Chapter 1 : I Shot the Sheriff
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I'm going to warn you now, this story is very detailed and my take on the Marauders is very different from most. So, if you start to read this fic and think "Wtf, why are they acting like that", hang tight. There is always a method to my madness and I swear things connect back in the end. I'm trying to keep this story as canon as possible, but its main point is to flesh out the Marauders to explain why canon things eventually happened.
I am also not an English major and I don't have a beta so keep that in mind when you find grammar/capitalization/spelling mistakes ;)
I made all the chapter images. I will be a very sad panda if someone steals them :(
“I shot the sheriff but I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no!” – Bob Marley, 1973
For the first time in his life, James Potter was speechless. He gulped and tugged at the collar of his white button down shirt as the rest of the Prefects stared at him with confused looks and waited for him to say something.
“Wel-” he finally began and then laughed anxiously, “-come to the first Prefects meeting of the year! I’m James Potter and I’m Head Boy."
His opening remarks were met with silence as the train clacked along the tracks beneath it. He took in a sharp breath and glanced out the window, wishing that he could jump into the lake that the Hogwarts Express was now passing. After exhaling slowly, he surveyed the crowd in front of him and hoped to find inspiration. The younger Prefects looked attentive with eager smiles on their faces. However, most of the older students were not impressed; the Slytherins rolled their eyes and continued to look extremely bored, the Ravenclaws glared at him for taking a position that had been awarded to their house for the past 4 years, the Hufflepuffs had blank stares, and James didn’t even dare look over at Lily who was practically blowing steam out of her ears next to him.
He clapped his hands, trying to be enthusiastic.
“Right, and this is Evans – I mean, L-Lily Evans. She’s Head Girl this year … as you probably already know.” He laughed nervously and nobody moved or said anything.
“Thank you James,” Lily seethed as she rose from her seat. “Now since you’ve never actually been to one of these meetings before, may I take over?”
James exhaled softly before adding a dejected, “Yeah sure.”
As Lily officially started the meeting by passing around the sign in scroll, he lowered himself into the chair behind him and clasped his hands in his lap, hanging his head in shame. He tried to listen to the sweet, singsong voice of the girl he had been chasing for the past 5 years as she explained the logistics of the term but silently, he crumbled next to her.
The Seventh Year was used to failure – due to the many rejections by his Gryffindor counterpart – but in that moment, James felt extremely frustrated with himself. He was Boy Wonder. Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. An excellent dueler. He could accomplish most things within minutes of learning them and was always surrounded by his loyal friends, the Marauders, who made him feel at complete ease. He was supposed to be a great Head Boy without even trying, not one that forgot what to say and stuttered.
Without realizing it, he ran a hand through his messy hair just as Lily turned around and glared at him while handing out the timetables for nightly patrols to one of the Prefects in the front row. Her green eyes flashed at him as she pushed her long, wavy red hair behind her ear.
“Potter, are you even listening to me? Your first shift is tonight after each of the Seventh Year Prefects have led their respective classmates to their houses. You’ll be with Marianne,” she informed him. “I’ll take the Gryffindors to the Tower because the thought of leaving you in charge of children is just horrifying.”
The rest of the room snickered. Instead of grinning madly and somehow finding a way to ask her out, he stared back at Lily with a forlorn look in his face, accepting her cruel words without a response. Even though it felt like she was twisting a knife into his gut, he knew she was right. Dumbledore really was off his rocker if he expected James to discipline younger students for breaking the rules. He just wasn’t cut out to be in a position of responsibility. The Gryffindor thought he could just finesse the job and somehow be amazing at it but clearly, it was the one thing in life that he was a failure at. He gulped and blinked several times as the rest of the Prefects began to pack up their things.
However, for a brief second, James watched the steely resolve of Lily Evans break; her eyes softened while her rosy little lips formed a small “O” in surprise. Yet, a split second later, her cheeks matched her flaming red hair and she slammed down the last timetable on the desk in front of them.
