The Map Makers:A Tale of the Marauders
Hello All! It's your favorite SIN here. Well i've decided to work on a new project along with my other Fan Fic, Voldemort and the Dark Knight. Well here goese chapter one. Hope ya like it!!! BTW, there will be a few chapters dedicated to each Marauder, and finnaly it all comes together
Chapter One Prologue
In the middle of the moors, there was a small wood. In the middle of that wood, there was a clearing. And on the edge of the clearing stood a house.
This house was not a house like any other house. In fact, it wasn't really a house. It was a cottage - but no ordinary cottage. It looked like something out of a fairy tale: A crooked, two-storied building made up of white bricks, with faded red shutters on its windows and almost as many chimney pots perched higgledy-piggledy on its thatched roof as there were flowerpots stacked in the tumble-down greenhouse.
The people that lived behind the little red door in the overgrown front garden, where a tabby cat lay sunning itself among the rose bushes, were not what most people would call 'ordinary' either. Instead of bicycles, they kept bristly broomsticks in the cellar for Sunday outings. They had no central heating, but a merry fire in the living room warmed the whole house. They had no telephone, but a pot of some strange powder stood on the mantelpiece. In the kitchen, the washing-up brush was scrubbing away at the pots and pans all by itself. A feather duster was dancing along among the many strange ornaments on the shelves, and a violin floated in the corner of the room, playing by itself.
This was because the owners of this cottage were the Lupins, and the Lupins were anything but ordinary people. They belonged to a hidden world of magic and mystery. Mr. John Lupin - a tall and handsome young man with black hair and clear blue eyes - was a wizard, and worked for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry of Magic. His wife, Faith Lupin, had wide brown eyes and light-brown hair, which she was at this moment stroking back over her shoulder to pick up their son Remus, aged three, who had his mother's eyes and hair colour.
"Say good night to Daddy," said Faith Lupin.
"Night, Daddy," said little Remus.
"Good night, son," said John, ruffling the boy's hair before sitting down in an old armchair and picking up his newspaper, the front page of which showed a moving picture of several people on broomsticks under the headline Wimbourne Wasps Win Once More - Seeker Sneaker Snatches Snitch.
His wife took the boy to bed and returned, smiling.
"I had to let him sleep in our bed, John," she said quietly, sitting down opposite her husband.
"Oh?" He looked up from the Daily Prophet. "He's not still on about last night, is he?"
"He had a bad dream," said his wife defensively. "About a monster coming for him in the dark. Honestly, John, I've never seen him so frightened."
John smiled at his wife's anxious expression.
"All right, dear. But I'm not having him in with us tomorrow night. He's got to learn ... What?"
He broke off, seeing the grin on his wife's face.
"I was just remembering who it was who went and brought him over to our room last night," she replied slyly.
John grinned back. Faith sighed.
"I'm going to miss you both this weekend," she said.
"You could come with us."
"You know I can't. I promised your mother ages ago that I would help her organise the Witches' Weekly summer fête. I can't turn round and say I'm not going, not now."
John laid aside his newspaper. "Poor Faith. My mother does make you suffer, doesn't she?" He smiled. "You paid a high price when you married me."
Faith smiled back warmly. "No price is too high for the best man in the world. Not even arranging bazaars for middle-aged witches and long- suffering local celebrities while you and my dear brother go off hiking with little Remus."
John got up and came over to kiss her on the forehead.
Well there ya go...more will follow! Good DaY! Cheerio mate
Last edited by FivePointSin; December 22nd, 2003 at 7:39 am.
Chapter 2 A Hike on the Moors
So it was that, come Saturday, Faith was tying red woollen hat strings under her son's chin, dressed in her best maroon robes.
"Now you will look after him, won't you?" she said for the umpteenth time, looking anxiously at John and her brother. Aged thirty-one, Malcolm Marley was as tall as John, though broader shouldered and more muscular. His hair was the same shade of light-brown as his sister's, his face clean-shaven and roguishly attractive.
"Of course we will," said John.
Faith looked uncertain. "I do hope I've remembered to pack everything for you. You've got the sausages, and the bacon, and the sauce?"
"In the hamper," said Malcolm, his brown eyes sparkling.
"And the tent?"
"Outside with our brooms," John replied.
"And the magical mess remover?"
"In my rucksack."
"And Remus's spare trousers?"
"In the hamper with the sausages, bacon and sauce," Malcolm grinned.
Faith frowned at her brother.
"It's all right," John assured her. "We'll be fine. We're not going for ages, anyway. It's only for one night . and you're going to be late, if you don't hurry."
Faith looked uncertainly from one to the other of them, and shrugged. "Oh well, I expect you're right."
She kissed Remus on the cheek. "Be a good boy for daddy, won't you?"
Malcolm rose from his chair and gave his sister an affectionate hug. "He'll be fine. We'll look after him."
Faith's frown deepened.
"Goodbye, dear," said John, kissing her gently.
She smiled then and finally turned to go. Taking a hand full of floo powder from the pot by the mantelpiece, she stepped into the fireplace and, taking a deep sigh, she cast the powder to the floor and said, "Diagon Alley". The very next instant, she was gone.
John felt a familiar sadness at seeing her leave. But then he looked at his young son, and his mood brightened. This weekend would be fun. There would be just the three of them - a boys' outing.
* * *
After several hours of floating across the moors on their broomsticks, John and Malcolm decided it was growing too dark to continue. They set up the tent with the wave of a wand and lit a fire in the same way to fry their sausages and keep them warm. A full moon was shining and the moors were unusually bright for such a late hour. It was gone eleven by the time little Remus finally lay tucked up in the tent and the two adults sat back down outside. John sank down onto a log and opened a bottle of butterbeer.
"Little tyke asleep at last?" Malcolm asked.
"Yes. Our outing got him rather wound up, and I think he's still frightened about this dream he had recently."
"Dream?" Malcolm looked up from his plate, now holding the remains of his eighth sausage and sixth rasher of bacon.
"He woke up crying the other night, saying he'd dreamt about some monster coming to get him." John grinned. "At least that's how your sister interprets his babbling."
Malcolm laughed and took a long draught of butterbeer. Then he almost dropped it and his plate. A howl rent the night. John sprang to his feet, his face as pale as the moon above.
"What the hell was that?" Malcolm exclaimed.
"Shhh!" John hissed.
They waited in silence for another sound. Before long, they heard the blood- curdling sounds of a wild beast, a monster, and of another creature, probably a helpless moor pony. Judging from the sound, the beast was attacking the pony. They heard its final whinny before silence fell . and then another long, lonely howl followed.
"Quick," John urged, "pack the bags. Only the important things. Leave anything we don't need."
Malcolm came out of his momentary stupor and hurried to help John pack all their things together, not caring what a mess they made. John chucked the tea water on the fire, dousing the flames and hoping that the monster would not be able to find them so quickly without it. He was about to pick up the last of the bags and hitch it over the front of his broomstick when they heard the ripping of canvas. Malcolm froze.
"Remus!" John yelled.
He flew into the tent, Malcolm at his heels, and found a huge wolf-like creature bending over his son. It raised its shaggy head as they entered and snarled.
"Oh my god! It's a werewolf!" Malcolm screamed.
John didn't answer. He was staring at the unmoving shape of his son on the floor at the monster's paws. Whether he was alive or dead, he couldn't tell. But his left side was a sticky red, and there was a pool of blood on the floor beside him. Heedless of the danger, he charged forward and grabbed the boy, before the werewolf quite knew what was happening, while Malcolm drew his wand and used a spell to send sparks flying at the beast. It growled deep in its throat, and John heard it behind him as he raced out through the flap. He laid Remus down by the fire, and cursed his own wits for having doused it so hastily. He hated the thought of leaving his son lying there right now, but the continuing shouts and growls, the snapping and ripping from inside the tent made him take out his wand instead and rush back in. Malcolm had backed against the canvas and was gripping his wand frantically. Without hesitation, John raised his own wand and pointed it straight at the werewolf's back.
Flames sprang up along the creature's back, and it writhed and turned to try and shake them off, howling and setting the sheets and the canvas on fire in the process. Malcolm and John watched it warily. Finally, still howling in pain, the werewolf bolted through the hole in the back of the tent and vanished into the night. The two men fled from the burning tent and returned to where John had left Remus. But even as they drew close, the little boy, still lying unconscious on the ground, began to change before their very eyes. His face became elongated. Fur grew on his bloodstained hands. He had been bitten . and within moments, in his place lay a smaller version of the monster they had just chased away. John approached him slowly and dropped to his knees.
"No," he whispered, his trembling hand hovering over the limp shape. He made to pick him up, but Malcolm grabbed his shoulders and pulled him to his feet.
"No, John. Don't touch him. If he wakes up, he'll turn on you."
John was shaking his head desperately.
"No. No, this can't be true. It can't have happened."
He fought Malcolm, who had to hold John with all his strength to stop him returning to Remus's side.
"Remus!" John cried, pulling free at last. He stopped a few paces away from his son and stared from him up at the moon. "No!" he screamed. "Noooo!"
Chapter 3 Father and Son
Eight-year-old Remus Lupin sat with his back to a tree trunk, listening to the slow trickling of a small woodland stream and the twittering of the birds in the branches above. The setting sun shone through among the leaves, casting a green light on the boy's light brown head and on the thick pages of the book in his hands. He paused to stroke a rebellious strand of hair out of his eyes and turn the page. Somewhere in the deep forest a woodpecker was hammering at intervals.
Remus's brow was furrowed. This book was hard reading, even for a hungry young bookworm like him. Oh, he wasn't one of those pale, indoor boys who spent all day with their noses glued to the pages of some boring old story. No, Remus was as keen to be out of doors and climb trees, to build dams in woodland streams and design tree houses as any other healthy boy his age, and did so sometimes with his mother. But that wasn't the same as having a boy his own age to play with. The nearest he ever got to that was when Uncle Malcolm came to visit - Mum always said he behaved just like an overgrown child. But Remus didn't mind that. He liked Uncle Malcolm, in fact he sometimes wished his dad was more like that. But Dad was so close and quiet always. So Remus went outdoors alone, roving through the woods until he reached this spot, some fifteen minutes' walk from the house, where he would then settle down with a book, either leaning against the tree trunk, or up amongst the branches, where two of them created a fork that you could sit in quite safely, without falling off even if you dozed for a while.
Usually he would read an adventure story, but today Remus had sneaked something from his father's bookshelf, a heavy old volume with pages and pages of thick parchment, entitled A Study on Werewolves. Dad had many books with titles like that. He would often spend hours and hours poring over them, until Mum reproached him gently and reminded him that Remus wanted playing with. Then he would kiss her, and lay his book aside reluctantly. He would come to find Remus, and they would play together - quiet games. There was hardly ever any laughter to be got out of Dad. The rare occasions when he even smiled were when, reading in one of his many books, in papers like Medical Magic Monthly or on the wireless, John Lupin read or heard of yet another possible cure for his young son's complaint. They had tried many such miracle cures over the years, but they had all led to nothing. Yet John Lupin - and Faith, too, though she made a better job of concealing her concern - had still not accepted that Remus was destined to be a werewolf to the end of his days. Faith had tried to explain to her son, when they had returned from the most recent ineffective treatment that had robbed them of much of their savings and even more of their nerves, that his father's obsession with finding a cure for him was because he felt Remus's predicament to be his fault. Remus had not understood that. How could it be his father's fault that he was what he was? No. The way Remus saw it, his father was simply ashamed of what he was. After all, he always made such a fuss about people not finding out what had happened to his son. Yes, that was it. He was ashamed. And Remus couldn't bear his father to be ashamed of him.
So Remus had decided that he must be cured, convinced that it was the only way to win his father's true affection. And to find a cure for himself, he must read the books his father had read, to get an insight into the matter and hope against hope that he would spot some release that his father had missed.
But it was hard work for a child of his age. And the hour was growing late, which meant the moon would soon be coming out. Remus feared the moon. It made him shiver just to look at it. And tonight it would be a full moon, and that meant the now familiar though still unbearable pain. He sighed and looked up at the darkening sky. Yes, it was almost time. He bent forward and dug with his small fingers among the roots of the old tree, bringing a metal-bound chest to light. He opened it and carefully laid the book inside, then he closed and locked the chest. The last thing he wanted was to accidentally tear up Dad's book. When he had reburied the chest, Remus stood up and looked around him, taking in the peace of this place that he loved so much. Right now, Mum would be locking up for the night, as she did every month. The woods were as safe a place as any for Remus when he transformed. They were lonely and deserted. No one lived there but his parents, and they knew what precautions to take.
