TWELVE

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G U I L T Y
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Something had happened while Freya was asleep the previous night between the marauders, and she noticed almost immediately at breakfast. Remus and Peter had situated themselves as far from their normal seats as possible; Sirius was miserably poking his eggs with a the fork, paying no attention to the group of fourth years practically swooning over him; and James was pacing back and forth between the two, whispering a few words before speeding back to the other end of the table. It somewhat surprised Freya to see he had given up his normal morning routine of boasting his accomplishments in Quidditch to Lily to complete this task.

It was when James turned back for the fifteenth time that Mary nudged Freya's arm enough to convince the blonde to speak up. "James? Might I have a word?"

The dark haired boy looked back and forth between Freya and his destination — Remus and Peter — before sighing and quickly maneuvering back towards her. "Yes?"

"What's the problem?"

"It's —" He looked relieved to be able to share the weight of whatever he was hiding with someone else, but an abnormally loud cough echoed from across the hall. Remus sat with his head frantically shaking back and forth. "Nothing."

"Oh is it now?" Lily questioned demandingly, chin resting against the back of her hand that was propped on the table.

By now Remus was mouthing the word, 'nothing' while Peter attempted to use his arms to spell out the word. Even Sirius's attention was caught as he sat with his head tilted slightly in confusion, watching the pair's antics with an unreadable expression on his face.

"Yes, nothing," James said in an almost robotic and definitely recited voice, his gaze never straying from Remus. The redhead's eyes narrowed suspiciously, but she did not question him any further.

Marlene snorted from a few seats down, "Why don't you bribe him with a Hogsmeade trip, Lily?"

Although she tried desperately to hide it with both the Daily Prophet and a firm scowl, the slight pinkish tint of Lily's cheeks made James's grin widen. It soon faded as he cleared his throat, "Sorry ladies, I value my friendships."

"I guess I'll find out for myself," Freya announced, stepping out from her seat and straightening her skirt that had crinkled up slightly in the back from carelessly sitting beforehand.

Her hands wrung nervously together as she walked towards her friend, debating wether or not she should tell him of her discovery. Although it didn't seem to be the best time, if she could get him alone it would be a miracle. All the boys had avoided her and everyone around her for the past few days with no slight explanation.

She soon found herself rooted in front of Remus much earlier than planned and with an awkward smile, she spoke, "Remus."

"Yes," he replied in more of a repeating tone than a questioning one.

"Can I talk to you?" She asked, biting her lip. Why did she suddenly feel so nervous around him?

He rose partially from his seat before lowering himself back down and sharing a look with Peter — who gave a simple shrug before practically shoving the boy from the bench.

Freya turned without a word, but could tell Remus was following by Sirius's reaction as she walked by. "Remus, I —" He called, but an elbow to the side by James cut him off. The Entrance Hall was slightly crowded by students arriving slightly late for breakfast before classes, so the blonde led Remus around a corner and into a deserted hallway before abruptly turning.

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