Chapter 2 : Meetings and Marauders
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After doing the obligatory waves and goodbyes as the train left the platform, Felix and I found the compartment where dad and Maxwell had left my trunk, booted out the second-years who’d tried to claim it for themselves, and Gil had joined us minutes after that. We quickly changed into our school robes, then left Felix with Altheda on his lap and his nose in a Potions textbook as we headed for the prefect’s carriage. It was time for our first meeting with the Head Boy and Girl.
“I can’t believe your brother’s already halfway through reading that thing. We haven’t even made it to school yet!” Gil commented as we squeezed past a group of chattering fourth-years.
“Ravenclaw,” I reminded him. “And he’s determined to do well in his NEWTs.”
“Right. What does he want to be again? A Healer?”
“Mhm.” I nodded.
“He’ll get those marks easily. Your brother’s a genius.”
“Well I wouldn’t go that far…”
“Of course you wouldn’t, you’re his sister.”
We came to a halt as we finally reached the carriage and Gil rapped his knuckles on the door. A fifth-year Gryffindor let us in, and it was clear from a quick glance around that we were some of the last to arrive. The small carriage was packed with over twenty students, and Gil and I just managed to squeeze in the back. Lily Evans had looked up expectantly when we’d come in, but her face quickly fell in disappointment. I think I could guess why: the Head Boy, James Potter, was nowhere to be seen.
“Well, that’s everyone, bar two,” she huffed with finality. “It looks like I’m going to have to start this meeting by myself.” She looked more than a little bit pissed. She shuffled through a few lengths of parchment for a moment as if trying to collect her thoughts, then lifted her head and sought out the person standing closest to the door: me. “Eden, is it? Would you mind searching the train for James Potter and Remus Lupin? I’m sure the others won’t mind catching you up when you return.”
Surprised that she knew my name more than anything, I nodded automatically and slipped back through the door I’d just entered. I had to feel sorry for our Head Girl. Not only was she paired with someone she hated for the rest of the year, but already he was failing in his duties. It was like Gil and Maggie Bones all over again.
I made my way down the corridor, knowing that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find Potter and Lupin. After all, there was only one route you could walk in a train.
When I entered the third carriage I was instantly alerted to a commotion up ahead. Raised voices and sparks of reverberating spells were coming from the compartment at the far end, and it seemed that all those students not involved were trying to get as far away from the fight as possible. Well, I was a prefect now. I had to live up to my obligations and sort this out. Taking a deep breath, I pushed past the small crowd of students and approached the compartment.
Peering inside, I saw six people all crammed into the one small space: two Slytherins and four Gryffindors, all seventh-year males. It seemed my search ended here, then. James Potter was standing with his wand pointed at one of the Slytherins’ chests, all the charm I’d witnessed not one hour ago completely gone, to be replaced by a pure, radiating fury. The dangerous flash in his bespectacled eyes was truly terrifying.
Standing beside him was another whose name I knew – that everyone knew – due to the sheer power and reputation of his family. Sirius Black was just taller than his best friend, with dark hair just long enough to touch his shoulders, and he had the meticulously sculpted jawline and cheekbones of aristocracy. He too was pointing his wand, its tip aligned with the chest of the other Slytherin. There was a fierce hatred in his cold, grey eyes. Behind Black and Potter were two others; one that I recognised as the prefect Remus Lupin, the other a bit of an oddball whose name definitely started with a P…or was it a W? Whatever, I didn’t need to be thinking of that right now. They too had their wands out, ready to back up their friends.
“One more word from your stinking mouth, Snivellus…” Potter was threatening, and the greasy-haired Slytherin leered back at him. Sensing that this person was indeed going to say one more word (or a number of choice ones, more likely), I quickly whipped my wand out and performed a Silencing Charm on him. I didn’t need him instigating a full-on battle right now: Lily Evans needed James Potter in one piece and it was my job to deliver him to her.
There was a moment of confusion as everyone wondered where the charm had come from, and then suddenly all six boys were looking right at me. It was a little intimidating, to say the least.
“Uh,” I said, stalling, as the guy I’d cast the spell on grew visibly furious with me. “Sorry, um, just taking some, ah, preventative action. Finite Incantatem.” I quickly reversed the spell, but before the Slytherin could get a word in, I went on. “You shouldn’t be fighting, anyway. I mean—agh!”
