Chapter 1 : First Year: Part I
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credit to the amazing AtomicPanda at TDA for this incredible image!
This is a story of the Marauders that will span from 1971 to 1981. Part One/the Prequel will be First Year through Fourth year, told in "snapshot" format, as shown in this chapter. Fifth Year through Seventh Year will be Part Two, and it will not be told in "snapshot format".
First Year: September 1st, 1971
The Hogwarts Express
As Told By Jennifer Potter
“Where are you hoping to go, seeing as you’re neither?”
I tried in vain to stifle the laughter that was threatening to explode.
I couldn’t help it; growing up with James meant that you had to have an appreciation for humour and this jib had certainly fit quite well.
The redhead’s face was fraught with anger and her face was slowly beginning to match the deep colour of her hair.
She stood up angrily, folding her arms as she did.
I recognized that.
That was the universal sign of an eleven year old girl that told you quite clearly that she wasn’t in the mood for “immature” games.
“Come on Severus, let’s find another compartment,” she said to the greasy haired, hooked nosed, sallow skinned, crooked teeth, and unfortunate looking boy.
The redhead shot glares laden with eye daggers at James and his new pal; I watched her carefully as her eyes passed by me quickly.
Quickly enough for me to know that her anger hadn’t been directed at me per say, since I hadn’t spoken a word, but not quickly enough for me to miss the obvious accusation in her eyes.
The accusations that shouted at me for not controlling my cousin and his new friend better.
Ha! As if anyone could control James Potter…
As the redhead and the oddball boy left the compartment, James called after them, “See ya, Snivellus!”
Watching the odd pair of friends disappear, I couldn’t tell just what sort of feelings I was having at the current moment.
I suppose I could say that I was happy that I hadn’t necessarily earned myself an enemy; I didn’t much fancy the idea of being at odds with someone when we hadn’t even reached Hogwarts.
Yet at the same time, I couldn’t help the feeling of resentment towards the redhead and the unfortunate looking boy called Severus.
Who had Severus been thinking he was, anyways? Neither James nor his new pal had actually insulted him personally, but he starts throwing jibs at James for nothing.
And that redhead!
I hadn’t meant to be eavesdropping but it was impossible to live under the same roof as James Potter for the majority of your like without picking up some troublemaking skills.
From what I heard, though I was well aware I was making hasty judgments about people I did not know, it sounded like Severus had persuaded the girl to do something wrong.
It also sounded like Severus didn’t give a rat’s arse about the girl’s sister, who was quite obviously a Muggle.
I didn’t think she was in great position to be lecturing others about proper friendship behaviour.
I let my mind drift as I vaguely paid attention to James and his friend’s conversation. It was hopelessly boring and full of pleasantries that I didn’t like to bother with.
“… probably get a Howler tomorrow morning at breakfast if I’m not sorted into Slytherin,” the boy said to James.
Gazing at him discreetly, I noticed that even for an eleven year old, he was blessed with aristocratic beauty and an elegant vestige that you’d be hard-pressed to find in any family other than an old pureblood family that was clearly the “nobility” of the wizarding world.
He had striking grey eyes that seemed to look like they pierced into your soul, along with the nicest head of hair I’ve ever seen on a boy.
It looked silky, lustrous, and well taken care of, though significantly longer than James’s hair.
The colour of his hair was also pitch black, almost precisely the same shade of jet black as James’s and my hair.
His robes were also clean and perfectly form fitting; it certainly didn’t look like he had just strolled into Madam Malkin’s and gotten them like anyone else.
They looked custom tailored; precisely made to suit his body and no one else.
Yes, he was definitely from one of those old, wealthy, pureblood families; though judging by his open derisiveness towards Slytherin, he must have been the odd child out.
“… might be related to Jennifer!”
At the sound of my name, I snapped out of my reverie, dragging my eyes away from James’s new pal’s face and towards James himself.
