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Chapter 4 : Brothers in Arms
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I know I haven’t owled in a little while - sorry - I’ve been drowning in homework. I promise to send you and mum a decent letter sometime this week. Oh, and I’ll remind James and Albus to send you something as well. I just have a quick favor to ask. I was wondering if you could send me a letter today, telling me everything you know about the Marauders, and your mum and dad. I know it seems like an odd request, it’s just for a project that I’ve been working on, and I could really use your input.
Please reply ASAP
With a sigh, I rolled up my parchment, before placing it into the claws of my owl, Nargle (a suggestion from my namesake; Auntie Luna, who gave me the owl). With a quick nibble of my hand, and two loud hoots, Nargle left his perch and flew out of the owlery, towards the horizon. I spent a couple of minutes watching the creature’s retreating form before I quickly hurried down the stairs of the west tower and dashed across the seventh floor towards the Gryffindor Common Room.
“Honking Hippogriffs,” I quickly muttered to the Fat Lady, who obligingly opened at my command. I jumped through the portrait hole and dashed up to the Fourth Year Dormitory, well aware that I was - at this point - late for my first lesson, and still in my pyjamas.
“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!” were the words I was greeted with when I entered the dormitory. Emma was stood at the far end of the room, fully dressed, with my books and clothes for the day in a neat pile to the left of her. I gratefully reached out for the pile of clothes before answering her question.
“I went to the owlery to send a letter to Dad, and I... errm... needed to check something in a corridor.”
Emma raised an eyebrow. “Lils, you can call it ‘making out’ like the rest of us.”
I glared at her before snatching a sock from behind her back. “I was NOT making out! I just needed to see something in that corridor below the dungeons.”
Emma’s expression turned from amusement to disgust. “You were snogging a Slytherin?!” she asked, pulling a face.
“I wasn’t snogging anything!” I exclaimed. “I just wanted to see some graffiti that my Dad told me my granddad and his friends had left.”
“And you were so excited to see this bit of graffiti, that you forgot to change from your pajamas into robes...?”
“It was a really exciting bit of graffiti...”
Shaking her head, she passed me my books, before beginning to walk out of the room. “C’mon,” she grinned. “Let’s head down to the kitchens. We can catch up on Defence another time. I missed breakfast trying to figure out where you’d buggered off to.” And - deciding that the stress of my past couple of days most definitely entitled me to a decent breakfast - I followed her out of the room.
“So, what were you actually doing?” asked Emma, as we dug through a massive plate of pancakes that the house elves had ‘just whipped up for us.’
“Honestly nothing!” I exclaimed, trying to sound as convincing as I possibly could. “My dad mentioned a bit of graffiti that my grandparents left when they were at school, and you know how I get in the morning. I just woke up with this crazy desire to look at it. And I was kinda groggy and wasn’t thinking straight, so I headed straight to the dungeons.”
Emma shook her head, before rolling her eyes and returning to her pancakes. “You are one odd bird, Lily Potter.” she remarked. “Always have been, always will be. I still remember that time you woke up me and Hugo in the dead of night to go ‘exploring.’ I nearly died from hypothermia when you got us stuck in the kitchen freezer!”
I gave her a look of disbelief. “Emma, that was YOU!” I cried.
“Was it?” she asked, an expression of comical confusion lighting up her face. “Really?”
I nodded, slowly.
“Oh! Actually, yeah, that’s right. That was a really fun night; we should do it again sometime. Forget I ever said anything.”
I snorted into my pancakes. “I forgot to properly thank you for having my clothes and stuff ready this morning. I dunno what came over me.”
“I still say you were making out with someone,” Emma smirked. “Hugo was really confused. I don’t think he’s had as much experience of your morning craziness as I have.”
“That’d be because Hugo never decided to replace my alarm clock with a Niffler,” I smirked back. “Nor did he transfigure my quilt into ice-cubes, or levitate my mattress onto the dormitory stairs, then slide the mattress down to the bottom while I was still on it!”
“I forgot about that,” she grinned. “I’d never heard so many swear words in such a short period of time. That being said, even you admitted it was fun. We ended up using that staircase as a mattress slide for the next week.”
“...And Hugo was really jealous because he couldn’t try it,” I finished, my grin matching hers. “Those were the days.”
“Jeez, it was only a couple of years ago, Lils,” Emma smirked. “We aren’t that old, yet.”
“Sorry,” I said, looking down at my now-empty plate. “Just had a pretty intense couple of days.”
Emma looked at me, her previous grin turning to a look of concern. “You okay?” she asked. “You seem a bit out of it.”
“Like I said, a pretty crazy couple of days.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“Nah,” I replied, cutting the conversation dead. “We should get going, we’ve already ditched first period. Longbottom’ll do his nut if we skip second as well.”
Emma looked like she wanted to push the topic further, but held her tongue and followed me out of the kitchens.
“Y’know you can always talk to me if you want to, right?” she said, as we started to walk to our next class.
“‘Course,” I smiled, grabbing her hand, feeling suddenly very appreciative of my best friend.
I’ve gotta be honest, I was a little surprised to get your letter this morning. You’ve never really shown much interest in your grandparents and their friends before. Still, I’m glad you’re curious about your heritage. They’re a pretty interesting bunch of people, if you ask me, and it’s good for you to find out about your roots.
I can’t really think of a decent way to start this letter, so I guess I’ll begin with Remus Lupin, because I knew him the longest, and he had the most obvious impact in your life (he is, as you know, the father of Teddy.)
Remus, was always the quiet, studious type. Probably a side-effect of his condition, Remus never quite reached the level of boisterousness as James and Sirius. That isn’t to say he hid behind them, Remus instead tried to keep them in check. He was the moral compass of the Marauders, and the other three looked to him for advice. He was also very close with Lily, before either James, Peter or Sirius were.
