Mischief Managed Author's Note:Hello! This story is going to cover the Marauders during their seven years at Hogwarts! I do not, however, plan to create a sort of day-by-day documentary for every single year. This story will contain a series of one shots (or depending on the issue, very short stories) about certain events.
Please note that I may not update this story in any certain order. I might write about fifth year one day, and decide to do a one shot about second year the next. Should you decide to follow this story, you might have to check earlier chapters to see which one is “new,” as I will try to keep them in chronological order when posting. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Lastly, I disclaim: Harry Potter world, characters and canon information in this story belong to J. K. Rowling. Everything else belongs to me.Elements of this chapter are derived from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter thirty-three (The Prince’s Tale). The scene in question has been rewritten so as not to copy JKR’s work and in accordance with HPFF's 3 line rule.
The sunny, bright platform was crowded beyond belief. Here and there, students milled about and chatted casually, catching up on their summers. Sirius Black looked at his surroundings haughtily as his father steered him through the crowds, one hand on his shoulder. Behind them, his mother was more or less dragging his younger brother. When people saw them coming, they automatically moved to the side. The Blacks simply put off that aura.
Sirius wasn’t sure what to think of this. Students looked at him almost in fear as he marched along. A pleasurable squirm was welling up inside of him at this thought, that he could hold so much above their heads even as a first year. At the same time, he wondered whether he would be able to make friends, or if everyone would stay away from him. It was mildly disturbing to see other children look at him so darkly. He stubbornly held his head a little higher as he walked.
But then he thought of his cousins, Bellatrix and Narcissa. They were Blacks, too, and Bellatrix was particularly evil. Miraculously, she managed to be quite popular as well.
Bellatrix could charm and flatter and manipulate, flirt and sparkle and gesture. She always got her way, always disregarded the rules, always blamed someone else when she was caught. She was gone now, she had already graduated. Secretly, Sirius was glad of this. Narcissa, however, remained at the school. She would be starting fifth year. Narcissa was like ice, but her beauty seemed to capture the attention of every boy in a ten mile radius.
He had one other cousin as well. Her name was Andromeda, and she was starting her seventh year. But Sirius wasn’t allowed to speak of her. The Black family was carrying on as if she no longer existed. She was dead to them. She was also dating a Muggle-born wizard.
Sirius didn't know what happened to Andromeda. He wasn't sure where she had stayed for the summer holidays. He saw her standing near the scarlet steam engine and chatting with friends. He almost waved, but stopped himself. All he needed was to have his mother scolding him in front of all these people. Still, he eyed her curiously as he passed. She looked sad. She smiled slightly when Sirius caught her eye, but then she turned away before the rest of the family could recognize her.
It was then that Sirius realized that Andromeda didn't care about them anymore, either.
The Black family stopped walking when they approached Sirius’s aunt and uncle. Nearby stood Narcissa, chatting with Lucius Malfoy, her equally heartless boyfriend. The family approved of Lucius Malfoy. Sirius hated him. Even now, Lucius smiled down at Sirius as if he were an infant, as if he only gave Sirius the time of day to get on Narcissa's good side.
Narcissa didn't care, Sirius knew. He wondered how Lucius could be so unaware of Narcissa's disregard for anyone but herself. He smirked at the older blond boy. He still hated him.
“Good morning, Sirius,” greeted Aunt Druella, and he tore his gaze away to bow respectably. She bent down to his level. Sirius wished she wouldn’t; it made him feel like a small child. “Are you excited to be starting at Hogwarts?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said solemnly.
“You’re going to make the family so proud,” she told him fondly, smoothing a shiny lock of his hair behind his ear. She smiled lovingly.
Sirius felt sick. His aunt and uncle had always favored him, had always lavished gifts and attention upon him. He was the Black heir, after all, being the eldest male in their generation. He was a king in his house. It was part of why, he suspected, Bellatrix was so rotten to him. Perhaps it was also why Narcissa completely ignored his existence. Neither of them seemed to mind his younger brother as much as they minded him.
Sirius turned to his father.
“Can I go put my things on the train, Father?”
Orion Black began to nod his approval, but was interrupted by his wife, Sirius’s mother.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Sirius. That’s what we brought Kreacher for.” The sharp woman snapped her fingers briskly and the family house elf appeared with a pop.
Kreacher bowed low. “Mistress called?”
“Take Sirius’s things, Kreacher. Make sure he receives the best compartment on the train.”
Kreacher glanced at Sirius, who grimaced in embarrassment. “Anything for the young master,” he said, grabbing Sirius’s trunk. He and the trunk disappeared with a crack.
Sirius looked around self consciously. Nobody else had a house elf to carry their things around. To his horror, Aunt Druella confirmed exactly what he was thinking.
