July 5th, 2005, 7:45 am
Author's note: All items relating to the Marauders--Remus, James, Sirius, and Peter--are copyright of J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers inc as part of the Harry Potter franchise. This is just my little interpretation of how James and company came to learn of Remus condition. And in keeping with the requests, this is no longer a one-shot story... but an expanded piece exploring the development of the marauders and their learning to become animagi. As a further addendum, this piece has been expanded somewhat--so not only is it a marauder-era fic, it is also contemporaneous with the HP Year seven--post HalfBlood Prince. That part began with a memorial scene involving Remus Lupin, and will get to be more Harry-centric... so yes, two fics will be occurring at the same time.
And as with any OLIRWA piece, the requisite frontispiece.
Thanks to J.K. for providing the world with such wonderful material.
Feedback can be found here. (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=57843)
James looked up at the sky, marvelling--not for the first time since he learned the truth--about how mysterious the moon could be, and unintentionally cruel. As though some prediliction, some desire of the universe had said: "As each suffers the pain of the cruciatus curse, so to will you know their pain and suffer it once a month at the full moon!"
He shook his head and then ran the fingers of his right hand through his mussed-up hair. He noticed Lily Evans walking past and glaring at him for it; but his concern for Remus over-rode all other input that his brain was receiving. And when he didn't even flash his smile at her, somehow he failed to notice her stumble slightly in shock.
Looking up, the branches of the willow tree bare of leaves; the cool wind blowing against his face--James heaved a sigh.
"Hey Jamesy, why the long face?" Sirius calls out. "Lily turn you down for a date again?"
"Huh? Oh hey Sirius... Remus still visiting his sick grandmother?" James asks, his heart not really in the conversation.
"Yeah," Sirius replies, taking a seat beside his friend. "Although if you don't want to get as sick as Remus or his relatives seem to do, I suggest we go in. Peter's still in class right now."
"Not yet," James says heavily.
"Look mate, what's got ya down?" Sirius asks, placing his hand on James' shoulder.
"What do you think of werewolves?"
"You're not going to come out as one are you and bite me tonight?" Sirius asks, not entirely with mock concern.
"No you git," James shoots back angrily. "What do you think of werewolves? And to answer your question, I'm not one. Even you should know that by now."
"So that's what we've been discussing in Care of Magical Creatures and Defense Against the Dark Arts for the last week," Sirius said, as a large amount of sudden comprehension looms in his eyes.
"And why we learned about the whomping willow in first year," James adds.
The two points suddenly clicked in Sirius' brain, and he says, "Holy shyte James, there can't be a werewolf in Hogwarts... not even Dumbledore'd be that crazy to admit one. I hope to god it's no one close to us..."
James shakes his head, stands up, and starts pacing around the tree; his hand running through his hair.
"What's eating at you?" Sirius asks. "Who's the werewolf? Maybe we could run them out..." the statement dies under the withering glare of James' hazel eyes. "Is it someone we know?"
A barely visible nod in the affirmative, and then the pacing continues.
"Lily?" Sirius asks.
James pauses long enough to say, "No. Although even if it were her, I wouldn't let THAT part interfere with how I feel about HER. Although after what I just heard, maybe you are more like the rest of your family than I thought..."
"That was way below the belt James," Sirius glares at his friend. "So it's not Lily, and it's not either yourself or me... Is this person in Gryffindor?"
A nod yes.
"Someone close to us," Sirius continues.
"As close as a good friend can be," James says quietly. "And it's not Peter."
"Which leaves only one candidate," Sirius says equally as quietly, and then realizing James' sharp barbed comment about his family in conjunction with his earlier comment about running the werewolf out of the school...
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Sirius says, and fitting action to words, promptly vomits. When he finishes, he points his wand at the pile and says, "Evanesco. So it's Remus is it? God, I am so sorry for having talked like such a prat earlier... you gotta believe me James... how did you find out?"
James stopped pacing long enough to see the look in his friend's eyes and see Sirius was telling the truth.
Sighing again, he says, "I felt like Remus was lying about visiting his various sick relatives, especially since none of the carriages ever left the school with him... and it only happened once a month too, not that I really paid attention before recently."
"So what got your attention?" Sirius asks.
"I asked Remus why he was leaving to visit a sick relative," James replies. "When he looked like they ought to come visit him in the sick ward here. And then he said something about wishing there was someone or something that could help him... but he wouldn't tell me what it was."
"That would have been last month, right?" Sirius asks.
"Yeah," James agrees. "And then we started the segment on werewolves, and I started getting suspicious, especially as Remus seemed to feel it best that he not be present when the subject was brought up... apparently the teacher didn't object."
"Remus, perfect Remus, skipped HIS favorite subject?" Sirius looks at his friend in shock.
"Keep your voice down Sirius," James says, his voice low and furious.
"Sorry," Sirius says in response. "D*mn. So what keyed you in?"
"The fact that he's always so pallid and tired-looking," James replies. "And he gets worse looking the closer to the full moon he gets. That and he invariably uses the same excuse over and over again. I've got one or two more pieces of evidence to get for confirmation, and then the next trick after talking to Peter will be to convinve Remus that not only do we know, but that we also value him enough as a person not to throw away our friendship over this."
When James falls silent, Sirius stands and begins pacing of his own accord. Finally, he says, "I take it that you want to find the entrance to the place the staff take him prior to the full moon, and then see him transform right?"
At James' affirmative nod, Sirius barely manages to prevent a shudder--whether from fright or disgust, he couldn't say--but he knew at this point why James had been reluctant to inform him. And from his earlier comment, he knew that James was VERY leery about actually trusting him as a friend now.
"And that you want Peter and I to go with you," Sirius continues. "I take it so that we can accept the fact that once a month during the full moon, our best friend turns into a raging beast that would just as soon kill a person as look at them, or else turn them into a beast similar to themselves--like a feral--and our entire friendship depends upon Peter and I agreeing to this and helping him understand that we accept his..."
"Illness, disease," James replies coolly.
"Right," Sirius replies. "Condition... and that we still want to be his friends."
"Correct," James answers.
"I take it secrecy of course is to be maintained?"
"That's why we're the Marauders," James replies.
"And how pray tell do you propose to get in there?" Sirius asks. "With werewolf in full form."
"Benefit of an invisibility cloak," James grins.
"Do you think Peter would even have the GUTS to go through with something like that?" Sirius asks.
"Hey guys," Peter's voice comes ringing out. "Guts to do what?"
That night after having fully elaborated to Peter the true nature of Remus' condition... with the courtesy of having placed imperturbable charms on the curtains of James' bed, and then having to physically restrain Peter until he was calm enough to listen to James AND Sirius... the three friends found themselves under the invisibility cloak not far from the Whomping Willow.
They watch silently as Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Madam Pomfrey lead Remus Lupin up to the entrance and take him inside the tunnel. When the staff finally depart the tunnel, the three make their move and slip in just before the entrance closes and the tree re-enervates.
Making their way through the tunnel, Peter asks, "Does this lead where I think it does?"
"If you were to say the 'Shrieking Shack,'" Sirius responds with a quiet hiss. "I'd say you were correct Peter."
"Quiet you two, we're almost there," James whispers.
They climb the stairs and make their way to a nook not easily visible from the ground floor and settle in to wait.
And wait long, they did not. Soon Remus comes into view, and as he does, a beam of moonlight falls into his eyes, and the three friends watch in horrified silenceas he undergoes the change from human into wolf.
They sit in silence the entire night as he bites and claws himself; howls of misery rising into the cool autumn air.
And both Peter and Sirius notice something about James as he listens and watches Remus' suffering through the material of the invisibility cloak. Tears stream down his face as though, somehow, he is trying to transfer some of his friend's pain into his own body.
When daylight comes, they watch quietly as Remus resumes his human-shape and then Dumbledore, Minerva, and Madam Pomfrey enter into the shack and bear Remus off to the castle.
"So how are we to help him in that state?" Peter asks.
"By doing the only thing that can help him in that state," Sirius replies calmly. "We're going to become animagi..."
James laughs at that, and says, "Is it merely a coincidence that dear Professor McGonagall managed to start the discussion on animagi at the same time we're learning about werewolves?"
Sirius thinks it over, as Peter looks confused.
"I don't get it," Peter says simply.
"Don't be thick Peter," Sirius says smiling. "What Jamesie here is suggesting that someone wanted somebody to help Remus. What they didn't take into consideration is that anybody'd be willing to do just that."
"Keeping it a secret from Dumbledore will be hard though," James says thoughtfully.
"But fun," Sirius replies with a grin.
"So when do we tell Remus we know?" Peter asks.
And silence descends.
July 18th, 2005, 8:32 am
Author's note: In response to the request to have a follow-up sequence to this piece done, particularly noting Remus' reaction to his friends' knowledge, I will be following this posting with the requested info... and as soon as I finish "Twists of Fate" I will then proceed to work on a marauder era fan fic which incorporates this piece into it.
I had fun at the pre-release party at my local borders, and hope y'all have been enjoying HBP.
August 7th, 2005, 4:57 am
Author's note: IN keeping the marauder era story accurate to canon sources, may the reader be hence warned that they should do well NOT to read this, or subsequent segments if they have not already read "Half-blood Prince." Adequate space will be provided for the reader to choose to leave prior to reading the first paragraph of the story. But the story needs to continue, and as people have requested it; this has morphed from being a straight one-shot into being a marauder-era story. And as always, it is done in the quality of style one may expect from a member of O.L.I.R.W.A. Also, in mentioning of the two people who go on to become the parents of Neville Longbottom; I am uncertain as to what Alice's last name was prior to her marriage, and so if it reads as though she and Frank are already married, I do not wish to indicate that...
Other items of note, some things in this story are carry-overs of marauder-related items already established in my HP-AU story "Adventures of Harry Potter: Twists of Fate."
The morning sun rises over the grounds of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, giving an eerie reflection over the frost-encrusted ground. Steam rises from the lake in the cool autumn air, as the leaves of the trees in the Forbidden Forest lose what little greenery they had--for the deciduous trees at any rate. The evergreens retained their colour, and the sounds of creatures moving around in the forest could be heard if anyone ventured close enough to listen.
Inside the Great Hall, those students up early were eating their breakfast in preparation for a rather busy day. And amongst the group, two friends were seated at the Gryffindor table talking to Alice and Frank Longbottom. The two boys in question are Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. A few girls of various houses hang around, giggling nervously as they look on at Sirius--a ladies' man even in his third year. Whether to spite his good looks, or aid them--no one was really quite certain which--he had been gifted with an intelligence that essentially made the Sorting Hat tell him he had two options; Slytherin--because of his family tradition--or Ravenclaw--in keeping with his cousin Andromeda (and her daughter Nymphadora, who would also be sorted into that house). Sirius, ever the rebel, had told the hat quite explicitly that he wanted into Gryffindor. And he also told the Hat, that while a part of his desire to be in THAT house was rebellious in nature; a lot had to do with his new-found friend James Potter.
"A Black in league with a Potter," The Sorting Hat says with a smirk and a laugh. "In that case young Sirius, you've started an entirely new tradition at Hogwarts; and there is only one house too put you into. You are loyal unto your friends, as a dog is to his master, yet you are not blindly obedient either. You are brave indeed... such courage to go against every generation of Slytherin in your family's heritage, and braver yet to go against even the tradition marked by your cousin Andromeda. I am not one for prognosticating; but I tell you now Sirius Black, by making this choice, your life is going to be marred by tragedy and your loyalty to your friends will be tested beyond the endurance capable of Salazar Slytherin himself. But the few moments of happiness that you will find amongst the tragedy will in the end make up for it. Are you decided then?"
"I am," Sirius says with a grim determination to get into Gryffindor.
"GRYFFINDOR!" The Sorting Hat shouts to the assembled hall. He looks towards the Slytherin table and sees the shocked looks on his cousins Bellatrix and Narcissa Black, who were then entering into their third year as Sirius was now to commence his first. He grins at them, and if looks could kill, he probably would have fallen on the spot... but he rises as he takes off the Sorting Hat and gives a deep bow.
"I Sirius Black, wish to thank you all for your kind applause to my sorting, and look very much forward to the next seven years which I do hope you will find to be as memorable as I will." And with that, he takes his seat. The potions instructor, Horace Slughorn looks at Sirius appreciatively as the young boy leaves the stool.
Other students were sorted, Remus Lupin, James Potter, and Peter Pettigrew being sorted into Gryffindor, as was a lovely young muggle girl Lily Anne Evans. As the sorting came to a close, he saw both James and Severus looking at Lily as though harboring the same desire. Sirius shudders slightly at the thought of any competition between his friend and the Slytherin inductee.
"You know Peter," Frank says laughing. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say Sirius here was day-dreaming."
"Wonder if it has anything to do with his little collection of fan girls," Alice says laughing as she looks in the direction of the group.
Sirius shakes his head as he exits his revelry and smiles as he says, "Naw Alice, just reflecting on when I was sorted and what the Hat said to me."
"Did you ever get into the Slug Club from your performance then?" Alice asks.
"He never passes up an opportunity to try to recruit me," Sirius says grinning. "And as long as he keeps company with idiots like my cousins Bellatrix and Narcissa... Professor Slughorn is going to have to wait a very long time before he gets me into his collection."
"Even though James and Lily are already in it?" Frank says laughing.
"Well the only reason James accepted the offer was because of Lily you know Frank," Sirius, Peter, and Alice chorus at the same time.
Frank laughs as he accepts the point, "Point taken," he says. Looking up, he sees Remus enter the Hall with several freshly healed scars on his face.
As Remus joins the group, he asks, "Has any one seen James? I need to talk to him about this defense against the dark arts homework..."
"You mean the boggart-removing spell?" Sirius asks. "Heck, I'd be willing to help you on that one Moony..."
Frank and Alice notice the brief flickering of panic across Lupin's face, which just as quickly vanishes as though nothing unusual had happened. After taking a deep inhale of breath, Remus looks around inquisitively, and then focuses his gaze at Sirius' eyes.
"So did you finish the essay?" he asks.
"Come on Remus," Sirius says smiling. "You're good at legilimency my friend, but not good enough to overcome a Black's training at occlumency. Even you should know that by now. And to answer your question, no I haven't although when it's time to hand it in it will be ready. Did you?"
Remus blushes shamefully, as he acknowledges the point. "Not really," he admits.
"Did you get in a fight with your relatives?" Alice asks. "You keep getting all of these strange new scars..."
"What, these?" Remus shrugs. "Nah, I just had an encounter with Snivellus when I arrived back here at school this morning..." he pauses, expecting Sirius' reaction, and adds, "And no you won't have to do anything... yet... Sirius. I've already dealt with it."
Sirius chuckles, as he tries probing his friend's mind with legillimency, and finds the same inscrutable barrier that he himself was able to produce.
"THE NERVE OF HIM," comes the angry voice of Lily Evans through the hall. She comes striding up to the Gryffindore table and throws her bookbag down against the bench, causing the ink-wells to shatter inside. Opening her bag, she mutters, "Reparo," and then siphons the ink off of the books, returning it to its containers.
"What happened Lily?" Alice asks worriedly.
"It's James..." she mutters.
"What'd he do this time?" Sirius asks intrigued. "Ask you out again?"
"Where is he, Lily?" Remus asks.
"Oh hey Alice, Frank, Sirius, Peter... Remus," Lily says shaking her head, annoyed at having forgotten her manners in her anger at James. "And to answer your question Sirius, no he didn't ask me out again. Honestly, I don't understand him... first he's making my life unbearable with all those pranks and hexes..."
"Just because you've refused to acknowledge his presence," Sirius mutters darkly, though Lily misses it.
"And now he hasn't even acknowledged my existence for the last month," she continues uninterrupted. Remus arches his eyebrows at that, knowing his friend's long standing interest in Lily--making him wonder what caused the change.
"That however does not answer the remaining questions," Frank says calmly. "First what did he do to get you into such a storm of a temper, and secondly where is he?"
"Frank, have you ever considered being an auror?" Lily asks. "Your ability to remain calm and focused would lend well towards that line of work... and what he's done now... well, I'll tell Alice later. As for you Remus, he's in the library... and expects to remain there for the better part of the day. He wants a private chat with you and Sirius up in the corridor by Barnabas the Barmy's painting... says there's a room there." She shakes her head in irritation as she begins eating.
And then part of the reason for her irritation slips out unintentionally.
"What does it matter if Severus and I are seeing each other?" she mutters, missing Sirius' eyes narrowing in anger. "Beyond potions that is? And more to the matter, why does James care about whom I see; when he's hanging onto almost every woman in school..."
"First off Lily that's my job," Sirius replies calmly. "And secondly, while I won't tell you whom to go out with, or not too... I would be careful around Severus. While I haven't seen him actually do something, some of the people he associates with... well, they're known for torturing muggles, even witches like you."
"Oh yeah?" Lily retorts back. "Like whom?"
"Like me, princess," comes Bellatrix's oily voice from behind them. "He's seen me too. Nothing like a good round of cruciatus to get the kinks worked out of your system, right cousin? And if I find out you're dating Severus mudblood... I suggest you best be more careful and not have your back to me ever again..."
Sirius glares at Bellatrix, who laughs as she moves away from the table.
"She wouldn't would she?" Lily asks.
"Why do you think I hate my family?" Sirius asks in reply. "Bella loves inflicting pain on people. She's good at it too." Sighing, he stands as he says, "Time to head to class... potions is it?" Lily nods in the affirmative. He sighs again and picks up his bag.
As Sirius and Peter leave, Remus hangs behind, his heart racing with his thoughts, "What's James doing in the library? Can he suspect that I'm a werewolf? And what's with that pointed name 'moony' that Sirius called me? Is Peter in on this also? Should I go to the meeting?"
"No reason why you shouldn't," a voice answers in his head. "Why you didn't confide in them earlier is beyond me..."
"I don't know if I can trust them not to desert me, to keep a secret that big," Remus almost whimpers to himself. "It would kill me if I lost my best friends because of my being a werewolf."
"You're better than that Remus J. Lupin," the voice says again. "James will be at your side forever and a day regardless, and if Sirius' words didn't convince you of his position nothing will..."
"And Peter?" Remus asks silently.
"He's a rat," the voice answers smugly and then vanishes.
And heaving a heavy sigh, Remus heads down to the dungeons for the potions class.
August 13th, 2005, 4:37 am
Author's note: Please read the 'biography' of Herr Hoffmeijeir and his work with werewolves that I have posted up in the feedback forum for this story.
Twilight falls upon Hogwarts, as the shadows lengthen at the edge of the forest. As the last of the students make their way to their dormitories, three students are making their way towards the seventh hall corridor, hiding from the instructors and the caretaker as the latter inspect the corridors. Finally, they arrive at the site where they are to meet James; they contemplate his strange instructions, and wait as a door materializes out of bare wall.
Sirius knocks and James’ voice calls out, “Enter.” The three friends do so, and Remus lets out a gasp as he sees the collection of books.
“How’d you do that,” Peter asks, as he closes the door behind him.
“Well, it’s simple enough,” James replies vaguely. “Have a seat you three. And Remus, calm down will you?”
“I’d prefer standing, thanks James,” Remus says nervously, having glanced at the title of one of the books, Ein Verständnis von Werewolves und von ihrem Dilemma by Abram Hoffmeijeir.
James nods and says calmly, “I hereby bring this first meeting of the Hogwarts Marauders to order…” while the four had considered themselves marauders, the very formality of the present meeting suggested considerations for a more permanent organization and very probably unknowing changes in their relations to one another.
“Say what…” Sirius asks, as Remus and Peter look at each other in surprise. “Did you know about this Remus, Peter?” Sirius continues, and catches their shaking their heads in the negative. “What exactly is this James? A formalized prank planning session, and who are the marauders?”
James chuckles under his breath, as he intentionally ignores Sirius’ comment by saying, “James Potter, present. Sirius Black—chief mischief maker…” he waits as Sirius announces present, and then finally Remus and Peter do the same. When the room falls silent, he says, “All marauders present and accounted for. Peter, did you draft that values sheet?”