I barely registered who did what, but suddenly Snivellus (that couldn’t be his name, surely) was lying on the floor, stiff as a board. He’d started to turn his wand on me, but thankfully one of the Gryffindors had jinxed him before he could do any damage. Heart beating fast, I looked at the other Slytherin, wondering if he was about to send hexes flying. Instead, he took the smart option and bolted, obviously realising he had no chance being vastly outnumbered as he was.
“That was sweet, trying to be the peacemaker,” said Sirius Black, giving me a patronising smile, “but mostly dumb. Now you’ve gone and made yourself an enemy of Snivellus here.” He nudged the unmoving body with his foot. “Should have left it to the big boys.”
Though feeling a little more than offended at being treated like a helpless girl, I managed to keep my composure. Mum always said that a woman who lost her temper was quick to lose her dignity, and besides, shouting and screaming was unattractive in any gender. “Thanks for the advice,” I said coolly. “I’ll remember that next time I start a meaningless fight in the corridor. Now if the big boys don’t mind, I’ve got a meeting with the Head Girl that started ten minutes ago.”
The looks on Potter and Lupin’s faces were more than enough to lift my spirits again, and with a satisfied grin I turned on my heel and strode purposefully back in the direction I’d come.
They caught up with me about halfway down the next carriage, having pulled their robes on in what had to be record timing.
“Is she horribly angry with me?” Potter asked as he drew level with me, slightly out of breath. Lupin was close behind us.
“Well I wouldn’t say she was cheering,” I replied, and Potter groaned.
“Brilliant start to the year, isn’t it Prongs?” Lupin chuckled, and I had a feeling he might have been turning Potter’s own words back on him. And what was with that nickname, I had no idea.
“If it weren’t for bloody Snivellus…” Potter grumbled. “You know, I bet he came to provoke us on purpose, just so we’d be late. Yeah, that sounds about right, the slimy git.” He grumbled and swore about greasy Slytherins all the way to the prefect’s carriage, but quickly shut up when we stood facing the door.
“Best of luck, James,” Lupin said sympathetically, landing a supportive pat on his friend’s shoulder. I saw Potter’s jaw clench as he gritted his teeth and he took a deep, steadying breath. The next moment I found myself watching in wonderment as he adopted the most confident of smiles, and with a casual wink at me he pushed the door open.
Lily Evans, who had been mid-sentence when we walked in, went silent. After a brief pause, she announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce our stupendously punctual Head Boy, James Potter.”
Potter’s grin grew impossibly wider. “Apologies for my tardiness, dear Miss Head. I was dealing with some scum that was blocking the corridors,” he said, once again reeking with charm. I noticed a few of the girls nearby give each other meaningful looks, then retreat into silent giggling. Thank Merlin I’m not that bad, I thought, as I left Potter and Lupin and went to re-join Gil.
Lily’s mouth twitched. “If you’d have been where you were supposed to, there wouldn’t be any scum in the corridors, Mr Potter,” she said, and I felt like the entire prefect population (Potter admirers or not) could have given her a collective high five, she was so smooth.
“It’s official: Lily Evans is a goddess among mortals,” Gil leaned over to mutter in my ear.
“Got a crush?” I whispered back.
Gil pulled a face. “And be obliterated by Potter for even looking at her? No thanks.”
Potter had wisely chosen not to respond to her amazing quip, and instead went and took his place beside her as she reverted back to reporting her notes. It was all just a bunch of guidelines for being a prefect, basically. She talked about the nightly patrol roster, indoor minding duties during wet weather, our roles as leaders, and how we can support those in need. A lot of time was spent on the subject of respecting the house point system and how we had to have good reasons for giving or taking away points. The same went for detentions, and we were well rehearsed in the proper methods of reporting bad behaviour.
“I think that covers it for now,” she finished, having reached the bottom of the last page. “We’ll have another meeting on Friday evening so I can hand out the patrolling rosters. Any questions?” When everyone remained silent, she gave a curt nod. “Great, see you Friday.” Being the closest to the door, Gil and I were the first ones out. We’d only walked a few steps when someone nudged past Gil in the narrow corridor.
“Oops, sorry!” said Lupin, flashing a grin as he went past, then he quickened his pace and hurried to the next carriage.
“So, who was the real scum that made Potter and Lupin so late?” Gil asked me, his eyes on Lupin’s figure as it disappeared through the next doorway.
I smiled, realising that for once I was the one with the gossip, not him. I kind of liked the feeling. “A couple of Slytherins from their year had gone to provoke Potter and his friends, or something. There was almost an all-out brawl in the third carriage,” I replied.
Gil’s eyes widened excitedly at the prospect. “Ooh, who were they? The Slytherins, I mean.”