It was growing dark. Remus felt a burning sensation in his eyes. No, he would not cry. He knew it would hurt, as it always did, but that was just his lot, and it was no use weeping over it. He brushed a speck of dirt off his worn trousers and waited. Not long now.
* * *
The next morning dawned bright and warm. Faith Lupin flung open the front door and hurried out onto the path, expecting her son Remus to come running to her as he always did on the mornings following his transformations. But he didn't come.
"Hiding, probably," she thought to herself, and smiled.
"All right, Remus!" she called out loud. "Don't come out of your hiding place. I'll give your breakfast to the cat then, shall I?"
There was no answer. Where had that boy got to? Frowning slightly, but still unconcerned, she walked further into the woods.
"Remus!" she called. "Come on, love, your cocoa's getting cold!"
Still no reply. Shrugging her shoulders, she turned back towards the house. Remus had probably just buried his nose a little too deeply in one of his books again. He'd be along when his stomach called. Boys!
She stepped back into the house and found John standing in the kitchen. He looked bewildered about something.
"What is it?" she asked casually.
"Have you seen Buttons this morning?"
"No. Why, isn't he under the table as usual?"
She pulled the cat's usual chair out, but there was no cat there. Puzzled, she looked under the kitchen table, checking all the chairs.
"That's strange," she said at last. "He always sleeps there. Malcolm was complaining only the other day about that time when he pulled the chair out and sat on the cat. He claims he's still got the scars ."
John looked around the house, but there was no sign of the cat anywhere. He returned to the kitchen, where his wife was still staring at the empty kitchen chair.
"No sign of him," he said. "Oh well, he'll come when he's hungry. What's the matter?" he added, seeing the distressed look on her face.
"I couldn't find Remus, John," she said.
"He didn't come when I called him." She turned to face him, and the rims of her eyes looked reddened. "John . you don't suppose ."
John stared, but thought long and hard before he spoke. "I'll find him," he said at last.
* * *
Remus climbed up the tree trunk and hid among the foliage. He had heard his mother call him, but been unable to go to her. He found the safe spot between the two forked branches and sat there, pulling his legs up in front of him and wrapping his arms around them miserably. His shirt was torn in several places and his eyes were red and swollen. There were damp patches on his cheeks. He peered nervously through the leaves to the ground below and, shuddering, closed his eyes quickly. There were still patches of blood and fur down there, all around his chest. Remus was miserable, more miserable than he could ever remember having been. With his eyes closed, he sobbed silently to himself for what felt like an age. Suddenly he heard a noise. Someone was coming through the undergrowth, walking on last autumn's dry leaves.
"Remus!" his father's voice called. He sounded quite near.
Remus scrambled up among the branches and lay flat on his belly. From this position, he could see his father come through among the trees below and stop close to the spot where . Remus swallowed hard. Below, John Lupin looked around him.
"Remus!" he called again. "Come on out. Remus?"
He broke off as his eye fell on the sticky brown patches in the grass. Bending down, he picked up a tuft of soft, long brown fur. Clinging to his branch high above, Remus trembled. His father was examining the fur.
"Good god," he muttered under his breath. He crouched down and examined the ground. He found an area of loose soil and scraped it aside with his hands, revealing a small chest with a metal lock and key. The initials R. J. L. had been scrawled on the lid in a childish hand. Slowly, John Lupin turned the key and began to raise the lid. But then he seemed to think better of it, and closing the lid, he relocked the chest and replaced it in its hole. He stood, looking around more urgently now.
"Remus! If you can hear me, come out, please!"
His voice was trembling, and he paced around the small clearing, crossing and re-crossing the stream. Finally, he stopped under the very tree in which Remus was perched and ran both hands through his hair. Remus caught just a brief glimpse of his father's face - it looked strangely worn and feverish, the eyes heavy and the cheeks hollow. Remus had never realised how anxious his father looked these days, until now. The boy gave an involuntary gasp. John Lupin looked up into the leaves, shielding his eyes from the rays of sunlight that penetrated the foliage with his hand.
"Remus?" he called.
"G-go away," the child stammered.
"Remus!" his father exclaimed, relieved. "What are you doing up there? You had us worried. Come on down, now."
"I can't come down," Remus mumbled. "Y-you'll only be cross with me."
"Don't be silly, Remus. Why should I be cross with you?"
The poor boy started to sob, and the branch he lay on shook so violently that John was quite alarmed.
"Remus, come down from there, before you fall."
"N-no," Remus sobbed. "I won't. I can't. I . I did something really bad last night, and I ... I ."
He burst into tears again. John looked up helplessly, then began examining the trunk. He found a few good holds and began climbing up slowly, cautiously.
"No!" Remus yelled when he realised what his father was doing. "Don't come up, don't come near me!"
He tried to get higher up among the branches himself, but he was already so high there was nowhere to go. And then his father reached the spot where the two branches forked.
"Remus," he said, and his voice was much softer than the boy had ever heard it. "Don't run away from me. Whatever's happened, it can't be as bad as all that. Come here."
"No. Y-you don't know what . what happened last night."
John looked down at the patches on the ground below. "I can guess."
Remus looked at his father then. He sat there, in his best work robes, perched among the leaves, with twigs sticking in his arms and legs from all angles, his blue eyes fixed on his son, and there was none of the anger there that Remus had expected to see, no reproach.
"Y-you'll hate me," Remus said slowly. "I know you will. I know y-you're ashamed of me anyway, and you . you hate me. You hate me for being a - a werewolf."
"Ashamed of you?" John looked truly upset. "Hate you? Is that what you think of me?"
He looked away. "My god, what have I done?" he sighed, raising one hand and burying his face in it. "How did this happen? Why? Why?"
Remus stopped sobbing with shock and stared at his father. His broad, strong shoulders were trembling, he looked lost and . and so very hurt. Slowly, the boy crept back down the branches, towards his father. He put out a trembling hand and touched his shoulder.
"Dad?" he whispered.
John turned towards him so suddenly that Remus nearly fell out of the tree.
"I was never ashamed of you, Remus," he said with a tremor. "Ashamed? Quite the contrary. I'm proud of you."
He gave a sad smile.
"I'll wager there aren't many kids your age who could go through what you've had to put up with these past five years and come through it none the worse in their nature and heart."
His smile broadened at the bewildered expression on Remus's young face.
"Hate you?" he went on. "I could never hate you, my boy. And I'm sorry if I created that impression. I know I haven't behaved well towards you. I've been too obsessed with finding a cure for you, perhaps, to do what really matters - to show you that whatever happens, whatever you are - I love you, son."
Tears started back into Remus's eyes, and suddenly he found himself in his father's arms, in the warmest embrace he had had from him in over five years.
"I love you too, Dad," he whispered. "I'm so sorry I upset you."
"It's all right," John laughed, stroking his back, and Remus leaned back to see that a change had come over his father's tired face. He looked much younger, somehow, and much friendlier.
"Come," his father said at last, "let's get back to your mother. She'll be worrying about you."
Chapter 4 The Young Scholar
Remus Lupin looked at himself in the tall mirror in his parents' bedroom. Like most things they owned these days, it was slightly cracked and worse for wear. What little money the Lupins had once had was gone, wasted on useless attempts at curing their son of being a werewolf. Remus smoothed out the new black robes his mother had sewn for him in the traditional Muggle manner she had learnt as a girl, using an old set of his father's. He ran a hand through his fringe, trying to smooth away a strand of light brown hair that would insist on falling into his eyes, no matter what he did. The sunlight streaming in through the window warmed the side of his face and caught a flicker of silver in his hair. The first of these grey hairs had appeared about a year ago, when he was ten. He had tugged it out quickly, before anyone spotted it. But another had grown in its place, and another, until by the age of eleven, he now had several such silvery strands. His mother had seemed concerned when she had first spotted them, but his father had said with a smile that he thought they suited him, and his mother had agreed quickly, and now indeed seemed to have grown quite used to them. Remus was glad. He didn't really mind them himself, and tugging them out was always so painful. He could use a Severing Charm, but that didn't last long enough. They grew back. Still, he was glad he hadn't grown any fresh strands like that for some time. He didn't want to end up completely grey-haired by the time he was twelve.
He sighed, gazing at his reflection.
"You look smart today, dear," the mirror said.
Remus frowned. A skinny, sickly-looking boy he thought he looked, though his mother frequently assured him there was no boy as handsome as him in the whole wide world. Personally, Remus thought it was just his mother's fondness for him that made her blind to his faults - he even suspected her of having bewitched or persuaded the mirror to offer such encouraging remarks. Though it was true he didn't usually look as bad as this, but he had had a rough night under the full moon two nights ago.
He left the bedroom and made his way slowly down the rickety old staircase, wondering secretly why his parents had insisted he should put on his best robes and manners today - and spend the day indoors. That last was a nuisance. He had planned to go to his favourite spot again today. He had a new - well, second-hand - book on ancient runes in his 'treasure chest', and was dying to learn more about them.
Remus was only halfway down the stairs when there was a knock at the front door. He heard the rustle of his father's newspaper as he laid it aside, and heard his mother's light footfall echoing through the hallway as she went to open the door. From his place on the stairs, Remus could see the bright sunlight stream in through the doorway, though he was half hidden from view himself, and stared in wonder at the strange man who now entered their little cottage.
He was tall and thin. Dressed from head to foot in long elegant robes of deep mauve, on his head was perched a tall wizard's hat that forced him to bend low in order to walk through the door. His hair and beard were long and white, but what most fascinated Remus were his eyes. Small and blue, they sparkled behind a pair of spectacles shaped like two half moons. They were bright eyes, and friendly, yet the boy at once felt that they were also very shrewd eyes, eyes that could 'see through' you in some way. He had the strangest feeling that even now, though he was still half hidden by the wall, those eyes were in some way penetrating him.
So this was Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Oh yes, Remus recognised him at once. His father often brought him home some chocolate frogs, though Remus could never bring himself to stuff the squirming, squiggling bits of chocolate in his mouth and bite them. But he did like to collect the cards. He had at least four Dumbledores in his treasure chest, but none of them had eyes quite like the real thing. He almost feared coming directly under their gaze, yet at the same time he felt curiously drawn towards them, as though he longed to trust the person behind them with all his innermost secrets.
"It's very good of you to come, Professor," Faith Lupin was saying.
"Not at all," said the professor in a soft, kindly voice. He sniffed the air. "Your cooking is always worth a visit, Faith."
Remus's mother laughed. "Thank you, sir. Though I'm afraid that praise is due more to my excellent pots than to my humble skills."
She led Professor Dumbledore through into the living room, and Remus heard his father's voice join the other two. He sneaked down the stairs, avoiding the creaking step, and crept quietly up to the half closed door. His parents and Professor Dumbledore were talking. It seemed quite casual talk, all about the Ministry's latest feats on international magical co- operation, the most recent game of the Wimbourne Wasps and the outrageous new witches' fashion of wearing knee-length robes.
"So," Professor Dumbledore said finally, when there was a lull in the conversation, "how is your son getting on?"
"Oh, he's doing really well," Faith said. "Would you like to meet him?"
"That is why I came," Dumbledore said simply.
Remus felt a rush of warm blood in his face. At the same time, he heard the familiar creak that meant his mother had just got up from the arm of Dad's chair.
"I'll go and call him," she said.
This was it. Remus would have to be quick, or he'd be discovered. He tiptoed back across the hall, then walked back normally to the door and knocked.
"Ah, here he is," his father said, seeming surprised to see his son's head pop round the corner right on call.
Remus stepped nervously into the room, and at once felt the appraising stare of those pale blue eyes as they studied him over the rim of Professor Dumbledore's half moon glasses.
His mother came over and, laying a hand on his shoulder, led him towards the headmaster.
"This is Professor Dumbledore, Remus."
"I know," he blurted out. "Er. I mean, it's an honour, sir."
Apparently completing his scrutiny, the old wizard smiled at Remus.
