Disclaimer: For the last time, I don’t own Harry Potter! So, can
you please stop asking now?
Author’s note: This is the
second of my MWPP series, which consists in writing specific, strong, yet short
moments of their sixth year. Why sixth year? I really don’t know, it’s just an obsession of mine. And there’s so much to
write! I urge you to read and enjoy… and REVIEW!
Potter! Watch out!” James was able to dive quickly and narrowly avoid being hit
by an angry Bludger. He spun in midair for a few
seconds, and then steadied himself, feeling slightly dizzy.
“That’s it! Get down here, all of
you!” Captain Marlene McKinnon yelled from the ground, for the tenth time that
James rolled his eyes stubbornly,
and steered his broomstick downwards along with the rest of the team, who were
all giving him very disapproving looks.
“Oh come on! Why are we
stopping?” he heard Fabian asking with exasperation once they hit the ground
and walked lazily towards their captain. “We’ve barely played for two straight
“Let her be, she’s worried,” Regina replied,
in her usual gentle voice. It made James want to punch her square in the face.
“If we don’t win the next match we won’t have the slightest chance of-“
“Winning the cup,” James finished
her sentence angrily. “We’ve already been informed of that, thank you, Regina.”
at him from his right, and clearly was about to answer something back, when
Marlene came stalking towards them, in towering rage.
“What the bloody heck is wrong
with you, Potter?” she yelled at James, when she was closer. “You’re not paying
attention. I’ve seen that Snitch flying past your very ear two times now! Yes,
Potter, I’ve seen it, and I’m practically blind!”
She lifted her glasses in a would-be
“Give it a rest, Marlene, I’m
exhausted!” James replied dismissively, trying not to mind Regina’s glare.
The truth was, he did feel exhausted. He had never
played so poorly in his life and he was sure he had never been in such a bad mood.
He didn’t know what exactly was wrong with him.
“Exhausted from what, exactly?
‘Cause from what I’ve seen you’ve just been hovering in mid air since the
beginning of the practice!”
James ignored her, pretending to
be really interested in his fingernails.
“And you, Prewett!”
she snapped turning in Fabian’s direction and making him flinch a bit.
“What did I do this time?” he
asked, scandalized .
“You’re… you’re not covering the
“Well, I can’t be at three places
at once! No one has made a move towards that hoop, why would I cover it?”
“You’re supposed to be hovering
over all three hoops!”
“You try it then, it’s not as
easy as it seems!”
“Can we call it a day?” Artemus asked cautiously from behind James, making
Marlene’s eyes flash dangerously and turn quickly in his direction.
“Oh… right, sure! Go ahead, call
it a day! Call it a week, if you must! Or a year, maybe!”
She turned sharply around and made her way towards the dressing room, swearing
madly under her breath.
Fabian let out a low whistle.
“Lost it, that one has,” he muttered disapprovingly, and then followed suit.
James made to walk towards the dressing rooms too, but he was called back by a
soft and inquiring voice.
Recognizing the voice, he turned
around with exasperation, and found himself an inch away from Regina’s
pretty, almost doll-like face. “What?” he spat, his eyes flashing, silently
warning her not to make his day any worse.
She let the rest of the team walk
ahead and then asked glumly, “Why are you behaving like this?”.
James, who was completely taken
aback by the unexpected question, gaped at her for a few seconds before
reacting. “What do you mean like this?” he replied aggressively.
“Like this. I thought you
had a nice time on Saturday … but clearly you didn’t?”
James restrained himself
from rolling his eyes just in time. He should’ve known this was coming.
He and Regina had gone
on a date last weekend, and it had been terrible. He didn’t know why he had asked
her out in the first place. No, no… he did know. It had been Sirius’
idea, actually. He was always trying to make James have fun and forget about… other
stuff. He had advised him to ask someone - anyone - out, and James, merely
because he didn’t want Sirius to go on and on about how he was losing his marauder
touch, had reluctantly taken his advice. Regina was the
prettiest girl he could think of, and he had known it would be easy, since she
seemed to blush every time she caught a glimpse of him. But he shouldn’t have
done it anyway… Sirius and his mad ideas. They always
got James in sticky situations.
