Chapter 1 : Padfoot and Prongs
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With two heavy letters attached to its leg, the owl swerved and swooped to avoid the trees and find an appropriate open window in which he would find the letter’s recipients. The wide-eyed owl graced in to the top window at the back of the house and perched on the bed side table next to the messy black haired, hazel eyed boy who was clumsily sprawled out in his bed. He did not stir as the owl entered his room, he was used to the flapping wings and it never would disturb him in such deep sleep. The hazel eyed boy shifted and shuffled as the owl began to peck at his finger. He would not wake until
“WHAT THE FUCK?” he yelled as, surprised and rudely awoken, he fell out of his bed with a thud on to the carpeted floor and grabbed his finger, trying to soothe the pain where the owl nipped it so hard it was starting to bleed. The owl seemed not to care of the pain it had inflicted and was just happy enough to have the boy finally wake up, it watched with its intruding eyes as the hazel eyed boy placed the glasses, from atop a pile of old Daily Prophets, on to his face and gave a long yawn, adjusting himself to the morning. “Oh right, okay” he said as he noticed the familiar crest marked on the letters “Come here then you dopey owl” it flew over to the boy who still sat on the floor and let him take the two letters from its leg. As soon as it was free and its duty fulfilled it swept out of the room and bag in to the chilled morning.
“Bloody owls” he murmured.
The boy knew exactly what this letter was as he had received six of these letters before in his life. The past six years, around this time of year his letter arrived for his booklist and train ticket to enable him to get back to school. It was no ordinary school, no. Just as this messy haired boy was no ordinary boy. James Potter was a wizard and he was about to start his seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was not the only magical person in his house, his mother was a witch, his father was a wizard and so was the boy who was in the bedroom next to James. Sirius Black had run away from his home two years before after the tension in the House of Black spilt in to an erupting argument and he was forever banished by his mother as she cursed his name off the family tree. As James’ best friend, he was always welcomed at the large Potter house and had been taken in as a second son by Elphard and Emma Potter and it was a place where he felt at home, second only to Hogwarts in his favourite places in the world.
James finally stood up in his room, stretching every muscle, bone and cell in his body with a moan and, still with the letters in his hand, he grabbed his wand from the floor, concentrated rather hard and with a sudden crack he disappeared from the room and seconds later, after the feeling of being pushed through a straw he found himself in the room next to his with Sirius Black sitting upright on his own bed reading a muggle magazine with a picture of a large black motorbike on the front. Black looked like he must have been awake a while, his long black hair was brushed and placed behind his ears and he was already half dressed. Sirius must have been expecting James’ arrival as he barely flinched when James apperated in to his room.
“Morning, Prongs” said Sirius, his eyes fell to the letters in James’ hand “Ah! Finally, was starting to wonder when they’d get here, get your finger did it?”
“Yeah, the little bastard. Those Hogwarts owls are cheeky little gits” James threw Sirius’ letter to him and started to open his own. James knew the letter felt heavier than usual, he assumed the parchment was thicker inside or maybe the booklist was longer, but as he teared open the letter, all become clear. A shiny little badge fell from the envelope on to Sirius’ bed but Sirius did not notice, too busy reading his own booklist “not many books to get this year, might as well go to Diagon Alley today, nothing else to do”. James did was not paying attention, he began to breath heavily, his eyes widened and his mouth fell open, he picked up the shiny metal badge to examine it, it couldn’t be real? This had happened last year when he got the Quidditch captain badge but he had honestly been expecting that. But sure enough there on the badge were two letters James’ had never expected to see. He was a Marauder? A trouble maker? Remus was the responsible one, he had been the prefect? Sure he got good grades, generally top of the class but how could James Potter seriously be made Head Boy?
“No fucking way” Sirius had finally seen the badge and his mouth fell further than the floor “Gotta be a practical joke” he said finally but a grin was forming across his face with pride. James still didn’t know what to say he just stared at the badge and started to laugh. Sirius joined in and the two boys rolled around with half disbelief and half excitement.
They had been laughing so loud, they didn’t hear Elphard and Emma wake up and tiredly stumble upstairs, to see what was happening. It wasn’t unusual for James and Sirius to be up and laughing, probably planning some scheme or prank with a new way to busy themselves. Elphard opened the door and stood in the frame, unimpressed at the early hour the two boys were awake and plotting. He looked the spitting image of James, albeit older, he had the same scruffy hair that James had although it was now more grey than black and stared at the boys with the same hazel eyes.
“Boys, it’s very early” he said half amused, half exasperated “I’m sure you don’t want your mother in a bad mood now do you?”
“Oh Elphard I don’t think Emma could ever be in a bad mood after today” Sirius was getting himself together, but still grinning from ear to ear at Mr Potter.
