PG-13, 3500 words
Summary: Wherein chaos is unleashed, Lily Evans proves corruptible, and Sirius is trying to say something important, probably.
Notes: Written for Round One of the rs_games.
A trumpet sounded. "Rise and shine, brethren!" Peter called. "Today is our day of jubilee!"
"Sorry, James, what was that?"
"Peter," came a muffled voice from James' bed. "What are you doing?"
"I am waking you up! Just like you told me to, last night, you said to wake you up at half past six sharp so we could all prepare for the day."
"So this is your fault?" came Sirius' aggrieved and sleepy tones.
"'M sorry," said James, already sounding as if he were drifting back to sleep. "Moment of madness."
"Now now, come on," Peter scolded, "Prongs, Padfoot, get up!"
"No," Sirius snapped. "And I'm going to kill you when I do."
"No call for that kind of talk this early in the morning."
"I think now is exactly the time," grumbled Sirius.
"Good morning, Peter!" Remus poked his head out of bed.
"Ah, Moony!" Peter bounded over, revitalised. "Are you ready for our day of jubilee?"
"I wouldn't say no to some tea first. And possibly some of those nice sausages they've been doing lately."
"Ooh, sausages. Now that sounds good. Don't the sausages sound good, Prongs?"
"Go away," James told him.
A feeble hand emerged from Sirius' bed. "Wormtail. Sweet, most excellent Wormtail. Did you say sausages?"
Remus laughed. "Pete and I'll be back in a bit, while you two geniuses get started, how about that?"
"Merlin bless your children, and your children's children…" James called faintly.
Still chuckling, Remus grabbed his clothes, and in a few minutes he and Peter were happily ambling downstairs, leaving loud snores behind them.
"Nice trumpet playing back there, by the way," said Remus.
"Thanks! Knew that was a skill I'd need some day."
"James really told you to do that?"
"Like he said, I think it was a moment of madness."
"Yeah." They reached the Great Hall, and Remus opened the doors to find a room mercifully empty. "Right, good. Now then, load up!"
"How much do we you think we need?"
"As much as we can Leviosa if you ask me."
Peter nodded, and they strolled over to the Gryffindor table.
"Morning, lads!" Frank Longbottom was piling up on bacon, grinning much too broadly for the time of morning.
"Hi, Frank," Remus said. "What are you doing up?"
"Oh, you know," he answered through a mouthful of food. "Got to get my protein, you know. I don't suppose either of you fancy joining me for a quick jog round the lake in a few? It's going to be a beautiful day!"
Remus and Peter exchanged horrified glances. "You're very freakish, Longbottom, do you know that?" Remus asked faintly.
"It's been said, it's been said," Frank replied with very little concern about the fact, all things considered. "I take it that's a no, then? Pity."
"Uh, right." Remus turned to Peter. "Quick, grab things, let's go!" he hissed. "Well, Frank, you know, great to chat and all, but we've got to dash."
"Sure. So, what terrible chaos are you unleashing on us today?"
They froze in their tracks. "I'm sorry?" Remus asked.
Frank laughed. "No worries, your secret's safe with me. Only there's no other earthly reason you'd be up this early, and I'm not an idiot."
"Oh, no..." Peter said slowly, "we're just... hungry, that's all. You know, all those late night revision sessions and whatnot."
Frank waved a hand. "Go on then, run along, run along, try not to break anything too irreparably."
Remus and Peter took their cue. Waving wands, they conjured a mound of food to float off the table and set off, steering toast and sausages and kippers between pillars and out of the room. Upon arriving back in the dormitory, James and Sirius were looking much less zombie-esque. Remus dished out provisions and as they dug in happily James began to go through some of the last minute details while Peter took notes.
"Wormtail, are the second-floor hexes in place?"
"Yes, sir!" Peter said smartly, ticking an item off on the parchment in front of him.
"Moony, you're sure you're prepared for the Oncoming Evans?"
"Oh yes, I should think so."
Another line checked, and Peter rolled up the list with satisfaction.
"And one final thing," James said, glaring at Sirius while Peter looked up in surprise. "I want to hear no tell of you absconding with our Moony today, is that clear? You have a sacred duty to the cause and there are to be no extraneous dalliances."
Sirius snorted derisively. "Just because you haven't been dallying recently."
James reddened. "That's quite beside the point. The point, by the way, being matters such as truth! Freedom! Justice! Using the medium of laughter to create a better world!"
"And they say I'm the one with the delusions of grandeur," Sirius said, ruffling James' hair fondly.
