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Chapter 4 : This Band of Brothers
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Saturday morning. Seventh Year Boys Dormitory. 9:32 am.
James Potter woke, very slowly, from a tumultuous and almost sleepless night. Rolling over and kicking the sheets from him, the first thing he noticed as his eyesight came into focus, was a note stuck to his bedpost.
Perplexed as to why someone might leave a note like that, James ripped it down and began to read. The handwriting was extremely messy and not at all unlike Margie Bennett’s script punctuated every now and then, with the writing of Ana Hill. Quite suddenly, the note began to read itself aloud.
JAMES!!!! The handwritten note said, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR LIFE!!! LOOK AT THIS NOTE!!! OVER HERE!!!! ON THE BEDPOST!!!!
You are a complete twat-head.
Good. Now that you know that (or if you already did, that you know that we know that) we have SOMETHING TO ASK OF YOU.
DO NOT GO OUT OF THIS ROOM.
Do not snort at us young man! We are telling you, that you are in dire straights.
(“Ana told me to say that. I don’t actually know what that means,” Margie’s voice stage whispered. “It means that he’s in a bit of a pickle Margie,” Ana’s voice said.)
OH RIGHT. YOU ARE IN GRAVE DANGER!!!!
Professor McGonagall is looking for you. She is looking for you because of that very stupid thing you did just yesterday.
SHE SAYS SHE NEEDS TO SPEAK WITH YOU JAMES. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!!
PLEASE TELL US YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS JAMES. WE WOULD HAVE EXPECTED YOU TO KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS JAMES.
It means she is going to practically put you on trial in her Transfiguration classroom.
Please for the mental health of everyone in Gryffindor, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DORM.
And leave the rest to us.
Over and out.
Margie and Ana
P.S. Evie is also looking for you. Maybe avoid her too.
Despite the memory of yesterday’s events flooding back to him, James Potter chuckled. It amazed him how he had ended up with such incredibly loyal friends.
And therefore it was very important what he needed to do next.
James knew that these friends would protect him. He knew that they would defend the idiocy of his actions.
But James needed to face up to what he did to Henry Vale...and meet Professor McGonagall halfway.
You’ll be expelled, said that little voice that always seems to end up in these types of stories.
Remington has a plan…but if that fails, well then I deserve it, James said back to it.
James Potter may have deserved expulsion on this very day. But the events that were about to unfold, he certainly did not.
Saturday morning. Seventh Year Girls Dormitory. 8:29 am.
Lily was still dreaming, her night just as turbulent.
The party surged around them with much talking, clinking of champagne glasses and a celebratory air to the gathering. Under the white marquee, a beautiful summer July breeze was wafting.
As Lily made her way deliberately through the crowd, she noted a number of people whom she seemed to recognise in her dream, smile and greet her. They seemed to be happy for her. They seemed to be here for her.
The redhead in her dream, smiled as she joined an unknown man and his companions. Placing her hand gently and affectionately on his arm, she turned to introduce herself to the other guests.
She kept her bright, joyful smile as she held out her right hand.
“It’s lovely to finally meet you,” she said, “I’m Lily Potter.”
Lily Evans woke with a gasp.
“That,” she said in an almost whisper, “I will be keeping to myself.”
There was a moment of complete silence as Lily tried to comprehend what she had just dreamt. The creak of an opening dormitory door punctured her thoughts and she watched as Evangeline Ford tried to tiptoe across the room, moving her long thin legs a little like a cartoon villain. Clearly trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake Lily, Evie suddenly stepped on a floorboard that broke the creaking record.
She froze in place, her eyes shifting round to Lily’s bed only to find a Lily Evans sitting up, wide-eyed and enjoying her friend’s discomfort far too much.
“Oh for frick’s sake,” Evie said throwing her arms up in the air dramatically, “You could have said something.”
Lily just looked at her with that telltale twinkle in her eye.
“Where’s the fun in that?”
Evie smiled and came to sit on the edge of the bed.
“So how are you feeling?” she asked, a seriousness to her voice that told Lily of a deep concern, “Last night…”
“I’m not fine if that’s what you mean,” Lily replied abruptly, “I’m in too much shock that Potter went that far.”
Evangeline Ford just nodded.