He didn’t seem to have noticed me eyeing his new friend up and down. James said in a rather impatient tone, “I said that Sirius here might be distantly related to you!”
“How?” I blinked in confusion. I had no family other than James, and his parents.
James let out a small noise of impatience as he repeated for my benefit, “Sirius is a Black. Aunt Dorea was a Black, wasn’t she?”
“Yes, she was but distantly related…” I murmured, not knowing why I wanted to tact that last bit on in the end and certainly not knowing why I didn’t like the idea of being related to Sirius Black.
I felt his firm gaze on me, however, so I turned my eyes from James, who was lounging easily in his compartment seat next to me, to Sirius who indeed had been staring me down.
The only hint that he wasn’t totally annoyed with me was the slightly amused smirk playing at his lips.
It was far too familiar, a smirk like that.
I had seen it on James numerous times before.
“I vaguely remember a Dorea Black, though if you tell me who your mother was related to I’ll be able to refresh my memory. Then I can tell you how you’re related to me,” Sirius said smoothly, his tone betraying his amusement.
James stared back at me expectantly too.
Scowling at him, I huffed. Honestly, what was it to him how we were related, anyways?
“Charis Black was her fourth cousin. James, you know that Mum never kept in touch with her family; they were too far distantly related, and she never told me much either,” I said, feeling miffed for some odd reason.
The second part of my statement, however, seemed to be lost as Sirius’s eyes immediately lit up in recognition.
“Yeah! Charis Black! Her father was Arcturus the Second, and his nephew was Arcturus the Third, who happens to be my grandfather!” Sirius said excitedly.
I blinked at him flatly.
I didn’t even want to try to comprehend what on Earth that would make me to Sirius, but it seemed that he and James had already got it figured out.
James nodded, his face showing the same excitement as his friend, saying, “So your grandpa is Jennifer’s mum’s fifth cousin! Blimey, mate, you’re related to everyone!”
He sounded so ecstatic, like he had just been told that he’d been given the newest model of the fastest broomstick for free or that Christmas had come early.
I just raised my eyebrows at my cousin and ask, “And why is knowing how I’m related to Sirius important?”
“Oh it’s not; all that is important is that it confirms the belief that all pureblood families are connected to each other in some way,” Sirius waved his hand dismissively.
“You must know what I’m talking about!” Sirius said with disbelief.
Seeing my blank face, he clarified, “Pureblood maniac families like mine have been pounding into my head the belief that I need to marry a pureblood, but think about it. How many of us are there, really? We all have to be interconnected somehow…”
I frowned. Huh… I had never thought of it that way.
Misreading my frown for confusion, Sirius rolled his eyes and said, “Look, Jen. Even all Muggles are interconnected somehow if you go way back. We all had to come from somewhere, right? It’s just that we purebloods can trace our family history easier.”
Several things about his statement shocked me, and I realized that, in the long run, it wouldn’t ever be the first time that Sirius Black shocked me.
There was something about the way that he said something so entirely profound that surprised me. The fact that he had thought of stuff like this was odd, not the very least, for an eleven year old.
And of course, that had nothing to do with the fact that he had already given me a nickname to replace my nickname.
Let’s just say that Jennifer isn’t my real name.
I stopped commenting, however, long enough for James and Sirius to turn back into their own animated discussion, most likely about Quidditch or something of the sort that boys loved to talk about.
First Year: September 1st, 1971
The Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
As Told By Sirius Black
Fate, something I didn’t believe in as an eleven year old (and not something that I ever believed in, really), worked in funny ways.
Looking back, I believe it all started because of a name. Not just any name, though perhaps last name might work. But it was a first name, or a legal name.
Something so trivial that I wasn’t meant to find out, yet something that basically triggered the events for the next seven years.
Fate also worked in weird ways, such as making me born with an inherent lack of self-control and an inherent skill to be reckless and sometimes stupid.
I shouldn’t have said it, really. I shouldn’t have gone on about it, if I wanted to be a gentleman.