Anyway, he and Regina had
walked across Hogsmeade holding hands, buying half of Honeydukes
in the process, and then gone for a Butterbeer at the
Three Broomsticks. They had laughed and talked about everything there was to
talk about: Quidditch, school, music, family… and James had hated every part of
it. Regina was just
way too… nice.
“I had a good time on Saturday,”
he said nicely, since tears were threatening to escape her eyes. I just don’t
like you. “I just don’t think it could… work, you know.”
at him with watery eyes. “I see,” she said plainly. James smiled in what he
thought was an encouraging way, but she didn’t smile back. C’mon, James
thought desperately. It isn’t that bad!
“I don’t understand you,
James,” she whispered after a few seconds, in a barely audible tone. “Why don’t
you just forget about her?”
James frowned at what his ears
had just heard. “What did you say?” he asked, blushing slightly.
“Nothing… I didn’t,” she replied
quickly and she walked past him, drying her tears with the back of her hand and
leaving a tight knot forming in James’ chest.
Barely an hour later,
having taken a bath and feeling not a bit more cheerful, James walked into the Great
Hall and spotted Remus Lupin sitting alone at the Gryffindor table, immersed in
a giant book. He walked up to him and sat down heavily at his side, but Remus
didn’t notice his arrival. Actually, his food seemed thoroughly untouched,
which hinted clearly that he had forgotten all about the world around him.
James, who was in desperate need of someone to talk to, took a peek at the
book’s title, in order to weigh how much effort it would take to detach Remus
from its pages. He immediately felt his stomach drop.
of Blood, by Voldemort. He was surely not expecting
“Why in Godric’s
name are you reading that bloody nonsense!” James spat indignantly at his
friend, making him jump a few inches and close the book immediately. They
stared at each other for a fraction of second, James glaring dangerously at
him. Then Remus spoke, his voice quivering a bit, not having
recovered from the sudden fright. “For Godric’s
sake, don’t do that, James!”
“I’m sorry,” James replied
sternly. “Moony, why are you reading that?” he pressed on, his voice lowering
Remus took a big gulp of pumpkin
juice, and then cleaned his mouth with the back of his hand. “Peter left it
lying on top of his bed this morning,” he explained, still a bit jumpy. “I
merely thought, you know… sometimes it’s important to take a peek inside the
evil minds… so you can never doubt of who is right.”
The answer made James go
temporarily speechless. He stared avidly at Remus for a few moments and then
grinned slowly. “Nice thinking,” he said, and Remus smiled back. “I know,” he
answered briskly, diving his fork hungrily into his
They ate in silence for a few
minutes, and then Remus spoke again, in a would-be calm voice. “There’s a whole
chapter on werewolves.”
James turned to look sharply at
him, but before he could reply, Remus continued. “You won’t believe the things
he says, he just talks on and on about what being perfect means-” His voice
cracked slightly. “According to him, I’m just as imperfect as anyone can be.” He
laughed hollowly and James felt his stomach contort painfully. “Anyway… you
should read it sometime.”
He smiled forcedly at James, who
could feel anger bubbling up inside of him. As if anyone knew what being
perfect meant. Only a true idiot like Voldemort would presume to know such a
thing. As if there was anything less perfect than Voldemort
himself in this world, anyway. Heartless git. James dreamt that, when the time came,
he was going to make Voldemort swallow and hopefully choke on his own words. “I don’t think… I don’t really think you
should read that,” he said slowly, considering his words carefully.
Remus shook his head, still
trying painfully to smile. “It’s okay, James, I-”
“No, seriously, I don’t think anyone
should read it,” he went on, through gritted teeth. It was reckless to
leave such a thing lying there where anyone could take hold of it and get mad
ideas, or feel miserable, for that matter… How could Peter have left it lying there
in Remus’ sight? Then a frightful thought crossed his mind. How could Peter
even have such a thing? “Where did Wormtail
even found that book, Moony? They certainly don’t have them at the library, do
Remus shook his head.
“Hogsmeade,” he clarified, taking another major gulp of juice. “They sell them
at a bookstore there, the one hidden in that dark alley. It’s not exactly against
the law to sell them, you know.”
“Yeah, I know. But why would he
buy it, anyway?” James asked stubbornly. Peter was definitely the kind of
person who would never be able to read a book like that without having horrible
Remus shrugged dismissively. “Who
knows, maybe he’s plotting on how to purify Hogwarts all on his own,” he
replied seriously, and then gave him a lopsided ironic grin. James smiled sardonically
back. “C’mon, James, he probably felt
curious. You can’t tell me you’ve never felt curious about it.”
