Chapter 1 : Meet Your Makers
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“Come on, Al! Stop being a prat.”
“But it’s late!”
“That isn't stopping Lil, is it?”
A young girl with flaming red hair shook her head fervently, her hands playing with the hem of her pyjama top nervously.
“We’ll be under the cloak, anyway,” her brother, an older boy of fifteen smirked challengingly, his bluish grey eyes twinkling with the light of mischief.
“That doesn’t change the fact that it is late! It’s two in the morning, James!”
James shrugged nonchalantly, the smirk still wide on his face. “Well, Al, you’ll just have to miss out then. Come on Lily.” He grabbed his little sister’s hand and threw a soft, velvety cloak over their bodies, hiding them into its invisibility.
Albus gave a huge groan, his eyes searching the entire room for any sign of an unseeable force. Suddenly, the common room door opened with a creak and Albus chased after them.
“Let me in,” he hissed as the door shut closed behind them, the snores of the Fat Lady resonating throughout the hall.
“Oh,” James said in a mocking high-pitched voice, “You decided to come, did you?”
Albus growled and lifted the cover of the cloak. “We’ll get caught if you don’t keep your mouth shut, James.”
James sniggered quietly and led the way down to the Entrance Hall, slowly but surely, where they stood still at the door, their ears perked and their breathing minimal. When the coast appeared to be clear, the three invisible figures pushed open the grand twin doors, only to be met by the splashing of an icy breeze.
“Come on,” James urged the others, only to be resisted by a firm hand on his shoulder.
“It’s cold out there,” Albus gulped, his arms huddled across his chest tightly.
“Dear Merlin, really, Al? No way! It simply can’t be cold out there in the middle of the fall.”
Albus scowled at his brother’s barely restrained sarcasm.
“Now, come on,” James ushered the others down the large slope of the hill, the edge of the Forbidden Forest becoming clearer and clearer the further they went down.
As they reached the outskirts of the forest, the pitch-black darkness looming in between the gaps of the thick trees, Lily let out a tiny squeal.
“We’re not going in there, are we?” she said, whimpering as she clutched onto James’ arm much more tightly.
“We are,” James said, grinning as he started to make his way weaving in between two tree trunks, pulling his two siblings along with him.
“We are not.” James turned on his heel and faced Al, whose face was set in solid determination. “We’re not going in there, James.”
“And why aren’t we?”
“For one thing, it’s the Forbidden Forest. Second of all, look at Lily!” They both turned to Lily. “She’s frightened!”
James rolled his eyes as he grinned at Lily, whose face, rather than frightened, had contorted into one of intense curiosity instead, her blue eyes shining from the many flickering stars scattered across the night sky.
“I think it’s you who’s frightened, Al. Now come on.” James pushed forward, unrelenting in his pursuit for whatever laid in the dark, gloomy forest.
After a good ten minutes of wandering over thick roots and crunching on fallen leaves, James stopped at a small clearing, his ears alerted and his wand out.
“No need for this anymore,” he muttered, pulling the cloak down from their bodies.
“We’ll be seen!” Albus hissed.
“Come on, do you really think anyone’s been this far in before?” James grinned knowingly at Lily, who had picked up a dark grey stone and was inspecting it closely.
“Uh, I don’t know, maybe Hagrid has, since he is the groundskeeper. Ow!”
Albus rubbed at his right eye, glaring at James, whose face was wide with a huge, cheeky grin, with the other.
“Stop your whining, Al! Look at this place! How amazing is this! I’m wagering that no student and ninety-eight point six seven percent of the staff have ever set foot in here before!”
Albus ignored his brother’s rant, and ignored the way Lily ran around the field, touching and feeling everything. Rather, Albus’ attention was fixed on the cold, tiny stone James had snatched off of Lily and pegged at him, inspecting the tiny marks etched onto the smooth surface as he rotated it multiple times in the palm of his hand.
“Al, stop being such a punce, look at thi-”
Albus looked up, his head cocked as he watched James open and close his mouth continuously, like a wriggling flobberworm, his eyes wide as they transfixed on something behind Al. Suddenly, a shrill shriek came from Lily, who had dropped the branch she’d previously picked up, her eyes gathering tears as she, too, stared at something behind Al.
“Wh- What is it?” Albus stammered, not wanting to turn around and look for himself.
James shook his head slowly, his jaw still hanging low. Albus looked to Lily, but she had shut her eyes tightly, her hands up to her ears as though that would protect her from whatever danger it was.
So, Albus had no choice. Very, very slowly, as time seemed to drag on for an eternity, he turned his body. And what he came to see was enough to send him running for the hills and never come back, but he didn’t. Instead, he stood rooted to the spot, exactly like the many trees around him, and gawked.
Silence above the distant din filled the air as the three children stared at five, solid but ghost-like figures, which floated around the clearing before them. The five figures stared back at them, some with wide grins and others with frowns.
“What the hell are you?” James finally said, finding the nerve and the sense to close his mouth. “I mean, who the hell are you? Or what are you? Or- Or, I don’t know…”
The two men at the right end grinned at each other before the one with glasses and incredibly untidy black hair spoke. “I’m James Potter.”
