Chapter 17: A Lot More Than You Know
“SLYTHERIN!” The Sorting Hat yelled.
The room grew silent. My jaw dropped. I vaguely heard Sirius saying something to me, but none of it processed.
Slowly, there was some clapping from the Slytherin table, but I’m not sure what they made of this. This was supposed to be a sure thing. Albus would be in Gryffindor, just like me, just like our Dad and just like the whole Potter family.
I watched in horror, as Neville removed the Sorting Hat from my brother’s head and he went to sit down at the Slytherin table.
I had enough.
My hands slammed on the table and I stood up. All eyes that were on Albus now followed me as I walked across the Great Hall to my brother – who now stood frozen – looking at me in horror. When I got to him I simply grabbed his arm and yanked him around dragging him behind me, not listening to his protest.
!” I hissed at him.
“James!” I heard Neville yell at me.
“Let go, James…” Albus whispered, gripping my hand and trying to pry it off his arm.
“You are a Gryffindor, you need to sit at the Gryffindor table.” I was halfway to our table now and the Hall was completely silent as I had my mental breakdown.
“The Sorting Hat put me in Slytherin, James.” Albus tried to reason with me.
“The Hat was wrong
.” I hissed again. “You would never be in Slytherin, you would never betray me like that…” I muttered more to myself now as I felt Albus go slightly rigid.
I threw him in the seat next to me and Sirius – who tried to signal me by shaking his head aggressively, with widen eyes.
“JAMES SIRIUS POTTER!” I turned around and glared at the spot my name came screeching from.
My eyes met Professor McGonagall, who was standing in front of the Head table now. She was next to the stool and that filthy
“Do not disrupt the Sorting again. Albus, get to your appropriate table and James, leave him be.” McGonagall sighed. “He was put in Slytherin; now stop acting like a child.”
She turned around to sit back down at the Head’s table. That’s when I lost it.
“I AM A CHILD STILL, IF YOU HAVN’T NOTICED!”
No one moved an inch as she turned back around.
“Detention, James.” She said. “Now Albus, unless you want to join your brother, get to your correct table.”
Albus slowly moved past me and joined the blond Slytherin that was sorted earlier. I sat down next to Sirius and grinded my teeth. I felt him put his hand on my shoulder.
“It’s going to be alright James. He’s still your brother.” He said trying to reassure me.
“What do you know?” I snapped at him.
He drew back his hand and looked hurt.
“A lot more than you know.” I heard him say quietly.
I probably could have made a lot more of that then I did, but I currently didn’t have the time to care. I was shaking. Shaking with rage at the thought of Albus actually being in Slytherin. Was he doing this just to spite me? I told him I was joking and Albus should know better. My brother, that stupid hat, or myself. I was not sure what to pin the blame on, but I knew that I was angry.
I didn’t say anything else throughout the Sorting or dinner, and no one said anything to me. Sirius was silent next to me and Fred talked to anyone – everyone, but us. I just sat there glaring angrily at my plate and before I knew it I was walking – glaring angrily at the walk and the back of Sirius’ head – who was in front of me.
By the time that we reached the Common Room, I was so deep in my own rage that not even the sound of a familiar voice could break my concentration.
“James that was quite a show you put on.”
My head snapped to Dominique who was sitting next to the fireplace with Amelia.
“What are you doing here Dom?” I snapped.
Dominique raised an eyebrow. “Well, I should have expected as much – your were too busy having a twelve year old version of a midlife crisis to pay any attention to where your other family members were sorted – but I happen to live here now.” Dominique turned back to Amelia.
“Perfect!” I said collapsing on the nearby sofa. Sirius sat next to me, still not saying anything. “Dom – who was a shoe in for Slytherin – is now in Gryffindor. Albus – who should be in Gryffindor – is now in Slytherin!” I grumbled. Could this day get any worse? “Anything else I should know? Did Rose go to Hufflepuff, on the account that she got a question wrong once
“No, she’s right where she should be.” Dominique told me without looking my way.
“Good, I need to talk to her.” I told Dominique. “Go get her; she’s in the girl’s dorm, right?”
“I’d imagine she is.” Dominique gave me a smirk. “The Ravenclaw dorm, that is…”
“ARGH!” I yelled. “What’s this world coming too?”
