That's What Friends Are
half-unconscious young man was lying under a table. The bar's proprietor poked
at him with a broom. "Come on now, time to go. We're closed."
young man pulled himself out and stood, brushing the non-existent dirt from his
robes as he yawned. "Sorry," he muttered as he stumbled towards the
shook her head sadly, watching him leave. He'd been here every day for the past
month and every night she'd had to chase him out. So depressed he seemed,
unlike the normally boisterous boy she had known for several years. She had
always enjoyed when he and his friends would bound into the bar so happy and
carefree. She wondered what had happened to him, what had made him so glum?
Moving over to the long, ornate bar, she pulled out a piece of parchment and
scratched out a quick note to a very good friend.
on the cobblestone road, he dragged his feet along, nearly making himself trip.
Another yawn escaped his lips and he looked up at the dark sky. There was no
moon tonight, but the stars shone brightly. A deep frown fell across his
features. Sneaking a glance to his side, he saw no one and shifted his
features. He shook his new body from head to tail with nary a sound.
padded down the street, his eyes searching lest he be noticed by anyone.
Turning down an alleyway, he saw the familiar box with the discarded fabric
patches inside. Climbing into the box and turning around several times before
lying down, he curled up and closed his eyes.
thoughts drifted to his friends. He wondered what they were doing right now.
They all were probably home curled up in their beds having sweet dreams and not
even thinking of him at all. He sighed deeply and his head shifted as he
whined. Oh how he wished he was with them, any of them. He missed their jokes.
He missed hearing them snore. This lonely box was nothing like the round room
with six, huge beds covered in long, red draperies. He missed the warmth, the
trips to the kitchen, the delicious food. His stomach growled, reminding him
that he hadn't eaten in several days. No, he needed to stop thinking and just
move on. Slowly, his thoughts dispersed and he fell into a deep, tired sleep.
Potter sat at the table eating breakfast with his parents when a familiar tawny
owl appeared at the window. His brow furrowed, wondering why he would be
getting an owl from Hogwarts this early. Schedules weren't due for another few
weeks. "I've got it," he said as he jumped from his chair to let the
owl dropped a letter in his hand and immediately flew back out the window. Obviously
they don't expect a reply, he thought to himself of who had sent it as he
opened the letter. He had to squint to make out the signature and his eyes
widened as soon as he realized who it was. "Dumbeldore?" he
questioned aloud, forgetting his parents were in the room.
that, son?" his father asked, lowering the <I>Daily
Prophet</I> from in front of him.
eyes scanned the parchment and his brow furrowed. "Merlin, Sirius. What's
gotten into your head?" He spoke as he walked back to the table and
flopping back down into his chair.
wrong with Sirius?" His mother moved to look over his shoulder.
do not like to be the bearer of news of this type, but I felt you should know.
Your friend, Mr. Black, has been seen rather consistently within the confines
of the Three Broomsticks. Madame Rosmerta informed me this evening that she is
afraid he is living somewhere in town alone. He seems quite despondent and is
always very tired. We have attempted to contact his parents to no avail.
Perhaps you may wish to ask your parents if you can summon your other friends
and go to find Mr. Black and escort him somewhere safe. I trust that you will
do what is required, Mr. Potter.
mother put a heavy hand on his shoulder. "Oh, the poor dear. You must
bring him back here, James. Sirius should know he is welcome." The past
several summers, Sirius and the other boys had visited, quickly becoming
favored in the Potters' eyes.
father's brow was furrowed beneath the black frames of his glasses.
"What's that about Sirius?"
looked up and sighed, "I guess he finally ran away from home. He's been
talking about it for ages. You know how his parents are, all demanding and
such." He shook his head sadly, looking at the parchment once again.
"I'm going to owl Remus and Peter right away."
a wonderful idea. I'm sure the three of you will be able to find him
easily." His mother leaned down and kissed his forehead. "You're such
a good boy, James."
blushed, "Aw, Mum."
father nodded in agreement. "Your mother is right. Sirius is always
welcome here." Mr. Potter liked the young Black boy. He was so unlike most
of his family, which was a good thing.
wiggled out from under his mother and ran to go send messages to his friends.
He was sure Peter would come, but Remus was going to be a maybe. If his father
was out, Remus was sure to come.
