Hello, all! I'm glad you managed to come across this little one-shot, and I hope you enjoy it! This is a short one-shot, something inspired by a short prompt by ofthemaraudersera on Tumblr! (Link to that post/prompt can be found on my profile~) I'm leaving this marked as complete, though I might very well add on to it in the future with other one-shots inspired by this AU. I think we'll all enjoy the semi-happiness of the idea of the Marauders making it through, so please do enjoy! If you choose to leave a review, feel free to suggest what kind of one-shot you think could accompany this one! I'm all open for suggestions for something to make this AU even bigger and more complete. Thank you, and happy reading!
P.S. For those concerned about If I Lose Myself (I don't think there are many but just in case) - it's still in the works, but very slow progress. I haven't quite had the muse for it for a while and I'm a little stuck, but I do plan on finishing!
October 31st, by all accounts, should have been an ordinary Halloween. The sun rose, warming the chilly autumn air, was covered by clouds for a while, and sank beneath the horizon. Morning bled into afternoon which faded into evening. Young ghosts and werewolves and merfolk emerged from their homes in search of sweets. Muggles and wizards alike went about their daily business and then their festivities, those in the wizarding world always glancing over their shoulders to make sure they weren't followed by the shadows that plagued them. Some people died, others were born. Some people cried, some laughed, and some didn't give a damn either way. And by the end of the night, many homes were stocked with candy and happy children tucked away in their beds. By all accounts, it should have been an ordinary Halloween.
Until the Order of the Phoenix raided the Lestrange family manor, and Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort had the fight of the century, according to the Daily Prophet in an emergency late night edition.
And Albus Dumbledore had won.
Members of the Order and Death Eaters alike had stared in awe and horror, respectively, as Lord Voldemort was wreathed in a column of Fiendfyre, carefully controlled and maintained by the greatest wizard of the age. And when the Fiendfyre vanished, all that was left was a pile of ashes and dust that had once been the Dark Lord, and Voldemort was defeated.
The wizarding world rejoiced, and word of the victory spread like the Fiendfyre that had eliminated Voldemort himself. The Ministry of Magic rounded up the Death Eaters they could find and carted them off to Azkaban, among them the traitor known as Peter Pettigrew. Peace, it seemed, had been achieved, and the Death Eater movement had been decimated. Lord Voldemort was nowhere to be found, and they were free.
But nobody more so than James Potter, who came running out of his secluded safe house the next morning when he and his wife awoke, on November 1st, 1981. In his arms was his squealing one-year old son, who didn't know what was going on but was caught up in the revelry all the same.
"James, come back inside this instant!" shouted his wife, the former Lily Evans (now Potter), from their little doorway. But from the wide smile on her face, and the way in which she looked five years younger, it was clear her heart wasn't quite in it.
"But that's just it, Lily, my darling," James sang in a teasing sing-song voice, holding their son in the air as he squealed some more. "I don't have to! We're free!"
For a moment no reply came, until, "Get inside before Harry catches a chill."
That brought James to a pause, and he looked up at their son named Harry Potter almost conspiringly, who was still squealing and squirming in his hands in the air. "We don't need to go inside just yet, do we, Harry?" he asked the infant as he tucked him close to his chest, a part of him heeding his wife's words. "Because we don't have to stay in that bloody house any more than we have to, right?"
Little Harry didn't understand, but he seemed joyous to agree nonetheless.
"James, you're being ridiculous." But she said it good-naturedly, like it was a compliment. Lily Potter was struggling to hold in a laugh. She was enjoying the display as much as Harry was, it seemed. "Harry will catch cold if you keep out there much longer without a proper blanket."
"Nah, he won't, he's a strong little Gryffindor, aren't you, son?" James grinned as Harry gurgled and reached up as if he wanted to play with his father's spectacles.
James let him have them. It was far too joyous a day to let his beloved son want for anything.
It took a few more minutes, but finally Lily managed to coax her husband inside the house, where a grand breakfast was prepared. Harry was dressed up in a sweater that James's mother had made for him, and little trousers that went up over his diapers ("a handsome little devil," as James had referred to him). It was just as they were setting the table with far too much food for two that their door burst open.
"You heard haven't you?"
James beamed as he grinned brightly at the young man who had just come in. "I'd have to be blind and deaf not to, Padfoot, bloody hell, can you believe it?"
"Be plain stupid if I didn't. I was bloody there. Went down in a blaze of glory, he did, but he sure as hell went down."
"Breakfast, Sirius? You came just in time," Lily offered cheerfully from the other side of the kitchen, her green eyes bright.
Sirius waved Lily off dismissively but good-naturedly, but sank down at their table anyway. "Right 'bout time, too, Drommie was about to force Tonks to give up his job at the hospital, I was at dinner with her the other day, I told you that, didn't I?" Without waiting, Sirius plowed on. "Now we've got all the bloody time in the world, Prongs, we can take the motorcycle-"
"You aren't taking that old thing anywhere, Sirius Black," Lily scolded him as she set her son down in his high chair. "And certainly not with James on board it, it'll explode."
