“James, are you sure this is a good idea?” Peter was looking around nervously at his friends, sitting on their beds and grinning at his concern for their plans.
“Wormtail, If you're so scared about it, just stay here and be quiet, we don't need you arguing against our case in front of McGonagall,” Sirius barked out, giving Peter a sour look. Peter squeaked out something about wanting to be ready for exams coming up, but James and Sirius just grinned at each other, pleased with the loophole they had found in the rules. They had been practicing the spells they would be using, but not nearly as much as their arguments they would use against the teachers when they were caught. They had memorized the chapter, page, and paragraph of the rulebook that they would need to use, so they could use the exact wording to get away with their plan. Surely even McGonagall couldn't break past the exact words of the rules.
James raised his wand as the clock struck midnight. He called out in unison with the others, “Locomotor bed!” as they all did a quick motion with their wands, ending with their wands pointed at the beds they were sitting on. The beds rose slowly to hover about a foot off of the floor, then moved slowly towards the door, passing through one after another, going down the stairs to the common room, and over to the portrait hole. As the Fat Lady swung forward, she eyed the four sleepily, commenting, “Ah, the troublemakers are at it again. Whatever you’re up to, just be careful not to go too far. We don’t want a repeat of the liquefied hallway incident!”
The guffaws from Sirius and James echoed about the corridor, with Remus’s snickers and Peter’s giggles turning the noise into a quartet of the memories from previous misdeeds.
Proudly floating in front, James’s bed led them down corridors, up and down stairs, to the Great Hall, where they paused in front of the great glass hourglasses. They looked up at them, each with their own thoughts.
James imagined the rubies in the morning, sitting exactly where they were now, since even McGonagall couldn't argue against their creative use of the rulebook.
In Sirius’s mind, he could picture the rubies piling up as Dumbledore, impressed by their ingenuity, awarded them each points for their genius.
Peter stared in fear, naturally presuming that their whole plan would fall apart as soon as they were found, and the rubies in the hourglass would disappear as they were deducted massive numbers of points.
Remus, on the other hand, was pondering the Hufflepuff hourglass, impressed that the house least concerned with winning was currently ahead by over 150 points. He made a mental note to talk to some Hufflepuffs next charms class and figure out how they had done it.
They sat there until Remus broke them out their reverie with a slightly exasperated drawl, “Shouldn't we keep moving? After all, don't we need to be caught for your brilliant plan to be completed?” He looked at James and Sirius with eyes that conveyed equal parts amusement and chagrin.
The two looked at Remus, then at each other. They winked conspiratorially and, in unison, took a deep breath and began to sing loudly, “HOGWARTS, HOGWARTS, HOGGY WARTY HOGWARTS!”
Remus and Peter flinched backwards at the sound. The two must have practiced this part, the tunes the pair had chosen to sing were similar, but so perfectly off-key from each other that the music was magnificently discordant. It echoed about the hall, and the echoes added to the pain in the ears of the listeners. The singers, however, seemed encouraged by the rebounding sounds of their own voices. They increased their volume bravely, trying to get a staff member to hear them, “TEACH US SOMETHING PLE-”
“WHAT IS THAT RACKET? WHAT ARE YOU LOT DOING OUT OF BE-” McGonagall cut herself off as she saw the floating beds, as quickly as she had cut off the singing of the two teenagers. She scowled at them, one eyebrow cocked up, demanding an explanation from them. James beamed at her, “We’re in bed, professor! Just like we’re supposed to be! We just thought,” he gestured around him widely, “we could use a change of venue.”
Remus counted the seconds as she stared at James and his audacity.
“A change of venue, is it? Well,” she glared at James, “I think that perhaps a better venue would be in my office. Off the beds,” she raised her wand as she spoke, and the boys jumped off of the beds promptly. McGonagall waved her wand and the beds disappeared, presumably back to the dorm room. Glaring, she motioned the four to follow her as she walked off briskly.
They accompanied the tall, straight-backed witch through the castle, with Remus plodding along tiredly by the time they arrived at their destination, while Peter was sweating through his cloak. James and Sirius were strolling along like they were out by the lake on a weekend, without a care in the world. McGonagall marched through the door of her office, the four late night explorers coming in behind her. With a wave of her wand, the door closed after them, and she stood behind her desk and eyed the four on the other side of it.
“Well,” McGonagall asked in a weary tone, as if regretting that she even had to ask, “How exactly are you planning on explaining this one, Mr Potter, Mr Black? You were in the Entrance Hall at midnight, bellowing the school song, I assume you had a better reason than a wish for a change of venue.”
“Professor, we-” Peter began, but was cut off by Sirius stepping on his foot and cutting in, “We figured that singing in our dorm would wake up other students, and the last thing we would want is to keep them from getting the sleep they need to do well in classes.”
Remus subtly rolled his eyes at the obvious lie; but McGonagall wasn’t paying attention to him, she was too busy sighing in exasperation at the antics of his two friends. She held up a hand at James and Sirius, stopping them from continuing for the moment. She took off her spectacles, pinched at the bridge of her nose, put the spectacles back, and asked in a sharp voice, “Are the four of you telling me that you levitated your beds down to the Great Hall in the middle of the night and sang the school song at the top of your lungs, but you don’t think you broke any rules, and were just being courteous to your fellow students?”
“Of course, Professor. We knew that the polite thing to do was to leave the other students to their rest, but we couldn’t leave the Gryffindor common room without getting into trouble, unless we were in bed,” James stated so confidently that Remus almost began to wonder if they might just get away with it. Almost.
Then he saw the expression on McGonagall’s face, and even the mention of such an idea was wiped from his mind as quickly as if she had cast a memory charm on him. He gave a quiet sigh, having resigned himself to his fate. He half stopped listening to the words of the argument between his friends and his teacher, focusing instead on just the tones of voice. He allowed himself to close his eyes and think of how it had come to this, and how he was friends with such troublemakers.
James was enjoying himself immensely, passionately debating his point of view about the rules that he insisted allowed them to do what they had done without any issues. Remus could sense that he no longer cared about being right, he was just enjoying the argument.
Sirius was starting to get heated, determined that they were in the right, and of course she couldn’t give them detentions or deduct points; it was nonsense, they had been too clever for the rules, and really they ought to be rewarded for such creative thinking.
Peter, as per usual, was trying to both keep himself out of trouble and keep his friends from being angry with him; it wasn’t going very well, and every time he spoke up, McGonagall gave him a look that warned him not to say anything, while James and Sirius would talk over him with looks of contempt.
Remus leaned back in his chair, a smile playing about his mouth as he drifted in and out sleep. The sounds of his best friends arguing with his favorite professor was surprisingly relaxing, and he began to wonder if he had just grown too used to the sounds.
He never thought he would have a group of friends he could get into trouble with, and he knew he wouldn’t trade his life among them for anything. He really did love them, troublemakers that they were.
Though he wasn’t thrilled by the 25 points apiece they lost that night.