Here, Peter stood once again on firm ground, as he pulls out a sheet of paper that he had been working on in potions—while not the best in the subject like Lily, Severus, James, or Sirius, he was not the worst in the class and so managed to finish his potion in time to draft the values. Reading it aloud, he says with a hint of pride, “The Marauders’ values: Friendship, Loyalty, Courage, and a commitment to encouraging the students of Hogwarts have fun. As well as our having some fun in the process. More-so, the undersigned marauders take a pledge to fully assist each other through the burdens of life as a burden shared is a burden halved.” He finishes and produces a quill, handing both to Remus who looks over the sheet and reads the details.
“Why do I get the feeling this has something to do with me,” he says, with a strange blend of panic, happiness, and anger in his voice causing it to crack as he speaks.
“No idea Moony old mate,” Sirius says smiling, as Remus starts pacing and picking up random books to get an idea of what the primary topic of the meeting was to be about.
“Why are you calling me Moony?” he turns in mid-pace, shouting angrily. “My name is Remus… **** it Sirius! And what’s with all these books on werewolves and animagi?” Sirius was about to protest, when James holds his hand up, quelling Sirius’ response.
“Which brings us to the topic of tonight,” James says formally. “Remus J. Lupin, hence forth informally referred to as ‘Moony’ for concealing certain facts from his friends James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew.”
“Informally,” Remus says quietly, his heart pounding in his chest, as a dawning awareness rises in his brain. Fighting an urge to panic and run from the room then and there by remembering that he had been sorted into Gryffindor, and he stands still; the pallor on his face reminding the three friends of how he looked when first the light of the full moon fell across their friend’s eyes and the transformation began. “Informally, as in a nickname?”
“Yes, a nickname,” Peter agrees, attempting to hide his smile to maintain the appearance of formality. “James, Sirius, and I have not yet had the opportunity to ascertain what our nicknames will be yet.”
“There’s a bit more work to be done before we can do that,” Sirius agrees. “Besides Moony, you can’t be the only one with a cool nickname like that…”
“And what makes you think I should be called Moony,” Remus asks suspiciously.
“Partly because of how you take after ol’ Mad-eye in certain respects, such as calmness under fire,” Peter says, referring to their sometime Defense against the Dark Arts instructor, who gave guest appearances at the school when scheduling didn’t conflict with his schedule as an auror.
“And because we know,” James says calmly. “It seems the moon has an interesting effect on you. We know you’re a werewolf Remus… but why didn’t you tell us?” The panic floods through Remus as the words sink through him, blinding him to other words as he hears his mother’s voice telling him how normal wizards don’t like associating with werewolves… the panic rises faster.
“Remus…” Sirius says worriedly. “Breathe Remus… WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS Remus, listen to us…”
“Remus,” James says, shaking his head as he realizes that things are not going as he had wanted them. “Listen to Sirius and I…”
“How long have you known?” Remus counters, interrupting both James and Sirius.
“I’ve known for about a month,” James replies. “And I was the one who told both Sirius and Peter.” He looks significantly at both Peter and Sirius to avoid mentioning the fact that it required a force of arms to calm Peter down to the point of accepting the news.
“And you three…” Remus says, staggering from the news. “Are willing to be friends with me after that?”
“And after we slipped into the shrieking shack with James’ invisibility cloak and watched you transform…” Sirius says; his famous grin spread wide upon his face. Although thirty-six hours had passed since the incident, at this point he was looking at it as one more prank successfully accomplished, than as something potentially deadly situation. “And we…”
At that, Remus could take no more, “You idiots! I could have killed you!” and he turns, and runs from the room, as though a hive of angry hornets were chasing after him. Sirius and Peter start to take after him, but James catches them by the sleeves of their robes, halting any chase.
“Give him time,” James suggests. “He’ll come around in the end.”
August 16th, 2005, 3:00 am
For the next month as the students went back and forth from their dorm rooms to class and back again... life seemed as normal as Hogwarts in November could possibly be. The frost on the ground, the breath of the students in the cold air. Chatting between friends, and the occassional hex between enemies. All in all, it was Hogwarts. Except for three people.
"James..." Sirius swears. "How in the name of bloody god can a person meander around this castle and manage not to be seen?! Remus can't have disappeared, and apparently he's been making all of his classes... but catching a ghost with your bare hands is easier than catching sight of him!"
"Uhm... not to detract about the worry over Remus' whereabouts," Peter mutters. "But I am not liking the sound of this animagi stuff... and half the requirements for transfiguration are above and beyond my capacity as our head of house is so glad to remind me," he adds bitterly.
The piles of books on animagi were thicker than thieves on a horde of treasure; as the three went perusing them in search of their secrets.
"Don't worry, Peter," Sirius says kindly. "James and I will help you..."
James nods his head in absent-minded agreement, as he keeps his nose close to the book.
"Keep that up James and you'll be looking like Snivellus," Sirius says grinning.
"HAH!" says one of their fellow dorm-mates. "James... look like Snape? That'll be the day... Between the staff, the groundkeeper, and the caretaker, combined with the rest of the student body; I don't think this school has enough grease to equal what Snape HAS to use in his hair. And his hair-style never changes."
"Kind of like mine?" Sirius asks.
"Uh yeah," the boy adds, taken aback by being addressed by one of the most popular students in school. "Why do you guys keep your hair like that?"
It wasn't often that one saw Sirius Black lose his smile, but a serious expression creeps over his face as he replies, "It helps to protect one from legillimency. Not as good as occlumency will... but if you have nothing else to fall on; long hair that obscures the eyes is the next best way to go so the legillimense can't make eye-contact."
The student, whose eyes promptly glazed over at this, turns and leaves.
"Is that really true?" Peter asks incredulously.
Sirius shakes his head as he casts a dispairing gaze upon his friend. "Of course it is Peter," he hisses. "Think of my family... The one thing I'm actually proud of learning is their having taught me occlumency." He also neglects to mention that a side branch of the occlumency training for the Blacks was also legillimency, which causes James to chortle under his breath.
Putting the books aside, the three stand and make their way down towards the dungeons for their potions class.
"Good morning class," Professor Slughorn says with a smile when the last of the students have finally finished trickling into the dungeon.
"Good morning Professor Slughorn," the class choruses.
"So, are we ready for today's round of potion making?" he says, a gleam of laughter at the edge of his voice.
The class nods in agreement as Severus stares on in a bored manner, flicking through his mother's tattered potions book.
"Good, good," Professor Slughorn says. "Because I'm going to run three or four potions that you probably won't until your OWL exams at the earliest, definitely your NEWT exams." he laughs as he says, "This being prompted by some of our more apt students."
A whimper comes from the back as one of the students, Eleanor Brown, who whispers about needing to find her cauldron and the sound of the door closing behind her departing figure.
"So soon?" Professor Slughorn asks rhetorically. "But we're not even into January yet. Anyways, the potions I want you to work on are the following... Felix Felicis, The Polyjuice Potion, the love potion Amortentia, veritaserum, and the draught of living death. The instructions are on the board, and you will have the full period to begin your potions. James Potter, Lily Evans, will you please accompany me to my office?"
Severus shoots a glaring glance at Lily, who shrugs as she frowns at this prospect and then she stands and makes her way towards Slughorn's office with James ambling along side of her.
When their forms disappear from view, Sirius says, "I bet you must really be upset Snivellus, cause now Lily can't help you from melting your cauldron again..."
"AS THOUGH I NEED THE HELP OF THAT MUDBLOOD," Severus hisses quietly, though loud enough for the room to hear. "If anything It is I who prevent her from melting her cauldron... and I KNOW Black that YOU AND POTTER had something to do with that."
"Except you can't prove it," Sirius says glibly and smuggly.
Severus frowns, and Sirius finds his skin breaking out into boils.
"Oi Severus!" Frank says. "No pulling your wand on an unarmed man..."
"Except that Black's not wandless, is he?" Severus says, his eyes glinting.
Sirius waves his wand over his body muttering, "Finite incantentum." Standing he says, "You want a fight Snivellus?"
"Only too gladly you coward," Severus replies standing, equally harsh.
It was as though two silent commands were made, and beams of light went flashing towards the other. And then bouncing off of each others' attack... and the innocents caught in the richochet screaming in pain and agony.
"Couldn't help resist using some of your family's training, could you traitor?" Severus says, a wicked smile upon his face.
"Much better than yours," Sirius replies grimly. "At least the person my hex hit doesn't have gangrene from the hex."
"A pity that..." Severus shrugs. "I suppose her nose will have to be operated on before the infection spreads..."
"What would Lily say to that Severus," Remus asks quietly. The two dueling boys turn to face him, and stare incomprehensively at him.
"What do you mean?" Severus asks, but a hint of panic behind the voice that was unmistakable for anyone listening carefully... and Sirius was.
"What I mean," Remus says as though explaining simple addition to a five year old. "Is that Lily only ever sees you fighting off one of our pranks... how do you think she would feel if she found out that you inflicted--even unintentionally--such a life-threatening illness on another student who wasn't involved in your argument. And a muggle-born one at that..." the silence in the room is thickening.
"Uhm," Peter says. "Sirius, Severus... both of you stand down NOW. We've got five very complicated potions, and while you are two of the best in the class, neither of you are impressing anyone with your little duel. Sirius, you'll just have to do my potion for me as someone needs to take her to the hospital wing."
"And I'll take the guy Severus' spell hit," Frank adds. When he and Peter and their charges have left the room, quiet returns as they begin working on the potions.
August 27th, 2005, 3:54 am
"REMUS!" Sirius shouts at the closed curtains of his friend's bed. "I know you're in there. I got up just to make sure not to miss you either... and don't make me hex you mate..."
"Fine!" comes Remus' groggy and angry voice from the other side of the curtains. "As if you would..." he adds as he stands before Sirius.
"I know a few good ones," Sirius replies calmly, the light bouncing on the balls of his feet an indication that he wasn't entirely certain of what kind of reaction he'd get from Remus. And so, he's ready for anything Remus could throw at him. Remus eyeballs him quickly, and quickly calms himself through occlumency--having seen Sirius in one too many duels with Severus, he knew he'd never be able to beat Sirius at this level... best to calm him down before their dorm erupted into flames.
"What do you want Sirius," Remus asks, wiping his eyes as he tries to stifle a yawn. "It's too d*mn early..."
"Well it's your fault for avoiding us you git," Sirius says sharply, his voice dropping quickly. "James, he says you'll need time to get over the shock... but it's been two months now. We miss you... I miss you. I'd hit you for running on us like that... not hexing... a nice muggle punch..." he draws a ragged breath. Pointing his wand at the door and a few beds other than those belonging to James, Peter, Sirius, or Remus... to make sure no other ears could hear what he was about to say.
"I have too much respect for you though to do that Remus..." Sirius says again. "WE... You, James, Peter, and I are friends. Don't ever run from us like that again. We won't run from you." The pause, and no clue of the dangers that they would face... or what would happen in the last year of James and Lily's young life.
"We know you're a werewolf, Remus," Sirius continues. "And if Albus is willing to trust you... why do you find it shocking that your three closest friends would be unwilling to do the same, or that we would inform the entire school of your secret?"
"You mean you won't?" Remus asks, tears starting to peak out from behind his occlumency-induced mask. Sirius sees them, and though under normal situations, he would have turned to leave his friend in quietude. Not now though... too much was at stake. Knowing what would break his friend and get them associating again, Sirius says, "The Slytherins are already laughing at us... saying that you're either too good for us, or not good enough... and if you have doubts about where I stand... you can use legilimency on me... I won't block you."
Remus sighs, and does as requested. And what he sees confirms his worst fears and secret desires all at the same time.
"You killed a werewolf," he says quietly.
"One who hadn't even transformed," Sirius replies bitterly. What he had been trained as a Black... before even coming to Hogwarts. "he was a bum, living on the street... not sure when or who bit him... but so ensconced in the alcohol that even his werewolf form would have been knocked out." He sighs, knowing that as weak and unintelligent as he viewed his brother Regulus for always following their parents' dictums, he knew there was no weakness to Regulus at all. One could not survive training from such an early age in the ways of the Blacks by being weak.
"Even at a young age, I could kill if I wanted to..." Sirius says, "And then they made me do it as a test run... if one were to use avada kedavra in a proper duel, one must be prepared for it... and we Blacks were amongst the best of the Wizarding Duelers. And so they started us on drunks under their supervision... not hard, but tougher on a werewolf." He turns and says, "There are choices I made then that I am not proud of... but for what it's worth, Remus... knowing you and James and even Peter... You three saved me that not even being placed into Gryffindor could have done."
With that, Sirius leaves the room, removing the spells from the beds, and disappears down the corridor. As Remus stands by, a tear streaming down his cheek, an eye peaking out shrewdly from the curtains bespeaks of Peter listening in and avoiding detection.
And in the coming months, as James confirmed what Sirius said then... the one clue to the actions that were to come... Peter never approached Remus individually, and never until close to the end would he ever be seen separate from James and Sirius.
Christmas comes dawning, as the four boys awake from their slumber.
"Oi! James, Peter, Remus!" Sirius yells, tossing a pillow at the curtains of his friends. "Presents mates!"
"Already!?" Remus asks yawning. "Sheesh Sirius, the least you could do is let me sleep." As the full moon was falling on Christmas, Remus had opted to stay at school for his transformation. And in keeping with his friends view on the situation, they had opted to stay behind as well. Remus stretches, his face pale and drawn as always.
The four get out of bed and make their way down to the pile of presents in their dorm. Opening them, each according to his preference... James getting a new broom from his parents... he could have gotten one when he got placed onto the Gryffindor team as a chaser in second year... but he had held off. Waiting as only he could for something worthwhile.
"I might be a bit pampered," James admits silently. "But I'm not spoiled... like some rich kids I know... but that game last week..." The broom was the top of the line, and while he could easily have afforded it at any time... and his parents had known he wanted it... he told them to wait for the right time.
And it had come finally. The first game against Slytherin for the House cup. And their roughest. James frowns as his thoughts drift back to that game.
Their regular seeker had been knocked out by a bludger from the Slytherin beaters resulting in a nasty third-degree concussion that as Madam Pomfrey had said, "Had caused quite enough damage to be going on with." Only having a thick skull had saved her. As it was, she had to be sent to St. Mungo's to deal with partial paralysis.
She had been the worst of the injuries, but by no means the least. He shudders at the blood that went into obtaining that broom. McCeavers, a new reserve beater, was taken out in the first ten minutes on the field. He had never seen Slytherin play so dirty before... and knowing how Sirius was as a beater when they played at the pitch at James' house... he convinced his team to temporarily pull Sirius on. Which gave them one reserve keeper, two chasers, and two beaters. The two seekers had been removed effectively from the game.
And then, came the move that saved the game for Gryffindor. If nothing else, Gryffindors are brave, and no less so than when they have been brutally abused... can their talents really come through and shine. Bloodied, bruised, abused... but never beaten. Rallying their strength as the pitch becomes magically illuminated as the game goes into the night.
"Albus," Madam Hooch says. "Should we cancel the game and reschedule for another day?"
"NO!" Minerva and Horace shout simultaneously. Their faces drawn and angry, revelling in the support of their respective houses.
"But the Slytherins are violating every rule of the game..." Madam Hooch decries.
Albus looks at James who shakes his head as though to say, "We'll finish this game and we'll win. Slytherin be d*mned." Chuckling at the brief moment of legilimency, Albus says, "Play on."
It was after that moment that Sirius was brought on as the reserve's reserve beater. The hoots from Slytherin were echoing into the Forbidden Forest...
"Sirius?" Bella screams. "He can't play to save his life." She would get a bludger to the chest for that one.
The game resumed with equal intensity, and Gryffindor made its way up on the points... but still far enough behind to lose if the snitch wasn't caught. And even then it would be a close thing.
A broken rib or two later, James tells Sirius... "Keep those Slytherin b*st*rds off my back mate. I'm gonna bury them."
"I'll help James," the other chaser, a woman says grimly.
"I'll stay on post James," Fabian says equally grim. "They'll never get the quaffle through my goal again. Even if it kills me at the end to make sure it stays that way." Funny how words have a way to come back to haunt their speakers... one of the members of the opposing team would be one of the Death eaters involved in the death of Fabian and his brother later on.
James nods, a bit of blood dripping from his nose. He glares at the opposing team.
"GO!" Sirius roars.
"And they're off, the Gryffindors making a fight that's never been seen in Hogwarts Quidditch before," the announcers' voice echoes over the scream of the viewers.
"Avery's been taken down by a bludger by Sirius Black... a hard hit... and oh! Chalmers' been slugged by Alice McCreary a beautiful punch."
Had it been a clean game, Gryffindor would have suffered some penalties... as it was, it was dog eat dog now... and they gave back as good as they had received. James caught the quaffle as he zipped past Fabian... and zooms back down field... another blow to his chest...
And through the hoop... a scream.
He flies back, and they resume again... this time he tackles the keeper, crashing their brooms into the central goal post while Alice scores the goal.
"James," Sirius hisses. "Look for the snitch. We're down to one beater, one keeper and two chasers now... we're close enough that we can even the win, but narrowly... but we need one goal and the snitch to do it."
"James," Alice wheezes as she grabs the fallen beaters' stick. "You've got the best eyesight of all of us... you're front chaser and reserve seeker now. Sirius and I will keep them off of you."
It was a matter of trust that they knew Fabian would remain where he was.
And when they went off again, the announcer said, "And it's James Potter, now flying alone as chaser. With Alice McCreary and Sirius Black as beaters and Fabian as keeper. I don't know what they're aiming for, but the Gryffindors are in desperate straits now...
OH... MY... GOD! James has the quaffle... taking down the pitch, with the Gryffindor beaters behind him for protection... James has taken another bludger to the chest... but he's still flying. And he scores... The Slytherin seeker has seen the snitch! And... and... who has it? James Potter has got the snitch from right out from under the Slytherin seekers' nose... Gryffindore wins the game by one point!"
And then the stadium erupts into cheers.
"Yeah James," Sirius says looking at his friend, holding the broom. "You earned that **** broom. Although next time around, would you try not to kill the whole team to earn it?"
James frowns painfully as though the jest had been completely lost on him. That a few of the Slytherins in the stands had hexed some of their teammates during the game came to no surprise... and Sirius says quickly, "Sorry mate, about that..."
James looks up at his friend and says, a smile dancing across his face briefly. "At least two good things came of that game..." he says simply, but sincerely. "We won... and Lily hasn't spoken to Severus after that argument they had as a result of that game."
"So a good christmas..." Remus asks his two friends, who grin and nod in agreement. Peter though, remains silent... as he had received the brunt of Severus' anger following that argument with Lily. Not that his 'friends' needed to know that. Even though they had never been friends per se... they shared enough common background to tolerate each other. If James, Sirius, and Remus found out... well that could be problematic. But there was no need for them to find out.
He knew the whisperings on the winds about Lord Voldemort. And as magically powerful as he knew James and Sirius to be... well Dumbledore was an old man, and foolish. And James and Sirius... they would be no match if the stories told about Voldemort were true. The only people Peter felt could compete seriously with the Dark Lord... were Severus and Lily. And he had a feeling that if the Dark Lord were to be taken down... Lily would have a hand in it, as would Severus.
Smiling at the thought of the people it would be best to be associated with to survive, Peter knew that staying close to Lily meant for better or for worse that he had to continue his association with James. And yet, for the life of him... he did not understand how or why James could trust him so implicitly as he would refuse to trust any one if in a similar position as James.
Missing a pointed comment from Sirius, Peter looks up and says, "Sorry... thanks for the book James... Sirius, thanks for..." he draws a blank as he had not paid attention to Sirius' gifts. But then he never had. Sirius looks at him darkly, but then shrugs it off. He goes back to his thoughts as the others go back to their conversation.
