. Really, it couldn’t have possibly been
Peter. He blotted the entire episode out of his mind.
was right once again as he fell under his wife’s charms. He closed his eyes as
he kissed her gently on the mouth. Soon he traced a light path of nibbling
kisses around the side of her throat.
Really there was nothing better than holding her and nuzzling her neck.
Especially as she blew in his ear like that and …licked...no…slurped it?
opened his eyes and yelled when he saw another set of eyes staring back. They
weren’t mesmerizing jade green colour of his wife’s.
They were a soft grey and were surrounded by black fur, lots and lots of
bear-like, shaggy black fur.
you,” giggled Lily, “You were supposed to stay locked in the bedroom until I
broke the news to James.”
“Ll-illy?” James stammered,
“W-what is this…dog doing here?”
I found him on the way home James.” Lily smiled sheepishly, “He followed me. He
was so friendly and he had no tags. Now, you did say we could have a pet...I
heard you. Don’t try and take it back.”
no…I-I-I,” James swallowed hard to stop stuttering, “A dog is fine.”
think Snuffles might be a good name. He seems to slobber a bit, but he’s so
cute you can forgive him. I mean look at those big grey eyes.” Lily scratched
Snuffles’ head and then proceeded to give him a vigorous belly rub when he
rolled onto his back.
she petted the beast, James desperately checked to see if this animal was
Sirius. Other than the grey eyes the dog had no distinctive markings. James
never had really paid much attention to the specific details of his friends’
animagi forms. They usually transformed in the dark and things weren’t that
easy to see. Perhaps, jumping to conclusions wasn’t warranted. Many dogs surely
must have grey eyes, even the exact same shade of grey shared by Sirius and two
thirds of his incredibly inbred, pureblood family. Yes, nothing to worry about
in the slightest…
looked over her shoulder to talk to James, while she continued to give Snuffles
the belly rub of a lifetime, “The only thing is, James, I don’t know if he’ll
be much of a watch dog. He didn’t go after that mouse at all. In fact, he
started howling when I hit it. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he went to sulk
in the bedroom when I put him there. I can’t believe he was quiet all the way
through our supper.”
thought he was about to pass out.
wonder who’s at the door. James, why don’t you get better acquainted with
Snuffles here while I get the door. Didn’t Remus mention that he might stop by
tonight?” Lily hopped up and went to answer the door.
had barely left the room before James began interrogating the dog, hoping
against hope he was wrong, “Sirius, is that you?”
me,” replied a very solemn Sirius.
Merlin! What am I going to do? Lily killed Peter and she has no idea. How are
we going to tell her, and tell Peter’s mother? We’re headed to Azkaban all of
us!” James clutched Sirius by the shoulder and began shaking him in
desperation, “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”
turned around to see his wife aiming a camera in his direction. Peter and Remus
flanked her on either side. They were all about to burst at the seams from
this moment for the rest of our lives!” exclaimed Lily as she began to laugh.
handed the camera to Remus and walked over to the befuddled James. “I’ve been
able to tell for the last three weeks that you have been trying to tell me
something, love.” Tears were streaming down Lily’s face as she continued to
explain how she had just out-pranked the ultimate
prankster, “I finally wheedled it out of these three. I’m not telling you who
gave you up first, but let’s just say that I would’ve caught on eventually from
all the extra fur that seems to keep getting tracked in here. So darling…last
chance…anymore secrets you want to share?”
thought a moment before leading Lily back to the couch, “Why don’t you sit down
Lily?” James motioned to the others, “Could you all go down to the Three
Broomsticks and buy some Ogden’s, and come back with it in about half an hour?”
James’ three fellow Marauders Apparated out,
he turned back to Lily with a pensive look on his face, “Lily, how much do you
know about Godric Gryffindor, and the legend of the
I would like to thank Seriously Sirius and The Good Doctor Monaco, who beta
read this story. Special thanks to Mincot,
Gryffinjack, and LycanMystyk for a raucous YM chat
that started it all.