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Part 6: Oh No! Not Them Again! (The Pixie Brigade)

Sirius plopped down onto the branch next to Remus, who shook his head at the black-haired boy. Sirius shrugged and smirked. The pixie dashed off, making a distinct laughing noise as it went. James was in a good mind to go after it, but he remembered he couldn't fly without his broom (always something good to remember.)

"Well. This is nice." Sirius stated plainly.

"How are we going to get down now? There's no possible way to climb down this!" James exclaimed angrily. "It's too sticky with this sap stuff. Gross." He muttered as he pulled his hand off the branch he was holding onto- it was covered in sap.

"James, you underestimate us all too much." Sirius replied. "We'll just jump."

"JUMP?!? ARE YOU MAD?!?" James, Remus, and Raven wailed.

"No, silly. Look- we jump down into those bushes down there." Sirius pointed to a mass of fern-like plants near the bottom of the tree.

"You're such a git!" Remus exclaimed. "How on earth are we going to- AHHHHHHHHHH!"

Sirius, madman that he was, jerked on the branch above him (the one Remus had been sitting on) and broke it, sending Remus toppling off of it. Remus bounced off the branch Sirius had been sitting on, breaking it, and sending both Sirius and Remus falling onto the branch James and Raven had been sitting on. The branch broke, and the four of them were sent into a free-fall that lasted a good 28 feet.

Remus landed first, followed by Sirius, James, and finally Raven. Raven landed on top and immediately rolled off the pile, hoping she hadn't killed anybody (except maybe Sirius) who had been below her. Covered in scratches and tears in her robes, Raven helped James up.

"Mum's going to kill me." Raven gasped as she looked down at her robes. "Well I hope you're happy Sirius- now I'll probably be grounded!"

"If it weren't for me we'd still be stuck up in that tree!" Sirius retorted, dusting the front of his robes off and regretting it when he got a sliver stuck in his palm.

"We'd be better off!" Raven shot back angrily. "You-"

"Um, I hate to break up the argument, but, uh- we might want to run now." James said, staring at something off in the distance.

"What?" Raven and Sirius asked at the same time.

Remus's eyes widened. "Oh no! Pixies!"

True, there were about a hundred pixies coming after them from the opposite direction in which the four of them had come. The pixies in the metal cage that lay on the ground by James's feet were buzzing madly, more than likely telling their fellow pixies to let them out so they could beat the stuffing out of their captures.

"RUN!" James bellowed, and turned to do just that.

Remus scrambled up off the ground and hurried off after his bespectacled friend. Raven was practically on his heels, her robes tearing further as she ran. Remus looked over his shoulder and saw that the pixies were closing in, and he ran faster than he ever had before, Raven keeping up all the while.

Sirius snatched the cage full of pixies and was off like a shot, following his friends through the trees without a word except, "FASTER!" his black hair swishing. The pixies in the cage he held were getting very irritated, and Sirius silently thanked himself for remembering to put an Unbreakable Breaking charm on the cage- the pixies couldn't get out unless he opened the door to the small prison.

James could see Sirius's house looming into view. The sight was very welcoming, and he kept running. He leapt over the boulders that lined the property, gracefully landing in the pond that sat near the other side of the line. He slipped and fumbled before dashing into the house, the others directly behind him.

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Later that day, at the Lupin Household

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"Just hold still Remus!" Mrs. Lupin scolded, trying to hold her son down by his arm, pouring some potion onto a cloth and rubbing it over his scratches. "It'll only hurt for a second!"

"Ouch!" Remus shouted as the potion seeped into a large cut, stinging in his skin. "That hurts!" he yelled, jerking his arm away.

"I thought you'd be used to this by now." Mrs. Lupin snapped, and took his arm again.

"Well I'm not. It still hurts. I don't even see why you're cleaning me up- I'm only going to rip myself up more tonight." Remus muttered. "Why even bother?"

"Because I care about you. That's why. Now, just hold still."

Remus hissed in pain and threw himself backward onto his bed as his mother blew into one of his cuts. He turned his glistening eyes to his arm, where the cuts were closing up fast and his arm was returning to normal. He sighed- that was only one arm. He was still covered in scratches and he knew his mother wouldn't stop until he was all healed up.

"Now, I'm going to tell your friends that you've went off to visit your aunt for a few days, alright? If they ask about it the next time you see them-"

"I tell them it's not worth hearing about because it was so boring. I know, mum. I know. You only tell me every single time it's a full moon." Remus rolled his eyes.

"My, aren't you just turning into a little teenager on me?" Mrs. Lupin smiled.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You've got the attitude down pat."

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The Blake household

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"Raven! What were you thinking? Honestly, your robes- all torn! Don't you dare tell me it was Sirius's fault!" Mrs. Blake hollered.

"But, mum-" Raven tried to put in.