September 16th, 2005, 6:22 am
Sweet dreams are made of these,
whom am I to disagree, travel the world and the seven seas,
everybody's looking for something.
~ The Eurythmics
"Good morning class," Professor McGonagall says briskly as the pale January sun reaches into her classroom. "Having explored the history of the animagus, those that the muggles call 'shapeshifters'..." the smirk and roll of her eyes giving no doubt as to what she thought of that. "Can anyone, OTHER than James and Sirius--who for once seem to be the only ones who have done their homework in advance--tell me, what use an animagus can be?"
She looks around, and then seeing Lily's hand raised, says, "Yes Miss Evans?"
"Well, it would be a useful means of spying..." Lily says. "As for the homework part, I AM sure it would have been done by most of the class Professer McGonagall, if most of the books hadn't already been removed from the library!"
Professor McGonagall arches her eyebrow at that and says, "Five points for Gryffindor for getting a right answer. Now, who has those books?"
"I do," James replies, shocking the entire class, and almost managing to get McGonagall to drop her pince nez glasses. "As I wanted to be reasonably assured of helping Peter through this portion of the exam."
"How very noble of you James," Professor McGonagall says dryly, some students twittering under their breath, at understanding her use of sarcasm. "And were you planning on using this new found knowledge for the rest of the class."
"Only if they ask," James replies smiling. "Certain conditions need apply of course."
"And those would be?"
He can feel Remus', Sirius', and Peter's eyes boring holes into his skull, as he smiles again.
"As soon as I finish the copying," James says. "They can have my notes." "Although very well edited of course," he mutters silently to himself. "And the books will be back by the end of the week. However you will be glad to know professor that none of the books are overdue."
"How very considerate of you James," Professor McGonagall says with a smirk causing the whole class to chuckle. "Then I will of course make the exam you four... will be getting at the end of the year the hardest of all of them."
"Thank you professor," James and Sirius say in unison, while Remus shakes his head chuckling under his breath, and Peter whimpers.
As the class let out, Lily approaches the four, and says angrily, "What are you four playing at; trying to hog the books?"
"Lily," Sirius says as he rolls his eyes, which earns him a hard slap across the face. "James, Remus and I have a pretty good grasp on the subject... and while we may be inconsiderate of the other students' needs... we are going to make sure that Peter scrapes out an 'Acceptable' in his owls... if not an 'Exceeds Expectations'. And there's no need to slap me..."
"Then there's no need to roll your eyes at me you cheeky b*stard," Lily fumes.
"You really think I can, Sirius?" Peter pipes up, almost shocked that Sirius would even consider such a possibility. Even Lily herself agrees with Peter, having discovered early on that he was scraping a D on the earlier exams; and having her anger being sidetracked by her curiosity.
"Of course you can Peter," Remus and James say together. "It's not going to be that hard..."
"You think not?" Lily demands. "So WHY Have you taken out just about every book on the subject of animagi James?"
James looks at her, his blue eyes icing over as he says coolly, "Lily it's none of your business. So leave us alone."
It is one thing to feel irritation at being the source of attention, it is quite another thing to suddenly realize that not only is one NOT the center of attention, but the giver of the attention now has either disinterest at least, or even dislike. And the extremes was not something, even at this point, that Lily was used to dealling with. Especially from James... though if anyone asked why he of all the students could bring her to the brink of tears, she would have no adequate explanation, save for the old standby of "he irritates me."
As the marauders walk away from her, Sirius whispers to his friend, "Did you have to do that to Lily mate?"
Remus and Peter look at James inquisitively, who tries to throw the question off as of one of no importance--a habit that would become ingrained every time he and Lily had a fight, between now and the end of their seventh year--but at each step looking as though the effort had not been worth the emotional cost.
"It wasn't any of her business," James says sharply as he heaves a sigh. "And she definitely should not have slapped you mate."
Sirius nods, rubbing the red spot on his cheek, as he says, "Point taken mate. Still, I didn't know she'd react like that to my rolling my eyes."
"Maybe she's just having a rough time in school," Remus says quietly. "Besides James, you knew you wouldn't be able to keep those books indefinitely." But then he pauses, as a thought comes to him, and a frown passes over his face.
"You were contemplating telling her weren't you?" Remus asks, neither question nor accusation, but flat statement.
At which point, James leans against the wall and slumps to the ground, his hands trying to rub the tears from his eyes. Finally, he looks up at Remus and says, "I've thought about it a thousand times over, but wouldn't have done. Until you decide that it's safe to tell her, or something shifts in our relationship that allows me to tell her... your secret is safer than being a building protected by the fidelious charm, or even having an unbreakable vow made."
Remus nods, and his acceptance without demanding that such a vow be made was testament to the degree of friendship. Although who knows, if he had requested it; things might have turned out very differently.
September 18th, 2005, 6:52 am
Remus sits at a table in his house, a turf and wood fire burning. Aged scars wreak tracks across his face from his monthly transformations; as he sits before an alter with pictures of friends and relatives, both the living and the dead... a memorial to his life. And in the fore of this memorial, an image of a black-haired boy with green eyes and a lightning-shaped scar over his forehead. The house itself was inherited from his father, and he owned one other... an inheritance from his mother. Which had made it rather easy for Sirius to lie low at his place, following the events of Voldemort's return.
The meager income from his work with the Order permitted him to keep the basic upkeep of both places in his possession, though he had long ago told the Utilities company to shut off the electricity to save money.
"Thank god for fireplaces that function," he mutters out loud, a tear running down his cheek. Harry had never been to his house... not that they were in bad condition by any stretch of the imagination... he kept the roofs in good repairs. Mostly by calling in favors of friends who were skilled with that kind of thing. What he would give to be able to use magic to fix even the most routine problems that sprung up, be it a leaking pipe... or other issue. But having some muggle acquaintances who were roofers and plumbers, he maintained a degree of friendliness with so as to keep his houses in working order.
His life and his usefulness to the Order depended on it. As the Ministry of Magic managed at one point or another to have enough legislation to make it fairly easy to be branded a feral... and be dealt with accordingly.
And Harry had never been to his house... the only son of his best friend... and while James and Lily towards the end of their lives had often had dinner... it had been as though an unspoken rule that he go to their house, rather than they leave Godric's Hollow. One of the dillemas of the fidelius charm.
He thought back to when Lily first announced a pregnancy... about a year prior to Harry being born. And she miscarried within the first month, as though her body wanted nothing to do with the baby.
A sigh as a tear slips into the glass of whiskey.
"You were a miracle Harry," Remus whispers to the picture. "Sirius loved you more than you'll probably ever know... and the same for Lily and James and myself."
How many letters to Albus?
"Albus, could arrangements be made for Harry to come by for dinner at my place? I'd like to talk to him about how school's going, and let him know more about his parents and Sirius... Any time of the month except for the days immediately prior to, or following the full moon. ~ R. J. Lupin."
He looks at the picture of Albus and snorts as he swallows another gulp of whiskey, and tries to avoid choking on some tears.
"I knew the dangers Albus, would it have hurt to let the boy have somewhat of a normal familial interaction with the last surviving members of his fathers' friends? I can't even begin to say where the hell Peter fits into the overall scheme... and now I'll never know if he can or can't. McGonagall's giving me the same d*mn runaround that you did." Remus mutters, a frown across his face.
"We all share the same danger he does," Remus continues. "What did you share with him, prior to your meeting your death at the hands of Severus? Why the hell did you trust him so much, and Sirius and I so little--even after Harry proved that Sirius was an innocent man whose only role in James and Lily's death was to think that Peter was still our friend and could be trusted? Why, when the Weasleys already had seven children of their own, did you permit Harry to become a defacto member of their family, and his only interaction with Sirius and myself when they were present? Why didn't you trust us?"
Another gulp, and yet he knew he was still fine. It took a lot of whiskey to dampen the werewolf... and always in the drinking competitions with his friends, he would emerge the victor. Still capable of remembering, and little ill effect. Sirius invariably came in second, while James would place third; and Peter usually stopped after his third shot as any further and he would be out like a lightbulb.
A woman smiles at him, waving. A potential love lost because of his fear of her rejecting him because of his being a werewolf. He drove her away rather than trust her... and unlike Sirius and James, she never forced the point. She never dated anyone after they broke up. In fact the tongue lashing he received from Lily from that stupidity two years after their graduation in '75 when an impending marriage seemed imminent... well, it had become a bit of a ritual.
And then she died in a death eater attack in '78.
The memories... some pleasant, but quite a few more bittersweet, or more on the bitter end. Occlumency helps dull the pain, but at the end of the day, it still has to be dealt with.
The day Sirius came to him, and told him of what happened to Harry following the triwizard... occlumency failed them both that night. Five bottles of whiskey and working through memories of dead friends... neither man was drunk. So they did the only thing left to do. They went to talk to Albus.
"I was anticipating your arrival," Albus says quietly. "What can I do for you Sirius, Remus?"
"I can understand why you have Harry staying at the Dursleys'," Sirius says darkly. "Even though I don't understand the specifics. Something dealling with a blood sacrifice on Lily's part to keep Harry alive. But why is it that you can't seem to trust him by himself with either Remus, myself or both of us? The Weasleys are nice enough, don't get me wrong Albus... But d*mn it, he is my GODSON and I want to be able to make up for those twelve feckin' years that I was locked away in Azkaban, without trial for a crime that I was innocent of in all but one respect. If I could, I would go back in time just to undo that choice..."
"I appreciate your concern Sirius," Dumbledore replies coolly. "But the fact of the matter is that while not with the Dursleys, he does not have a safer place to be other than Hogwarts than with the Weasleys. If it is a measure of my trust, it should be clearly shown in my permitting you to continue doing work for the Order--Despite Voldemort's probably already knowing your animagi form from Peter. That is all."
The conversations with Dumbledore had taken a more serious turn prior to Sirius' falling through the veil. And even more heated. To the point where Dumbledore actually shouted back at them, "Why can't you trust me to know what's best for Harry's interest?"
"Because you are denying him the closest thing he has left to a family," Sirius yells. "And even now, I feel like this knife is twisting in my gut over what happened when they came to Grimmauld Place after Arthur's attack. When the hell can I spend some time alone with him? I did what you wanted, and passed what he told me... in confidence. To you. And then I made light his fears Dumbledore. The one thing I should have done, I didn't do; and then Arthur tells me what he overheard on the extendable ears... about the potential of his being possessed by Voldemort...
Sirius shakes his head, "Dumbledore, Snape is making him worse. So what if Severus is firmly on our side; to give an accurate portrayal of being on Voldemort's side to function as a spy... he cannot be successful in teaching Harry occlumency. Besides Snape sees Harry as nothing more than an extension of James, their respective histories are such as to make neither party very calm. Which is what occlumency needs."
And then Sirius was dead, and Remus was now alone and being asked to go into the werewolf community and try to recruit allies, as well as spy upon ferals and potential Voldemort supporters amongst the population.
And each time he saw Albus, especially after Albus destroyed that ring, though to what purpose, he knew not... although he recognized that he was being excluded for a purpose. When he heard of Severus making an unbreakable vow with Narcissa Malfoy through the Order grapevine from Arthur... he knew something wasn't right. And then Albus was killed, whether begging for life or death, no one was quite sure. And Harry... well, he was not disposed to being kind to Severus responding in kind to the treatment he was given.
Remus sighs, as he gulps from the glass.
"Who now to make my potion, in keeping with the law?" he asks out loud.
September 29th, 2005, 1:54 am
"Hello, Remus?" the brunette says to him at breakfast. "my name is Amethyst, and yes my mother named me after my birthstone." She smiles at him, and then says, "Frank Longbottom suggested that I make your acquaintance... and these would be your friends James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew... I must say, gentlemen, your reputation preceeds you."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Remus asks her.
"It depends..." Amethyst replies slyly. "On whether one happens to be a girl named Lily Evans, or a member of Slytherin House. The rest of us, especially in Ravenclaw enjoy your pranks. If nothing else, they are well-planned and orchestrated, how you three never ended up there..."
"Four," James corrects, looking from her to Peter. A look upon his face indicating that if she intends to pursue any connection with Remus, she'll have four people to deal with. If she had a problem with that, she could leave. She catches the look, and nods in acceptance mixed with a look of apology and agreement.
"So Amethyst," Remus says, turning to stradle the bench so as to best face her. "What were you wanting?"
"Well," she replies. "My mum and Da were a bit shocked to find out my best subject was Defense Against the Dark Arts... mum was hoping I'd inherit her ability in charms and astronomy, while Da was hoping I'd get his skill in herbology. As it is, I was discussing the subject of the upcoming Hogsmeade visit with our professor, and he suggested that if I wanted to go into a shop regarding Defense Against the Dark Arts... I should go with you."
At Sirius' arched eyebrow, she adds, "oh and he did mention you and James Sirius... something along the lines of underachievers, procrastinators, and otherwise potential cheaters." She smiles. "He thinks you hold back too much Sirius, and James... well, Potters I suppose are good at such things... I don't think there's been a longer line of aurors in the wizarding world."
"And you talk too much," Sirius smirks back, while James tries to work out whether or not he's just been insulted or complimented.
Remus chuckles as he says, "Valentines day in a shop specializing in DADA? Alright, I look forward to it Amethyst."
"Likewise," she says, smiling again. "And I'll see you four around."
October 1st, 2005, 2:58 am
The dawn arises bright and chilly as the sun glints off of the ice upon the lake. The trees of the Forbidden forest stand lined with white, and the world glitters as though a giant diamond. As one moves towards Hogsmeade, they see a lone building situated off of the main track. This rickety old building has come down in lore as 'The Shrieking Shack,' so named for the locals considering it the most haunted building in Britain... because of the shouts, roars, and whimpers of pain that would emerge from the building. That it fell silent for the remainder of the month generally went ignored, as the rumours--started anonymously by Albus Dumbledore and facillitated by his brother Aberforth--indicated that should any one approach the ramshackle shack, the shouts and shrieks would resume.
Which of course made it ideal for the four friends, who slipped in there on this cold, Saturday.
Remus sits on the mattress in the main bedroom, a drum and beater in his hand. He frowns as he looks at the unfamiliar instrument, while James and Sirius prepare the potion to be consumed. Reflecting on his exposure to the muggle world, courtesy of his father, Remus admits silently to himself that psychotropic substances required for the potion to discover one's spirit totem, for initiating the animagi process that were on the list of proscribed substances in the muggle world were easily obtainable by underage wizards without oversight by the department responsible for monitoring animagi. Especially if the students in particular had Black and Potter as their surnames.
Not for the first time did he acknowledge that sometimes having those names gave the quartet an easy advantage in the preparations of their schemes and adventures. Especially since Sirius and James went out of their way to build up the history their families gave them, and never took advantage beyond what the people they needed to obtain materials from were willing to give.
"How do you work this thing?" Remus asks quietly.
"Like this," Sirius replies, stepping back from the potion to give James room to work and assist Remus. Picking up the drum, he taps out a slow rhythm with the beater, almost as though a heart were beating. He hands the items back to Remus, who practices a few times, keeping the slow and steady rhythm.
Finally, James looks at his three friends, and says, "Alright, the potion's ready. Remus, remember that you need to keep that beat for a solid hour, and then wait an hour. Resume the beat again for the third hour to call us back."
"Are you going to find anything?" Remus asks hesitantly.
"Dunno," Sirius replies. "Maybe we will, maybe we won't." He ignites a small smokeless fire with his wand on a golden plate, and James tosses in pieces of herbs and incense.
As he does, James whispers softly--almost inaudibly--"We come in honor to pay our respects to the spirits of place, and if they would be so willing to provide us with our respective spirit totems for initiating the animagi transformations."
He cuts a lock of his hair, as Sirius and Peter do the same.
"We friends of Remus J. Lupin seek to walk beside him when he transforms into a werewolf," Sirius says quietly. "And seek to become animagi to accompany him safely on those monthly occassions. I Sirius Black..." he tosses his hair into the fire.
"I Peter Pettigrew," Peter says as he tosses his in too.
"And I, James Potter," James says finally, adding his hair, as he nods to Remus to begin the beat, and the three lie down upon the floor. They drink of the cups of potion lying beside their respective places as the incense fills the room. Though thick, the smoke is light and easy on the lungs, soothing with each inhale. Remus feels himself merging with the beat as he let his heart guide him with the drum. From somewhere deep inside, a deep-throated hum begins to emerge from him as he continues the beats.
As Remus continues the steady beat, the three begin to fall into a deep sleep-like trance.
James feels the warm liquid sliding down his throat, cooling and soothing despite its temperature. The room seems to heat up, as he sees colours dancing on the inside of his eyelids. A sudden instinct makes him want to open his eyes, but they feel heavy... leaded... and he slips into an entirely different state of consciousness.
He finds himself standing in a corridor with Sirius, Remus, and Peter looking down into the dark interior of Hogwarts. A sound is heard, and he looks for the source--as though it is Dumbledore speaking---and hears:
"Follow your heart into the labyrinth to be reborn, the guide is of your true desires. Seek and ye shalt find, what treasure lies within. Buried strength long unrecognized, and buried torment too. For with the one comes the other. One of your line shall carry on when thoust hast fallen, and the line carries on."
He sees a flash of light, and to his surprise, he sees Lily Evans standing before him... a glow surrounding her. She motions for him to follow, and he does so. They make their way down the corridor, and then wind up a long and narrow staircase... he finds himself following her now over the Forbidden Forest... they walk along, and no matter how fast he moves, he cannot catch up to her; let alone walk beside her.
They descend into a clearing, and as he tries to move forward finds that he is frozen in space. Finally, he gets a clearer look at Lily, and sees that it's an older... more care-worn appearance than the one he knows. Shadows move around the edge of the clearing as Lily disappears into the trees. Growls, roars, and other sounds emminate from the woodline in a cacaphony of sound, and one shadow begins to take on a form.
And then he begins to slowly withdraw back the way he came, until he finds himself standing next to Remus in the corridor.
Calming his mind as though about to engage in occlumency, Sirius drinks his potion and closes his eyes. As though in silent meditation, he lets himself feel warm, relaxed and calm; starting from his toes, and working his way up his body. The potion warms his stomach, and body from the cool, almost cold feel of the air in the room.
He finds himself standing in a corridor with James, Remus, and Peter looking down into the dark interior of Hogwarts. A sound is heard, and he looks for the source--as though it is Dumbledore speaking---and hears:
"Follow your heart into the labyrinth to be reborn, the guide is of your true desires. Seek and ye shalt find, what treasure lies within. Buried strength long unrecognized, and buried torment too. For with the one comes the other. Loyal and brave, alone to the end. Walk."
He sees an image of Remus and James before him, and follows them down the corridor, into the Slytherin common room and then down a winding shute and into a room with the heads of snakes marking the sewer drains, and a huge, grotesque, human-like face of a man bearded and haired with snakes as though a male Gorgon. He watches in grim fascination as the mouth opens and a man steps out of the statue and walks over the water to him.
"Sirius Black," the man says. "I am Salazaar Slytherin. How dare you turn your back on your family, your tradition... How dare you betray me like this?"
"I betrayed no one sir," Sirius counters. "If anything, I proved the true mettle of a Black. While my parents may suggest otherwise, we Blacks are true to ourselves. And were I to go into Slytherin, while in keeping with Tradition... would not be true to my self and as such would be twice the herecy were I to be in that house."
"I have lost all respect for Gryffindor and his ilk," Salazaar says bitterly. "The association with muggles who have no interest in respecting us must end..."
"With their total annihilation?" Sirius interrupts. "Have you no respect for your mother?"
"No more so than you do for yours," the visage laughs.
Sirius frowns at that, when coursing pain shoots through his body.
"You will be broken Sirius, and then you will die," the image laughs again.
"My father tried to break me a thousand times over from the day I was born until now," Sirius says through gritted teeth. "I was an unwilling participant in murder as part of my training, and even that couldn't break me. If I die, so I will. We all die eventually, it is at once both a gift and a curse that we are given at birth."
