A/N: Thanks for reading and reviewing friends. I am really enjoying writing this story and coming up with new ways to present the characters that I love. Hope you enjoy.
Chapter Three: A Top Secret Meeting
Our detention for the Aubrey debacle was set for the following evening - Friday at ten o'clock. And I was dreading it. Firstly – it was already so unfair because we had Hogsmeade in the morning and we probably wouldn't be done until one or two in the morning. Secondly – I hadn't spoken to James since overhearing his rant about me and as a result, had also not seen much of Sirius. He'd sat with me at breakfast and told me to ignore his mate's moodiness but that was about the extent of it. Thirdly – Lily had been complaining about the detention all day because she thought it was unfair that she'd got in trouble just because she'd bothered to check that I hadn't killed James. Fourthly – I hated sodding detention: especially in the Forest.
Kettleburn thankfully only took us as far as the first clearing in the trees and set us to work on replanting Hagrid's giant pumpkins for Halloween. And then, because Sirius and James kept chucking dragon dung at each other, he'd made Lily go and work with Sirius and stupid, 'How-can-you-stand-her' Potter was sent to work with me. I turned my back as soon as he knelt beside me, digging in the dirt furiously so that I wouldn't have to pretend to notice his presence.
"Oi, chuck us some soil?" James said, throwing me a large planter. It landed on my hand painfully and I winced.
"There – now we're even," he grinned.
"You causing me bodily harm after insulting me behind my back makes us even?"
"No," he said shaking his head. "Me causing you bodily harm after you gave me this, makes us even." He lifted up his fringe and revealed a large egg shaped lump.
"Wow, that helmet was harder than it looked."
He laughed and nudged my shoulder. "Hey I'm sorry about what I said."
"Oh it's okay – I have thick skin," I shrugged. "And I suppose I can be a bit annoying."
"Don't worry – it's part of your charm," James said with another apologetic smile.
"Okay, okay James – I get it, you love me," I replied, throwing some soil in to his planter and pushing it towards him.
He rolled his eyes. "You really are annoying, you know? You should work on that."
"You should work on your face," I muttered at my pumpkin that was stubbornly growing vines through the holes in the too-small pot. We worked in silence for a while, James digging in the dirt and me, trying to untangle the vines. We both sighed as we heard Lily laughing at Sirius wearing a pumpkin on top of his head and looked at each other.
"So, Sirius told me about your idea," he said after we watched Kettleburn yell at Sirius for playing with the 'extremely precious pumpkin'.
Hang on, had I even told Sirius about my idea to intercept my sister's owl? No – I had already got my Howler this morning. Oh – maybe it was my idea for t-shirts with The Ghouls lyrics on them – no…that was the one I'd told Remus about.
"About getting Remus a girlfriend."
OH. That one!
"And you think I shouldn't interfere either, I suppose?"
"No, I think it's brilliant," James replied, glancing over his shoulder. "Remus definitely deserves a girlfriend. Especially since Peter's just got his first date to Hogsmeade."
"Really?" I asked, falling off my haunches. I always forgot about Peter – I was so concerned about Remus being kiss-less that I forgot about the other quarter of the Marauders who would probably die alone.
"Don't look so surprised!" James laughed, helping me up in to my kneeling position. "It's Jenny Higgins from Fourth."
I shook my head. "Never heard of her."
He groaned. "Ugh. You're just like Sirius sometimes. You know, the one with the really long blonde fringe and the very high voice?"
"Oh and I suppose her voice annoys you too."
He sighed. "No more than yours."
"Okay, okay – so Peter's in love – so now Remus is priority number one!" I said.
"I agree. And I've thought of the best idea to make it happen."
"You've figured out how to get him to ask Emmeline to Hogsmeade?" I asked, grabbing his arm in excitement.
"Ugh, Kate!" James said, tugging his arm free and shaking off the dirt in annoyance. "No! Emmeline Vance is not on the list since she abandoned our Quidditch team. And actually, Remus isn't feeling well, so he's not going to Hogsmeade at all."
"What? He looked fine today," I said, thinking back. A little pale, I suppose – but Remus was extraordinarily pale most of the time: nothing out of the ordinary. Then again, he was a very poorly sort of bloke.
"Yeah, just a couple of days rest will do him good – he'll be good as new on Monday."