From what he told me, Remus came to Hogwarts expecting to be hated and loathed, thinking that he could never become close with any of his classmates, for fear of them finding out his secret. He likewise believed that if anyone did find out his condition, the whole school would soon be alerted, and he would be forced to leave Hogwarts. However, through whatever circumstance, James and Sirius befriended Remus, and inevitably found out his secret. But to Remus’ shock, they neither judged him nor feared him, as much of the wizarding community would’ve done.
My father and godfather were not perfect individuals, and both were flawed in their own ways, but I honestly feel that the way they accepted Remus Lupin was one of the most admirable things either of them ever did.
September 4th, 1974
With a crink of my neck, and a stretch of my aching bones, I rose from my bed to observe my surroundings. Even before I’d lifted myself from my mattress, I’d suspected I wasn’t in my own bed; waking up without Emma physically assaulting me is a rare experience for me in the real world. A flash of Lily’s ginger hair from the bed next to me confirmed my suspicions. Still drowsy, I picked up my watch from my bedside table and blearily looked at it’s face, which showed the time as 5:15. Knowing there was no way I would fall back asleep, I dragged my dreary body down to the Gryffindor common room, where I encountered a hazel-eyed boy, with sandy-brown hair, lazily reading by the embers of the fireplace.
“Luna?” Remus - who I had previously thought to be consumed in his book - turned around to face me, obviously alerted by the noise I made walking down from the girls dormitory. “You’re up early...?”
“Couldn’t sleep,” I said, simply. “Though I could say the same to you,” I added, grinning at the weary boy.
“I suffer from monthly Insomnia,” he responded, not returning my smile. I fell quiet, and for a short while, neither of us spoke. “I’m sorry, I’m being rude,” Remus apologized. “I tend to get a bit cranky when I haven’t had much sleep. Would you like to go down to breakfast?”
I looked at him in bewilderment. In all honesty, I don’t think I’d ever been up at this time in the morning. “Do they even serve food this early?” I asked.
“Uh-huh. It’s hardly busy, but a couple of students and some of the teachers who have to set up for morning lessons are down at this point. Food’s on the table from half-five onwards. And it’s always at it’s hottest if you get there first.” Remus flashed me a grin, before placing his book on the coffee table in front of him, and heading towards the portrait hole. “Anyway, I feel like I haven’t got to know you well enough Luna,” he said, while holding the door open. “All I know is that you’re the American exchange student who can conjure a pretty awesome swamp and was unlucky enough to get in the way of Sirius’ bad aim.”
“Well, quite frankly, that pretty much sums me up,” I joked. “But alright, I’ll bite. What would you like to know?”
And so for the next twenty minutes, I answered all of Remus’ questions, of which there were many. My family, old friends, what I thought of Hogwarts, and the Marauders and Lily? Had I heard of Dumbledore before now, how was I finding lessons and did I miss America much? It was nice, most of what I was saying was the truth, with only the occasional lie slipped in if he asked too much about life in America.
“Y’know Remus Lupin,” I mused, after telling him about the first time I rode a broomstick. “You are shockingly good at getting people to talk about themselves. But in the last twenty minutes, I don’t think you’ve said a word about yourself. Favourite holiday destination?”
He looked at me in surprise. “Pardon?”
“Favourite. Holiday. Destination.” I repeated, enunciating each word clearly.
“Errm... my family has a holiday home in the south of France,” Remus began, before slowly warming to the topic. “Near Lyon; we used to visit there every year when I was growing up. Since I got to Hogwarts, we stopped going as frequently. Still, every second summer my family spends three weeks there. Last time - this past summer - I managed to convince them to take the rest of the Marauders as well. It was chaos. We agreed to spend a long weekend by ourselves in Paris, and we ended up losing Sirius for about four hours one night. We eventually found him at 2 o’clock in the morning, pissing on the Arc de Triomphe. To this day I’m shocked he wasn’t arrested.”
I snorted. “Sounds like Sirius. But that was good, okay... this time... worst childhood injury.”
The moment I said it, I wanted to take the words back. Had I just reminded him of the night he was bitten? The night he first encountered Fenrir Greyback?
But to my surprise, Remus just laughed and responded, “When first years start Hogwarts, we’re forced to take compulsory flying lessons. So, during my first week, they combined the Gryffindor and Slytherin first years, and put them all in one group, and we were instructed to just mount our brooms, lightly hover, before coming back to the ground. And as you can imagine, it was complete mayhem.” I nodded, vividly remembering my first flying lesson. “You effectively had two groups form. You’d have the likes of James, and Sirius, who’d flown all their lives and were just naturally good at it, coupled with the likes of Me, Lily and Peter.”
I continued to nod as he told the story, starting to get a feel for where this story was going. “So anyway, first flying lesson, I was definitely a bad flier, but I still wasn’t the worst. That was Lily, who’d never ridden a broom before and was terrified of heights. I still really sucked though; so I said that we should do the hovering together, that it’d be less scary. She agreed, and we both mounted our brooms, and began to rise from the ground, slowly. But about halfway up, Lily panics, and starts flailing her arms madly. She and her broom tip, so she grabbed the first thing she could lay a hand on... which just so happened to be me.”
I couldn’t hide my grin at this point, but gesture at him to keep going. “So anyway, Lily falling onto me made my broom jolt forwards, kinda like a panicked horse, and the two of us hurtled towards a tree that was placed about thirty metres away. We crashed into the tree, before falling to the ground, with me hitting the grass first, and Lily landing on top of me. I broke three bones, and completely destroyed the broom. And the worst part was the reaction I got from all of the other first-years. Lily turned scarlet every time I tried to talk to her for the next THREE MONTHS, and Sirius still chants ‘Moony and Evans, crashing into a tree’ to this day.”