“Everyone will be so impressed,” she told him in admiration, petting his hair once more.
Sirius was feeling decisively smothered. He decided to try his luck again. “May I go sit on the train, Father?”
Again, Orion started to respond and was interrupted by his wife. Sirius rolled his eyes and thought that the only reason his parents had remained married for so long was because his father simply never argued.
“Where are your manners, Sirius?” Walburga scolded gently. “You are old enough now to mingle with adults. Why don’t you present yourself to our friends? The Malfoys are here, and I know the Lestranges are sending off their youngest son for his last year. I'm certain I saw the Rosiers as well.”
Sirius sighed reluctantly. “Yes, Mother.”
“We'll be along shortly, Sirius, do let them know.” She released Regulus's hand long enough to straighten Sirius's annoyingly stiff collar.
Sirius turned and disappeared through the crowd in search of family friends. The moment he was out of sight of his mother, however, he loosened his tie slightly and hurried towards the train.
Sirius didn’t mean to disobey. He simply needed to get away from all the restrictions now and then. He was a free spirit. Guilt tugged his conscience, however, when he thought of his brother, Regulus. He wouldn’t get to say goodbye, not unless he ventured back into his parents’ circle.
He would rather die. At least at that moment, in which he was feeling particularly claustrophobic. He loosened his tie a little more and began to climb onto the train, pondering sending his brother a letter later tonight. His way was suddenly blocked, however, by a boy with messy hair and glasses.
“Pardon me,” said Sirius, flustered. He tried to step around the boy.
James Potter leaned to the side, further blocking the path. “Skipping out on family orders?” he asked smugly.
Sirius scowled. “What’s it to you?” he demanded. “And how would you know?”
James shrugged and crossed his arms over his chest. “I overheard.”
Sirius raised an eyebrow and shouldered past James, deciding simply to ignore him. He began to glance in the compartments he passed, looking for Kreacher and his luggage. To his dismay, the boy followed.
“So you’re him, then,” said James arrogantly.
“Sorry,” Sirius returned, annoyed and distracted. He didn't like the boy's tone. “What do you mean?”
“You’re the school snot.”
Sirius turned quickly, his fists clenched in anger. He didn’t even know this boy. “Sod off,” he glowered. “I don’t even know what you’re on about.”
James grinned pleasurably. He had been trying to annoy Sirius, after all. “I hear there’s one every year,” he chattered, continuing to follow Sirius. “More often than not, it’s a Slytherin. And I’ve heard that the Blacks have held that position for the last nine years or so.”
Sirius, after pondering whether to hit the boy or not, just shook his head and turned to continue his search. “What position?” he asked over his shoulder.
James laughed. “I told you. The school snot. The bully. The pampered child that holds his or her bloodline, social status, money and skills over the heads of everyone else in the school. The suck up, the teacher’s pet, the one that gets away with murder.” He listed them off, counting them on his fingers. When he looked up, it was to find that Sirius had turned around and was surveying him with his hands on his hips.
“What?” asked James innocently.
“The only one doing any bullying here is you,” pointed out Sirius. “I’m just trying to find my things.”
James blushed and scratched his head, his fingers getting lost somewhere in his thick tufts of black hair. “Right. I suppose you have a point.”
At last, Sirius spotted Kreacher. He entered the compartment. Kreacher gave a low bow at the sight of him and then disappeared. James raised his eyebrows (who brings a house elf to travel?) but didn’t say anything. He followed Sirius into the compartment and flopped onto the bench.
Sirius sighed at him and crossed his arms. He glared suspiciously at James. “What are you still following me for if you think I’m going to be so awful, eh?”
James shrugged casually. “Perhaps if I can make friends with you before you’re released to the Slytherins, maybe I can save the rest of the school. Maybe, if I were to make your horrible future known to you, you’ll decide not to act that way. If I can show you how ridiculous it is, I mean.” James looked curiously at him, and then added, “Maybe I can save you from being like them.”
“You’re absurd,” sniffed Sirius, sitting down across from the boy. James surveyed him earnestly, biting his lower lip, and Sirius felt he should say more, mostly in his own defense after James's incredibly long list of expectations (which had, in fact, made him feel like a git).
“I’m not really like my family, you know.”
“Oh yeah?” asked James doubtfully, slouching a little.
“I don’t like to mingle,” Sirius continued, wrinkling his nose. “I don’t enjoy dinner parties, or dressing up.” He loosened his tie a little more. “In fact, I feel like a lout, I’m the only one here wearing dress robes.”
“You look like a lout,” said James helpfully.
Sirius didn’t say anything, mostly because he knew what the boy said was true. Plus, he thought he’d look silly arguing while he was dressed as he was.
“My name is Sirius,” he lamented glumly after a moment.
“James,” responded the boy equally dully. “Potter,” he added as an afterthought.
