Chapter 1 : Signed, Sealed and Delivered.
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Is destiny determined by chance or choice?
It was choice when Snape chose the Dark Arts over Lily.
It was chance when Snape overheard only half the prophecy
It was choice when Voldemort marked Harry as his equal
It was chance when Peter got to be the Secret Keeper.
It was choice when Peter decided to betray his friends.
It was chance when James laid down his wand that night at Godrics Hollow
It was choice when Lily refused to step aside.
If destiny is determined by both chance and choice, then, the story began years before that fateful Halloween night. It began before the Sorting Hat decided to place Peter in Gryffindor after a Hatstall. It began when a small, puny boy chanced upon a bright, cheerful young girl.
Destiny begins with a chance, but ends with a choice.
Sometime in the years 1970-71
“Tell me about Diagon Alley, Sev.” The red-headed 11 year old was lying on the lawn, absently making a blade of grass glide mid-air without touching it. Severus Snape stopped picking at the tear at the hem of his jeans. His sallow face filled with delight.
“It is the largest shopping network for wizards,” he started, his voice becoming more confident as her eyes grew round in fascination. “You can get anything you want from there – your wand, books, pets, sweets.”
“Sweets?” Lily Evans sat up eagerly, “Tuney likes sweets. Will there be Milk Duds?”
“Milk Duds?” Snape sneered, “Those sugary Muggle sweets? No, we have better ones. Ones that pop in your mouth, ones that change the taste as you keep sucking on them, ones that glue your teeth together. Maybe you could get that for your sister,” he said nastily.
“Oh, don’t be mean Sev.” Lily glared at him. “I think I’ll take Tuney to Diagon Alley,” she beamed.
“I don’t think muggles will be allowed into Diagon Alley,” he said grudgingly.
“Don’t be silly!” she chided. “How does your Ministry expect a 11 year old child to go by herself to buy school supplies? Or will I be the only muggleborn in Hogwarts?” her voice suddenly became anxious.
“No, no. There will be many,” he rushed to assure her, gladdened when she looked relieved. “But that poses a serious threat to the International Statute of Secrecy,” he added bitterly.
“What do you mean?” she asked curiously.
“The muggles have always been threatened by wizardkind. Haven’t you heard of Matthew Hopkins?” Lily shook her head. “He was responsible for the deaths of over 500 witches in 1640s England.” Lily’s eyes widened in horror. Snape nodded seriously, his eyes reflecting rage, “There have been more witch-hunts and trials across the world. The muggles always try to wipe us out. Incompetent fools,” he added in an undertone which Lily missed. “But we got the better of them. The Ministry has rules to safeguard us now. Although they’re growing pretty soft towards the muggles now.” He finished reproachfully.
“But that was in the 1600s Sev, people have changed so much since, right?” argued Lily.
“You’re so naïve Lily,” he said shaking his head, “The world isn’t just your parents and friends.”
“But all mu-muggles can’t be bad,” she protested, her lower lip quivering. Snape opened his mouth to scorn, glanced at her expression of mingled dismay and worry.
“No,” he sighed, “Not all of them are.” Lily’s face relaxed and she lay back on the grass contentedly, resuming her ministrations of the dancing blade of grass.
“Sirius! Sirius! Come here!” an impatient voice called from down the hall.
“What is it Reg?” Sirius Black appeared, a small crease between his eyebrows indicating displeasure at being disturbed from a very important afternoon nap.
“You got the Letter!” Regulus Black jumped up and down excitedly, looking at his brother with what could only be described as a younger-sibling’s-devotion. Sirius’ face broke into a wide grin as he reached out and grabbed the envelope from his hand. “Read it out! Read it out!” Regulus’ enthusiasm was infectious.