At this point, I was openly laughing at Remus, but he didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he was chuckling along with me. When my giggles eventually subsided, I teased; “Full credit. I have two older brothers, and not even I could think of an injury story that good.”
In response, Remus grinned at me. We talked for the rest of the morning, me telling stories of growing up with Albus and James, and him of the adventures he and the Marauders got up to.
“...So anyways, me, James and Sirius wake up the next morning to Peter screaming. Somehow in the night, a half shaven Mrs. Norris had climbed into his bed, and fallen asleep on his head. And we still have no idea why Mrs. Norris was missing half of her fur, or why we found her in Peter’s bed. But Filch swears that she had a fully-grow coat the night before, so Peter had to spend the next week in detention anyway!”
I leaned against the table in an attempt to control my laughter. Remus shot me his signature wolf-like grin, while Lily arrived and took the seat immediately to my left. “What’s so funny?” she asked.
“Remus was just telling me this really funny story about his first flying lesson,” I teased. Lily looked at me in confusion for a couple of moments, before her cheeks flushed in realization.
“God Remus, why’d you have to tell her that story?” she moaned. Remus merely chuckled in response while I openly laughed.
“Did either of you fly after that?”
Remus grimaced. “When two of your best mates are Sirius and James, you don’t get much of a choice. I eventually managed to get used to a broom, but I refused to try out for the Quidditch team, no matter how often Sirius told me to. I commentate instead.”
We then both turned to face Lily, who turned red again. “Let’s just say that I became mysteriously sick whenever we had any other flying lessons.”
I snorted, before scraping the last food off my plate and finishing the dregs of my coffee. “Well, that’ll be me,” I declared, standing up. “Doing anything interesting today?” I asked Lily.
“Does going to the library to write a potions essay count as interesting?” she replied, wryly.
I laughed. “Shit, I forgot about that. Mind if I tag along?”
“Sure,” she smiled.
I turned to face Remus. “I’m heading back to the common room. You coming?”
He nodded, drank the rest of his pumpkin juice and followed me out of the great door.
“You’re pretty confident for someone who’s only been here a day,” He remarked casually.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, when I first got to Hogwarts, I was lost pretty much all of the time. It took me a week just to learn how to get from the Common Room to the Great Hall. All those moving staircases, and secret passageways and doors that move. Completely threw me off,” he explained.
I try to keep my cool. “Just got a good sense of direction, I suppose...” I lied.
From there, I masterfully steer the conversation away from why I’m so talented at finding my way around Hogwarts, to less dangerous topics. We babbled along nicely for the rest of the journey back to the Fat Lady, at which point Remus paused before delivering the password.
“It was really nice getting to know you, Luna,” he said. “I feel that outside of the Marauders, I don’t spend enough time getting to know my classmates.”
I smile back at him. “It was nice getting to know you too, Remus,” I said.
“Call me Moony,” he told me, before the Fat Lady swung open, and he stepped into the common room, retreating towards the boys’ dormitory. From an armchair besides me, Sirius emitted a low whistle.
“Y’know, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure you’re the second non-marauder he’s ever told to call him that.” Sirius chuckled softly. “You should be honoured,” he mused, before standing up, and following Remus up to the boys’ dormitory.
Weirdly enough, my mum is probably the person I know the least about from my parents generation. I obviously knew Sirius and Remus personally, and I found out a fair amount about my dad from them, but they were usually quite tight-lipped about my mum.
My mum grew up in a rather small house in a town called Cokeworth, neighbouring the Snape family’s much larger house, on Spinners End. She displayed significant signs of magic from a young age, catching the attention of Severus, who was her friend as they grew up. I don’t know a huge amount about your great-grandparents, aside from that they died a little after Lily left school, and that Lily had a good relationship with her parents. In contrast, Lily had a fairly conflicted relationship with your great-aunt Petunia. Until Lily received her Hogwarts letter, she was very close to her older sister. However, due to a mix of rejection and jealousy, these feelings changed when Lily arrived at Hogwarts, with Petunia regarding her as a ‘freak.’
Their relationship continued to deteriorate from there onwards. As such, Lily found herself growing steadily closer to Severus (along with her own school friends) as the individual who introduced her to the wizarding world, and accepted her for being a witch. This created an incredibly strong emotional bond between the two of them, and was a major cause for Lily taking so long to realize Snape’s descent into the dark arts, and how he had been treating muggleborns asides from her.
Her relationship with your grandfather was no less complicated. For most of her years at Hogwarts, Lily showed nothing but intense dislike for James, thinking him as arrogant and a bully. When they were both appointed head students in her final year, Lily was forced to re-evaluate her perspective on James, who had matured during his sixth year. Lily became rapidly closer to him and all of the Marauders, and they married soon after leaving Hogwarts.
“Sev, please! Slow down!”
“I keep telling you Lily, It isn’t your place to tell me what to do!"
“I know it isn’t! I just think you should have swallowed your pride and ignored them, rather than let a full-scale fight blow out! Did you see some of the hexes Mulciber was trying to use on Black!?”
“So? Black’s a prick!”
“Well... maybe, but it isn’t a good idea for everyone to start hexing each other. Especially not Mulciber. I’ve heard about the sort of magic he’s learnt. It’s really dark stuff, Sev.”
“Lily, you know you can’t trust the Gryffindor gossip mill. Mulciber’s harmless. A couple of innocent spells here and there. No worse than what Potter and Black get up too.”
“Potter and Black don’t use dark magic, Sev!”
“So you’re defending them now!”
“I’m not defending them! But at least they don’t go around using dark magic on muggleborns! And what’s gotten into you recently? You’re acting so strangely. Every time another Slytherin comes over you act like we aren’t friends. It’s insane!"