"Well, young man. I have long been eager to make your acquaintance, you know."
Remus was puzzled, and it must have shown in his face, for Dumbledore chuckled.
"Oh yes, I have heard a lot about you, from your father for one. Very proud of you, your father is."
Out of the corner of his eye, Remus thought he could see Dad go slightly red at these words. Dumbledore went on.
"I hear you're something of a young scholar, Remus Lupin. Never far from a book or two, so I've been told. And not just simple children's literature, either. School books, many of them."
"I read some school books, yes, sir," Remus replied. "But not all of them. I tried a Potions book once, but that was ." He broke off, embarrassed.
"Rather boring, I suppose," Dumbledore guessed. Then he smiled again. "Never mind, Remus. We can't all be interested in the same things. Which subjects do you prefer?"
"I like ancient runes, and history of magic, and defence against the dark arts. I tried reading A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration once, but that was hard to follow without being able to try the actual spells."
Albus Dumbledore nodded approvingly, and Remus found that he was suddenly much less nervous of the professor. As long as he kept on familiar ground, things that he knew - his books - he couldn't embarrass himself or his parents too much.
"And have you thought what you will be doing with yourself this coming year?" Professor Dumbledore asked.
"Well, er . I got my wand last year, and I've already been doing some basic spells with it. Mum said she'll try and teach me some more, the kind I'd learn if I were going to wizard school. Of course, I'll never be as good as your students at Hogwarts, sir."
"Ah, you've heard about Hogwarts, have you? And what do you think of it?"
"I think it the best wizard school in the world, Professor," Remus said enthusiastically. "I mean, both my parents went there, and if I'd been a normal boy I'd have wanted to go there too, but of course I can't. I've read some of the books used there, and Hogwarts - A History, though."
"Really?" Dumbledore chuckled once more. "Then you have done more than many a seventh-year Hogwarts student ever did, I dare say. Very well. Thank you, Remus, for showing me a little of what is in your mind. We will talk again, perhaps - later."
Surprised, Remus took this as a dismissal, and set out to find his chest, and the book he had tucked away inside it.
* * *
The sun was high up in the sky and Remus was engrossed in his book, the world around him forgotten. His best robes were dusty with pollen and dry earth, and his brow was furrowed. He turned a thick page, then flicked back again. He turned the book, and let out an exclamation. Ah, so that was it. He had failed to see the connection before, but now all was crystal clear. This was a good book. It explained everything so well, and it was so fascinating. So fascinating, in fact, that he didn't hear anyone approach until a shadow fell on the page. He looked up with a start and found Professor Dumbledore looking down at him.
"Ah," he said, "so this is where you bury yourself with your books, is it?"
"I like to read here," Remus said, starting to get to his feet.
Dumbledore waved him back, and sat on a tree stump beside him.
"I have been talking to your parents about your future, Remus."
"Oh?" Remus replied politely, closing his book.
"Yes. They seem to think that it is a great burden for you that you must face the prospect of never going to a proper school and learning more than basic magic. Is that so?"
Remus thought for a moment. "I suppose so. I am eager to learn. But I know it would be too dangerous for me to mix with the other students. It wouldn't be safe for them. It's bad luck, but I have to make the best of it."
"You have an unusually gentle disposition for someone circumstanced as you are. Most boys would be bitter and angry. But then, you have your parents to bear it with you, and they love you very much."
"I know," Remus said earnestly. "And I love them."
Dumbledore smiled. "You seem to me to be both a very patient and an intelligent boy, Remus. It would be a pity to let your talent go to waste. So I have spoken to your parents, and we have come to an agreement. I have told them that I will make arrangements. We will make use of an old house that stands empty now in Hogsmeade. There you shall spend the night of the full moon each month. I have already sent an owl to our Transfiguration teacher, Professor McGonagall, who I am making my deputy headmistress this year, instructing her to begin preparations. A tunnel will be dug, leading from the grounds of the school to the house. Our Herbology teacher, Professor Sprout, has recently acquired a very rare seedling: a Whomping Willow. This we will plant over the entrance to the tunnel, to ensure that no one comes across you by chance while you are in your transformed state. If we take all these precautions, there should be no danger in your coming to Hogwarts."
Remus laughed dryly. "You're joking."
"No, I am not," Dumbledore replied.
Remus's mouth dropped open. "H-Hogwarts?" he stammered. "Me? Go to Hogwarts? But ."
"Do you approve of the plan?"
Remus jumped to his feet, half laughing and half crying. "Approve? This is . it's ."
Lost for words, he looked down at the headmaster, now smiling up at him from his seat on the tree stump.
"Thank you, Professor," Remus choked. "I won't let you down, sir."
Chapter 5 Journey to Hogwarts
Remus Lupin wished his stomach would calm down. It felt like a hundred butterflies were dancing a jig in there, and there was a strange knotted feeling in his throat. He was going to Hogwarts! He didn't know whether to sing for joy or faint from nervousness. His mother stood beside him, and she looked very much on edge.
"Oh dear, I do hope I've remembered to pack everything you'll need. If there's anything else you find you need when you get there, you must promise to let me know, won't you?"
At that moment, his father came back from where he had been speaking to a porter. He smiled at his wife and son.
"Look, Remus," he said, "there she is."
Remus shot a nervous glance at the big red steam engine as it puffed into the station. The Hogwarts Express. He swallowed hard. It was magnificent, much better even than he had imagined it. He still couldn't quite believe it was real, though. It was the 31st of August, and he, eleven-year-old Remus J. Lupin, was travelling to Hogwarts today. All the other students would be arriving tomorrow, of course, but tomorrow night there would be a full moon, so it had been arranged that he would go a day early. He heard his mother sigh deeply.
She smiled down at him, though her eyes were damp.
"Well, Remus. It's time."
Remus nodded tightly and looked at her. He had so often dreamt of going to Hogwarts, had longed to go away and meet new people, other boys his age, to study and learn . but now that it came to it, and he saw his mother and father standing there, half full of happiness for him, half aching to see him go, he found a horrible fear creeping into his heart. His mother kissed his cheek, and his father lifted his trunk and cauldron and carried them towards the train. Remus followed slowly, but just as he was about to get on, his footsteps faltered. He stopped, and ran wildly back into his mother's arms, tears running down his face.
"I can't do it, Mum," he sobbed, "I can't go to Hogwarts after all. I can't bear to leave you."
His mother hugged him, then she made him stand up straight and pushed his hair out of his eyes.
"Yes you can, dear. You're going to make lots of new friends at Hogwarts, and you'll study such a lot you'll be wishing you'd never set eyes on a book in all your life. You'll do fine."
"But - I'll miss you, Mum," he said.
Faith smiled. She had known this moment would be hard for Remus, who had never been away from his parents in his life so far.
"I know, my love," she said. "I'll miss you too. But it's not all that long until the holidays, and then you can come home and see us." She sighed. "Now run along, and have a good time."
She turned Remus around, and this time he got onto the train and followed his father into a compartment. John Lupin lifted the trunk up onto the rack.
"There," he said, "You'll be all right in here, I think."
"Thanks, Dad," Remus said uncertainly.
John smiled. "I never thought I'd see the day when my little boy sets off all on his own to be the first werewolf at Hogwarts."
He fumbled for something in his pocket.
"I've got a little something for you here. It's not much, but ."
Remus ripped open the brown paper eagerly. Inside was an old, but highly polished gold locket. He opened it. Inside it were the small smiling images of his parents.
"I know it's not the kind of thing for a boy to have, really. But your mother and I thought you might like it as a keepsake anyway."
Remus hugged his father. "Thanks, Dad."
"I'm proud of you, Remus," John said, ruffling his son's hair.
Then, with one last smile, he went back out onto the platform.
As the Hogwarts Express pulled out of platform 9 ¾, Remus stood with the locket clasped tightly in his hand, his face pressed against the window. His father stood with his arm around his mother's shoulders, and the last thing that Remus saw burned into his memory as the train gathered speed and chugged merrily northwards was her sweet face, watching him out of sight with mingled pride and sorrow.
The train had not trundled far and Remus had barely forced himself to tuck the locket away in a pocket of his robes when there were footsteps in the corridor, so heavy that for a moment he thought there must be an elephant on the train. Then the door was pushed open, and there stood a man so big he ought not to be allowed. His face was a shaggy mass of dark tangles and he wore a gigantic moleskin coat. But above the mess that was his beard two kindly eyes like black beads smiled at the young boy.
"'Ello," said the stranger, "you must be Remus Lupin. Professor Dumbledore told me you were coming ter Hogwarts a day early. 'E thought you might be lonely, travelling all by yerself, it being yer firs' time away from home an' all. Thought you might like a bit o' comp'ny. So I came along down ter London to see ye safe there. Mind if I join ye?"
Recovering from his first shock at the sheer size of the stranger, and discerning his strange countrified speech with difficulty, Remus at last muttered a polite "Please do."
Somehow, the huge man squeezed into the compartment and placed a pink umbrella on the rack over his head. He sat down, taking up at least three seats and making the compartment seem impossibly small. Remus seriously worried that, if he moved too quickly, he might cause the train to derail.
"Rubeus Hagrid's the name," his travelling companion said, "I'm Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts."
"Pleased to meet you," said Remus.
One of Hagrid's dinner-plate hands disappeared in a gigantic pocket and he pulled out about a dozen chocolate frog wrappers.
"'Ave a sweet?"
"No thank you," said Remus. "I don't eat them. I don't like eating things that act like they're alive."
Hagrid looked stunned. "But you collect the cards, don't ye?"
"Yes," Remus admitted.
"Ah, I thought so. Never met a boy in all me life as didn't. Tell ye what, I'll eat the frogs, and you can 'ave the cards. We never 'ad em when I was your age, and I'm sorta too old ter start collectin' 'em now. All right?"
For the first time since the train had left the station, Remus smiled. "Okay."
And so their journey continued with Hagrid eating chocolate frogs, three at a time, and Remus gathering a pile of Morgana Le Fays, Merlins and several other famous witches and wizards.
"Ah, now 'ere's a good un," said Hagrid, unwrapping the last frog. "Albus Dumbledore. You've met him, haven't ye?"
"Yes. He came to our house this summer. He very kindly let me come to Hogwarts although . although I'm a ."
"It's all right," Hagrid said quickly. "Ye don't have ter tell me anything. I know, ye see. Professor Dumbledore told me. 'E trusts me."
His huge chest swelled, if that was possible, to twice its size.
"That's the wonderful thing about 'im, see. 'E believes in people. Gives 'em chances. Even people as others would shun - people like you an' me."
Remus looked up sharply, but Hagrid became very preoccupied with some Every Flavour Beans he found in another pocket just then, and he didn't bring the subject up again.
Chapter 6 Welcome to Hogwarts
It was dark out by the time they finally pulled into Hogsmeade station. Remus was just wondering how he was going to get his trunk and cauldron up to the castle, when two large hands whipped the trunk from the rack and Hagrid tucked the cauldron under his arm as though it were a tiny vase.
"I'll take those," said Hagrid kindly. "Come on."
Remus followed the Hogwarts gamekeeper out of the station and through the darkness until they reached the edge of the black lake.
"We go across by water ternight," Hagrid said. "It's traditional for firs' years ter enter Hogwarts that way, an' Professor Dumbledore wanted ye ter be able to have a welcome near as possible to what the others'll get tomorrow."
He dropped the trunk into the boat, and Remus climbed gingerly in after it. Then they set off across the silent lake. As they drew nearer to the castle, Remus saw lights twinkling in several windows, and the moon came out from behind a cloud, silhouetting the castle and its many turrets and towers against the briefly illuminated night sky.
"What d'ye think of it then, eh?" Hagrid asked.
"It's beautiful," Remus answered, awed.
* * *
If possible, he was even more awed by the sight of the great staircase when they finally reached it, and the Great Hall - empty but for four long tables with candles floating above them, and the teachers' table up front - took his breath away. He gazed endlessly at the enchanted ceiling, which was far more magnificent than it had ever been described in Hogwarts - A History.
Hagrid left the trunk by the door and led Remus all the way along the Hall to the teachers' table, where two people stood waiting for them. One was Professor Dumbledore, dressed tonight in sky-blue. The other was a middle- aged, very stern-looking witch in tartan robes with thin lips, piercing eyes appraising him through her square glasses, her hair tied back in a strict bun.
