Chapter 52 : Tomorrow Will Shine Again Golden
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Tonight we forget everything
And we stay the night
. . .
That today I know that tomorrow will shine again golden
And bring our hearts back home
"Tell me the story again," Anastasia urged.
We were all lounging in the same position. Our heads at the feet of our beds, and our ankles crossed in the air at the headboards of our four-posters. Remus had used to extra-special magic powers to push all the beds into the middle of the room, so we were all close to each other on our last night together.
Yes, that’s right; it was the day before the last day of Hogwarts. (For us Seventh years, at least.)
"Do you really have to hear it again?" Pete groaned. "Anna, we tell you that story every year."
She rolled her eyes at Pete, extra-smiley. "Of course I have to hear it again! Especially since this is your last fucking day! It’s like the reverse!"
We all sighed, shaking our heads at the over-excited nutter. "Alright, guys, I’ve got this," I claimed.
And I launched into the epic tale of how the Marauders and I met.
"So, we all started out as a bunch of misfits . . ."
James Potter, haughty and eleven years old, arrived at Platform nine and three-quarters with his parents. He stepped onto the platform and casually surveyed the goings-on, pretending that he wasn’t impressed out of his mind.
"Come on, James," his father nudged him in the back with a knowing smile. "You’ve got seven years to take a gander at all of this; we need you on the train in time."
James attempted to stutter that, no, he hadn’t been completely impressed, but realized it was futile. His dad seemed to know everything. James tried to ignore the people that gaped at him and his parents as they walked by. You see, in the Wizarding World, James’ parents were kind of a big deal. They were co-departmental heads of the Magical Law-Enforcement Branch at the Ministry of Magic; the Aurors.
Of course, he found himself gaping in a very similar manner as he passed a familiar face - Mrs. Black. He knew her well from the pictures and talk around the dinner table. She was scolding a young boy, who must have been her son.
James walked by, in unawares about just what kind of chastising the boy was receiving.
"Now, your father an I expect you to be in Slytherin." The woman’s voice was not harsh. However, it was rather condescending and derisive.
"Yes, mum," the boy replied robotically.
"And make friends with the right kind of people, not the wrong sort."
"Yes, mum," he repeated.
"Good," the greying, regal woman replied, satisfied.
A few meters over, young Peter Pettigrew was being fawned over by his slightly over-protective, single mother.
"Now, Peter, are you sure you’ve got everything?"
"Yes, Mum," he assured his mother. "I know I’ve got everything."
"Are you positive?"
"Yes!" he asserted, becoming annoyed.
"Don’t take that tone with my, mister," his mothered warned.
Peter sighed; that sort of thing happened a lot.
"Now, have you packed enough underwear?"
"Mum!" Peter cried, before groaning and dragging his eyes away from his mother and to the entrance of the platform, where a small boy was hurrying onto the platform.
Running late, something that never happened to Remus Lupin, was happening to him at that moment. He and his parents nervously rushed onto the platform, with only five minutes to say their goodbyes and get Remus on the train.
Remus was never late, you see, but coming to Hogwarts was a last minute decision. Very last minute.
Remus’ mother put her arms around her nervous son. "Remember, honey, you’re worth just as much as any of your classmates," she assured him. "More, because you’re so strong."
"Not too many shenanigans, son," his dad advised, gripping his shoulders in a fatherly sort of way once his mother let go. "Only a few; remember the limb that Dumbledore has gone out on for you."
"I remember," he mumbled.
"Alright, son. We love you." His parents embraced him in a quick hug, and sent him off onto the train.
Anastasia was bouncing up and down giddily. It really never ceased to amaze me how easily she was entertained.
"Now, despite my parents’ near celebrity status, I wasn’t instantly popular. In fact, everyone was too intimidated to talk to me . . ."
The train ride had been a rather miserable one for James. He had spent the majority of his time roaming the halls, being gaped at. If it wasn’t that, he was hiding out in the loo so it didn’t appear that he passed any of compartments too often; it wouldn’t do to have people know that he couldn’t find a seat.
None of the students his age had invited him to sit with them; they had all rushed past James in a nervous sort of way. And he certainly hadn’t expected any open invites from the older students. However, his lack of compartment was partially his fault as well, he admitted to himself. Despite his slight arrogant nature, James wasn’t exactly brilliant at going up and talking to complete strangers.
He had looked for the kind red-headed girl that he had spoken to on the platform much earlier; he felt perfectly comfortable asking to sit with her. But, to James’ dismay, he couldn’t find her sweet smiling face again.