"Lily, you’re imagining things. I’ve gotta go. We’ll talk later,” said Snape, before heading towards a larger group of Slytherins at the bottom of the corridor. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, just a lot of sniggering, and I’m pretty sure someone said to ‘drop the mudblood bitch.’
Lily sighed and walked towards me, leaning against the thick walls of the Library.
“Sorry you had to see that...” she muttered, blushing slightly.
“It’s fine,” I responded, scratching the back of my head awkwardly. “You’re welcome to go and find him if you like?”
Lily shook her head. “Don’t worry. He’ll need some time to sulk,” she grimaced. “If there is one thing Severus Snape is good at, it’s sulking.”
I smiled wryly, before we crossed the Library and found some empty seats. I took out my potions textbook, and we chatted while we attempted to write Slughorn’s essay.
“So, what’s going on with you and Snape?”
Lily sighed deeply, tucking a couple of hairs behind her ear. “It’s nothing, we’ll get over it. He just gets a bit... paranoid... about Potter and the rest of the Marauders, and I get a bit frustrated with his choices of friends.”
I nod slowly. “Who are his friends?”
“Mulciber’s the one I have the biggest problem with. Well, him and Avery. They’re both a year above us, and they’re downright horrible.”
I can’t help but grin. “It’s funny, I think that’s the first time I’ve heard you say something nasty about someone. Apart from towards James and Sirius, that is.”
Lily grinned back, momentarily forgetting her troubles. “Oh, I can be a complete bitch when I want to be,” she informed me, smirking. “But Mulciber and Avery deserve it. They go around hexing muggleborn students who are younger than them, just because they can. And they aren’t little curses either... last term Avery put a second-year in the hospital for two weeks. Course, there was no proof that it was him, but he was boasting to all of the Slytherin’s about it for the rest of the term.”
“So generally not very nice people?” I summarize.
“You can say that again,” Lily groanded. “It isn’t often I meet someone I wish Potter and Black would hex more, but I make an exception for those two. Rumour has it they’re planning to join up with the Death Eaters after they finish school. I wouldn’t pay them too much attention usually, but Sev’s becoming really good friends with them. It frightens me a little bit. I’m scared he’s going to end up way too deep within the wrong crowd. And, quite frankly, to them all I am is a muggleborn. A mudblood.”
I nodded, sombrely.
“I’m just a little scared for our friendship,” Lily concluded.
I couldn’t help but feel a little uncertain as to how to proceed. Thankfully, Lily didn’t seem to need much response from me.
“Ah, I’m probably just overreacting...” she muttered, before I silenced her.
“No you aren’t,” I told her. “Look... I errm... Well... Obviously I don’t know much about the details between you and Snape, but it doesn’t sound like you’re overreacting. You shouldn’t give up so easily! Let him know if you have a problem.”
“I do!” Lily exclaimed, sniffing loudly. “He just doesn’t seem to listen.”
Lily looked like she was bordering dangerously on tears, so I quickly slung my books into my bag, before getting up.
Lily started in shock. “I’m sorry! I know I’m probably boring you with all this talk about Severus, but you don’t have to go. I’ll shut up, I swear.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I told her. “I just thought we should take this conversation to somewhere a little more... private.”
Lily quickly scanned the room, rapidly taking in the pair of Hufflepuff girls who were inching closer, ears pricked at the sign of gossip, along with Madam Pince, who was glaring towards us.
“Ah... yeah, maybe that’s a good idea,” she admitted, gathering up her books, and following me out of the library. I led her down towards the ground floor, heading a little below the Great Hall, in the direction of the kitchens. Once the pear had been tickled, transforming into a vibrant, green doorknob, we were ambushed by half a dozen house-elves.
“Good afternoon, young misses,” squeaked the one at the head of the group. “Welcome to the Hogwarts Kitchens. Is there any services we can be providing to you today?”
"Could we have a pot of tea?” I asked, using my politest voice. “Along with any dessert you have left over from last night, if possible?”
“Of course!” smiled the elf, beckoning us towards a table at the end of the room. It was completely spotless, with four chairs around it, and a candle at the centre. I looked at the table in confusion. I’d been to the kitchens plenty of times before, but had never seen the table before. I asked one of the elves seating us about it,
“The table is a new addition!” I was informed, by one of the elves seating us. “We’ve been regularly visited by four young masters, and wanted to insure they received adequate seating and service when they came to visit. So we brought in a table for them to use, and keep it clean for whenever they decide to visit!”
“The Marauders,” snorted Lily. “Typical.”
“Handy right now,” I pointed out, as we were brought a large pot of earl gray, alongside two cups. “I’m very sorry, young misses, but I’m afraid we only have three desserts available right now...” The tea-bearing elf announced. “We have some lemon meringue pie, custard creams and chocolate fudge cake. That said, if you wish for something else, we would happily cook whatever you request-”
“-no, don’t worry!” I rapidly interrupted him. “Chocolate cake?” I quickly asked Lily.
“Some chocolate cake would be amazing,” she replied, directing her words towards the house elf. We barely had time to thank him, before he dashed off to procure our food.
“So...” I began, taking a sip of my tea. “What’re you going to do about it?”
Lily looked a little stunned. “About what?”
“About Severus,” I clarified. “Are you going to talk to him, or what?”
“Probably not,” Lily admitted, her expression miserable. “I never do! He’ll apologize later on, when he’s not around his friends, and doesn’t feel particularly pressured to ‘drop the mudblood’, and I’ll forgive him, and we’ll pretend nothing happened. And then he’ll go and hex Black or something, and the cycle will resume.
“Oh yeah, I was meaning to ask... how do James and Sirius fit into all of this?”