"And you stay with your friends."
The image fades away as Sirius feels himself being sucked down, down, down into the spiralling water.
He finds himself kneeling in a glade filled with thorn bushes. He tries to advance through them, but his robes are ripped to shreds, and then finally stripped off; as he lays bleeding.
Shadows move along the edge of the glade, and a form begins to gradually take shape. As it does, he begins to drift backwards, until finally he sees himself standing before James and Remus.
A green light fills the corridor, as a green fog obscures James, Remus, and Sirius from his view. A small brown rat scurries by, as he hears voices arguing and the sound of spells being thrown at other people.
As he walks through the fog, a severed hand appears on a table before him, a boy with a lightning scar on the forehead looks accusingly at him, as does a taller, thinner man with a snakelike face.
As a man and a woman stand in the background; almost incandescent against the glow.
The sounds of rats squeeking in the background as he hears a conversation:
"Twice the betrayer Peter, twice the rat."
"Where have they gone?"
"The Dark Lord and the White Lord are dead..."
"Where is Pettigrew?"
"Gone," Severus says quietly.
And then he feels himself being drawn backwards, and finally the mist disappears, and he sees himself standing beside his four friends.
The drum beats slowly and as the third hour nears its close, Remus watches his friends slowly open their eyes as they return to the waking consciousness. He notes how Sirius' eyes have a grim, determined look in them; while Peter who's been acting as though caught in a massive nightmare has a haunted and frightened look. James looks perplexed, but otherwise resolved.
October 2nd, 2005, 9:19 pm
Five students are seen in the Slytherin common room; Severus, Regulus, Macnair and Avery, as Bellatrix watches the argument in amusement.
"So Black," Avery sneers. "Think you're too good for us mortals?"
Regulus arches an eyebrow and sneers, "If the shoe fits then wear it Avery. If you feel your skills are far inferior to mine, you said it." A year behind his brother Sirius, Regulus usually managed to keep himself outside of the inevitable fights that arose between factions within Slytherin house. This time, such could not be avoided.
"So are you going to join the Dark Lord on Mummy's orders?" Avery shoots back. "At least we're capable of making our own choices."
"Are you?" Severus drawls. "Personally it seems to me as though you and Macnair are trying to ride Lucius' coattails into his favor. "
"Nobody asked you fool!" Macnair shouts.
"Gentlemen," Bellatrix hisses. "This is the common room, and it would not do to speak too loudly on such matters."
"Thank you Bellatrix," Regulus says, his voice low and taut like a string of piano wire ready to be played. "Now if you 'gentlemen' will excuse me, I needs must go study. And I will make up my mind when I am d*mn well good and ready... NOT when my parents or anyone else says so. That includes you two morons." He turns his back, to feel someone grab the left sleeve of his robe, yank him around and into an oncoming punch.
Reeling from the blow, he sees Macnair standing over him.
"Regulus, you will treat us with respect, after all, should you join..." Macnair says, an insane gleam in his eye. "We could do well to make it easy for you."
"You," Regulus hisses as he wipes the blood from the corner of his mouth, and stands. "Are thrice over an imbicile, and twice more so if you take anything my brother Sirius says seriously."
"Well spoke Regulus," Bellatrix adds with a laugh.
"What's an imbicile?" Macnair whispers to Avery, causing Severus to roll his eyes in contempt.
Two flashes of light has Macnair screaming silently on the ground lolling in agony, as Regulus stands over him.
"Underestimate me, and hit me again like a common muggle, you oafish mule," he says bitterly. "And I promise you that anything that Voldemort could ever do to you, I will match and beat." He replaces his wand inside his robes, and strides away.
"You know Severus," Bellatrix says smiling. "That's what I've always liked about you. You're quiet and you can keep on your toes... you remind me of my cousin Reg, and Rabastan... You're too d*mn good for that muggle."
"Thank you for the complement Bella," Severus replies shortly. "Kindly give me the respect to mind your own business with regards to my persobnal affairs."
Bellatrix laughs and watches Severus stroll out of the room, as Avery picks Macnair up.
"Let that be a lesson never to fool with a Black," she says as she leaves for her dorm room.
October 3rd, 2005, 1:55 am
As they sat at the edge of the frozen lake, the four friends contemplate their inner journeys. At once, silent, and yet eloquent within that silence; the looks upon their faces indicative of visions seen better left unspoken.
"How long before the potion wears off?" Peter asks quietly.
"Shouldn't be too much longer," James says thoughtfully. "Another hour or two."
"Is it me or is it warm outside?" Remus asks in all seriousness.
James looks at his friend and then picks up a handfull of snow which quickly turns to steam.
"I'd personally say Moony," James says, his voice quiet. "That it's us. As a result of the potion. Which wear off soon, although maybe we should go in before we do... too much exposure to extreme temperature changes isn't good."
"You know James, you're sounding like Moony there," Sirius says, the haunted look in his dark eyes still present, despite his attempt at a smile.
"So when are you guys going to be able to figure out your nicknames?" Remus asks. "I feel bad with you all calling me 'Moony' and me not be able to respond."
"Heh," Sirius says, his spirits starting to raise up. "I have the feeling that it's going to be rather grim." He gives a little laugh like a bark, and says, "Still though, this is only the first step for us."
"The FIRST step?" Peter asks incredulously. "You mean we have to subject ourselves to that again?"
"Two more times," James says without hesitation. "And then the hard work begins."
"This was easy?" Sirius asks James, his eyes wide in shock and disbelief.
"Remember what the book said," Remus says quietly as he thumbs through a copy of 'The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland'. "Each progressive journey is going to be on par with the history and life of the person undergoing the experience. It's the spirit totem's way of testing the initiate."
"Besides," James adds calmly, though a determined light shines through his eyes. "We still have yet to undergo the transformations itself. That will be interesting, given we can't show up to class appearing as though anything is out of the normal."
"Super-advanced transfiguration," Sirius laughs. "Gods, McGonagall'd give us an 'O' for pulling this off... if we told her about it..."
"After yelling our heads off for doing something dangerous and stupid," Peter says.
"Along with a twenty-five house point removal from each of us, and two weeks detention," Remus adds with a wry smirk. It being common knowledge that while strict and fair, their head of house did not enjoy students doing anything that would either unnecessarily endanger their own lives or the lives of other students. This project of theirs would entail both.
The silence resumes, and this time three of them seem to relax a bit more than they had been. The only one truly uptight about it is Peter, and what he sees in the journeys will haunt him for the rest of his life... causing him to develop the nervous reaction that would characterize his adult life.
Inside the castle, Alice, Lily, Amethyst, and several other girls are sitting around a table in the library over looking the lake. As they sit and chat, the conversation soon turns to the upcoming Hogsmeade trip.
"Going with Remus are you, Amethyst," Alice asks.
"Yes I am," she replies with a smile. "Spending the day discussing defense against the dark arts... and eating at the three broomsticks. What could be a better way to spend Valentine's?"
"Snogging James," comes one of their compatriots' voices. "Right Lily?"
"Thank you so much for that image, Andromeda," Lily says as she rolls her eyes. "I was actually thinking on asking Severus..."
"Uhm, Lils," Alice says shaking her head. "He's no good for you... Even if his interest in the dark arts could be excused... the crowd he hangs out with, if you could call it that..."
"Yeah, I don't think Severus ever gets outside of himself much at all," another girl interrupts.
"Avery, Macnair--who has a penchant for killing weaker creatures, as dimwitted as he is--Bellatrix, Mulciber, amongst others," Alice says.
"What has Macnair killed," Lily asks, a blend of curiosity and horror in her voice.
"Rats, mice... the occassional bowtruckle," Amethyst says quietly. "Small things that he can almost sort of talk himself out of it... especially with the assistance of the Malfoys and Avery. I wouldn't put it past him to become an executioner for the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures."
"Lily while looks may not be important," Alice says thoughtfully. "Who one chooses to call their friends and associate with, can have a big impact on how people perceive them."
"Funny, I thought his only friends were Rabastan and Rudolphus," Lily says quietly.
"Who associate with Bellatrix," Alice agrees. "They don't do anything... that I can tell; but Bella worries me."
"Well, I'll still ask Severus," Lily says... as she pauses and then says, "But if he turns me down, I'll have other options."
"No," Lily says firmly.
"So who?" Alice asks.
"I'll surprise you when we go into Hogsmeade," Lily says smiling. Turning her attention to Andromeda, she asks, "So what makes you think I should ask James?"
"Because of the simple fact that you're the only girl who has his attention," Andromeda replies succinctly, and then chuckles. "Everyone else who's agreed to go with him for any time what so ever ends up becoming a victim of you. Whether you know it or not."
"At least with Sirius, we know it's not serious," another member of the group pipes up. "James though... with those doe-y eyes, the mussed up hair, and the excellent gentleman. He is... the guy you just can't help but love him if for no other reason than you know he's sincere."
"But he's a bully!" Lily shouts. "How could a person fall in love with a bully?"
"James, a bully?" Amethyst asks, shaking her head in disbelief. "He'll tease and he's a prankster... but none of his pranks have ever resulted in anyone going to the Hospital ward. And they're intelligent to boot--the envy of Ravenclaw if you must know. We don't usually enjoy frivolity, but there's something about their pranks that appeals to us on an intellectual level."
"But look what he does to the Slytherins!" she argues quietly. "Look what he does to me..."
"Annoy you, irritate you," Alice says seriously. "We know Lily... we've heard it so many times that it's becoming one of those 'we doth believe she doth protesteth too much, verily.' As for the Slytherins, they bring it on themselves. At least James and his friends play clean... not at all how the Slytherins do."
"Who wants to bet that won't last long?" Amethyst asks. "What with the feud between Gryffindor and Slytherin... and this new dark lord rising in power... Lord Voldemort, who makes Grindewald appear as a third-rate novice, if rumour is true. Getting back to the subject of James, though... I've noticed he's stopped paying attention to you... How does that make you feel?"
Lily hesitates over this, but manages to reply firmly, "I like it. Now Hogsmeade..."
October 4th, 2005, 10:33 pm
As the students gather in the courtyard in preparation for departure for Hogsmeade, Lily and Severus standing next to each other... and each one looking like they would rather be anywhere else, or at least looking for someone other than the one whom they are with.
"Valentine's day is NOT my favorite day, Evans," Severus hisses. "Least of all when the sole purpose is to further acquaintance with others in public in manners that I find socially unredeeming. Especially since the only choice of travel is with the slytherins with whom I DO NOT want to be seen with a m..."
"Do you have to use that term with me, Severus?" Lily asks, a pained look on her face. "Besides I..."
"AND I especially do not want to ride with those Gryffindor friends of yours," he adds as though ignoring her comment. "James and Sirius are enough to make me sick... It's a waste of time that would be better spent in the potions lab."
"Instead of being bitter and looking at the bad side," Lily says quietly. "Why don't you appreciate the fact that you're going to be spending time in the potions shop with one of the best in the class after your self."
"You mean there's someone in the class who's almost as good at potions as I am?" Severus asks, arching an eyebrow in annoyed bemusement.
"Several," Lily replies. "Of which I happen to be one, and Sirius and James are the other two... who make up the top four students in the class on pure talent alone..."
"And here I thought they bought their way into Slughorn's graces," Severus muses. "The man's an idiot and completely incompetent when it comes to potion making; I wouldn't be surprised if he had to take Felix Felicis just to prevent blowing up the dungeon. Anyone can see that Lovace Borage's instructions are no good."
"Then why are you in the Slug Club," Lily asks.
"Because the membership has its uses," Severus replies quietly. "And I have plans that may require using him... we shall see."
The thestrals reflect in his gray eyes as he and Lily quickly climb aboard the coach to avoid being seen by members of either Slytherin or Gryffindor house.
"Sirius," Remus says as they begin filing into the courtyard. "Have you seen James?" With Amethyst walking beside Remus, Sirius chuckles at the cute couple walking beside him. Amethyst shoots a curious glance over towards Sirius and Peter as Sirius contemplates his response.
"I think he decided to skiv off the trip," Sirius replies quietly. "I don't think he's feeling particularly well today."
"Why not?" Amethyst asks.
"Maybe it has to do with that pot..." Peter starts to say before a kick to his shin from Sirius stops him in mid-sentence.
"Potion?" Amethyst asks, correctly interpreting the word. "What potion has James been taking?"
"Something for one of those twenty-four hour bugs," Remus says acknowledging Sirius' gaze. "He was well enough yesterday, although looking a little peaked. Probably the flu or something, although between his own natural immune system and Madam Pomfrey, he should be sorted out in no time."
Amethyst nods in concurrence, although a slight suspicion niggling the back of her mind that not all was kosher with the story being presented. They board the coach, and settle in for the ride to Hogsmeade.
Although, the truth of the matter be known... as his friends were leaving for Hogsmeade, James is lying in bed, on his stomach retching into a basket. A piercing headache as though his skull is being split in two places. A carefully delivered owl to his house elf the night before had made sure that someone he could trust would watch him. A little Felix Felicis as the cramps started coming on... to assure he'd have some privacy throughout the day.
Another vomit, this time a dry heave.
"Is Master James alright?" the elf asks.
"Master James..." James says hoarsely. "Feels like he's being split in two... chalk this down to my desire to become an animagus Sylvie..."
"Your mother's third cousin was an animagus, Sylvie know," she says brightly. "Had a bad transformation, and a deer's head permanently attached."
"Just what I needed to hear... wait," James says as her words sinks in. "Uncle William was an animagus and had a deer form?"
"He did..." Sylvie answers. "Is Master James form a deer also?"
"Think so," James replies. "Red deer..." He takes a heaving gasp of air, and crunches up into a fetal crouch from the pain racking his insides. Sylvie takes some warm towels and places them on James' head, replacing them as they were either shaken off or became cool to the touch.
She looks at him, concern in her large eyes as she pats his head. "Master James will get through this," she whispers softly as she places another towel on him. Shivers run through James body, as his teeth clatter together.
"Cold... cold..." he whispers. "Sirius... Lily... Remus... must help... beware the two-faced stranger... school in danger."
She looks at him, as he speaks while moving in and out of consciousness.
"Headmaster Dumbledore is here, Master James," Sylvie says quietly. "The school is safe."
"Not safe... not safe... the traitor's here, the two-faced stranger..." James whimpers as he drifts off to sleep.
October 12th, 2005, 2:41 am
Remus stands before the memorial in the room, and stretches. A frown creases his face, as he looks at the image of the last picture taken of he and Sirius, just around Christmas. If it were possible to have done so, his frown deepened, as he recalls a conversation he overheard between Sirius and Molly just before Arthur's attack.
Remus has just entered into the shadow-draped entry way of #12 Grimmauld Place, and makes his way down towards the kitchen where the Order meets. He glances at a pocket watch--a birthday present from Sirius--and notes that he has a good two hours on his hands before the meeting is due to start. A frown creases his face as he reflects on some of the rumours spreading around the Order, about whether or not Sirius was an alcoholic... He looks about the dark house... never brightly lit in even the best of circumstances, and remembers the books that would have passed as light reading for Sirius' family. Even their war of cleaning on the house couldn't remove those books from the library. He shakes his head.
Sirius had been drinking, no doubt about that, but knowing his friend... Remus had checked the whiskey and the wine, which had been left untouched. In fact, his last inspection of the wine cellar had left him coughing from the dust that had arisen, as well as several doxy bites. Bottles in other parts of the house, the living room for example, remained untouched... while any bottle in the kitchen wound its way into one sauce or another that Sirius was cooking at the time. The only alcohol Sirius consumed was butterbeer, and he knew beyond any doubt this was the case; as Sirius had taken to asking him once a week to perform legillimency on him... especially since being accused by Molly Weasley of being a drunkard.
As Remus makes his way towards the kitchen, he hears voices being raised in anger. The one, he recognized immediately as Molly Weasley, and the other being Sirius. He rolls his eyes when he hears what's being said...
"Why can't I spend some time alone with Harry?" Sirius asks.
"For starters Sirius, I know the reputation you had in school," Molly says, her voice two steps shy from shouting. "Secondly, I don't care what Remus or you say... you have been drinking too much for your own good, or Harry's for that matter."
"D*mnit Molly," Sirius says angrily. "The only alcohol I've touched is butterbeer... that's it. The only other alcohol I touch is sherry, and not that **** that Professor Trelawney prefers to drink... and only when I cook... when you let me near the stove that is! Everybody seems to think that this imprisonment is for my own benefit... Or that I'm some sort of alcoholic--Not f*ckin' once after graduating and becoming an auror was I ever drunk on duty... ask Moody for crying out loud!"
Some incoherent muttering, followed by the sound of a slamming fist.
"For the last time already!" Sirius bellows. "Not once have I been directly responsible for anyone's death! AND I AM TRULY SORRY ABOUT YOUR BROTHERS MOLLY, but in case you weren't aware... James and Lily needed me, I HAD TO BE THERE FOR THEM! That was when she miscarried the first child! Or have you become so used to being a baby factory for Arthur that you never got a chance to know the pain that comes from your first baby dieing before you even get to see it? I was given two days off for that by Moody... James got three. And Lily had to spend the whole month in St. Mungo's."
Remus lets his memory drift back to the time... it had been one of the only times that a werewolf had been granted the opportunity to get a job in the Ministry of Magic. It was in the Department of Magical Law-enforcement, werewolf section: capture and containment. He had been given no time off at all, when word came that Lily had discovered blood in her urine, and being at the end of her first trimester. He had just come off of a particularly delicate case, when he saw Moody's head in the fireplace. When Moody finished... Remus realized that he had just been transfered over to the auror division to make up for James' and Sirius' absence, while they were on leave. The news of the Prewetts' deaths also served as a reminder as to why the short-term transfer was being effected.
At which point, his recollections are brought back to the present by Molly's shouting his name.
"As if Remus would be a good candidate to serve as an unbiased judge of your character?" Molly says harshly. "First off, he's a werewolf... secondly, he's your friend, and finally... he is a classic co-dependent personality..."
At which point, he decided to enter into the kitchen.
"I am so glad to hear that you think I'm unworthy of being a fairly rational judge of Sirius' behaviour Molly," he says quietly and coolly. The sound of his voice gets both to swing around and face him; Molly's face turning bright crimson and her hands flying to her mouth. Sirius on the other hand, looks as though he's swallowed rotten milk.
After a pregnant pause, he continues, "Molly, if your judgement of me is based solely on the basis of my being a werewolf, with everything else secondary to that... I am not entirely sure if it was a wise thing for you to join the order. Knowing something about psychology, and knowing my interaction with James, Sirius, and Peter... I may not have been the active frontman like James and Sirius were, but I was not a blind follower by any stretch of the imagination. If anything, I enabled their attacks on the slytherins by generally refusing to aide either side. But that does not make me a codependent personality!"
"Further more," Remus says calmly, though the look in his eyes belies the tone of his voice. "I have a very valid reason to be anxious how other wizards are going to react to me... or have you forgotten the legislation that Dolores Umbridge helped pass making it next to impossible for me to get a job... let alone have any sort of meaningful social interactions. Apparently, the fact that you and I are on the same side means less to you than the fact that once a month, I turn into a wolf. In that regard, I have no choice in the matter--courtesy of Greyback. However, I could have chosen to let myself become resentful... give into the wolf. But I chose not to. My parents helped with that, as did Sirius, James and Peter. To whom I am am indebted and greatful for their friendship. As well as to Severus, who had been an enemy of ours, because he makes the potion that allows me to remain human... even when I transform.
"And no matter what anyone says, Molly," Remus says, his voice shooting daggers. "Do not ever forget Peter Pettigrew, the one that helped bring Voldemort back into being. He who was the fourth marauder, and betrayed his friends equally. Albus and Sirius no less than James and Lily. As it is, I am concerned with how long this new Order of the Phoenix will last with the rampant distrust as it is."