James was thrilled when a voice sounded throughout the train, saying that it would be arriving at Hogsmeade station in ten minutes time. He had already changed into his school robes (during his one of many trips to the loo.)
When the train came to a complete stop, and the doors were pulled open, he leapt excitedly off the train. James never was good at being cooped up for long periods of time.
"Firs’ years, over here!" James turned to the sound of the gruff voice. It emanated from a particularly large man. James was fairly sure that he was the Groundskeeper of Hogwarts, and that his name was Hagrid; he had come to visit for dinner once when James was a bit younger.
"James Potter!" Hagrid boomed, when he caught sight of James. "Good ter see yer, lad!"
"Er, good to see you to?" James was standing next to the giant man, feeling very short, and slightly intimidated.
"That’s m’boy!" boomed Hagrid. "Now, hurry up an’ get in one o’ these boats!’ He gestured one extremely large, slightly grimy hand towards fifty-or-so small row-boats (sans oars) floating in the dark lake before him.
James shrugged and climbed into a boat, hoping that this grand feast he had heard about would be better than the train ride.
It turned out that it was, but only because of the food. All James could recall from that few hours time, was the sorting hat speaking to him.
"So, you’re a Potter man?"
"Er, yes?" James thought.
"The Potters have been coming to Hogwarts since it’s beginning nearly one thousand years ago," the hat informed James.
"You’ve got lots of heart kid." The slightly senile hat changed subjects without warning.
"Thanks?" James was far to confused at the moment to form more than one word responses to the sorting hat’s claims.
"Yeah, yeah. There’s no question where you’re going, kiddo. GRYFFINDOR!"
"If my first day was unpleasant, then Sirius’ was far, far worse."
Sirius, already towering over most of his classmates, walked cautiously through the corridors of the moving train.
Instead he walked up and down until he found one compartment that had a lone girl sitting in it. He knocked quietly, and when the red-head looked up and smiled, he pushed the door open.
"Hi. D’you mind if I sit here?" Sirius asked, gesturing around the compartment.
"Not at all; it’s fine." She smiled at him as he collapsed onto the seat across from her. "I’m Lily Evans."
"Sirius Black." He smiled winningly.His mother had, of course, suggested that he go find his cousins and sit with them, but he had no desire whatsoever to do that.
Mother dearest would not approve of this, he thought smugly. She’s almost surely not a Pureblood, or Half-blood either.
"Are you a Muggle-born?"
"Yes . . . Is that a problem?"
"No, no, not at all," he assured her. "Just wondering."
She smiled again as he leaned back in his seat and looked out the window. He dozed off for a while, and when he woke, the compartment door was open and Lily was gone.
Must have gone to the loo, he thought.
Sirius was about to close his eyes again when he heard something out in the corridor. He hopped up and saw a bunch of older students (ugh, one of them was his cousin) cornering Lily.
"Let her alone, guys!" he yelled running up to Lily.
Sirius glared at his rather vindictive, snobby cousin - Narcissa, whose waist was encircled the arm of her Seventh year, Head Boy boyfriend - Lucius Malfoy.
"Can’t do that, I’m afraid, dear cousin, she's a Mudblood," Narcissa said flightily, laughing as Lily cringed and tried to shrink away into the wall.
"That’s no reason to hurt her!"
"What did you say?" This time it was not Narcissa’s vicious reply, but some other student he didn’t know. This boy, however, undoubtably knew him.
"That that’s no reason to hurt her?"
"You’re not going blood traitor on us, are you, Sirius?" Narcissa taunted. "I always expected it from Regulus, but not you."
Sirius resisted the urge to hit her (he surely could have done some damage too; he was as tall as she was) and instead grabbed Lily roughly by the arm, knowing that as he dragged her away, his cousin and her friends wouldn’t come after him. He knew they would write his mother, however.
A small price to pay, he reasoned. This girl was so nice; I can’t let them hurt her.
He pulled her roughly back into the compartment and shut the door tight. "Are you alright?"
Lily nodded shakily. "I was just on my way back from the loo and they cornered me. I don’t even know how they knew I was a Muggle-born."
"Trust me, they always know."
Sirius and Lily were silent for a few moments. "Sirius, what’s a Mudblood?"
"It’s a really nasty way of saying ‘Muggle-born.’ I’ve personally never cared for it, but my family just loves it."
"Sirius, I don’t mean to sound rude but . . . Are your family bad people?"
"I don’t know, Lily. I don’t know."
