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Cursed: Saga of the Outcast Pack by Snapegirl
Chapter 4 : Consequences
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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Albus had just sent the letters off to the families of the three boys when there came a knock at the office door. He rose and opened it to find Remus on the other side. "Remus, my boy! Come in, what can I do for you?" he forced himself to sound cheery, though he knew that very soon this youngster would have to leave the safety of Hogwarts and go into hiding for his own good, and he was to blame for it.

Remus came in, looking upset. "Sir, I need you to tell me where Snape—I mean Severus—and Lily are. Please, I need to talk to them, to explain about what happened . . ." The boy's amber eyes were dark with pain and shame.

"Are you sure that's wise, my boy? They're still recovering and they might not want you to see them." Dumbledore cautioned. His heart went out to the werewolf, who was obviously tortured by guilt and shame, though he had been a pawn in his friends' terrible prank.

"I know that, Headmaster. If I were in their place, I wouldn't want to see me either. But I have to. They deserve to know that I wasn't . . . that I didn't . . . please, I just need to talk to them."

"Hmm . . ." Dumbledore looked thoughtful. "Very well, Mr. Lupin. If it will ease your conscience, you may visit with them for a brief time. They are still recovering from their injuries and must be kept calm. But first I must require you to take an oath to not reveal the place where I'm keeping them hidden."

"I'll swear to anything you like," Remus agreed.

"All right. Repeat after me—I, Remus John Lupin, do solemnly swear . . ."

Page~*~*~*~*~*Break

The secret room:

Lily woke screaming from a nightmare where a great grey beast stalked her through the secret passages of Hogwarts and she could not escape it. She woke just as it sprang for her throat, fangs dripping with blood, her arm throbbing like mad. She felt hot and sick and for an instant she was confused as well. Where was she? This was not her room in Gryffindor Tower.

Then arms came around her and a familiar silky voice was whispering in her ear, "Hey, Lily. It's all right. You were having a nightmare. Shhh . . ."

"Sev? Oh Merlin, I dreamed you were dead, that a werewolf had . . . torn out your throat and was about to kill me too . . ." She buried her face against his shoulder, shivering uncontrollably. "I feel hot . . . like I have a fever . . . am I sick?"

Severus gently tipped her chin up and looked directly into her eyes. "Lily, you probably have a fever. Do you remember coming down the tunnel into the Shrieking Shack? Do you remember what happened last night?"

Lily blinked, and stared at her forearm, which was bandaged tightly. Suddenly it all came back. She remembered trying to pull Severus away from the raging werewolf and she had been too slow and the beast had . . . bitten her. She gave a choked whimper and felt tears sting her eyes. "Oh God, Sev! It bit me! I remember . . . I felt it sink its fangs into me . . .it bit me . . .!"

"I know. Me too." He showed her his own bandaged arm. He felt oddly like he had been told by a doctor that he had a terminal illness. Part of him was numb with the knowledge, but another part was screaming that it wasn't fair. And there was nothing he could do about it. But he tried to find some words of comfort for his distraught and frightened girlfriend, even though he felt he was grasping at straws. "Lily . . . even though we're . . . cursed . . . we can still be together . . ."

"But Sev, w-what about my mum? How can I go and see her when I'm . . . infected? How can I trust myself near her? I'm not safe to be around!" she started to cry, her body shaking with sobs, try though she did to smother them with her hand.

"Shhh . . . it's going to be all right. You're only unsafe around the full moon. And that's still a month away." Severus held her tightly, rocking her back and forth.

"What then? What are we going to do? I can't tell Petunia . . . she'd never understand . . . she'd throw me out in the street if she knew I was cursed to be-c-come a monster every full moon!"

"We'll work it out, Lil. You could move in with me, my mum and dad won't care."

"I can't . . . how could they deal with two werewolves . . .?" Lily sniffled. The Snapes had offered her numerous times to come and live with them since Amy had been hospitalized, since they knew how Petunia hated anything to do with magic or wizards, and treated her sister like a pariah. "It wouldn't be fair . . ." She turned her head and looked at him, tears wet upon her cheeks. "We're going to have to go far away, Sev. Somewhere we can't hurt anyone . . ." she gazed down at her arm in distaste. "Maybe it would have been easier if the werewolf had torn my throat out . . ." she muttered, despair swamping her in a neverending tide of icy darkness.