James hesitated. “Well, yeah, I
have…” he replied, shaking the suspicion away. “Yeah, you’re right...” If Remus
was joking so openly about it, then it definitely meant there was nothing to
“I’m always right,” Remus stated
cheerfully as he thrust a spoonful of pudding into his mouth. “So, how was Quidditch
practice?” he asked, after giving a tremendous swallow.
As a response, James grimaced and
groaned in an exaggerated manner. Remus chuckled. “That bad,
James nodded miserably. “As
bad as it can get.” He sighed loudly as he remembered how dull Quidditch had
become. And how dreadful he had become at it. “I don’t even enjoy it anymore, specially since McKinnon appears to have gone mad, you won’t
“I’ve known she’s insane since
the moment I met her,” Remus replied earnestly. “But I thought she was a good
“Not anymore, she’s not,” James
“If you say so,” Remus said,
giving him a highly amused look that annoyed James deeply.
Just then, Sirius arrived at the
table, looking handsomely tired and bearing an irritated look that would
frighten anybody who might not know him well. Remus and James exchanged
significant looks, while he elegantly ignored them as he glanced up and down
the table, action that suggested he was about to mention something not allowed
to be heard by potential eavesdroppers.
When his inspection of the
surroundings was over, he fixed his eyes on James and spoke in a casual voice
that didn’t match his expression. “I may be wrong… but why do I get the feeling
you did not have a nice time last Hogsmeade weekend?”
James grinned slightly at him. “I
may be wrong but… why do I get the feeling you bumped into Regina on your
Sirius continued to survey him
carefully. “I certainly did,” he spat. James noticed Remus shifting
uncomfortably in his seat. “And do you know what I heard, just on passing, that
is?” Sirius said.
James shook his head roughly,
trying to look as innocent as he possibly could. “I heard Regina crying
loudly and stating you’re a… what did she say exactly?” Sirius screwed his face
in mock concentration, shaking his hair out of his face unnecessarily. “You’re
Remus turned to look sharply at
James, but James did not dare to look back. “So what I’m wondering exactly, my
dear Prongs, is why she would say such a thing about you,” Sirius finished,
clearly trying not to look unnerved by the fact that a plan of his own had gone
so abysmally wrong.
“It didn’t feel right, that’s
all,” James replied, feeling he’d rather go through another five Quidditch
practices that same night than having to endure Sirius’ questioning. He knew
Lily’s name would pop up in the conversation sooner or later, and he was
certainly not in the mood to talk about her. He hoped that was enough of
a reason for Sirius to end the conversation.
But Sirius seemed far from
thinking the conversation was over. He was currently gaping disbelievingly at
James. “What do you mean, it didn’t feel right?” he breathed. “You only laugh
that openly at Snivellus, and I don’t remember seeing
him around you at the time!”
Next, there was a silence, in
which James digested Sirius’ words slowly. He found them incredibly untrue,
since James was always laughing and his friend knew it. Sirius seemed to become
aware at how thick the comment had been, because just then, before James could
answer anything back, he spoke again, this time smiling in a way that gave him
a small feeling of foreboding. “Tell me one thing that isn’t perfect about
James’ stomach gave a tremendous
leap as he came face to face with his friend’s demand. Was there anything not
perfect about Regina Baccus? She had the perfect
eyes, light brown and gleaming. She had the perfect nose, small and straight.
She had the perfect hair, long, wavy and black. But she’s not Lily.
I dare you to answer with the
truth, James Potter. The unexpected thought came so suddenly he could have
sworn it was not his. He frowned slightly at Sirius, who was beaming silently
at him in return. “See? There’s just nothing you-“
“She chews with her mouth open,”
James interrupted hurriedly with the first thing that came into his mind,
praying to sound believable.
“She does NOT,” Remus spat
immediately, startling his two friends and making their heads turn quickly in
his direction. He blushed and looked down at once. “I’ve seen her… she has
never… I mean… she doesn’t… she just…”
Sirius smiled amusingly and gave
James a meaningful look. “She does not, Moony?”
“Yeah, I mean… no,” Remus’ hands
were twisting madly in his lap. “Mouth perfectly closed.”
