Hello everyone! I am so incredibly sorry this is later than I had hoped. In all truthfulness, it's been done for 2-3 weeks now, but I had full intentions to make it really long and post it on August 11 since that will be the one-year anniversary of this fic! However, as I failed to add on and the time from the last update stretched further, I found that I was anxious and needed to post it. I will try my very hardest to write enough for another chapter so I can post it on the 11th!
I hope you enjoy this, and remember that it's an AU so things aren't the same as in canon!
"Have you done your homework yet?" Remus asked the boys and James steadfastly avoided his eye.
"Most of it," Harry answered. "Have you?"
"Of course he has," Sirius interjected. "It was probably done in the first week."
"Don't be rude, Siri." Harry admonished.
"He's right that it's done," Remus spoke, hoping to stall an oncoming argument. "Though I only just finished a few days ago."
It was silent for a few minutes as the boys were off in their own thoughts until Harry jumped suddenly. "Remus! What did you get on your final exams? I know James already talked about his with Sirius." It was unspoken but known that Sirius didn't know Harry's because of the whole incident during the first month of summer.
"Oh," Remus said in surprise. "That's right."
"Did you pass everything?" Harry asked, even though he could already guess that he had.
"Yes," Remus replied. He hung his head bashfully, as if embarrassed that he had been so worried in the first place.
"And?" Harry prompted further. "Any perfect scores on the exams?"
Remus nodded. "Charms and Defense," he said quietly and the boys cheered.
"Way to go!" Harry commended and Remus only ducked his head further.
"And what about you?" He asked finally in reply to Harry when he succeeded in lifting his head.
"I passed them all," Harry said vaguely with a small shrug.
"And?" Remus asked for elaboration. Harry wondered if he realized he was echoing him.
"And I got a perfect score for defense. I was perfect for the practical for transfiguration and charms, but missed some written questions on both." Truthfully, he had only missed a question for each, but he saw no need to boast.
"Good job," Remus congratulated honestly and Harry smiled back at him.
"James did well for transfiguration, didn't you, James?" Harry moved on from himself and the older twin nodded proudly.
"Best score in the year," he announced and the others cheered. "It said so on the parchment." While they were congratulating him, Harry looked towards the clock. Sirius and Remus had to go in half of an hour so now the group was just wasting the time away.
"I'm bored," Sirius announced and Harry reached into his bag he always carried around. When he removed his hand, there were several different sorts of sweets in his palm.
"What do you want?" Harry asked and Sirius reached over to take something. Right before he could, though, Harry pulled his hand back. "Whoop! Nuh-uh, James goes first because he got the only perfect transfiguration score." James held his chin proudly in the air as he chose a lollipop that changed flavors while it was being consumed. Sirius went to go again but Harry, once again, pulled his hand away. "Wait! Remus goes second because he studied non-stop and really, he deserves everything in my hand because of it."
"Ry!" Sirius complained but Harry only looked over at him with his big green eyes.
"Yes, Siri?" He asked as he, for a third time, placed the candy under his nose. Not hesitating, Sirius grabbed everything he could from the small hand and brought it close to his chest. Harry stared at his now-empty hand and looked up to gaze at Sirius with his faux-innocent eyes. "You could have asked, you know."
The first day of September came quickly and with it brought all chaos associated with the Hogwarts Express. The remainder of the summer was spent with their own families as Sirius was forced into lessons concerning his heirship by his father. Harry and James left with their family to a vacation in Rome, where the first wizarding settlement was achieved.
So it was with roaming eyes that the four friends entered the station separately to reunite. Goodbyes were brief or (in the case of one Sirius Orion Black) nonexistent. At different times, the boys raced onto the large red train and to the compartment they had claimed as their own.
Sirius was the first to get there after separating from his brother, who was a firstie that year. He sat on one of the seats before moving to look out the windows. When he failed to find any of the others in the crowd he sat down again and bounced his foot restlessly. After a few more seconds, he shot up again and looked harder.
That was how Remus found him a few minutes later. He knocked on the compartment door just as Sirius sulked back from the window after not spotting any of the other three marauders. He looked up at the tawny-haired boy when he slid the door open and a wide smile crossed his face.
"Moony!" He yelled out and Remus smiled a bit tiredly. Sirius made a conscious effort to turn his volume down a few notches and then tried again. "Moony! How have you been?"
"Pretty well, and you?" He said in response as he joined the Black heir who was, once again, by the window. "Do you see them?"
"No," Sirius said miserably. "I've been okay. The lessons this summer though were torture." Remus sent over a pitying smile but Sirius' eyes hadn't stopped flickering between families on the ground.
"Yes, but at least you'll be a good lord one day, right?"
"I guess so, but I don't think I really want to- OH! There they are! JAMES! HARRY!"
