Hey, everyone.  I hope this helps tide you over until the new book comes out.  (Just a few short hours left!!!)  I know writing it did.

Moonlight Discoveries

Lily tossed and turned, still as wide awake as she had been two hours ago when she first went to bed. Her roommates had all fallen fast asleep hours ago, leaving Lily alone, bored and, most importantly, still awake. She honestly thought that there was no chance of her going to sleep anytime soon, so with a sigh, Lily got up. She decided to go down to the common room. At this time of night no one would be down there. At least she could turn the lights on and read for awhile.

As she started down the stairs that led to the common room, she heard a noise. Lily stopped and tried to keep as quiet as possible. There was the unmistakable sound of someone tripping. Lily heard someone swear, followed by another person shushing the first. Lily's breath caught in her throat. The voices sounded suspiciously familiar. She inched her way down the staircase until she was at the bottom. She peered around the doorway.

"Shut up, Sirius," James' voice whispered furiously.

"It's not my fault," Sirius replied. "If Peter hadn't tripped me . . "

"I didn't mean to," Peter whimpered.

"If you guys don't stop talking about it," James lectured, "we'll get caught. Then it won't matter who tripped whom."

Lily couldn't see any of them, but that was no surprise. She had suspected for some time that James owned an Invisibility Cloak. The four boys had dropped any number of thinly veiled hints all the time, thinking they were clever by not outright calling it James' Invisibility Cloak. Plus several of the pranks they had pulled could not have been successful without one.

Lily wondered what they were up to this time. Was this the reason James had declined her suggestion of a moonlight stroll tonight? It was a clear night and quite bright out because the moon was full. Lily had thought it would be very romantic. But James had given some lame excuse as to why he couldn't go. Actually, he hadn't even done that. He had just told her he was busy. If Lily found out James had turned down a date with her to pull some stupid prank with his friends, she was going to be very upset.

Scowling, Lily decided to follow them. At first it seemed like an impossible task, seeing as they were wearing an invisibility cloak, but then Lily remembered the Marauder's map. Silently she stole up to the boys room. She knew it was safe because no one would be in there. Luckily, Peter, James, Sirius and Remus didn't have to share their room with anyone else.

Lily grabbed the map from its hiding place and muttered under her breath, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

Instantly the map appeared. Lily sought out the dots marked 'Sirius Black,' 'James Potter,' and 'Peter Pettigrew.' She frowned. That was odd. Remus wasn't on the map. Lily would have thought Remus would be with them. Where could he be? Lily searched the entire map, but could find no trace of him.

Lily decided not to worry about that right then. She had to hurry to catch up with James and the others. They were making their way out of the school. Going as quickly as she deemed safe, Lily was off. Periodically checking the map, Lily saw that they were heading towards the Forbidden Forest. The Whomping Willow, to be exact.

To Lily's great dismay, the next time she glanced down at the map, they were gone. "Where are they?" she wondered out loud. She stared hopelessly at the map for a few minutes, but they didn't show up. Then common sense grabbed hold of her once again. She couldn't stand around all  night like an idiot. She would be caught for sure.

The smart thing to do would be to quietly sneak back to the Gryffindor tower, but this option didn't particularly appeal to Lily. She was determined to figure out what the boys were up to. So instead she continued on her way out to the school grounds. It was, of course, dark and deserted outside of the school. Lily shivered slightly. She was a bit nervous now that she was out there.

The moon was full. Strange things happened on such nights. Strange creatures came out. Werewolves came to mind, but Lily firmly pushed the thought to the side and steeled herself. The Whomping Willow was the last place Lily had seen the boys on the map, so she decided to head towards it. She wasn't sure what exactly she had been expecting, but whatever it was, it didn't happen. There was no hint as to where they could have gone.

Lily looked around. She wasn't about to admit defeat yet, not without at least looking around. She took care not to get too close to the Whomping Willow for obvious reasons. But after awhile, she finally had to give up. Lily had no idea where the boys could have gone and she wasn't going to find anything out there.