“There you have it, James,”
Sirius said, without taking his eyes off Remus. “Perfectly
James laughed warmly. “You’re not
brainwashing me, Padfoot. Give it up. She deserves someone better than me.” He
patted Remus softly on the back, and his friend, blushing furiously, gave him a
resigned look. Remus was saved the trouble of answering back by Sirius, who
seemed to be getting bored from the conversation already.
“D’you know, Prongs? I reckon it’s time for you to start having a
bit of fun. You know sometimes, some things are quite unreachable.
You’ve just got to focus on what you can achieve.” He gave him a wise look, and
then served himself some pudding. “Anyway, I’m starving. I’ve been working on
that Potions essay all afternoon. Can you believe Wormtail
hasn’t finished it yet? I’m surprised smoke hasn’t started to come from his
“Maybe we should bring him some
food, he’s probably starving too,” Remus said, disappearing behind the book
once more, still blushing, and obviously thankful for the abrupt change of
“No need for that. If he’s hungry
we’ll know. You know him, his mother could be under the attack of an angry Acromantula and even so he would come down to dinner… “I
need strength”, I bet you anything that would be his excuse,” Sirius replied absentmindedly,
his answer being so long he looked quite exhausted after finishing.
But James wasn’t even bothering
to keep up with the conversation. Something had caught his attention. Lily
Evans had just sat on the other end of the table, talking cheerfully to none
other than… Regina. A tight
knot formed in the pit of his stomach. Since when were they such close friends?
He gave Sirius an inquiring look, but his friend was currently immersed in his
goblet of juice, and didn’t look back. James sighed loudly and then locked his
eyes on Lily, noticing miserably that she was looking just as… perfect as
Remus walked into the deserted
dormitory and lowered himself onto his four poster bed, feeling rather
exhausted. It was only two more days until the full moon, and he was already
starting to feel the influence of it. But, contrary to what he normally
thought, he wasn’t looking forward to it at all, not even knowing he would have
the Marauders with him as usual.
He was hoping against hope some
miracle would occur while he was asleep, making him skip one full moon… just
one. That was all he asked. Because he
was currently terribly annoyed –if not angry- at one of those Marauders, and if
he didn’t get rid of the feeling by the full moon… well… the stag would
have to come face to face with an angry wolf. And that was certainly the last thing
he wanted. To seriously hurt a friend just because of some misunderstanding was
simply not a possibility… less so if his friend didn’t even know they
were having a misunderstanding.
He wasn’t even sure if his
condition worked that way. The truth was that, while being a wolf, the real
Remus pretty much fled from him, and when he woke up next morning he could
hardly remember bits of the night. Still, something told him he couldn’t take
any chances. The wolf was definitely a dangerous and murderous thing.
He looked out of the window, wondering
if he was mistaken to feel this way. He didn’t know if it was James himself that
bothered him or… the fact he had asked her out. It was as unfair as it
could possibly be. It wasn’t James who kept track of everything McGonagall said
in class just to help her afterwards, when she repeated for the tenth time she
hated Transfiguration. It wasn’t James who blushed every time she walked by, it
wasn’t James who cheered loudly every time she scored during Quidditch matches…
But it was at James’ sight that she blushed… it was to him she explained all
about Potions so that he wouldn’t flunk, it was at him she looked longingly…
Remus heaved himself up and
closed the curtains savagely, making the bed shake with violence. He sighed
loudly and then pressed his knees hard against his chest, his heart pounding
fast, as he fought against the mad impulse to run and punch James and… make him
feel only a bit ashamed of breaking Regina’s heart and not even being authentically sorry about
it. If he couldn’t see just how perfect
she was, then he couldn’t have a complete heart.
Just then, the sound of the
dormitory’s door being opened snapped Remus out of his angry thoughts. He
watched the silhouette of a lonely figure walking around the room. He
immediately recognized the messy, unkempt hair. He threw himself flatly on the
pillow again, and closed his eyes forcedly in an attempt to keep James from noticing
he was there. Yet, for the time being, James seemed too busy searching for
something and throwing things all around to notice.
After a few minutes Remus
heard footsteps towards the door and sighed with relief. But the door did not slam
shut, as he was expecting. Instead, his curtains were thrown open and he heard
the voice he was least wanting to hear.
