At last I would know what they were up to … Where that Lupin went every few weeks. I trusted Black as far as I could throw him, but for this … I was so curious, so desperate to know, that I would take any lead available.
So as soon as Black vanished into the darkness, I set off into the grounds, towards the Whomping Willow.
As I neared it I looked around for a long stick and found one lying conveniently near-by, as if somebody had already used it …
Lupin, of course.
I picked it up and cautiously approached the tree. Then I stretched out as far as I could, ducking the flailing branches, and touched the knotted root at the base of the tree. Miraculously, it froze.
Black was right.
I abandoned the stick and carefully picked my way through the statuesque branches, and found the gap in the roots. I hesitated for a heartbeat, and slipped inside. I slid down an earthly slope and found myself in a narrow tunnel; I set off, excitement building inside me.
I slipped and stumbled on the uneven ground – I was losing concentration on what I was about to find. All I could think of was how I'd splash their secret all across the school before going to the teachers – that would ruin James Potter.
Their popularity would go first, and then their education. James would be kicked off the Quidditch team, and they'd all be sent packing, back home to their families. I could see, in my mind's eye, how Lily's face would be lit up with admiration when she realised that it was I, not James Potter, who'd been straight from the start – who hadn't lied and cheated. Her green eyes would sparkle and she'd toss her hair as we stood and laughed at the entrance to Hogwarts, watching as the boys dragged their trunks down the drive, rejected … And I'd curl my fingers around hers, and she'd look up at me in amazement, all eyes in her pale face, as she realised she was in love with me as I had been in love with her, all these years.
God, I couldn't wait to get my hands on their little secret. But that was no need to lose concentration and slip into daydreaming – who knows what I might find at the end of this infernally long tunnel. I lit my wand and trudged on, but the image of Lily, alight with happiness, still hovered hazily at the front of my mind.