James Potter plopped himself down on the sofa between Remus and Peter one afternoon in mid October.
"Lads, I want to plan something big for Halloween." He announced.
Remus did not look up from Peter's Defense Against The Dark Arts paper he had been proof reading. "Like a party?" he asked.
"No, no...Bigger than that. I want something the whole school will remember." With a mischievous glint in his eye he ruffled up his hair. "I want to prank everyone."
Sirius threw his own paper down with a big grin. "I'm in. What did you have in mind, Potter?"
"Not sure," his hazel eyes adopted a look of innocence as he glanced at Remus. "But I seem to recall that someone here has quite a creative little mind."
This time Remus did look up. "Me?" He blinked.
"Of course you, you bloody little genius!"
Remus sighed. "I don't know, James."
"Aw, come on Rem." Sirius said, bringing his lips to a pout and giving his best impression of a begging puppy with his eyes.
"The thing is," Remus bit his lip. "I don't know if I'll even be here on Halloween. I have to visit my mum-"
"Again?" Whined Peter. "But you were only just there last month."
"She's very ill, you see-"
"What's she got?" Sirius asked.
Remus blinked up at him. "What?"
"Your mum. I know she's ill, but what does she have?"
A flood of emotions seemed to wash over Remus' face from panicked to angry. He took a deep breath in and set Peter's paper down. "I'll help you plan something. But I can't promise I'll be here."
Sirius opened his mouth to argue, but James stomped on his foot.
"That's fine, Remus. Thank you."
The next few weeks were spent carefully planning their elaborate Halloween prank and James, Sirius and Peter were increasingly impressed with the outrageous things that came out of their usually quiet and reserved roommate. The days flew and Halloween drew closer and closer. The boys would stay up until all hours of the night , huddled up on one of their beds. James wanted something big. He wanted this prank to be something everyone would remember. Peter wanted something scary.
"Halloween should be scary."
Sirius agreed with Peter. "It should send everyone screaming," He grinned. "Knock those Slytherins off their High Horse, you know?"
Remus wanted it to be impressive. And Sirius unintentionally had just given him the perfect idea.
Three days before Halloween, Remus was all set to leave.
"You've all been practicing your transfiguration spells that I showed you. You'll be just fine without me." He assured them, exhaustion already present in his voice and face.
"You're better at them though." Sirius grumbled, moodily. "Can't you wait til after Halloween to go home?"
"I'm sorry," Remus said. Truly he was, he was actually quite sad to be missing it. "I really need to go."
"I'm not so sure you even should go," James said. "You're looking a tad under the weather again. You can't be much help to your mum if you're sick too."
Remus shook his head. "I'm just stressed, that's all. Worried about her and up late planning this...It's just been a lot on top of school work. I promise, I'm alright." He gathered up his things. "I have every faith in you. It'll be great. We've already convinced Peeves to help, the rest is just getting the spells right." And he left.
The day of October thirty-first seemed to drag as James, Sirius and Peter awaited the feast that evening. James was practically bursting with excitement, sitting under a tree by the lake and finalizing their plans.
"Tonight we begin our legacy as the greatest pranksters that Hogwarts has ever seen!" He announced proudly.
"How exactly are we supposed to create a legacy while simultaneously not getting caught and put in detention?" Peter asked, raising an eyebrow at James.
"Caught doing what?"
The three boys looked up at Lily Evans, who was walking by with Severus Snape.
James rolled his eyes. "Nothing, Evans."
The redhead's eyes narrowed on him. "What are you three up to?"
"Enjoying this brisk autumn day, same as you and Snivellus, there." Sirius said in his most nonchalant voice.
Severus glared. "I'd be careful, Black. Wouldn't want mummy and daddy hearing that you're causing trouble. They'll pull you straight out of school."
Sirius reached for his wand but James stopped him. "Easy, mate."
"Let's go, Severus." Lily said, taking Snape by the sleeve and leading him away.
James ran a hand through his hair. "Dunno why she hangs out with that slimy git."
"Dunno why you care," Sirius muttered. "She's bloody annoying." He leaned against the tree and smirked. "Anyway, I stopped Peeves this morning down by Filch's office to make sure he was still down to help us tonight."
"This is going to be so awesome." Peter grinned.
"Still wish Remus was going to be here though." Sirius sighed, and the others agreed.