James – the younger, realer James – scoffed. “I’m James Potter. James Sirius Potter. Son of Harry Potter. So you can’t be James Potter too,” James said somewhat smugly, “Unless…” James froze while the other James – the ghost-like one – smirked.
“James Sirius Potter,” the man beside him murmured, his black hair falling across his curious grey eyes elegantly as he nodded approvingly, “Has a nice ring to it, don’t you reckon, Prongs?”
“Nah, I reckon if you cut the Sirius part out of it it’ll be much more pleasant to the ears,” James grinned at him while the younger James cocked his head.
“Actually, I think Sirius is the part that makes it ring,” the man smirked.
“You’re not telling me you’re James Potter and you’re Sirius Black, are you?” James suddenly blurted out, his mouth gaping once more.
“That’s exactly what we’re telling you, you little git,” Sirius’ smirk widened and his eyebrow raised challengingly.
“I’d much appreciate it if you didn’t call my grandson a git, Sirius,” the woman in the middle said, her pretty, young face framed by the waves of red, flaming hair.
“He’s named after me, Lils, so I have the right to call him whatever I want.”
Lily glowered at him but behind the scowl, the faint line of a smile was visible on the corners of her lips.
Albus ignored the bickering the two had succumbed to, and instead, stared at the other two wizards on the left. One with a long, white beard and piercing blue eyes that watched the others silently, a soft smile on his face while the other with dark, black eyes and dark, greasy hair stared intensely back at him, which unnerved Albus slightly.
“Look, you’re scaring her!” James Potter – the older man – finally interjected the two squabbling. The two followed James’ point of a finger to the younger Lily, whose face was still scrunched up in seeming pain and her hands clasped tightly against her ears.
The woman glided quickly but fluidly towards Lily, wonder sparkling in her emerald green eyes. She crouched down so she was face to face with the girl, and pulled her hands away gently. Lily slowly opened her eyes, the creases on her face softening as she gaped at the woman’s face.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked quietly.
“Lily,” she replied instantly, “Lily Luna Potter. Daughter of Harry Potter.” She added, imitating her older brother.
“Lily…” the woman whispered, a sad smile on her face, “Do you want to know what my name is?”
Lily hesitated before nodding.
“My name’s Lily. Lily Evans Potter.” The two searched each other’s faces, a certain affection soaring between them.
“And how about you, young man?” James - not Al’s brother James – said, grinning at Albus. “Who are you named after?”
Albus looked away from the man with black eyes and looked to the other figures, all of who were looking expectantly at him. “My name’s Albus Severus Potter,” he murmured slowly, hesitating before adding, “The second son of Harry Potter.”
There was silence for a moment, before Sirius burst out a booming laughter. He doubled over and held onto James’ – who had to try very hard to supress his grin – shoulder for support.
“So, you’re the funny one, are you?” Sirius managed to breathe out, as he stood straight up again, his thumbs wiping away the tears that had seeped out of his eyes. He snorted loudly again. “Albus Severus Potter. Right.”
“That is his name,” his brother said defiantly, stepping closer to Albus.
There was another moment of silence as Sirius stared at James, then back to Albus, astonishment coming across his face.
“I’m sorry to say, you two, but your son has officially lost his marbles. He’s a complete nutter.” Lily cast him another furious glance but he disregarded it, and rather smirked widely at the man with black eyes before looking back to Albus. “Meet your makers, mate.”
Albus followed the gesture of Sirius’ arm to the man with black eyes, his face somewhat tighter than before, and the old, bearded wizard whose pale blue eyes sparkled at him. “You’re-”
“Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape, the past two headmasters of Hogwarts,” James said for him knowingly, rolling his eyes as he did so.
“You know them?” Albus asked, his brows creased in confusion.
“Of course, Al. If you’ve been sent to McGonagall as often as I have you’d know all of them.”
James and Sirius exploded into laughter once more.
“True to his name, then,” James beamed at James and James beamed back. But Albus didn’t watch them as they huddled closer together, occasionally rupturing out in more breaths of laughter as they recounted stories in raucous voices. He didn’t watch as Lily continued talking quietly to Lily, identical smiles coming across their faces. Instead, he watched Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape, and they watched him back.
“We never have had the pleasure of meeting you in the Headmaster’s office,” Dumbledore finally murmured, his voice croaky and his smile soft.
“I- I’ve never been sent to the Headmistress before,” Albus stuttered, swallowing in every detail on their faces. “I’ve never been in trouble.”
Dumbledore’s smile widened. “And what a wondrous virtue it is.
Albus cocked his head.
“I, myself, had never been sent to the Headmaster for the produce of trouble,” Dumbledore said, scratching at his chin idly, “Though I did find myself in the Headmaster’s office more often than I was not, throughout the entirety of my short-lived life.”
Albus’ brows furrowed further down his forehead. Short-lived wasn’t a word he’d use to describe this man’s life.
“And Severus here, he has only ever been to the headmaster’s office once for the offences of trouble.”
