Chapter 1 : Hogwarts: A School for Freaks
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A/N: Not a new project. Just something old I've touched up and decided to type up. I think this was the first ever Marauder era story I ever dreamt up. It's OC/Sirius time, baby! Whoop!
Dear Miss Ash Jones,
As you may know, your sister, Miss Lara Jones, has been chosen to represent Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Triwizard Tournament. As is tradition, the family of the three Champions are invited to attend the final task and watch.
Understanding your current situation, we here at the school formally invite you to stay at the castle for the week in which the task commences.
So here I am. Miss Ash Jones. I'm on a red steam engine with four adults around me. Why am I going to watch my sister at her freaky school? Boredom. Plus, I get out of my own school. I'm also curious. I've heard about Hogwarts from Lara and Hunter. My sisters are witches, you see. Unlike them, I'm dazzlingly pretty and I'm completely normal thank you very much. Just kidding. If I ever end up dazzlingly pretty, I'd just about die... Unless it's natural and not magical.
It appeared I was one of two normal people on this train. I was the only British one too. Two of them don't even appear to speak English. That doesn't matter though. They haven't said a word to me. It's the pair of Frenchies that kept jabbering away to me. I was lucky to get a word in edgewise. Madame LaRue is a so called muggle like myself. Sounds like an insult, doesn't it? But Madame LaRue hadn't a single drop of magical blood in her. Like myself. She found out when she fell in love with Monsieur LaRue. Lucky woman. She hadn't had to deal with it since childhood. Unlike myself.
The train was slowing down, stopping at a station. Men stood ready and greeted us. It was early morning and I was starving. I didn't care about them and just got off, looking around. I followed the Frenchies to a... a thing drawn carriage. Winged and leathery horses were attached to the carriage. I don't want to know... The pair of... things... pulled the carriage up a long pathway, coming to a standstill at the entrance of the castle and by then, my breath was taken away.
The castle was amazing. Stone walled with many a window and tower... It was something out of a fairytale. Madame LaRue had to tap my shoulder to get me to stop gawking and follow them inside. The Bulgarians (as I had learned they were) stayed away from us. They talked only to Monsieur LaRue, really. And only sparingly.
We were led into a huge hall where a few long tables sat. Tapestries hung above four of them and there were six types all in all. Red one with a lion, green with a snake, yellow with a badger, dark blue with an eagle on it, light blue with three wands surrounded by ribbon on it and red and grey with a dragon's head on it. I was led to a room beside the only width-way table there was. This room was filled with shiny trophies and portraits.
Two kids, a boy and a girl walked in and were immediately embraced by their parents. I looked away, a little jealous. I was here because we had no parents... Then Lara, pale faced came in. I cleared my throat and waited for the light bulb to switch on.
Lara, with her ravened hair in a messy bun, looked at me for three or so minutes before asking incredulously, “Ash?”
“Let me check,” I said and looked down, then back up. “Yes. It is I, the great and powerful Ash! I was invited to come watch your stupid tournament.”
“If it's stupid, why are you here?” Lara asked.
“Because. It gets me out of exams. I already know what job I want and you don't need O levels to get it,” I said with a smirk. “I want to own a bar one day.”
“You keep thinking that,” Lara said, “and you aren't going to get anywhere. Do you think Mum or Dad would have...”
We looked away from each other for a moment. I sighed and moved closer to my sister. She led me to go get something to eat. We sat down under a red tapestry. I grabbed some toast and a boiled egg with a goblet (a goblet!) of orange juice.
“I don't tend to think about that, no. The parents thing I mean...” I said quietly and started to eat my boiled egg.
“Maybe you should,” Lara replied. She sighed. “How long are you here?”
“Just this week. It's Saturday today, right? Your task thingy is on Friday?” I asked, digging out the letter from my pocket. “So I'm here until next Saturday.”
“Oh God... The things that can happen in a week,” my sister sighed.
“What? I'm harmless here,” I pouted.