Sirius nods as he says bitterly, "It's much, much worse than it was last time. That stay-of-execution between October 31, 1981, and June of 1995, was enough to dull our edges. Back then, even with the distrust, I still trusted Peter enough to suggest he take over being the secret keeper for Lily and James... much to my everlasting regret... and I do not need to be saddled with the guilt-trip you so much wish to inflict on me for the death of your brothers. And I will state it again... I may be drinking, but it is only butterbeer... and there is nothing else to do!"
"So you admit it then!" she says sharply.
"I admit that on five occassions, I have had a bit of butterbeer," Sirius shoots back. "But well within my capacity to handle. I also plead mea culpa to being irrascible and ill-tempered, because--despite my best efforts--the members of the Order have seen to it that I stay... this d*mnable house, where I was verbally and physically abused for almost every year of my life until the age of sixteen. And for the simple reason that you PEOPLE... in blithely and blindly feeling as though you're protecting me by making me stay here are imprisoning me in a h*llhole nearly as bad as Azkaban! And despite my best efforts as well as other members of the Order to change the interior of this house for the better... this place is still so full of my family's history as to make me physically ill from the memories alone! No company to speak of save when everyone shows up for the d*mned order meetings; not even Nymphadora, and she's my neice. You all have judged me guilty for things I had no hand in... and no defense can I make to change your mind! And don't bloody well forget Molly Prewett Weasley that you were the one who called me by my regular name on the platform 9 ¾, when we dropped Harry off... For crying out loud, if Voldemort knew Peter as Wormtail then... he knew me as Padfoot well long before Lucius leaked that information to the Daily Prophet.
He takes a deep breath, and then says, "And having seen a fair few large dogs... especially the Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds... behaviour... I was behaving appropriately for a large dog showing affection for its favorite owner. I'm imprisoned in a house I've always hated, with a houseelf that's worse than useless, no end of memories that are the physical embodiment of the nightmares I endured in Azkaban... no friends to interact with on a social basis, no books to read beyond the ones that prepared me for life as a Black or Service with Voldemort--or both--and as noted, adjudged guilty by people who are supposed to be my friends and allies for crimes that are at once unnamed and unmerited... I am not a perfect person... but this is f*cking ridiculous! I'm even being denied access to my godson, whom I promised I would be a better godfather to when he first assisted in my second escape... how the h*ll do you think this makes me feel?"
Remus starts as he sees the tears starting to form on his friend's eyes, but something in the demeaner of Sirius Black--that part that was definitely the Black in him--held him back. As though indicating that he would endure his suffering as equivically as he endured Azkaban. And then Sirius' ear twitches, and he says, "They're here for the meeting..." and then the mask of occlumency falls over his face.
He looks at the faces of James, Lily, Sirius, and Amethyst... and heaves a sigh as he corks the bottle of whiskey, and replaces it on the alter. It had taken him several months just to work up the courage to drink the stuff--a birthday present from Sirius, when he felt that he would be able to leave Grimmauld place on Order business... and happier times. And still, half a bottle remains of the whiskey. He shakes his head, and says, "Goodnight Padfoot, Prongs, Lily, Amethyst... may we meet again in better days and place." He blows out the candle and taking cane in hand, begins to limp up the stairs to bed.
As Remus settles into the bed, he lets his thoughts go drifting back again. He chuckles lightly to himself at how many memories such a vigil could produce in an instant. The bad as well as the good.
"'Mad-eye'," Remus says to the wizened auror as they encounter the other inside the Ministry. "In the course of my rounds, can I swing by the hospital to check in on Lily, James, and Sirius?"
"I was thinking on just that," Moody growls. "We got a link saying Bellatrix was spotted near there... and I'd rather James and Sirius be forewarned about that anyways. Constant vigilance, Lupin! And please tell Lily I send my condolences... unfortunately..." and here Moody whispers conspiratorially to Lupin... "I'm going to have to go up to Aberdeen to investigate some death eater activity there, otherwise I'd come with you."
"Of course 'Mad-eye'," Remus replies equally quiet. "Safe hunting... and constant vigilance yourself."
Moody laughs at that, and heads down the corridor. Remus looks at the old Auror, frowns, and then makes his way towards the lift, so as to get to the hospital.
After apparating to the lobby of St. Mungo's, Remus walks to the appropriate floor after receiving directions from the witch at the front desk.
He knocks quietly on the door to the private room, and sees Sirius start as his friend opens the door as Lily wails in the background... "James... James... I... I... I'm sorry... I've let you down..."
"Shh, shh," James says soothingly, or trying to. "I'm just glad to see you're alive Lils..."
"Remus?" Sirius asks. "I thought you were on duty?"
"I am..." Remus replies as he drags Sirius into an unused room. "But I wanted to see you, James, and Lily... and Moody suggested I come down this way."
"Oh shyte," Sirius mutters quietly after they'd placed imperturbable charms on the door. "That's never a good sign. What's the problem?"
"He just got a report that your cousin Bellatrix had just been spotted somewhere in the vicinity," Remus says quietly.
The blanched look on Sirius' face tells him more than he wanted to know... and Remus represses a shudder as Sirius says quietly, "We'll deal with that... I know I'm supposed to be off... but if Bella's in the area, well two pairs of eyes are better than one. Even if that one is a werewolf."
"Are you sure Sirius?" Remus asks.
"Very sure, Remus," Sirius replies grimly. Shaking his head, he removes the charms and says, "However, you'll probably want to know what happened... we're not even sure our selves, any more than the healers are... and they've corresponded with some muggle ob/gyns too, and no one has a clue what went wrong."
They re-enter the room, where Remus sees James holding a sobbing Lily against his shoulder, while tears of his own streak down his cheek.
"Remus," James manages to squeek out in greeting as he looks up at his friends.
"Where's Peter?" Remus asks curiously, noticing the lack of the fourth Marauder.
"He's disappeared somewhere," Sirius says. "No one's seen him for two weeks."
"What happened?" Remus asks again.
"A week ago," Sirius says quietly looking at the two people on the bed. "Lily apparently started noticing blood in her urine. Worried, but not altogether concerned, she thought it would pass... and managed to keep it from James... until sometime within the next twelve hours from that point... when she suddenly developed a fever of one-hundred, four degrees fahrenheit. Massive internal cramps, headache... she was unconscious by the time James got her to the hospital."
"She was about to start her second trimester," Remus says worriedly. "I thought she was having a normal pregnancy... What happened to the baby?"
"No one knows," Sirius says angrily. "Lily never got a chance to look at it... the healers removed it from sight before she woke up and James hadn't been permitted to be in the room to be with her, when they forced her into labor. As far as you thinking she was having a normal pregnancy--so did everyone else... which was why she transferred to the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts branch of the Magical Law enforcement... so she could continue to work--but not the auror work she had been doing."
Sirius frowns deeply, as he reflects on the possibilities of what caused the miscarriage. "No signs of poison, mother and child in reasonable health..." he mutters. "The only thing they have in common is that the whole thing started not long after that dinner we had with Wormtail in London at the Leaky Cauldron... just before Peter disappeared...
Sirius pauses as he starts pacing... and thinking out loud, "From what I've gathered from the nurses, James, and Lily... it's taken almost two weeks to stabilize her... the healers tried every potion and spell they could think of... up to and including a bezoar--nothing worked... and no trace of spell, charm, potion or other to indicate a source of what might be wrong... but something..."
"Is nagging you that it's probably a potion," Remus says reading his friend in a glance. "So who do you know can make a potion that leaves no trace, can wreak this kind of havoc on a person, and probably has a delayed onset with which the administrator can disappear before the onset of symptoms?"
"Only one person I can think of," Sirius replies seriously. "Severus Snape... who if he put his talents in other directions would make the best healer/potions maker St. Mungo's ever seen."
"Did you know Severus is a Death Eater now?" Remus asks quietly. The looks on James and Sirius' faces indicate that they had not had this nugget of information divulged to them for some reason.
"How'd you find out?" James asks.
"By reading the files of known and suspected death eaters," Remus says quietly. "Apparently our old classmate is getting a name for himself amongst Voldemort's inner circle by more subtle means than the killing curse."
"So how is he getting into a position where he can administer the stuff?" James asks.
"When in doubt," Lily says for the first time... and something other than blaming herself for what happened... "look for a rat, to find the trail to the poison."
Whether it was due to shock or something else... that reference managed not to set off suspicion of Peter amongst the four. Even the three who knew what Peter's animagus form was. Because friends don't poison friends.
James holds her tightly to him, his chin nuzzled against her head, as she begins sobbing again.
Remus looks at the two on the bed and then over to Sirius, as he says, "I think you should stay here Sirius... if Bella is in the area... two pairs of eyes is better than one... but I don't want James and Lily having a run-in with her in the state they're in."
Sirius nods in agreement as he says, "Be careful Remus..."
"Constant vigilance is the word," Remus says, attempting to throw some humour into the tragic scene... the state of which well-indicated by how flat the joke about their boss Alastor Moody fell, and how seriously taken. Remus closes the door behind him as he makes a mental note to talk to Alastor when he sees him next.
As the thought closes, Remus writes a letter on a piece of parchment, and attaches it to the leg of his owl. He whispers to it, and then says, "Safe flight, and be careful of interceptors. These are dangerous times we live in, but the message needs to get through to her." As the owl departs, he pulls the covers tightly around his shoulders and drifts off into a troubled sleep as the light of the waxing moon falls upon his face.
October 16th, 2005, 3:22 am
Peter meanders his way through the hallway leading from the Great Hall, and into the staircases. Climbing the stairs, he makes his way to the library, avoiding the appropriate steps when needed, and taking the right turns on others as the staircases shift from one floor to another. Even after three years at the school, it still afforded him a bit of amusement to have to walk down three flights of stairs after walking up ten, just to get to the right classroom.
At Sirius' laconic suggestion, which he secretly supported... the Marauders had decided to make a map of Hogwarts. Remus had been neutral at best, when the subject was first broached by Sirius. James... surprisingly enough... almost as neutral as Remus, though even he came grudgingly to support it. Peter, never had a doubt in his mind the usefulness of such a project.
And so he finds himself angling away from the library and taking several twisted turns along the corridor, and up a staircase and a half, where he finds a narrow corridor. He follows it to the end, and tries the handle. Finding it locked, he points his wand at it, saying, "Alohomora..." as the door creaks open, he walks into the dusty old room, and sees a mirror with gilded edges and a strange writing upon the upper portion of it.
Walking closer, he sees his reflection in the mirror... nothing unusual. The door swings shut, causing a breeze to distract his attention; and when he faces the mirror again, he sees himself sitting in a velveteen chair... piles of galeons piled around him... food and wine everywhere, and people seeking him for advice.
He chuckles to himself, as he says almost as a prayer, "Much better to be the advisor of kings, and to find comfort by being out of sight... than to be a seeker of the kingship and a competitor with petty tyrants."
The fattened image of himself in the mirror nods in a sagelike manner, as he says again, "Seek out those in strong positions, and let them get along with thinking you're weak and totally submissive..."
"What if your friends are destroyed in the process?" he asks himself.
He shrugs mentally as he replies, "Why do I need to consider that? James and Severus will never be destroyed... who would be the instrument of their undoing?"
"Voldemort..." He answers back.
And then something from the speech by the headmaster from their first year enters into his head, "Sometimes, when in search of power... one may--even with the best of intentions--destroy those they most treasure. The path to power is frought with danger... not just to others, but to oneself. In order to avoid the pitfalls should one seek to transverse this path... laziness is ultimately a fatal mistake..."
Peter wonders why those particular words had struck him particularly. He sits in front of the mirror; alternating between staring at his reflection, and looking at his notes. Thinking back to one of the transfiguration classes, wherein he had received his worst rebuke yet by Professor McGonagall...
"Peter Pettigrew!" Professor McGonagall said coldly, her voice biting. He looked up from the doodles he had been making, and said with a bit of a drawl and a blank expression on his face.
"Huh?" he asked.
"Peter Pettigrew..." she said, her visage dark and scowling. "This is the tenth time this week that you've not been paying attention and slacking in your studies. And you are consistent in either being late in handing in your homework, or not handing it in at all..."
Peter shrugged, as he said, "I'm sorry professor..."
"I doubt that you are," she answered in rebuke. "In terms of quality... your papers are poorly researched, ever worse--the amount of plagiarizing makes Gilderoy Lockhart seem like a scholarly saint--and all too obviously the amount of quality within that paper came from Remus Lupin, James Potter, and Sirius Black."
"How the bloody h*ll can you tell that?" Sirius asked, shocked at her pronouncement.
"Fifteen points from Gryffindor for swearing in class, Sirius..." Professor McGonagall said calmly. "And to answer your question Sirius... your FRIEND if you can call Peter that, was too lazy to even try to rewrite the rather large paragraphs you three provided him this time. Seeing as detention has not served the purpose for which it is supposed to... I am afraid I will have to remove house points."
At that the Gryffindors in the class gave a collective groan, as James, Sirius, and Remus glare daggers at Peter. Severus though chuckled at the Gryffindors' plight.
"How many points Professor McGonagall?" James asked, his voice trembling. Of all the teachers in Hogwarts, only two could inspire both fear and respect in James Potter and Sirius Black at the same time. The Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, and the Deputy Headmistress--and head of Gryffindor House--Minerva McGonagall.
"Ten points each from you James, Sirius, and Remus..." she says as though unfazed by the sentence she was giving them. "Seventy points from Peter. I will not tolerate such ridiculous nonsense from any student under my supervision, and I expect you three--who adequately rise to task, even if you James and Sirius are almost as lazy as Peter... in some respects--to know better, even if you do insist on helping him. And if you try charming your way out of this Sirius, I promise you that you will get another ten points deducted, as well as detention."
The look on Sirius' face at her pronouncement, Peter thought, had been worth getting them in trouble with their head of house. It was as though he had just been run over by a locomotive. Which of course... to keep peace with their fellow Gryffindors... had caused the Marauders a month without any pranks whatsoever... and so the concept of developing this map had been born.
He looks at the mirror again as he wonders out loud, "Is it so bad to be lazy? As long as one has their creature comforts... and are reasonably well-secure, what does it matter?"
October 16th, 2005, 8:26 pm
"How'd your reconnaisance go Peter," Sirius asks, when the four friends regrouped on James' bed to debrief their respective missions.
"It went well enough," Peter says quietly. "I found a room with a really strange mirror in it... not far off from the library..." He shows them the jotted notes and diagrams that he had made about how to access the room.
As they compare their notes, James begins sketching the outlines of the corridors of the castle onto a charmed piece of parchment, titled The Marauders' Map. When he finishes the work based on their current observations, he folds it up, and places it into a pocket inside his robes.
"Alright," James says quietly. "'tis a job well done... we'll resume the next segment in between classes tomorrow..."
"How are we going to map the other houses James?" Remus asks. "It's not like we can just go traipsing into there to do map-making. Especially Slytherin... the girls' dorms will be just as hard to do."
James ponders over this as he moves his gaze from Sirius to Remus to Peter and back again. Finally he says, "Those will just have to wait for now, let's focus on what we can do... and when Peter sucessfully completes his transformation, he can take over those more intricate issues."
"Speaking of which, how's your transformation coming, 'Prongs'?" Sirius asks.
"Well," James replies quietly. "The antlers have come in nicely, as have the appropriate internal organs... I think I've managed to be able to shift from human to partial-deer without needing any extra transfiguration at this point. And yours Sirius?"
"Bloody slow," Sirius mutters. "But then, being a large black dog... that's the size of a small bear is apparently no easy feat..."
"Any more than is a rat," Peter mutters. It had taken a while before he came to understand through talking with James that the rat apparently was his spirit totem. And he wasn't even sure why that was. Still though, as James pointed out... it would be useful having such a small creature to be able to slip under the branches of the Whomping willow.
"Well," Remus says smiling. "I know just what to call you two... Sirius will hence forth be 'Padfoot,' and Peter... 'Wormtail.' How's that sound?"
Peter reflects on that piece of information, rolling it over in his mind. Somehow ironically appropriate, he thinks. Finally he says, "I like it. Wormtail will work perfectly."
Sirius gives a little laugh like a bark as he says, "Wormtail indeed! Padfoot works for me Moony... Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, the Marauders!"
James gives a chuckle as he removes the map from his pocket and edits the title to read: Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs Present the Marauders' Map, version one. Thinking it over, he says, "I suggest we encode a password onto this so that we can keep the number of people who can read it limited to us four. We'll have all four maps accessible by the same password, but to specifically encode each map to their respective owners."
"Are you saying that we'll have our own personal codes for the map?" Peter asks.
"I believe that's exactly what Messr. Prongs has just suggested Wormtail," Sirius says rolling his eyes. "Which makes a good deal of sense so that we can personalize the map to our own respective needs. As well as having the more generalized map."
Remus nods in agreement as Peter looks on thoughtfully.
"So when do you think you'll be able to join me in the Shrieking Shack," Remus asks, a light of hope and anticipation burning in his eyes.
Sirius looks to James and says, as he shrugs, "If all goes according to plan, we should be able to join you in full form by the start of fifth year. We just need to take our time with this, because having a skrewed up animagus transformation would be just the ticket to blow our secret open for the whole school."
"We'll probably take a trip out to the shrieking shack between now and then just so you'll get used to our scent in your wolf form," James adds. "Of course locating ourselves on a secure shelf out of range of your wolf. So even if you can smell us, you won't be able to see us or reach us."
Remus laughs at that, "As though I need something to drive me crazier when I transform?" He shakes his head as he adds, "I really can't believe you James... that's the kind of hair-brained scheme I'd expect from Padfoot, you're supposed to be the sensible one behind these operations."
Peter laughs, "Actually Moony, I think that's your job... Padfoot is the hair-brained schemer of the group, while Prongs is the intermediary between you and Padfoot..."
"Thanks Wormtail," Sirius says in mock exasperation. "And I suppose you're just here to boost Prongsies' and my ego?"
"If it helps," Peter says encouragingly.
Remus, James, and Sirius all roll their eyes at this.
"Peter," James says. "Sometime, could you show us the way to this mirror you found? I know we have the map... but while we're working out the kinks of the map, I'd like to see the room and mirror in person."
"Of course James," Peter responds demurely. "Shall we take the invisibility cloak tomorrow evening after classes let out? And then I'll bring Sirius and Remus along."
"Sounds reasonable to me," James answers as he looks thoughtfully.
Sirius looks at his friend and chuckles, "Looks to me like Prongsie here is about to go back into Lily-wanting mode once we get this animagi thing straightened out. So how's she been taking your general avoidance of her?"
"Well," Remus ventures. "From what Amethyst has been telling me... Lily's been taking this change in your interactions somewhat harder than her friends anticipated. And much harder than her protestations seem to indicate."
"So why don't you go and say hello to her James," Sirius says. "It's not going to kill you..."
"What if I say something that makes me look like a prat in her eyes?" James asks in response, with a deer-in-the-headlights look to his eyes. "What if the first word out of her mouth is no? You know d*mn well Sirius no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to have a normal conversation with her, without doing something to p*ss her off."
"Well Prongs," Remus says quietly and seriously. "I concur with Padfoot on this one. Just say hello, and ask her how she's doing, as simple as that. Besides, give Padfoot and me some time, and we'll find a way to get you to be able to have a normal conversation with Lily." He looks at Peter, as he says, "And I think Wormtail may be able to be useful towards that end."
To which Peter arches an eyebrow as though to say, "What do you propose to get me into now?"
April springs forth bright and rainy on the first of that month.
"You know," Sirius says animatedly. "We haven't really given any good pranks in a while... What with trying to placate our housemates, as well as focusing on that animagi thing we're doing right now for you, Remus... And do you know what day it is?"
"I know where you're going Sirius," Remus says... "And the implications are frightening to say the least."