"Ah, Hagrid. I see you've brought us our new pupil," Dumbledore said.
"Yes, sir, Professor Dumbledore. Professor McGonagall." Hagrid bowed slightly to the stern-looking witch.
"Excellent," Dumbledore continued. "Has Hagrid been keeping you well, Remus?"
"Yes, sir. Thank you."
Remus felt all the cheer and courage he had regained on the train journey dwindle under the sharp eyes of Professor McGonagall.
"Well now," the headmaster went on. "You must be tired, and I expect you will want to retire to your dormitory early tonight, since you will not get much rest tomorrow night. But first we must find out where to put you."
Remus looked slightly worried at that. Dumbledore smiled indulgently.
"Don't worry, we will find room for you somewhere. The question is where. Minerva, the Sorting Hat, if you please ."
Professor McGonagall stood aside to reveal a wooden stool and a battered- looking old hat. This she raised and motioned to Remus to sit on the stool. He did so, and immediately she dropped the large hat on his head, so that it fell over his eyes.
*What's this?* said the Hat in his head. *A student already? But the Sorting is not due until tomorrow, I prepared my rhyme especially. Ah . *.
It seemed to ponder something it had found in his mind.
*A werewolf, is it? So that's why you're a night early. Well, well. Whatever next? Now then, where shall I put you? Let me see . You have a lively mind, young Remus Lupin. An inquisitive mind. You seek to learn, but also to please. Now that does make it difficult. Your cleverness almost makes me think I'd better put you in Ravenclaw, and yet . the Hufflepuffs are keen to serve, but no, for that you are too daring, too fond of going your own way. I think perhaps . yes. Yes, I see it now. There is a lot of courage in you. You will endure much, but never falter. Yes .*
Remus trembled. He wondered how the Hat could claim to know so well what was inside him, when he did not know himself. And he wondered what the Hat would say. It seemed to be taking an awfully long time to decide. But then, at last, it said quite clearly, for all to hear.
Professor McGonagall pulled the Hat off his head. Professor Dumbledore was nodding.
"Yes," he said, "I guessed as much. Very well, Minerva. That puts him in your care. I think you had better have a bite to eat now, Remus, and then go to bed. Good night."
And with that, Dumbledore turned and left, taking Hagrid with him. Remus was left with Professor McGonagall. She looked down at him, and for a moment it seemed to Remus as though she seemed slightly less stern than before.
"Well, Lupin, you had better come with me," she said in a voice that could have frozen glowing embers.
He followed her quick footsteps out of the hall and up several flights of stairs. Then they reached a hallway where hung a portrait of a fat lady in a pink dress. She looked mildly curious to see them approach.
"What's this? An early bird?" she enquired.
"Tiddlywinks," Professor McGonagall said.
Remus stared, but the lady in the portrait merely shrugged her amply proportioned shoulders.
"Very well, Professor," she said, and swung back on her hinges to reveal a hole in the wall.
Remus climbed through after the professor, and they came out in a circular tower room where a merry fire was crackling in the grate. A plate of cold ham, cheese, several slices of toast and jam stood on a table in front of it, along with a glass and a large pitcher of milk.
"This is the Gryffindor common room," the professor explained. "Your dormitory is through that door. Go right up the stairs until you reach the very top. You'll find your trunk is already up there. Enjoy your supper. Good night."
And with that, she was gone, and Remus was left all alone. Yet he found he did not mind so much. The fire was warming not only to the body, but to the heart as well. And tomorrow the other students would be arriving. He sat down in one of the large armchairs and drew the table closer to him. Suddenly he felt extremely hungry, and there was not a crumb left on the plate nor a drop in the pitcher by the time he finally made his way up the stairs to bed.
Well there you have it! The first pillar of the Marauder's. The other three will come soon. Possibily in the next hour or two. Well I hope you enjoyed. BTW be sure to give me feedback of what you thought...i will definitly need to know. Cheerio mate.
Chapter 7 Prolouge
There are many professions among the wizarding community that, at first mention, would not strike a Muggle as peculiar. A wizard may be a landlord, for instance, or a ministry official, or even a bus driver. So long as the Muggle never hears that the pub his neighbour is the landlord of sells butterbeer, or that the ministry in question is the Ministry of Magic, or the bus bears the name Knight Bus, he will detect nothing out of the ordinary. So it was with the profession of Norman Pettigrew.
Norman Pettigrew was an apothecary. He owned a comfortable house in a quiet side street of a small town up North, and was envied by the townsmen for having not only a good-looking wife, Anthea, who engaged locally in good works and went to church every Sunday, but also two charming twin daughters, Philippa and Paula, aged nine. 'Pippa' and 'Polly', as they were familiarly known, went to the local primary school, where they achieved good marks, always did their homework and never gave the teachers cause to scold or reproach them.
Yet behind the façade of their whitewashed and pebble-dashed house with its glass-fronted porch, behind the lace curtains and porcelain figurines in the bay window out front, the Pettigrews concealed a life that was very different from that of a Muggle family. It was true, as Norman told his neighbours, that he commuted to work. What he did not tell them, however, was that his idea of commuting was to disappear from his living room and almost instantly reappear in his apothecary in York, which could only be seen by members of the wizarding community, and sold such essentials as boomslang skin, frog spawn and bezoars.
His wife, meanwhile, did not mention that her failure to attend the long- anticipated car boot antiques sale last Easter had been due not to a bad cold, but to her having a prior engagement with the Yorkshire branch of the Miniature Cauldron Collectors' Club - a venue not to be missed, for attendees were promised the gift of a beautiful gold-plated cauldron (self- stirring) about the size of a large egg cup.
And as for their daughters . Polly was learning to teach her fountain pen to write, while Pippa had long laid it aside completely, and sat with her tongue between her lips and her brow furrowed, poring over a Maths book whose pages turned by itself, a long eagle-feather quill clasped tightly in her left hand.
Such was the life into which, one wet and windy morning in late April, Mr. and Mrs. Pettigrew's third child was born.
Chapter 8 Little Brother
Peter Pettigrew kicked off his shoes and dropped back onto his bed in mingled relief and sadness. Relief, because the school year had begun at Hogwarts, and that meant a Polly-free house all the way through till Christmas. Sadness, because with Polly, Pippa had gone too. He would miss Pippa.
Peter got up and walked over to the window. He looked down into the small back garden. There stood a swing with a wooden seat that had orange paint peeling off it, and a slide that had once been red but by now showed little evidence of the fact. Muggle toys. The sort of toys Muggle people in a Muggle town like this expected a family like the Pettigrews to have in their back garden. If they only knew!
At least once a day, every day when there was a bit of sunshine, his mother chased him out there for appearance's sake. Not that he minded, really. He quite liked the slide. What he wasn't keen on, however, was the swing. Ever since that time when, while he was seeing how high his short stocky legs could make it go, his sister Paula had stood behind the kitchen door with her wand and made it go higher, higher, higher . so high he had been seriously afraid he would fall off. Polly was always pulling tricks like that on him, and Pippa was forever having to defend their brother. For Pippa had greeted the arrival of her parents' youngest child with joy, happy to have a little brother to play with and look after, even though he was many years her junior. Polly, on the other hand, had not seen the point of having another child so late, had resented his presence, the noise he made - and the mess - and hated having to look after him when their parents went out.
Peter's mixed mood in his sisters' absence was therefore not surprising. He was glad to see the back of Polly, but Pippa . He wished sincerely that Polly could have gone to Hogwarts alone, and that Pippa could have stayed here with him. All through his young life, Pippa had been his protector. And even at the age of six, when he knew he should be learning to stand up for himself, he still needed Pippa to defend him - which, without fail, she always did.
With a sigh, Peter dragged himself away from the window and walked towards the door. He supposed he had better go downstairs. Mum would be wondering where he had got to.
Chapter 9 Letters
"Mother! Mother!" Pippa Pettigrew cried, waving a thick sheet of parchment in the air.
She burst into the kitchen, a broad grin on her pale face. Now aged twenty, Philippa had become a kindly young woman with a friendly rather than a pretty face. She stood now, her small watery-blue eyes sparkling like two bright beads and a strand of straw-coloured hair detaching itself from her ponytail. Anthea Pettigrew turned away from her flower arranging to look at her daughter. Peter poked his head around the garden door and began to sidle in.
"Guess what!" Pippa gasped.
"Well, what?" Polly enquired as a matter of form, swallowing a mouthful of apple pie and looking up from a thick book propped up against the salad bowl in front of her.
"I've been accepted!" Pippa declared excitedly, squeezing her sister's shoulder before coming around the table and holding the letter up for her mother to see. Anthea took her glasses from the pocket of her apron and put them on.
"We are happy to inform you that your application for a position as a student teacher at Beauxbatons school has been accepted. We expect your arrival some time before the beginning of the next term, that is in August of this year. Yours sincerely, Olive Maxime, Deputy Headmistress," Anthea Pettigrew read.
She returned the letter to her daughter and removed her glasses.
"Congratulations, my dear," she said, receiving a kiss on the cheek from Pippa.
"It's so exciting," she exclaimed. "I'm going to Beauxbatons! I'm going to be a teacher! Isn't it wonderful, Peter?"
She looked around to discover that her brother had sneaked back out into the garden.
* * *
Peter was sitting in bed with his covers pulled up under his chin. He had turned off his light so that the room was dark but for the faint glimmer of the moon that showed through a gap in the curtains. His eyes were burning. He heard the knock on the door and recognised it at once. It was Pippa. Sliding down quickly under the covers, he pulled them tight about him and turned his face to the wall, shutting his eyes and pretending to be asleep. The door opened and light poured in from the hallway. Pippa came in and stopped for a moment, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the gloom. Then she came over to the bed.
"Peter?" she called softly.
He held his breath.
"I know you're awake, Peter," she said, coming over to sit on the side of his bed.
Reluctantly, he turned around to look at her.
"Why are you sad, Peter?" she asked. "I thought you'd be pleased for me that I'm getting what I've always wanted."
"I am," he answered quietly. "But I - I don't want you to go away. I don't know what I'll do without you."
"You'll still have Mum and Dad and Polly."
The boy pulled a face.
"I wish Polly were going away instead of you," he said.
Pippa smiled. She whispered,
"Well, if you're lucky, she'll hurry up and marry that most disagreeable boyfriend of hers and you'll be rid of both of us. Anyway," she added, "you won't have to put up with her too much longer. It's almost July already, and you'll be getting your letter for Hogwarts soon, I expect."
Peter pulled a face.
"If they'll have me at Hogwarts. I don't know, Pippa. I don't know if I'm clever enough."
"Of course they'll have you. As for cleverness - they took Barry Beacher, and I'm sure you're ten times as clever as he is."
The reference to an old school fellow of Pippa's, of whom he had heard many tales so ridiculous he seriously doubted if all of them were true, made Peter smile.
"Come," his sister said, smoothing his covers, "shut your eyes now, and get some sleep. And remember, however far away I am, I'll still always be there when you need me, okay?"
Peter nodded and, shutting his eyes, he fell asleep almost immediately.
* * *
The letter came on a Monday. Anthea Pettigrew peered anxiously out of the window when a large barn owl came soaring in through the kitchen door. But it appeared no one in the street had seen it, so she drew her head back in and returned to the breakfast table. Peter sat with the parchment in his hand, reading the address that was written in green ink. Yes, it was definitely addressed to him.
"Ah, and about time too," said his father, waiting while the milk jug emptied itself over his cereal.
Polly lowered her copy of the Daily Prophet and peered at her brother over the top of a glass of orange juice. Anthea sat down beside her husband, and whisked her wand at the tea pot, which obligingly flew over and filled her cup. Peter looked around at their expectant faces.
"Go on, open it," Pippa urged.
With a trembling hand, her brother undid the seal and unfolded the parchment. Sure enough, there it was in plain green and white. Mr. Peter Pettigrew was invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Pippa squeezed his arm and kissed his cheek happily, Anthea and Norman Pettigrew congratulated their son, and Polly studied him doubtfully. Peter, passing the letter across the table to his father, gave a nervous laugh - and knocked the milk jug out of balance.