“Oh, Black and Potter have hated Severus since first year. They just never seem to let up on each other, and it’s always an act of ‘retaliation.’ It’s pathetic. Potter’s the worst. Always hexing Sev to try and make himself look good. Like today.”
“What’d he do today?”
“By Marauder standards, it was actually pretty tame. Just a tripping jinx. But Potter’s been trying to aggravate a response from Sev since the term started, and this time pushed him over the line. He hexed Potter back, which caused Sirius to join in, and then Avery and Mulciber, and then Remus and Pettigrew, and soon enough you have about twelve Gryffindor’s and Slytherin’s trying to put each other in the Hospital Wing.”
“What happened to them?” I asked.
“Sev, Remus and Avery were all fine. I’m pretty sure that Pettigrew’s in the hospital wing overnight, alongside Mulciber, who had his jaw dislocated. Dunno what happened to Potter. Hope he’s in the Hospital Wing though.” I shot her a look. “Not for anything too serious...” she admitted. “Just enough so that he won’t bother me for a couple of days.”
I snorted as the house elves returned with the chocolate cake.
“Thank you!” I beamed at them as they bowed and headed back to the other side of the kitchen.
Lily whistled as she admired the food. “Christ, they don’t do anything half-heartedly, do they?” she commented, before tucking in.
For a couple of minutes we ate in silence, before I interrupted her thoughts.
“So... what do you actually think about James, and that lot?”
Lily took a couple of moments to think through her response. “They aren’t that bad. I mean, I’ve always liked Remus, and I’ve never especially gotten along with Black, but I don’t dislike him either. I just can’t put up with him constantly picking on Sev. And he probably can’t deal with me rejecting his best mate so much.
“I don’t really have anything against Pettigrew, I’ve just never really gotten to know him. He sort of likes other people’s shadows too much... it’s hard to tell whether he’s being himself or just faking. As for James, maybe in different circumstances we could be friends. But I can’t put up with how he treats Sev, and how he bullies other students. He’s just so... arrogant and pig-headed. It’s intolerable!” She looked like she was about to start ranting so I smoothly cut across her.
“He’ll get over himself,” I assured her. “He’ll grow up, and mature and his head will deflate. Promise.”
She gave me a grin. “Is that so?”
I winked. “Uh-huh. And you’ll fall deeply in love and one of your grandchildren will be named after him,” I added, teasingly.
Lily snorted. “Right, glad to know you have my life planned out for me. But seriously... eww. Anyway, new topic: how’re you finding Hogwarts?”
I grinned. “It seems really cool here. It’s been really nice getting to know you and everyone else.”
“Anyone in particular?” asked Lily, a smirk playing around her lips. “Sirius seems to have taken a real shine to you.”
“Ew!” I exclaimed, not wanting to think about the fact that I was talking to my grandmother about my dad’s godfather ‘taking a shine to me’.
“Good response,” smiled Lily, before finishing up what was left on her plate and rising from her seat. “Ready to go?”
I nodded, and we left the kitchens, thanking the elves profusely for their kindness. We slowly walked towards the common room, chatting idly en-route. As we reached the third floor, we were suddenly interrupted by Snape, who ran up to us.
“Lily!” he cried, as we drew nearer. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere, I couldn’t find you at the library or anything. I wanted to say I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t of-”
“-It’s so weird how suddenly sorry you are, the moment there aren’t any Slytherin’s around, Sev,” Lily cut him off, coldly.
“Lily, you’re overreacting...” Snape attempted, before Lily could shut him down again.
“Wrong response,” she informed him, scathingly. “I’m sorry, I’ve gotta go. We’ll talk later...” she recited, before pushing past him towards the common room. I gave the boy a look of slight pity before following the fiery redhead down the corridor.
“Too much?” she asked in an undertone as we walked off.“Just enough,” I informed her. “Well done for sticking your ground,” I added, giving her a subtle hi-five.
Suffice to say, the next time I heard a group of Slytherin’s refer to Lily Evans as ‘that mudblood bitch’ they were promptly told to shut the hell up by Severus Snape.
Next I thought I’d tell you a bit about my godfather, Sirius.
Out of all of my father’s friends, I’d argue that Sirius encountered the most hardship throughout his life. He was born into ‘the noble and most ancient house of Black,’ a family notorious for their anti-muggle stance. He never discussed it, but I’ve long thought that Sirius was abused from a young age, and even if he wasn’t, his relationship with his family was far from healthy. Sirius stuck out for being one of the only members of the Black family to be sorted into Gryffindor (as opposed to Slytherin) and Hogwarts became a sort of refuge for him. He found a new family in James, Peter and Remus, and became very popular and well-liked throughout his house.
But while Hogwarts was a refuge, he still had problems at home, and Sirius was inevitably a flawed individual. Sirius had a younger brother named Regulus, who he was very close to. Naturally, Sirius wanted Regulus to follow in his footsteps and be sorted into Gryffindor, but in reality, Regulus was sorted with the rest of his family into Slytherin. This bothered Sirius a lot more than he was willing to admit, and as he grew older, the divide between Sirius and his family became deeper, something reflected in his hatred towards Slytherin. When he reached the age of sixteen (before the start of his sixth year) Sirius ran away from his family, leaving Regulus behind. From there he severed all ties with the Blacks, and was disowned, blasted off the family tree. He ignored Regulus, and his anger towards Slytherins reached new heights, peaking at the end of sixth year, where he was nearly responsible for the death of Severus Snape.
I’d like to say things got better for Sirius from there, but they really didn’t. James and Lily were betrayed by Peter, and Sirius was framed for their deaths. He spent the next thirteen years in Azkaban, constantly tormented by Dementors, until he eventually escaped, with the singular goal of tracking down Peter, and killing him. But Peter escaped, along with Sirius’ last chance for freedom. He spent the next two years on the run from the Ministry, until he was eventually killed by Bellatrix Lestrange at the end of my fifth year.
