It all started on the Monday before Halloween.
"Psst!" James hissed in Remus's ear. "Sirius fancies Kathryn. Pass it on."
"Everybody knows that."
Pass it on."
Remus grinned wickedly and passed it on.
"I do not!" Sirius protested.
"Do too. Just
about everybody knows that."
James began listing the reasons that everyone in the year (except
Kathryn Michels and her best friends, Lily Evans and Adriana Schwartz) knew
that Sirius was madly in love with her.
The list turned out to be almost as tedious as the lecture Professor
Binns (who, of course, never noticed a thing) was giving.
Remus listened to the message spread throughout the
classroom. When it finally reached
Adriana, she nearly fell off her chair in a fit of giggles. "What?" Lily and Kathryn asked
together, but their friend was laughing too hard to reply.
"I hate getting left out of a joke," Kathryn
"Calm down, or you'll start hyperventilating,"
Lily warned. She didn't sound overly
concerned; Adriana's "daily laughing fits" were famous throughout the
The girl on the other side of Lily whispered in her
ear. Lily giggled and said to Kathryn in
a loud whisper that carried through the room, "Sirius fancies you."
Kathryn's reply also carried through the room. "Oh, he does, does he?" she said
If it was possible, Adriana laughed harder. Sirius, on the other hand, looked slightly
"Reason fourteen," Peter interrupted James,
"the look on your face right now."
Remus snuck another look at the girls, noting that
Adriana had not stopped laughing. He saw
Kathryn shoot Sirius a furtive glance bafore making another futile attempt to
calm Adriana down. "You know,"
he said thoughtfully, "she might fancy you too. In fact . . . I think she does."
think?" James and Peter
snickered. "Oh, shut up."
"Yeah," Remus said, "she just doesn't show
it. You know, Siri, you do like to let
the world know how you feel. Unless --
" he added, seeing Sirius open his mouth furiously, "you're busy
"Thinking of becoming a what-cha-ma-call-it -- one
of those Muggle nutters -- a psychiatrist?" James asked.
"Yep," Remus said cheerfully.
"No, he should have a column in the Daily
Prophet," Sirius suggested, obviously glad to get the subject off
himself. "People can write in to
him with their problems."
"Like . . . you?"
"No, I don't have problems."
"He has issues."
"No, he's in denial.
"Absolutely!" Sirius laughed.
For the rest of the interminable class, Sirius and
Kathryn kept sneaking glances at each other from their respective ends of the
room. Professor Binns continued with his
lecture and never noticed the little drama unfolding in front of him.
"Honestly," Lily could be heard to say as they
finally left the room, "you could put a neon sign over his head and he
Simultaneously, James's and Sirius's eyes lit up. Remus grinned.
"What's neon?" Peter wanted to know.
"Probably some Muggle thing. Anyways, who cares?" James said
airily. "A sign . . . maybe we
could make it blink on and off . . . ?"
"There's that charm Flitwick mentioned last
week," Remus said thoughtfully.
"Oskeelo, or something . . ."
"Doesn't that have to be set up beforehand?"
"Excellent," Sirius said gleefully. "A night prank."
"Oh, no," Peter said fearfully.
"Relax, we have my dad's -- " James started to
say, but Remus shushed him.
"You want people to know? That fifth year over there's a prefect!"
"I wonder if one of us will be prefect," Peter
James looked horrified.
"Irrelevant comment, Peter," Remus announced.
"Oh, that's ages away," Sirius said.
"Only two years!" James said, still bothered by
"Yeah, that's ages!"
"In the big scheme of things . . . "
"We're not talking about the big scheme of
"It's still not that long."
"Yes, it is!"
"No, it's not!"
"How can we get so far off the subject?" Remus
demanded. "Was there ever a point
to this conversation?"
"Of course," said Sirius, surprised. "A night prank. Tonight.
"Will you two please cut it out? This argument has no point!"
"That is the point, Remus. They're arguing about nothing as usual."
"Ye -- "
Late that night, firelight flickered over the countless
armchairs and tables of the Gryffindor common room. The room appeared to be deserted.
Of course, appearances could be deceiving.