“You better not lose this,” she growled as she swung her backpack onto her shoulders and swept past him to probably find the rest of the Gryffindor girls. He let out a breath he didn’t know he'd been holding and looked up to see his partner for the night standing before him; she was a Seventh Year Ravenclaw and very petite. She wore her hair in a sophisticated dark brown bob that barely fell to the tops of her shoulders, framing her heart shaped face. She took off her black cat eye reading glasses, inserted them back into their case, and then held out her hand.
“Marianne Minot, right?“ James asked, returning her handshake and noting that her eyes were the exact same shade of green as Lily’s. “You study with Moon – I mean Remus.”
“It’s actually pronounced without the t,” she said smiling back. “Mi-know. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who butchers it, most English people do.” She waved her hand as her smile turned into a large grin. “Sometimes the French even get it wrong but I think that’s just because I don’t understand the Marseille accent. And yes, Remus and I studied extensively for our OWLs together and have ever since. He’s an excellent academic companion.”
“Oh believe me, I know. I basically copy – I mean, are you fully French or what?” James questioned as he tried to regain from his two slips. To calm himself, he hastily began to file the timetable and other assorted blank pieces of paper into a folder he'd casually bought in Diagon Alley, thinking it would help him stay organized. He ignored the loud crinkling sounds as he shut it and looked back up at Marianne.
“Not fully,” she responded with a warm smile. “My father’s family is English, but a Frenchman swept my grandmother off her feet and married in. Which caused my father to marry a frenchie himself.” She quickly glanced down at her expensive looking gold watch and frowned slightly as she placed her large black tote on her shoulder. “I have to go meet someone but don’t worry, we will get the chance to talk during our patrol. I’m a really good person to be stuck with. I’ve taught other Prefects French to pass the time!”
“Great,” James laughed dejectedly as he ran his hand through his hair again, staring down at his red folder that somehow seemed to be taunting him. “Looking forward to it.” He watched her move towards the exit behind him and sighed as he rose from his chair. All he wanted was one more year of fun with his best friends but after his poor performance during the meeting, he knew it was going to probably be the longest, most frustrating year of his life.
“Oh and James,” Marianne said as she peeked her head around the doorway, “stop being so hard on yourself. You’re going to be a great Head Boy, I know it. See you after the feast!” She smiled at him compassionately and James felt better.
Without his best friend, Sirius Black felt extremely bored. After twiddling his thumbs for seven straight minutes, he quickly announced to the rest of the compartment that he needed to walk around the train. His remark earned an eye roll from Remus and a jealous whine from Peter; both of them were aware of his intentions to rekindle his affair with Rose Smythe, a busty brunette in Ravenclaw who he'd briefly seen at the end of the last term.
Nevertheless, after walking into the next train car, Sirius realized he'd forgotten his wand and dungbombs in his school bag and cursed silently to himself. He had to find Rose quickly, because even though it was the best way to cure his separation anxiety, pranking Snape simply wasn’t an option anymore. As he glanced in several compartments around him and failed to find the object of his desire, he opened the sliding glass door and made his way towards the next car. However, upon entering, he stopped in the middle of the hall and sniffed the air. It smelled like cigarette smoke, dried gillyweed, and patchouli.
“Gio,” Sirius laughed to himself and looked to his left. Smoke consumed the entire compartment and he could barely see the outline of the people moving within it. He reached out and opened the door, letting the heavy grey tendrils stretch into the hallway.
“Sirius, you bastard! Come inside before you let it all out!” Giovanni Costa bellowed as he reached out and pulled Sirius into the smoky compartment. The Gryffindor coughed a couple times and right away, his friend placed a cigarette in his hand. Sirius nodded and took a drag, realizing immediately that it was not filled with tobacco.
“Gio, you sly Italian dog,” he grinned as smoke slowly crawled out of his nose. He handed the joint to the boy next to him. “Why am I not surprised?”