“What are you on about, Sirius?” questioned the tired old man
“Go on James, show him!” Sirius said with glee
“Show me what? What is tha- in the name of Godric! James! My son! Emma get here quickly!” He had seen the little badge in James hand and could barely contain himself, he ran over and took the badge to examine it; he had never had one of his own. Emma ambled in to the room, her hair still very untidy and her look unimpressed.
“What in the name of Merlin have you two done now then?” she loved her son very much but as much as she enjoyed his shenanigans, it was very early in the morning and she hadn’t even had a cup of tea yet.
“Look what our little troublemaker got with his Hogwarts letter” Elphard passed the badge over to his wife eagerly. She looked at it blankly for a second and then as the last cog clicked in to place behind her eyes she understood and her gaze fell to her son. “JAMES!” she screamed as she ran forward to hug her son “Head Boy! My son! James oh my!” Sirius was still laughing very hard as he watched his adopted family celebrate his brother.
The morning flew past as Emma Potter fussed over here sons, constantly refilling the families plates with bacon and sausages and hash browns and eggs to the point where Sirius and James sat, buttons open on the chairs unable to move. Every now and then Emma would look at her son and just smile. So proud. Sirius was enjoying it too, there was no bitterness, he had never sought anything that smelled close to responsibility and knew that, as much that James occasionally found himself breaking the odd school rule here and there, he was a very good student.
James was still in shock by the time they were getting ready to leave for Diagon alley. He stood looking in to the mirror for ten minutes just arranging the badge on his robes to make sure it looked at the right height and that it was straight and that it wouldn’t disappear if the wind got a bit strong and blew his cloak around.
“You’re not going to actually start walking round like a prat now are you?” said an amused Sirius as he waltzed in to James room. Sirius had always had a particular dress sense, despite how much he hated his family he still shared their flair for fashion. He was very well dressed for a seventeen year old wizard but he did have a talent for making even the most expensively lavish outfit seem scruffy.
“Shut up, Padfoot. Do you know if Moony is gonna be in Diagon Alley today?”
“No idea” said Sirius “But I do know Wormtail still isn’t back from holiday with his Mum. I think Frank might be around today though so you never know.” Moony, also known as Remus Lupin along with Wormtail (also known as Peter Pettigrew) were the other two members with Sirius and James of the infamous Marauders. A group of Gryffindor’s who were pretty much inseparable and were very well known for their troublemaking. Not in cruel ways, they were the class clowns and knew how to make people laugh. Remus, Sirius and James were all very good at their studies too and generally found themselves at the top of the class. The teachers at Hogwarts all had a fondness for the group but that never stopped them giving out detentions. The group had names for each other: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, the Marauders. The school knew their nicknames for each other and often wondered of their meaning. As mischievous little sods they loved the attention and to add to their own mystique they would always answer any questions about their nicknames with a different origin story, much to the enjoyment of the one another.
Over the years at Hogwarts, James and Sirius discovered Remus Lupin’s darkest secret. Lupin was a werewolf. He was terrified his friends would find out and abandon him and as he had never had friends before Hogwarts so he valued their friendship very highly. When James figured it out, they did not abandon Remus, in fact they understood and tried to console him and eventually, and very illegally, they learned how to turn themselves in to animagus. So, they could at will turn in to an animal, James a stag, Sirius a large black dog and Peter a rat and together they accompanied Remus on his monthly transformations and made them not so scary for him but in fact the best times he had ever had, thus the true origin of their infamous nicknames.
“Of course” said Sirius after a few more minutes of James re-arranging his badge “We both know who you really want to see that badge don’t we?”
“What? Oh shut up” snapped James, Sirius roared with laughter.
“She must have been made head girl you’ve got to know that. Oh her face when she realises it’s you, she won’t actually be able to get rid of you this year!”
“Yeah, she’ll actually have to talk to me and anyway we started speaking a bit at the end of last year, it wasn’t so bad anymore. She didn’t look at me with total disgust and disdain any longer”
James had been infatuated with a fellow Gryffindor girl for pretty much the entire time he had spent at Hogwarts. A muggle-born witch called Lily Evans. She was always top of the class and never had time for James and his gang but as far as James was concerned there was nobody more beautiful and intelligent in the world, a fact that Sirius found rather amusing and had heard countless times. Although Lily often made it clear how she felt about “Potter”, a fact that Sirius found amusing and had heard countless times. Often, the last thing James would think about before he fell asleep at night was Lily Evans and her entrancing green eyes, wistfully gorgeous they were and to him they were perfect.
The family lined up downstairs next to the large fireplace and one by one disappeared, engulfed by the tantalising green flames. Sirius and James were first to go so when Elphard and Emma arrived at the Leaky Cauldron, the two boys were already at the bar ordering drinks.
“We’ll see you two later on, meet back here at five, okay?” James nodded to his mother and they were gone.
“So” mumbled James after a few butterbeers had passed “Mum and Dad will be getting our school stuff, what do you wanna do?”