“Until you realise that there are suits of armour with sharp and pointy weapons in most hallways,” Lara said, closing her eyes. “Just... Just try and behave.”
I faked acting hurt. I put my hand on my chest and gasped. “Me? Me not behave? I-I-I'm shocked, Lara! I truly am!”
“Oh ha ha,” she said sarcastically. We ate in silence for a few more minutes. “Was the journey okay?”
“The journey was fine. I had to get up early but I didn't mind,” I told her. “I met the other families. The Bulgarians don't seem to like Madame LaRue and I.”
“Purebloods,” Lara grumbled. “They're often prejudiced against muggles, muggle-borns and sometimes the odd halfblood.”
“Why's that?” I asked, sipping some orange juice from a goblet. A freaking goblet!
“They believe in blood purity. One of the worst insults to give a muggle-born is mudblood,” Lara scowled.
“I don't even understand it and I'm disgusted with that,” I said, frowning at Lara.
“Yes, well... That's the world sometimes, Ash,” Lara said as I finished my egg and drink. She looked around. “It's Saturday. Hunter won't be awake for another two hours for breakfast. The Marauders in the year below me won't be converging on the smell of food for another half an hour...”
“The who?” I asked, wrinkling my nose.
“Don't worry about them,” Lara said and stood up. “Want a tour?”
“Sure,” I shrugged and followed her out the hall.
The first thing she showed me was the forest edge where giant horses were stood, drinking what appeared to be single malt whiskey (according to the bottle I saw on the side of the fencing) and the huge carriage that apparently carried the French students and their headmistress here. Next, Lara showed me the lake. She told me about the giant squid inside but I shrugged that off, thinking she was only trying to scare me. Besides, I was too entranced with the gorgeous ship docked by the boathouse. It was like a real life pirate ship! Minus the skull and crossbones flag. My sister showed me a huge and ugly tree known as the Whomping Willow.
“Who's that then, Lara?” asked an arrogant sounding voice. My sister and I turned to see a rather handsome looking boy of about my age.
“This, Sirius Black, is my sister. You are not to talk to her. Your head will implode,” Lara said.
“Oh, gee. Thanks!” I said dryly to Lara. “Next why don't you tell him that anything I touch burns and dies?”
“I could but you just did,” Lara smirked and punched my arm. She looked at the handsome Sirius Black again. “Excuse us, we have the rest of the school to tour.”
“What's your name?” Sirius asked me.
“I'm Ash,” I said, looking him up and down. “Not short for anything. Just Ash. Like the tree. Better than being named after the dog star.”
“I didn't know you had another sister, Lara,” Sirius said, raising an eyebrow. “She's a clever one, isn't she.”
“Not if you've seen how clumsy she can get,” Lara said seriously. She put a hand on my furthest shoulder from her and turned me around. “Good bye, Sirius.”
“Ta ta, Champion,” Sirius said in a mocking tone, blowing her a kiss. I looked back over my shoulder and he winked.
I waited until we were strolling around some greenhouses before asking.
“What was that about?” I said as she steered me away from an apparently deadly and venomous plants of greenhouse six.
“They could kill you?” Lara replied, frowning. “And the grounds keeper, Ogg, wouldn't like that. Apollyon, the caretaker, wouldn't either, really. Nor would the Herbology teacher.”
“No. That Sirius kid,” I said, noting they had a grounds keeper named Ogg and a caretaker named Apolloyon.
“Oh him? He's just cocky and arrogant. Oh hey! He's like you,” Lara said.
“Shut up,” I scowled. “Is he one of those Marauding people?”
“The Marauders,” Lara said, “are four boys in the year below me. Your year, I suppose. Anyway, they're four bullying pricks. James Potter and Sirius Black are the most mischievous pair of boys that Hogwarts has ever seen! They have this sensible friend, the one with his head screwed on right. Remus Lupin. He's a little odd. A little shabby, too, if you look closely. And there's this last one, Peter Pettigrew. He's a creeper if I ever did see one!”