“Dear Mr. Black, we are pleased to inform you –”
“Of course they are pleased to have my Sirius,” a haughty voice interrupted. Silence befell, only to be marred by the scurrying of elf-feet across the carpeted floor. Walburga Black knew how to make her presence felt. Her aristocratic looks had bestowed her with an archaic beauty, which coupled with an air of conceit and vanity commanded grudging respect. “This calls for a celebration. Let’s invite dear Bella, Cissy and Andy for dinner. I should invite that lovely boy Bella is engaged to. Sirius, he could tell you all about the Blood Purity Movement he is involved in.” Walburga’s voice faded as she walked away, Kreacher the house-elf at her wake.
The two boys looked at each other in alarm for a second and their faces split into identical grins.
“Race you to the dessert cabinet!” challenged Sirius, getting a head start and laughing as Regulus followed protesting, his short legs trying to keep up.
Lyall and Hope Lupin stared incredulously at the scene in front of them. Albus Dumbledore was sitting at the fireside, eating the crumpets their son had opened earlier that morning and playing gobstones quite inconspicuously, as if it happened every day.
“I must say you have quite a bright son here, Lyall.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. Remus beamed.
“I – Er – Thank you sir,” he said uncertainly, surprised the headmaster knew his name.
“I recently read your report on Belgium Boggarts,” he continued lightly. “Quite a fascinating take on their choice of habitat. I, for one, did not know that they preferred the beds to cabinets. I must start checking under my bed before –”
“Professor –Er – Sorry to cut you off, but what exactly – ” Lyall faltered.
“Am I doing here?” finished Dumbledore simply. “I am here to tell you that this charming young boy of yours has made it into Hogwarts.”
Remus’ eyes grew wide, hardly daring to hope.
“But – But sir, you know – Remus isn’t -” started Hope, the dazed look never having left her face.
“Isn’t what, precisely?” asked Dumbledore politely, with the mildly interested air of one asking one’s birthday.
“Normal,” she whispered, looking anywhere but at Remus. Remus’ face fell, and he visibly sunk into the shadows.
“Really?” mused Dumbledore, undeterred “Well, I dare say I agree. He does seem exceptionally skilled at Gobstones for such a young age. And his knowledge of hinkypunks - ”
“Sir - ” cut in Lyall for the second time that day, “Sorry to be – er – rude, but surely you must know that Remus isn’t like other children.” He seemed to have gotten over the initial shock.
“Mr. Lupin. You must have heard enough about me to know by now that I don’t come between a student and his right to education. Irrespective of blood purity, or unfortunate medical conditions,” he added, winking at Remus who was looking at his parents anxiously.
“How did you - ?” whispered Hope, her eyes wide.
“Those who commit deeds of horror often can’t help boasting about their actions. I have no concrete proof against Fenrir, and even if I did, with so much going on right now I doubt the Ministry will take this issue seriously.” There was a pause where only the crackling of the fireplace could be heard. The Lupin’s waited with bated breath for him to continue. “However, the Ministry does not concern itself with Hogwarts,” continued Dumbledore, waving his hand dismissively, “I’m here to offer young Remus here the chance to be a properly trained among his peers. I’ve no doubt he would grow up to be a fine wizard. That is, assuming you want him to attend Hogwarts, of course,” he bowed his head politely.
Remus’s look of mingled hope and disbelief was mirrored by his parents.
“Of – of course we want him to go to Hogwarts,” Lyall hastened to assure, “But how can he –” Lyall was once again at a loss of words.
“Now that we have established he is attending Hogwarts, let’s work out the finer aspects of his monthly transformations,” Dumbledore said in a business-like voice conjuring pastries and cookies for them to eat while they were being treated to a story they wouldn’t have conceived of even in their wildest imagination.
“Did I get it? Did I get it?” James Potter came bouncing down the stairs, running straight to his father. Nobody would call Fleamont Potter old despite streaks of grey in his hair. His bright eyes outshone the lines of experience on his still handsome face. Clean shaven with salt-and-pepper hair sticking out at the back, he gave an air of thorough contentment as he sat at the breakfast table reading the morning paper. He looked up with amusement as his son, still in his Pajamas, was anxiously looking at him.