"Madam Pomfrey, I swear I'm feeling alright." Remus had been eagerly trying to convince the nurse all day, but she was not so easily swayed.
"Mister Lupin, you're still running a fever and you haven't eaten in a day and a half. You're not going anywhere." She said as she fussed over his bandages.
"But isn't that even more of a reason I should go to the Halloween feast?" He tried to keep from sounding overly hopeful.
Pomfrey sighed. "Remus, dear, I know you'd like to be at the feast tonight but you really need to rest. Now finish up your potion and try to eat some soup, will you?"
Remus quickly downed the goblet of icky green liquid and accepted the bowl of soup that Pomfrey had been trying to get him to eat all day. "See? All better. Please can I go? I'll go right to bed after, I promise."
"No." Said the witch sternly, and Remus laid back down against the stark white pillows of the infirmary and stared at the ceiling in defeat.
"James, honestly you look like you're going to explode. You need to calm down or everyone's going to know we're up to something."
"Shove it, Sirius. You're excited too."
"But I don't look like I'm going to wet myself."
"...Wait, we're going to eat first and then pull this off, yeah?"
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Of course we are, Peter. Wouldn't want you dropping of starvation now, would we?"
"I have low blood sugar!" Peter defended. "And all this planning has just...it's made me hungry, alright? And I don't want to miss my first Halloween feast here, do you?"
"He's got a point." James admitted. They were standing just outside the Great Hall where the rest of the students and teachers were already preparing to enjoy the festivities. "Yeah, we'll eat first, Pete, no worries." Peter sighed with relief. "Alright then, mates. Act casual. We're not planning a single thing!"
Sirius snorted, "Then wipe that shit eating grin off your face, Potter. You might as well write 'Guilty' across your forehead."
"Shut up, Black!"
"Sorry, I get snippy when I'm nervous." Sirius admitted with a slightly uncharacteristic bashfulness.
"Couldn't tell." Muttered Peter.
"Alright, enough. Let's go before someone comes by and sees us." Said James, and they entered the hall and took their seats among their fellow Gryffindors. The Great Hall was decorated festively with giant jack-O-lanterns replacing the candles that usually floated above their heads and enchanted skeletons that danced around the tables where they all sat. Black and purple curtains hung along the walls and every so often a giant pretend spider would scamper across them.
Peter was certainly right about not wanting to miss the big Halloween Feast. It truly would have been a shame to have not been able to enjoy the vast spread of deliciousness that appeared before them.
"James, tell your bloody girlfriend to stop staring at us." Sirius hissed, helping himself to a third serving of potatoes. Sure enough, Lily Evans was giving them all a suspicious glare.
"She's not my girlfriend!"
"Oy Evans, You see something you like?" Sirius asked with snark dripping from his voice.
"Not particularly, Black." Lily responded, feigning a sweet innocence as Marlene and Dorcas giggled beside her.
"Well then would you care to explain why your staring, if not just to see my pretty face?" Sirius said with a grin and a wink at the other girls, who continued to giggle.
"I know you lot are up to something." Lily said flatly, ignoring her friends.
"You don't know a thing, Evans." James smirked as the plates from dinner cleared on their own and were replaced with cakes and cookies and sweets. Under the table, Sirius' wand was out. It was almost time, if only Lily Evans would stop pestering them.
Just then, there was a loud crack of thunder as the enchanted ceiling's clear night sky clouded over and lightening flashed across it. All the chatter in the hall stopped immediately and the sound of cackling laughter echoed throughout the room. Above them, the Jack-O-Lanterns began to slowly change positions, coming together to form something massive.
James, Sirius and Peter all exchanged looks of utter confusion.
The skeletons that had been waltzing around them were also changing and the curtains ripped themselves from the walls and flew over the crowd of students. Together the decorations had formed a giant shadowed figure of The Headless Horseman. Students screamed as the horse reared back and galloped overhead and some even took cover underneath their tables, including, to Sirius' great pleasure, Bellatrix and some other Slytherins.
And finally, with a piercing whinny, the horse and its rider exploded into hundreds red and gold sparks against the once again clear enchanted night sky of the ceiling.
After a moment of stunned silence, the Great Hall erupted into laughter and applauds from everyone except James, Sirius and Peter, who were gaping at each other in shock.
"Alright, mates?" came a voice from behind them, making them jump.
Grinning, Remus sat down. "Quite a show," he said mildly. "Pass the pumpkin pie, will you James?"