“Moony! You’re going to
sleep already? C’mon, the night is young and it’s Friday! No classes tomorrow,
Remus couldn’t help but
groan, as he opened his eyes heavily, wishing he was really asleep. “I’m
tired,” he replied, trying hard not to sound rude.
James raised an eyebrow at
him. “You’re tired?” he asked disbelievingly. “Ah, come on, get up. Sirius is
going to fetch us some butterbeers from the kitchen!”
He lifted the Invisibility Cloak he was holding in one of his hands. “It’s
party time, old Moony!”
Remus hesitated for a few
seconds. As tempting as the word “butterbeer” was,
the fear of bumping into Regina
downstairs and finding out she still didn’t glance back was currently attaching
him to the bed.
“I’m sorry, Prongs, but I’m
not in the mood,” he replied dully, giving him a pleading look. But James, who
continued to survey him in silence, clearly didn’t have any intentions of
leaving. Then Remus had an idea he was sure would work. It always did, anyway.
“Full moon’s close… I’m already feeling tired, you know.”
James stared at him and
then clicked his tongue. “Now Moony, I know you’re just using this full moon
crap to escape form partying - I wish I
knew why’d you do that in the first place -but hey, if you’re not in the mood,
well, I can’t force you to drink a cold and tasty butterbeer,
Remus gave him fleeting
look and James smiled slightly. “I think I know what’s wrong with you,” he said
Remus’ heart gave a
tremendous leap at this, but before he could answer anything back, James had
sat on the edge of his bed, and Remus had to restrain himself from groaning
“It’s that book you were
reading yesterday, isn’t it?” James asked, nodding wisely. “I told you not to
read that, I knew it would bring you down.”
Remus gaped at him for a
few seconds, completely taken aback by the statement. But he reacted fairly
quickly and then screwed his face to look as though James was painfully right.
“Oh, yeah,” he lied. “Yeah, it’s that book. It’s awful.”
The truth was, the thoughts
about Voldemort’s book had fled from his mind
yesterday, the minute he found out James had dumped Regina. It was true, they did hit him harshly at first, and
they still did when he was stupid enough to remember them, but he knew Voldemort
wasn’t right. He knew he was just a madman who was making a ridiculous attempt
to grab power over wizarding kind. It didn’t worry
Remus that much, actually… he knew most people weren’t
thick enough to believe in him.
“Yeah, it probably makes
you sick,” James told him knowingly, still nodding. A tight knot formed in
Remus’ chest as he looked as his friend’s expression. It was full of
compassion… it was full of… understanding. “But you shouldn’t let it
affect you. I mean, Voldemort just can’t claim he knows what being perfect
means. No one can, actually.”
“You really think that?”
Remus asked inquiringly, forgetting for a second he was mad at him, and not
even regretting the fact he was egging the conversation on.
James turned to look
sharply at him. “What d’you mean?” he asked quickly,
lifting his hand up to his hair and messing it distractedly.
“I mean,” Remus replied,
sitting up straight in the bed once again. “D’you
really think nobody can say what perfect means?”
James frowned openly at
him. “Remus, I’m afraid that book might have given you mad ideas. It’ll be best
if you didn’t-”
“No, James,” Remus cut him
off, fighting back an amused smile… James and his strange
paranoia. “It’s nothing like that. I’m merely asking… can you tell me,
honestly that is, that you’ve never thought of someone as perfect?”
His question was followed
by a very long silence, in which James locked his eyes on his lap, which had
disappeared after being covered by the Invisibility Cloak. And then, as Remus
waited patiently for an answer, anger seemed to lift slightly from his soul, as
he realized he had been rather harsh to think such horrible things about him.
Looking at it from another angle, well, James’ heart was quite complete, but
destined for a single person… a person who didn’t even glance back at him when
he blushed silently in her presence.
“I think-” James started,
but his quivering voice didn’t let him continue.
Remus remained silent and
gave him an encouraging look. He wanted him to answer, so that the anger could
lift completely, and they could enjoy a full moon light without the stag
getting even a bit hurt.