"Absolutely no faith," Sirius sniffed.
"We can take Harry flying instead, you know he won't get off that toy broom you got him. We can finally let him fly around outside," James suggested instead. "I can go outside, Sirius!"
Sirius laughed and they carried on. Breakfast was a merry affair, even merrier when another guest knocked on the door and James dashed to answer it.
"I imagine you heard."
"Moony, get in here, we're having a breakfast celebration!"
"Remus, do come in!" Over the past few years, it was as though Lily had developed her own sixth sense as to when a Marauder was nearby. And by far, she liked to play Remus as the favorite – they had been friends long before James Potter had matured into the man that he was now, the man she married. "There's plenty enough for you too, come on and celebrate with us."
Looking properly chastised, in came Remus Lupin, looking modest in his shabby little sweater and trousers, his sandy hair combed but windblown, and their little party was complete.
"Peter was taken in with the rest of the Death Eaters," Remus confessed to the table quietly as he sat down, and for a moment everyone was silent with him.
Because once, those three young men had been four, and none of them had dreamed that their fourth comrade would have become a traitor, that he might have been plotting against them while not in their presence. Each of them had trusted him once, the man called Peter Pettigrew, and he had been their friend. The Marauders had been a group of four, not three, and the reminder seemed to sober the room. Except for little Harry, who chirped in pleasure as he reached for Remus,
"Moomee." His chubby little hands opened and closed, reaching for the man's sweater sleeve. But his chirping, for the first time in a long while, went virtually unnoticed. Save for Remus, who gave the infant a nervous glance.
"So he really was one of them, then?" came the quiet question from James.
"He was sure as hell there when we got to the manor, planning something with them, the bastard," Sirius spat.
A sigh came from Lily. "If we could not curse in front of the infant learning how to speak, that would be wonderful," she remarked coolly, but then her expression grew concerned. "And there's no way he'd been Imperiused?"
"Who knows?" Sirius demanded right back, all but ignoring her chiding. "Scurried and hid like the little rat he is the second he saw us. Kept begging forgiveness while the Aurors dragged his arse away, thought we could pull a few strings to get him out, blubbering like an idiot. Didn't understand a word of it, but I don't doubt for a second he was helping them."
"But he was our friend," Lily protested gently, fiddling with her napkin. She, like James, could scarcely believe it – Peter had never been the sort she'd ever suspect of becoming one of the Death Eaters. "He never thought…" The rest of her sentence came without saying. He had never thought less of her, he had never considered her a Mudblood.
"He was afraid," Remus explained quietly. "We all were."
"But none of us went traipsing off to join Lord Voldemort, did we?"
"Moo-mee," Harry repeated from his high chair.
James, who had been silent since his question, shook his head and moved to grab some of the eggs Lily had put on the table. "I'll figure out a way to talk to him. I know he was there, but honestly, I don't believe it. He wouldn't have betrayed us," he said firmly, his voice sounding as if that was all he was going to hear on the topic.
Sirius and Remus looked at each other, but said nothing.
"Lily, could you pass the ham?" Remus asked quietly, almost hesitantly, and their breakfast celebration resumed. It wasn't long before spirits were back up and Sirius and James were laughing about silly things as James playfully fed his infant son whatever would go in his mouth. Remus and Lily were talking about potions and what Lily might try to do now that they no longer had Voldemort's shadow hanging over their heads. And once James and Sirius caught wind of the conversation, everyone was suddenly excited.
James and Sirius were convinced they'd become the world's greatest Aurors – with the Ministry that would be slowly repairing itself after the war, they figured they'd be shoe-ins for being members in the Order. Worst came to worst, they said, Dumbledore would vouch for them, they were sure. Lily quietly confessed that she might like to become a part-time Healer at St. Mungo's, working on the potions ward, but her first priority was Harry. Remus, however, simply sank quietly back into his chair, knowing that his friends' revelry could never truly be his own. No war, he was sure, would ever eliminate how people felt about hiring werewolves.
But a tugging on his sweater sleeve made Remus jerk from his glum musings and he stared in disbelief at the little one-year old Harry, his green eyes bright and cheerful as he gurgled happily.
"Moo-mee," he said urgently.
Lily finally noticed the exchange and smiled. "He's been learning names," she explained, stroking her son's messy head of hair affectionately. "The other day he called Sirius, Pad. I'm Ma, James is Da. You've been Moo-mee. Peter…" She swallowed. "He was Wor."
"What… what does he want?" Remus asked nervously.
"Attention," was Lily's response, sounding amused. "He can be like James in that way. Go on and hold your hand out for him."
Of all the Marauders, Remus was always the one most anxious around little Harry, and avoided interaction with him when he could. Being around something so innocent, so pure… he felt as though he might taint the little boy with just his touch. James' and Lily's friendship had always been something he cherished, of course, how could they forgive him if he hurt their only son? But with Lily's gaze egging him on, in a gentle way, Remus just gulped and held out his tough-skinned hands for the little baby to investigate.