Chapter 10 Prologue
The black-haired little boy sat dangling his short legs off the side of a sofa. A very depressing sort of old man dressed all in black with a circle of glass in front of his eye was standing across the room, talking in a whisper to a grey-haired witch in a pointy hat and a tall man with a stern face and cold eyes, also dressed in black. The boy yawned and rubbed his eyes. Why did they make him sit here like this? And who was that woman, anyway? Why was she standing in the middle of his mum and dad's front room? The old man he had seen before - looking just as depressing - not long ago, when Nanny had 'gone to heaven', as his mother had said. That was when he'd seen the other man as well. The child remembered he was supposed to call that one 'uncle', but he didn't know why. He certainly hadn't seen him very often in his young life. And where were his parents? Why hadn't they come home? And why had Ellie, his baby-sitter, run off crying into the kitchen when these people had arrived, and not come back? He liked Ellie. He decided that he would go and find her.
* * *
Ellen Cole dabbed her eyes and turned as she heard the child's call.
She tried to smile. Sirius came closer and looked up at her out of big, questioning eyes. Ellen lifted him onto her lap and held him close, knowing that it may well be the last time she did so. Tears dripped from her heavy eyes onto his dark head. Sirius was only two, he didn't understand what was happening around him. But he knew that Ellie was sad, and that made him sad too. She was his friend - his only friend in this world apart from his parents. So he let himself be cuddled by her, like he had let Mummy do when she was upset because Nanny had gone away.
It was thus that Mr. Mortis the undertaker, Miss Dolesham and Duncan Black found them some time later. Sirius gazed up at them warily, and instinctively snuggled closer to Ellen.
"It's time, my dear," Miss Dolesham said.
"A sad business," added Mr. Mortis, wiping his monocle.
Duncan Black just stood by, frowning.
"W-what will happen to Sirius, now that - now that his parents .?" the girl asked.
"He will live at my orphanage," the grey-haired witch replied.
Ellen looked appealingly at Mr. Black.
"Couldn't you take him, sir?"
"Me?" Black answered scornfully. "What would I want with him?"
"But - sir, he's your nephew. Your own brother's flesh and blood."
"Thomas was a freak," the man said bitterly. "Oh, I know you people called him a 'wizard', but my parents and I saw him for what he truly was. We were glad when he left to go and join the 'magical community', and I can't remember a blacker day than when he insisted we should all come to his wedding, see him married to - to one of his kind. So no, I will not have his child. He can go to the orphanage and stay there for all I care, and good riddance."
Ellen stared at the man with wide-open eyes, hardly able to believe her ears. If only she had been older, she would have taken the boy herself. But what could a young witch of sixteen do? So she let Miss Dolesham take him, and took a last longing look at his sweet face as he was borne away.
Chapter 11 Leader of the Pack
"Well, who was it?" Miss Dolesham snapped, glaring at the row of boys in front of her.
"Who let off that dungbomb in Mr. Featherstone's office?"
She let her eyes swerve along the line. The boys all stood with their backs straight and their chests thrust forward, their eyes cast to the floor.
A nervy, fair-headed boy jumped.
"Yes, Miss Dolesham?"
"Tell me who let off the dungbomb."
The old witch's voice was almost persuasive.
"I d-don't know," the poor boy stammered.
"Oh, don't you? Well, in that case, perhaps we should just assume it was you. Mr. Featherstone's cane, I am sure, will soon find out how little you know."
The boy called Pringle trembled miserably under her stern gaze. He looked near to tears, but he was obviously determined to say nothing.
"Very well," said Miss Dolesham, taking him by the scruff of his neck, "let's go, shall we?"
They got as far as the door before a clear voice suddenly said, "Wait!"
Miss Dolesham stopped by the door, a crooked smile on her face, and turned back.
Sirius stepped forward out of the line with his chin up, his eyes holding her stare.
"Pringle didn't let off that dungbomb. It was me, miss."
Miss Dolesham eyed him appraisingly. His eyes were cold and unblinking, and she smiled inwardly. She had known this boy since he was two years old. She knew he was full of mischief, and many had been the time she had caught him up to one of his tricks - that was why she had known from the start that he was guilty in this case. Yet whatever young Black's faults may be, disloyalty was not one of them. He was usually the moving hand behind the mischief that was made at the orphanage, but unlike your typical gang leader, he never laid blame on others for things he had done or instigated, and she could not help but admire his courage in speaking up in defence of his friend Pringle, who was five years his junior and totally unable to stand up for himself. Releasing Pringle, she said slowly,
"I see. You had better come with me, then."
Sirius followed her obediently out of the room and along the corridor towards the offices. He knew what was coming, or thought he did. But it was not into Mr. Featherstone's office that he was led, but into Miss Dolesham's own.
"Sit," she commanded.
Sirius obeyed. Miss Dolesham took a seat behind her desk and leaned back in her chair.
"Black," she said at long last, and her voice was much gentler than it had been before, "what am I to do with you? You are a bright boy, and could go far, if you wanted. Why do you always have to hinder your own advance with such childish pranks? Mr. Featherstone would have made you a prefect long ago, if only you would show some sense of responsibility. You could have been above the other boys by now, trusted and depended on by your elders. Why do you insist on plaguing us like this?"
Sirius thought for a moment, then he said,
"I mean no disrespect to you, Miss Dolesham, nor to Mr. Featherstone or any of the others. But I enjoy mischief, and I also don't think I would like to be above my friends. I like to be one of them, not responsible for them. They're my friends, I couldn't boss them about."
Miss Dolesham surveyed him for a moment and sighed.
"If that is how you see it, then I must tell you that, for what it's worth, I understand your feelings. But please, Black, try to be less - difficult in future, at least for a little while."
She leaned forward confidentially and lowered her voice.
"I may as well tell you," she said, "that I persuaded Mr. Featherstone to put your name on the list for Hogwarts."
"Yes, Hogwarts. But if you continue with such pranks as dropping dungbombs in his office, I may well find it beyond my power to persuade him out of taking it straight back off again. Be patient, Sirius, and be good. Please."
Her stern face softened into a smile.
"At least until you receive your letter," she added.
"You - really think I have a chance of being accepted?"
"Oh yes," said Miss Dolesham briskly, "I have no doubt about that. When you receive your letter, come straight to me. I will make all the necessary arrangements, come with you to purchase your books and things - and I am determined to see you off on the Hogwarts Express."
Sirius grinned. Hogwarts! That was a prospect it was worth being good for. As long as it didn't take too long for his letter to arrive.
Chapter 12 Prolouge
Bridget pushed open the door and peered out anxiously into the hallway. She listened intently, her ears picking up every tiniest sound and enlarging it, until it became a threatening noise in her mind. Yet she was sure - as sure as she could be - that there was no one in the house except her at this moment. He had gone out as planned.
She picked up her rose-patterned hold-all and placed a hand to her middle. Here rested the only good that had ever come of her relationship with that . that odious man. Sometimes she wondered how she had ever been able to let herself be blinded by someone so evil. Why hadn't she seen what he was before she married him? Surely, his choice of best man should have shown her . Perhaps her father and her friends had been right, after all. Maybe she was too young to know what was good for her.
Well, she had made her bed, but she was resolved not to remain lying on it any longer. She hated breaking the solemn vow she had made in church, but no way could she let her child grow up with such a father. She had to keep it safe, away from this monster. Luckily, she hadn't been forced to let him know yet that she was pregnant, it wasn't that obvious yet, otherwise .
No, it didn't bear thinking about. She had to get away, and quickly, before he came back.
* * *
One rainy evening about two months later, Mrs. Hilda Hammersmith of Cheapside, London, was startled to find the slumped figure of a young girl dressed in a shabby-looking cloak on her doorstep when she came home from a very pleasant visit to her friend Maureen Dodd, whol ived just around the corner.
"Really," she thought, automatically jumping to the conclusion that the girl must have had too much to drink, "young people nowadays have no decorum."
"Excuse me," she said out loud in a haughty voice.
The girl jumped and struggled to her feet, holding her stomach and clutching a large bag to her. The light from a street lamp fell on her face, pale and beaded with sweat. Her brown curls hung limp with rainwater, sticking to her hollow cheeks, and a pair of large brown eyes turned away. She stumbled on the steps, and Mrs. Hammersmith's heart immediately went out to her.
Disapprove of these young girls who had no sense of dress, nor seemingly of survival, she may - they drank like men in a pub on Saturday nights, and even took drugs, so she'd heard. But she liked to think of herself as a good Christian, and therefore considered it her solemn duty to aid those in need. And never since the War had she seen a young person in as much need as this girl. She was obviously pregnant, and all alone in the world on a wet and windy night in London. Why, she hadn't even an umbrella!
"Steady there," she said, taking the girl's arm and guiding her back under the roof of the building.
"You shouldn't be walking out there in the rain alone like this. Let me call you a cab."
"No," the girl answered in a weak voice, staggering back against the wall. "Thank you."
"But - then at least let me ring your husband for you, so he can fetch you home."
The young girl seemed to come to her senses for a moment.
"No, not that," she begged, with a hard grip on the old lady's arm.
"Please, you mustn't tell him where I am," she insisted, a wild look in her eyes. "He mustn't find me, or the child. You - you won't tell him where I am, will you?"
"Very well," Mrs. Hammersmith agreed reluctantly. "But there must be someone else. Your parents, friends ."
The girl hesitated a moment. Her father. There was her father. But no, she decided. He had renounced her when she had chosen to marry the man, against his advice. Relaxing a little and leaning once more against the wall, she answered resignedly,
"No. No parents. No friends. No one."
She gave a subdued sob.
"I had better go."
"Oh no, you don't," Mrs. Hammersmith objected, catching hold of her arm and unlocking the front door.
"You're coming indoors with me, until we can find a place to put you. You're wet and feverish, you shouldn't go walking out in this rain in your condition. Come on."
Too weak to protest, the girl allowed herself to be dragged indoors and up to a flat on the fifth floor. She would remember little of the rest of that night, or the days that followed. By the time she opened her eyes and became aware of her surroundings, it was the following Saturday.
* * *
Bridget blinked. A ray of sunlight was shining onto the bed through a rain- splattered window. She looked around her at the unfamiliar room. A small clock stood ticking on the bedside table. It read 9 am. Where was she? She could hardly remember anything since she had left her husband's house. It had been an endless stream of days slipping into one another, one as full of worry as the next, always turning, always looking over her shoulder, half-expecting him to be standing there, come to take her back, and make her pay for trying to leave him. Oh, and how he would make her pay, if ever he found her!
She heard footsteps outside the room, and presently the door was pushed open slowly, and an elderly woman came in, dressed in a tweed suit, with round, horn-rimmed glasses on her straight nose and a dab of grey hair on her head.
"Good morning," said the strange woman.
"G-good morning," Bridget stammered.
"I am Mrs. Hammersmith," the lady went on, sitting on the edge of the bed. "And you?" she asked, smiling.
"My name is Bridget," came the hesitant reply. "Bridget Potter."
Yes, that was the name she would use. Her mother's maiden name. Surely he wouldn't think of her using that. She had left her husband and his name behind her, though she suspected that the old lady guessed she was not being entirely forthright.
"And how are you this morning?"
"Much better, thank you. I am sure I am greatly indebted to you, though I must confess I have no memory of how I got here."
"I should think not," Hilda Hammersmith chuckled. "You have been in a fever for several days.
"A fever? Oh no, I ."
She stared helplessly, but the old lady, seeming to guess her fears, smiled reassuringly.
"Don't worry. The doctor says the baby is quite well."
Bridget sighed with relief, and at last gave a small smile herself.
"I am even more deeply indebted to you than I realised, Mrs. Hammersmith. I wish I knew how I could repay you. I fear I haven't a penny to my name."
"I never thought you would have, my dear," Mrs. Hammersmith replied. "Now don't fret. You've been very ill this past week, and you must regain your strength. You can stay here for the time being. I have always regretted leaving this room empty. Spare bedrooms are so rarely needed in a London flat, and as I never had any children of my own . Well, you're welcome to stay, if you want."
"Thank you," said Bridget. "That is very kind of you."
Chapter 13 Friday's Child
Bridget stayed living with Mrs. Hammersmith for quite some time. She had nowhere else to go, and could hardly go job-seeking in the Muggle world with a fatherless child on the way. But living with the old lady had its own dangers, for Bridget was determined that on no account must she discover anything unusual about her tenant.