Sirius raised an eyebrow at this. He recognized the surname. “Oh,” he mused thoughtfully. “You won’t be going into Slytherin, then.”
James looked aghast. “I bloody well hope not,” he said strongly. He crossed his arms and huffed indignantly, leaning back against the wall.
Sirius was quiet. James was very vocal, very intimidating. “It can’t be all bad,” he said after a moment, slightly defensively. “My whole family was in it, after all.”
James snorted and rolled his eyes. “Well, there you go, then,” he said wryly.
Sirius felt like he ought to defend his name. But then he thought of Bellatrix, charming and manipulating, dripping in diamonds and laughing cruelly. And he also thought of icy Narcissa, and, even though he wasn’t supposed to think about her, Andromeda crossed his mind as well. How could her family simply pretend she didn’t exist?
Then he thought of his overbearing mother and the ugly, angry look on her face as she'd blasted Andromeda's name off the family tapestry.
To his horror, the tiniest of smiles pulled ruefully at the corners of his mouth. “I suppose my family isn’t the most pleasant of people,” he admitted reluctantly. “Although we are quite popular in our own social circle.”
James looked at him with something like pity. Sirius didn’t like it at all. “Sirius,” said James carefully. “It’s a rather small circle, didn’t you know?”
Sirius had never thought about it before. But looking out the window at the platform, at all the hundreds of children milling about, and even more sitting on the train just as he was, he could see that there were far more wizards in the world than he ever imagined. He looked back at James, feeling mildly ashamed. He didn’t say anything. In fact, he rubbed at his eyes uncomfortably, just for something to do.
James was watching him lazily. At last, after a few moments had passed, he said something more.
“I think you’re right,” said he.
Sirius looked up.
“I don’t think you’re so much like them after all,” added James.
Sirius looked amused at this. “Oh?”
James shook his head, his lips pursed determinedly. When he spoke, it was slowly, curiously, thoughtfully. “You like to think,” he observed in a light tone, and he narrowed his eyes as he pondered Sirius.
It wasn’t a normal observation. Sirius tilted his head slightly as he eyed his companion. James seemed to understand something about him, something that Sirius himself wasn't even aware of.
“I know how quickly the Blacks judge the world, Sirius, but I think you at least wonder why before you go along with them.”
Sirius didn’t think his parents would like this conversation much. He looked away, back out the window, and clenched his jaw irritably. He could recognise the truth in the words, and it made him feel ashamed. Whether it was shame for his family, or shame for himself for being caught pondering their ways, he didn't know.
James followed his gaze and sighed.
“Do you think you’ll get in trouble for disobeying?” he asked Sirius after a moment. “For not going back to say goodbye and all?”
Sirius shrugged carelessly. “Probably,” he frowned. “I’ll probably get post for it. I don’t care. I don't. I had to get away from them. I was being smothered.”
James grinned in glee. “I noticed. I felt sorry for you.”
Sirius made a face at James. He didn’t think his family was so bad that an outsider would need to feel bad for him. It wasn’t as if he were being tortured.
“I don’t need pity,” he said firmly, and his tone was much haughtier than he'd intended it to be.
“Oh no,” agreed James smoothly. “Not pity. I just looked at you and said, ‘I’m glad I’m not that kid’. I’ll bet it’s boring, always having to be perfect.”
James understood things, was what Sirius realized in that moment.
“It is,” he admitted. “I have to take piano lessons. And flying lessons. And ballroom dancing lessons. I know how to set a table perfectly for guests. And I’m not allowed to play outdoors except for on very rare occasions when Mother wants my brother and me out of the house.”
“You hate it,” said James knowingly.
“I do.” Sirius immediately felt guilty, so he added, “A little.”
At that, James swiftly switched to Sirius’s bench so that they were sitting beside one another. “Do you know what I think?” he asked quietly. Sirius shook his head. “I keep wondering if you might end up sorted into another house. You don’t seem much like a Slytherin, not on the inside. That’d be rather funny, wouldn’t it?”
Sirius looked at James in horror. “Not really,” he said, aghast.
James, who quickly wiped a conspiratory grin from his face, sighed. “No,” he admitted in disappointment, glancing out at Sirius’s family again. “I suppose not, then.”
The train had already started to move when the compartment door opened. Sirius was mildly annoyed that people would simply come in uninvited. At the same time, he was interested in meeting new people and saw a great opportunity to begin making a name for himself.
It was a girl with red hair. “Hi,” she croaked hoarsely, before Sirius had a chance to give a proper greeting as he'd always been taught. “Can I sit here?”
Sirius narrowed his eyes. She looked upset - her eyes were red and swollen. He didn’t know how to deal with that, and he glanced at James, who shrugged back at him.