He let out a loud barking laugh and it brought him back to the first time that they'd met. Sirius had been on a late night run to Hogsmeade to smuggle back some supplies from Zonkos when he literally ran into Giovanni, who was busy smuggling contraband of his own. Instead of beating each other senseless to protect their territory, they sat in the tunnel and shared a smoke, laughing at their circumstances. They never gave each other trouble after that.
“What can I say? My family is full of criminals, I have to follow in their footsteps,” Gio smirked as he lowered his black wayfarers onto his face to cover his squinting eyes. He looked around for two seconds and then snapped as he realized something. “Oh right, you’ve never met the band! We’re all Hufflepuffs except for the sprinkle of Ravenclaws at the end of the compartment there. That’s Ethan next to you.” He motioned to the boy with shoulder length blonde hair who had taken the funny cigarette from Sirius. “He’s our drummer. Next to him is our bassist, Gregory. Or Greg the Giant Ginger as we call him. Don’t hog it all mate!”
“Fuck off, Gio,” Gregory retorted after taking a puff and proceeded to pass it to the ebony skinned Ravenclaw next to him. He took a drag and then passed it to his twin sister sitting across from him.
“Kieran and his sister, Kaia.” Gio explained as the two siblings exhaled and giggled in unison. “They are similar in every way, 'cept he’s the pianist and she sings. She can bang that tambourine though, lemme tell you!”
Kaia swatted him playfully, muttered something incoherent, and handed him the joint.
“And you know me – vocalist and guitarist. I’m a Renaissance man,” the Italian joked as he took a small drag. He took several more small drags without exhaling before tapping the shoulder of the sleeping blonde sitting between him and Sirius. “Oi, Gemma! Wake up you silly girl!”
The Hufflepuff sluggishly opened her bright red eyes and stared up at Sirius through her blunt cut fringe with a soft, lopsided smile.
“Hi,” she said dreamily as she extended her hand out to him.
Sirius grinned as he took her hand and shook it firmly, drinking in her sharp facial features and the tantalizing curves that her acid washed bell-bottoms produced. As Gio placed the joint between her plump lips, she retracted her hand and Sirius suddenly felt a familiar rush of blood through his veins; even though she was stoned out of her mind, he found her exceptionally attractive. She removed the joint from her mouth and as she exhaled, she lazily sucked up the smoke from her mouth into her nose, perfecting the French inhale. The girl blew the remainder of the smoke into his face, lifted the roll towards him, and then nodded back to sleep.
“Quite the bunch you have here Gio,” Sirius barked as he took another drag and passed it to Ethan, keeping the smoking circle going as his eyes lingered on Gemma’s pear shaped form. “You say you’re a band?”
“We’re called Tarantellegra,” the lead singer replied as his head bobbed up and down and Ethan began to unknowingly tap out a beat with his fingertips. “After that crazy dancing hex. We mostly practice around the Castle when we find breaks in the Prefects’ schedules so they don’t bust us. We’ve played a number of Hufflepuff parties but you Gryffindors never seem to come down from your Tower to join the rest of us.”
“Oh they leave their fortress sometimes Gio. I’ve seen you around some Ravenclaw get togethers,” Kieran smirked and his twin sister nodded in agreement. “Well not the night of - but definitely the next morning.”
“Coming out of my dormitory!” Kaia exclaimed and then burst into a fit of giggles as her brother handed her the circling object. “Sorry man, Rose wasn’t very discreet about your fling.”
“No offense taken,” Sirius said with a small smile as he put up his hands in a forgiving manner. When the joint circled around to Gio, he leaned back, crossed his legs, and began to form smoke rings by manipulating the shape of his mouth. As the rest of the compartment looked at the rings reflected in the natural sunlight with awe, Sirius snuck another glance at Gemma before taking the object from Gio, who had decided to skip his sleeping friend.