Her baby boy was born one Friday late in June. Mrs. Hammersmith took to the child uncommonly. Her enthusiasm for his tiny fingers and the little gurgling noises he made was, however, nothing like what Bridget felt.
Often she would sit cradling him in her arms, just watching his face while he slept peacefully, secure and unaware of any dangers in the world around him. In his mother's eyes, he was the most gorgeous thing that ever breathed, and as he grew to a toddler and then a young boy, she found that while he had inherited his father's thick black hair, he thankfully bore far more of a resemblance to her own father in his nature.
When her son was a year old, Bridget decided it was time to move out. She had intruded too long on the kind hospitality of Mrs. Hammersmith, and she feared that a growing wizard might have strange accidents about the place that could not be explained away. So, when a flat became empty on a higher floor of the same building, she and the little one moved there, and a very happy flat it became, for the boy loved his mother just as much as she loved him, and he gave friendship and good humour to everyone he met. He was affectionate and good, in his heart if not always in his actions, for there was nothing he loved better than to play pranks on their fellow tenants.
On many such occasions, Mrs. Hammersmith was his victim, but she only laughed with him at the childish tricks he played on her.
"You have a fine boy there, my dear," she said once to Bridget, "and a good man he'll be when he grows up. Friday's child, he is for sure, and you know what they say, don't you?"
Bridget turned a politely enquiring face to her.
"Friday's child is loving and giving," said Mrs. Hammersmith.
Bridget smiled proudly. Yes, that described her boy.
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Chapter 14 Off To School
James Potter ran down the stairs of the inconspicuous block of London flats and came to an abrupt halt just before he collided with Mrs. Hammersmith, coming up the stairs from the fourth floor.
"Oh, sorry," he panted.
The old lady chuckled.
"That's all right, my lad. I wonder what can have got into you though? You look like there's someone after you."
James shoved his classes back up his nose and grinned.
"Not yet, Mrs. Hammersmith. But I reckon there will be if I don't hurry up and get outside. Mum's going to be furious with me if I make us miss that train."
"Well, better run along then, boy. You start your new school tomorrow, don't you? Where was it you're going again?" she asked slyly.
"Sorry, Mrs. Hammersmith," he said evasively. "I really must dash."
As he hurried down the last flights of stairs, trying but failing as usual to make his straggly black hair lay flat in the process, James secretly thanked his lucky stars that he had managed, once again, to avoid telling the old lady what school he was going to this summer without appearing too impolite.
And he really couldn't tell her, though she was a nice old lady, and he had known her all his life and was very fond of her. But she was still a Muggle, and that meant you couldn't casually answer her with "I'm going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry". He felt like shouting for joy just thinking about it. Hogwarts! He had been thrilled when his letter had arrived. His mother had glowed with pride, and now they were off to Diagon Alley to buy his things: two sets of black robes, a cauldron, books - and his very own wand. He raced out into the street with a broad grin fixed on his face.
"Ah, there you are," his mother said. "I thought you were never coming."
"You're joking, Mum!" he laughed.
His mother hailed a cab, and soon they were crawling along in the London traffic, headed for a place the driver didn't even know existed.
* * *
The Leaky Cauldron. James had been here before, but it still fascinated him every time. Having spent all his life living in a Muggle-style flat with his mother, he found it a rare treat to see so many un-Muggle people assembled in one place. As usual, it was crowded with wizards and witches of all sizes and descriptions. Wizards with tall hats, witches with ribboned bonnets. Wizards with bowlers, witches with tall pointed affairs on their heads. There was even the odd hag and goblin about today.
James and his mother walked right through and out the back door. They found themselves in a small backyard, and his mother took out her wand and tapped the bricks. The wall gave way, and the next instant they were in Diagon Alley.
It was like something out of an old Dickens tale. Houses of all shapes and sizes stood crammed side by side into a narrow street, and there were people everywhere, chattering and nattering, bustling to and fro, pushing and jostling to peer into shop windows. There was a screeching of owls and a humming of birds, not to mention a strange kind of music on the air. James's mother took hold of his arm, and they made their way through the crowds to a tall, white building on the corner - about the only building that didn't look completely crooked. Gringotts, the wizard bank.
James stared up at the goblins behind the long counter. He wondered briefly why such small creatures insisted on having such high desks, but when he and his mother approached one of them, and a hook-nosed, shrivelled face peered over the top of it sternly, James understood that it was probably to make them appear more awe-inspiring and mean. Not that they needed it, in his opinion. Ugly little blighters.
His mother named the vault they wanted, and soon they were leaving the bank again, the knuts and sickles and galleons tinkling in their pockets and James's stomach feeling a bit like he'd been eating too many ice-creams. Really, those carts that took you down to the vaults were much too fast.
"Well, dear," his mother said, drawing him aside and lifting his hand palm upwards to place some coins in it. "This should be enough for your robes. Madam Malkin's is right over there."
"Now, I'll go and buy your books for you. You go and get your robes. Just tell them you're for Hogwarts, they'll know what you need. I'll meet you in there. All right?"
James stuffed the money in the pocket of his jeans and strolled along the alley, feeling completely content.
* * *
He entered Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions with a light step and was immediately greeted by a friendly witch with bright cheeks and a full figure.
"Good morning, dear. Hogwarts, is it?" she said.
"This way, please."
She led him to the back of the shop. There was another boy there, taller than James, with black hair and a devious look in his bright eyes. The assistant stood James on a small pedestal.
"Hi," the boy said.
"Hello," said James.
"Come for your Hogwarts robes?" the other asked him.
"Yes. Is this your first year at Hogwarts too?"
"Yep. I'm Sirius. Sirius Black."
The other boy grinned broadly. It was an open, inviting smile, full of mischief, but also very charming.
"Well, James," said Sirius, paying the witch who had served him, "Got to go and get my books now. See you tomorrow, on the Hogwarts Express?"
"Sure," James answered, feeling somehow that he'd found a friend already. "Bye."
And that was how the Marauder's came to be at Hogwarts. Keep watching though! Soon the tale continues with them in Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, five me your FEEDBACK here:http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=22028
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Chapter 15 Welcome to Hogwarts
James sat back happily in his seat on the Hogwarts Express. He was sorry to leave his mother behind all alone on platform 9 ¾, but he was also thrilled to bits that he was off at last. As the train pulled out of the station, he leaned out of the window to wave, and he stayed there long after King's Cross was out of sight, feeling the breeze brush against his face and watching the steam fly away overhead. He didn't turn back, in fact, until he heard the door slide open behind him. Sirius Black's head of thick black hair and ready smile were peering in cheerfully.
"So there you are!" he exclaimed. "I've been looking for you everywhere!"
James smiled back. "Hi, Sirius."
"Want to come and explore the train with me? See who else is about?" Sirius suggested.
James nodded eagerly, and the two of them set off along the corridor together while the train chugged along merrily. As they went, Sirius said hello to several of the other students the passed in the corridors.
"Do you know everyone already?" James asked at one point.
"No, not everyone. But I met some of them back at platform 9 ¾. It never takes me long to get to know people."
They passed a plump witch pushing a trolley of sweets, and bought several chocolate frogs each. They strolled further along, munching happily, until they heard quiet whimpering noises from behind a door, and a squeaky voice saying,
"No, no please, don't. I didn't mean to bother you, I'm sorry."
James and Sirius looked at one another and nodded. They pushed the door open and entered. There were two boys inside the compartment. One was a tall, greasy-haired kid with a hook nose and a wicked smirk on his face. The other was small and a little podgy, with thin fair hair and small eyes that looked scared out of their wits. The tall boy was pointing a wand at him. On the floor in the corner stood a small box containing what looked like a very ugly, large grey rat.
"Hello," Sirius said, "What's going on here?"
"None of your business," said the tall boy. "Go away."
Sirius placed his legs apart and his hands on his hips. James, meanwhile, was watching the other boy. He had turned towards them and looked excessively grateful for the interruption.
"H-hello," he said nervously. "I'm P-Peter Pettigrew."
"Hello, Peter," James answered. "I'm James Potter and this is Sirius Black. We were just stretching our legs out on the corridor. Like to join us?"
Peter Pettigrew shot an anxious glance at the scowling boy behind him and nodded eagerly.
"Come on then," said James, leading him to the door. "Sirius ."
But Sirius was still standing frowning at the other boy, who was still clasping his wand tightly in his hand.
"What are you staring at?" the other boy asked.
"Sorry. I've just never seen anything quite as ugly as you before," Sirius replied.
"You take that back!"
The boy raised his wand, but Sirius spread out his arms.
"Just in case you're thinking of trying a jinx on me, I'd better warn you I'm not carrying a wand right now," he said. "So you might want to reconsider. Might not look too good on your record, if you jinx a defenceless student before you even get to Hogwarts."
The other boy looked about to burst with wrath. James grabbed hold of Sirius's arm.
"Come on. Let's go."
Reluctantly, Sirius let himself be led away, back towards James's compartment.
"Stupid ugly git," he said, dropping into a seat by the window.
"Yes," James agreed, "but that's no reason to pick a fight on our first day."
"I don't like bullies," Sirius snarled.
"Nor do I," James said, taking the opposite seat. "But unfortunately, you seem to get them everywhere."
"Yeah, we had one like that at the orphanage where I grew up," Sirius answered. "I hate kids like that."
"You grew up in an orphanage?" James asked, surprised.
"Yup. Lived there practically all my life. My parents worked for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad. They were killed at the site of a really bad accident when I was about two. Luckily they were both magic, though, so I didn't have to go to a Muggle orphanage, thank goodness. It wasn't too bad, really."
"I've never met my father," James said slowly, "and I don't really know much about him. But I can't imagine being without my mother."
"It's okay, when you can't remember it any other way. How about you, Peter?" he added, suddenly remembering that they weren't alone.
Peter Pettigrew sat down gingerly on the edge of a seat.
"I've still got both my parents," he began, "and two sisters. Philippa and Paula. They're twins, and both left Hogwarts three years ago."
"That's a big age gap," James remarked.
Peter grimaced. "Yes. It's not always easy, being that much younger than them."
There was a pause before Sirius asked,
"So what was the problem with that slimeball in the other compartment?"
"I . err . I was coming back from the toilet, and I went in the wrong door. He was sitting practising some spell or other on his rat. I think he was cross because he thought I'd seen what he was doing, but I honestly don't know what he was up to."
"Must have been something nasty, I expect. Judging by the look of him."
"I think he was about to something nasty to me, too," Peter agreed. "I . I'm glad you two came by when you did. Th-thanks."
"Don't mention it," said Sirius and James together.
* * *
There was much excited chattering when the train reached Hogsmeade station. Crowds of older students climbed off the train and disappeared into the night, leaving their luggage behind them, so it seemed. James, Sirius and Peter followed onto the platform, glad that it was quite a mild night.
"Firs' years over here!" a loud voice bellowed.
They turned and saw a giant of a man in a moleskin coat waving a large lantern in the air.
"Who's he?" Sirius wondered.
"I think that's Hagrid," Peter replied. "My sisters - told me about him. He's the gamekeeper. Polly - that's Paula - said he's really fierce. But Pippa said she was just trying to scare me. She says he's really very nice."
"Hm. Well, I hope Pippa's right, then," said James.
They followed the swinging lantern to the edge of the lake, and clambered into a boat together. It rocked gently as it carried them towards the castle. The full moon shone brightly, as though eager to welcome the first years to their new home.
Sirius nudged James in the ribs. "Pretty awesome, isn't it?"
James nodded. Yes, that about described it. It was great to be coming to Hogwarts at last. He thought of Mrs. Hammersmith, back in the London block of flats, and grinned as he imagined what she would say if she could see him now.
* * *
The tables in the Great Hall were already packed full when the first years were led in through a side door by Professor McGonagall. They filed through, feeling nervous and excited under the staring eyes of all the older students.
At the teachers' table, Professor Albus Dumbledore rose from his seat and beamed on his students, new and old. The blue eyes behind his half moon spectacles sparkled.
"Welcome, boys and girls, teachers and new students. As ever on this first day of the new term, now is the time we discover where our new first years will begin their career at Hogwarts. I am sure we all look forward to receiving them in our midst, wherever the Sorting Hat may put them. Professor McGonagall ."
