Four Broken Boys

Chapter 19

Even though it was only April, all the professors had started to lecture their unfortunate students about their upcoming exams. They told them that all the notes they'd been taking during the year would be of great use during revision. James and Sirius, of course had ignored this and refused to spend their precious time studying. Peter, however, was a bit conflicted. He wanted to follow Sirius and James and just not study, but he wanted good marks. Remus had started to go to the library more often and many times came back with a bag full of books. A few times he asked Peter to join him. Peter refused, not wanting Sirius or James to think any less of him.

"It's peer pressure." Remus told him one evening. "They don't study so you follow the crowd in fear of being different."

Peter pointed out that Remus didn't have to worry about that because Sirius and James liked him because he was smart.

"Then study and become smart."

"I'd rather not."

Remus just shrugged and went back to his notes.

One particularly sunny Saturday the Marauders were walking down the corridors. James had become convinced that there must be secret passages and he was determined to find them. With sighs of experation and rolled eyes they followed him. James would stop every three steps and knock on the wall with his ear pressed against the stone.

"What are you doing?" Sirius asked.

"Searching."

"Do you even know what you're searching for?" Peter asked skeptically.

"Not really," James replied sheepishly. "But I've seen muggles do it."

"I think what Jamie here is trying to do is find hollow wall." Remus smirked.

"How?" James had his face pressed against the stone.

"By listening." Remus replied, as if it was such an obvious answer.

Soon enough they all had their ears pressed against the wall while knocking. It was a strange sight, four boys crouching, knocking on solid stone. Most of the time Sirius was just sat on the floor with "this is stupid" floating through his mind. James was much too eager and excitedly gave out many false alarms. Peter wondered what he could be doing instead of this as his knuckles hurt from knocking so much. Remus genuinely thought that James was right, but at the moment he just didn't have the effort to try.

Suddenly their heads whipped round as they heard voices down the corridor.

"I swear there's something wrong with that Lupin boy."

"There's nothing wrong with him! And call him Remus!"

Four heads peeked round the corner.

"Why do you think he disappears every month?" Snape asked.

"I don't know. But he's been nothing but nice to you!" Lily shouted at him.

"If you're saying something about Remus then say it to his face!" Sirius yelled at him, coming out from the corner.

"Guys, don't." Remus hissed, trying to pull him down.

"He's never done anything to you." Peter said bravely.

"You're only defending him because he helps your stupid arse in lessons." Snape sneered.

Peter crouched away, his face crumpling.

"Where do you go Lupin?" Snape turned to Remus. "Tell us."

Remus' breaths came out shallow and hurried. His eyes darted around at them.

"It's none of your business." James said through gritted teeth. "And anyway Snivellus, why do you never use shampoo on that greasy hair of yours?" He smirked.

"Shut it Potter!" Lily yelled.

"Why are you defending the slimy git?" James yelled back. "He insulted us first!"

Lily just pulled Snape away, furiously trying to avoid any confrontation. Peter looked like he was about to cry.

"You ok?" James asked, comfortingly.

"Yeah." He sniffed.

"Slimy, greasy git." Sirius muttered angrily.

"Guys, you don't have to defend me." Remus said with an attempted smile.

"Yes we do!" Sirius cried. "You're too nice so you don't say anything insulting!"

It took Sirius and James a while to stop fuming about Snape. Remus was still slightly jittery about the fact that everyone almost found out about his secret. After a while, the Marauders had decided that they were done for the day and walked back up to Griffyndor Tower.

Throughout the year the Slytherins were being horribly spiteful towards Sirius. He'd received another howler (which James ran away with and through out the window) and they seemed to have fun out of reminding him of the disappointment he was at home. While Remus was in the library he sometimes took out books for James to learn hexes and curses from. But James wouldn't listen to him about the fact that he was only a first year and no he could not use the Bat Bogey hex on Lucious Malfoy.

Still, James kept trying (in vain) to learn difficult curses with the occasional help from Remus and Peter. He couldn't bare to see his friend miserable. Many times James resorted to physical violence at Bellatrix Black and worked up a rage when his friends held him back telling him that it wasn't worth it.

Sirius and James had also started bullying Snape a lot worse. They would heckle him in the corridors and tease him cruelly. Remus often asked them not to, thinking that if they were meaner to Snape then that would give him more motivation to blurt out his secret. They just told him that they had to because he was horrible to Peter and him.

Lily felt slightly betrayed by Snape so for the next few weeks she hung around her other friends. Snape made friends with the other Slytherins and sometimes teased Sirius about his howler. Snape also seemed to suddenly know ugly spells and curses. Sirius wondered if the Slytherins taught him.

As June came the end of year exams seemed to run towards them. Remus' visits to his mother made him miss classes so the others had started taking notes for him (although sometimes they got a bit distracted playing hangman in class) They also had more adventures at night as well. Luckily they never got caught, but many times they were close to because one of them tripped over the other. James would constantly tell them that everything would be a lot easier if they went searching for secret passages more often. (To which the others just rolled their eyes)

A week before their exams Peter was panicking. He'd only just found out their exams were next week. He hadn't done any revision at all and he was telling his parents how well he was doing in school. If he came home failing the year then he would be a laughingstock. Peter decided to go to Remus for help.

"Remus you have to help me!" He said, hurriedly running into the library.

"You only just realised the exams are next week, didn't you?" He answered in a bored voice.

"Help me!"

Peter hadn't noticed how loud his was being until Madam Pince, the librarian, appeared with her wand and a stern expression.

"Quiet in the library!" She hissed.

She flicked her wand and a pair of books flew over and hit Peter over the head. She disappeared again and left Peter rubbing his head. Remus resumed their conversation as if this happened everyday.

"I won't say I told you so, but I told you so." Remus smirked.

Peter looked at him with pleading (watering from pain) eyes.

Remus scrutinised him for a moment, wondering if he should really help his friend. "Fine," Remus handed him a bundle of notes reluctantly. "Study from this and you'll definitely pass."

"Thank you!" Peter said, sitting down opposite him.

He just began shuffling through the papers when Lily walked over.

She narrowed her eyes. "Oh, it's you."

"Hello Evans- I mean Lily." Peter quickly stopped himself from calling her by her last name.

She huffed and sat down next to Remus. Peter gave him a look.

"Are you friends?" He asked.

"Yes." Lily said defiantly.

"Does James know?" Peter asked more to Remus than Lily.

"No, and I'd rather keep it that way." Lily responded for him.

Peter opened his mouth to say something but stopped himself, he knew how angry Lily could get. He tried looking through Remus' notes but couldn't concentrate. What felt like an hour later (although it was just ten minutes) Peter started questioning himself as to why he was even revising. He voiced this.

"Do I even need to study? I mean, we're only in first year." He said to Remus.

"Well, if you've been paying attention in class then no." He started before Peter looked momentarily happy. "But you haven't."

Peter gave a sigh and got up."I'll just wing it."