"Don't `but, mum' me! If you were a good child and behaved the rules-"

"Maybe if you were a good mum and actually cared-"

"Go to your room. NOW!"

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The Black Household

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"Sirius, what were you thinking? You've been out there so many times before! You could have been hurt! What if those pixies had caught up with you? What if your friends got hurt?" Mrs. Black raged, going on and on.

Sirius sat in front of her on an old wooden chair. His arms were crossed and he was still wearing the robes he had worn earlier that day. His hair was tossled and filled with twigs and leaves. He had a stern look on his face and his eyes were brimming with tears.

"What do you have to say for yourself, Sirius?" Mrs. Black asked, turning to him.

"You- you're not going to tell dad, are you?" Sirius asked weakly.

Even Mya, who was sitting in the living room watching Sirius get yelled at, stopped her taunting to hear their mother's reply. She gulped and looked onto the scene with a glint in her eyes, all thoughts of taunting Sirius forgotten.

"No, no- I'm not." Mrs. Black said quietly, looking at the floor. "Now you go wash up before your father gets home."

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A Few Weeks Later

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"So... are you trying out for quidditch this year?" Sirius asked Remus as the two sat on the front steps of the Lupin home.

"What? Are you batty? No way!" Remus replied, unwrapping a Peppermint Frog and offering one to Sirius. Sirius shook his head, and Remus shrugged, stuffing the candy into his mouth.

"Possibly." Sirius answered, leaning back against the step behind him. "I'm trying out for the team." He began to pluck at the strings of the bass that sat in his lap.

It was pretty unusual for such a young wizard to possess a musical instrument, but Sirius was very unusual. His grandparents had saved up and bought it for him as a Christmas present. Sirius had began taking lessons from a book he had found at Flourish and Blotts about muggle music. James was currently borrowing the book, and so Sirius had to settle for practicing from memory.

"What position?" Remus inquired, unwrapping another Frog.

"I don't know yet. I just want to play."

"Oh. So... when are you going to Diagon Alley for your things?"

"Same day you are. Mum said we're all going together again this year." Sirius began to play a small song on his bass as he informed Remus of all that he knew of the situation. "I think Raven said that Evans might be coming along too. Yuck."

"Oh no! That's a bloody bummer." Remus turned to Sirius. "Is Raven's mum taking her again?"

"Yeah. Raven said that her mum said it'd be good for Evans to get around magical kids and all. I think that's rubbish- Evans went to Hogwarts for crying out loud! Can you think of any other way you could really get around magical kids?"

"It's not only that, I mean, Evans is a magical kid. She hates our guts anyway." Remus shook his head and turned back to unwrap a wizard pop for Sirius. He took one himself and handed the other to Sirius over his shoulder. "And we didn't even mean anything we did to her. Stupid Irish temper."

"Irritating as all get-out isn't it?"

"Hey guys!" James called as he hurried up the walk, Raven a few steps behind him.

"What are you two doing here?" Sirius asked. "I thought you were grounded and I thought you were off in Scotland." He said, motioning to Raven and then James with the stick of the wizard pop he was eating. His fingers were still dancing over the strings of his bass.

"Mum said there was a big change in plans or something. Today we're going to Diagon Alley." Raven said as she sat down.

"We were just talking about that-" Remus chuckled.

"But it's only July-" Sirius looked confused.

"Sirius, you don't pay attention do you?" Remus asked in disbelief.

"Err... why?"

"It's August, you moron." Shaking his head, he turned back to James and Raven. "Wizard Pop? Peppermint Frog?"

"Sure." James snatched a Wizard Pop out of the box. "Thanks."

"James! Raven! Where are your parents?" Mrs. Lupin asked as she came out of the front door.

"Mum went to pick up... ugh... Evans." Raven groaned and rolled her eyes as she unwrapped a Wizard Pop.

"Oh, that girl from school you were telling me about?" Mrs. Lupin asked Remus.

"Yep. She doesn't like us at all." Remus replied.

"Hmm. Well, don't let her get you down. You all should have fun today- we only have to get a few things and then I was thinking we'd all go to the ice cream parlor and maybe the park." Mrs. Lupin grinned widely.

"Really?" they all asked at once, looking up at her from where they all sat on the steps.

"If it's alright with Mrs. Blake and Mr. Potter."

"It's alright with me." Mr. Lupin said from where he laid on the couch in the living room, just awakening from his nap. He grinned. "Maybe I'll come too."

Sirius was about to come up with a smart remark when Mrs. Blake came strolling up the walk with Lily in tow. Apparently Lily had no idea that they would be the ones going to Diagon Alley with her- she must have forgotten whose mother it was that had taken her the year before. This was the guess, because when Lily stopped looking intently at the gnome running through the daisies and saw who was sitting on the steps, she screeched.

"Oh no! Not them again!"