“Oh wow... Sounds like a few boys at home,” I commented.
“Yeah well... They aren't a patch on the Marauders,” Lara said, guiding me to lunch back at the castle.
I swear. There was no funnier sight than that of my younger sister, Hunter's face when she saw me sit down opposite her for lunch and help myself to a pasty.
“Ash?” she asked, her eyes wide.
“Yes?” I asked in reply.
“What are you doing here?” Hunter asked.
“Um... I came to spend the week with my sister who's in this contest thing?” I said, frowning at my baby sister.
“Oh. Well, I'm glad to see you,” Hunter said, her crooked smile slipping onto her face. She moved her dark brown hair from her eyes. She gestured to her side where a girl was smiling politely at me. “This is Lily Evans. She lives in our town.”
“Does she really? Nice to meet you, Lily. I'm Ash,” I said, reaching my hand across.
Lily shook it and grinned. “You too. Hunter and Lara haven't really told me all that much about you.”
Hunter went to straightening her yellow and black tie and Lara simply looked away. I rolled my eyes. “Haven't they? Oh, well, I guess they must be busy here at Hogwarts.”
So nice to know my sisters talk about me. Heck, I wouldn't have cared if they bad-mouthed me to their freaky little friends! It's obvious they don't care about their sister. I played nice though for the next few hours before being shown where I was sleeping. I was to stay in a comfortable guest room near the Great Hall.
I was tired and exhausted. My sisters toured me around and had classes to attend themselves that day. I climbed onto my plush bed for the week and closed my eyes, drifting off not long after. I think it was the food I'd eaten. They must have done something... something weird to it. But then again, my sisters ate the exact same as I did.
The reason I say so is because once I fell asleep, I fell into dreaming. It was odd what I dreamt. My sister was in a competition. Lara was versus a chicken at chess. She wasn't winning. Four shadows stood over me, partially blocking my view. A buck, a rat, a wolf man thing and a shabby dog. I tried to shoo them away to watch my sister lose but they wouldn't budge. I called out to Lara but she didn't appear to hear me. Even in my dreams, she ignores me.
I woke up, a cold sweat running through me. I shivered and sat up. It was still dark. I shook my head, knowing I wouldn't sleep again for at least another two hours. There was a grandfather clock in the room that softly chimed, alerting me the time was actually four in the morning. I got out of the bed and stretched. What to do now? I had eavesdropped on Lara and Hunter enough times to understand that the students weren't allowed out of bed at night.
I sighed and went to the window for fresh air. If I were back in my bedroom, I'd sneak out onto the roof. I was inside a castle as a guest. There was no way I was sneaking on the roof any time soon. Any of them. I opened the window and sat beside it, watching the scenery. It was prettier at night, I thought. You couldn't guess that a bunch of freaks lived here.
“Come on!” a hushed voice said, not far from my window. I looked around and found I could see the Whomping Willow. Four boys were escaping away from the for once still tree. The light caught them and I saw their faces. In fact, they caught mine. They caught sight of my face (I must have looked paler than usual under the lighting of the room) and I raised an eyebrow as I recognised Sirius Black.
“What's she looking at?” a small and creeper-ish (I guessed this was Pettigrew and I hoped I was right) boy asked.
“Who? Me?” I asked, looking around. “Come on, boys. Whatcha doing out at this time? I thought students weren't allowed out of bed at a time like this.”
“We... We aren't,” said a bespectacled boy, looking at me like I was a wonder.
I sent him a scowl and then lessened my evil looks.
“What's your name?” asked the neatly dressed one of the group.
“I'm Ash,” I said. “What about you guys? I mean apart from Sirius the Dog Star.”
Sirius grinned and winked at me.
“You met her?” asked the bespectacled one.
“She's the Champion's sister,” Sirius said. “Lara was showing her around the grounds when I met her.”
“Didn't know Lara had another sister,” said the neat one.
“Yeah, well, here I am,” I grinned catishly. “Names. Please? You know mine.”