“Of course I sometimes brag
about knowing what perfect means,” James said, his expression growing steadily
more cheerful, and his cheeks growing steadily redder. “I don’t bounce about
writing books trying to convince people to think…er… Evans
is perfect, though.” He said the last words in a barely audible tone, but Remus
was able to hear them perfectly well. He laughed heartily. It wasn’t quite the
answer he had been expecting, but it was still deep… in James’ own way. An odd
feeling of satisfaction swept over him. It was the first time James had managed
to talk so openly about his real feelings for Lily, not trying to cover
them up with the usual “I just want her to go out with me” stuff.
“See, there’s where I’m
getting at,” Remus said. “I sometimes brag I know what it means too, but only
to myself, that is.”
Just then, the door slammed
open once more and in came Peter, talking madly under his breath.
perfect,” he spat, clearly not noticing their presence.
James and Remus burst out
laughing immediately at how ironic the interruption had been. Peter turned to
look harshly at them. “Oh, what now?” he asked, turning his head in an attempt
to get a sideways peek at his back. “Did Sirius paste one of those enchanted
sings on my back again?”
“Not at all,” Remus
answered, frowning warningly at James, who seemed to be about to have a fit of
giggles. Peter laughed nervously. “It’s
just that last time he did it people laughed at my back for hours until I
finally realized what it was,” he answered in a would-be calm voice, but
sounding quite miserable all the same. “Are you sure he
“Cut it out, Wormtail,” James replied, rolling his eyes with
indignation. “Your back is completely clear.”
Wormtail gave them a resigned smile and then walked up to his
trunk, and, as if in imitation of what James had done earlier, started to throw
things all about, still whispering madly under his breath. Remus threw an
inquiring look at James, to which James just shrugged in response.
“What are you looking for, Wormtail?” he asked after a few seconds.
Wormtail let out a small shriek and then turned to look
sharply at them, as though he had completely forgotten they were there, bearing
a look Remus couldn’t figure out.
a book, actually,” he replied, smiling uncomfortably. “Just a
“A book?” Remus said, while he and James exchanged significant
glances. “Can you tell us which book, exactly?”
“A large, leather bound
one,” Wormtail replied, his voice cracking a bit. “I
doubt you’ve seen it.”
“Oh c’mon, try us. What’s
the title?” James asked quickly, smiling innocently in a lopsided way.
“Oh, I don’t really
remember,” Peter said, his hands now twisting madly inside his pockets.
“Enemies of something, I believe.”
of cheese, maybe?” James spat at
Wormtail shook his
head, and Remus had to make a big effort not to laugh.
Wormtail shook his head roughly again.
of… love!” James pressed on,
throwing both his arms up in mock celebration. “That’s it, right?”
Remus couldn’t restrain
himself any longer and he smiled, while Wormtail
seemed to be growing increasingly nervous. He turned to look at Remus desperately
and gave him a pleading look, but Remus didn’t feel in the mood to stand up for
him. He was too proud and fulfilled about his and James’ conversation to care
for Wormtail, at least for the time being
Finally, after sighing
loudly, Wormtail spoke, in a barely audible tone. “Enemies of Blood,” and then, at the look
on their faces, continued in a hurried and high squeak. “I was just curious and
I thought I could do a bit of reading on-”
okay, Wormtail, we believe you,” James said amusedly.
“Remus has it.”
Wormtail sighed with exaggerated relief. “I was afraid
somebody might have found it and you know… gotten mad ideas.” There was a pause
in which he grinned maniacally at them. Then he headed straight for the door,
stopping suddenly just as he was reaching the hall. “In the meanwhile, James,
Sirius is going berserk. He can’t go and fetch the butterbeers
without the Invisibility Cloak, you know.” He exited the room and closed the
door behind him.
James looked down as his
lap once again and smiled. “He’s right,” he said quietly and then eyed Remus
carefully. “Are you coming?”
Remus considered his offer
for a split second, and then stood up slowly, giving his friend a faint smile.
James beamed at him in return. “I tell you what, Moony,” he said, getting up as
well. “We’re both going to talk to someone perfect today.”
Remus’ stomach contorted
nervously and he shook his head harshly in reply.
James patted his shoulder
in a fatherly manner.
Moony. Let’s make it a dare then,”
he said, his eyes gleaming malevolently. “It should be easy after the tenth butterbeer, anyway.”
A Marauder dare is
always accepted and never broken. Rule
number five. Remus knew there was no way he was escaping now. “Oh, alright, then.”
“Is it a dare then?”
“It’s a dare.”