“What did you expect?” Sirius suddenly said from next to me.
I turned to him now glaring and I was mildly surprised to see him glaring back.
“Do you have something to say Sirius?” I asked, my eyes narrowing.
Sirius sighed, but didn’t look away. “McGonagall’s right, you are acting like a child. You should be thankful that you have a brother – that he still talks to you and that he isn’t going to change, just because he is branching out.” I was only slightly aware that Dominique and Amelia were watching us now – along with the rest of the Gryffindors in the Common Room. “Just because he was sorted into a different house than you – doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world.”
With that Sirius got up and head toward the boy’s dorm. I stood up too. “Where do you think, you’re going?”
Sirius turned around and looked at me. “I’m rather put out with dealing with you right now. If you feel like talking and not
acting like a spoil brat, I’ll be waiting.”
And like that my best friend left me in the middle of the Common Room.
I wondered if I was really so bad if Sirius was even this mad at me. Sirius Black once hated Slytherins, if he was willing to put his differences aside, then did that mean I was actually wrong?
I shook my head and walked out of the Common Room pushing aside the third years who had just tried to come through the Portrait Hole.
No, I was justified to be this angry. Albus betrayed me. Sirius was no better.
I pulled my Cloak out from my pocket and draped it around my shoulders as I walked down the stairs and off into the night.
“Potter, could you give us an example of Animagas?” Shookwick asked me in a calm voice. The class was rather tense since, she just got done yelling at Finnigan for giving her the wrong answer.
I personally wasn’t in the mood to have her yelling again so I sighed ready to give her McGonagall’s name, when Sirius moved in front of me. I smirked. He still wasn’t talking to me and I wanted to get back at him. “Sirius Black.”
I watched as Sirius jumped in front of me.
Shookwick gave me a surprised look. She looked at her list and scanned it carefully. She shook her head.
“Did no one look over the list of Animagas? The register list is in the first chapter in your book.” She said still calm.
“He was unregistered so he wouldn’t be on that list, would he?” I said, my temper was still on edge and I wasn’t pleased with having Shookwick for my first class of term. Transfiguration was one of my favorite subjects, but Shookwick was far from being one of my favorite teachers.
Shookwick gave me a thoughtful look and I waited for her to start yelling. She wasn’t one for knowing her wizarding history so I didn’t expect her to know that Sirius Black was an Animagas – if it wasn’t in her book. I mostly said that comment to get under Sirius skin and see him jump. I was perfectly fine with Shookwick yelling at me after that.
“Do you know anymore unregistered Animagi?” Shookwick asked suddenly.
This took me by surprised. I sat there a moment until Fred nudged me to speak.
“Well…umm…there’s my Grandfather too, James Potter.” I said. I felt ridiculous for saying my own name.
“And your name is James Sirius Potter, correct?” Shookwick twirled a strand of her brown hair with her wand and it changed to a bright red then back to brown. She was surprisingly talkative today.
“Yes, I was named after them…” I said quietly. I was overly aware that Sirius Black was in front of me as I said this. Fighting with him wasn’t fun. I realized that I had to take too much concentration and time out of my busy schedule of ignoring my brother – to ignore him, as well.
“What do you think your form would be then?” Shookwick was way off topic now.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Well who do you relate to more? Your grandfather or Sirius Black?” This stumped me.
“Well, I don’t know…” I said truthfully. I didn’t know my Grandfather and I wasn’t supposed to know Sirius, who was incredibly immobile in front of me.
“Well that’s everyone’s homework.” Shookwick said twisting the strand of her hair again – this time turning it into a snake, reminding me of Medusa. “I want everyone to come up with the animal they share the most characteristics and write me an essay on why.”
My mouth popped opened at her request. This was still Transfiguration, right?
“When we have class next I expect a foot of parchment on that and another foot on the difference between human transfiguration and Animagi will be due next week, now that I think of it...” Shookwick said abruptly. “Class dismissed.”
I stood up with Fred and together we walked out of the room. I watched with dismay as Sirius strode on past me without looking at us.
Fred’s keen insight didn’t fail to notice this abnormal behavior and was at once he was distracted by it.