"Never say that, Lily!" Severus cried, horrified. "Be glad you survived, even if you have to live with a werewolf curse. You're not alone. I'm here. Right here. And I always will be." He held her close. "We'll get through this, Lily Evans. I promise you that. No matter what." He kissed her on the temple, and she felt hot tears slip down to mingle with her own on her cheek.

"Sev . . . are you afraid?" she clasped his hand.

"Yes," he hissed. "I'm terrified. I don't want to become a beast and lose my mind and forget I used to be human. But . . . that's the nature of the curse and so I . . . have to learn to accept it . . ." He took a deep breath and brushed the tears from his eyes. He had to face facts and pull himself together. For a brief moment he wondered how Lupin lived with the knowledge every day that he went insane on the night of the full moon.

As if his thoughts had summoned him, the door to the secret room opened and Remus stood upon the threshold.

The older werewolf blushed when he caught sight of Severus holding Lily on his lap, his arms wrapped about her. "Err . . .sorry I'm interrupting, but I really need to talk with you . . ." he began awkwardly.

"Lupin!" spat Snape when he caught sight of the other. Suddenly his obsidian orbs were blazing with a terrible black rage, and he had his wand out and pointed at the other.

"Snape, please let me explain—" Remus came into the room, and the door closed silently behind him.

"Have you come to gloat then? About the clever trick your mates Black, Potter, and Pettigrew played on us? Did you think it was funny, that they used us as a walking midnight snack? Did you?"

"No! Listen—"

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't hex you into bloody pieces!"

Lily touched his arm. "Sev, I think we ought to listen to what he has to say."

Severus' mouth tightened. He felt like punching Lupin out, not talking to him. He struggled to control his hair trigger temper. He bristled, but couldn't help noticing the expression on Lupin's face—regretful, weary, and ashamed. The werewolf did not look as if he was happy about what had occurred. He inhaled and exhaled sharply, and lowered his wand. "Start talking, Lupin. And make it quick. Before I change my mind and hex you into hell anyway."

Remus swallowed. "I wouldn't blame you if you did, Snape. It's no less than I deserve for . . . what I did. But I just want you to know that . . . I had nothing to do with what James and Sirius planned. They never spoke about it to me. I had no idea what they were going to do. You probably think I'm lying, but I swear upon my wand I'm telling the truth."

"Why should I believe you now? After all the times you stood there and watched while they attacked me three on one because they were bored or because I existed? Why should this be any different?" sneered Severus, his eyes burning coals in his parchment-pale face.

Remus' shoulders slumped. "Because this was something I never expected to happen . . . ever. I don't blame you for hating me, Snape. Or you either, Lily. I . . . overlooked a lot of things my former friends did because I . . . was afraid that if I didn't, they would turn on me. You see, I was always careful before, to never let anybody too close, because once they found out what I was . . . they ran away screaming, or threatening to get a gun and shoot me full of silver bullets. My parents permitted me to come to Hogwarts so long as Dumbledore had a secure place for me to stay and the fact that I was werewolf was kept secret. They knew that if anyone else knew, people would be up in arms about their children going to school with a monster. I never expected to make friends, but Sirius and James liked me. And when they figured out I was a werewolf, they . . .weren't afraid. I didn't want to lose that, I didn't want to be an outcast again, or worse. I was wrong with letting them get away with their cruel jokes, Snape. I should have stopped them. I'm sorry I didn't."

Severus glowered. "A bit late for that now, isn't it? What's done is done."

"Remus, you said they were your "former" friends," Lily said quietly. "Does that mean you've broken up with them?"

"Yes. Once Dumbledore told me what had happened . . . I couldn't . . . forgive them for it. They made me a . . . murderer! Over some stupid schoolboy rivalry! Because James was jealous of you, Severus. Jealous that you had Lily and he didn't. And Sirius always hated you because you were a Slytherin. And Peter, he follows whatever the other two do like a puppy." Remus grimaced, the sour taste of despair filling his mouth.

Severus frowned sharply. "You're telling me that they set me up so Potter could claim my girlfriend?"

"Yes. James has always been . . . a little obsessed with you, Evans. And it only got worse when you turned him down and started going with Snape. He took it as a personal insult. I kept telling him to just let it go, but all he kept saying was "he doesn't deserve her and someday I'm going to prove it". Nothing I said would convince him otherwise. But even I never expected this."

Severus swore furiously.