“Oh so it’s Potter now? Anyway tell me the whole story. I didn’t quite get it last night in-between all the sobbing and the world ending.”
Lily took a deep breath, her eyes flicking between her friend and her duvet.
“He said that he was on his way back from the library, trying to find me when Potter suddenly jumped him from behind. He had some kind of shield cloak on, I think Henry said, although that may have just been the potion talking…”
Evie choked and turned it into a bout of coughing. James hit Henry while he was under the Invisibility Cloak?
“Sorry,” she said, gasping, “Never mind me. Just trying to breathe. Go on.”
“Well Henry said that Potter punched him once and then this cloak came down, and when Henry saw who it was, he started shouting at him…and he told Potter to stop and get off him but Potter hit him again and he said…well he said…”
“Lily spit it out.”
“He shouted back at Henry and he said…That’s for Lily. For being the one she chose.”
Evie groaned and smacked her forehead with her palm. She took to rubbing her face into grotesque shapes to relieve some of her frustration.
“That’s really attractive Evangeline, but what do I do?”
“If I may…”
Lily’s head snapped around to look at the door, where Remington Oslo was standing. Evangeline unfortunately swung around far too fast and promptly went forehead first into the bedpost.
“EVIE!” the two girls chorused a squeal, Remi rushing to Evie’s side.
“Well,” Evie said a little cross eyed, “at least now I can cross off headbutting a bedpost from my bucket list. Remington, dear. You were saying?”
Remi smiled and sat down on the opposite bed.
“Just hear me out,” she began slowly, her hands outstretched, “I talked a little to James last night…”
“I bet you did…” Evie mumbled spitefully. Remington sent her a glare.
“I was talking to him last night and he told me his side of the story. He said that Henry said something about you to another boy, a Slytherin that wasn’t…well wasn’t nice at all and that James hit Henry because he was defending you.”
But whatever Remington Oslo was expecting, it certainly wasn’t the reaction she got.
“Oh come on Remington…”
“That’s utterly ridiculous…”
“First of all,” Lily said, her face going red with her growing irritation, “Henry would never say anything about me that would entitle James to bludgeoning him in order to defend me.”
“Yeah plus-” Evie started.
“SECONDLY,” Lily cut her off, “James shouted at Henry that he was hitting him because I chose Henry as a boyfriend. So that little story of his doesn’t fit and frankly I’m not surprised.”
Remington Oslo looked positively outraged.
“You’re taking Henry Vale’s word but not Head Boy James Potter’s?” she said forcefully.
“Yes I am! Why are you shocked by that?” Lily defended herself.
“And you Evie?” Remi said, turning to the blonde, “Who do you believe?”
But Evangeline gave Remington a look that said it all. She believed Lily and in turn Henry’s side of the story. She’d seen too many of James Potter’s failed attempts to get Lily’s attention and this, to Evie, was just the story of a sexually frustrated teenage boy.
Remington shook her head accompanied by a little sigh.
“Well if that’s the way it’s going to be,” she said standing up, “I also have a message from Henry, Lils. He wants to meet you next to that suit of armour, the one just outside in the corridor, when you’re ready.”
“He’s getting out of the Hospital Wing already?” Lily jumped up excitedly, “Oh Merlin, I’ve got to get dressed. That’ll show Potter. Walking down to breakfast with my boyfriend…”
Evangeline let her go on, tuning out Lily’s rant. Instead she watched as Remington Oslo slipped away towards the door. With a last glance and a small smile to Evie, Remi left.
It was that last smile that told Evie that something was going on here that she didn’t quite understand.
But she was soon going to find out.
James listened to his echoing footsteps as he walked down the corridor towards Professor McGonagall’s office.
“And where do you think you’re going?”
The voice, one he knew as well as his own, made him stop and turn.
“Sirius you can’t stop me.”
James turned back only to find Remus Lupin blocking his way, his arms folded firmly across his chest.
“Wanna bet?” Remus said, stubbornness exuding from him. Out of the corner of his eye, James also spotted Peter.
“No I don’t want to bet,” James said, stepping forward so that he was now up close in Remus Lupin’s face, “I want to go to Professor McGonagall and tell her what happened yesterday. If she expels me, she expels me. I deserve it.”
“And that good sirs,” Sirius announced, addressing the many figures in the paintings around them, “Is what you call a full confession.”