As Sirius inhaled deeply, Ethan’s finger tapping became louder and Greg mimed playing the bass. Soon, Kaia began tapping her tambourine against her thigh, her brother acted out playing the air piano dramatically, and Gio grinned and imitated his on stage guitar playing, banging his head along to the inaudible beat. Sirius could barely contain his laughter – they were all just stoned and playing in their heads for Merlin’s sake – and he coughed harshly as he exhaled. After several seconds, he wiped a stray tear from his eye and that’s when the idea hit him.
“What if I told you I had a gig for you lot?”
“You realize your logic doesn’t make any sense,” Remus Lupin sighed as he closed the carriage door behind him. “You knew we couldn’t do our annual Sorting Feast prank because James is Head Boy but you decided to throw an illegal party on Saturday in his honor? That’s tomorrow!”
“Oh come on, Moony,” Sirius grinned as he took James into a playful chokehold and ruffled his jet-black hair. “You know they make us get to the Castle on a Friday so they can give the First Years time to adjust before classes start on Monday. The rest of us have nothing to do. Besides, look at Prongs! He’s miserable!”
James muttered something in response but Sirius refused to let him go. The Head Boy attempted to regain his freedom but his best friend anticipated his every move and maintained his dominance. The carriage slowly started to move towards the Castle and Remus sighed as he pinched the exact spot between his two eyes in disgust. He loved his friends but sometimes they drove him up a bloody wall.
“Not only did you decide to throw a party but you invited a band to play. So we have to avoid the Prefects seeing us but now we have to avoid them hearing us as well,” the werewolf groaned. The carriage hit a rock and the bump gave James the upper hand. With a triumphant cry, he broke Sirius’ hold on him and pinned him against the carriage wall. Remus looked up at them through the stray sandy brown hairs that had fallen in his face.
“Unbelievable,” he muttered.
“Look,” James began but Sirius took the opportunity to strike back. He wiggled his limbs to break free but James slammed him harder into the wall behind him. “Hey, you stay put! You started this, Padfoot!” Sirius dramatically frowned and Peter giggled. Remus sighed again. “Your puppy dog eyes may work on the ladies but I know your tricks, you dog! So stay! Good boy!”
“Can we please get back to the issue at hand?” Remus snapped, clearly having enough of his best friends’ antics. The two boys reluctantly ceased their fake wrestling match and returned to their normal sitting positions, both muttering apologies to their friend.
“Look, I can just tell Gio I was high,” Sirius muttered meekly as he looked out at the forest with a forlorn expression. “We can cancel the party.”
“I never said we should cancel it,” Remus responded, rolling his eyes. “I just said it was going to be harder to pull off.” Immediately, he noticed the mischievous sparkle in his friends’ eyes and he smirked and leaned back in his seat, crossing his legs.
“Mastermind Moony,” Sirius beamed, “how do you propose we go about this then?”
“Just give me a second,” Remus replied and immediately, Sirius attacked James to resume their fight. Remus tuned out Sirius’ grunts, James’ yelps, and Peter’s words of encouragement as he pulled out his wand and began to twirl it with his fingers. For some reason, the act always helped him think deviously.
While he began to bite the inside of his cheek, Remus ran through a list of spells in his head. His first thought was to cloak an old classroom so that the Prefects couldn’t find it but the logical side of his brain countered that the guests wouldn’t be able to find it themselves. Pushing that problem aside, he focused on limiting the amount of people. Enlargement charms would solve the room capacity but too many guests increased the likelihood that they would get caught. Remus knew the power of word of mouth could potentially kill the party even before it began.
He let out a frustrated sigh and tried to solve the noise problem. Simple charms wouldn’t be able to hold the speakers’ amplification but he saw no other way to mask the racket they would produce. As he transferred his wand to his other hand to resume his twirling, Sirius crashed into James with such force that he fell onto the floor and spilled the contents of his pockets. Galleons, sugar quills, a rubber ball, dungbombs, a spare pair of glasses, random Quidditch plays drawn on napkins, Muggle playing cards, and other assorted items littered the carriage.