Lupin stood under the cover of the small lean-to at the Hogsmeade Station. The
rain was coming down in sheets, making visibility minimal. He sat down heavily
on a bench and was startled when he heard a squeak. Looking down, he saw a very
wet brown rat scuttling away from him. "Sorry 'bout that, Wormtail,"
he said apologetically.
rat's shape shifted into that of a pudgy boy with dirty brown hair. Peter
Pettigrew shook his head, trying to dry himself somewhat. "That's alright,
Remus," he smiled. "It was the fastest way I could get here. I stayed
pretty dry too!" He grinned broadly at his accomplishment.
couldn't help but return his smile. "That's good. So, do you have any idea
why James called us here?"
smaller boy shrugged and flopped down on the bench, his short legs swinging
back and forth. "Don't know. Maybe he's planned a prank or
not a prank," came a disembodied voice from the corner. James shrugged his
invisibility cloak off his shoulders, his face grim and determined. The rain
slid off the cloak and onto the concrete below.
Prongs," Remus greeted with a sigh. "Nice of you to let us know you
sighed in return. This was going to be hard enough, but if Remus was going to
be his usual sarcastic self, things were about to get worse. "I'm sorry,
Moony. It's just... Sirius is in trouble." He mumbled as he pulled a piece
of parchment from his pocket and handed it to Remus.
other boy read over the letter and his brow furrowed in thought. "What's
he doing here then?"
want to see," Peter said as he climbed onto the bench behind Remus to read
over his shoulder. "Oh dear, he finally did it, didn't he?"
away from home," James answered. "He's been threatening all year. I
guess it was just too much when he got home for break." He turned and
looked out at the rain. It hadn't let up at all. Poor Sirius was probably out
there somewhere soaked to the bone.
just when was someone going to tell me this?" Remus glared at his
friends. He was always the last to know anything. He handed the paper back to
James and stood. Yes, he was upset at his friends for keeping him in the dark,
but finding Sirius was the first order of business. "We better get out
there and find him." Producing an umbrella from under his cloak, he held
it outside the lean-to and opened it.
back to the other two, he looked at them incredulously. "Well? Are you
coming or not? There's enough room for everyone."
to his word, the umbrella kept them all dry. They walked down the platform and
into the small town of Hogsmeade. Their first stop was the Three Broomsticks.
James hoped that Madame Rosmerta had seen Sirius that day and would know where
was not going to be their lucky day. Not only was it raining cats and dogs
outside, rather ironically, but Madame Rosmerta had not seen Sirius for over a
day. The rather dejected trio stepped back out into the soaked streets.
Padfoot, where are you?" James asked to nobody in particular.
face was wrinkled up in thought. "You don't think he'd go up to the Shack,
do you? I mean, it's raining and all and it might be where he is staying."
lifted a hand to ruffle the boy's hair. "And once again, Wormtail proves
his worth." He laughed and began walking up the long road towards the
place that was his home for one night every month during school. The Shack
always looked eerily different during the day. Passing through the old, rusted
gate, they made their way up the winding walkway to the front door.
halfway up the walk, James grew impatient. He dashed out from under the
umbrella and ran towards the door. He didn't hear his friends calling out to
him. His only desire was to make sure Sirius was safe. Bursting through the
front door, he stopped. Even though it was daytime, the Shack was still dark
and gloomy. Pulling out his wand, he lit it and moved across the foyer into the
are you here?" he called out as he walked along and looked into the dimly
lit room. He was nearing the stairs when the others walked into the house.
not here, James," Remus called out before he could set foot on the stairs.
turned to look at his friends, "What makes you say that, Moony?"
other boy tapped his nose. "Nothing much. I would think that if he'd been
here at all I would be able to smell him, in either form."
shoulders slumped in defeat. "Why wouldn't he come up here? He knows it's
safe and dry."
he just didn't want to be seen coming up here," Peter shrugged.
"Someone might follow and that would ruin the whole 'Shrieking Shack'
right," Remus added. "He's probably been staying somewhere in town.
Maybe one of the ladies has taken pity on him and given him shelter? Whatever
the case, perhaps we should wait out the rain for a little while."
nodded, completely dejected. He wanted to find his friend and soon. He was
worried about him after the way Madame Rosmerta had talked about him. He moved
over to sit down on one of the old, broken couches in the living area. Dust
rose into the air as his bottom touched the cushion.
sure he's fine," Peter finally said after they sat in silence for a few
looked out the window, watching the water drip down the pane and puddle in a
hole on the sill. Waiting was always hard, especially for James. He hated not
doing anything. And when his best friend was involved, it was even worse. With
every ripple from every drop, he remembered everything he and Sirius had done
together since they started school. Drip. Turning all the girls in
school's hair pink. Drip. Discovering Remus was a werewolf. Drip.