“How about a celebratory shot of firewhiskey? It’s not every day my best mate gets made bloody Head Boy” he grinned at James and ordered two shots of firewhiskey from the cute barmaid. They both necked the drinks and felt the soothing warmth flood over them, slamming the glasses back on the bar they whirled around and walked towards the back entrance of the bar , leading them to Diagon Alley.
The Alley was always a wondrous sight. Peculiar, eccentric and eclectic the street was always bustling with busy witches and wizards darting around the place. You could always tell the first timers as they looked at every little thing with absolute wonder and awe. James was sure he hadn’t been that small when he was eleven years old. The two boys strutted down towards Gambol and Japes, the local joke shop. They both had agreed it wasn’t quite as good as Zonko’s in Hogsmede but it was still a good laugh.
“All I’m saying” said Sirius “is that barmaid was giving me the look”
“She was not” laughed James “She was way too busy admiring my Head Boy badge”
“I think you were too busy admiring your Head Boy badge to notice she was giving me the look” suggested Sirius.
They continued talking about the cute barmaid until they reached their desired destination. Once in the shop they were greeted with a very familiar face.
“Frank” exclaimed James
“Hey guys! I didn’t know you’d both be here today, I’m meant to be meeting Alice, you haven’t seen her have you?” Frank was eagerly and neverously looking over their shoulders.
“No, sorry. So you guys are serious now are you?” enquired James
“Well, I guess so?” replied Frank “Whatever that really means, I’ve seen her a lot over the summer. What about Lily then?”
“Trust me I’m trying” reasoned James before another familiar voice found its way in to their conversation.
“Sorry, James she isn’t here today, she’s coming next week. Not that it’d make any difference” Alice came out of nowhere and attached herself to Frank. The couple, both Gryffindors had started dating at the end of the last term and it was about time thought James. Frank had been pining after her for years and they suited each other perfectly. Alice was Lily’s best friend and it couldn’t hurt for one of his friends to be with Lily’s best friend, could it?
“I think you’ll find that young master Potter here has learned some responsibility as of late, or at least that’s what Dumbledore thinks apparently” stated Sirius, his eyes glanced at the perfectly straight badge on James’ robes.
“No way!” exclaimed Alice and Frank together as their eyes followed Sirius’ to James’ new shiny badge.
“You’re not going to be one of those couple that does that all the time are you?” James chuckled, he knew he’d get this exact reaction off probably the entire student population but he loved that attention.
“Well” said Alice coolly “That’s a step in the right direction at least. I’m sure you’ve guessed Lily made Head Girl?”
“We assumed as much” said Sirius, although he didn’t seem to be paying much attention, he was far too busy looking around the store, surely calculating every possible prank he could pull.
“Just promise me one thing, James?” Alice said with a slightly exasperated look on her face.
“Sure. Anything? As long as it doesn’t involve trying to get Sirius to behave himself” James had noticed his best friend gazing around, Sirius turned and gave a wink.
“Don’t annoy Lily too much” she said finnaly, giving him a very penetrating look.
“Me?” said James comically “I would never do such a thing!”
“Mmm, I’m sure” she grinned.
After around twenty more minutes in the shop, the two pairs said their goodbyes and James with Sirius left the shop, both holding large bags of supplies.
“You don’t reckon Dumbledore expects you to suddenly drop your Marauder duties and become mister goody-two-shoes does he?” Said Sirius as they walked back up the street towards Flourish and Blotts.
“Who knows what he expects? Although Padfoot, I do think this year I am going to have to be a bit more careful when it comes to rule breaking” James admitted.
“We will be careful” said Sirius “We just won’t get caught, we got pretty good at not getting caught last year” he reasoned. That was true, last year they had had half as many detentions as the year before but James considered the fact that over the past two years they had gradually stopped pulling as many pranks and getting in as much trouble. They weren’t in detention every week now, it was more bi-weekly.
They had been in Diagon Alley for two hours and they were starting to get a bit bored. James just wanted to get home and fly around on his broomstick for a bit and Sirius enjoyed sitting outside, watching James and just reading books or magazines of any sort. Both teenagers avoiding the mountains of homework that await them. When they met back up with James’ parents in the Leaky Cauldron, all four members of the party were full with new robes and books and ingredients. Sirius had bought James a kit for cleaning his broomstick, as a congratulations and James’ parents had bought him a brand new owl, who he had already named “Willow”.
They made it back to the Potter house in good time and Emma instantly set about making dinner. James and Sirius were already feeling rather full from their stop off at Fortecue’s Ice Cream Parlour where they over indulged themselves a little too much but when they smelt the roast dinner wafting through the house their hunger reignited inside them.
It was a good time to be living with the Potter’s, Sirius thought to himself. He had never been so happy than when he was here with his best friend and adoptive parents. He loved them more than he could ever love his biological family. Sitting next to the new head boy, they would truly rule the school this year. He knew it.