After a moment, so did Lily. "What a bloody mess!" she cried. Then she looked at Remus again. "Last night . . . you really weren't aware of what you were doing? That you attacked us?"

Remus shook his head. "No. You have to understand . . . when it's the full moon, I'm forced to transform, it triggers the curse. And once I've done so, my mind becomes . . . savage, wild, and hungry. I'm not Remus Lupin, not human. I'm the Wolf—strong, unpredictable, dangerous. I don't think like a human anymore. I don't feel like a human either. There's only instinct and Hunger. When I'm like that . . . my memories are hazy, like a patchwork quilt torn to pieces. I'm always at my most dangerous when I first shift. The beast is hungry and just wants to eat something, anything . . . you were there so I . . . attacked you. I'm a predator, I kill to survive."

"If that's so, then why didn't you try and kill and eat Potter and Black? Or Pettigrew?"

"I did. But then they discovered how to transform themselves. They became Animagi—James was a stag, Sirius a big black dog, and Peter a rat. James used to make me chase him into the forest, where I could find prey to hunt—deer, boar, manticore, whatever happened to cross my path. Sirius made sure I stayed on track, and Peter was our lookout. Once I had killed and eaten, my appetite was sated and I was calmer. Still dangerous, but not about to eat them. On some level, I could see them as Not-Prey. That's how the wolf mind thinks. Prey and Not-Prey. Enemy and Pack. Prongs, Padfoot, and Wormtail weren't quite Pack, but close enough."

"What colossal idiots!" Severus spat. "Setting a werewolf free to roam about unchecked! Just one more romp in the moonlight!"

"When you transform back, do you remember what you did as a werewolf?" Lily asked.

"Not really. I recall bits and pieces, but it's hazy. Sometimes I can barely remember anything. That first time they freed me . . . they had to tell me what went on, I couldn't recall anything but chasing a white deer and wrestling with a large black shape. I was horrified and I begged them not to do it again, but they insisted it was all right, that they could prevent me from killing a person and they would look out for me. I trusted them."

"And they played you for a fool, Lupin."

"Yes," Remus said heavily. "I didn't really think about how dangerous it was, I just was glad that I had friends who would accept me. I was stupid."

"How did they find out where you were during the full moon? Did you tell them?"

"No. But James had his Invisibility Cloak. One night he followed Dumbledore and saw how the Headmaster froze the willow by touching the knot at its base. He showed Peter and Sirius and that was how they found me."

"So that's how Potter and Black snuck out of the school without getting caught half the time?" Severus asked.

"Umm . . . partly. But a few times the Invisibility Cloak wasn't enough, and sometimes Filch was guarding the secret passages to Hogsmeade, so . . . I invented something that would allow us to sneak about the school and make sure we weren't seen by anyone in authority."

Lily looked puzzled. "What was that? A Cloak of Shadows?"

"No. It was . . . a map. A map that showed the school and part of the grounds. I enchanted it to show where all the teachers and the Headmaster, Filch and the students were. Whenever they went somewhere, they would show up on the map. It worked . . . all the time."

"How very clever!" Lily said.

"Does it only work at school?" Severus asked. "Or can you charm it to work anywhere?"

"It's meant to work at Hogwarts alone." Remus said. "And it could only be used by us four, because we knew the key to activate it. Anyone else would only see a blank piece of parchment."

"Hmm . . ." Severus said, wondering suddenly if Lupin could use the enchantment on other kinds of maps. "Where did you find the map of the school?"

"Ah . . . we snuck into Dumbledore's office and borrowed his map of the grounds and school. Then I copied onto the parchment with magic and used a different charm to show all the professors and stuff." Remus explained. "It took a few weeks to get everything straight."

"Where's the map now?"

"As far as I know, James has it."

"Remus, what's going to happen to us now?" Lily asked worriedly.

"I don't know. About you two, that is. Me, on the other hand . . . I have to leave . . .go somewhere no one will find me . . .the Ministry, they'll hunt me down and kill me for biting even one person, let alone two. I'm a fugitive now." Lupin said. "This is just going to kill my mother. And my dad . . . they always thought I'd be safe here, controlled . . . Dumbledore promised."

Severus snorted. "Dumbledore isn't omniscient. He makes mistakes just like anyone else. Especially when it comes to his favorite quartet."

Remus looked pained. "I'm not one of them anymore, Severus. I'm beginning to think I never really was. When I went to talk to them . . . it didn't go well. They hardly seemed sorry for what they did, only sorry they got caught."