“Why are you two ignoring each other?” He asked without giving Sirius time to get out of ears reach. Sirius missed a step going down the stairs – but otherwise was unaffected by Fred’s question. Without listening for an answer Sirius quickly ducked behind a secret passageway, heading toward the dungeons for Potions class.
When Fred headed for the same passageway, I pulled on his arm. “Let’s take the long way.” I pleaded with him.
“Why? I’m not mad at you or Sirius.” Fred said honestly. “Why do I have to suffer because you two are having a lovers spat?”
“Look we aren’t having a lovers spat.” I said crossly.
“Call it what you will, but point is I don’t want to be in the middle of it.” Fred shrugged. “Make up with him soon – I have an idea for a prank. It occurred to me over summer that we didn’t pull one prank together last year. NOT ONE
Fred continued down the stairs with me, talking about how this year was going to be different and if Sirius and I didn’t make up soon – he was going to make us.
Potions passed quickly. Fred forced me to sit next to Sirius – who didn’t talk to me all class. Fred made awkward jokes and added a Coffee Toffee to his Potion to “wake it up
.” In the end, his Potion was hissing at everyone who passed it.
“Cleaver boy!” Slughorn laughed. “I don’t know what you did, but you seem to be trying to invent things like your Father. Which reminds me…I hope to hold you three here back for a moment.”
Slughorn dismissed the rest of the class and the three of us reluctantly stayed behind. Sirius seemed to know what was coming while I looked at Fred – wondering what else he did and if we were going to get blamed for it.
“Now boys, I typically try to wait for you to get a bit older – so you can enjoy these things better – but I think it’s about time…” Slughorn said slowly.
“I’m having a little party this Saturday, to start off the school year and I’m inviting you three.” Slughorn waited for us to get excited.
The three of us however, clearly disappointed him as we stood there frowning at him.
He cleared his throat. “Perhaps you boys didn’t know – I run a very important club and I’m inviting you to join it!”
“Thank you Professor…” Sirius managed to say. “We’ll look forward to it…”
Sirius managed to smile and I followed his lead. Fred just stared at him, but Slughorn seemed happy enough and dismissed the three of us.
Once we were outside Fred turned to us.
“I don’t want to go.”
Before I could say anything Sirius spoke up.
“We don’t really have a choice…” Sirius gritted his teeth. This seemed to piss him off enough to forget he wasn’t talking to me.
I smiled. “So we’re talking now?”
“No, I was talking to Fred.” Sirius said suddenly taking off down the hallway.
“Wait! Sirius!” I ran after him and rounded a corner hitting someone. I fell back and so did they. I looked around the person in front of me and saw that Sirius had frozen where he was looking slightly worried.
“I’m sorry!” Said a very familiar voice.
“Why are you apologizing Al?” Said another voice. Al
? “He’s the one that wasn’t looking where he was going.”
I looked away from Sirius to the two in front of me. Albus was sitting laying there on the floor – rubbing his head – while a blond boy tried to help him up. I glared at them when I took in their green and silver ties with Slytherin crests on their robes.
My eyes narrowed. “Hello, Albus.” I never used Al’s full name.
Albus’ head turned to me. The blond boy gave me a look that told me he didn’t like me. I disregarded it and continued to glare at my brother.
“James!” Albus said surprised. “I’ve been looking for you since this morning! I think we should talk–”
“And why would I talk to a Slytherin?” I asked getting up.
I was only slightly aware that Fred finally joined me and that Sirius was on his way back to us.
The blond boy scowled at me and lifted Albus up, before turning to me. “You’re James Potter, right?” I heard him asking.
“Yes, now if you don’t mind, Al and I are in the middle of a family matter–”
“And if you don’t mind
, Al and I are on our way to class!” The boy interrupted me and pushed past me. “So we’ll be on our way, Potter
The blond boy left towing Albus behind him. I heard them whispering as they left toward the Potion’s rooms.
My eyes narrowed after the blond boy and my brother. I turned around to see Sirius standing not too far away with Fred. Sirius had a strange expression on his face as turned to Fred, not taking his eyes off me.
“Fred, will you save James and I a seat for lunch?” Sirius asked calmly with a now unreadable look on his face.
Fred looked back and forth between us and shrugged. “Sure.”