"Also, I rather think the point is to get rid of the terrifying amount of dungbombs the three of you have collected recently," Remus added, glancing over at the enormous pile of said bombs as they nestled at the foot of his bed. Quite why they were on his bed in particular was just one of life's little mysteries, Remus supposed.
Peter took out an old pocketwatch he'd acquired for such occasions. "Men, it is three quarters past the hour. Might I propose we make a move?"
"An excellent notion!" James leaped up, eyes glinting with ever-increasing mania. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," he intoned with a salute.
The others followed suit, then racing downstairs to watch their work unfold.
"Hey," Sirius hissed in Remus' ear as they descended, "I want to talk to you about something."
Remus looked over, noting that Sirius had developed a look that seemed to be a halfway between earnest and gravely ill, resulting in an unusually cross-eyed expression. "What is it?"
Sirius blinked, then readjusted his features into much more normal alignment with a mouthed 'later' and loped off to join James, who was flailing his arms around wildly in his excitement. Remus shook his head wonderingly.
The school was submerged in chaos. "Beautiful, beautiful chaos," Remus murmured, impressed.
"Woah," Peter breathed.
Shrieks of mingled panic and laughter emanated up through the halls, and Sirius grinned from ear to ear as he pointed at the many dots fleeing towards the Slytherin dungeons. "Guess those firecrackers under their table were a bit of a shocker, then."
They looked out over the corridors below them with the contented sighs of a job well done. A rumbling explosion shook the ceiling above them, and James clapped his hands together. "Right, I'm going to go prepare the next salvo - comrades, you know what to do."
He dashed off, and Sirius looked sideways at Remus. "Hey, Peter, how about you go and infiltrate the Hufflepuffs or something, find out what's going on with the common people and all that."
Peter chuckled. "Nice try. But James told me not to leave the two of you alone today."
"Oh, God, we have a chaperone," Remus said faintly.
Peter looked scandalised, then his eyes widened with dawning truth. "Bastard," he hissed with feeling.
"Quite, quite," Sirius said, taking his arm soothingly. "Now then, why don't you give up your life of drudgery and babysitting and go be our eyes and ears, eh?"
Peter still looked a little hesitant, but at Remus' encouraging smile he threw his hands up and dashed off without a backwards glance.
"Probably looking to canoodle with Druella de Souza or something, you know," Remus said wisely.
Sirius said nothing, and when Remus looked over he was startled to see him looking almost-- nervous. Which probably meant the world was shortly to explode.
"Remus," he said with some urgency.
"What?" Remus was going through a list of possibilities and alternatives. He's got some hideous malady. He's just found out Snape's his secret half-brother. He's decided he's going to murder me and doesn't know what to do with the body.
Sirius grabbed his arm. "Like I said, I want to talk to you about something. Can we, oh, I don't know. Come over here, will you?"
Eyes darting around the corridor, Remus reckoned it was reasonably safe to move closer to his evidently deranged boyfriend. "What is it?" he hissed.
"Just..." Sirius groaned and pulled him into a nearby store cupboard.
Remus quirked an eyebrow. "A closet? Seriously?"
Sirius stared at him for a moment before he started laughing. "Which pun do I use first?
"How about you get on with it so we can get out of the closet again?"
"Yes, yes, right." Sirius put his hands on Remus' chest, toying with the edge of his collar. "I…"
"Something you wanted to say?" Remus prompted.
"Mm, yes, very good. Well, so glad we could have this little chat, now if you'll just excuse me I'll be…" he babbled, turning for the door.
"You didn't actually tell me."
"Oh?" Sirius wandered back guiltily. "Oh. Well. I just wanted to say that I, you know--" he hesitated again.
"CODE RED! We have a code red, I repeat, code red! LUPIN!"
The dulcet tones of one James Potter were rapidly bounding down the corridor, and Remus laughed. "Right. Don't think you're getting out of this so easily, mind."
Sirius grinned, looking sheepish. "Yeah, ok. I'll just stay here while you go and appease him, shall I?"
"Probably for the best." Remus swiftly exited the cupboard, almost running smack into James.
"Moony!" James pounced on him, grabbing his shoulders. "Right, yes. Code red-- wait, hang on." He frowned. "What were you doing in the store cupboard?"
"Oh, you know. Looking for stores."
"Hmm." James narrowed his eyes. "You wouldn't have been, ah, 'looking for stores' with Sirius by any chance?"
"I should think not!" Remus replied, looking deeply affronted and quietly promising to hex Sirius to net Tuesday if he so much as twitched. "Anyway, you were saying we have a code red on our hands?"