“Merlin, James,” Peter said in surprise as he picked up a chocolate frog and began to unwrap the foil, “what else do you carry around with you?” James shrugged as if to say he didn’t actually know. Remus watched his best friend collect his belongings and shove them back into his pockets and then spied a playing card that had landed on his shoe. He reached down and gazed at the Jack of Hearts as the face on the playing card grinned maniacally back at him.
“I’ve got it,” he whispered as the plan began to form in his head. He glanced up at his friends who were staring back at him with confused expressions. “I’ve figured it out!”
“Enlighten us, Moony!” Peter squealed as he clapped his hands together.
“We use these playing cards as invitations,” Remus began. Sirius began to open his mouth to speak but Remus held up a hand to quiet him. “Hear me out before you start criticizing my plan.” He then picked up a playing card and gave it to each one of his friends; Sirius had the Queen of Diamonds, James had the 5 of Clubs, Peter had the 8 of Hearts and Remus kept the Jack. With a wave of his wand, the werewolf cast a spell and soon, each of the cards began to replicate the Jack he held.
“So you’re using the Protean Charm,” James said quizzically. “How does that help us?”
“Because,” Remus countered, “tomorrow we are going to walk around school and give playing cards to the people we want to invite. Prongs and Padfoot, I’m putting you in charge of that task. Well, on second thought, maybe Padfoot should just do it since you’re Head Boy.” James groaned and collapsed in his seat, hating that he was missing out on all the fun just because he was in a position of power. “Once we’ve set up one of the empty classrooms – Wormtail, I’m putting you in charge of the noise cancelling charms – I will alter this Jack to say the location of the party. In order to get into the party, you have to slip the card under the door to enter. And of course, I’d cast a secret Slug Vomiting charm on the cards so if anyone tells, we’ll know exactly who it is.”
“Brilliant,” Sirius grinned as he flicked his card at James, who hastily returned it to his pocket. “Your plans always are, Moony. You secret devil! I would have never thought of the Slug Charm because well … who would dare tell on us?”
“Never can be too cautious,” Remus smiled and then cracked his knuckles as he looked back at the Jack. Although he knew they were Muggle cards, he swore he saw the character wink back at him. His smile grew. “James, give me the rest of the cards in your pockets and let the master work.”
As the four boys entered the Great Hall, Peter Pettigrew’s stomach grumbled audibly; James and Sirius snickered and Remus sent him a knowing look as they took their seats at the long Gryffindor table with the rest of their house. Since he had spent the entire train ride with his best friends, Peter didn't have a chance to look around and size up the rest of the student body. His eyes scanned the Hall and he noticed several things - Theodore Edgecomb was holding hands with Daisy Girgish, Miranda Fletcher had cut off all of her red hair, and his girlfriend Aeryn Miller was barreling down the aisle with her arms wide open, ready to squeeze the life out of him.
“Peter! Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you everywhere, silly!” She enveloped him with a large hug and then slid her plump, curvy body into the open seat next to him. He snuck an arm around her waist and brushed some of her extremely curly blonde hair out of her round face. She was about to give him a quick kiss when she was interrupted.
“He’s been with us, Aeryn,” James replied as he leaned over and ruffled Peter’s light brown hair. “You know how we like to steal him away from you.”
“Oh, James,” Aeryn pouted as she snuggled into Peter’s shoulder, “I’ve known that for the past year. It’s like I’m sharing him with another woman!”
“Don’t say that,” Peter said as he quickly tried to swat James’ hand away from his head. “And cut it out, Prongs! Since we’ve been so busy with your party, I haven’t seen Aeryn all day. Give me a moment, would you?” He leaned in to regain his stolen kiss but his girlfriend held up a finger to his lips.
“Party? What party?” she questioned, her brows furrowed.
“Wormtail!” Sirius groaned as he dramatically flopped onto the table. “You weren’t supposed to tell anyone until we worked it all out!”
“Sorry,” Peter winced and glanced over at his girlfriend. Her cheeks began to redden and the boy knew this was not a good sign.