Dejected, Lily made her way back to the castle. Before she went inside, she took one last look at the map, just for the hell of it. To her surprise, she saw four dots representing the four boys, racing towards the castle via a passageway that came out under the Whomping Willow. Hiding herself, Lily watched the Whomping Willow, waiting for them to come up. However, nothing could have prepared her for what she did see when they finally did appear. Lily gasped. She was paralyzed with shock. Never in her wildest dreams would she have believed the scene before her eyes.

Coming out of the hole was a stag, a large black dog and some small creature, probably some type of rodent. But the most amazing thing was what followed them. It was a werewolf. As soon as she was able to move again, Lily looked down at the map. She wasn't mistaken, the four creatures were indeed James, Sirius, Remus and Peter.

Animagi, Lily realized with a start. That was what they were. Three Animagi and a werewolf.

Lily briefly wondered which one of the four was the werewolf, but the answer quickly became apparent to her. It was Remus, of course, who was the werewolf. It was so obvious in retrospect that Lily wondered why she had  never figured it out before. All the clues were there, she had just never put them altogether.

The four transformed boys didn't see nor sense Lily, which was a very good thing. Lily was an excellent witch, but she wasn't sure she would be able to defend herself against a werewolf, even with the help of three Animagi. Well, to be more truthful, she probably would do fine against an ordinary werewolf, regardless of whether there were Animagi there to protect her or not. But Remus was another story. He wasn't just any old werewolf, he was Lily's friend. She could risk hurting him.

Only after the boys disappeared into the Forbidden Forest did Lily dare to come out of her hiding place. Although she was shaken up, Lily managed to make it back, to the Gryffindor tower without getting caught. Lily stumbled into bed and lied there, wide awake with her thoughts in a jumble, all night. When her roommates went to wake her up the next morning, Lily still hadn't been able to fall asleep. She was exhausted, to say the least.

"Rise and shine," Marie, one of Lily's friends, said brightly.

Lily groaned and buried her head underneath her pillow. Marie was a morning person, making her hard to deal with on the best of days. Since Lily hadn't had any sleep the night before, it made it even tougher to stand Marie's chipper, cheerful attitude.

"Hurry up, Lily, or you'll miss breakfast," the more sedate Nancy said a few minutes later when Lily still hadn't gotten up.

"I'm feeling sick," Lily said. "I think I should skip breakfast and just get some sleep." It wasn't a complete lie. She wasn't feeling well and she knew that if she actually got some sleep she would feel much better.

"Are you okay?" Mercedes asked, concerned. Mercedes was another one of Lily's roommates and her best friend as well. "Do you want me to take you down to the nurse?"

"No," Lily said immediately. "I'll be fine. I just need some sleep." Luckily it was a Saturday and they didn't have any classes or Lily couldn't have avoided going down to see Madam Pomfrey, the school nurse.

"Okay, then," Mercedes shrugged. "If you're sure."

"I'm sure," Lily answered firmly. The girls continued to get ready, trying to keep the noise down so they wouldn't disturb Lily. Shortly after they went Great Hall for breakfast, Lily finally fell asleep.

She was woken up a few hours later when she heard Mercedes softly, but harshly, say, "You're not supposed to be here."

"I just came to see how Lily was doing," James answered. Confused, Lily opened her eyes. Boys weren't allowed in the girls' dorm.

"She's sleeping," Mercedes told him.

"I was," Lily said, sitting up in her bed. She rubbed her eyes sleepily and stretched to wake herself up.

"Hey, Lily," James said, smiling at her. "How are you feeling?"

"Tired," Lily answered honestly. Then suddenly she remembered what had happened the night before. She looked at her boyfriend warily. "You're not supposed to be here."

"When  has that ever stopped me before?" James asked. He sat down at the foot of her bed.

"I'll leave you two alone," Mercedes said. "Do you want anything, Lily? Water? Something to eat?"

Lily shook her head.  "No thanks. I'll be fine."

"Okay, then," Mercedes said. She left, carefully closing the door behind her.

Lily turned to James. She wasn't sure what she was going to do with the knowledge that he, Sirius and Peter were Animagi and Remus was a werewolf. She decided not to say anything for now, giving herself more time to think about it. "So why are you here?" she asked.

