AN: A story about the Marauders, their friendship, their love and their mistakes. The Map of the life they had (literally, a map:) ), beginning with the summer after their sixth year, ending with... You'll see where it ends. :) There are thirteen chapters in it, plus a prologue, and an epilogue (those two are slightly different from the actual chapters.)The rating is there for a reason, but I don't think anything is too detailed or vulgar. (It might not be the most cheerful thing you have ever read though...)
I tried to be as canonic as possible.
The entire thing is "unbetaed", so if you find any mistakes, please feel free to warn me! Actually, any sort of feedback would be great!

And last, but definitely not least: Enjoy! :)


Place for Portrayals

James Potter was an endless, inexhaustible source of love. He grew up in a sheltered, protected world and he received all the love his parents had originally meant to give to three other children (who, they eventually learned, they could not have).
And James Potter, though sometimes he was annoyingly oblivious to just how lucky he got, James Potter seemed intent on sharing all that love and devotion he had grown up with.
It poured out of him, unconsciously warming everything and everyone in its reach. There was a reason teachers loved him, his team-mates loved him, his friends would have killed for him, and girls adored him (and for that last one, the reason was not really his looks; James was an average kid and nothing more). But he radiated love and mirth, and people fed off of him without noticing. And most people would feed of off him without giving anything back, and James Potter just would not mind, because, really, he had all the love in the world to give.
And so it was, that James Potter would risk his very life for someone he just really could not tolerate. And so it was, that James Potter had it in him, to forgive his emotional wreck of a friend. Because he was mature enough to admit that he could never fully understand Sirius, but at least, being James and having all that easy warmth inside him, he could afford to just simply be there for him.

Sirius Black was a distorted mess of haughtiness and rebellion, pride and shame; Sirius Black sometimes doubted if he even knew who Sirius Black was, as there were just too many words and ways to describe him:
The son of the mighty Blacks, a pureblood with a legacy.
The renegade Gryffindor son of a family that had been in Slytherin for centuries.
The guy who was so good at everything, he could even tolerate being best friends with James Potter, because, really, Sirius Black was cool enough, not to care about James's status, cool enough not to compete with him.
The guy who loved hot chicks almost as much as motorbikes (and had equally non-existent relationships with either actual bikes or blood-flesh girls).
The boy who would have given his life for Remus and James, but who merely tolerated Peter because of James.
The guy who spent every bloody summer being insulted and beaten up by his family, because he just did not live up to their expectations.
And the guy who studied almost in secret, because, really, Sirius freaking Black was just too cool to care about school, but deep down inside, he still fooled himself with the hope that if he had the best grades, and if he had proven himself an excellent wizard, his mother would say, just once in a lifetime, that she did not completely regret giving birth to him, that he was not altogether worthless. Because even though Sirius wished to hate his mother, he did not enjoy causing her pain with his existence.
The guy who made a terrible mistake, out of bitterness that speedily escalated into anger and hate. The guy who was not much past sixteen when he almost killed someone, or rather almost caused someone to die, while almost turning his best friend into a murderer in the process.
The boy who screamed and cursed alone through nights after that sixth year, and the guy who left his family on that very summer, because he finally understood where his aggression came from and what he needed to do to get rid of it. Because on that very night, when he would swallow his pride and show up at James's doorstep to seek help (even though his best mate was bitterly angry with him and they did not speak for months before that), he would finally give up his foolish hope of ever belonging to a family.

Remus Lupin was a monster. An innocent monster, a victim, really. But Remus Lupin was a good kid and he never accused his father of anything, though if it weren't for him, he would not have had to go trough hell during every single cursed full moon. And if it weren't for him, he possibly would have had some friends and could have belonged somewhere.
But Remus was a great kid, a sensitive kid, who understood that his father headed towards and early grave because of the constant guilt that gnawed his insides, and his mother grew weaker every day because the air at home was so thick with pain, resentment and regret, that it was just simply suffocating and sickening to her. And Remus did not want them to feel bad, he just wanted a happy family, with smiles, and laughter, and friends around. But Remus Lupin lived in a desolated, wild part of the country, amongst tall hills, hidden behind dark forests, because Remus Lupin just could not afford to accidentally kill somebody. And since he really was a bright and sensible kid, he understood this, understood the need for isolation and suppressed his inner yearning for company, but still desperately wished that something, somehow, if even for a short while, could finally take his mind off of his foulness, his despicable mutation, that chained and caged him.
And so Remus Lupin was incredibly grateful for receiving a letter from Hogwarts, because it meant the end of loneliness, and he was beyond happy for finally having friends, who did not even come close to fully comprehending his horrific situation, but who, instead of despising, or worse, pitying him, chose to ignore the dangers he brought. And that is why Remus, though he really was a good and sensible kid, never really gathered the courage to stop his friends, or give them up and confess to Dumbledore. Because with them, he forgot just how disgusting he really was, and Remus really only wished for that.
And that is why he had it in him to forgive to bloody Sirius, because Sirius did exactly just what he wanted: he forgot about what a dangerous monster Remus could be. And he forgave him also because he desperately needed Sirius, because James was a great friend, was a loyal friend, but he was so far from understanding his position that no matter how hard James tried, he still did not get it at all. And Sirius, though he was not a werewolf, Sirius had his own package, and just maybe because of that, he almost understood.
And he forgave, because he knew that Snape had just used Regulus against Sirius the night before that accident, and though he had a loving family and could not possibly imagine how that made Sirius feel, Remus did have his own package, and just maybe because of that, he almost understood Sirius's rage. And he forgave Black because James, who had iron-strong morals about certain things, had sided with him immediately, but Remus was a sensitive boy, and he knew, missing Sirius would eventually kill James, but James would never forgive Sirius, until he did.

Peter Pettigrew was not a uncommonly sensible, nor an unusually smart boy. He was an only child in pureblood family that was respected and loved by wizards. He was a last heir to an ancient house with ancient legacy, and yet he knew – even before he came to Hogwarts – that he could not live up to his name. And he accepted the fact.
And so Peter quickly understood that family legacies did no good to an average boy with no special talents, and he learned soon enough that he needed to survive. And he also intuitively knew that in order to stay alive, he needed protection. He just wasn't sure, who would be ready to give it to him.
And that is why Peter endured James's utter and occasionally annoying perfection, and Sirius's funny, but sometimes mean comments. Because if it meant staying alive and having friends, Peter did not mind flattering the guys a bit now and then.
After all, friendship was a bargain, a deal: you gave and you took from it. And Peter, the "not so special", "we had expected more" Peter was after all an Animagus in his early teens, and that in the end, was truly, bloody special!
And Peter enjoyed the fact that his friends did not care about his family-history, nor their legacy. Peter loved that they accepted him as Wormtail, that they did not criticize him for choosing the shape of a rat. What was more; they needed him just like he was; they needed him to be a rat, to be Wormtail.
And Peter loved them for it, if not as absolutely as James could love, nor as purely as Remus could, and definitely not as desperately as Sirius did, he still loved them. Because that much he could give back in return for being kept alive in a world, where being alive became less of a triviality with each passing day.


The cover picture is the work of the amazingly talented Laerthel! Thank you so-so much! :)