It was then that James Potter hit the floor, completely paralysed. All he could see was the ceiling, and then three very curious faces, the faces of his dearest loyal friends, staring down at him.
“Good one Moony,” Sirius said, a cocky smile on his face, pulling James’s wand from his trousers.
“I love that spell,” Remus said adoringly, “Hey Pete, do you want to do the honours?”
Peter Pettigrew’s face suddenly fell.
“I…I don’t know if the levitating spell…I can’t…”
“Hey,” Sirius turned to him, placing an encouraging hand on his shoulder, “You’ve got this.”
Peter looked at him, took a gulp and nodded. He pointed his shaking wand at James and shut his eyes tightly.
And with that, Peter Pettigrew levitated James Potter into the broom cupboard they had planned the whole scene around. The last thing James saw before the door closed was Sirius and Remus looking at the Marauders Map and Peter opening one squinted eye to see if he’d actually done it.
The door of the broom cupboard shut with a snap and James Potter felt himself released from the spell. Getting up quickly, he rushed for the doorknob.
“We’re not that slow James,” Remus’s muffled voice said on the other side of the door, “Have fun in there. Let us know when you’ve changed your mind.”
“LET ME OUT!” James shouted, “COME ON! YOU KNOW I’VE GOT TO DO THIS!”
“We know nothing…” Sirius said with a chuckle to himself.
James went on shouting for another five minutes until he realised that his best friends had left him there, locked in the smallest broom cupboard he’d ever seen in his life and wandless, all in order to keep him from incriminating his good name.
Well. From getting expelled anyway.
Lily Evans was fidgeting.
Standing in the middle of the corridor, she was waiting quite impatiently for Henry Vale to show himself.
And she was starting to worry why he wasn’t.
“I don’t understand,” she said to Evangeline, who seemed quite content just to lean against the wall, “Remington said that Henry would be here. To meet him here!”
“Lily, he hasn’t been eaten by the giant squid.”
“How can you be sure?”
“The chances are quite slim believe it or not. In fact, there’s probably a better chance that he’s contracted malaria on the way from the Hospital Wing to meet you, and that he’s in some corridor, life flitting away as we speak.”
Lily raised an eyebrow at her to which Evie just shrugged.
“I’m bored. I’m standing here, starving my stomach out waiting for someone else’s boyfriend. Aren’t I allowed a little imagination?”
“Those Marauders better not have got a hold of him…” Lily mumbled, knowing the ridiculousness of the statement but still wanting to voice it.
Evangeline rolled her eyes and pushed off the wall.
“Let’s just go to breakfast. Or lunch. Whatever it is now.”
Lily gave a great heave of a sigh, took one last look down the corridor and then turned to join her friend.
“This is all James Potter’s fault I’m telling you,” she started, “If he hadn’t hit him for such a stupid reason…”
Now it is at this point that one would expect a rather miraculous happening. You see at this very moment, Argus Filch was discovering a rather loud student trapped in his small broom cupboard. At the same time, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were enjoying a rather splendid rest on the Quidditch grounds with Remus Lupin and keeping an eye on James via the Marauders Map. And Margie Bennett and Ana Hill, who had been very studiously keeping Professor McGonagall busy and away from James Potter, had run out of ideas.
“I’m sorry my dear,” said a seemingly disembodied voice to Lily Evans, stopping her dead in her tracks, “But stupid reason, it certainly was not!”
“SOMEONE LET ME OUT!” James Potter shouted for what seemed the millionth time, his fist connecting with the door, “Let me out please.”
James slid to the floor, his voice hoarse, his hand sore and his ego bruised. Eventually, he thought, eventually he’d have to get out.
Argus Filch, caretaker of Hogwarts, did not know this but it would be one of those extremely rare points in his life where a student was happy to hear his voice.
“ME! I’M HERE! GET ME OUT!”
There was a fiddling of keys on a chain, a ratchety click, a bit of a shove and James Potter launched himself from the broom cupboard. Of course, he hardly had a chance to enjoy his freedom before Filch took a good hold of his ear.
“You,” the caretaker said in his most gleeful here’s-a-student-to-punish voice, “Potter. I’m taking you straight to Professor McGonagall.”
A series of thoughts rushed through James’s head.