The bespectacled one smiled and bowed. “Oh dear sweet maiden inside yonder castle, my name is James. James Potter.”
I giggled and smiled. I couldn't help but laugh louder when I saw Sirius shoot him a look that read 'what the fuck?!'
“I'm Remus,” said the neat one.
“And this shrimp of a man?” I asked, gesturing to Mr Creeper.
“Peter Pettigrew,” said the boy timidly.
“What're you awake for?” I asked, leaning out a bit more than I should have. Big mistake. The outer window sill crumbled a little and I lost my balance, heading head first for the ground. That's it. I'm dead. I screamed a little as I dived to my doom... and yelped when I was suddenly held up by my ankle about a foot from the ground. I stared madly at it then wondered. “Am I dead, yet?”
“Go on, Padfoot. Go get her down,” said James' voice and footsteps later, I got a close up of Sirius Black's face.
“Hello there,” Sirius smiled up at me.
“Oh hello,” I scowled. “Why am I not dead and smashed into the ground?”
“Magic?” Sirius tried, raising an eyebrow.
“Great,” I frowned. “Get me down.”
“What, no please? Were you raised with no manners?” Sirius asked.
“Get. Me. Down,” I said with gritted teeth.
“Fine, fine,” Sirius said and for a few moments, all I saw was his legs. I felt him wrap his arms around my legs and then the enchantment let go. I was caught. Of course I was caught. He spun me around and held me bridal style.
“Okay. Thanks. Now put me down before I scream,” I said and he let me down onto my feet. It was chillier than I expected. I tried to hide a shiver and then felt the weight of a cloak around my shoulders. I looked and found Sirius had given me his. I took it off and handed it back. “No thank you. I'm perfectly all right.”
“Yeah. I can see that,” Sirius shrugged.
I looked up at my window as the Marauders joined us. I sighed in exasperation. “How in the name of Freddie Mercury am I going to get back to my room? I got lost just walking around with my sister. I was lucky she knew where she was going or at least appeared that way.”
“Your sister is in the same House as we are,” Remus told me. “She's a Gryffindor. Hunter's in Hufflepuff.”
“Those names sound stupid,” I huffed.
All four boys looked at me. “What?”
“Says you who said the name of Freddie Mercury,” said James.
“Freddie Mercury is actually a famous musician in the muggle world. He is the lead singer of the band, Queen,” I informed them, huffing some more.
“The band Queen?” Peter asked, wrinkling his big nose.
“No. The name of the band is Queen,” I corrected.
“What do they sing?” Remus asked.
“Are they good?” Sirius questioned.
“Are they good? Are they good? They'd have to be to be famous!” I said and scowled, crossing my arms.
“She seems like Padfoot's type,” James laughed.
“Who?” I asked. More silly names.
“He means me and I disagree. My type is more of a witch that I actually know,” he said.
I 'hmph'ed and turned towards the castle. “What's wrong with muggles then? Too dull for the likes of you freaks?” I snapped and walked towards the big doors. I could simply get lost. That usually worked for me.
Three and a half sets of hands grabbed hold of me.
“You don't want to go that way,” Remus told me.
“Why ever not?” I scowled.
“Because... Because we know a better way,” James said.
“Yeah,” Peter backed up.
“I guess even wizard boys are odd,” I sighed. I turned around, slapping away any lingering hands. “Okay. I give. How do we get inside. Furthermore, how do we get me back to my room?”
James turned to Sirius and whispered in his ear. A smile grew on Sirius' face and he nodded before turning around and running to a pitch thing that I had been shown earlier by Lara.
“Where's he going?” I asked the three remaining.
“He's gone to get the mode of transport,” James told me.
“Oh great,” I sighed. “Look, giving me directions would have done.”
“Well, Padfoot's already gone to go get it now,” James said. “Right, Moony? Wormtail?”
“Yeah,” chimed the pair of boys.
“And what is it exactly?” I asked.
“It would be a surprise,” James grinned.
“If it's a unicorn, I may throw up,” I scowled.