“Ah, that’s the thing. We don’t seriously go to school with a guy named Snivellus, do we?” I asked uncertainly, and Gil laughed.
“You mean Snape. Nah, his real name’s Severus but I’m pretty sure one of the Marauders gave him that nickname years ago, and it’s kind of stuck. I’d feel sorry for him but he seems like the type who deserves it,” he said carelessly, then glanced at me again. “What about the other one?”
“Um,” I said, trying to recall what Snape’s pal looked like, “dark-blonde hair, a bit dumpy…oh, and he had a MASSIVE nose. Like, bulbous.”
Gil nodded knowingly. “Manfred Nott. Also a bit of a prat, as most Slytherins go. I bet Potter and his mates swept the floor with the two of them.”
I shrugged. “Kind of. I might have got involved,” I said sheepishly.
“I mean, I think the Gryffindors had it mostly under control, but it looked like Sniv—I mean Snape was about to tickle the sleeping dragon, you know, so I cast a Silencing Charm on him. Obviously that diverted everyone’s attention like I’d hoped, so I reversed the charm and told them not to fight but then Snape started to point his wand at me, but then one of the Gryffindors hit him with a full body bind, so I guess it turned out okay. Oh, and Nott bolted right after that. I think he realised his chances weren’t good.” I’d said all this pretty quickly, but Gil was already laughing. “What?” I said, a little miffed.
“It’s just so you, isn’t it?”
“What’s so me?”
Gil’s expression softened and he slung an arm over my shoulders. “Eden, don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re not the best judge of character,” he said, trying to sound as kind as he could.
I frowned. “And how do you figure that?”
“Put it this way: most people, even if it was the very first time they’d met him, wouldn’t hex Snape and think they had a chance of getting away with it.”
“But it was just Silencio; I was trying to be reasonable!” I protested.
“And Snape’s not a reasonable guy!” he retorted.
“Well how was I supposed to know that?”
“Which brings me back to my point,” Gil sighed. “You’re a terrible judge of character.”
I stayed silent, too stubborn to admit that he might be right. Thinking back on the little scuffle, I should have guessed just by the look in his eyes that Snape wasn’t going to be reasonable. Maybe I just wanted to believe the best in people…was that such a horrible thing?
“But hey, look on the bright side,” Gil said as we reached our compartment door, “the Gryffindors had your back, and thanks to them you’re not growing cactuses out of your eye sockets!”
“I suppose,” I muttered, stepping inside and slumping down next to Felix. Apparently Wilkie had made it to King’s Cross on time, because in our absence he’d managed to find my brother. “Oh, hi Wilkie.”
“Looking ravishing as always, Eden,” he remarked, earning himself a kick in the shins from Felix.
“Mate, that’s my little sister!”
Having adjusted to this behaviour from Wilkie over the six years I’d known him, I simply ignored it and turned back to Gil to finish our conversation. “Sirius Black had to be an arse about it all, though.”
This had caught Felix’s attention. “You’re just now realising that?” he scoffed. “The bloke’s an almighty wanker. He was the one that attached a Quaffle to my face after Ravenclaw won the Quidditch Cup last year. Permanent Sticking Charm, and there’s no way to reverse those. Removing it meant that Pomfrey had to slice the skin off my cheek. I was in the Hospital Wing all afternoon growing back the flesh.” He paused while we all pulled disgusted faces. “I got him back, though,” he grinned.
“What did you do?” Gil asked eagerly.
“I got Anna to sneak into their dorm and put the Quaffle on his pillow, skin and all,” he laughed, a devilish gleam in his eye. Anna was his girlfriend for most of last year, and she’d been in Gryffindor. They’d broken it off over the summer, though. I hadn’t asked the reason, figuring that was his business.
“Felix Auguste, that is foul!” I exclaimed, though I was secretly pleased at the thought of Black’s reaction.
“So, what made you realise Sirius Black was an arse?” Wilkie asked me with the air of utter normalcy, as if it was akin to asking someone when they first found out Babbitty Rabbitty wasn’t real.
I scowled. “He called me dumb and told me not to mess with the big boys.”
“Yeah, because she jinxed Snape and thought she’d get away with it,” Gil added, much to my displeasure.
Felix gave me a pained looked. “Bad move, little sister. It’s not good to have Snape as an enemy.”
“Funny,” I said sarcastically, “here I was thinking that it wasn’t good to have anyone as an enemy.”
“You know what I mean. Just…watch your back, alright?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard he’s pretty fond of the Dark Arts,” Wilkie contributed.