Remus startled back at the sudden volume Sirius was yelling at and clasped his hands over his ears. It would be nice to have the twins in there with them because even though Sirius was absolutely wonderful, it was only really Harry who always remembered that his senses were heightened and his cravings (especially for chocolate) were stronger than others felt.
It was but a few moments until the twins were entering the compartment, complete with James and Sirius embracing like long lost lovers. Remus and Harry met each other's gaze and they rolled their eyes in synchronization. That made everyone laugh because even though some time had passed and problems arose, absolutely nothing between their dynamic had changed.
The friends settled down and sat when the train let out a loud 'hoot' and began to move. There was some waving towards relatives, mostly on the twins' part, but then it was only them in a small space with several hours to kill.
They spoke of meaningless topics for several minutes but it wasn't hard to figure out that Sirius was holding something back. He was twitching and his eyes often darted over to his carry-on bag only to snap away from it. It didn't take long until James was fed up and he poked Sirius insistently in the shoulder.
"What?" Sirius asked, prying his eyes away from the bag yet again.
"What's in the bag?" James asked simply and Sirius startled in surprise. He opened his mouth, Harry wasn't sure whether it was to try at denial or something else, but then he shut it and turned towards Remus.
"Do you know any sort of secrecy spell or something so we know no one is listening in?" Remus frowned lightly.
"A silencing spell on the compartment door?" He offered and Sirius nodded.
"Yeah, do that. Please," he added on when Harry kicked him with his foot. Remus did so efficiently and the twins and werewolf, as one, looked directly at Sirius.
He didn't stall any longer. He tugged his bag over to him and drew it open. They watched as he extracted a thin book from the cloth and carelessly dropped the bag back onto the floor. It was obvious that this was a serious matter because usually he would be a lot more dramatic and would shield the book title and make them guess what it was. Instead, he flipped the book over so everyone could read the front cover.
How to Successfully Achieve the Animagus Transformation in Three Years or Less
The three friends stared at it in shock. Harry wasn't sure why he was he surprised, but figured it had something to do with them actually having a book. He didn't know they had one the first time! It was written by a Black so he figured it was found in the ancient Black library by Sirius one of the last days of summer.
"Siri…" James began but couldn't find the words. Harry helped to supply them.
"This is incredible!" He cried out. "This means we can get started right away! Oh, Remus! We could be helping you by fifth year!"
But Sirius stopped him there. "Not so fast, Ry. I've read the first few chapters; we need to begin by months of meditation before bed and in free time and we need a potion." Harry deflated a little.
"Which potion?" He asked. He didn't recall older Sirius telling him about this.
"One that will show us our form. If we didn't take the potion, we wouldn't have an end goal in sight because we wouldn't know what we were supposed to be changing into." It surprised Harry and James, too, to see Sirius so… serious over a matter. Remus was completely shocked. Harry doubted he had so much as breathed since he had read the book title.
"Well, where can we get it?" James asked but Sirius shook his head.
"I've heard father talk to so many people over the years and he and mother have been drilling me in potions for a while. In all that time, I have never heard them mention this one. I don't know if it has an actual name, but he" Sirius motioned vaguely to the book, "just calls it the 'Animagus Potion'. I'm pretty sure it's not sold anywhere-"
"But does it have instructions?" Harry asked eagerly, not caring that he cut Sirius off. He was unbelievably excited and if he had any doubts before, not that he did, they would be long gone at this point.
Sirius nodded. "Yeah, but we're going to need some ingredients we don't have. I'm sure the potions shop in Hogsmeade has what we need, but there is no way of getting there without anyone noticing."
James nodded in agreement. "Students aren't allowed into Hogsmeade until their third year," he chimed in and Harry was watching both of them with an unhinged jaw. They were choosing now (of all times!) to choose to listen to and follow the rules?
"Who bloody- I don't- since when have you-" Harry simply could not form words for what he was feeling. "We have the cloak!" He exclaimed finally. "We could just walk out in the bright daylight and no one would ever know! And if you didn't want to do that, I'm nearly positive there is a passageway somewhere in the school that would lead us outside. For Merlin's sake, are you guys giving up already?"
They were saved from having to reply when Remus took in a gasping breath. Harry looked at him in surprise before moving to make sure he was alright. He hadn't actually thought Remus had stopped breathing! Harry rubbed his back comfortingly and looked back to his twin and their friend.
Sirius had raised an eyebrow sometime from when he began his rant to when he bent down to help Remus; when exactly, Harry could not say. "I don't recall ever claiming defeat," Sirius informed him. "I only said we couldn't get there. But you do realize owl-order is a thing, right?"