"What will happen to them?" Lily asked.

"If the Headmaster has any sense of justice in him, he'll expel them," Severus said fiercely. "This is one prank he can't just brush under the rug." Or at least that was what he prayed would happen.

"We'll just have to wait and see, I guess." Remus sighed. "I . . . I have to write a letter to my parents and talk to Dumbledore again. I just wanted you to know the truth. If I could have stopped myself . . . I would have. I know saying I'm sorry isn't enough, but it's all I can say."

"We understand," Lily said firmly.

Severus stared down at her. "We do?"

"Yes, Severus. We do," she repeated, and elbowed him in the ribs.

He stared into her eyes and something unspoken passed between them. Then he looked back at Lupin. "All right. I'm willing, reluctantly, to give you the benefit of the doubt. I still don't trust you, Lupin."

"I understand. I'll . . . see you later. Maybe." Then Remus turned and let himself out of the room.

Page~*~*~*~*~*Break

Headmaster's office

That same afternoon:

The Headmaster was not having a good day. After sending out the letters to all three Gryffindor's parents, making sure Remuswent to class, and Lily and Severus were recovering decently in the secret room, he had gone down to the Great Hall for a quick luncheon. But he had barely eaten two bites of his chicken sandwich when he was interrupted by the arrival of Charles and Octavia Potter, John and Rachel Lupin, and Jasmine and Eustace Pettigrew. Albus had received an owl earlier from Orion and Walburga Black, declaring that their son Sirius was disowned from the Black family and was further an emancipated minor, so they were no longer responsible for whatever trouble he had managed to get himself into. He was living with the Potters, let them deal with him. As of yet he had not informed either Lily's mother, Amy Evans, or Severus' parents of their children's injuries. He did not want a bloodbath in his office, and both Eileen and Tobias had notoriously short fuses. Then too, poor Amy was terminally ill and in and out of the hospital.

He managed to finish half his sandwich and drink a pint of butterbeer before heading to his office with the six adults in tow. He wished he had the foresight to ask Horace for a Headache Remedy and a few Calming Draughts, the former for himself, the latter for the parents. But now it was too late. He swept into his office, and seated himself behind his desk, looking out at the three sets of parents gravely.

"Good afternoon. Will you all please be seated?" He waved his wand and six comfy chairs appeared in front of his desk.

Fawkes woke up from his nap and peered at all the new faces curiously. He gave a questioning trill, then remained quiet at a signal from his wizard.

"Now then, you all know why I have called you here. It is with deepest regrets that I must tell you, Charles and Octavia, and you, Jasmine and Eustace, that your sons have committed a grave offense and shall be expelled from this institution. I also regret telling you, John and Rachel, that your son Remus has committed a crime and has bitten two other students."

"Excuse me, Headmaster, but why must Sirius and James be expelled for something their werewolf child did?" demanded Octavia shrilly.

"And just what part of your sons set up this whole awful prank did you not understand, Mrs. Potter?" demanded Rachel. "Remus was not responsible for putting two classmates in harm's way, he was as much of a victim as Miss Evans and Mr. Snape."

"Headmaster, is there no possibility of a more lenient sentence for my Peter?" Eustace asked. "He was not the mastermind behind this so-called prank, he was just following the other boys."

"An accomplice is just as guilty as those who carry out the crime," Albus said firmly. "I'm afraid Peter must suffer the same consequences as the other boys."

"Nice try, Pettigrew!" sneered Charles. "Just because your son is too cowardly to own up to his mistakes—"

"My boy is not a coward, Potter!" snapped Jasmine. "Like you can talk, considering how your son and his friend have been in trouble ever since they walked through the doors. It's because of them that Peter has been dragged down into such notoriety. Why, Sirius Black is such a wretched child that his own parents disowned him!"

"The Blacks are horrible parents! Sirius was better off without them." Octavia cried. "What I want to know is why Lupin's boy isn't being expelled also—shouldn't he be held to the same consequences? And why was a werewolf allowed to come to Hogwarts in the first place? Headmaster, that never should have happened. You put all the other students at risk, including James."

"What are you saying, Octavia?" John bristled. "That Remus isn't fit to attend school like a normal boy? You arrogant bigoted hag! Remus had never bit anyone in his life and never would have if your son hadn't decided to trick another boy into going into the room where Remus had Shifted. So your precious James was responsible for this terrible incident. He even admitted it to the Headmaster. And Sirius was the one who masterminded it."