“Hallo,” said Sirius, looking back at her. He stood up, having been taught politeness, and let her have his seat beside James. He sat alone on the opposite bench instead.
“Thanks,” said the girl. She sat down and leaned into the window. Occasionally she sniffed, and when James and Sirius looked over, they were alarmed to see a tear roll down her face. They both turned red and looked quickly away again.
James didn’t seem to know what to do any better than Sirius did. He shrugged and the two boys continued a rowdy conversation about the Quidditch World Cup. They decided to ignore the girl, and perhaps if they annoyed her enough, she would leave and things could be less awkward.
After a few minutes, the door slid open again. This time, it was a boy with stringy black hair. Sirius raised an eyebrow at James at his appearance, but both boys decided to refrain from making rude comments so soon.
“There you are,” said the boy, spotting the red head. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”
He entirely ignored James and Sirius. His voice was concerned as he sat down across from the girl, stealing Sirius's window seat, and looked at her carefully.
It was clearly turning into a private conversation, particularly the bit when the girl told him she didn’t want to see him. Sirius and James quickly tried to tune the two out and continue their chat, although both found it particularly rude that the boy had simply invited himself into the compartment without a word, and then had begun an arguement on top of that. It was becoming difficult to ignore the boy and girl, and uncomfortable to have to sit in on.
It wasn’t until the word Slytherin was mentioned that both Sirius and James focused on the pair.
“Is that what house you wish to be in,” demanded James, glaring at the girl.
She glared back through watery green eyes.
“Really, James,” said Sirius indignantly, though half-heartedly. He was now sprawled lazily across the bench opposite his new friend.
“What house are you planning to be in, then?” demanded the strange boy, glaring at James and leaning forward challengingly.
“Gryffindor,” James stated proudly, and he sat up a little straighter. “My dad was in.”
The boy sneered. James’s eyes narrowed behind his glasses, and his mouth thinned to a grim line.
“I suppose if you’d rather be brawny than brainy,” the boy began snottily.
Sirius sat up quickly. He wasn’t sure why he felt defensive of his new friend already. He knew only that he and James seemed to share kindred spirits. James had understood him, had picked him out of the crowd almost immediately, had reached out to him. And James had accepted him despite their differences, even when Sirius was trying to be difficult. And besides, they had been having a rather good time during the journey so far.
He'd never had a real friend before, not unless he counted Regulus. He'd always been too good to play with the neighborhood children, at least according to his mother.
Besides, he didn't like the new boy. Or the crying girl, for that matter.
“I don’t think you’ve got either,” snapped Sirius smoothly, and he leaned forward as well, so that he and the other boy were inches away from each other's faces. “So where do you plan to go, then?”
James snorted and then laughed loudly, collapsing against the wall behind him. The girl flushed and stood angrily, glaring from Sirius to James. “Let’s go, Severus,” she demanded.
The two left the compartment amid high pitched, girly jeers and mocking and James grinned at Sirius, clapping him on the back triumphantly. “Bloody brilliant,” he complimented. “Good riddance, at any rate. Silly crying girls and their greasy boyfriends...”
“That was Severus Snape,” said Sirius darkly. “I never met him. I didn’t know it was him. Not until she said his name.”
“Who is he?” asked James curiously, sobering up at Sirius's attitude.
“I don’t know, really,” Sirius admitted. “My parents talk about their family sometimes. It’s not good. His mum was a Prince. The Princes had a good bloodline until she married. I don’t recognize the surname ‘Snape’.”
James rolled his eyes. “Bloodlines,” he said dismissively.
Sirius shrugged. “I don’t know the girl at all,” he added. “Perhaps a mudblood.”
Before he knew what was happening, Sirius found himself on the ground, on his back. James had grabbed the collar of his robes and dragged him to the floor, and then sat on top of him. James’s fist was raised; Sirius closed his eyes and waited for the punch.
It didn’t come.
“Tosser,” he grumbled, opening his eyes again.
James looked smug, like an explorer conquering new land. His arms were crossed over his chest as he straddled Sirius on the ground.
“Next time, though, I’ll hit you,” he threatened. “I nearly did just now, but I figured you didn’t know better.”
“For what?” Sirius demanded, annoyed. He struggled to get out from under James.
“My friends don’t say mudblood.” James climbed off of Sirius and sat back on the bench. “It’s a rotten thing to say, Sirius. You should see some of what my father has had to deal with involving cruelty towards Muggles. He’s an Auror, you know.”
Sirius rubbed his sore chest where James’s knee had been and scowled as he pushed himself off the ground. He almost said, who said I was your friend, but decided against it because he enjoyed James more than he wanted to admit.
Instead, he very stupidly snarled, “Mudblood,” simply to spite his new friend. He didn’t think James had the guts to hit him, anyway.
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