Albus looked to Severus Snape, whose black eyes were transfixed on his own green ones, neither a smile nor a frown on his pale face.
“Ask the questions that fill your bright mind, Albus,” Dumbledore asserted, cocking his head and smiling pleasantly.
Albus hesitated before he opened his mouth, “My- My father once said that you were one of the bravest men he had ever known.” Snape cocked his head, the expressions of surprise hidden well behind the cold, distant eyes.
“Did he?” he said quietly, his voice barely audible over the boisterous laughter that sounded behind him.
Albus nodded, ignoring the hasty, amused glances of the three behind them. “But he never told me why.” He paused. “What did you do that made you so brave?”
Snape didn’t answer immediately. Rather, his eyes flickered quickly to the red hair of Lily Evans Potter and back to him. Albus was aware of the sad, vague smile Dumbledore had playing at his lips.
“I chose to…” Snape began, his voice a low, deadly hiss. Snape didn’t continue.
“What do you know of love, Albus?” Dumbledore asked quietly when silence filled the air around them.
“Love?” Albus ogled at him confusedly, “I love… I love my family, if that’s what you mean.” He repressed the thoughts of a shiny black haired girl, the way her light brown eyes lit up in the sun and thought of his mother, father, James, Lily and even Teddy, instead.
Dumbledore smiled more widely. “Love is the strongest magic there is. Do well to remember this, Albus.”
Albus nodded, though uncertainly. He looked back to his brother and sister once more, wondering what on earth they could possibly be talking about.
“You have her eyes,” Snape’s voice sounded very quietly, almost silently if it weren’t for Albus’ tremendously good hearing.
He nodded again. “I’m the only one,” he couldn’t supress the proud smile that came across his face.
Snape’s eyes bore into his.
“You must be proud,” Snape whispered, the tone in his voice suggested a slight resentment and that annoyed him.
“I am,” Albus admitted, his eyes narrowing, “but not because I’m the only one to have inherited these eyes.”
Snape cocked his head slightly.
“I’m proud to be my dad’s son. I’m proud of myself for staying out of trouble and I’m- I’m proud of doing all of my homework on time and I’m certainly most proud to be named after the two of you!” he said with one barely sustained breath. He, again, ignored the loud guffawing that sounded behind him, for he was sure they were laughing at what he’d just said.
Dumbledore clapped his hand singularly, exclaiming a little “ah!” as his eyes twinkled with what appeared to be shiny tears.
“As are we that you have been christened after us!” he said with his croaky voice.
Albus smiled appreciatively and shivered slightly as a strong gust of wind comes across them.
“Time for the warmth of one’s bed, I think,” Dumbledore said, nodding at the obvious chattering of Albus’ teeth. He clapped again and the others floated back to where they had stood originally.
“It was a real pleasure meeting you all,” Lily said gently, gazing at each one of her grandchildren for several seconds.
The younger Lily nodded furtively, beaming widely at her.
“Yeah, make sure you do your school work, won’t you?” Sirius said with such obvious sarcasm as he grinned at the three.
“And don’t go around mucking about the Forbidden Forest at the dead of the night, either. I heard it’s quite dangerous in there,” James added, an equally cheeky grin on his face.
“You know where to find us, Albus,” Dumbledore murmured as he smiled at the three children, “And you are most welcome back anytime, James. And you Lily.”
“Lily’s never been to the Headmaster’s office, Sir,” James corrected him smartly but Dumbledore merely broadened his smile and Lily blushed. “Have you?” James asked, picking up on this expression of guilt.
Lily didn’t answer but rather, stared defiantly at the five figures, avoiding her older brother’s stare.
“Goodbye then,” Albus mumbled, hoping to digress from the fact that his little sister had much more trouble-making tendencies than he did.
“Goodbye,” Dumbledore said cheerfully and he disappeared, only to be followed by a waving James, Sirius and Lily, the grins on their faces bright and youthful and full of life. Last to leave was Snape, who had idled behind as he hesitated.
“Are you any good at Potions?” he asked quietly, the hiss in his voice more audible now that the forest had fallen silent.
“He’s the best at it, Sir,” James grinned, putting an arm around his younger brother’s shoulder.
Finally, Severus Snape did smile, though something tight and relenting. But nevertheless, he did smile. Then, with a curt, stiff wave, he disappeared, leaving the three Potters with a rather unnerving sense of isolation in the forest.
“What was all that about?” James asked curiously as he picked up the cloak from the ground, brushing dirt and leaves off of it before holding his hand out to Lily again.
Albus merely shrugged, rubbing his shoulder to his ear as he inconspicuously hid the stone in his pocket.
Suddenly, a loud, guttural howl sounded in the distance, shocking them to their feet.
“Time to go?” James asked quickly.
And the other two nodded, following after him as they ran from the forest like their lives depended on it.
A/N: Hello readers!
This was my first ever Next-Gen fic and I have to admit, I've never read a Next-Gen story before, so the characterisation might be off but this was just how I interpreted them :) Please review and tell me what you thought of it! :)