But despite everything that James had warned me about as I got into a boat with him, a skinny bloke named Benjy Fenwick, and a complete git who wouldn’t stop verbally showing off named Bertram Aubrey, I had to poke fun at Jennifer.
First, I come to believe that she has a perfect normal name, albeit slightly boring, like Jennifer, making me silently wonder whether her parents and James’s parents had planned for their names to both begin with the same letter.
Then, I find out that Jennifer is actually a cover-up for her real name, something that James had accidentally let slip during our wonderful journey on the Hogwarts Express.
The three of us had shared a compartment the entire ride, we had only been interrupted once by some gits whose parents knew my parents, and we had unlimited food because of all the gold we had on us.
It had been great, and Jennifer’s real name was just the icing on top.
I was laughing silently at the Gryffindor table, a decision by the Sorting Hat that had shocked the entire Hall into silence before the Gryffindors, and a few teachers, Professor Dumbledore most likely, broke out into unsure applause.
Andromeda, seventh year, had clapped loudly for me, but Narcissa looked furious.
Andromeda was still sending me beaming grins from the Slytherin table. No doubt it would be Narcissa who would spill the beans and make me suffer through a Howler tomorrow morning.
Or afternoon or dinner, if I’m somehow lucky. I was almost positive that Narcissa was secretly sending off a letter to my dear old mum right at this very moment.
She still looked livid and not even her idiot boyfriend, Lucius Malfoy, could calm her down.
I would have felt guilty about being sorted into Gryffindor, but the only sort of regret that I could come up with was the scare for Regulus, and at the current moment, I didn’t want to think about Regulus.
Though I was positively revelling in being sorted into Gryffindor, I knew that my Sorting would be all sorts of trouble for Reg and there would be no way he would be sorted into Gryffindor.
James was literally sprinting off of the stool after only having sat there for two seconds, but I couldn’t be focused on even James’s excitement that he had been chosen instantaneously for Gryffindor.
What I was focused on was the roll call.
Just as expected, McGonagall called out in that strict no nonsense voice of hers, “Potter, Guinevere.”
In all honesty, it wasn’t an ugly name; if I had to grudgingly admit so, it was a nice sounding name, even if it was a name that should have stayed in the 15th century.
But Jennifer’s embarrassment was far more amusing than her actual name, which was why I had to take the mickey out of her.
Had she brushed it off easily like it had been no big deal, I probably wouldn’t have pressed the matter and maybe I would have even considered giving her name a well-hidden compliment.
She hadn’t though, brushed it off, and instead, took it in a way that I could only blame Fate for because in the years to come, I would learn that Jennifer Potter was not one to feel embarrassed about anything.
Not even the incident including a fellow Housemate, a bloke, and a broom cupboard, and some intimate alone time.
My eyes never left Jennifer as she silently glared at me; no doubt a string of curses and several potential useful hexes had just ran through her mind as she hopped onto the stool, allowing McGonagall to place the Sorting Hat on her.
I, who had half expecting her to make some sort of gesture to the whole school that they were not to call her Guinevere, had been sincerely disappointed as she began her Sorting.
That wouldn’t be the first time in a long time that I’ve been disappointed by Jennifer Potter, as my puny eleven year old self should have realized.
Jennifer’s Sorting had taken far longer James’ had.
It was taking even longer than my own Sorting, and the Hat had temporarily been speechless that a Black could be fitting for a House other than Slytherin.
It spent at least a minute pondering that bloody thought.
Old sodding frayed patched git of a Hat.
Then, I began to worry; it was entirely silly of me to worry yet so much so that it is the plausible thing to do.
Worry whether my new best mate’s cousin was ever going to be Sorted and when the hell she’s going to finally get Sorted into Gryffindor.
Because I spoke for James when I say that it would not be pretty if Jennifer was Sorted anywhere else.