Seeing the look of horror passing over my face, Felix hurried to say something redeeming. “Not that he’s going to curse you or anything. As long as you stay out of his way he’ll not bother. He’s usually following Potter around anyway, trying to find ways to get him expelled.”
It wasn’t exactly reassuring, but my nerves were eased a little. After all, I’d had no idea who Snape was before today and I was pretty sure the same went for him concerning me. Surely he wouldn’t go out of his way to get payback for a Silencing Charm, would he?
A few hours after we’d finished catching each other up on our summers, and also after Gil and I had done a couple of patrols of the train (thankfully nothing dramatic happened on our watch), we felt the Hogwarts Express beginning to slow down, and knew we were arriving in Hogsmeade.
“Alright, time to round up some first-years,” Gil said, getting up and stretching. I tried to gently move my sleeping cat from my lap without waking her, but failed horribly and ended up being glared at.
“Sorry Altheda,” I sighed, moving her onto the seat. I’d given up trying to put her in a cage years ago and besides, she seemed to find her way up to the castle without trouble so I knew I could leave her to roam free. I stood up and brushed some of the cat hair off my robes, then checked to make sure my prefect badge was visible.
“Wouldn’t want to be you two right now,” Wilkie grinned, and I shot him a puzzled expression before realising that it had just started raining. I groaned as I watched it rolling down the window in rapid streams.
“Talk about perfect timing,” Gil grumbled. “How do you do the Hot-Air Charm again? We’re going to need it when we get up to the castle.” Wilkie and Felix, clever Ravenclaws that they were, gave us a quick rundown of the incantation and wand movement. A minute later we were standing on the slippery Hogsmeade platform, absolutely soaked through within seconds of stepping off the train. Any students that weren’t prefects or first-years were rushing past us, cloaks over their heads, as they made for the warmth and safety of the carriages.
“I’m glad mum’s not here to see me,” I said to Gil, pushing my sopping blonde locks out of my eyes. “She spent ages doing my hair this morning.” I could only be thankful I’d decided to put my hat back into my trunk, as it would surely be ruined by now. I spotted a couple of lost-looking first-years and caught their attention. “That way,” I said, pointing in the direction of the massive groundskeeper named Hagrid, who was due to take them across the lake in the customary boat-trip that we’d all been through our first time at Hogwarts.
We stood in the torrent for a good twenty minutes trying to get all the first-years in the right place. Hagrid’s calls seemed to be getting completely muffled by the heavy rain so it was a bit of a task, but eventually all the prefects got them to the boats. We breathed a collective sigh of relief as we watched them set off across the lake, their lives in Hagrid’s capable hands now. Gil and I headed straight for the nearest carriage and climbed in to find we’d be sharing it with the sixth-year Gryffindor prefects.
“Hi Elsie, hi Lei,” I greeted them as I climbed in after Gil, who’d done the same. They were already attempting to dry themselves with the Hot-Air Charm, and paused for a moment to greet us in return.
“Bit mental out there, wasn’t it?” Lei remarked as he pointed his wand down the back of his robes, trying to expel a bit of the dampness from his back.
“I hope the first-years will be okay getting across the lake,” Elsie said as she tried to get a good look out the window, but it was already fogged up from all the Hot-Air Charms. By that point we Hufflepuffs had also made a start on drying ourselves.
“I’m sure Hagrid can manage them,” Gil reassured her. She smiled in response, and maybe it was just my rain-soaked brain playing up, but I was pretty sure her eyes lingered on him a bit longer than necessary. Not that I would blame her if it was the case. Like I said: Gil had a streak of the handsome in him, and the way he’d matured over the summer most likely had enhanced it a tidy measure. I glanced at his face, but if he’d noticed Elsie’s gaze he showed no sign of it. I made a mental note to ask him about it later.
The carriage came to a stop and we all clambered out, desperate to get into the Entrance Hall before we could get too wet again. I, however, somehow managed to be the only one to slip in a puddle in the short distance between carriage and doorway. I swore under my breath as Gil double back to help me up. “You okay?” he asked as he hoisted me to my feet.
“Yeah, let’s just get inside.”
Once inside the grand oak doors, I twisted around, trying to see the damage. “Is it bad?”
Gil grimaced as he studied the back of my robes. “Yep, you’re covered in mud.”
“Reckon you can get it off?” Entering the Great Hall looking like a drowned rat was going to be bad enough, and I didn’t think adding mud to it would improve the look.