"Ah come on Moony!" Sirius says pleadingly, turning on his puppy-dog face imploringly to his friend. "Besides, if nothing else... we should do it for Prongs, who's been all out of sorts since he tried following your advice and went to talk to Lily..."
"Actually, out of sorts is a mild way to put it," Sirius thinks to himself.
Remus apparently must have been thinking the same thing as he says quietly, "Just when he worked up the courage to say hello, the first word out of her mouth was 'no.' I don't think I've ever seen James so deflated before... and in front of the entire student body too..."
At breakfast, just towards the end of March, James had been the last of the four Marauders to head down for breakfast in the Great Hall. He had managed to drive Remus, Sirius, and Peter all crazy from practicing his greeting of Lily from Midnight onwards after they had finished their homework for astronomy, potions, and transfiguration... and trying to work up the nerve to pull it off perfectly. By five, he was straightening his hair as best he could--one of the reasons why he kept it mussed up and looking wind-swept, beyond the reaction he got from some of the girls, was because his hair refused under general principles to keep itself in some manner of orderly fashion. But for today, he would try to look his best.
Finally, as he decided if he took any longer, he'd miss breakfast and any chance to talk to Lily before classes, he headed down from the dormitories and towards the hall. Seeing the sunlight through the windows, and feeling that was a good omen for his venture... he proceeded into the Great Hall with a smile on his face and a confident stride.
As he goes to join Sirius, Remus, and Peter, as they talk with Alice and Amethyst... he sees Lily walking over to the table from the Slytherin table, and as they meet up near the table...
"Morning Lily," James says pleasantly. "How..."
"No." Lily says shortly, stopping him flat-footed as she takes her seat at the Gryffindor table.
For James, it was as if the sun had just literally been extinguished, and the room gone silent... although the only ones who heard were the ones immediately near him at the Gryffindore table. He looked at Remus accusingly as though to say "I told you so..." and then his eyes travel across the room to Severus Snape who smirks openly back at him.
James turns around, a frown almost as large as the smile he had upon entering the Great Hall, and leaves the room... his breakfast ignored.
"Nice one Lily," Sirius said with as much irritation as he could muster. "Did you think he was going to ask you out?"
"You mean he wasn't?" Lily asked, her eyes going wide with shock.
"As a matter of fact he wasn't," Remus says sharply. "I encouraged him to try and say hello, since you seemed to be responding as poorly to his ignoring you as he was. In fact, given that he stayed up all night just to work up the courage and look his best just to ask how you were doing... that was mighty poor form on your part. Now excuse me while I do damage control before class starts."
With that Remus stood up and departed the table as Lily and her friends look from each other to Sirius, Peter, and Remus' departing form.
"I didn't know..." Lily said quietly, the tone of her voice matching perfectly the terrified look on her face.
"Maybe you should start paying attention some time, Evans," Sirius answered shortly. "Severus isn't the only boy in this school who's attracted to you... and maybe it would do you some good to maybe consider one of the most solid boys in this school. Whether or not you believe me is irrelevent, but of all of us, there are only two boys I would consider worthy of you... one is Frank and the other is James. The rest, including myself, are shallow, depraved *rses underneath of our exterior presentations... and that includes Severus."
With that Sirius turned from the table, leaving Peter who just shrugged and returned his attention to his food before it got cold.
Finally, Remus looks at Sirius and says, "Alright, fine. Let us prepare a prank that is worthy of the name Marauders. And one that will be recorded in the annals of Hogwarts History for all of posterity. And not just one of your spur-of-the-moment pranks either Sirius... it has to be one that even Lily Evans and the Slytherins will enjoy. Otherwise no deal."
Sirius thinks it over for a few, before his face lights up like a christmas tree. And then he says, as he wraps his arm around Remus' shoulders, "Sounds just fine to me... now let us go plot this most excellent plot of all of our plots. Now where's Wormtail? We are going to need him for this... and Amethyst too. And one representative from Slytherin and Hufflepuff too."
"You're going to make this an inter-house prank?" Remus asks, surprise registering in his voice.
"Well," Sirius replies grinning. "You said the only conditions that you would partake in it were that Evans and the Slytherins enjoy it as well... Amethyst is clearly a friend of Evans, and is in Ravenclaw... so they'll be represented. And she'll no doubt interact with some of those people in Slytherin as well as Hufflepuff, and given how Peter seems to like slinking in the direction of Slytherin house, I suppose he knows a few students there as well. So why not make the planning of this, one of the greatest of the marauder pranks in all of our history--why not get some of the other houses in on the plan? Just to be able to get their input, as to what kind of humour the other houses enjoy?"
"And Severus is going to be treated neutrally?" Remus asks.
"I don't know..." Sirius says in response. "He just may well be... since whenever we target him, that seems to get Lily even more ticked at James--even when James never had a hand in that particular prank... it's a bit of a delicate situation. If he leaves us alone, we'll leave him alone with regards to that particular prank."
"Fair enough," Remus says quietly as they walk through the corridors.
October 22nd, 2005, 6:00 am
"What are you doing here Peter?" Severus asks quietly, with a bit of a hiss to his voice.
"Loo... looking for you Sev... Severus," Peter snivels looking at the boy with whom he had gone to the trainstation with in their first year. "Remus and Sirius are plotting an inter-house prank..."
"Are they now?" Severus smiles thoughtfully. "I daresay Lily will not be amused..."
"But that's just it..." Peter argues. "They want a representative from Hufflepuff, and Slytherin to be on the planning and execution board."
"Who's representing Ravenclaw?" Severus enquires, his eyebrow arching high.
"That Amethyst girl who's taken a liking to Re... Remus," Peter squeals.
Severus traces a finger around his lip in thought, and after several moments he looks severely down his nose towards Peter.
"I appreciate your thought Peter," he says finally. "However, I do not think it becoming to engage in such activities... however, I think I know of a suitable alternative. And I will make sure that my input is well-received in the planning process."
Peter nods as Severus strides over to the boy seated facing the window.
"Regulus..." Severus says coolly.
"Yes Severus?" comes the soft drawl. "Do you mean to tell me that you have actually deigned to leave thy internal hermitage and engage in dialogue with me?"
"As a matter of fact yes," Severus says with a sneer. "In fact Pettigrew has just brought me some interesting information--which you may find useful."
"Since when has Pettigrew done anything useful for anyone," Regulus retorts. "Nine times out of ten his efforts to do something 'useful' as you phrase it backfire. The child is incompetent."
"So you think," Severus replies. "And at times I agree with you. However, he does have his uses. As it is, how would you like to cause trouble for your brother?"
"Sirius?" Regulus asks as he puts his book down, a look upon his face as though a fox just placed in guardianship of the hens while inside the hen house. "I might just take you up on that offer... so what's the deal?"
"A position on an inter-house prank," Severus says wryly. "It will be most amusing to see Potter and his friends suffer."
"Heh," Regulus says. "Why don't you lay off the guy?"
"Why?" Severus queries. "The interhouse rivalry expects it... are you supporting blood traitors too?"
"You know d*mn well my position on that subject, Severus," Regulus replies. "So what is it between you two."
"Something personal, nothing more," Severus replies coldly, as his thoughts run from Lily to James' skills at quidditch amongst other things.
"Still though," Regulus mutters. "A chance to get at Sirius..." he chuckles as he says, "Alright, I'll do it.
To be continued...
November 18th, 2005, 3:18 am
Popup for the story, I will be finishing out that segment soon; as well as adding the next one soonish.
December 3rd, 2005, 5:02 am
Remus meanders his way through the corridors of the castle, heading towards the Ravenclaw dormitory. He mulls over the possible consequences of this prank, and then sighs.
"Why the long face Remus?" Amethys says as she exits the entrance.
"Oh, the list is long and sundry," Remus responds amicably. "And terribly..." he pauses on the word dull, considering that there is nothing dull about being a werewolf.
"Dull?" Amethyst finishes for him.
"Something like that... yes..." he says, deciding that keeping his eyes glued to the ground would be the best idea... "Could we talk?" His own eyes meeting hers... and then a strange sensation somewhere near his navel and then working its way up.
"Sure," Amethyst replies smiling. "What's up?"
"A prank," Remus whispers conspiratorially.
"You mean this is a prank, your walking with me," Amethyst asks, shock in her voice.
"No..." If it had been possible for Remus' face to turn any redder, it probably would have. However, his blush was so deep that it runs across his face and down his neck, turning the pale skin a bright crimson. "Nothing like that Amethyst... It's just... it's just I'm planning a prank with Sirius' help, and we want you involved."
Remus heaves out the words as though trying to rush through the bad news, and get to the execution.
To which Amethyst laughs as she says, "You want me to be involved in this prank?"
"Yes," Remus says, relief that what he had dreaded hadn't happened.
"To what does this entail?" she queries.
"It's an inter-house prank," he replies sotto voce. "Wherein you are to be the representative for Ravenclaw for the planning and execution of the prank. The primary consideration for my involvement, which Sirius agreed to... was that it had to appeal to the humor of the entire student body--or the very least a relative majority of the same... And Lily Evans has to enjoy it."
"That's a tough order you're calling for Remus," Amethyst says with amusement. "However, I'll be glad to partake in one of the 'marauders' pranks. I suppose Slytherin and Hufflepuff will also be represented?"
"Yes, although I'm not sure who their representatives will be," Remus answers back. "Still though, this is going to be interesting."
"I dare say it will be," a voice comes from behind them. "I was looking for one of you 'marauders...' Peter said you might be in this area."
"Hello Regulus," Remus says turning at the voice. "I take it you're the representative for Slytherin then?"
"Well..." Regulus hesitates, and then says, "Actually I think Severus was Peter's first choice, but Severus requested that I be the one who represented the house."
Remus shrugs, trying to silence his worries about how Sirius will take the turn of events.
Finally he says, "Alright... meet us at the top of the Astronomy tower 9 PM friday... It's going to be a good night for looking at the stars."
"Alright," Regulus agrees and then heads off for the Slytherin dungeons.
December 12th, 2005, 4:50 am
Prelude to a party:
James finds himself sitting underneath of a tree on the grounds, in between classes... after Professor McGonagall refused to excuse him from class. Frowning, he picks at blades of grass absentmindedly. What he needed was to stop worrying, or at least be better at hiding his worry--but having aurors for parents is not conducive for having a worry-free sleep.
Even if he wanted to, he couldn't tell anyone what it was his parents did... not that they didn't have money--they were reasonably well off as pureblood families went, though not as wealthy as the Blacks and Malfoys, and much better off than the Gaunts--who had been the last of the line of Slytherin. And nowhere near as insane as some of those other pureblood families--it was a matter of security. If word leaked out to the death eaters, either the aurors themselves, or their families could be targeted... and some, if not most of the aurors in the employ of the ministry, did not have the option of having a fidelius charm placed on their homes.
And while he knew his parents could be gone for as long as a month in their search, the last time he had talked to them, it was a given that it was no more than a routine investigation of Borgin and Bourkes, amongst other shops, in Nocturne Alley. That had been about a week ago... and while sometimes no news was good news; it was hard when one wasn't permitted to discuss their worries--even with their own mates--and that included Sirius Black, who despite his efforts hadn't been removed from the ministry's list of unsafe contacts, despite James and his parents' guarantees for his trustworthyness.
"Ah well," Sirius sighs, after James had told him once again that their petitions had been rejected. "That's what happens when you're born a Black... the name and the reputation tend to stick... even Andromeda can't shake it... and she's in Ravenclaw."
He knew his family was a little better protected than the other aurors for the sole fact that as members of the Order of the Phoenix--something he had chanced to overhear in his house, and that Albus Dumbledore had some hand in--they had their house under the fidelius charm, with Albus as the Secret Keeper. Looking at the grass, he frowns again.
"Hey James," a boy from Hufflepuff calls out. "How's it going? Scravers not back from the party yet?"
"Nope," James replies solemnly in return. He wasn't sure how the word 'scravers' became applied to his parents, but you could always tell the children who had aurors for parents... they always have this haunted look somewhere in their eyes knowing that possibly soon or late they're going to get the news that their parents aren't coming back at all. With Voldemort and his followers on their killing sprees--that could apply to anyone, magical or muggle... but unlike the rest of the population, actively HUNTING those kinds of people was a guaranteed way to ensure that one would find what they were looking for... and the results were not pleasant--the imperius, avada kedavra, and cruciatus curses being the least of the worries of what an auror could expect from a dark wizard who had been caught. And their children developed this code so they could communicate with each other as a release mechanism...
"Any idea when the party's over?" the boy asks sitting next to him.
"Mom's keeping shut like always," James mutters back, running his hand through his mussed up hair. "And playtime seems to have gone over..."
"Mom's the word then," the boy chuckles grimly. "Prof D catch you at it again?"
Whenever they were being too indiscrete in their concern, it was not uncommon for Professor Dumbledore to call the respective students to his office. It was not uncommon for the place to look as though death eaters had trashed the Headmasters' office from the amount of stress. It was a measure of Dumbledore's sympathy and understanding that he looked on silently as the students did what they needed to relieve the stress. Even the paintings understood.
"Not this week," James says. "No detentions either."
"That must be a first for you," the boy says smiling.
"Not really, I can avoid them when I put my mind to it..." James replies, as a smile creeps across his lips.
"But you're too busy relieving your own anxiety through your pranks, right?"
"You have me there," James says, this time a much larger grin on his face.
"Keep it up James," the boy says quietly. "The party will be over soon, and Scravers will be back sound... don't take these things too much to heart, worry'll give you an early grave so it will."
"Thanks," James replies, giving the boy a hug as he stands and gets ready to head off to class.
"Meeting at ten in classroom number ten," he says.
"What about Filch?"
"Permission slips signed by Prof D," the boy says, handing James his slip. "I'll see you around James."
"You too," as they go their separate ways.
As James heads inside for Charms, he wonders what he would, and wouldn't be permitted to tell Lily if he became an auror--and he knew he would--should that most impossible dream of his ever become reality. As he thinks over the situation between the houses of Gryffindor and Slytherin, he knew things would eventually come to a violent confrontation. When he saw whom Severus had been talking to, names came that clicked with pieces of discreetly overheard conversations... regarding the parents of those students.
When Sirius and he had become friends and then corroborated what he had overheard, James had an inkling that he and Severus would never really get along--their backgrounds made that a guaranteed impossibility--that he associated with Macnair, Regulus, Bellatrix and Narcissa, as well as other Slytherins some of whom were vocal supporters of Voldemort... that destroyed permanently any chance of their ever getting along--had Severus had the inclination to try. And thereto, their backgrounds were too diametrically opposed to permit that to happen. And the story of Eileen Prince--and her associations, followed by her marriage to the muggle Tobias Snape--was a scandal that rocked the pureblood world. And when word leaked around that it had eventually dissolved due to Tobias' alcoholism and abuse--did not do anything to ease the crack in the pureblood facade... because the few families who did care about such things saw that as a tantamount indiction of the entire pureblood way of being. As if the Gaunts were not... while acknowledged purebloods, most of the pureblood families kept the Gaunts as far away as possible. The Gaunts prefering to ignore the rest of the wizarding world, save when necessary to continue on Slytherin's line, chose to keep to the quid pro quo relationship.
"Hey James," Remus calls out to him as he enters into the corridor on the way to Charms.
"Hey Remus, how's it going?"
"Not too bad," Remus replies, grimacing. As they get closer, Remus asks quietly. "Why in the name of god did Professor McGonagall have to give an exam this close to the full moon?"
"Because Professor McGonagall likes to see us in discomfort," Sirius replies with a smirk. "As much as she claims to love her students... you'd think she'd cut us a little slack every now and then... and that quidditch game against Slytherin... what was she and Professor Slughorn trying to prove? That we can play severely understaffed while the opposing team is trying to kill us?"
"All the better for our training against Voldemort," Remus says quietly.
James nods in agreement, his face almost as white as Remus' though for different reasons... and then they head into class.
December 13th, 2005, 2:59 am
"When is the wedding again, Ron," Hermione asks.
"T's the end of the month," Ron says, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes.
"Then what's that owl doing here?" Hermione asks. "How many people knew we were here?"
"Maybe it's for Harry?" Ron says glancing at the owl. "I..." the look of dawning apprehension in his eyes. "Maybe it's for Harry?"
"It's for me," Hermione says, "and Harry's not here... he's downstairs pacing again. He's been doing that all night, it's driving the Dursleys crazy, but they daren't say anything to him."
Ron looks at the owl, and then to Hermione, and then says, "Well let's see what it says... open it..."
She frowns at Ron as she approaches the owl, and takes the letter from its beak. As it stands still, waiting for a response, she scans the note. Finally she says, "It's from Professor Lupin, Ron..."
"Remus? What's he wanting?" Ron asks incredulously.
"Apparently a chance to talk to Harry, that between his Order work, and Albus--amongst other things--he hasn't been given the opportunity," she mutters. "And he thought I had some say in whom Harry sees or doesn't. Apparently Professor McGonagall has been giving him a cold shoulder too..."
"Why?" Ron asks.
"Apparently," Hermione replies quietly. "He's been wondering the same thing."
"So what do you propose?" Ron says after a few.
"I... I don't know..." Hermione says quietly.
Ron, remembering how she had blown up when he had said that there had to be a first time for Hermione being wrong, decides to hold his tongue, watching her warily as she starts pacing. Finally, he says, "Well, on our way to Godric's Hollow, why don't we swing by Lupin's place?"
Hermione stops, looks at Ron thoughtfully, and says, "How does that impact with the wedding though?"
"Well, that's the question, does Harry want to go to Godric's Hollow prior to the wedding, or after it?" Ron asks. "I think he's been trying to organize some plan of action, and maybe a chat with Remus would help him with it... I'm still not too thrilled that he broke up with Ginny, noble or not... it doesn't make her any less safe with Voldemort around. We're blood traitors y'know. Besides, like Mum said in the hospital wing, I'm sure Dumbledore'd be glad to know there was a little more love going around--and no matter what their relationship, Ginny still loves Harry... and he needs it."
"But it's got to be him that makes that choice Ron," Hermione says quietly. The two had overheard Harry tossing in his sleep since leaving Hogwarts, and the silent acknowledgement that his nightly pacing had more to do with escaping the nightmares plaguing him, as with any potential battle plan.
Standing, Ron slips into his nightrobe, and the two walk down the stairs and see Harry standing in the dim light of the living room, one hand running through his mussed up hair.
"I had a feeling you two would be down here," Harry says quietly.
"We're worried about you Harry... you haven't slept at all since our fourth day here after leaving Hogwarts," Hermione says as Ron grips her hand. "And Professor Lupin just sent an owl, requesting that I somehow convince you to meet with him at your soonest convenience--as he doesn't plan on going anywhere until the wedding. The owl's waiting my response."
Harry looks up at Hermione and then over to Ron, as he says, "Alright... we'll leave for Godric's Hollow and enroute we'll drop by Professor Lupin's. Then we'll swing back here to pack our stuff up, and head to the Burrow for the wedding..."
Ron and Hermione nod in agreement as they head back upstairs to respond to Lupin's message, and get dressed.
Suppressing a yawn, Ron asks, "Think there'll be any time for a little more sleep?" as Hermione writes out the note, and then seals it with a few anti-tamper charms. "What are you doing that for? He'll never be able to open it..."
"Of course he will Ron," Hermione shoots back a smile on her face at the hidden complement at her spell work. "And no... I don't think we're going to get any more sleep tonight." When Ron finishes dressing, she turns around from watching the departing owl. "I wonder what Godric's Hollow is like..."
"Heh... I wonder what Professor Lupin's place is like," Ron chuckles, yawning again. When Hermione finally decides herself ready, they head back downstairs to join Harry for breakfast before heading out.
December 17th, 2005, 8:28 pm
The night has a waxing moon, just coming off of new... as James meanders his way to the classroom where the meeting of the aurors' children is to be.