“Aeryn,” he began, trying to regain her favor so he could finally get his kiss, “we are doing something secret, ok? Something all together and something secret. You cannot tell anyone what I just said. For now, there is no party. Remember all the times you’ve heard us say something about an upcoming prank? Well this is kind of like those times. You’ll find out tomorrow, I promise.” She huffed in response and crossed her arms over her large chest. Peter gave her a peck on the cheek and she smiled and forgave him easily.
“Merlin, I wish birds forgave me that quickly,” Sirius grumbled as his grey eyes became stormy. However, seconds later, they brightened as Peter noticed they zeroed in on Miranda’s exposed thigh at the end of the Gryffindor table.
Aeryn rolled her eyes and Peter tried to ignore the sinking feeling in his chest. He had started dating her a year ago exactly after they courted during the summer. She was the first girl to ever show interest in him and he decided to date her since his parents had always expected him to see a girl and marry her after school like his perfect cousin Jeremy. Moreover, Aeryn was just so easy. Although she refused to have sex with him because she was waiting until marriage, she ignored his constant need for food, nights out during the Full Moon, and very poor grades in Transfiguration.
For Peter, she was the epitome of a dumb blonde but that was exactly why he dated her. The relationship was effortless and trouble-free. And besides, he liked to remind his three best friends that he was the only one with a steady relationship out of the bunch. It was the only way he was superior to all of them.
At the front of the room, Dumbledore tapped his wand against the stand he was standing in front of. The noise in the room slowly bubbled down to a murmur as Peter’s mouth began to salivate. He knew exactly what was coming.
“For those of you who are returning, welcome back. For those of you who have just seen the Castle for the first time, welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” The crowd clapped softly and Dumbledore opened his arms out to his sides. “But now is not the time for words. Dig in!”
Immediately, the Hall filled with all kinds of food and the Marauders grabbed as much as they could. Peter ignored Aeryn’s practically empty plate and instead of questioning why she wasn’t eating, he took her portion of mashed potatoes and put it on his plate next to the roasted chicken he had managed to get to before Sirius. After scooping cranberry sauce onto his plate, he noticed the three rolls of bread he had grabbed earlier were missing. He looked up to see large breadcrumbs around James’ mouth.
“Hey!” Peter exclaimed. “Now I won’t have any!” James smiled and gulped his mouthful of bread.
“You snooze, you lose,” he retorted and tried to snatch some of Remus’ curried onions off of his plate. He was met with a slap on the hand as the werewolf guarded his food vigilantly. Peter chose a defensive position as he began to cut the meat on his plate. He was starving and looked forward to the Feast every year. He would not let any of his friends steal his food. He placed a piece of chicken into his mouth and closed his eyes with pleasure. It was cooked to perfection. However, when he opened his eyes, he saw his pumpkin juice was half missing. Sirius wiped his mouth and tried to feign innocence as he glared at him.
As the other boys chortled at his misfortune, Peter suddenly felt annoyed. They were supposed to be his friends, not thieves! He pulled his plate closer to him and crouched over the remainder of his meal. As his eyes scanned back and forth much like his animagus, the boy couldn’t help but let the negativity course through his veins. Maybe they weren’t his friends. Maybe they just kept him around to eat his food and make fun of him. Or use him to bypass the Whomping Willow every Full Moon. Maybe he had bet on the wrong horse. Maybe he was meant for greater things.
Yet, as James launched an entire spoonful of gravy at Sirius, Peter felt a weight fall off his shoulders.
Maybe he was just over thinking things. Maybe he had to get a thicker skin.
Author’s Note: So I made my New Years resolution to finally write this story down. I hope to update every week - it all depends on how much homework I have.
This was supposed to be a Sirius/OC romance but I decided that I wanted to write about all the boys and their significant others. I also wanted a fresh take on the Marauders … so instead of Peter being a complete wuss, I see him more like Peter Campbell from Mad Men. But I’ll get to that later.
Please review, I’d love to hear from you!
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