And yet, I think his biggest regret would’ve been Regulus. After Sirius began ignoring his brother, Regulus fell further and further into the dark arts, eventually becoming a Death Eater. However, Regulus was not inherently a bad person. He cared greatly for his House Elf, Kreacher, who Voldemort left to die while testing the defences for one of his horcruxes. This action resulted in Regulus leaving the Death Eaters, and he died trying to destroy the Horcrux.
I think Sirius never entirely came to grips with his death.
I looked up from Dad’s letter to see the devil himself - Sirius - leaning onto the back of my armchair, a lazy smirk playing around his lips.
“Letter from my Dad. Not that it’s any of your business,” I teased.
“What can I say? I’m naturally inquisitive. A prodigy, they say,” Sirius grinned.
I rolled my eyes. “Y’know, I hear that chicks are attracted to modesty.”
“Funny. If that’s true, I must be really modest.”
“Did you just come over here to annoy me, or...?”
“Well, although annoying you is pretty fun-”
“-Don’t be a git, Sirius-”
“-I actually came to ask if you’d like to come to the Library with me.”
I shot him a smile. “Do you even know what a library is, Sirius?”
“Real funny Weasley. Coming?”
“I was just there!” I sighed.
“Well,” Sirius teased, feigning distress. “If you just don’t care for me...”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh fine, I’ll come,” I grumbled, causing Sirius to grin. “It’s not as if I don’t have enough homework. Just let me get my things.” I immediately gather up the small pile of books in front of me (according to McGonagall, being warped 50 years in the past is not a valid reason for not having your Transfiguration Essay ready for Monday) before standing up and following him out of the common room.
We idly chat on our way to the library, until Sirius picked up the book he had been searching for.
“...Seriously? We came all the way down here for a book on toadstools?” I asked, incredulously.
“‘The Universal Atlas of Magical Toadstools and their properties’, is not just a book about toadstools,” Sirius said, defensively, issuing the text. “It is the book on toadstools. And it’s damn useful for figuring out exactly which mushrooms to grind up and coat Slytherin’s shoes with, so quit-”
But Sirius stopped short when he saw the group of wizards crowding around the door, all wearing robes of matching green. I hear Sirius swear under his breath. “Great,” he muttered to me. “Hope you’re ready to meet the family.”
We walked towards the exit of the library, and I kept my gaze fixed upon my shoes. On occasional glances up, I recognized a couple of faces within the group, notably Regulus.
We walked past the group, and I quietly prayed to the heavens that a brawl was not about to take place in middle of a crowded library. We got about halfway past the group, until one of the older-looking members of the group called out; “Oi Regulus - Isn’t your brother going to introduce his girlfriend?!” To which the rest of them laughed.
“She isn’t my girlfriend Nottm” Sirius retorted. “Do you mind, we’re trying to get through."
The Slytherin (Remus would later tell me that Nott was a sixth-year with a nasty reputation for snapping muggleborn’s wands ‘by accident’) smirked. “But we just wanted to meet the new girl. Welcome her into the school.” He then turned to directly face me. “Girl! What’s your blood status?”
I scowl at him. “My name isn’t ‘girl,’ dickhead. It’s Luna. And for what it counts, I’m pureblood. Not that it should matter,” I added. Through all of this, Regulus remained completely silent.
Nott stopped smirking, and instead, his face adopted a far uglier expression. “Don’t speak to me like that, girl. Typical Gryffindor, all pride and no respect.”
“We could say the same to you Nott,” Sirius said, his tone venomous. “Now are you going to play nicely, and let us through, or am I going to have to spike all of your pumpkin juice?”
“But Sirius, we were having such a nice chat. And I know you’ve been meaning to talk to your brother for so long. What was it I heard you saying to Potter the other day... that you wanted him to stop mixing with ‘that Slytherin scum.’ Seems a bit hypocritical, considering you spend your time with filthy mudbloods and the likes of Potter and Lupin.”
“Nott, I’m pretty sure I told you to let us through,” replied Sirius, his hands balled into fists.
“But you still haven’t talked to your brother. I’m sure he’d like to speak with you. Regulus-” he said, sharply, turning towards the third year. “Anything you’d like to say to your dear sibling?”
Regulus mumbled something, that no-one could hear. Nott smiled sadistically. “Sorry, didn’t quite catch that. You might want to speak up.”
This time, Regulus spoke a little louder. I still couldn’t quite understand what he was saying, but I’m pretty sure I heard the words ‘blood traitor.’
“What a lovely little family reunion,” Nott announced, as the Slytherins parted to let us through. As we began to walk down the corridor, Nott yelled after us. “Black! Even your brother knows you’re a worthless blood-traitor who doesn’t deserve to carry a name as pure as Black! Not that you will for long! You're an outcast in your own family!"
Sirius quickened his pace, his expression stony.
Regulus remained silent.
“Sirius - wait up!”
The lanky teenager stormed down the second-floor corridors, leaving me to jog behind him.
“Sirius, please!” I yelled, still desperately trying to keep pace.
He spun on his heel to face me. “Yes?” he asked, his tone acidic.
I was immediately stunned by the harshness of his voice. His expression - usually boisterous and carefree - had turned stony.
“I’m sorry,” I squeaked, suddenly feeling about three feet tall. “I know about you and Regulus...” I began, before Sirius cut me off.
“No, Luna - you really don’t. In fact, you don’t know shit about me. Now would you please, fuck off.”
I grasped for words, but my tongue was tied.
“Get outta my way,” he sneered, before pushing past me, and continuing down the corridor.
I yelled after him, but inevitably, didn’t follow.