And so that night, after the sorting (where Regulus Black was placed into Slytherin, to the surprise of exactly no one) and the grand feast, James called out for Nuntius and they watched as he flew in the dormitory window with a 'hoot!'
James slipped a few knuts into the bronze coin carried strapped on his foot. "Could you get an owl-order catalogue from Politerra's Potions and Supplies please, boy?" The owl was off in an instant and the boys turned to Sirius. He was, after all, the one with the book so they were looking at him for guidance.
"Can we do anything without the potion?" Harry asked and Sirius looked down at the book in his arms.
"Meditation. We're apparently supposed to be able to center ourselves – whatever that means." Sirius snorted and Harry was relieved he seemed to be much like himself at the moment. The train ride held many deep conversations and it was strange for the green-eyed boy to see Sirius be so calm and devoted to a matter.
"Does anyone actually know how to meditate?" James asked with a laugh. From the corner of his eye, Harry saw as Remus hesitantly raise his hand in the air.
"I, uh, I do." They all looked at him in surprise but Harry shook it off quickly.
"Will you be doing the transformation too, Remus?" He knew the first time he didn't, but maybe this time…
That thought was quickly dashed with the refusal of the werewolf. "I don't think I can," he explained quickly when Sirius looked to be about to speak. "With… y'know, with Moony I don't think I could turn into anything else." Harry bit his lip and watched as James sat next to Remus.
"What else?" The older twin asked and Remus' head shot up.
"There's more; what else are you worried about?" Remus sighed and threw his head back roughly.
"If I could, well it's just that it would probably be a wolf and I'm already a wolf once a month and I don't think I could possibly handle being able to be a wolf all of the time, and what if it was the same wolf? What if it was Moony and I lost control when I tried to change I'm just so worried-"
The boys quickly surrounded Remus and hushed him when he began to panic and ramble. They hadn't ever seen him lose his calm before so it was a very enlightening experience. They hadn't realized just how effected by his curse he was and how it ate away at his calm.
"So, Professor Lupin," Harry began in an effort to distract him and whoa wasn't that weird to hear after all this time? "How does one meditate?"
Remus cleaned himself up quickly after that. In little time at all everyone was back in their positions and Remus was explaining how you needed to be absolutely still and let no sounds draw your attention. They were all about to try that when the dormitory door opened and a body slid through.
"Hello, Peter," Remus welcomed warmly and James gave him a vague wave, too busy turning and searching his trunk for something to really acknowledge the other's presence. Even Sirius smiled a little, which convinced Harry that he couldn't ignore him because at that point it would be rude. So he too smiled and gave a little wave before focusing in on his brother. Not a rat yet, Harry, he reminded himself sternly, just a young boy with a desire for friendship.
"Hello, what are you all doing?" He asked as he moved to his own trunk.
"Meditating," James answered as he pulled out some sleeping clothes. Sirius kicked him roughly in the shin and James jerked. Harry noticed he had made quite the pile of cloth in his searching. Peter looked up and stared off in confusion.
"Jamsie-boy decided to give Buddhism a try," Sirius explained smoothly. Harry snorted lightly but tried to cover it with a cough. He was unsuccessful.
Peter shook his head. "It's another one of your secrets things, I get it. I'm gonna go get changed and then go to bed, goodnight."
"Goodnight, Peter!" Sirius yelled at his retreating back. "I'll make sure James doesn't hum too loudly while meditating!"
Harry bit his lip and met eyes with Remus, whose face was bright. "We'd best be getting off to bed as well," Harry sighed. "We can try in our separate beds tonight and talk tomorrow morning." The others agreed and they got ready for silence then sleep.
The next day dawned dreary and Harry was awoken by the usual soft pat, pat, pat, of Remus walking across the cold stone floor. Harry sat up, not remembering when he stopped meditating and fell into sleep the night before.
Did I even meditate at all? He wondered to himself before shaking the thought away and moving to get ready for the day. He entered the bathroom as Remus was finishing and moved to take a quick shower. Afterwards he got dressed and left the bathroom.
He didn't wake up James too harshly, choosing to merely dump the pile of clothes he pulled from his trunk the night before over his head. James startled slightly and gave Harry a light glare, though the latter noticed he seemed more awake than he usually did in the mornings.
"Wakey, wakey!" Harry called out, only to have his voice muffled by a pillow to the face. Harry frowned over at Sirius, who Remus had awakened after getting Peter up and moving.
"Okay, rude," Harry said to Sirius, who deadpanned him with red-dried eyes. "I didn't even wake you up! Why are you glaring at me? Shouldn't it be Remus getting your looks?"
"Maybe," Sirius grumbled as he shuffled from his bed. "But I like Moony better than you anyway." Harry stared at him and then at the bathroom door after he closed it behind him.
"Yes, but doesn't everyone?"