"When Remus gets back, I say we go hide some self-detonating fireworks in the Slytherin common room," James suggested, pretending to be reading his charms book while he sent small stars of light from the tip of his wand. Peter nodded eagerly from his plate of biscuits Sirius had smuggled in earlier that night. Sirius grinned slyly.
"Obviously. Where is Remus, anyway?" he asked.
It was only their second year at Hogwarts but it was already home to the boys. They'd been friends since that moment on the train when Remus had woken up to see James staring curiously at him. Remus had been terrified that there was another person in his cart and tried to make James understand that he wanted to be alone, but James was persistent. James followed him around until Remus finally persisted and let himself become friends. They'd met Sirius on the train. His sarcastic jokes nearly crossed the line at some points but he seemed ok. They didn't really understand until they noticed how scared he was after being sorted into Gryffindor. He'd sat with James and Remus because he didn't know anybody else at the crimson and gold table and James was tall enough that he could hide behind him to avoid the glares from the Slytherin table. They'd met Peter a day and half later. He'd been cornered outside the kitchen by a group of Slytherins. James, Sirius, and Remus had only happened to be passing by when it happened. James refused to stand by and let it happen, so he sarcastically approached the group and hexed the Slytherins. They kind of adopted Peter after that.
He told me he was headed out to get some fresh air, but I haven't seen him since breakfast," Peter said. Sirius and Peter noticed the worried mother hen look on James' face as he stood up.
"Let's go find him," James suggested, not really leaving room for shrugged and opted to follow, leaving Peter no choice but to do the same.
"Where are we going!" he yipped as he ran to keep up. James slowed down slightly and his face softened into a smile when Peter looked up at him.
"Well, Remus said he was getting some fresh air and fresh is air is generally outside, so I say we start there."
Sirius didn't seem phased by this at all. He smirked and shoved his hands deeper into his pockets. But Peter looked nervous.
"But James, it's past curfew! If we get caught-,"
"Then we won't get caught, Petey. You can head back if you want, we'll meet with you when we get back?" James suggested, grasping his friend's shoulder. Peter shook his head quickly and stayed silent after that. Peter, having the best memory, knew each painting in the castle by name. Because of this, he was able to find secret entrances nearly everywhere, so when Filch walked by they always had someplace to hide.
Once they were far enough away from the castle to be out of earshot, they starting calling for Remus.
"Remus?" Peter said nervously every time he saw something move.
Sirius had more conventional ways of finding him. "I didn't do my paper on potions that's due tomorrow!" he yelled, knowing Remus would always make him so his homework.
"I need somebody to help me fold my socks!" James yelled, taking a similar route as Sirius. Despite this, it was actually Peter that found him.
"Uhh, James?" His voice quavered. He grabbed the nearest person, which happened to be Sirius.
"James," Sirius repeated, sounding equally uneased.
"What?" James asked, not paying them any mind
"I said what!"
Sirius grabbed James' face and turned it towards the whomping willow, where a hunched back figure seemed not to notice them.
"Is that…" Peter couldn't find himself able to name the creature, but he didn't need to.
"Werewolf," Sirius finished for him.
James expression turned determined. As mentioned before, he was persistent. "Come on," he said, dragging the others further into the forest. Peter and Sirius both objected, but were silenced by James, "Remus is still out here, remember? He doesn't like being in the castle by himself unless he's in the library, and he told Peter he was going out for some air. We've got to find him." James didn't hesitate to run into the forest, knowing full well that's where Remus prefered to take his nightly walks.
The boys ran through the woods, calling and shouting and making a dangerous ruckus.
"I think we're attracting the werewolf," Peter whispered, leaning into the taller boys' sides. James draped an arm over Peter's shoulder.
"Don't worry Petey, I won't let anything happen."
Peter believed him.
"Where else would Remus be?" Sirius asked. The boys were huddled together, whether unspoken fear or cold they weren't sure.
"He walks up by the trail above the whomping willow," James suggested.
Peter hung back for a moment. "You mean the trail where we just saw a werewolf?"
James looked too worried to be concerned for his own safety. He ran off in the direction he hoped Remus would be. Sirius grasped Peter's shoulders. "Go back to the castle. If we're not back in thirty minutes, get McGonagall out to find us," he said. Peter nodded viciously. And ran back the way they'd come. Sirius bolted after James. "JAMES! Wait up!"
He caught up with James, who was hiding behind a tree. His breath was heavy.
"James, shh," Sirius whispered.
"BE QUIET, SIRIUS!" James yelled back. Sirius smacked him. The loud howl that followed seemed to be only feet away. Sirius grabbed ahold of James and nearly jumped out of his shoes. The werewolf jumped in front of them, approaching quickly.
"Protego totalum!" a squeaky voice yelled. The spell wasn't very effective but it distracted the wolf. It turned to face Peter, who was trembling in his boots and looking like he regretted the decision to come back.
"WHOO, Peter!" James cheered. Peter didn't bother smiling back. By the time the wolf had turned around, Sirius and James had gotten out their wands and into a fighting position.
"Hey big guy! Leave our friend alone!" Sirius yelled, gaining courage from James. The wolf looked between Sirius, James, and Peter, but seemed hesitant to attack. James stepped forward and re-performed Peter's spell, encasing the small boy in a thin white bubble of protection. The wolf turned to the spell caster. James took a nervous step backwards but his brave facade didn't fall. The wolf took a swipe at James, cutting the front of his robe before James stumbled backwards into Sirius.
"We gotta find Remus!" Sirius yelled, pulling James behind another tree. The spell around Peter was beginning to wear off so he ran to the other boys, who quickly pushed him behind them and away from the werewolf.
"Think he's back at the common room?" Sirius joked. James ignored him, squinting at the werewolf. He took a step closer, which caused the wolf to growl and throw another swipe. James ducked just in time and adjusted his glasses. His eyes went wide and he swallowed nervously.
"No, I think Remus is in big, big, trouble." James took his friend's wrists and ran for the castle.
"What about Remus?!" Sirius yelled. James didn't stop running.
"THAT IS REMUS!"
Sirius' eyes bugged out of his head. They made it back to the castle in one piece, leaving the howling werewolf at the forest's edge. They didn't stop running until they'd made it to the entrance of their common room.
Needless to say, they didn't get any sleep last night.
(Hey guys! I hope you like the story so far! Just to make sure things make sense, this is near the end of their 2nd year at Hogwarts. In the books, the Marauders became animagus when they were 15, but in this story I'm changing it to before then. Hope you enjoyed! :) )