Once Fred left Sirius stared at me for a while. He seemed unable to approach the topic he wanted to discuss. He crossed his arms and just looked at me for a while. I just stared at him at a loss for words.
“What are you doing James?” Sirius finally asked.
This took me a little by surprise. He had been silent for so long and I’ve never been in a fight with Sirius. It wasn’t easy. I kept trying to think of a joke or something to say that would solve all my problems, but I honestly didn’t know why Sirius was peeved at me this much.
“I was talking to my brother.” I said innocently, with a hint of annoyance in my tone. Not at Sirius, at Al.
“Your brother was trying to be nice and talk to you, but you just turned him down.” Sirius said sadly. I didn’t understand why this emotion was coming across in his voice.
“He deserves it. He betrayed me!” I shouted like a little kid. I didn’t like fighting with Sirius. It made me confused and unsure of myself.
Sirius frowned at me. “He didn’t betray you James…he’s still the same.”
“No…no he’s not.” I said strongly.
“You know…I kind of wonder out of the two of you, who really belongs in Slytherin.” Sirius growled at me.
Sirius turned and stalked off down the dungeon corridors, leaving me there agape at his final words to me.
The rest of the day was horrendous. During lunch, Fred managed to slip firecrackers into our pot pies. Somehow, he was under the impression that we were still hostile toward each other, when we didn’t sit next to one another.
After Lunch, we went to Charms, where Sirius kept changing my hair color to green and silver. I started really wondering who was twelve between the two of us, when I remembered his pranking recorded, according to my Dad.
I tried to Charm his hair back, but messed up the charm and a flower started growing from my left ear. History of Magic was very similar to Charms, except most of the spells Sirius and I were sending back and forth were intercepted by Fred who somehow managed to hex purple spots all over our faces. They fell off on our way to Herbology, our last class, but by then the tension between Sirius and I had grown to unimaginable levels and I was about to crack.
Sirius and I didn’t talk at all since the dungeon and Fred was severely pissed at both of us, for doing exactly what he didn’t want us to do – drag him into the middle of it. In our defense, we didn’t actually ask him to be in the middle of it. He took it upon himself after some of our spells went amiss and hit him instead of their designated target.
Fred left the moment Neville dismissed Herbology – leaving both of us to our childish games.
I was out the door when I heard Neville call out to Sirius.
“Sirius, would you mind helping me take this up to my office?”
I froze outside the door then ducked behind the greenhouse. Neville didn’t have anything to take up to his office today. All we did today was go over poisonous magical plants and how to handle them. He didn’t have any examples. I looked around and I quickly pulled my Invisibility Cloak out of my pocket. I wrapped it around myself and made sure that my feet didn’t show. I then waited for Sirius and Neville to come out of the greenhouse. As I suspected – Sirius and Neville both came out of the greenhouse, empty-handed.
Together they trotted up to the castle and up the stairs.
I felt like it was my first day again. Except I was not as happy and cheerful – plus I was ignoring my brother for the first time in my life and my best friend – I was currently stalking the latter of the two once again to find out his secrets. I felt guilty once again for doing this without his permission, but then remembered I was mad at him currently and vanished that thought.
The more I thought about it the more ridiculous my misplaced anger seemed at him. For a moment I considered that I was being the immature one and that I wasn’t really justified to currently being upset with Albus or Sirius.
But that was just a moment, because I quickly threw away those thoughts as I followed Neville and Sirius under the Invisibility Cloak to Neville’s office. I slid into the office before Sirius who was a pace or two behind Neville. I quickly ducked into a corner – where hopefully I wouldn’t be bothered.
I was glad I decided to come in rather than stand outside; because moments after Sirius entered he placed a few charms on the door – locking it and making it impossible to hear anything the happened inside this room. When Sirius relaxed in one of the chairs across from Neville I took one in the corner that wasn’t occupied by plants.
“So…” Neville began.
“So?” Sirius snapped. Clearly his bad mood didn’t waver in front of Neville.
Neville smiled and he seemed to have a twinkle in his all knowing eyes. My Dad once told me that Dumbledore would get a similar look and I imagined that it looked very similar to the way Neville currently looked at Sirius.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Neville asked in a kind voice.