“Did what come?” he asked feigning innocence as he looked into James’ eager hazel eyes.
“Hogwarts Letter, Dad!” explained James impatiently.
“Letter? Why would it come today?” he asked mildly, closing the paper shut, enjoying James’ exasperation.
“Dad!” James whined, “It’s my 11th birthday today!” he was bobbed up and down on his toes impatiently.
“Oh Dear, Indeed it is!” Mr. Potter exclaimed in mock-realization. James’ look of dismay seemed to tickle him further.
“Oh, stop torturing him dear!” Euphemia Potter had appeared from inside the kitchen. “James, come and have some pancakes,” she beckoned as Mr. Potter chuckled.
“I don’t want pancakes,” said James sulkily, “I want my letter.”
“Happy birthday, James!” chuckled Mr. Potter, producing the Hogwarts acceptance letter. James snatched it from him, his eyes shining through his glasses as he read it.
“When can we get my wand, Dad?” he fidgeted excitedly on his seat, his previous annoyance with his father having vanished.
“This weekend,” said Mr. Potter, folding up his newspaper and drawing his plate of pancakes closer.
“Can I have a broomstick?” he asked hopefully as Mrs. Potter poured some syrup on his pancakes.
Peter Pettigrew was trudging along the dusty path to his cottage, kicking the little stones out of his way. His straw coloured hair fell limply, looking as listless as he felt. All the neighborhood children had gone to school, and he had nobody to play with. Being an only child, it got lonely at times. His friends made fun of him for being home-schooled. If only they knew, he thought grudgingly. He had often considered telling them he was a wizard, but thought he would be ridiculed further. They had never let him forget the incident. It wasn’t his fault that Wontly was found hanging from a tree branch, soon after making fun of his mother. He had just wished he could hurt Wontley, who was bigger and stockier compared to his pudgy self.
He entered his house and peered hopefully into the kitchen, sniffing at the aroma of his mothers cooking. Something sweet, by the smell of it. Before he could investigate further, a tawny owl fluttered to rest on the windowsill and hooted importantly. Peter scurried to remove the letter from its leg, his short, stubby fingers trembling with excitement. The owl took off, rustling its feathers, leaving Peter to his letter.
“Mum,” young Peter spoke, his voice sounding squeaky. “It’s from Hogwarts.” No more had the words escaped his lips, he was attacked by his mother’s embrace.
“Petey! I’m so happy!” she exclaimed, sniffing, “Your father will be so proud!” The plump Mrs. Pettigrew, donning an apron, was bustling around the living room in search of a parchment. Peter’s father hadn’t thought Peter was magic. True, he hadn’t displayed many signs, but his father was hardly around to witness them. Constantly travelling for work (marketing Fedreanty’s Healing Potions to various apothecaries), his main mode of communication to Peter was through the family Owl, Dukes.
“Here,” she said finally scribbling a few words on a scrap of paper torn from a magazine and thrusting it towards Peter, “Send this with Dukes to your father. Let me bake a cake for you!” she cooed, drowning her son in another hug before wiping the ends of her eyes on a dirty sleeve and hurrying into the kitchen.
“You can finally make friends with kids your age,” she beamed from inside the kitchen. Peter looked troubled. He had never exactly been endearing. “My boy, going to Hogwarts!” she exclaimed happily. He wasn’t going to be that weird kid down the road anymore. He was going to be a wizard. He made up his mind to fit in at Hogwarts.
Hey everyone! I really hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. I hope my headcanon comes close to canon as JKR intended. I’ve been reading the books as I was writing this chapter to get clues from scenes in order to determine how they would be feeling or reacting.
A Special thanks to Felpata Lupin for being my amazing beta, shadowkat678 for her awesome review which helped develop this chapter and Alarte Ascendare for indulging my plunnies at the right moment :)
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