For the first time in many ages, I started to wish I paid this girl more attention. Maybe if James and I had paid her more attention, then I wouldn’t need to be worried about what House she-
“Thank Merlin and Godric,” James exhaled loudly, finally loosening his grip on the edge of the table.
He must have looked and was a hundred times more anxious than me, judging by the complete lack of colour in his face.
I had exhaled loudly too; I wish I could say that it was more out of relief than anything but if I was being honest to myself, there was another reason besides ‘the James’ reason why I wanted her to be Sorted into Gryffindor.
First Year: September 1st, 1971
Gryffindor Tower: 1st Year Girls Dormitory #1
As Told By Jennifer Potter
By the time I finally retired up for bed, James was still going on and on about my Sorting.
Yes, so what if I seemed to be a dilemma to the Sorting Hat because I had too many qualities that would suit too many houses?
Honestly, the way that James was going on and on, a nearby passer would have thought Salazar Slytherin himself arose from the dead and told everyone that he was setting a basilisk loose in the castle.
“Good night James,” I said wearily with a sigh as I started going up the staircase to the girls’ dormitories.
From behind me, James was being loud and being a complete bother but I ignored that all as I thought about my dorm and my dorm mates.
The silence that consumed me as I climbed up the stairs was gratifying and I almost felt hesitant in opening the door when I came to a stop at my destination.
Gryffindor 1st Year Girls: Dorm #1
I smiled to myself, the edges of my mouth lifting up unconsciously as I stared at the golden plague with pleasure.
Bravely and boldly, I pushed open the door with a wide grin.
“Hello, I’m your new roommate,” I introduced brightly as I stepped into the room, smiling at the four other inhabitants.
Three of them smiled back brightly and introduced themselves while the fourth said her name politely but could barely spare me a smile.
I had expected it.
I was rooming with Marlene McKinnon, Dorcas Meadowes, Mary Macdonald, and Lily Evans.
The only one in the entire room with whom I didn’t have history with is Mary Macdonald; she, being a Muggleborn, had never attended those dreadful parties where I had been introduced to the McKinnons and the Meadowes, and she hadn’t stormed out of my compartment because my cousin and his new best friend was at odds with her friend.
A greasy haired, creepy looking slime ball that had immediately been Sorted into Slytherin.
Mary and Marlene both had brown hair, though Mary’s is light enough to be considered a caramel brown colour whilst Marlene’s was dark enough to almost be black. Mary was also petite as compared to Marlene’s taller figure. On the other hand, Dorcas had blonde hair and light green eyes.
And of course there was Lily Evans, dark red hair and brilliant emerald green eyes, who currently looked as if she had a pickle with me.
Taking a break from my unpacking, I looked up from my nearly empty trunk and sighed. I turned my body to the left so that I was facing Lily and decided to put her out of her misery.
“So out with it Evans. What is it that you want with me? You’ve been staring at me nonstop for the last fifteen minutes,” I told her in a no nonsense tone.
Having someone like James Potter for a cousin made you constantly well aware of your surroundings; this revelation was a surprise to Lily as shock fleeted on her face before resting into something that looked like resignation and acceptance.
“I don’t want to make you my enemy just because your brother and his friend are completely immature toe rags who like to make fun of my friend,” Lily said firmly, standing up and slowly walking over to me.
I could see Marlene, Dorcas, and Mary stop what they were doing from the corner of my eyes.
There was a part of me that recognized that Lily Evans didn’t want to be my enemy, but there was a bigger part of me that felt irritated by the latter part of her sentence.
“You know, one, James is my cousin, not my brother; two, your friend made the first personal insult to them on the train, and three, no I would not want to be your enemy but I don’t appreciate you talking that way about James and Sirius,” I told her firmly.
My deep blue eyes, which were a rarity with my hair colour, must have flashed with anger because Lily glanced into them unsurely.
Safe with the knowledge that Lily wasn’t going to jump down my throat, I relaxed. To make a point of this, I took a deep breath and leaned against one of the posters of my four poster bed.