“I don’t know what you are referring to, but I can assure you that I don’t
.” Sirius said with a bit too much force. He was currently glaring at the corner of Neville’s desk.
Neville let out a sigh. “Well, in that case, the other werewolf reports came back.”
“I didn’t know you did more than one…” Sirius sounded annoyed at this.
“Don’t give me that look.” Neville frowned at Sirius and they seemed to be having a silent conversation, in their heads. “You know that I wasn’t supportive of even considering werewolves, but all that packs cleared.”
“Good.” Sirius said strongly. “Maybe they will be left alone now. Just because purebloods are being attacked doesn’t mean we have to turn to werewolves for the cause.”
“It was Harry’s idea.” Neville said quietly.
“What?” Sirius jumped up at this. “Harry would never–”
“Calm down, Sirius and let me explain.” Neville waited for Sirius to sit back down before he started talking again. “Harry took our stance, he said that they would never compromise their newly enlisted freedom – granted directly after Kingsley and Harry got into their positions, I might add.”
Sirius returned to glaring at the corner of Neville’s desk. “Go on…”
“Werewolves can now get better jobs. It’s what you and the first James waited for Remus – they now have it.” Neville explained. This was all old news to me. By the time I was born the werewolf bias had mostly died down. There were only one or two small hiccups with individuals. I remember Harry going head to head with this horrid witch when I was about seven.
Albus and Lily don’t remember that well, but it was the first and only time I even saw my father angry. My Father was fairly calm when it came to dealing with most matters, but this lady brought out the worst in him. I don’t remember exactly what happened – but I remember the word werewolves coming up quite a bit, along with half-breed and I even remember Teddy’s name being thrown into the mix. In the end, I remember peeking around the top of the staircase to see my Mother dismissing the rather plump women, her pink robes just disappearing out the door. My Mother was downright scary for the next few days…
I looked back to see Sirius’s faces and saw that he was smiling and nodding to himself.
I twitch of guilt came up and I felt horrid that we were not on speaking terms right now. I wanted nothing more than to make sure he was okay. My resolve, for the silly matter concerning my brother, fell short when I could see the nostalgic look on Sirius face. The cross of sadness and acceptance made me want to cry.
“I’m glad…” Sirius finally sad after the long silence. “Please continue.”
Neville nodded. “Harry had to act on the werewolf speculation right away. There were some – who hold spots in the Wizengamot still – placing a lot of the blame onto them. Harry acted accordingly – so the laws protecting werewolves could not be retracted.”
Sirius nodded like all of this made sense. I personally was a little lost. I guessing werewolves got blamed for the Malfoy and Nott case my Dad took on, but that was months ago…
Point of this meeting though, was the werewolves were not to blame.
I felt a little relieved there and I could see Sirius felt the same.
“What should I do from here?” Sirius asked.
Wait…What did Sirius have to do with this?
“I’m asking Harry where we are looking into now.” Neville told Sirius. “A lot of people are willing to help though – we might not need you for a while.”
“Who’s helping out?” Sirius asked.
Neville grinned. “Well you’ll be happy to know the Order still lives on through Harry…Although, it’s taken on a new name that Harry favors…”
Sirius raised an eyebrow waiting for Neville to continue. “Which is?” He finally pressed after a moment.
“Dumbledore’s Army.” Neville seem to smile just from the name. I recognized the name from Dad’s old stories.
Sirius laughed. “I remember that…Harry was talking about that fifth year, because of that Umbridge cow.”
Neville laughed too. “Yeah, now he uses it for his connections outside of the Ministry. It’s helpful – especially considering he’s the Head Auror. Harry said that it’s full of people that he would still trust, well minus the girl that ratted on us.”
Sirius nodded then paused. “Maybe it’s not a good thing that he has his trust in that many people…”
“What do you mean?” Neville asked.
“Well, this is nothing compared to the spies the Order had…and the whole situation is different…but Harry seemed to adopt Dumbledore’s ideals in trusting everyone.” Sirius mumbled. “What if the person, or people he’s looking for…is someone he has placed trust in, and therefore, they now know his every move…”
Neville considered this for a moment, before speaking again. “I don’t think that anyone in Dumbledore’s Army would betray Harry like that…”
“James, Remus and I never thought Peter could betray us either.” Sirius said gravely.