"Oh," I frowned. "Is he in the Hospital Wing? We should go and see him."
James shook his head. "No, no – he's just holed up in the dormitory. He's particularly cranky – doesn't want to see anyone."
"Well, we should try to cheer him up at least!" I said. Sitting around the dormitory festering in your own illness sounded horrible.
"Kate – will you stop thinking about that for a minute! This is the perfect opportunity for us to meet up in Hogsmeade!"
I raised my eyebrows at him. "James, I know Remus told you that I thought you looked good half-naked, but I am still going out with your best mate."
He pushed me in to the soil as I laughed and then quickly pretended to be digging when Kettleburn hobbled over. Once he'd hobbled away, James helped me up for the millionth time.
"To discuss potential suitors for Remus, you head case! You and your mates and me and my mates – we'll all come up with a different match for him and then plan out a load of dates for him to go on," James said looking proud.
I blinked at him a few times in shock.
"That is the best idea I've ever heard!" I exclaimed, patting him on the back again with my dirty hand and grimacing when he glared. "Oops?"
"Well anyway, Sirius thought it was idiotic but he knew you'd like the idea. So – this is how I'll really make it up to you for talking behind your back."
"Aw James," I said, pouting at him. "You're just a big marshmallow underneath it all, aren't you?"
"You'll make sure Lily's there?"
"She said you were going with Mary."
He shook his head. "Had to say that so I wouldn't look too keen when she said she was going with someone else. You'll have to think of a way to get me out of that lie."
"Why would I do that?"
"Because! You owe me for this idea!"
"This is all a very tangled web, James," I sighed, tucking my hair behind my ear and pulling a face when I realized that I'd tracked mud all over the side of my face.
"Just do it," he sighed, throwing a pumpkin at my head.
"So, what exactly are we doing?" Dorcas asked as we hurried down the path leading to the village. We were bundled up extra tight because the selfish Augureys had got it right and the wind was obviously threatening to bring along a thunderstorm. I pulled my hood up further over my head and sighed.
"We're having a top secret meeting."
Lily groaned. "Are the Marauders trying to get us involved in their idiotic prank for Halloween?"
"No! It's much more important than that," I said, sticking my nose in the air knowingly. They just had to wait – they'd be floored by my brilliance soon enough.
"Is Remus coming?" Dorcas asked as she opened up her umbrella. "He wasn't at breakfast."
"No, he's ill again," I said. "You know, I have a theory about that."
Lily raised an eyebrow looking oddly alarmed. "Really?"
"Yes! I think he must have picked up bunny flu from that rabbit he had," I explained. "And then, he just sits in his dormitory and sweats amongst all the sickness and it's only making him more poorly."
The girls were looking at me blankly and Lily gave a heavy sigh.
"Bunny flu, honestly?"
Just then, Dorcas managed to distract us by being dragged to the ground by her rogue umbrella.
"Let go of it, you fool!" I yelled as the wind caught underneath it and pulled her a couple of feet backwards.
"How light is Dorcas?" Lily muttered as we hurried towards our friend and grabbed on to an ankle each. Finally, she had the sense to let go of her devil umbrella and it flew up, caught in the gusts of rainy wind.
"You'd better hang on to Lily and I, Dorcas – if we aren't careful, you'll fly away next."
"It's that bloody umbrella! I swear someone jinxed it," Dorcas said, looking around suspiciously as Lily and I both linked an arm through one of hers. Eventually, after a few mishaps where Dorcas tripped over her own feet, we made it to the Three Broomsticks and out of the rain. Predictably it was chock-a-block and we could hardly move. Thank Merlin, my crafty boyfriend and his right-hand man had already found seats – although judging by the disgruntled Third Years standing huddled in a group beside their booth – it had been less to do with craftiness and more to do with brute strength.
"Evans!" James called, raising a hand.
"He looks all right," Lily whispered to me, looking puzzled as we made our way over to the booth and James pulled out an extra chair for Dorcas at the head of the table after letting Lily to slide into the booth beside him. I slid across the opposite seat to join Sirius and he draped his arm around my shoulders without even a greeting. Yes, we were a truly romantic pair.
"Are you feeling all right Potter? Kate said that you had to cancel your date with Mary because you had a horrid stomach bug," she said, accepting one of the butterbeers James passed around to us. He froze in the middle of handing me mine and I heard Sirius choke on his own drink.