Becoming Animagi. Drip. Turning all the Professors' robes into dresses. Drip.
felt a hand on his arm and looked up into Remus' deep eyes. " The rain's let up enough," he said softly.
"Let's go find Sirius."
nodded and let his friend pull him to his feet. The three friends left the
Shack in search of their other companion. His heart felt a little lighter. He
knew they would find Sirius soon, in perfectly good shape. Of course his best
friend would be fine.
they stepped onto the main road, the rain had stopped completely. Peter
immediately jumped into a puddle and laughed, splashing Remus and James. They
chuckled and looked around. "Why don't we split up," James suggested.
"We can cover more ground that way."
Remus answered. "Peter, you may want to... check out the back roads, if
you take my meaning."
smaller boy looked up a bit confused at first. Then he smiled and nodded.
"Sure, I'll start behind the Three Broomsticks. Maybe he's back there."
I'll go right and you can go left, James."
nodded in agreement. He started off down the left side of the street, checking
every alley and side road. Just as he was getting frustrated, something made
him check around Gladrags closer than he normally would. He saw the box outside
the door, filled with old scraps. As he checked closer, the piece of wool on
top moved and a black nose peeked out from under it. "Padfoot?"
hearing his name, the large, black dog shook the strip of cloth from his head
and looked up, his eyes focusing slowly on the boy before him. He recognized
James immediately and bound out of the box to tackle his friend, licking his
face like a faithful hound.
laughter alerted the seamstress and she poked her head out the back door.
"Oh, is that your dog?" she asked.
looked up, a large grin on his face. "Erm, yes. He's been missing for
best take him home. Food is scarce 'round here. I've fed him what I
could." She tossed a few more scraps onto the box.
you, ma'am," he said and waited for the woman to close the door before
turning back to his friend. He jumped back when he saw two stormy gray eyes
staring back at him surrounded by long, scraggly black hair.
are you doing here, James?" Sirius asked as he helped his friend to his
" What do you think?" he responded as he
wrapped his arms tightly around Sirius. "We were looking for you."
Sirius stepped back a bit, afraid that James had brought his parents. "Who
told you I was here?"
we, as in Peter, Remus and me. You see, Madame Rosmerta sent Dumbledore a note
saying you were here alone and he let me know and you know I couldn't just let
you live here alone. Why didn't you come to my house? You know Mum and Dad
would welcome you."
ran a hand through his wet raven locks. "I didn't want to burden you and
your family," he muttered.
reached forward and cuffed him lightly upside the head. "You are not a
burden. You know how much Mum and Dad love you. C'mon. You're my bloody
looked at the ground, embarrassed that James was so upset with him. Before he
could respond, he found himself being hugged within an inch of his life.
"Siri! James found you!" Peter had suddenly appeared and wrapped his
arms tightly around him.
couldn't help but let a smile come to his lips. Leave it to Peter to bring him
back to reality. The kid was a little naive at times, but he always seemed to
cheer them up when they were feeling down. He hugged Peter in return taking in
the warmth of his friend. "Sorry to have worried you, Peter," he said
softly. "That wasn't my intention."
you did run away from home," James stated. At his friend's nod, he let out
a sigh. "Sometimes I wish you'd think about us, too. We're your friends.
We're here to help."
other boy shrugged in response. He knew they were worried, but he just couldn't
bring himself to go anywhere he might not be wanted. He was tired of that and
never wanted to feel alone again. He looked up at the end of the alley and saw
tall boy wandered towards them. Their eyes met and an unspoken message went
between them. They both understood. "'Lo, Sirius. Hungry?" Sirius
nodded and blushed as his stomach growled. Remus smiled glad his friend was not
injured, just lonely. "Let's go see Madame Rosmerta. I'm sure she will
have plenty to eat."
led the way, James and Remus walking on either side of Sirius. They walked in
silence for a while until Remus spoke. "You can come stay at my
house," he offered. "I wouldn't mind the company."
tilted his head towards him. "I'd like that," he answered. "I
could stay with you during the full moon."
you can stay with me the rest of the time," James added. "And you can
come too, Remus."
lifted his arms and wrapped them around James and Remus' shoulders.
"Thanks," he said softly.
and Remus spoke simultaneously. "That's what friends are for."