“No! Noooo you can’t do that. Please don’t do that!” he said, struggling with Filch’s hold on his ear as the caretaker dragged him along the corridor, “She’ll give me a detention for sure! You don’t want her to do that…do you?”
Filch gave a bit of a villainous snigger with a sideways glance at the boy. James was somewhat impressed at how fast they were moving along the different corridors but also how well Filch seemed to know the way to Professor McGonagall’s classroom from any part of the castle.
That’s probably your fault, that little voice went again.
“Here we are,” Filch said pushing James through the door of Professor McGonagall’s classroom as they finally reached it, “Oh I can’t wait t’hear what she wants to do with y’.”
“Mr Filch?” came Professor McGonagall’s firm voice from the desk at the front of the classroom, “Would you please desist in disfiguring Mr Potter’s right ear. He may need it later on.”
As James made his way, now Filchloose and fancy free towards McGonagall, it seemed his heart went into overdrive. It began to beat, faster than it had ever beaten in his entire life.
He was sure McGonagall could hear the drumming sound of his heart against his chest. Or maybe she could smell his fear. Either way, despite her looking over the top of her glasses and down her nose at him, she gave a very small smile.
“This student,” Filch began making James jump (he’d forgotten all about him), “was apprehended in one of m’broom cupboards. He could have been stealing things or getting up to mischief.”
“Getting up to mischief indeed,” Professor McGonagall said, making her way around the desk, “That will be all Mr Filch.”
“But I want this student punished!”
“That will be all Mr Filch.”
As the caretaker grumbled, shrugged his arms and shuffled out with a deadly glare towards James, Professor McGonagall stared unblinking at Filch until he had finally left.
“Well then,” she said when he’d gone, “I believe Mr Potter, you have some explaining to do, regarding a Mr Henry Vale.”
James opened his mouth to speak.
Only to be interrupted by the classroom doors swinging open with such force and banging against the walls that the sound reverberated.
“IT WASN’T JAMES!” Sirius shouted, running in with Peter and Remus not far behind, “IT WAS ME! I BEAT UP VALE!”
“No no no Professor, it was me,” Remus said somewhat more calmer, “I had to hit him. It was a service to humanity.”
“And I,” Peter piped up, “I…I helped…kick him.”
All three boys began speaking over the top of one another, all relaying their very bogus stories.
Professor McGonagall held up a hand and they all went silent at once.
“This is not necessary,” she began, not a hint of humour in her face, “No doubt I will see you three back here sometime soon, just not today.”
Just as she said this, the doors swung wide open again and another loud raucous ensued. This time it was Margie Bennett, Ana Hill and Remington Oslo.
“DON’T BELIEVE A WORD THEY’RE SAYING PROFESSOR MCGONAGALL!” Margie Bennett shouted as she skidded down the corridor between desks to join the party, “I totally and completely admit that it was me.”
“AND ME!” Ana suddenly joined in, the hype of the excitement flushing her face red, “I was in on it too! I PUNCHED HIM!”
“Well I can’t let you all take the credit for ripping into the jerk,” Remington Oslo said with as much decorum and grace as usual, “It was me Professor.”
Professor McGonagall surveyed the scene occurring in her classroom. This morning she had believed she was going to be punishing a boy for his mistreatment of a classmate. Now…
Well now she understood what Albus Dumbledore had told her.
Truer friends cannot be found at Hogwarts, he had said, Be wary to hear out the entire story before you make your decision.
“I suppose you all jinxed Mr Gray as well?” she said slowly and deliberately.
The room suddenly became a cacophony of agreement and meaningless and imaginative details about which jinx they had used on him, none of which were correct of course.
James Potter remained silent.
“Mr Potter,” she said, “Do you have anything to add to this?”
And for the second time that day, as James Potter opened his mouth to speak, he was interrupted by the clanging and banging of classroom doors.
The lot of them turned surprised to find Evangeline Ford…and Lily Evans at the doorway.
Professor McGonagall gave a long, hefty sigh.
“I suppose Miss Evans that you are here to tell me, that it was in fact you who is responsible for the attack on Mr Vale?”
“No,” Lily said still standing in the doorway, causing James’s heart to fall a little.
The rest of them all looked a little confusedly at each other, whilst Professor McGonagall just frowned.
“But I am here,” Lily unexpectedly continued, her voice clear, “to tell you he did it for me.”
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