Dumbledore sat down again. Professor McGonagall brought forward a wooden stool and an old, battered wizard's hat. The first years stared at it anxiously. A tear above the brim opened suddenly and the hat began to sing.
"Hello new students, girls and boys,
Welcome to learning's wonders and joys.
I am the Sorting Hat, don't you see,
Of Hogwarts School of Wizardry.
Put Me on and I will tell,
Which house of ours will suit you well.
For Gryffindor, brave Godric,
The ones with courage I must pick,
While Ravenclaw, Rowena's nest,
Only the wisest above the rest.
Helga Hufflepuff won't lead you to spoil,
Only ones willing for honest toil.
Salazar Slytherin, at last,
Demands ambition from his caste.
So place me now upon your head,
And where you'll go shall soon be said."
The Sorting Hat's song ended there, and the Hall erupted with applause. As soon as the clapping and cheering had subsided, Professor McGonagall took out a scroll and began to unroll it.
"First years, I will call out your names now, one by one, and you pill put on the Sorting Hat, which will sort you into your houses. Anderson, Catherine ."
James Potter watched interestedly while one student after another went nervously forward to sit on the stool, and listened while the Hat called out the houses they would be in. Some people seemed to sit for a long time while the Hat debated where to put them, others barely had time to wriggle onto the stool properly before it was time for them to get up again and join their house tables that greeted them with storms of applause.
A short pause.
A long silence, then,
Sirius took a deep breath and went forward. He sat on the stool, and McGonagall dropped the hat over his eyes.
*Ah,* said the Hat into his mind, *a young whirlwind they've sent me to sort. Yes, you'll have fun at Hogwarts, my boy.*
The Hat chuckled, then called out loud, "Gryffindor!"
The Gryffindor table made a deafening row as Sirius went and took a seat.
"Ravenclaw!" cried the Hat.
The Ravenclaw table exploded with clapping as the first Ravenclaw to be sorted this year went to join them, her face flushing beetroot red.
James and Peter stood side by side, watching one first year after another be sorted. All the tables clapped each student - all except the Slytherin table, James noticed. The Slytherins cheered their own newcomers rather solemnly, he thought, and seemed to look down their noses at anyone who wasn't sorted into their house.
Cheers and clapping from the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables accompanied the shouts and whoops of the Hufflepuffs. The Slytherins scowled.
"Excuse me," said a timid voice behind James.
He jumped, and stepped aside to let a red-haired girl walk by him and up to the front, catching only a brief glimpse of the greenest eyes he had ever seen.
"What house d'you think you'll be in, James?" Peter whispered while Lily Evans was made a Gryffindor.
James shrugged. He hadn't really thought about what house he would be in. Now that he was beginning to think about it, he felt like all the chocolate frogs he'd eaten on the train were playing leapfrog in his stomach. The line of first years continued to grow shorter, all too quickly, it seemed. What house would he be sorted into? James wished he knew. He sincerely hoped it wouldn't be Slytherin.
Jorkins. So they had reached J already. Just K - not many of them - L, M, N, O ... and then it would be Peter's turn, and his own soon after.
The Hat took a bit longer this time. Then,
James felt Peter begin to tremble beside him.
"It's going to be my turn soon. Oh, J-James, do you think .?"
But James had no time to answer.
"Pettigrew, Peter," said Professor McGonagall, and shaking like a leaf, Peter went forward.
*Hello,* the Sorting Hat mused. *Now what do I do with you? Hm.*
*Put me in with Sirius, please,* Peter thought, *I don't want to go anywhere where I don't know anyone.*
*Gryffindor?* the Hat said back. *Are you quite sure? Only the stout- hearted should go there. Do you really think you are strong enough? Don't you think you might be safer in Hufflepuff?*
*No, no! I can be strong, honest I can, as long as I have a friend who will help me. Please, please put me in Gryffindor,* Peter begged the Hat.
It seemed to him as if the Hat sighed before it said out loud, "Gryffindor."
Sirius clapped hard while Peter came and joined him, his face brick-red, looking rather shaken. James drew himself up. Any minute now.
He looked over towards the Gryffindor table. Sirius was grinning at him, and held up crossed fingers. James smiled meekly. He suddenly felt very sick. But there was nothing for it. He went forward and closed his eyes before the Hat landed on his untidy mop of hair, knocking his glasses askew. He waited for something to happen, but the Hat remained silent for what seemed like an age. At last it said slowly,
*So. James Potter you call yourself, do you?*
*That is my name.*
*Is it? Well, well. If you say so. I remember your parents, James Potter. Your mother sat on this very stool, and I had no doubts when I put her in Gryffindor. It was in the blood she had inherited from her father. Yes, nowhere else to put her. A brave family, that. Brave and good. But your father - your father wasn't of the same kind. No. He was something quite different, wasn't he?*
*I . don't know,* James confessed.
*Don't you now? Well . your father, too, was brave, in his own way. But he was also ambitious. He desired greatness, and to that end allied himself with one whose lust for power may yet lead to much adversity in the future. But enough of that. We were talking about you. You have the potential to become a great wizard, you know. Yet there are different kinds of greatness. Which will yours be, James Potter? Will you follow in the footsteps of your grandfather, or are you, after all, your father's son? Gryffindor or Slytherin?*
James gulped. Slytherin? Oh no, not that! He closed his eyes still more tightly, feeling more sick than ever. For the first time in his life, he wished that he had been more insistent on being told about his father. At least he might have known what was coming to him. But the Hat was not yet finished with him.
*Your potential for greatness would be well served in Slytherin, I think. Yet perhaps . yes, I think you deserve a chance to be better than that, and to that end .*
There was a pause, a tortuously long one in James's opinion. Then, at last .
"Gryffindor!" the Hat called.
James heaved a sigh of relief and hurried over to the Gryffindor table. Sirius jumped up and thumped him on the back, then dragged him down in the seat next to him.
"You were ages!" he exclaimed. "I was beginning to think you'd gone asleep under there or something. What took the Hat so long?"
James shrugged. He felt dreadful. He didn't want to tell anyone what the Hat had been saying, not yet, anyway. Maybe he would tell Sirius later. He was so deep in thought about what the Hat had implied that he never even bothered to look up when Sirius groaned, "Oh no, it's him", and Severus Snape, the greasy-haired boy from the train, was made a Slytherin.
At last the line of first years dissolved, the last of them had been sorted. Professor Dumbledore waited until the applause died down, then he rose once more.
"Now that the first years have all been sorted," he said, "it is almost time for me to announce the feast. But before I do, I have the usual notices to give out."
James wrenched his thoughts away from the Sorting Hat's words for a while to look at the headmaster. A tall and wise-looking man he was, standing there in his wizard's hat and elegant robes. Beside him sat Professor McGonagall, looking most strict and disagreeable. James looked along the line of teachers. There was a plump witch with a round face and an out-of- doors kind of expression. An old wizard with grizzled hair dressed in black robes with a long scar down his left cheek. A younger, colourful and exotic- looking witch with huge glasses that made her look like an overlarge insect. A tall wizard with a long, pale face and cold, steel-grey eyes. A tiny little wizard. If that was what he was, with a dark mop of wiry hair. And at the end sat Hagrid the gamekeeper, making the gigantic table look like no more than a low bench. James turned his attention back to Dumbledore.
"On no account," the headmaster was saying, "must students enter the Forbidden Forest beyond Hagrid's cabin. Also, Professor Sprout has acquired a very rare whomping willow, which has been planted in the school grounds. It is a somewhat - temperamental specimen, and I would advise you all to steer well clear of it. Our caretaker Mr. Filch has asked me to inform you that he has added laughing out loud in the corridors and looking cheerful during the lunch hour to the list of forbidden actions. As usual, you may feel free to examine the complete list in his office at any time. Finally, before we tuck in to plenty of good food and pumpkin juice, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Professor McGonagall, whom all but the first years already know well, has agreed to act as my new deputy headmistress and head of Gryffindor house in addition to her duties as Transfiguration teacher."
There was polite clapping at all the tables, though many Gryffindors felt far from pleased at the prospect.
"And now," Dumbledore announced with a smile, "let the feasting begin!"
The students stared eagerly at the empty golden plates and platters, which in an instant were filled with delicious ham and chicken and dumplings, not to mention enough gravy to float an ark, as Sirius aptly put it.
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After the feast, James, Sirius and Peter followed the Gryffindor prefect out of the Great Hall feeling very full, very pleased and not the least bit tired. They stared with wide eyes at the moving paintings along the walls, and watched in amazement as the staircases to right and left changed directions at whim. Finally they reached the corridor leading up to the portrait of the fat lady. She smiled a welcome at the first years.
"Tiddlywinks," the prefect replied.
The portrait at once swung back on its hinges, and the first years filed into the Gryffindor common room after the prefect. The room was already crowded with Gryffindor students of various ages.
"Gather round, gather round," said the prefect impatiently.
There was much giggling and pushing and shoving before everyone was finally near enough to listen to what he had to say.
"Now," the prefect continued, "this is the Gryffindor common room. Boys, your dormitories are through that door and up the stairs. Girls, your dormitories are through there."
"Your luggage has already been brought up to your dormitories. The password to Gryffindor Tower is tiddlywinks. Please don't forget it, but don't write it down. We don't want it falling into the hands of unauthorised persons - Slytherins, in particular. You'll be given your timetables tomorrow morning at breakfast. And now off to bed, first years. Come on."
They were ushered up the staircase into their dormitory. James looked around. Five four-poster beds stood in the room. He found his trunk and cauldron standing at the foot of the bed against the far wall, nearest the window. Sirius was already flinging himself onto the bed beside his.
"Comfy," he remarked approvingly.
Peter Pettigrew was in the third bed, and another boy had followed them in. He was short and slightly stocky with short dark hair and a friendly face. James remembered having seen him join the Gryffindor table not long before Peter.
"Hello," Sirius was saying to the boy, "you're Frank Longbottom, aren't you?"
"Yes," he answered.
"Great. I remember cheering you when you joined our table. I'm Sirius Black, this is James Potter, and that's there's Peter Pettigrew," Sirius introduced the three of them.
"Hello. So," said Frank, smiling, "seems we four are stuck with one another for the next seven years at least."
"Five," James corrected, indicating the fifth bed. "There's another trunk and cauldron there."
"That's odd," Sirius said, sitting up. "I didn't see any other boys being sorted into Gryffindor, did you?"
The other three all shook their heads.
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HEY GUYS AND GALS! I NEED TO TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THIS STORY! IT HAS GOTTEN ABSOLOUTLY NO FEEDBACK! SO IF YOU LIKE THIS STORY, OR HATE IT, GO TO THE FAN FIC FEED-BACK AND TELL ME!!! IF NO ONE DOES ILL HAVE TO TAKE THAT AS "LACK OF INTEREST" AND STOP WRITING... :frown: PLEASE PUT YOUR FEEDBACK HERE:http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=22028
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Last edited by FivePointSin; December 23rd, 2003 at 7:15 pm.
Hello All!!! Special Thanks to:Panik,Mel Black, DogStar, and Padfoot 127 for replying in the Fan Fic Feedback!!! You must all understand that Feedback is VERY vital to a writer and I hope i get more soon. Well in the meantime I'm gunna give you chapter 16...HERE YA GO!!!
Chapter 16 The Fifth Boy
James was wakened the next morning by someone pulling back the heavy curtains around his bed and letting the sunlight stream in. He yawned and fumbled on his bedside table for his glasses. Pushing them on his nose, he sat up in bed.
"Oh it's you, Sirius. What sort of time is it?"
"Time to get up, sleepyhead," Sirius said. "Frank's already up and dressed. I woke him up about twenty minutes ago. I couldn't bear him snoring any longer."
"I don't snore!" Frank protested, pretending to be hurt. "It's Peter who snores."
James smiled and looked across to where Peter Pettigrew was lying, his eyes still shut tight and his mouth hanging wide open. It was true he was making a lot of noise.
"We'd better wake him up," he suggested.
"I'll do it," Sirius offered.
He grabbed hold of James's pillow and lunged it straight at the sleeping boy's head. Peter sat up with a fright.