"Ladies and gentlemen!" Dumbledore held up his hands. "Silence, if you please! I understand you are upset, but there is nothing to be gained by insulting each other and trying to pin the blame on the other's child. Octavia, I made the decision to allow Remus to attend Hogwarts because I don't believe in discrimination of any kind. Just because Remus is a werewolf doesn't mean he should be banned from having a normal education—and indeed Remus has been a model student. He made Prefect last year and this year. I am deeply sorry that he cannot continue his education here, but I shall not expel him, since he faces a much worse penalty from the Ministry and does not need his wand snapped in addition to the price on his head."

"You are as much to blame as my boys, Dumbledore!" Charles growled. "You should have made certain the werewolf couldn't be released!"

"That werewolf has a name, Potter!" John reproved. "You used to use it when my son came to visit, have you forgotten it now?"

"Don't try and blame the Headmaster for James and Sirius' decision to snoop about and play chicken with their own and others lives," Jasmine added. "How was he to know your children would be so stupid as to deliberately try and harm another student like that? And by extension, his girlfriend? Or didn't you ever teach them about staying out of trouble and not taunting a Changed werewolf?"

Octavia whirled upon Peter's mother. "What's wrong with you, Jasmine? Why are you taking their side? Don't you care that your son is to be expelled?"

"Of course I do! I am deeply ashamed that Peter ever got involved in this royal mess. I intend to have a very long talk with him once he comes home, about doing what is right and thinking for himself and not just going along with what his friends do like a puppet. He too must bear some responsibility for what has happened. And so must your boys!"

"But they never meant for anyone to get hurt," argued Charles. "Albus said himself that James told him he never meant to hurt the Evans girl and he only intended to scare the Snape boy."

"Charles, don't be a dunce," Eustace snorted. "For the love of Merlin, use your bloody brain! Just what did James think was going to happen when he shoved Eileen Prince's son in the same room on the night of the full moon with a newly Changed werewolf? That Remus was going to lick him to death? Come on, man, stop denying the truth. James and Sirius are guilty as hell of deliberately harming Mr. Snape and Miss Evans. Don't you feel bad for them? Their whole lives are ruined because of what our sons did."

"I don't know how I will ever be able to look Eileen in the eye again," agreed Rachel. "Because I know—I know what it's like to watch your only child under that dreadful curse—and be helpless to take away his pain. Mrs. Evans too. Those poor children! And my poor son too, with such a dreadful burden to bear for all of his life!" She pulled out a handkerchief and wiped her eyes. Her husband put an arm about her.

"Charles, Octavia, I didn't call you here to debate whether or not your children deserve to be expelled, I have already made that decision, much as it pains me, based upon the confessions of Misters Black, Potter, and Pettigrew. They have admitted their guilt and as such I have no choice but to expel them for willfully endangering and causing harm to two fellow students. I have overlooked many pranks and misbehavior from Sirius and James in the past, and I was remiss in doing so, because I did more harm than good. I also regret that I did not realize that my protections for Remus were compromised, James and Sirius told me exactly how they learned to dismantle the protections, by the use of an Invisibility Cloak, an enchanted map, and becoming unregistered Animagi. I am partly to blame for Mr. Snape's and Miss Evan's injuries. The reason I called you here was not to discuss whether or not expulsion will take place, but to tell you that it shall, and the true reason why. For I will not publically reveal the fact that Severus and Lily are now cursed, nor who bit them. There is a werewolf hunter hereabouts and I do not wish to have her trying to slaughter innocent children under a curse, they will have misery enough without that. I will give the reason your sons are being expelled without mentioning werewolves, I shall say that Miss Evans and Mr. Snape sustained injuries from the Whomping Willow due to a prank gone wrong and it shall not be tolerated any longer. I am sorry if you misunderstood my message."

Dumbledore handed Charles the transcription of James and Sirius' confession. Charles read it and then handed it to his wife.

"A werewolf hunter!" gasped Mrs. Lupin. "Albus, please! You must protect Remus!"

"I assure you, my dear Rachel, I will do everything in my power to hide Remus, as well as Miss Evans and Mr. Snape, from her."

"Who is it?" asked John.

"Briar Stone," Dumbledore answered tonelessly. "I would also like for you to swear upon your magic and your wand that you will not reveal the true reason behind the expulsion to anyone else, and make sure your sons do not do so as well."