Neville nodded, but didn’t look convinced.
“Think about it Neville.” Sirius said. “There are two possibilities basically. One, it’s Death Eaters seeking revenge on those who carried on after the war – which is unlikely, considering most of them are dead or locked up in Azkaban.”
“And the second?” Neville asked.
“The second…” Sirius took a deep breath. “The second is that there are people who want revenge for what happened during the War. It’s a very sad truth, but those in Dumbledore’s Army might want to get back at those Pureblooded families that didn’t suffer any loses like Muggle-Borns did…”
Neville’s eyes widened. “I’ll talk to Harry.”
“Thank you…I’d do it myself, but I doubt he’d listen to his Godfather like this.” Sirius laughed. He looked around. “So…I take it as there is nothing for me to do really.”
“Not right now.” Neville looked apologetically at Sirius. “McGonagall sent some books she thought you might find interesting.” Neville pushed the three books on the corner of his desk toward Sirius.
I tried to look and see if I could see the top one, but couldn’t from this angle. Sirius didn’t touch them, but twisted his head to read the spines. He suddenly hissed.
“Rita Skeeter? Are you kidding me?” Sirius recoiled away from the books.
Neville laughed. “The one about Harry is good. Harry says it’s about five percent true, the rest is garbage.”
Sirius shook his head. “You’ve read these?”
“It’s a good laugh, and there is always some truth to every book – even if it isn’t much.” Neville shrugged. His eyes were on Sirius now. “Do you want to tell me why you and James are not talking?”
I held my breath now. This is something I wanted to know, but at the same time…I wasn’t so sure.
Sirius glared back at the table not looking at Neville.
After about a minute of Neville looking at Sirius and Sirius looking at the desk, Sirius finally spoke up.
“It was before the Sorting…I realized something.” Sirius said slowly.
“What did you realize?” Neville pressed.
“I’m exactly like them…”
Neville didn’t seem to follow. “Like who?”
“Well for starters, James.” Sirius said. “I teased my brother about what house he would be in. It drove him crazy and in the end we didn’t talk much after it. I always wanted him to be in Gryffindor with me, but that didn’t happen.”
“So you’re mad at James for teasing Albus?”
“No, I’m mad at James for not accepting the House Albus was sorted into!” Sirius raised his voice.
“If I remember correctly, you weren’t fond of Slytherins either…”
“That’s was before I realized what a hypocrite I was being.” Sirius said. “I never realized I put my brother through the same thing, plus I didn’t tell you the second part…”
“And what’s that?”
“Albus is going through the same thing I went through when I was sorted the first time.” Sirius said. Neville looked like he didn’t follow, and I’m glad he didn’t because I wasn’t either. These were not the reasons I was guessing.
Sirius saw the look of confusion on Neville’s face and continued.
“My family shunned and ridiculed me for being the first Black put into Gryffindor…now Albus is going through the same thing – for being the first Potter put into Slytherin…It’s my situation when I started and I personally don’t want Albus to turn out as messed up as I was…my family was worst though. I remember Bellatrix tried to hex me every chance she got…”
I froze. Sirius’s anger at me clicked now. Yes…I’ll admit it did help that he just told Neville and I happened to overhear that, but it all made sense. Sirius was completely right. I was just as bad as his family was to him when he first started Hogwarts.
“I see…” Was all Neville had to say. “And you can’t exactly explain this to James…”
Sirius laughed darkly. “Not unless the conversation starts off with, ‘So, I’m actually Sirius Black…’”
Neville frowned; obviously this wasn’t what he wanted to happen. “He’ll come around…”
“He better, or I might start hexing him.”
I suppressed a laugh. I’d like to see you try, Black.
In my head, I was already his friend again. I was wrong and Sirius was right. I silently let out my breath and nodded to myself.
It was time that I was the bigger person.
I sat there for the remainder of the time listening to Neville and Sirius’ chit-chat, the whole time formulating a plan to apologize to Sirius and eventually – when I swallowed my pride – my little brother.
(A/N) I would like to thank everyone for all the review thus fair. All my readers and reviews are so amazing. You really know how to make me feel super awesome and I hope the quick updates, let you know how amazing and awesome you are! Thank you so much and please keep it up. :)