James looked taken aback. “What? No. Besides, unicorns aren't good around boys. They love girls though."
“Great. A useless fact for a non-magical person about a completely magical creature,” I said, pulling a sarcastic impressed face. “That will be so useful when I marry your mate, Sirius!”
“Who's marrying me?” Sirius asked, coming back, hiding something behind his back.
“I was being sarcastic,” I said as if it were obvious. Which it was.
“Uhuh. Anyway,” Sirius said and produced a sweeping broom. I frowned and the boys chuckled. “It's a broom.”
“No thanks,” I said. It was a flying broomstick? Ew! No! Hell no!
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Come on. It's faster than navigating your way through the labyrinth that is our school,” said the handsome young man.
My scowl went deeper than any other I had frown this set of freaks. “And how am I meant to fly on that thing?” I asked seriously, eyeing the broom with disdain.
“Easy. It's my broom so I'll take you up there,” he said, patting the broom. “Like a tandem thingy that muggles have.”
“You mean a bicycle?” I offered.
“Yes. I think.”
“Go on, Girly,” said James. “Dare you to do it.”
That did it.
“Probably too scared,” Peter piped up.
“Shut your trap,” I scowled at the pudgy boy.
“Ash, it's not that big a deal. It's not a long distance. It'll be over before you know it,” Remus said soothingly. Damn it, that boy was smooth. I wasn't budging though.
“I think she's chicken,” Sirius grinned at his friends.
My shoulders rose and my eyes basically bulged.
“Oh, I think she's mad at you, now, Padfoot,” James said.
“Just what I was thinking, Prongs. She's kind of cute when she's angry, don't you think?” Sirius replied.
“I'll say. Not cuter than Lily Evans, though,” James agreed. He smirked at me. “All right, Girly. How about this. I double doggy dare you.”
I looked up and saw his face. He thought he had won. I smiled and the four were thrown off.
I grinned. “Just what I was waiting for.”
“Huh?” the boys chorused.
“I'm Ash. Ash Jones. And Ash Jones never backs down from a dare. Never ever,” I said and walked over to Sirius. “I just like messing with you people.”
Sirius shrugged and mounted the broom. He indicated for me to get on. I wrapped my arms around his waist and I had to admit... I was excited. He pushed off the ground and I looked down at his friends. Remus had been right. It wasn't that far. Sirius rounded above the Whomping Willow (far above it) and I got a great view of the lake in the moonlight. He flew straight into my room then. When he landed, I backed away from him and looked out the window.
“Um, Sirius?” I asked. “Where did they go?”
“Huh?” asked the dismounting Sirius. He hurried over. He ducked down and pointed at a hut on the forest edge. “Ogg must have heard us and came out to see what was going on.”
“There's a scary man by the doors of the castle,” I said stiffly.
“Oh. It was Apolloyon too. The ancient caretaker. Or his soon to be replacement, Argus Filch,” he said. He took a peek. “Ah. That's Filch... Which means Apolloyon is on his way here!”
“Um... Okay... Hide under the bed,” I said, getting into it. Sirius pulled a face as I snuggled down and got comfortable. Then came the footsteps and Sirius dived under the bed. The door burst open and I slowly looked up, my eyes half open. Playing groggy worked for me as I experienced the feeling every morning before school. And during school until about third lesson. I snapped at the elderly caretaker. “Yes? What?”
“Oh, uh, nothing, ma'am,” said the caretaker. “Sorry.”
And he closed the door. Sirius waited until the footsteps had died down before slowly climbing out.
“He'll be patrolling this corridor for hours now,” he complained.
“Shut up, Black,” I said.
“Can I stay here? Please?” he asked.
“Fine,” I sighed.
He grinned. “Thanks.”
“Just don't...” I yawned. I had been wrong earlier. I was going to fall asleep again. “Don't... Don't make any noise.”
Sirius beamed. “I'll be quiet as a mouse.”
And that is how I met Sirius Black and the other Marauders.