At the sound of Briar Stone's name, Rachel Lupin let out a groan and the other parents looked suitably horrified, for Stone's reputation as a ruthless woman who always got her quarry preceded her.

Octavia and Charles looked suddenly defeated and Charles said, "Forgive me, Headmaster. You are right. If my son confessed his misdeed then I have no choice but to accept it. It is hard, though, to think that one's own son and adopted one could do such an awful thing. James was always such a charming boy, full of mischief but I never thought him malicious."

Octavia sniffled. "He was always such a sweet boy! Sirius too."

"I am sorry, Octavia. I too had hopes for those two. Peter as well. Alas, sometimes things happen and we just have to pick up the pieces. Now, if you will repeat after me, the Oath of Secrecy . . ."

Page~*~*~*~*~*Break

The Great Hall

That same evening:

All students in all the Houses, save for Lily and Severus were present in the hall for the Ceremony of Shattering. The Heads of House had not yet told the students what was going on, for the Headmaster requested they not discuss the ceremony until all were gathered in the hall.

In years past, the Ceremony of Shattering had been performed with only the Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster or Headmistress and the Heads of Houses as witnesses, but Dumbledore wished to make this a public viewing, in hope that seeing justice done would convince other students who were like the Marauders that such was the wrong path.

The large table had been banished for the time being, replaced by a large block of granite upon which rested three wands—mahogany, chestnut, and hawthorn. Standing atop the dais were five people, all four Heads of House, and Dumbledore.

The four Heads stood grim and disapproving in front of four small tables upon which rested several possessions of the former student. In front of McGonagall was a school robe bearing the Gryffindor crest and a set of Quidditch robes, in front of Slughorn a black cauldron and a potions kit, in front of Sprout a set of parchment and quills, and Flitwick had several textbooks. Dumbledore was behind the block of granite, waiting impatiently for Filch to make his entrance with the guilty parties.

Dumbledore raised his hands and spoke, "May I have your attention, please? Doubtless you are all wondering why you have been called here. It is my sad duty to inform you that you shall be witness to a ceremony not performed in this hall in over fifty years. It is known as a Ceremony of Shattering, and will result in the expulsion of three of your fellow students—James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew."

Gasps of horror and disbelief echoed about the hall, and the Gryffindors looked pole-axed and ashamed. "Why? What did they do?" Some of them looked at Remus for an explanation, but Remus just looked at the ground and refused to meet anyone's gaze.

Some Slytherins looked quite pleased, and sneered at their rivals. "Must have been pretty bad for Dumbledore to kick their arses out."

"Silence!" Dumbledore lifted his hands again. "The reasons for this expulsion are as follows—Misters Black, Potter, and Pettigrew did confess to deliberately pushing Mr. Snape into the Whomping Willow, resulting in grave injury to his person, and also that of Lily Evans, who attempted to rescue him. Both Mr. Snape and Miss Evans have been hospitalized and sent home early, to recover from this trauma. Such extreme bullying will not be tolerated by me or at this institution. Therefore, they shall have their wands snapped and be expelled from Hogwarts."

As if on cue, mournful music began playing from invisible musical instruments, and the doors swung open to admit the Filch and the three Marauders.

Albus was wearing his very formal Headmaster gown, a somber black and midnight blue affair, not his usual moon and stars purple robe, and carrying a tall staff in his hand. His face was devoid of merriment, the blue eyes solemn. Filch walked one pace to the right and behind the boys, who were wearing plain clothes and had their hands bound in front of them by what looked like some kind of plant.

They wore expressions of shame and terror and bitterness upon their faces.

But at last Filch and the Marauders had reached the dais, and Albus made an abrupt gesture, and the invisible music ceased. He placed a hand upon Potter's shoulder, the boy flinched, but Albus ignored it and turned the teen to face the assembled students and other onlookers. He motioned for Filch to do the same with the other two.

Albus raised the staff and brought it down three times upon the floor, then he said in a ringing tone that carried to the furthest reaches of the hall, "As you are all no doubt aware, we are gathered here this evening to witness the Ceremony of Shattering. Such a ceremony has not been required since before I became Headmaster, and it is with great regret that I now perform this one."

He turned to the boys and said sternly, "James Charles Potter, Sirius Orion Black, and Peter Eugene Pettigrew, you have been found guilty of conduct unbecoming a Hogwarts student and malice aforethought against Severus Tobias Snape, Slytherin, and Lily Amelia Evans, Gryffindor. It is to your shame that you did use a valuable magical tree to harm said students, with clear intent to injure. This institution refuses to recognize you any longer as a student or a wizard of standing. You are persona non grata-outcast."