While there were few people he admitted it to, sometimes he liked being away from his friends--it gave him time to think--which was one of the nice things about Remus... He didn't force one to actually communicate, or do anything. The running for the Quidditch cup was getting particularly fierce. The latest tally, was that Slytherin had just lost the match against Hufflepuff--a fact that Hufflepuffers went out of their way to dig into the students of Slytherin house--by two hundred and twenty points, including the snitch. Before the cup was awarded, he knew they were going to have to play either Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw... or Hufflepuff and Slytherin yet again in order to get their team in a position to win the cup.
Sirius on the other hand, is a manic ball of energy... especially when situations require contemplation. As for Peter... there was something about the boy that appealed to James... but at the same time, something nagged him at the back of his brain about Peter too. He frowns again, as he looks at his last score of grades. Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, and Herbology were his best subjects.
All because of his parents.
Although he was not alone, as the meeting he is attending attests. As a matter of simple survival, the aurors' children knowing the risks of their parents occupations tended to do the best in the subjects of herbology, potions, Defense against the Dark arts, with charms and transfiguration being the toss-up subjects.
Since getting almost straight D's at the end of first year, and the subsequent punishment he received at the hands of his parents... and second year, which was a good deal better, but not ideal. And so he had made a resolve to get either all 'E's or a combination of 'exceeds expectations,' and 'outstanding' in all his courses by the end of third term.
Contemplating on the nature of life, quidditch, his friends, and other subjects, James is not paying particular attention to where he is going... when a resounding thump lands him on the ground, and shakes him out of his revery.
"Lily..." he says, rubbing his forehead.
"Potter, why don't you watch where you're going?" Lily shoots back.
"Why don't you?" James asks back in response. "Where were you going in such a hurry?"
"I needed to get to the potions lab... homework," Lily mumbles quickly, also rubbing her forehead. "You?"
James thinks it over, and then says, "Meeting up with some friends..."
"Sirius, Remus and Peter?" Lily asks.
"Other friends, with equally common similarities..." James mutters, standing, and then offering a hand to Lily. "I do apologize Lily... I should have been more careful." When she's standing, she notices a look in James' eyes that she hadn't seen before.
"James..." she says hesitantly. "Are you worried about something?"
"Several somethings at any rate, my parents..." James replies quietly.
"Anything you want to tell me?" Her natural supportiveness coming out against her best wishes.
Images of everything he had been mulling over on the way to the meeting flashes through his head, while he thinks against this background... "My god, I'm actually having a conversation with Lily Evans..."
"James..." Lily says again. "Maybe you should get your head checked by Madam Pomfrey... that was a hard blow you took... so is there anything you want to tell me?"
James shakes his head, as he contemplates what he wants to say, "Yes, no, maybe... I don't know... what I need is a hug, what I want is to be able to trust you with stuff I can't even tell Sirius, Remus, and Peter..."
And what comes out...
"Nothing that wouldn't probably reach Severus anyways..." he mutters darkly.
"What do you have against Severus?" Lily asks, the anger rising back into her tone.
"Just the fact that he exists..." James says, running his hand through his hair... struggling for something other to say, or to get out of there. He looks at Lily then, and she sees that haunted look deep in his eyes.
"James! There you are..." Alice calls out. "Hey Lily... are you both okay?"
"I think I'm fine, I'm not too sure about James though..." Lily replies quietly.
"Ah well, we were getting worried about you James..." Alice says, concern radiating from her eyes. "And Lily... if you want to avoid detention, I suggest you avoid the route to the potions classroom... Filch is enroute. Tonight would be a good night to stay in the dorm... Come on James..."
Lily watches as her friend and James head down the corridor, taking the route that James had been heading earlier prior to his bump. She frowns as she considers a side of Alice that she hadn't noted before.
"Fine!" Lily shouts down the empty corridor. "Be that way, see if I care..." More quietly, though still out loud, "How could you be so cold to me Alice? It was like talking to my sister..."
A tear forms at the corner of her eye, and she wheels and runs back towards Gryffindor tower.
"Ah there he is," the boy from Hufflepuff says smiling as James enters the room with Alice. "we were worried you might have gone takin' a dive from the Astronomy tower."
"Heh," James says frowning. "That would be counter-productive towards my desired goal of becoming an auror myself one day." He looks around the room, at the eleven other students whose parents are aurors.
"Felicity Howles and her cousin Tanya," Edmund Krowles, a Slytherin fifth year says quietly. "Disappeared... otherwise they would have been here..."
Alice nods quietly in agreement as she says, "Look James, I'm sure your parents stumbled across something that would provide some information on those two's whereabouts..."
"Felicity and Tanya are missing?" James mutters, and as always when stressed--his thoughts turn to Quidditch--and he asks, "What's Hufflepuff going to do in the game without their seeker?"
"We have a reserve," the boy says calmly. "Not on par with Tanya of course, but he'll do in a pinch." The group shares a laugh as James nods his head in agreement, running his hand through his hair. "Don't worry James, we'll have a decent team for you to try to throunce for the cup."
"Not like Ravenclaw won't give you a run for your money," Edmund says laughing. "Besides, after our team's last round at Gryffindor, we'll be lucky if we're allowed back on the pitch as it is. And that's even if we take Felix Felicis... for a month..."
"Which I am quite sure some of your compatriots from the team, have been attempting to do," a fair-haired Ravenclaw says chuckling, which causes Edmund himself to laugh, as he replies, "No doubt... Just ask Madam Pomfrey how many Slytherins have ended up in the infirmary because Severus won't make the team any of the felix... and so they rely on their own..." he pauses... and then says, "I really don't think talent is quite the applicable word as each and every one of those boys on our team have consistently failed potions and herbology..."
"So James," Alice says looking at him with concern. "What was that you and Lily were going on about?"
"We sort of bumped into each other," James replies.
"Literally?" Alice asks, nodding towards the lump on his head. As he nods in agreement, she says, "the two of you must have been really out of it to not notice... I take it you gave her your views on Severus?"
James nods quietly, as he says, "Well, more like the fact that he exists is what I said... But I let her make eye contact to see what's behind the curtain... not that she's a legilimense, but I wanted her to know there's more than meets the eye."
"So what's been bugging you besides your parents being gone for the week?" Alice asks. "We're a support network, and you've been looking like you've needed us for a while... that and I also like to think that I'm a good enough friend that we can talk about anything..."
And when he finished telling her what was going on, she looks at him thoughtfully and says, "Thanks James... you do have a lot on your plate then... good luck on the animagi process, you'll need it. As for Remus, I can see why you're worried about letting him in, and Sirius too... although I must admit that I really dislike that the ministry seems intent on controlling everyone we interact with--and are either on their approved list, or not... but life's too short to mistrust EVERYBODY..."
"Like Barty Crouch does?" the ravenclaw girl speaks up.
The group bursts out laughing...
"Lily," Severus says as he rounds the corner. "What the bloody h*ll was Filch doing by the dungeons? I just nearly missed getting caught by Mrs. Norris and he..."
"Severus," Lily says, catching him with a hug. "It's been dreadful... I was just on my way back to Gryffindor's common room, Alice suggesting that he was going to be looking in that area... and I ran into James..."
"I see," Severus says quietly, as he extracts himself from the embrace. He frowns, and then asks, "So what did Potter have to say this time?"
"He seemed worried," Lily says. "Almost like he wanted but couldn't talk about something..."
"For instance?" Severus asks, amused that anything would actually worry the man whom he viewed as a competitor for Lily.
"Well he let slip something about his parents, or that his parents were a part of what he's worried about?" Lily looks at Severus quizzically as though seeking enlightenment as to what that meant.
Severus says thoughtfully as he draws a finger across his lips in contemplation, "I don't know Lily... I will ask around and see what I can find out." He smiles, as he flexes his long, spidery fingers. "And I think it best that we part here... and make your way to Gryffindor before Filch finds you..."
"What about you?" Lily asks.
"Oh, I can take care of myself," Severus says grimly, as he disappears; courtesy of a nonverbal disillusionment charm.
Lily heads off and gets into the common room, and then makes her way to bed.
That morning, at breakfast... Sirius looks over to the Slytherin table from the staff table, and then asks, "Why are the Slytherins so quiet and smug this morning?"
"Why are you suspecting them of anything?" Lily demands. "They're not all bad... in fact I'd say their reputation is highly undeserved..."
"Because of the staff," Remus replies quietly. "Look at Professor Dumbledore..." And they could tell that the headmaster did indeed seem very worried about something.
Remus and Sirius though were watching something else, the exchange of looks between Alice and James.
"Think they know about Scravers?" Alice asks James as she gestures with her head towards the Slytherins.
"How would they?" James asks.
Alice shrugs, as Peter comes walking into the great hall.
"Scravers?" Remus, Lily, and Sirius ask quickly before Peter joins them. "Who's that?"
"No one," mutters Alice... too quickly.
And then the owls delivering the morning paper arrive, and James and Lily both pick up their copies of the Daily Prophet, and James also copy of Witch Weekly and the Quibbler.
Browsing through them, starting with the Quibbler, and then making his way forward, he hears Lily exclaim, "Oh my god... James is this referring to you?
"Today the Ministry of Magic, Magical Law Enforcement division--auror section has reported the disappearance of Henry and Elizabeth Potter, whom are aurors working at the time of their disappearance on the Howles case, and were following up a lead when they disappeared. They are known to have one child..."
As James hears the words, a sinking sensation grows in his stomach; as though his entire breakfast had decided that conditions were too cramped there in the digestive track for their liking and that they wanted out. He looks over towards the Slytherin table, and sees Severus looking smug--the Daily Prophet in hand--almost too smug.
As Lily joins his glance, and then their eyes meet; she has the horrific interpretation of what James sees in Severus' expression; and then they both run from the table.
December 21st, 2005, 4:56 am
Author's note--for those who felt that I insensibly knifed poor Tonks in my other fan-fic, twists of fate... You now get to see her alive and in action. As only Tonks can be.
"Wotcher Remus!" A bright cheery voice comes digging at him through the blankety fog of sleep.
"Nyagg, geroffme mum," comes the muttered reply.
"Can't, can't..." Nymphadora says in a sing-song voice, her waist-length bubblegum pink hair tied in two pippi-longstocking-style braids. "I have dark wizards to catch, breakfast to have with my favorite werewolf... and aparently, you're having guests!"
"Wha?" Remus shoots upright from the bed. Noticing the owl, he completely forgets about Nymphadora's presence, and starts to get out of bed... when the rush of giggles sends him burrowing into his blankets like a hedgehog.
"You... turn... around... now..." Remus mutters to Tonks, his pale skin almost a bright cherry red. "Come on, stupid owl...why'd you have to land so far away from the bed?"
When both refuse to comply, the grin on Tonk's face threatening to grow larger...
"Wotcher afraid of Remus?" she asks smiling. "I thought you Gryffindors were supposed to be brave..."
After a couple of moments of sputtering about women, nudity, and unseemly, Remus finally shakes his head, and then standing up in bed; the blankets billowing out like a pair of mismatched robes. Stepping down, he walks over to the owl as Nymphadora runs over and hugs him.
Exchanging a kiss, Remus smiles at her, as he says, "Miss me? I bet you've had a busy week and a half..."
The frown stealling over her face lets him know her feelings.
"All the aurors have been peeled from other cases," she replies. "When Severus disappears, he knows how to do it."
"An unfortunate habit he picked up from us," Remus admits ruefully as she tousles his hair. "But then, by the end of our schooling... we were pretty much at open warfar with each other and stealling pointers from one another too."
"Ooohh... sounds delightfully nasty," Tonks says. "Who's the letter from?"
"It was... y'know, I still never figured out who ruined our interhouse prank," Remus says quietly. "It was there were the fighting between Gryffindor and Slytherin got worse towards the end of our third year... and as far as the note... I think we can suspect that our favorite trio is about to show up for food, not sure when though..."
"Uhm, which trio?" Tonks asks. "Seeing someone you're not telling me about?"
"No silly," Remus replies, as he gives the owl a treat. "Harry, Hermione, and Ron are dropping by..."
"What about his security?" Tonks asks.
"How convenient for an auror to show up," Remus says amusedly. "Besides, I have a feeling that this year is going to be different. And I think he might be able to use an auror's insight... even if this is going to be about my telling stories about our school year..."
"An aurors' insight, Remus? How can I offer that?" Tonks asks.
"Last I checked you were a registered member of the auror branch of Magical Law Enforcement," he says quietly with a smirk. "As for particular details, rumor has it..." and this he knew from a conversation with McGonagall prior to one of the Order meetings following Harry's meeting with her about future employment in the wizarding community. "That Harry wants to become an auror..."
"Ah," Tonks replies. "Wouldn't Kingsley be better for that?"
Remus looks at her thoughtfully, as he says, "Maybe... but maybe he has an idea about not going back to school for his last year... sometimes we men need the insight you women can offer. Especially after Dumbledore's death..."
"I saw you were looking at the memorial," she responds quietly.
He nods in agreement, and then disappears into another room. Coming out showered and dressed, he carefully makes the bed.
Finally he says, "Shall we go down to the kitchen to prepare for our guests?"
"Well Harry," Ron says as they arrive not far from Lupin's house in a small wooded area. "Looks like we're here..."
Hermione nods, as they make their way out of the wood and onto the street. Following the instructions Lupin had given her, she leads them up the road to a nice, two-story Victorian house with an herbal garden in front, and a brick pathway leading up to the door. Smoke rises up from the chimneys of the house, as the three make their way up to the front door upon which is a lion-headed knocker made of brass, with a plate that says Lupin.
"Nice digs," Ron says thoroughly impressed. "Much nicer than those newer pseudovictorian houses those Dursleys live in."
Harry hits the knocker, and they wait, when a woman's face peeps out from behind the door.
"Wotcher Harry, we've been waiting for you," she says with a smile.
"Tonks?" Harry asks, taken aback.
"That would be me," she replies smiling. After going through the proper security procedure, she lets the three into the house.
"Come back into the kitchen, PROFESSOR LUPIN won't bloody well let me help cook breakfast," she says loud enough for anyone in the kitchen hear.
"Ah Harry," Remus says smiling. "Welcome to the House of Lupin... Eight generations of my father's family have lived here, including myself. A Potter hasn't been inside these walls, since your father and I went to school together." Gesturing to the table, he pulls out a loaf of bread, some butter, and then dishes up some eggs, bacon, and mashed potatoes. Pouring out tea for the assembled guests, he then serves himself, and they begin to eat.
December 22nd, 2005, 4:49 am
Part Twelve, continued:
"What's that all about?" Sirius asks Remus who looks thoughtfully at the paper and then shakes his head negatively.
"What's wrong with James?" Peter asks.
"Something he ate no doubt," Sirius replies equally thoughtfully. As though mirrors of the other, both Sirius and Remus begin drumming their fingers on the table; their food forgotten.
Finally Sirius says, "I'll catch up with you guys later... after I find out what's wrong..."
"Right," Remus agrees. "And I'll talk to Amethyst to see what's up with Lily..."
"And the prank?" Sirius whispers.
"We advance the planning meeting," Remus says quietly. "James is going to need cheering up... Uhm, Sirius I think the headmaster wants to talk to you..." as he looks towards the staff table and Dumbledore gesturing towards them.
"Right," Sirius mutters blackly. "See ya mates..." and with that he walks off towards the staff table.
"Tell me Sirius," Albus says quietly. "Do you know anything about what was printed in today's paper?"
"You mean," Sirius says in response... "Do I know anything about how that information was made public? Of course I don't Professor... although I could tender a reasonable guess as familiar with the majority of the Slytherin house as I am..."
"I don't doubt it," Albus agrees. "Are you going to speak with James?"
Sirius looks thoughtfully at the headmaster, as he brushes the hair out of his eyes. Finally, he says, "Of course I am. He's the closest I have to a brother..." just as Regulus walks by, to overhear the conversation.
"Judging from Regulus' reaction," Albus says gently. "I think you'll find some disagreement on that point. However, I think I have kept you from James long enough Sirius..." He nods in dismissal as Sirius turns and heads out of the Great hall.
"D*mn you Sirius," Regulus hisses as the two fall into step. "Was that necessary? Who the h*ll do you think's been trying to get mum and Da to lay off you?"
"I fully appreciate the effort Regulus," Sirius says quietly. "I REALLY do... but maybe, just maybe you'd find me a bit more appreciative of whatever minimal effort you've put forth on my behalf--if those efforts actually had some effect from time to time... and while we're on the subject of whom owes whom what... don't forget that while you toe the family line that cousins Trix and Cissy have, every thing I do keeps mum and da's tempers off of you. Especially when he's drunk."
Regulus winces and frowns at that.
"But still," he says. "They're still family..."
"With a family like that," Sirius says darkly. "Who needs enemies?"
"Heh, that's rich... given the crush you used to have on cousin Trix," Regulus argues.
"The emphasis--BROTHER--is on the words 'used to,' right to the point where I discovered that she was slipping amortentia into peoples' pumpkin juice--including mine--to encourage jealous spats between them," Sirius shoots back. "That and she enjoys the use of the cruciatus curse way more than is good for her--she'll wind up in Azkaban one day."
"I won't argue with that," Regulus agrees. "Although she'll probably take it as a great honor than any form of punishment knowing her. I used to look up to you! Still do, though my... acquaintances... in Slytherin continually wonder why. You used to spout the same lines..."
"Typical Black," Sirius says, torn between amusement mixed with equal measures of guilt and honor that his brothers' esteem had on him. "And yes, I did spout the same lines, until I got a conscience..."
"You, Sirius Black... have conscience?" Regulus asks.
"Surprisingly enough, yes," Sirius says looking icily at Regulus. "And it hit me like one of those muggle eighteen wheelers when I caught Trix and Cissy verbally assaulting James and Lily in Diagon Alley when we were shopping for our first year supplies... one of the few times that they deigned descended unto Diagon Alley for anything--note how since then, to avoid your 'contamination' they've not once gone to Diagon Alley for any of your items... they always send Kreacher to get it... I do believe we part here..."
And with that Sirius strides off towards the Gryffindor tower, while his brother stands staring at the departing back of Sirius at once of half mind to either hex his brother, or hug him... the family pride at once stirring at the dismissal in anger and justified realization.
"Even with a conscience Sirius," Regulus says quietly. "You are now and always will be a Black--and you're going to pay for it one day... so will we all, cousin Bella and Cissy included."
December 29th, 2005, 5:46 am
Remus, Sirius, and Peter stand at the top of the Astronomy tower, telescopes in hand as they await the other participants in the planning session for what stood to be the largest prank played. Each quiet with their private thoughts, easily fooling anyone not closely associated with them at first glance, that they were even friends.
"So who all is in this?" Sirius asks again.
"Amythest," Remus replies as she lifts up the door and clambers out onto the observation deck.
Sirius ticks off a note in a mental list.
"Who's hufflepuff's representative, Slytherin's?" Sirius asks again.
"I am representing Slytherin," Regulus says coolly, as he also climbs out onto the deck. "Have a problem with that, 'brother'?"
Sirius' mouth twitches slightly, but otherwise he keeps a neutral expression. Internally, Remus applauds Sirius for keeping his calm like that, as a dark-skinned boy comes out onto the deck completing the complement of pranksters.
"Ah Kingsley," Remus says smiling. "Glad you could make it..."
"What... and possibly miss what has to be the greatest event in Hogwarts?" Kingsley says smiling. "Not on your life Remus. Amythest, how are you? And... ah yes, the brothers Black..." his smirk at the irony of the name writ large upon his face.
"Remus, Sirius," Amythest says smiling. "This is one of my Hufflepuff friends... Kingsley Shacklebolt... He's..."
"Chaser for the Quidditch team," Sirius says smiling, though standing lightly on the balls of his feet. "While I won't ever say anything bad about Jamesie and his game... you're a good one to watch..."
"Thanks Sirius," Kingsley says quietly, the smirk an open smile now. "I bet you enjoyed that last game we did against Gryffindor... James is not one you want to turn your back on... sometimes I think he confuses the quaffle for the snitch--why he isn't the seeker..." he shakes his head, the curly hair twisting around his face.