The remainder of the ride was pleasant enough, with a slightly strained atmosphere, due to the events that had transpired in the corridor.
Sirius sat with Lily on the boat ride across the lake. He marveled at the castle’s beauty.
And to think, this is my home for the next seven years. The thought brought a smile to Sirius’ young, handsome face.
In their lives, all people have that one, defining moment that changes the entire rest of their lives. For Sirius, that moment was the sorting ceremony. He had clambered atop the three-legged stool and sat patiently, waiting to be sorted.
"Black, is it?"
"Yes," he thought. His mother had explained the whole ordeal of sorting to him; he had known what was coming and how to react.
"I presume you want to be in Slytherin, then," the hat guessed. "But . . . Your mind is far less hostile than your forefathers and such."
Oh, dear sweet Salazar, Godric, Helga and Rowena. What have I just done?
He sat quietly and tried not to bother his housemates during the feast. A few people attempted to talk with him, but the chatter was extremely uncomfortable. Others did not hide their contempt at having a Black in the flawless Gryffindor house.
In fact, one Fifth year even went as far to deter Sirius in his path to the common room after the feast.
"Hey, mate. Mate!" Sirius looked around in curiosity before finally realizing that the older student was talking to him. "Yeah, you!" He walked up to Sirius and put a friendly arm on his shoulder.
"Hey, listen, I just want to apologize for some of the stiffs in this house. They’ll just take a little while to get used to having a Black in the house."
"Er, thanks," Sirius said, smiling. He looked ahead to see that his fellow First years (and the two prefects that had been leading them) had disappeared. "Umm, d’you think I can follow you to the common room, I’ve lost everyone."
The Fifth year smiled again, but in a far more malicious way. "Oh, I don’t think you’ll be able to do that."
Five minutes later found Sirius, hung from a torch-holder on the wall by his pants (sans torch, of course) kicking and thrashing and screaming, hoping that someone would find him.
It was nearly another ten minutes before some kind soul from Hufflepuff happened to pass by and help him.
So the Gryffindors hate me, the Slytherins hate me, and I don’t give a fuck about Ravenclaw . . . I’m so transferring to Hufflepuff.
"And poor Peter kept getting ignored," I narrated.
Peter was on the train and trying to find a seat a minute before it began to move. Old students and new students alike moved quickly up and down the corridors, trying to meet up with friends, or find something they had dropped earlier.
Peter chanced at getting help from one of them. He poked one rather slow moving student in the side. " ’Scuse me, d’you think you could help me?" The girl simply brushed past him.
Must not have felt the tap, Peter reasoned.
He ran up to another boy, hoping this one could help him. He tapped kid on the shoulder, a little harder than he had tapped the last girl. "Can you help me, please?" he asked timidly.
"What do you want, kid?" the guy had been talking to someone and looked rather annoyed at being interrupted.
"Er, I was hoping you could help me find a compartment. I don’t know what to do."
"Just look around, kid," the boy answered dismissively, "I’m sure someone’ll let you sit with them."
Peter whimpered and scampered off down the train.
He spent the majority of his ride (unbeknownst) in the same way that his soon-to-be-friend, James, did. His first evening in the castle was no better; worried about the attention that First years got when they went and sat up the school, Peter swayed nervously in line, dreading when it was his turn.
"Pettigrew, Peter." However, when his name was called, he was slightly shocked (and also a little hurt) that not a single pair of eyes spared a glance towards the stout, nervous First year.
Peter jumped in his seat and didn’t respond; he neither knew how to, nor wanted to. The hat was intimidating.
"I’m not that intimidating. Relax, I’m only a voice in your head; I’m meant to see your mind and find out where you best belong. Weren’t you listening to the song."
"Sorry, er, no," Peter thought, feeling foolish.
"Ah, well, that is often the case. Now, onto the sorting. You are a very timid boy, Peter Pettigrew. However, I see a thirst to prove that you have worth. In between all that, I sense a fierce loyalty to all you care about, even if it is for your own personal comfort and gain. I also believe that you have a need to be well-liked and recepted."
"So, that sounds a bit like Slytherin?" Peter’s mother had explained the general characteristics of the houses before she sent him off into the world.
He had rather been hoping to get Gryffindor. I could never be a Gryffindor; who was I kidding?
"Sometimes, a Gryffindor is a Gryffindor simply because they’re strong enough to be one."
"I’m not strong enough," Peter lamented.
"You could be," the hat said.
"I want to be. I want to shock everyone. I want to be the Gryffindor hero."