"Ouch!" Peter hissed as James accidentally
stepped on his toes. "Look, why are
we all under this thing? I'll stay
"No," Sirius said firmly, "you're com --
"Wait," said Remus suddenly. "Guys -- let's . . . let's not do
"What?" said Sirius and James together,
throwing off the Invisibility Cloak.
"I said, let's not do this. I have a bad feeling. Something horrible's going to happen, I just
There was silence for a moment. "Remus, you stink at Divination,"
Sirius reminded him.
"I don't even take Divination."
"But if he doesn't take it, he could be very good at
it and not know it," James pointed out logically. "And people who stink at Divination
usually don't have visions, or premonitions, or
"Not a vision," Remus said. "If it was a vision I'd know what's
going to happen."
"A premonition then."
"The future can be changed," Sirius said
firmly. "Besides, what's the worst
that could happen?"
"Detention," Peter pointed out. "What if we got caught by Hatabie? That could be pretty horrible."
The boys shuddered.
Professor Hatabie was the new Potions Master, and no-one liked him at
all. He could be downright cruel to some
of the students.
"But it's worth it if we set up the prank,"
James said finally.
"And spectacularly humiliate Binns," Sirius
"Due to our misfortune in having History of Magic
two days in a row," James concluded.
They both looked at Remus, knowing that if he insisted on
their forgoing the prank completely, they would.
For his part, Remus was uncertain. He did have a bad feeling, but their
arguments were (for once) logical . . . and it would be fun . . . and like
Sirius said, what was the worst that could happen? Remus still didn't like it, but Sirius was
putting on his puppy-dog face, and he could never say no to that without
feeling completely cruel . . . .
Against his better judgement, Remus nodded.
"You sure it's okay?" James asked cautiously.
Remus wasn't at all sure, but he nodded again. Really, when they put it the way they did, he
couldn't let them down.
"All right then," Sirius said, holding up the
"I still don't think we should all squeeze under
that thing," Peter said.
"Come on, Pete," James said. "We have to stick together."
"All for one and one for all," Sirius added. Everybody stared at him. "What?"
"You read The Three Musketeers?" Remus couldn't
"It annoys my mum and dad."
"Um . . . why would reading some book I never heard
of annoy your parents?" James asked.
"The Three Musketeers. It's a Muggle book."
" . . . Ah."
"Let's make that our motto," Peter suggested,
breaking the sudden tension. "Three
Musketeers, four Marauders . . . it's cool."
"All for one and one for all?" James asked.
"What else would I be talking about?"
"Nothing, 'cept that would mean you'd have to get
under the cloak." James grinned
Peter opened his mouth to protest, realized he had been
defeated, and closed it again.
Sirius picked up the cloak, threw it over the four of them, and they
climbed out the portrait hole.
They met absolutely nobody on the way to the History of
Magic classroom, which Remus found slightly unnerving and the others seemed not
to notice at all. The prank was
successfully set up and the way back to Gryffindor Tower was also uneventful,
unless you counted a close shave with Filch's cat -- which the boys certainly
didn't. After all, they got away, and
Peter only knocked over one suit of armor in the process.
"See?" Sirius crowed triumphantly as they threw
off the cloak in the saftey of the common room.
"Yet," Remus muttered.
"This is bothering me," Adriana said quietly as
she pushed Lily's scroll forward an inch or so.
Lily and Kathryn looked at each other and burst out laughing, while
Adriana tried not to grin but failed.
It was Tuesday morning and the girls had gotten to
History of Magic rather early for no particular reason, only that Kathryn had
woken up early and knocked over a stack of books, waking up the others and
giving Gryffindor's third year girls an early start to the day.
"You're weird," Lily said to Adriana once she
had recovered her composure.
"Thank you," Adriana said cheerfully.
"Insane," Kathryn added. "Always and forever."
Adriana shook her head.
"Only some of the time," she reminded them.
"Of course," Lily said. "Pay no attention to this
jerk." She gave Kathryn a
shove. "If you were insane all the
time, you'd be like them."
The girls shuddered.