James Potter, was a bit of an enigma.
On the one hand, I do think he was a fundamentally good person. He was loyal, caring and (in most instances) kind. He was brave and noble, and generally looked past the prejudices that were common within the higher classes. Essentially, he was the perfect Gryffindor.
But inevitably, I think that was his downfall at times. James was usually not a discriminatory person. His best friends included a werewolf, a outcast and someone of lower social status than himself. He married a muggleborn. And generally, he would judge people for their personality and strength of character...
...unless that individual was a Slytherin. I think my father loved Lily for all his life, even before he knew what love really was. And I think that’s part of the reason he could never accept Severus Snape, why he constantly bullied him. Eventually James matured, and stopped his feud with Snape. But by then, the damage had been done. His bullying had turned Severus away from Lily, and in turn, into the arms of the Death Eaters.
“So we heard you pissed off Sirius...” James commented cheerily.
I’d been reading by the shore of the Black Lake when James and Remus wandered over. James was wearing a nonchalant, slightly amused expression, whereas Remus appeared irritated.
“James, you promised you wouldn’t say that!” he grumbled.
“‘We heard you pissed off Sirius.’ We decided we were going to ease into talking about Sirius.”
“No. You decided that. I figured it was better not to beat around the bush.”
“It’s not better, it’s tactless.”
“Prongs; haven’t you learnt anything from getting rejected by Lily?”
“Low blow Moons, Low blow. Just because Lily is in a state of denial, doesn’t mean-”
He was cut off as I loudly coughed, to remind the two of them that I was - in fact - still present.
“Oh right, yeah, Sirius,” James grinned sheepishly. “Errm, so, y’know, talk about your feelings and shit.”
Remus rolled his eyes. “Seriously James-”
“Remus, Luna here is about to talk to us about a sensitive matter. Can you not interrupt her, it’s bloody insensitive of you.”
I couldn’t help but giggle, as Remus’ face turned steadily purple. James grinned back, before sitting down on a patch of grass beside me. I placed my book on the ground, resigned to the fact that there would be no getting rid of the two of them.
“So go on, what happened?” James said, as Remus in turn took a seat next to me.
I cocked an eyebrow. “Hasn’t Sirius already told you?”
“Kind of,” admitted Remus. “But Sirius’ interpretation of events tends to consist of a mix of expletives and kicking furniture.”
“Well, honestly, I don’t really know what happened. We were in the library when a bunch of Slytherins showed up, including his brother. They called him a blood traitor, then I tried to talk to him and he got angry and stormed off.”
James nodded silently. “Luna... how important is Wizarding Bloodline in America?”
I looked at him in confusion. “Errm - not all that important. Why?”
“Because,” James answered. “In Britain, it matters a lot. It’s a little bit ridiculous to be perfectly honest, but in the British wizarding world, two things define your existence; your bloodline and your house.”
Remus was nodding to James’ words. “And quite frankly,” he added. “They’re usually connected. Like Sirius is the first Black in centuries to not be sorted into Slytherin...”
“And I can’t name a member of my family who wasn’t in Gryffindor,” interrupted James. “But every so often, you get people like Sirius, who step away from their families. Choose their own paths, if you like. The problem is, there’s always bad blood as a result.”
“Sirius is seen as a blood-traitor to his family. He’s seen as a failure, and a dishonour to the House of Black, which prides itself for it’s bloodline, and see’s muggles and half-blood’s as lesser to them,” Remus finished explaining.
James snorted. “You can say that again. Their family motto is toujours pur. It’s Latin for ‘always pure’.” I wrinkled my nose at his words, but James hadn’t finished. “Sirius has been branded by his family and his actions. His bloodline is as pure as it gets, but he’s far too liberal for the rest of them. He’s a muggle sympathiser, and as such, his family sees him as turning against them. So there’s a lot of resentment. And instead of just staying quiet like most others would do, Sirius has to be... Sirius. He sticks posters of Muggle women across his room to annoy his mum, always starts a fight with his relatives if they start degrading muggles in anyway, and he’s mentioned that he’s trying to buy a motorbike.”
“Sirius always wanted Regulus to be like him, that they would lead the Black family away from their pureblood mania. But Regulus was never willing to defy his parents as Sirius was, and as such, he was sorted into Slytherin. And instead of just having his family turning him against Sirius, he also had his entire house, and he had less contact with Sirius overall. As such, they grow apart more year after year.
“And that,” James concluded sombrely. “Is why Sirius tends to go a bit psycho at the mention of his family, or Regulus, or any of that pure-blooded crap.”
I slowly nodded, processing his words. “So... what should I do?”
“Leave him to cool down,” Remus advised. “He’ll get over himself before the end of the day.”
James smiled in encouragement. “Moony’s right, Sirius bounces back quickly. Just give him some space, and don’t worry.”
“And on that note,” Remus concluded. “I’m off to go study. Either of you coming?”
Both of us declined in favor of the afternoon sun, and so Remus left me and my grandfather (Never. Stops. Being. Weird.) alone. We lay there in silence for a few minutes, before eventually, the Marauder broke it.
“Luna... you’re a girl-” James began.
I snorted. “What gave that away?”
“Let’s hypothetically say a guy asks you out. He’s charming, funny, witty and really attractive. You’d say yes, right?”
“We’re talking about you asking out Lily, right?”
“We’re talking about a male, hypothetically asking out you, a female. But, hypothetically, this could be extended to me and Lily, yeah.”
“Well, hypothetically, it would depend on how he asked me out. Amongst other things.”
James pulled a face. “Why does it matter how he asks you out. He’s charming, funny and attractive. You say yes! And what ‘other things’?!”
