Peter Pettigrew was happy to take the fall for any pranks the Marauders were caught doing, and he did not mind being the one that ended up in detention. The truth was, Peter was just glad to be a part of such a close group of friends and would do anything to keep himself in the loop. It was only fair, Peter thought, since James was busy with Quidditch and Remus had enough on his plate and Sirius had his family to deal with. If Peter ever got the chance to take the blame and spare them from detention, he was happy to do it.
It was on just such a night that Peter Pettigrew made an amazing discovery that would change everything for them.
It was late one evening in February and he had taken the fall for a rather brilliant prank that James and Sirius had been responsible for, which involved exploding valentines candy that stained the entire great hall pink for three whole days, and long story short Peter ended up in detention scrubbing cauldrons. On his way back to Gryffindor Tower, the Staircases decided to move sending him off in the complete opposite direction. He wandered the corridors in a mild panic wondering briefly if he should stop and ask a portrait for directions, when he tripped on his untied shoelace and stumbled right into the arms of a stone statue of a one eye'd witch.
A panicked scream - which he was glad his friends were not around to hear, escaped his lips before he noticed that it was indeed only stone that he had fallen into. He sighed in relief and brushed himself off, bending down to tie his shoe...And that's when he noticed it...
Peter was good at noticing the little details -That's what made him so useful in pranks. While the others may have never paid attention to something so minuscule, Peter's eyes lingered for just a moment longer on everything. There was something strange about this statue...Curious, he gave the stone witch a little shove.
Sirius flopped down onto Remus' bed. "Hey, I've got the notes from History of Magic for you."
"And you should be thankful," James added. "That's usually when Sirius gets his beauty rest, y'know."
Remus laughed and accepted the parchment from the raven haired boy. "So sorry to impose upon your nap, Sirius." Then he added, more seriously. "You didn't have to do that for me..."
Sirius shrugged him off. "It'll just give Potter some time to catch up." He winked at Remus. "He needs it far more than I do. Poor ugly brute, he is."
"We'd all be much better looking if you didn't hog the mirror every morning, Black." came James' reply, along with a pillow being thrown across the room at Sirius' head.
Before Sirius could retaliate the door burst open and in ran Peter, panting and gasping for air. "JAMES, SIRIUS, REMUS! You've got to see!"
"Peter! Are you alright?" Remus asked as he, James and Sirius leaped off their beds to their friends' side.
"Get the cloak, I've found something!" Peter's eyes were wide with excitement.
Under the invisibility cloak, the four boys crept out of the common room and Peter lead them to the third floor where he found the One Eye'd Witch.
"It's just here," Peter said, unable to hide his excitement. Once they were sure Filch was nowhere nearby, they removed the cloak.
"Gunhilda of Gorsemoor." Said Remus, matter-of-factly. "She found the cure for Dragon Pox."
"You know weird things, Lupin." Sirius muttered, though he was mildly impressed.
"Er..Real cool, Pete..." James said as Sirius rolled his eyes. "Don't really see why you were nearly wetting yourself, but-"
"No, not the bloody statue! Look!" He stepped forward and ran his finger along the edge of the statue closest to the wall. "It's hollow behind it! Like a tunnel!"
All at once, the other three boys pushed and shoved each other to get close to the statue. It was no secret that the castle had many secret passages, had Peter really just found one?
"I think you're right, Pete-Ouch! Sirius! You're stepping on my foot!" James grumbled, shoving Sirius out of the way.
"You specky git, I want to see!" Sirius shoved back.
"It hardly matters," Remus reasoned with them, though he too was trying to squeeze in to get a closer look. "It's not like we can get past the statue. We'd need a password."
They all stepped away from the statue, seemingly defeated. Peter sighed, "Sorry. I got excited. I thought it was pretty cool."
"It'd be cooler if we knew how to get through." mumbled Sirius, who was promptly elbowed in the ribs by Remus. "What? It's true. What are we suppose to do? Guess?"
They sat in silence for a long moment, each lost in determined thought.
"Open Sesame." James said suddenly. The other three slowly turned their gaze to him.
"Brilliant, Potter. What's next, abra kadabra?" Sirius quirked an eyebrow.
"Well I didn't hear you lot coming up with anything better." Said James in defense.
Sensing that the two would no doubt begin to bicker and risk someone finding them, Remus interrupted, "No use arguing over it. I doubt it's anything we'd be able to just guess and who knows what's back there. It could be dangerous."
"Ha!" Laughed James, sticking his chest out a little. "Danger is my middle name."
"Shut your gob, Potter. Your middle name is Fleamont." Sirius snorted.
Remus rolled his eyes, "Like I was saying, it's not like they'd just use a common spell for finding secret passages."
The other three stared at him blankly.
"There's a spell to find secret passages?"
Remus blinked. "Er...yeah...Dissendium,"
There was a distinct scraping sound of stone on stone and the four boys stared, opened mouthed as the statue of Gunhilda of Gorsemoor slid slowly to the side revealing a very narrow tunnel.
James smirked at Remus, who stood frozen in shock. "You were saying, Lupin?"
"Now, Remus. You're a werewolf, not a swearwolf." Sirius patted Remus' shoulder, wearing a huge grin as he stepped forward to inspect the passageway. "Well? What d'you think? Should we explore?" He didn't wait for a reply and was already two steps into the damp darkness when James and Peter replied with an enthusiastic "Hell Yeah!" and hurried to follow.
"You coming, Remus?" James called over his shoulder and begrudgingly, Remus sighed and stepped into the tunnel behind them.
"It's bloody dark in here..." Peter muttered, trying hard to mask the twinge of fear in his voice echoing in the emptiness.
"Lumos maxima," Came Remus' voice from behind, and the narrow hall filled with a bluish silvery light.
"Heh...right...magic..." Squeaked Peter.
The tunnel was musty and damp and seemed to be endless. It was clear that no one had been through it in many years and the only sound was that of their footsteps and a faint drip, drip, drip from above.
"How long have we been walking?" groaned Peter after what must have been at least twenty minutes. "I'm tired. How to we know this tunnel even goes anywhere at all?"
"Quit your whining, Pete. If you're not up for a little adventure we'll just have to leave you all alone here in the dark."
"Sirius, be nice." Remus chastised mildly. "He's sort of right anyway. We've been walking forever, this really could be a dead end or even something dangerous."
"You don't want to turn back, do you?" asked James wearily.
"No!" Peter said, unconvincingly while Remus sighed;
"We've gone this far, turning back would be a waste."
Sirius turned around so quickly that James and Peter nearly collided with him. "If you want to turn back we can, Rem. I mean...you just had your....y'know...If your tired or you're not feeling well-"
"I'm tired." Peter offered.
"You didn't turn into a werewolf two nights ago." Even through the darkness, Peter could feel Sirius' grey eyes glaring.
"It's fine, Sirius. I'm alright, really." said Remus, gently defusing the tension.
"Er...On we go, then?" James said, clearing his throat awkwardly. And on they did go...