"A true hero is always a hero by accident." A warning voice reverberated throughout Peter’s head.
Peter thought nothing in particular; only of how much he wanted to be in Gryffindor, now that he knew he could.
"And so it shall be - GRYFFINDOR!"
"And poor, poor Remus had the opposite problem that Peter did. As much as people tried to talk to him, he was far too fearful and reserved to respond."
Remus, after leaving his trunk in the corner of the Hogwarts Express where many of the other students seemed to, took a leisurely stroll down the corridor of the slowly moving train. He was perfectly content to wander alone; Remus had only a few friends back home, none of whom knew of his true identity as a wizard, or his lycanthropy.
He ambled slowly, before deciding to stop and lean against an empty stretch of wall; for whatever reason, there were no compartment doors.
"You need help, mate?" Remus looked up (he’d been staring at a small black dot on the floor) to see a concerned looking older student.
"Er, no, thanks. I’m a-alright," Remus stuttered nervously.
He can tell; he can tell! I just know it! I’m busted! The train will turn around, and there will be chaos because there’s an eleven-year-old werewolf on the train, Remus thought frantically.
"Alright." The boy seemed friendly enough. "Just search me out if you need help." He smiled some more and continued on his way.
Phew, that was a close one.
Remus decided that standing there, in the middle of the corridor, would have an adverse effect on his desire to stay unnoticeable. He walked about a bit more, peeking into the compartments, looking for a particularly spacey or daft looking group; he couldn’t risk some perceptive bird or bloke figuring out the secret that he was harboring.
He ended up sitting quietly with a chatty group of girls.
"What’s your name?" One asked excitedly.
"Remus," he replied politely.
"I’m Sophie," she offered, smiling. He nodded with a small smile, if only so that he didn’t appear rude.
Over the course of the six hour train ride, Remus dodged questions, and when he couldn’t, made as many one-word answers as possible. It wasn’t that he was an anti-social kid, he was just, maybe, a little bit paranoid.
He hopped inconspicuously off the train when the time came and immediately gravitated towards Hagrid, Hogwarts’ Groundskeeper, whom he’d met when he visited the school with his parents and Professor Dumbledore over the summer holiday.
"Hello, Hagrid." Remus tugged shyly at the large man’s tailcoats.
"Why, hullo there, Remus! How’re you?"
"Alright," he answered, looking down. "Erm, what am I supposed to do?"
"Go find some friends and ride in the boat with ‘em. All Firs’ years have to cross the lake."
Remus looked down at the ground; he didn’t want to have to find some friends. There was too much of a chance that they’d find out his secret and blow his chances at having a real life. However, he realized that he couldn’t ride with Hagrid even if he’d wanted too. Hagrid would barely fit in those tiny rowboats, let alone with another person.
So, Remus sighed and hopped into the first empty boat that he could see. He was joined by two other boys, both looking fairly shy as well. Remus was thankful that none of them said anything. Even if he had had something to say, the view of the castle, reflecting in the dark lake was enough to silence him.
It’s beautiful, he thought. And the realization that he was finally at Hogwarts, finally able to lead a normal (ish) life set in. I can’t screw this up; no one can find out.
Remus’ subdued nature seemed to emanate from everyone, once they arrived into the Great Hall a bit later. Each and every First Year was nervous and fidgety. Remus bounced uneasily from one foot to the other as he waited for -
Alright, calm down. No one’s staring at you. Don’t worry.
He took a deep breath as he made his way to the stool in front of the entire student body. An entire student body that had the potential to find out that he was a werewolf.
He choked on his own air has he sat down on the stool and the Professor slid the sorting hat over his head.
Remus made to cry out; to assure his peers that the hat was lying, before he realized that no one had heard. Only he had.
"Er, how did you know?"
"Because it is the only thought going through your head right now. I can’t even sort you properly."
Remus took a breath and tried to relax his mind.
"Or . . . Can I?
"I remember Dumbledore talking about you, I think. First werewolf to attend Hogwarts. Ever. They’re planted some Whomping Willow tree, for yours and other students’ safety. They’ve gone through plenty of measures to assure that this secret doesn’t leak.
"Really? Remus sighed in relief. "That’s good news."
"Yes, yes. Now, where to put you? You’re certainly a brilliant one - your fierce hunger for knowledge can certainly be satisfied by your Ravenclaw brethren. Or, perhaps Hufflepuff, where your friends will accept you as they are, and you , in turn - never judgmental - will do the same for them.