I couldn’t help but adopt the tone of a mother speaking to a young child. “Modesty and kindness, to start off with. And it strongly depends on how I’m being asked out; I’d want to feel special and that this guy actually really wants to go out with me. So...errm... If hypothetically someone loudly shouting “Hey Evans, go to Hogsmeade with me?” in a crowded corridor, right after that individual has hexed my best friend... I probably wouldn’t be filled with feelings of affection.”
James turned red, and adopted a slightly sheepish expression. “Ah... so you heard about that, then...”
I gave James a look of sympathy. “The entire library heard about that. Lily didn’t particularly keep her voice down.”
James sighed, deeply. “I just don’t understand what she sees in Snivellus. I mean, c’mon, you can tell he’s a prat!”
“Well, yeah, maybe. But that doesn’t mean you should bully him!”
“Oh, don’t give me that crap. He deserves everything he gets. He’s always bullying younger muggleborns, and he hangs around with some of the nastiest Slytherin’s in the school. He’s just a fowl Death-Eater-In-Training, who has yet to discover the benefits of frequent showering, and you know it.”
“He’s still Lily’s best friend though,” I pointed out.
“Eh. I don’t really care what she thinks,” James muttered, nonchalant.
My eyebrows headed skyward. “Seriously James?” I asked. “That’s what you’re going for?”
James’ ears turn a little pink. “Well, okay, I guess I care a little bit. But she’s going to have to see Snape’s true colours at some point, right?”
“James... seriously, just leave them alone.”
“I do. Mostly. It’s just that if we don’t hit first, then Snivellus will. He really does ask for it.”
“All right James, if you say so. Just don’t expect to be Lily’s favourite person each time you attack Snape, is all.”
“You sound like Moony...” James sighed, raking his hand through his hair in frustration.
“Then you should listen to Remus more,” I winked, before feeling a sense of slight disappointment when James didn’t even crack a smile. “James, I promise. It’ll get better,” I informed him sincerely.
He looked up, staring at me intensely. “How’re you so sure?” he asked.
I give him a slightly mysterious grin. “Let’s just say I have a really good feeling that things’ll work out in the long run.”
James smiled at me slightly. He still appeared fairly miserable, but a slight glimmer of hope had returned to his eyes. “Thanks Luna,” he said. “Y’know, I’ve actually been meaning to mention to you-”
He hadn’t finished his sentence before he was interrupted by another Marauder. “Sorry,” Sirius said, in a cheery manner. “Mind I speak to Luna for a few minutes?”
If James was surprised by his friend’s sudden appearance, he didn’t let it show. “Sure,” James told him, before standing up, shooting me a grin and heading back to the castle. I’m also fairly sure he whispered ‘good luck’ to Sirius as he walked past. After overcoming my initial shock, I adopted the frostiest expression I could muster. “What?” I asked him, bluntly.
“Ah... I see you’re angry,” Sirius flushed, with a look of apprehension crossing his face. “I suppose that’s understandable, considering...”
“No shit,” I deadpanned. “And there was me thinking you were stupid.”
More blood rushed to Sirius’ cheeks. “Look, I’m really sorry Luna. I know I shouldn’t have been so harsh towards you,” he announced, sounding as if he was reciting a line from a script. I gave him a look to show I was clearly unimpressed.
“Is that it?” I asked.
“What else can I do?!” replied Sirius in despair.
I frowned. I was still irritated, but could feel some of my previous anger ebbing away. “You could tell me what was bothering you?” I informed him, taking a softer tone. “You could tell me what bothered you so much?”
I watched as a series of conflicted emotions flit across his face. “I can’t Luna...” he admitted.
“No, I can’t,” Sirius interrupted, with some finality. “I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have ignored you, and I know you probably want to know what’s going on. But, I’m sorry Luna, it’s personal. You’ll just have to deal with it. I am sorry though.
I sighed deeply. “Yeah, okay. Will you tell me...someday? You were kinda scary back there. It’s just so weird seeing you... serious.”
Sirius rolled his eyes, before leaning against the grass beneath him. “Ah...” he smirked. “That pun.”
“I haven’t gotten to use it before!”
“And I’m sure you will never use it again...” remarked Sirius.
“Of course not. No more puns on your name,” I pledged.
“I’m very serious about it. No puns.”
“I’m sorry, that was the last one. Seriously."
“Crap, I keep doing them, don’t I? I think I have a problem. This is getting really serious."
“Are you ever going to stop?” Sirius asked with a roll of the eyes that didn’t quite hide his smile.
“I would, but I honestly don’t think I can,” I smirked, as Sirius laughed. “Don’t laugh - I’m serious!”
“Please, get them all out of the way...” the lanky teen snorted, before getting up and starting to walk back towards the castle. “I’d much rather get them over with now.”
“Relax I’m just joking.” I grinned, before getting up and following him back towards Hogwarts. “You’ve got to stop taking things so seriously...”
So... that’s the Marauder’s (sans. Peter, who was such a complicated individual he’d probably take up his own letter.) I’ve gotta say, I’m still a little bit surprised you wanted to know about your grandparents, but I’m definitely glad you’re interested in your heritage!
Oh, while I’m thinking about it - your mum told me to tell you to make sure you invite Emma over for the Christmas holidays. She says it’ll be nice to catch up with her again, and she can understand you might get a little bored being by yourself at Christmas (though personally, I think she’s crazy. I can’t imagine being bored with two brothers as... energetic... as your own.) Still, it’ll be nice to have you kids back in the house. It gets a little boring when I’m not having to put out around three or four fires a week. Very quiet with just me and your Mum.
Hope school is going well for you, and your not too stressed out with the work. You sounded a little frazzled in your letter. Look after yourself and write back soon! It's always nice to hear from you.
Missing you, as always.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I promise to update more promptly for next chapter.
Please Review :D
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