"Er," James was glaring at me as he fought for words. I don't know what he was so upset about – he'd asked me to come up with an excuse to get him out of his lie. Indigestion was an excellent explanation for most things, I'd found.
Sirius chuckled. "Kate's got the wrong end of the stick – since Peter got a date too, James wanted to keep me company."
"And what am I, chopped flobberworm?" I said, snatching the still hanging butterbeer out of James' hand.
"You look a bit like a flobberworm right now," Sirius teased patting down my windswept hair.
"Do flobberworms even have hair?" I asked thoughtfully.
"For the love of Merlin, can you please stop talking about flobberworms?" Dorcas said, pushing her butterbeer away disgustedly.
"You gave up your date to hang out with Sirius, his girlfriend and her mates?" Lily still pressed, obviously fascinated. She was being a bit thick though – had she honestly believed that James had a date with someone else in the first place? The same James who practically fainted when she passed him in the corridor?
"Er–" James Potter: still extremely good with words.
"Anyway, what's going on? Prongs says the two of you have cooked up some master plan," Sirius said to stop his mate from spluttering all over himself.
"Well," I said grinning.
"Oh no!" Lily said, slapping her forehead. Dorcas seemed to agree, shaking her head and reaching for her butterbeer again.
"You've got that Katie-look," Lily sighed.
I looked between my boyfriend and Lily and raised my eyebrows. "Do you two talk behind my back or something?"
They both laughed and Dorcas rolled her eyes. "No – we've just all agreed that Katie is your evil alter ego."
"You absolute arse!" I said, smacking Sirius' arm as he doubled up laughing. "Why would you tell them that?"
"Anyway, enough about you Katie," James said, grinning as I hissed in anger. "We're here to discuss Remus."
Sirius groaned. "Oh bollocks. Not this again."
"What?" Lily asked. "What's wrong with him?"
"Nothing!" James and Sirius replied immediately. They even harmonized. It was very odd.
"Nothing physically – but emotionally, the poor boy is a wreck. Heart sick and alone," I explained with a sad sigh.
Sirius scoffed and downed the remainder of his drink before asking if anyone wanted seconds.
When he'd gone off to the bar to get us more beverages, James and I filled my friends in on our ingenious plan to get Remus' love life going. Surprisingly, they didn't take it well.
"Can't we just leave the poor bloke alone?" Lily said as Sirius returned and handed out fresh bottles.
"Maybe he likes being single – it's not the worst thing in the world, most of us are!" Dorcas added.
"But he's so shy! It's not a choice like it is with you two. Dorcas, how many people asked you to Hogsmeade this trip?"
She shrugged. "One."
"Who was it?" James asked interestedly. "It was Aubrey wasn't it? I saw him giving you the eye."
When she reddened, the two boys broke in to laughter.
"Lad doesn't understand the concept of 'leagues'," Sirius said, shaking his head. "At least you said no."
"Anyway – three people asked Lily!" Dorcas said elbowing the redhead.
That put a stop to James' smile.
"Four actually – you forgot about this one," I said nodding to James. He gave me such a contemptuous look; I shrank against Sirius to hide.
"Potter didn't actually ask me to go with him. And Diggory, White and Doxy are all conceited pricks," Lily said shaking her head. "But – what does this have to do with anything?"
"Poor Remus is holed up in his dormitory dying from bunny flu and he needs our help! He deserves to come to Hogsmeade and be forced in to Madame Puddifoot's!" I insisted.
"It's a rite of passage for a bloke," James added helpfully despite his annoyance with me.
"He'll hate us," Lily said after a moment.
"He'll probably throw a fit. He's so even-tempered most of the time – this will definitely be the thing to throw him off the deep end," Dorcas said.
James laughed. "You clearly don't know Remus like we do."
But Sirius was suddenly nodding. "Actually – this is starting to sound like a laugh. I love pissing off Moony."
"Yes!" I said, kissing his cheek with a smacking noise and he grinned and pressed his lips to mine. Lily made a face and Dorcas and James looked away, but Sirius and I were too busy kissing to properly notice.
"Okay!" Lily finally said, and we broke apart. "If it'll make the two of you stop snogging your faces off – we can talk about your idea, Kate."
"Aha! Well, it was half James' idea," I said nodding modestly trying to make James look good in front of her.