Harry certainly didn't disappoint, making grunting noises as if he could analyze just who Remus Lupin was by fiddling with his hand. His tiny fists gently wrapped around Remus's fingers, gently pulling them and turning his hand over and over. Remus simply gulped, and kept glancing at Lily nervously.
"You're doing fine. You can hold him later, if you'd like."
The panicked look that Lily received made her laugh. "Remus, you're not going to hurt him unless you drop him. Besides, he likes you," she said, clearly amused.
"You're entirely sure that you'd want…"
"Remus, if the next words out of your mouth have anything to do with your being a little different, then so help me, I'll make you hold him right now. Unless you want to tell me that lycanthropy is catching like a cold, which I know for a fact that it isn't, then perhaps you might have a valid excuse."
Remus opened and closed his mouth, looking properly abashed. But Lily's outburst had attracted the attention of James and Sirius now, who looked at their friend with a mixture of exasperation and amusement.
"Bloody hell, Moony, on about Harry again, are you? He's a baby, not a glass statue, he won't break if you touch him," Sirius remarked.
"You're more than welcome to hold him, Moony, really. You never have before, have you?"
And on it went. It turned out that later that day, Remus did get the chance to hold little Harry, and Harry had ended up falling asleep in his arms, tuckered out from riding his little broomstick around their private backyard after breakfast. Lily and Remus had stayed indoors – Remus holding Harry (as if terrified that if he put the baby down he might wake up and get upset) and discussing with Lily what he might be able to do now that the war was all but over. Sirius and James, overjoyed, had wanted to stroll around Diagon Alley, but when Lily had warned them against that, had settled for just walking around the neighborhood.
The wizarding world as a whole, it was clear, would need a great deal of recovery in order to climb back to its former glory. The Death Eaters had all but ravaged the population, and numerous shops in Diagon Alley had been destroyed, homes ransacked, and precious items stolen. There were still Death Eaters at large, dangerous purebloods and their allies to bring to justice, but jubilation still ran rampant in the streets. Nothing seemed to matter except for the fact that Lord Voldemort was gone.
Albus Dumbledore was neither seen nor heard from that day, and owls were flying through the sky as relatives and friends messaged each other just to make sure that the wonderful news was spread. Lily and James themselves received a few welcome messages: Alice and Frank Longbottom were alright, and they wanted to set up a playdate between young Harry and their own little boy Neville right away, as soon as they were available. Lily sent out a missive to her sister that everything was alright, but they received no response. Another friendly letter came around suppertime, from Minerva McGonagall who wished to pay a visit just to check in on them.
But the war hadn't come without its losses, as death tallies rose up over the next several days. The Prewett brothers had not escaped the fire of war, killed only a few weeks before Voldemort's downfall, and neither did the McKinnons, an entire family slaughtered not a few days before the Death Eater regime crumbled. When the news reached James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus, Sirius had stormed out of the house and wasn't heard from for days.
Death Eaters were rounded up fairly quickly, as the truth would have it, and James had joined in on the hunts, despite a weak protest from Lily when he had announced his goal. It took several days for Sirius to follow, but he did as well, accompanied by the rest of the surviving Order members and anyone else willing to lend a hand. Within six weeks after Lord Voldemort's fall, the wizarding world was once again secured as Death Eaters were locked away in Azkaban, and reconstruction could begin.
Rebuilding the wizarding world took a lot longer than anyone had expected. Not only was there a world to rebuild, but there were also memorials to be had, and broken families that could never be repaired. The Ministry had provided for all struggling families, putting together memorial services for all that had fallen. The McKinnons' had a grand funeral service, though there was no family left to provide for one. Despite the Prewetts' lack of funds, the Prewett twins had been sent off into the next world with the glory deserved to them. People had died, but there were also brighter points to the rebuilding too.
For example, Harry's second birthday party was a joyful occasion indeed. Planning on behalf of the Longbottoms and the Potters combined had led to a combined birthday party, a celebration for both young Harry and Neville. It was perhaps the most crowded that the Potter residence had ever been. Friends of both families came for the gathering, and even Sirius' cousin Andromeda and her husband Ted had come with their nine-year-old daughter, Nymphadora. Presents were exchanged, cake had been eaten (even by the new toddlers, who were chasing around after each other for at least an hour before climbing into their parents' laps and falling asleep), and even a little dance under the summer sun for the adults.
It felt as though their celebration was celebrating everything that the wizarding world had accomplished over the past several months – a capstone on the building joy that had accompanied the end of what had become known as The Great Wizarding War.
They were setting up quite the little lives for themselves, and though nothing was quite the same again afterwards, their world had found peace. The Potters and many of their closest friends had made it, alive and well, vibrant and ready to truly begin their lives. For all intents and purposes, they had escaped the fire.
I hope you liked it! Once again, if you'd like to see more, let me know what you'd like to see! I can't promise I'll write it, but if it strikes my fancy I'll do it!