"Rise and shine!" Sirius laughed, "It's our first day at Hogwarts, people. Come on James, get dressed. I can't wait to find out what lessons we've got today. I hope it's something good, not History of Magic or something. I met a second-year down in the common room earlier and he says it's taught by this ghost, Professor Binns, who's a dead bore."
He laughed at his own pun.
"Oh, very funny," James said with a smile, getting up and looking at himself in the mirror. His hair, as usual, was sticking up in all directions. He and Peter got washed and dressed hurriedly, and soon all four of them were heading down the stairs and into the Great Hall.
* * *
The enchanted ceiling was a bright blue this morning and clouds floated along the walls. The tables were laden with huge bowls full of cereals and plates piled high with toast, bacon, sausages, scrambled egg and everything imaginable. They sat down and tucked in. Professor McGonagall came round during their third helping of sausages and handed out their timetables.
"Charms and Herbology with the Hufflepuffs. Transfiguration with the Ravenclaws . oh no, and History of Magic with the Slytherins!" Sirius groaned through a mouthful of toast.
James just smiled. He didn't care if they had a boring lesson on their first day. It was too much fun just being at Hogwarts.
After breakfast they fetched their books from the dormitory and made their way to the Charms classroom. James, Sirius, Peter and Frank Longbottom squeezed into the seats behind the wooden desks. They unpacked their books and wands and waited expectantly for their teacher to come in. The door at the back of the classroom opened, and for a moment they thought it must have done so of its own accord. But then they heard a scrambling noise behind the teacher's desk, and the next minute the tiny little wizard James had spotted at the teachers' table the night before stood there, atop a pile of books, and peered around at them eagerly from under his tangled brown hair.
"Ah, welcome, welcome, my first-year Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs. Well, well. I am Professor Flitwick, your Charms teacher. Before we start with basic charms, I'd like to read out the register, just to make sure you're all here," he said in a high-pitched voice.
A dark-haired Hufflepuff raised her hand.
Sirius's hand shot up.
The small Hufflepuff sitting the other side of Frank Longbottom called 'here'.
James looked round and saw the girl he had let pass last night raise her arm behind him.
Professor Flitwick went on that way, until after "Jorkins, Bertha", "Keynes, Anna", "Osmond, Olliver", Longbottom, Frank" and "Pettigrew, Peter" he reached "Potter, James" and last of all "Truffle, Tina".
Then he put the register away, and James wondered why he hadn't read out the name of the missing Gryffindor boy. All the people he had called up had been there. He didn't have time to wonder for long, though, for they were soon instructed to open their books, and Professor Flitwick summoned a large cardboard box onto the desk. It turned out that this box contained a collection of long white feathers, and the professor soon sent one soaring onto the desk in front of every student.
"Now," he said in his squeaky voice, "I thought we would start with Levitating Charms. The important thing to remember, apart from the magic words, is of course the wrist movement. Watch closely, and then I want you all to copy what I do. So ..:"
He lifted his wand and, accompanying his words with the appropriate movement of his own short arm, said,
"Swish and flick. Go on, try it, all of you."
They did, and repeated it several times before Professor Flitwick pronounced himself satisfied. At last he told them to rest their wand arms for a moment, and was just about to continue speaking when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in," he chirped.
The door opened, and Professor McGonagall appeared, ushering in a boy of about James's height with light brown hair and tired eyes. James thought he looked ill.
"Sorry to bother you, Professor Flitwick," said McGonagall. "I've brought you your missing student."
Professor Flitwick thanked her, and she withdrew again. The new boy came forward uncertainly.
"Remus Lupin, isn't it?" Professor Flitwick said.
James noticed that the boy's voice was soft and friendly, though it sounded a little weak.
"Good. Well, I'm sure we can find a seat here somewhere for you."
Remus Lupin looked around a trifle shyly under the inquisitive stares of the other students. James caught his eye and, nodding, removed his bag from the seat beside him. Remus came over and sat down.
"Thanks," he whispered gratefully.
Professor Flitwick now went on with the lesson as though nothing had happened, reading them a paragraph from the book.
"Well," he said at last, "let's try the charm, shall we? Lupin, here's a feather for you."
A white plume raised itself from the box and landed on the desk in front of Remus. The students all picked up their wands and pointed them at their feathers.
"Remember," Professor Flitwick squeaked. "Swish and flick. And don't forget the words. Wingardium Leviosa."
All around the classroom, students nervously began 'swishing and flicking' their wands. James was quite surprised when, as he flicked his wrist upwards and said the words, his feather actually left his desk and floated up to the height of his nose before sinking back onto his desk.
"I did it!" he exclaimed.
"That was good," Remus said.
James turned his head to look at the new boy, and discovered that his feather was floating mid-air, totally under the control of his wand. He stared.
"How can you do that?" he asked. "You missed all the practice we had before you got here."
"I've been doing a few charms at home," Remus admitted. "My Mum showed me this one."
He smiled, and for a second his face looked less weary. Then it went back to that tired paleness. James studied him side-on, and spotted the grey streaks in the other boy's hair.
"We wondered why you weren't in the Great Hall or in the dormitory last night," he said conversationally.
There was such a lot of noise in the classroom with frustrated students trying to get their feathers to float that there was no need to whisper. Remus Lupin's expression seemed to close.
"I wasn't very well yesterday," he answered quietly.
"I'm sorry," James said. "I hope you're feeling better now."
James let the matter rest, but he had the distinct impression that Remus Lupin was still far from well.
All of you that DO like this story and wish it to cintinue, HEAD OVER TO THE FAN-FIC FEEDBACK AND TELL ME! FEEDBACK IS VITAL SQUIRTS! Even if you think this story majorly sucks, TELL ME! Cheerio Mate
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I'M SOOO HAPPY!!!! THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK!!! IF YOUR READING THIS AND STILL HAVENT GIVEN FEEDBACK SHAME ON YOU! BUT PLZ DO!!!! WELL HERE'S THE NEXT CHAPTER!
Chapter 17 Advasaries, Mischief, and Mystery
Herbology with Professor Sprout proved quite as much fun as Charms had, and Sirius and James in particular proved so skilled in Transfiguration that even Professor McGonagall seemed to show a hint of pride. But now they were all walking dispiritedly towards Professor Binns's History of Magic classroom.
"Perhaps it won't be as boring as we've been hearing," Remus suggested hopefully. "I've read a bit about magical history, and some of the stuff is actually quite interesting. All about goblin rebellions, you know. And the Pixie Protection Act of 1643."
He had brightened up considerably over the morning, and was looking a little healthier now.
"I don't know," Frank answered mournfully. "I bumped into Damian from Hufflepuff after Transfiguration. He's got a brother in third year, and he says Professor Binns is lousy."
"Oooohh, I wouldn't say that so loud if I were you, ickle firsty," an evil voice trilled.
Startled, they stopped short and looked around them. A colourful creature with a huge and ugly bow tie came bursting out of an empty classroom to their right. He stopped just in front of Frank and eyed him with a wicked grin on his face. Then, so suddenly that it made them jump, he stuck out his tongue and made a rude noise. He zoomed round them and came to a halt, hanging upside down in front of Remus.
"Who are you?" Remus asked.
The creature snorted.
"Not very polite, are you?" it complained. "I'm Peeves the poltergeist, if that's anything to you. And who are you, if I might ask?"
"Remus Lupin," Remus answered.
Peeves chuckled evilly and did several somersaults. When he stopped, this time he was the right way up.
"I've heard about you," he said with a menacing tone in his voice. "Oh yes I have."
He paused, and when he went on it was in a strange, high and chanting voice, barely audible but none the less unpleasant for it.
"Loony, loopy, Lupin. Loony, loopy, Lupin."
"Oh shut up, Peeves," Sirius barked, striding past the poltergeist. "Come on, you lot, or we'll be late."
The others followed him at a run, for Peeves was now grabbing hold of everything he could find and hurling it after them, still repeating the little chant that seemed to amuse him so greatly.
They reached the History of Magic classroom just in time, and slumped into some empty seats at the back. Looking around while getting his breath back, James suddenly felt a pair of cold, hard eyes on him. He looked across the classroom, and his eyes connected with those of Severus Snape. James held the other boy's gaze and wondered vaguely what it was about the lad that instinctively made him dislike him so much.
* * *
Over the weeks that followed, James tried to overcome his dislike of Severus Snape, but found that he could not. Quite the contrary. However much he tried to be polite, if not actually friendly, the more Snape seemed to endeavour to make himself disagreeable. He spoke to Sirius about it, but Sirius just shrugged.
"I don't know why you worry about it," Sirius said. "He's obviously just not willing to be civil."
James had not been satisfied with that, but had let the matter rest, especially when even good-natured Remus had agreed with Sirius.
And so they had decided to avoid Snape and his fellow Slytherins as far as possible. School work came easy to James, Sirius and Remus, who had already studied some of the spells they were learning now at home, and they all did their best to help Peter along quickly, so that they had plenty of time to spare after lessons. They had set about exploring the castle and grounds of Hogwarts, sketching down every new staircase and hidden room they came across on a sheet of old parchment.
The end of their first month at Hogwarts was now nearing to a close, and it felt to the four friends both that the time so far had flown by, and yet also as though it had been a lifetime of friendship and fun and mischief, for never in as long as any save perhaps Dumbledore himself could remember had Hogwarts known a set of mischief makers as devious as "Potter and Black's little gang". Frank Longbottom and his friend Damian Diggle from Hufflepuff were sometimes included in the pranks they played on the teachers, but mainly the four of them kept to themselves.
They were sitting at the end of the Gryffindor table together one afternoon in October, enjoying some scones and tea, when Professor McGonagall suddenly entered the Hall and came straight over to them.
"Sorry to interrupt," she said briskly. "Could I have a word, Lupin?"
Remus looked around at his friends, then got up and followed the professor out of the Hall. His friends waited for twenty minutes, but he did not return. Finally, Sirius got up from the table.
"Well," he said, "I'm not spending the rest of the day in here. I'm going outside for a bit. Coming, James?"
James shook his head, looking puzzled. "No, I'll wait here for a bit longer. When Remus comes back, we'll come out and join you."
"James, I think if he was coming back down, he'd be here by now," Sirius objected.
"Perhaps Professor McGonagall's not finished with him yet," James said. "I'm waiting here."
Sirius shrugged. "Suit yourself," he said. "What about you, Pete? You coming out?"
Peter shot a glance at James, but then he rose and followed Sirius.
James stayed behind, his brow furrowed, waiting. He sat there for about half an hour, but still Remus did not come back. At last, James got up and made his way back to their common room. He climbed the stairs to their dormitory and pushed the door open. The room was quiet, but a boy was sitting alone by the open window, the crisp afternoon breeze playing in his hair.
"Remus! Here you are," James exclaimed. "We were waiting for you to come back."
Slowly, Remus turned to face him. He looked tired and care-worn, though James found it hard to make out his expression properly in the gloom of the tower room.
"What's the matter, Remus?" James asked gently.
Remus swallowed and hesitated, as though he didn't quite know what to say. He turned back to look out of the window.
"It's - my mum," he said at last, still not looking at James. "She's ill."
"Oh," said James. "I'm sorry."
"I have to go home and see her," Remus went on.
"Yes," James agreed. "Yes, of course."
He stood in silence for a while, unsure how to react. He thought that Mrs. Lupin's illness must be pretty serious to make it necessary for Remus to leave school.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" he asked at length.
"No. Just - just tell the others for me, will you?"
James hesitated, then he began to stretch out a hand to touch Remus's shoulder. But just at that moment, Remus rose and with a hoarse "I'd better go," he snapped up his cloak and hurried from the room.
* * *
James found it hard to sleep that night. He tossed and turned for what felt like hours. An owl hooted somewhere outside. James rubbed his eyes and sat up in bed. He pulled the curtains around his four-poster aside a fraction and peered out with blurry eyes. Finding his glasses on the cabinet beside his bed, he put them on and went over to the window. There he sat on the window ledge, staring out into the night at the grounds below. They were unusually bright tonight, for a full moon hung over the Forbidden Forest. James liked to look out of this window. From here he could see all the way down to Hagrid's hut, and to the whomping willow, its leaves rustling quietly in the night breeze. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, thinking about Remus, and how worried he would be in Remus's place, if his own mother were ill.
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