He brought the staff down hard on the floor.

Then Minerva drew her wand and intoned sharply, "You are no longer Gryffindors, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. I declare you unfit and unworthy to bear the crest and the robe. I see you not."

Her wand stabbed down at the pile of clothing, and it rose up into the air and shredded itself until there was nothing remaining but strips of red, gold, and black cloth, drifting through the air.

Then she motioned to the members of her House, and as one, all the Gryffindors shouted, "We see you not!" and turned their backs to the dais.

Then Horace stepped forward, his wand pointed down at the cauldron and the potions kit. "You are no longer fit to be my students, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. You have disgraced the honor of the school past bearing. You are unworthy and unfit to bear the cauldron and the kit of a true wizard. I see you not."

He glared at the young men, who shrank away from the fierce blue gaze

Then Slughorn hissed something and the cauldron and the potions kit exploded soundlessly in midair, leaving only droplets of several reagents to fall upon the stone floor.

He gestured to his Slytherins, who enthusiastically shouted, "We see you not!" and turned their backs.

Professor Sprout was next, her face stern and set. "You are no longer welcome as my students, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. You have crossed an unforgivable line. You are unworthy and unfit to hold a quill and record the wisdom of your fellow wizards. I see you not."

She waved her wand above the quill and parchment and they immediately became confetti, mixing with the remains of the robes and the potions ingredients upon the stone floor in mute testimony to the wrong done.

The Hufflepuffs echoed the other two Houses, also turning their back upon the outcasts.

Flitwick coughed, frowning hard at the young wizards. Then he said, in a quiet voice filled with disapproval, "You are disgraced as my students, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. You are unworthy and unfit to be privy to the knowledge and craft of a true wizard. I see you not."

He waved his wand and spoke a sharp, "Incendio!"

The books in front of him burst into flame.

When they had been burnt to cinders, Flitwick canceled the spell. Then he gestured and the Ravenclaws stood and intoned, "We see you not." And then spun about to face the hall doors.

Albus banged his staff down on the floor again three times and then said, "James Potter, outcast, your wand is forfeit according to ancient decree, for you are unfit and unworthy to be part of our company. May Merlin have mercy upon you."

Then he moved up to the block of granite and lifted the mahogany wand. "James Charles Potter, you are unfit to wield magic. I declare you broken!"

Albus lifted the wand high above his head.

Everyone in the room suddenly whirled around and faced the dais.

Then the Headmaster brought the wand down upon the edge of the granite block.

There was a tremendous CRACK!

And the wand shattered.

James cried out in denial, his eyes filled with tears.

Dumbledore tossed the pieces to the ground, then repeated the last part of the ceremony with Sirius' hawthorn wand and Peter's chestnut one.

Both boys looked pained and Peter trembled like a willow in a windstorm. Sirius sneered at him in disgust.

"It is finished. Get thee hence, outcasts. Hogwarts sees you not!"

At that, the rest of the spectators and the staff, including the Heads and Albus, all turned their backs to the boys.

And Filch practically dragged the miserable teenagers off the dais and back down the hall, amid the jeers and taunts of their former classmates.

Invisible hands propelled the three forward and threw them out of the doors, then the doors shut with a clap.

Albus turned to face the students and said sternly, "Let this be a lesson to all of you in the rewards of intolerance and hatred. We are all worthy of dignity and respect, whether pureblood, half-blood, Muggleborn, or Squib. Take heed from their example and 'ware following them down that road, for it shall only end in shame and disgrace. You are dismissed. You may resume your normal classes."

The students began to file out of the hall, still a bit shell shocked, but soon they were talking among themselves, albeit in more subdued tones than normal. It was now the general consensus that it didn't pay to get Dumbledore riled at you.

Outside in the Entrance Hall, their parents waited to take them home, with all their belongings.

Upstairs in the secret room, the two victims of Lupin's bite and the Marauders stupidity quietly drank some Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers and ate the simple supper of Paddington burgers, chips, and strawberry trifle with whipped cream. Neither spoke, but both wondered what would become of them and feared for what the future might bring.

A/N: Hope you all liked this one. Sorry it took forever to update! Please review! Who would like Severus and Remus to become friends?
 
 
 


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