"Right, yes! Oh, Moony, she saw me just now and chased me down three corridors, it was terrifying. There is anger in her soul and murder in her heart and you need to go do something about it!" James implored.
Remus hefted up his bag. "She's down that way is she?"
James nodded, looking pale. "I'm going to go -" he waved in the opposite direction, "- over there, somewhere, must be something going on, terribly important I'm sure." He saluted. "Godspeed, sergeant!"
Remus walked off, managing to keep his laughter at bay until he'd rounded a corner.
It didn't take long to find Lily Evans. When she was angry - which, where James was concerned, was often - she tended to express her displeasure at volumes that had a rather carrying quality.
"I'm going to KILL him," Remus heard as he approached the Gryffindor tower. "I am going to kill him and then I'm going to bring him back and kill him all over again."
Remus peered into the corridor to see Lily holding forth to most of their year, who varied between looking similarly enraged or secretly amused.
"You!" she shot at him as she spotted him, marching over to haul him elbow first into the common room. Remus couldn't help but note he seemed to be being manhandled an awful lot just now, and made feeble attempts to tug out of her vice-like grip.
"Potter is an idiot, you know. It's not even the pranks themselves, though frankly I could do without, but you're all so stupid - I mean, the spellwork for the water balloons out in the grounds is downright shoddy and while I'll give you that the theory behind the word-trigged farting is impressive, that's the kind of humour usually enjoyed by six year olds. Though, I suppose it's wildly optimistic of me to expect anything resembling genuine wit from you four. And another thing, what on earth has possessed you to go after the Hufflepuffs, I mean, what have they ever done to you--"
Her tirade carried them all the way up the stairs and into Remus' deserted dormitory. "My, Evans," Remus said as she paused for breath and he shut the door, "you and I, all alone up here, tongues will wag."
"Oh, shut up. So, what have you got for me?"
Remus unrolled his parchment. "Right. I would first like to remind you of the following: we have been remarkably good this year. You may recall our restraint on Valentine's Day, our very contained April Fools' celebrations. In short, we've been building up credit for some time now."
"Mm," Lily said, folding her arms. "What else?"
"Here's a list of tips for places to avoid during certain periods of the day. In particular, I wouldn't go anywhere near the dungeons after five." He wrinkled his nose. "That's going to be unpleasant."
She nodded. "And?"
Remus passed the bag over. "In there are three bottles of very dubiously-obtained Russian Gillywater, plus something blue and glowing from Rekjavik that's meant to be quite the eye-opener, so to speak."
She peered in approvingly. "Not bad, not bad. All right then, we have a deal. I'll stay out of your business all day today. If Professor McGonagall or anyone else asks, then I know nothing, and furthermore believe you all to be reformed characters and it must be some young imitators. I will not threaten to castrate or otherwise terrorise Potter, and I won't tip anyone off to upcoming events." She shook his hand firmly.
"There we are, then," Remus said, satisfied. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have mayhem to be getting back to. Pleasure doing business with you, Evans, as always."
As he turned to go, she asked, "Does it even occur to you that the prefect system is profoundly corrupt?"
He looked back. "All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are..."
"Looking at the stars, yeah yeah, don't you Wilde at me." She grinned. "Go on, get out of here, try not to destroy the whole castle."
Remus gladly escaped.
James was doubled over with laughter in the disused Arithmancy classroom they'd claimed as headquarters. "Moony!" he called happily between guffaws. "Come over here!"
Sirius grinned as Remus settled on top of a desk. "Go on, Wormtail, tell him what you've got."
Peter sat up straighter and held up his notes proudly. "Out of an informal survey of thirty or so students from a variety of houses and years, I've gathered some fun results. There's wild speculation about who's behind it, though most of the Ravenclaws seem to be onto us. Other candidates for chief pranksters include Davey Gudgeon and cohorts, the Delaney sisters, and even - get this - Sirius' dear brother and other assorted Slytherins."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "The state of youth today, I ask you."
James was still smirking. "Get to the best bits!"
"Right, right. Looks like tales of our escapades are getting bigger and bigger by the hour." Peter handed the list over and Remus read it with astonishment. "We… what? No, no way, that's physically impossible, how does anyone think we could possibly have--"
"My favourite," Peter added, "is the one about turning the Great Hall into the Spanish Main with Dumbledore as the pirate king."
James slowly slid off his desk onto the floor, clutching his sides. "We're geniuses!" he crowed. "We should be given medals! Awards! Sainthoods! We are gods!"