"I suppose that explains the complete bonkerdom," she replied. "The two of you scheming – Godric help us."
"Hey! It's a perfectly good plan. We're all different, right? So we all choose a girl for Remus to go out with and that'll give him plenty of options to choose from," James said using the strange, deep voice he uses around Lily.
"No way am I okay with turning Remus Lupin in to a womanizer," Dorcas said, shaking her head.
"Not at the same time!" I protested.
"Yeah, I doubt he could handle it," Sirius laughed.
"Hey! He could handle it if he wanted to," I argued. "But we won't make him prove you wrong – the point is, we'll have back ups if the first few don't work out."
"I don't know," Lily sighed. "Are you sure he'd be okay with this?"
James nodded immediately and Sirius shrugged.
"Won't know until we try. I got Peter a date with Jenny today and that seems to be working out," Sirius said, nodding behind Lily and Dorcas. We all turned to see Peter at a table across the room laughing with a girl with a very long fringe.
"Actually, I got them together," James put in. "She thought you were flirting with her."
Sirius chuckled and shook his head at me. "Don't listen to him. I would never flirt with Fringy over there."
I narrowed my eyes at him and he laughed again. "How could I when I have someone with such gorgeous flobberworm hair sitting right beside me?"
I grinned and we both laughed against each other's lips as our friends groaned.
The rest of Hogsmeade was very wet. Peter had joined us after a successful date with his fringed-lover and the six of us attempted to look in the shops on the High Street before we went back to the Castle. Unfortunately the thunderstorm was at full force and we decided to call it quits when, after slipping on a puddle, Dorcas almost face planted on to the street and James had to catch her. Thankfully, we didn't have to spend much time convincing Peter to take part in our plan because he would have taken a bath with a Grindylow if Sirius and James asked him to. When we got to the Common Room, Sirius shook hands with Lily and James and congratulated them for not having a yelling match. That made Lily very embarrassed, so she hurried up the stairs to the dormitory with Dorcas in tow. I stayed back with the boys and kicked a bunch of First Years out of the sofas by the fire. James and Peter started a game of Chess and I curled up in an armchair with Sirius.
After just staring in to the fire contentedly for almost fifteen minutes, I got very bored.
"Shouldn't you check on Remus?" I said, poking Sirius' face so he would open his eyes. He swatted my hand away and started to play with a piece of my hair.
"I didn't know you were a Seer," I said, running my own fingers along his damp t-shirt.
"Well then, how about we go up there and listen to some Ghouls' songs and gently ease him in to this little plan of ours?"
Sirius chuckled. "One, I do not listen to that crap. Two, I really think you should let me break it to him."
"Why can't I?"
"Well Kate – I'm just guessing, but I think you'll probably spew some nonsense about him being heartsick and put him off the idea."
"Besides," Peter spoke up. "It's Lad's night."
Ugh. Lad's night. I mean, I understood the reasoning – but it was overly exclusive and so strict! What kind of losers needed to put aside a day once a month just to spend time together without any girls? What did they get up to? I'd bet my sister's Head Girl badge that it was something naughty – it certainly seemed that way.
"Can I come?" I asked, pouting at Sirius. "I'll just lie on your bed and make no noise."
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "As much as I hate turning down the chance to get you in my bed – it's Lad's night, Kate."
"No birds allowed!" James piped up.
And he called me annoying.
"Don't pout," Sirius said, kissing my lips softly before he moved me off his lap and stood up to stretch. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"It's not even about you," I said with a forced shrug. "Will you at least talk to Remus about our idea when you get up there?"
"Promise," Peter yawned, unconvincingly. Sirius and James exchanged a look that, as usual, I didn't understand.
"It's not fair! I want to see Remus too – I haven't seen him since yesterday."
The boys exchanged looks again. Stupid idiots having silent conversations – I bet they only did it for show and had no clue what the other was thinking. Sirius was probably looking at James and thinking, 'Hey, isn't my girlfriend adorably persistent?' and James would look back solemnly and think, 'I want some toast.'
"You'll see him tomorrow too," Sirius said, ruffling my hair. "Night Kate."
"Some lad's night!" I muttered as the three of them headed up the staircases. "It's only four in the afternoon."
A/N: No Remus oddly in this chapter even though all of the conversation concerned him. He'll find out about the plan in the next chapter...how do you think he'll react? :)