"Them" was their unofficial code word for the four Gryffindor
"I wonder if they're ever serious," Adriana
began, following a well-worn path of conversation.
"No, never!" Lily and Kathryn chorused.
"These seats taken?" said a voice from above
them. Kathryn looked up to see James
Potter looking at her expectantly and burst into a fresh wave of giggles.
James rolled his eyes.
"I said, are these seats taken?" he repeated, unusually
"Well, no," Kathryn said uncertainly. Why would they want to sit at the front of
the room, much less near the girls? Lily
and Adriana looked just as confused.
Kathryn raised her eyebrows at them and turned back to the boys, gazing
thoughtfully at Sirius as he sat down.
She wasn't sure what her feelings for him were. Actually, she hadn't thought about it before
she had heard that he fancied her.
He was cute, she supposed -- at least, Margaret and
Shannon, the other third year Gryffindor girls, thought he was. Kathryn made a face, listening to them giggle
Not that there was anything wrong with giggling -- Merlin
knew Kathryn and her friends did it enough.
No, it was just that Margaret and Shannon were undoubtably giggling
Not that there was anything wrong with that either; much
as she hated the boys, Kathryn had to admit they could be rather amusing. The boys and the girls had actually been
friends as first years, and had spent most of the year laughing at each other. She just didn't see how the girls' whispers
of "He's so cute!" made them giggle.
"Cute" to Kathryn and her friends meant little kids and baby
animals, not incredibly annoying thirteen-year-olds. How was Sirius's hair "cute",
Kathryn wondered idly how she had got so far off her original
subject. Sirius noticed her staring at
him and waved -- from two meters away.
She shuddered and turned away to find Adriana shaking her head with a
small smile on her face.
"You know, Kattie, if you don't stop staring at him
so much people might think you like him too."
"Don't call me that," Kathryn huffed, shoving
"Why are you staring at him anyway?"
"Because it's very oddly intriguing when a guy likes
"So . . . you don't like him?"
are you kidding, I hate him!"
"'Hate' is a very strong word."
Hard as it was, the two girls kept their conversation to
whispers as the boys argued loudly, Margaret and Shannon giggled, Lily checked
over her Potions essay for the fifteenth time, and the Ravenclaws, with whom
the Gryffindors shared all History lessons, talked and compared notes.
Once Professor Binns started the lesson, everybody tried
valiantly to take notes, but most returned to their former activities within
ten minutes, albeit a bit more quietly.
Several Ravenclaws, as well as Lily, managed to pay attention until five
minutes before the end of the lesson. It
was then that, next to Kathryn, James Potter pulled out his wand.
She glanced at him, tearing her attention away from her game
of tic-tac-toe. Her opponent, Adriana,
also looked over, plainly wondering why he would need his wand in the middle of
a History lesson.
Their unspoken questions were soon answered. James grinned and winked at them before
pointing his wand somewhere over Professor Binns's head and whispering an
incantation that they couldn't catch.
Instantly, the words DEAD BORING appeared over the
ghost's head, complete with arrows pointing right to him.
The class erupted in silent laughter, not daring to make
too much noise. Adriana really did fall
off her chair this time.
Unfortunately, Professor Hatabie chose that moment to
step through the door, carrying a stack of papers. His cold grey eyes took in the words over the
teachers head, as well as the laughing class and James slipping his wand back
into his pocket. "Detention, Mr.
Potter," he said quietly. James,
along with the whole class, looked up in surprise. "You will meet me in the entrance hall
tomorrow night at five," the professor continued.
"But sir," James said, regaining his composure,
"There's an emergency Chaser practice tomorrow night. Could I do it on Thurs -- "
"Too late," Hatabie snapped.
"No!" the professor growled. "No night but tomorrow will do. Five o'clock.
"Yes," James mumbled.
Professor Hatabie dropped his papers on an empty desk by
the door and left the room.
Everybody except James started laughing again.
"Man, he's -- I don't know -- kind of abrupt, isn't
he?" Lily giggled.
It was only then that Professor Binns looked up and
asked, "Is something wrong?"
Everybody fell silent, trying hard to keep straight
Professor Binns shrugged and returned to his