"I think he was offered the slot," Sirius says. "But he enjoys being chaser... let's him keep his mind off of other things..."
"Like Lily?" Kingsley asks.
"Hem-hem," Remus coughs as he rolls his eyes, getting everyone's attention back on him. "Yes, like Lily Kingsley... however, we're not here to discuss James' personal life. What we're here for..."
"Ah yes, good ol' Moony," Sirius says ignoring the glare Remus shoots him. "Always making sure we keep on tangent... are you fairly certain that you're not Professor McGonagall in disguise?"
"Yes PADFOOT," Remus says glaring at his friend, trying to keep the smile off of his face. "I am fairly certain that I am not some transfigured variation of Professor McGonagall or her using polyjuice... ouch! What was that for Kingsley?"
"Just makin' sure," Kingsley says with a drawl and a grin.
"So what's with the padfoot and moony thing?" Regulus asks.
"Ask us no questions, and we'll tell you no lies," Sirius replies quickly, while Remus says, "They're just some personal nicknames between us... as for their cause... I second Sirius..."
"Uhhuh," Regulus says looking at the two suspiciously. Finally, he shakes his head and asks, "So what's with the prank?"
"Ah yes... the details..." Sirius says, the thought of the prank taking primary consideration over his brother's participation... "Well, this is a non-traditional marauders' prank; one that should go down in the annals of Hogwarts history... And has to meet--as Per Remus' suggestion--that ALL of the houses should enjoy the prank... and most particularly Slytherin..." he glares at his brother. "And one Lily Evans..."
"You do call for tall orders Sirius," Kingsley says grinning. "So what's our role?"
"To coordinate the implementation of the prank in accordance with the humour of your respective houses," Remus says calmly. "We're looking to charm the hallways leading from the houses to the Great Hall into rainbow coloured tunnels, and each person... into a humourous outfit... the rest is up to your imagination... Fireworks, Dr. Filibusters' best... in the great hall at eight."
Kingsley and Amythest laugh at that, while Sirius and Regulus glare at each other.
"When do we begin?" Kingsley asks.
"Three days from now," Remus says. "Alright, let's get out of here before Filch catches us..."
January 5th, 2006, 3:43 am
"Ah Harry," Remus says smiling. "Welcome to the House of Lupin... Eight generations of my father's family have lived here, including myself. A Potter hasn't been inside these walls, since your father and I went to school together." Gesturing to the table, he pulls out a loaf of bread, some butter, and then dishes up some eggs, bacon, and mashed potatoes. Pouring out tea for the assembled guests, he then serves himself, and they begin to eat.
When they have finished eating, Remus looks at Harry inquisitively, while Hermione acts as though she is impatiently waiting quietly. A tension fills the air, as the questions begging to be asked seem to penetrate the air.
Trust it to Tonks, to break the air.
"So Hermione, what nose would you like to see?" she asks.
Taken somewhat aback, Hermione pauses as Ron asks, "Your skills at metamorphising are back to par?"
"Yup," Tonks says as Remus nods his head in agreement. She bows her head in concession as she admits, "Still a little rusty, but the noses I can still do easily enough... Thanks to this one deciding to give me some love in return..." she shudders momentarily. "It's not easy, the places I've gone looking for Severus... or the other aurors either..."
Remus pulls her close to him, planting a kiss on her forehead as she changes her nose into a pig's snout.
"Incongruous, but ingenious," Harry thinks to himself as Hermione and Ron slowly let out a small chuckle.
"Not amused yet, Harry," Tonks asks as she scrunches her face up, and the nose changes yet again.
This time, he lets out a small chuckle... as he replies, "Just pensive, Tonks... just pensive..."
"Harry," Ron says injudiciously. "Other than when you're dodgin' the nightmares... when haven't you been pensive this last week or so..."
Harry shoots a glare at him, which quickly turns into a frown, as Hermione lets out a small breath--caught somewhere between a panicking hiccough and a frustrated sigh.
"So Harry," Tonks says, trying to cut the edge of the conversation. "What are your plans for school this year?"
Harry looks at her and shrugs noncommittantly, while meeting her gaze evenly.
Finally, "Remus... you're the legilimense here..." Tonks rolls her eyes in frustration. "Thinking about not going back, are you Harry?"
"I suppose the better question would be, 'are the board of governors even going to be in favor of Hogwarts reopening,' but that's..."
"Not what I asked," Tonks finishes the sentence for him. "No."
Harry stands up, stares at the scars on his right hand, and then leaves the room. Upon his return, he looks shaken but as though he made up his mind on at least two points.
"To answer your question," he says slowly. "IF the school board of Governors do choose to reopen... no, I probably won't be going back for my last year."
Something about his wording strikes a cord in Remus who bends forward, his elbows resting upon the table as he looks at Harry thoughtfully--while Hermione makes a small whine in the back of her throat--and then says, "You aren't thinking of going after Severus... are you Harry?"
A muscle at the corner of Harry's eye twitches slightly, as Harry says, "Maybe I am, maybe I'm not... After what he did to Albus... Professor Dumbledore... if I ran into him again, Avada kedavra would be the least of his worries... at the same time I am Professor Dumbledore's man through and through... and he said that he could trust Snape... so I'm going to hold off on that train of thought for now... as I have bigger fish to catch..."
Remus chuckles grimly at that, earning him a frown from Hermione and Nymphadora...
"It seems as though there's a difference of opinion about your going back to school," Remus says. "Maybe you should hear what these two ladies have to say..."
"Thanks Remus," Hermione says in a hushed and hurried tone. "Harry if you want to achieve your ambition of becoming an auror--you're going to need to finish out this year, regardless of whatever else comes up! And that's if you survive..." she looks guiltily between Harry and Professor Lupin and Tonks.
"Hermione, Harry..." Remus starts to say as Tonks lays her hand on Remus' arm and stills the words.
"Are you serious about wanting to become an auror?" she asks.
"Deadly." Harry replies.
Tonks frowns at that, shakes her head, and then grins at him, "Well... if you want to pull it off Harry... you should listen to Hermione there. You will need to finish out your seventh year before going on to auror school... Would your dad have wanted anything less? Or Sirius for that matter?"
"Were they aurors?" Harry asks quietly, turning the thought over in his head.
"Yeah," Tonks replies in turn. "And apparently good ones too, despite they had only just completed their training the year you were born... but even if they hadn't of been, they both would have still wanted you to finish your schooling... so would your mum..."
"What did she do?" Harry asks, curiosity getting the better of him.
"Department of mysteries," Remus says unthinkingly. "At least up until her pregnancy... about six months before you were born, she worked for a bit in the aurors' department... and then when she went into her second pregnancy... she was transferred over to the misuse of muggle artifact office." At Tonks' glare, he shrugs in protest, claiming "I only managed to find out through tidbits of conversation I had overheard between Lily and James... some of it... I found out when Alastor assigned me to fill for James and Sirius that night Lily was taken to St. Mungo's and read James' and Sirius' case files."
Harry looks at Remus thoughtfully as he asks, "What did my mother do in the Department of Mysteries?"
"Well, from what I recall of her seventh year..." Remus says quietly. "I'd say that whatever she was involved in had something to do with ancient magic. Anything more specific, and you'd need to talk to either Professor Dumbledore..."
"Who happens to be dead," Ron says pointedly.
"Or one of the unspeakables who work for the Department..." Remus says.
"And the one Order member who might be able to help you," Tonks says quietly. "Is still in Azkaban prison, the last I heard."
"Sturgis Podmore," Hermione says in response.
Remus and Nymphadora nod in agreement.
Shaking his head as though at an irritating fly, Harry says, "So, the general thought at least as expressed by you two..." looking significantly at Hermione and Tonks. "Is that I return to school to finish out my seventh year should the board of governors decide to reopen?"
Tonks and Hermione both nod emphatically yes, while Hermione says, "And don't forget... there's also Professor Dumbledore's portrait... where you could ask..." she whispers the rest into his ear.
The deepening creases in his face at her words strike Remus with a sense of wonder and worry.
"Harry... I can understand if Professor Dumbledore requested that you keep what ever he told you in confidence between yourself and your friends..." he gestures to Hermione and Ron. "But now you're going to have to make the choice about whom to trust enough to help you get to the end... and what I can do to help, I will..."
Harry looks at him thoughtfully, and then over to Tonks.
"Dumbledore's man then?" as though giving a one time pass or fail examination.
"As of the last few weeks, I've doubted and worried," Remus says quietly. "I've been angry and frustrated at him and the general state of affairs... but I've trusted him this long... yes, I am Dumbledore's man; to his end, my end, and beyond if need be..." the implication of "and your's if you'll accept the help" ringing in Remus' mind as he stares into Harry's eyes.
He looks over to Nymphadora, and asks, "Dumbledore's man... er... woman?" he blushes as the group lets out a small chuckle.
"Yup," she says. "Since I went to Hogwarts, and now... And where Remus goes, I'll back him and you all the way."
Harry nods in silence as he sits down.
"Harry... as Number twelve is still yours," Remus says. "I think the fidelius charm has been passed on to you now as Secret Keeper. Do you still want the Order to have access to it?"
"I want a chat with Mundungus first on that count," Harry says grimly. "But otherwise I don't have a problem with it being used as Order headquarters..."
"I think we should use it as our headquarters, also," Hermione says quietly as Ron nods in agreement. Harry looks at them as if they've both lost their minds.
"When you leave for the wedding, Harry," Remus says. "Would you mind if I dropped by #12 to look around? And maybe see if I can get it into some fit organization for when you arrive..."
Harry frowns and then nods his consent.
"What were the initials that you asked me about at the funeral," Remus asks.
"R.A.B." Harry responds.
"Right, right," Remus replies, running his right hand through his hair in thought and then catching himself in mid-posture as he notices a smile flicker across Harry's face.
"Ah yes," Remus says smiling. "A Potter tradition when contemplating, or when dealing with stress..." he finishes the gesture, as he finishes, "thanks Harry."
"And now to start regaling you with some stories from when I was in school," Remus says smiling.
January 10th, 2006, 1:19 am
Author/Editor's note: The first part of the interhouse prank, Amethyst representing Ravenclaw is now going up. This part has been courteously written by Herminia, to go along with the collaborative nature of the interhouse prank. I will be following with the Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff perspectives shortly--during which time the final details of the prank will be worked out and posted. Probably mid January at the latest, probably sooner; and then it's back on track. The Slytherin and Gryffindor perspectives should be up later tomorrow evening.
Also in case anyone wonders about my use of 'Lothgar' as Luna Lovegood's father's first name; consider it author's privilege, since as far as I am aware of, her father goes unnamed in both Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix--so I thought I would use a 'loony' sounding name that plays off of his last name (Both having a hard 'L/G' sound).
To coordinate the implementation of the prank in accordance with the humour of your respective houses, we're looking to charm the hallways leading from the houses to the Great Hall into rainbow-coloured tunnels and each person... into a humorous outfit... the rest is up to your imagination... Fireworks, Dr. Filibusters' best... in the great hall at eight. Remus’ words cycle through Amethyst’s mind as she retraces her steps down the winding stairwell of the Astronomy Tower and back to the Ravenclaw Common room. Ordinarily, Amethyst was one for enjoying the Marauders’ pranks from the sidelines.
‘Ordinarily’ had gone out the window when she began dating one of their number, she observes wryly, stepping up to the gargoyle guarding the Ravenclaws’ quarters and giving it the password, “Tomfoolery.”
To her great displeasure, someone was waiting for her in the Ravenclaw Common room, drumming her highly-lacquered nails on the mahogany mantelpiece while her acid-green quill scratched away at a Potions assignment without interference from its mistress.
“Amethyst, Amethyst, Amethyst.” Rita Skeeter pulls out a hand mirror and examines her flawless reflection, complete with rigidly-set blonde curls, in it. “Back from a late-night rendezvous with one Remus Lupin, I presume? You two could be the talk of the school this time tomorrow…if I could just have a few words with you – your side of the story would be treat…” she drawls.
“If you call that journalism, Rita,” Amethyst says coolly, “I have a hard time imagining you’ll be able to scrounge up much of a job with The Daily Prophet.”
Rita overlooks the jab: “Romance on the sly. I’ve heard things about this boyfriend of yours...why, if that sad Lovegood chap got wind of half the things I’ve heard, well,” she sniffs daintily, “suffice it to say that I’d hate to see the write-up. But one does wonder…”
“Good night, Rita,” Amethyst says firmly, undoing the buttons on her blouse and snaps on her school robe as she takes the stairs to the Fourth year girls’ dormitory—where neither Rita (a Sixth year), nor Lothgar Lovegood, can follow her.
However, she couldn’t easily shake the questions that kept stirring in her mind concerning Remus Lupin. There was something about him that Amethyst couldn’t quite put her finger on, but she was not the type to scout around for answers behind his back. She wasn’t willing to gamble Remus’ trust by rooting around for some possibly non-existent secret. With a final reminder that Rita had always enjoyed her gossip far too much and that she was a fool to put any stock in anything that came out of the vile girl’s mouth, Amethyst tucks the bedcovers over her head and drifts off to sleep.
The three days until the prank will pass soon enough and when eight o’ clock rolls around, Amethyst knows that Rita Skeeter will have real news to report.
January 11th, 2006, 5:25 am
As Regulus makes his way back down the staircase, his thoughts race as he contemplated Lupin's instructions. On the one hand, he knew this was going to be fun... he had wanted to partake in one of his older brother's pranks for a while; rather than be the occassional victim of them. And now he got his wish--and yet, he knew that making this run smoothly and enjoyably was not going to be part of Severus' expectations or desires.
Frowning, he feels a piece of chalk strike the back of his head.
"Ah ickle Slythie running fast," Peeves calls out in a sing-song voice. "Through the corridor of the past, though towards his hole he goes, slippy slidy all the way."
"Stow it Peeves," Regulus growls. "Forget the Baron... I'll deal with you myself if you don't shut up."
"Oh," Peeves coos, and laughs maniacally. "Peevsie is sooo scared of the ickle Slythie... Not Malfoy are you... he left this past summer. Too well filled out to be Snivellus... Not Avery... and too intelligent to be MacNair... which one are you? Peeves knows..."
"Peeves, you're more of an idiot than I anticipated if you plan on naming every male in Slytherin house just to figure out who I am," Regulus laughs. Turning his back on the poltergeist, he strides away down the darkened corridor, disappearing as recognition dawns upon the ghost.
"Good evening Baron," Regulus says as he descends the staircase into the Slytherin common room. "Another eventful night of hunting unicorns?"
The baleful ghoul of Slytherin stares at Regulus as he says in response, "And you young Black, was your nightime soujourn to your expectations?"
"I'll find out," Regulus replies, and then almost as though asking a question to which he knew the answer. "Mother's side, twenty generations am I correct?"
The ghost lets a ghost of a smile slip across his grim lips as he nods in agreement.
"You know your family well," the Baron says.
"Not as well as Sirius does," Regulus muses. "But then everything he does, incenses mum and dad severely... and then when it comes time for me to show my own strengths, it's always, 'oh but Sirius did this so much better,' or 'try it that way, Sirius did...' for as much as they hate his guts, why can't they distinguish the two of us apart?"
"Criticizing your family young Black?" the Baron asks, his glower deeper and darker than ever. After all, respectable pureblood wizards and witches never spoke ill of their elders. Even if one of those elders--the older brother in particular--happened to be in Gryffindor.
Matching glower for glower, Regulus looks the Baron in the eye and says, "Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. That's none of your d*mn business Baron. If anything, I wish more than anything that we could be a bit better behaved towards each other--Sirius, mum, Dad, and myself. And I wish Dad would stop drinking..." going silent, he turns his back on the ghost and makes his way towards the dormitories.
"Ah Regulus," Severus says as the other comes in to the older boy's dorm. "What news?"
Severus purses his fingers into a steeple-shape as he reflects upon Regulus' report.
When Regulus finishes, Severus smiles as he says, "Ah, ever the dutiful brother. Your parents must be so proud."
Keeping his masque of occlumency in place, Regulus frowns at Severus, and then says, "What are your suggestions?"
February 7th, 2006, 8:17 pm
When it comes to finding obscure spells and charms; the Hogwarts Library is usually the best place to look after Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. It wasn't often that a student would pass up a Hogsmeade weekend to study; but that is what Kingsley decided was needed for his part in the prank.
He chuckles to himself as he looks over the stacks of books piled high on the table.
"That should take me all day to get through," he says quietly, though out loud. He moves back to the shelves as Madam Pince comes over and hisses, "You've already got all of the charms and transifguration books NOT located in the restricted section, Mr. Shacklebolt..."
Smiling at the librarian, while a sigh escapes his lips, he sits down and begins reading. After several hours pass, his wand hand moving in time to various spells and charms; a large grin spreads across his face.
"Oi Kings!" comes the low, booming voice of the Hufflepuff Keeper. "Whatcha doin' in the library mate?"
"Homework, of sorts," Kingsley says quietly. "And when I'm done the prep for charms and transfiguration; I'm going to research some new moves for our game against Gryffindor next week. Don't want to let James down ya know?"
The keeper laughs, as he replies, "You versus the great James Potter, that will be a match up for the ages..."
"Yeah," Kingsley agrees modestly. "Even Sirius thinks I'm alright."
"Now THAT is a complement," the Keeper agrees. Bending over the books, he lets out a whistle. "Man Kingsley, prepping for NEWTs are we? That's some serious charms and transfiguration work ya got going for you."
"Never hurts to be prepared man," Kingsley grins. "Besides you know Prof. Mcgonagal... if you aren't exceeding NEWT level in third year, you aren't living up to your potential. Bloody hell, she'd probably give us extra points if we all became animagi like she is."
"You think so?" the keeper says quietly in amusement.
"Not really," Kingsley admits. "At least on the animagi part. A guy can dream though can't he?"
They look up as James saunters into the library.
"Why isn't he in Hogsmeade?" the keeper asks.
"Why don't we ask?" Kingsley suggests.
"Oi James!" Kingsley says, drawing a reproving glare from the Librarian. "Why aren't you in Hogsmeade?"
"Detention with Sirius," James replies calmly. "For skivving off transfiguration... although the reasoning behind it..."
"Your parents right?"
"Yeah," James says quietly. "We're still trying to figure out how that became public..."
"I wouldn't put it past any of the Slytherins, that Snape seemed pretty close to Malfoy, for the year or two Lucius had left," Kingsley says quietly. It was well known to the school that upon noticing Severus' skills in the dark arts when Severus began his first year, the sixth year Lucius Malfoy had taken the boy under his wing.
James looks thoughtful for a moment, the cogs in his brain turning over the information.
"Snivellus," he says finally. "And Malfoy... Doesn't Abraxus work in the ministry?" the question phrased more rhetorically, than any desire for an actual answer. A smile replays the grim expression on his face, his hazel eyes dancing in good humour. "Now to figure out how Severus was able to pass that on to Lucius... anyways, I have some potions homework to do for Slughorn before I get started on my detention... I'll see you guys at the game."
With that, James strides off, as the sound of beating wings reverbrates over to the table.
The two Hufflepuffs look at each other and grin.
"Remind me again why James is chaser and not seeker?" the keeper says to Kingsley.
"Probably because that would be too obvious," Kingsley admits. "At least this way, the other house teams get an equal chance of catching the snitch--with James as Seeker, I don't think we'd ever stand a chance against Gryffindor. He treats the quaffle like the snitch... At least that gives me the excuse to continually improve my game. How to get the quaffle from James Potter."
The two laugh, and Kingsley returns to his research, while the keeper heads off in other directions.
At Hogsmeade, Remus and Amethyst are looking through books along with Sirius...
March 29th, 2006, 5:01 am
Pop up post... I have several items planned--and will go through with them as scheduled... just taking a bit of time.
September 28th, 2006, 1:31 am
pop up post