"Yes, dear," Sirius said before fixing Remus with a meaningful look.
Remus coughed. "Right, yes. Well, should probably dash now, things to jettison off the Astronomy tower and so on."
He sauntered up flights of stairs, sure that Sirius would be along in a bit and idly wondering what on earth he was getting his knickers in such a twist about. He's ditching me for James. He's ditching me for Peter-- no, wait, don't be stupid. He's running off to join the Bulgarian circus. He's secretly an alien. The possibilities appeared to be endless, and Remus decided that this was probably merely a sign of their mutual growing insanity that this non-conversation was even occurring in the first place. Mutual growing insanity, that had a good ring to it, and a pretty apt way to describe this thing, too, this thing that mostly involved Sirius behaving in an alarmingly canine-like fashion and doing things like sticking his nose into Remus' neck and licking his collarbone, which was quite like... well, like this, actually.
Remus turned around in surprise, and Sirius looked up, grinning. "Hello, you."
"Hello yourself. Gave them the slip, then?"
"I am a master of stealth."
"Ah, yes. I always forget that one. So, you wanted to say?"
"Mmm," Sirius hummed in a distracted sort of way, seeming much more interested in Remus' tie, and the speedy removal of any functional purpose it once had.
"This is a little conspicuous, isn't it?" Remus asked.
"What do you take me for. McGonagall herself couldn't break through the locking charms on that door. Although," Sirius added with a waggle of his eyebrows, "maybe in that case she wouldn't have had to."
Remus suppressed the urge to shudder at the thought, and settled for whacking Sirius upside the head instead. "Christ," he muttered. "Anyway, this thing you wanted to tell me?"
"Oh, that." Sirius glanced at the heavens for a moment. "Eh, it can wait." And with that he cupped Remus' head and stuck his tongue in his mouth. Remus really had no particular inclination to protest.
Keeping up extended mischief and mayhem was harder work than you might imagine. Add to the mix a determined yet incoherent disowned pureblood and a red-haired woman with fear-inspiring powers the like of which have rarely been seen on this earth, and Remus was having a hell of a day.
"Hide me!" James yelped, cowering behind Remus as Lily walked onto the staircase below them and it swung upwards.
"Don't worry, Potter, you're safe for now," Lily called as she went past, though not without a decidedly evil edge to her laughter.
"I think I've got it," Sirius whispered next to him. "Really, this time, soon as you've got a second, I'm just going to, you know. Say it, just like that. Yeah?"
Peter stood on the landing expectantly. "Come on, Moony, I need you to help me down in the dungeons!"
"Merlin give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change," Remus remarked to no one in particular.
Nonetheless, the day turned out a resounding success. "No permanent injuries caused," Peter announced as they gathered back in the dormitory later that evening, many Slytherins successfully harassed, our legendary status affirmed, and we haven't even been nabbed for detention yet."
James puffed his chest out with pride. "Good work, my noble lieutenants. I'd say that was mischief managed."
"Right then, that means celebrations are in order," Sirius said as he pulled out a box from beneath his bed, bringing forth bottles that clinked together alluringly.
Remus threw open the window. They'd long since discovered that there was a patch of roof that served as a suitably roomy balcony provided you were prepared to shimmy across some very narrow ledges and clamber over a chimney or two.
Once they were ensconced, it took very little alcohol at all before all four of them were slumped in various states of response, a half-silence spreading out and being punctuated at intervals by amused recollections of the day.
James held a hand aloft, and it was almost steady for a moment before it slumped down to his side again. "To victory," he said thickly, and Peter grunted in agreement.
Sirius rolled over and propped himself up.
"I've been trying to tell you," he began, one eye falling shut even as he looked at Remus.
"It's all right," Remus told him, laughing softly. "You don't have to say it."
"No, no. Don't be... stupid." Sirius slid back onto the ground, clutching at Remus' robes to emphasise his point.
"You're the one who couldn't string a sentence together all day." Sirius' breathing was already beginning to even out and deepen, and Remus looked around to see the others in similar blissful states. He leaned over and kissed Sirius' forehead. "I love you too, you complete idiot."
"Oh," Sirius said from the edges of the sleep. "S'all right, then."
Thanks to the combined fumes of firework smoke and other miscellaneous explosions of the day, the sky was more of a haze than a vista tonight. But as Remus kicked back against the parapet, listening to the melodious snores of the people he loved best and basking in the contented glow of a most successful day, he fancied that he could still see the stars.