"But, no. Where you truly belong is in Gryffindor. Where someone like you - so terrified, yet facing your worst fear for something that matters more - belongs."
"Oh, I don’t know, I really liked the sound of Hufflepuff -"
"In Gryffindor, you will make great friends. Not only Hufflepuffs are loyal . . ."
"Yes, I understand, but, really -"
Oh, bugger, Remus thought.
Anastasia was smiling giddily, as she always did when one of us would narrate the story of how we met to her. She found it as exciting the first time as she did this time. So child-like in the way she was entertained.
"Finish it! Finish it!" she demanded, bouncing excitedly on her bed.
"Alright, calm down. We don’t need a hole in the ceiling." I cleared my throat and launched into the epic finale.
Peter, Remus and James (the only male, Gryffindor First years, besides Sirius Black, who had mysteriously disappeared) were shown into their dormitory by the particularly kind Prefect.
"Now, don’t hesitate to ask me, or Marietta if you have any questions. We’re always here to help. Everyone else . . . Not so much."
He had given a small wave, before calling down the steps to his female counterpart. He and Marietta had decided to wait a bit before informing the Headmaster that the Black boy had gone missing; perhaps, he was just lost. And neither of the pair was one to judge.
"Er, hi. I’m James," he offered his hand bravely to Peter and Remus, both rather timid.
"Peter." He smiled for the first time since he had left home. James seemed plenty nice, and wasn’t ignoring him as everyone else had that day.
The other boy looked shyly towards the ground. A particularly observant person might have thought that he was hiding something. However, the two eleven-year-old boys that surrounded him just thought him nervous. "Remus," he mumbled towards the floor.
"Remus, ol’ chap, buck up! We’re all friends here," James said, taking back some of the natural charisma that had deserted him earlier that day.
"I’ve just had such a . . . not so great day; I don’t always react well with people."
Peter snorted. "People don’t always react well with me."
"A combination of the both, lads," James said of himself.
The trio smiled at each other; they were a little group of misfits.
James was just about to say something when the dormitory door slammed open, and Sirius Black - handsome devil, suave debonair extraordinare, in all his shining glory -"
"Sirius!" I yelled, whacking my mate over the head. "My story; stop adding your own commentary!
"As I was saying . . ."
James was just about to say something when the dormitory slammed open, and Sirius Black stormed inside, muttering.
"What are you looking at?" he snapped.
"Look, mate," James said, and not in a mean way. "If you don’t want to be here, then ask Dumbledore if you can switch houses."
Sirius’ angry face softened immediately. "I’m sorry." His tone was entirely different than it had been a few moments before. "I’m just not in such a great mood. Apparently, Gryffindor doesn’t want a Black amongst their ranks; some fucking dumbarse Fifth year hung me by my robes from the wall, and I was hanging there for fifteen minutes before some nice Hufflepuff let me down. Sorry if I’m not in a great mood."
James’ face lit up. "That’s perfect! You can join us! We’re a bunch of misfits as well! None of us have had the greatest first day . . ."
"You’re okay hanging with a Black?" Sirius inquired, barely daring to believe it.
James smiled widely. "Don’t knock it ‘till you try it, eh?"
Sirius nodded. "Never a truer statement."
"Come on, mates." James beckoned this new friends to the center of the room. He put his hand into the middle of the circle they made, and encouraged Peter, Remus, and Sirius to do the same. "Here’s to friendship. And I christen us, the, er . . ."
"The Misfits!" Remus cried excitedly.
"And the rest," I finished smoothly, "is history. Everyone knows that we gained the reputation as the coolest kids (Third year and below) in school. And we were nick-named the Marauders after people realized our aptitude for getting into trouble.
"And then we met you. And then we found out Remus was a werewolf and didn’t totally abandon him like he thought we would. And then Remus did it. And then Pete did it. And then we spent the summer with Anna - and then the rest was history - again. ‘Cause now we’re just how we’re supposed to be; always together, and completely inseperable."
"Amen, brother!" Anna cried.
"Amen," everyone chorused.
A/N3: On a more plot related note - next chapter is Graduation, and the official last day of Hogwarts for the Maraudes. But, never fear! Damon and Darren are coming to visit over the summer. Sounds fun, eh? :D
A/N4: Fun facts! Yaaaaay!
Anna: wanted to be Mary Poppins when she was seven.
Darren: has a younger sisters and two younger brothers.
James: has mad poker skills. (Mad, in the case meaning awesome, for all you non-New Yorkers out there.)
Sirius: did not start the severe hatred of his family until his Third year.
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