“Scourgify,” Gil said, pointing his wand at my robes. “Hm, that got some of it off…”
“Try Tergeo,” I suggested, and he did so. That seemed to work a bit better, but it still took a few minutes before he got all the mud siphoned off. Meanwhile I was using the Hot-Air Charm in an attempt to get rid of the lingering dampness in our clothes, but I guessed there was only so much it could do in such a short space of time.
“Well, I think that’s the best we can do,” Gil said resignedly, then nodded at the doors that led to the Great Hall. “Shall we?”
I was about to respond when the sound of laughter caught my attention, and I turned to see James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and…the other one (Patrick, maybe?) appearing from the entrance to the dungeons. They were too busy cackling amongst themselves and sharing a round of high-fives to notice us, and I shared a dubious look with Gil.
“Do we want to know what they were doing down there?” he muttered.
“Probably breaking another ten school rules,” I sighed, but though I knew it was my duty as a prefect, I had no intention of doing anything about it. Today had been quite full enough already, partly thanks to the Marauders. “Let’s pretend we didn’t see anything.” Gil agreed, and we made our way forwards. By that point the four Gryffindors had crossed the Entrance Hall, and as we drew up behind them I had the oddest sensation that something was being tied around my ankles. I barely had time to look down when suddenly my feet were being pulled out from under me and I went colliding with the two figures in front. The three of us crashed to the floor with a collective yelp, and I landed painfully on top of a very solid body.
“Is it so difficult to watch where you’re—” a disgruntled voice began, then the figure lifted its head and I found myself staring into the grey eyes of Sirius Black. “Oh, it’s Little Miss Silencio. As clumsy as you are stupid, I see.”
My face flushed what I was sure was the deepest of reds, and I struggled to explain myself. “I’m not…I—”
“And what in the blazes is going on here?” Oh, this was just great. Perfect bloody timing. The grouchy old Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch, had just rounded the corner to find the mess of tangled limbs on the floor that was me, Black, and Lupin, who was to my right and struggling to sit up. “Indecent sexual displays in the middle of my Entrance Hall! Can’t you hooligans keep it in your pants for five blasted minutes?!”
“Hardly my fault the ladies can’t keep their hands off me. Or, bodies, in this case,” Black grinned, and I scrambled to get myself away from him as quickly as possible. It was mortifying enough without his inappropriate comments, and I felt my cheeks grow even warmer. “You understand, don’t you Filchy-boy? Handsome chap such as yourself; bet nobody can resist your wily charms.”
Filch was livid. “Enough of your snark, boy! Detentions for all of you, disrespectful little—”
“Mr Filch, what is going on here?” I’d managed to stand back up at this point, and spun around to see an approaching Professor McGonagall with a whole swarm of first-years behind her. She taught Transfiguration, as well as being the Deputy Headmistress and the Head of Gryffindor House. Her eyes ran over Sirius, who was just getting to his feet; to me, looking thoroughly embarrassed; to Gil, who was helping up Lupin; then to the other two, who were trying and failing to hold back their peals of laughter at the whole ordeal. “Never mind, I don’t have time to go through this now. You can tell me about it after the feast, Argus,” she sighed, as if dealing with these particular Gryffindors was a regular occurrence for her. “Get inside, you lot. I need to prepare the first-years for Sorting.” I nodded obediently, not quite able to find my voice, and slipped inside the doors to the Great Hall with Gil.
“Until next time, Little Miss,” Sirius called out to me as I made for the Hufflepuff table and he and his friends for the Gryffindor one. “Although could you give me warning before you try to jump my bones again?”
My jaw dropped and I made a move to turn around and shout something – I wasn’t quite sure what, but something – back at him, but Gil placed two strong hands on my shoulders and kept me on the path to the other side of the hall. “Don’t rise,” he warned me. “Everyone’s already staring.” He was right, I realised. Most of the students had their eyes either on me or Black, and I could hear the ones closest to us beginning to murmur, obviously thrilled that they’d been given a scandal to discuss so soon. “Just breathe, just breathe,” he repeated as we took our seats and I tried my hardest not to look anyone in the eye. “We’ll be laughing about it tomorrow, I promise you.”
I sincerely hoped he was right.
Author's note: Thank you for checking this out. These first few chapters are going to be pretty info-heavy; I'm just trying to fill in as much of the background as possible so that it doesn't slow the story down later. Please bear with me.
Also I think it might be worth noting that this fic will not be canon. While some characters or events might align with those in the books, there will be some deviations.
Thanks again for reading!
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