I gazed steadily at Lily; I didn’t honestly think she was horrible, and there was nothing wrong with being friends with her.
Being friends actually would have been great.
As silly as it had been, I almost expected her to say something like “No we cannot be friends” or something of the likes because of her Slytherin odd ball friend, but instead Lily just stayed silent.
I wasn’t quite sure whether I found that relieving or insulting.
She didn’t deem me important enough to her to receive an answer, but then again, I could spare myself from her answer, if such an answer were to be something negative.
It didn’t matter, however, whether I had personally been insulted by a lack of answer or not.
My new social life at Hogwarts and my happiness with new friends at Hogwarts didn’t depend on Lily Evans, but it seemed so remarkably self-righteous of Lily Evans to not deem me with an answer when she had been introducing herself to as many of our fellow house mates during dinner.
Like I said, Lily Evans’ friendship didn’t matter to me, but my respect for her did.
Quickly, I grabbed my toiletries from my trunk and glared at Lily Evans.
“You know, whether you extended that hand of friendship or not, I cannot find a more self-righteous person. Whether you become my friend or not is hardly the issue here. You can introduce yourself to everyone, all of our house mates at dinner, and act friendly but you cannot even attempt to act friendly to me? When I had done nothing to your bloody friend, even if he deserved it? You can easily shout at my cousin and his friend for being rude, yet you’re being remarkably rude yourself,” I informed her coldly, my blue eyes probably flashing with anger.
Without another word, I quickly and quietly swept across the room and entered the bathroom, closing the door behind me.
In solitude, I recognized that I may not have been fair; after all, we were only bloody eleven. I was being overly dramatic.
But that other infuriating voice in me that wasn’t spewing out common sense told me that it did matter, really.
It would matter because your friends are the people who determine the person you are, the person you want to become, and the person you wish to be.
With more and more people becoming sympathetic to the man called Voldemort who wishes to purge the entire wizarding world clean, yes, it was something that I cared about, the type of people that you want to be your friend and the type of person you want to become.
James and I had eavesdropped on enough adult conversations to know that Voldemort was a threat.
Even from the beginning, the War didn’t leave us alone.
It crawled and creeped up to us in the most unexpected of ways, twisting the beginnings of a beautiful friendship between Lily Evans and me.
It was at the centre of the disagreement and rift between the Gryffindors and Slytherins. For a long time, we had been told the sort of people that joined up with people like Voldemort, and we had firsthand experience of the pureblood mania, namely the Black Family.
How easy would it be to just pretend like this entire ordeal was as easy as just making friends? I could probably march out this room, apologize to Lily Evans, and maybe we could start over.
But regardless of if Lily Evans knew the war that would inevitably threaten to take over all of our lives, I couldn’t do it among other reasons.
Since my parents died of dragon pox when I was young, I had been living with James and his parents. They were my only family left.
I was not a fool; I was almost sorted into Ravenclaw so I knew what type of arrogant idiot James could be but he was family.
Sure, there were our extended relatives, but what did they matter, really? Which of them, except for one of my slightly distant cousins, cared for me as James and his parents had?
James was of my own blood. He was the one who had been there through every one of my significant life event so far, and the one that I’d be willing to go to great lengths for.
Even if I could ignore the war, ignore the importance of making good friends, ignore the person that Lily Evans had already associated herself with, I couldn’t ever ignore her attitude towards James, and even Sirius as he was probably going to be James’s best mate for the next several years to come.
And that was why, as I finally exited the bathroom, I said a curt good night to everyone before climbing in my bed, not daring to make any eye contact with anyone in case someone unleashed the puppy dog eyes for me to want to make peace with Lily Evans because it was only the first bloody day of our first year at Hogwarts.
I dreaded to think what other sorts of trouble would follow us in our seven years at Hogwarts if this was what our first day had been like.
Author's Note: I hope that you all enjoyed this chapter!
***: Taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 33, page 672, the American edition. [I do not own Harry Potter or anything related.]