"I came to see how you were." James sounded almost confused, as if they answer to the question was so obvious, he couldn't believe Lily had even asked.

"I'm feeling fine."

"Are you sure?" James asked, concerned.

"I'm sure," Lily said dryly. "I just didn't get enough sleep last night." She pretended to study him. "You look rather tired yourself."

James shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, well I didn't get enough sleep, either," he said.

"So, what were you guys doing last night?" Lily asked.

"W-what?" James stammered. If Lily didn't already know what it was about, she would definitely be suspicious. She was a bit suprised that James was acting so guiltily. Usually he was a fairly decent liar. He had to be, otherwise he would have had ten times the number of detentions he already got.

"You said you had plans. I just assumed you meant with Sirius and Remus," Lily reminded him. "That's why we couldn't go out last night."

"Oh, yeah," James aid. His relief was obvious. Lily felt like rolling her eyes. "Actually, Remus wasn't feeling well, so we didn't do anything after all."

"I hope I didn't catch what he had," Lily said innocently. James started to cough for no apparent reason.

"I'm sure you didn't."

"Well," Lily smiled at him. "You should probably get going. If you're caught in my room, we'll both get in tons of trouble."

"You're right," James agreed, standing up. "I'll see you later. Get better."

"Okay," Lily said. She watched him sneak out of her room before sighing. What was she going to do? There it was, the perfect opportunity to tell James she knew his secret and what had she done? Nothing. Lily liked down again and mulled over her options. When was she going to tell James, and how?

It was late afternoon when Mercedes came in to see her again. "How're you feeling?" she asked.

"Much better, thank you. I think I'm going to get up now."

"That's good," Mercedes said. "What did James want?"

"Just to see how I was doing. Thanks for covering for me, by the way."

Mercedes shrugged. "What are friends for? Besides," she added. "Now you owe me. Next time I want to sneak Tom in, you have to help me."

Lily grimaced. She didn't like Tom and she couldn't see how Mercedes could be going out with him.

"It's not the same thing," she protested.

"What's the difference between me letting your boyfriend sneak in and you letting my boyfriend sneak in?" Mercedes asked.

"For one thing, James and I just talked. You and Tom," Lily coloured slightly. "Well, if you just talk, then I'm a Muggle."

"It's hardly my fault that you and James refused to take advantage of the situation. If I had a boyfriend half as cute as James and we were alone in my room, then - "

Lily cut her off. "I'm not helping Tom sneak in here, and that's final," she said.

"Fine," Mercedes conceded, "but you at least have to cover for us, okay?"

"Okay," Lily agreed. She still wasn't happy with it, but at least she didn't have to sneak Tom in.

"Thanks, Lily, you're the best." Mercedes bounded over to Lily's bedside and gave her friend a hug. She was smiling broadly. Lily got the sinking suspicion that she had been played, that all along Mercedes only wanted that, but had asked for more so Lily would bargain down to that.

"I'm going to get ready, now," Lily announced.

"Of course. I'll leave you alone, then." Mercedes left.

As Lily was getting dressed, her mind wandered back to the original problem of what she was going to do about the boys' secret. Her interlude with Mercedes had almost made her forget about it. Lily came to a conclusion as last, just before she was ready to go down to the common room. She wouldn't do anything. Nothing would be gained by confronting James, Sirius or Remus. It would just be awkward and most likely end up with everyone fighting. So Lily would do nothing.

As she opened the door leading out of her room, she thought with awry smile that at least she now knew where the boys had come up with such ridiculous nicknames.

The End

Couple of things.  Someone mentioned while reviewing my last story that it should be "Sirius's wand" not "Sirius' wand."  I dutifully looked it up and apparently both uses are acceptable.  To make things easier, I will just stick with "Sirius' wand."
Thank you to my wonderful beta-readers.  You're the best!
I hope you guys enjoyed!  Don't forget to review *grin*
Oh, yeah.  And the characters don't belong to me.  They belong to the goddess known to us lesser mortals as J. K. Rowling.
One last thing.  9:00 here.  Only three more hours!  Anyone else as excited as I am?
~Trinity Day