Call Of Darkness

Summary: This is another fic about the "Marauders" at school. Expect Sirius/Remus in later chapters, but also an insight to the dark world surrounding them. I've taken time to invent whole new characters and plots centred around the first rising of Lord Voldemort. I hope this fic will continue for some time, spanning most of the seven years of the characters' Hogwarts lives.

Disclaimer: Anything you recognise I probably don't own. Anything you don't, I probably do. The "Harry Potter" series and associated characters © J.K. Rowling.

INTRODUCTION: The Meeting (1970, two years before Hogwarts)

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Rohan Lupin glanced up sharply as lightning glanced across the sky. He counted under his breath, reaching four before the thunder followed. He pulled his cloak tighter around him. His last count had reached seven. The storm was coming this way, just like Mike had said. Rohan quickened his pace, causing his nine-year-old son, Remus, to run to keep up with him.

They splashed through the rain, making their swift way through central London, until they reached the familiar old building. No one knew what it had once been used for, but it was now in possession of the wealthy Black family. It was Eighteenth Century and well maintained, not the family home but one of its most expensive properties. Remus had been here plenty of times with his father, and knew the place well, but he still found it creepy. Not that his mother approved of Rohan bringing their son to these occasions, but she seldom tried to stop him. It was important, she would concede to that, but it was still dangerous. What if *he* turned up? It wasn't as if he didn't know where they met. And, of course, there was Mike. He couldn't do any harm to Remus, not now, but it was only natural for a mother to be protective and worry about her son, wasn't it?

Rohan pushed the door open. Of course, it was usually locked, but not tonight. Remus shivered. The fading daylight did not flow into the house, but the darkness seemed to flow out onto the steps and beyond to the pavement. The small boy grasped his father's hand tightly as they ventured inside. The door closed itself behind them. The hall smelled of dust and nothing else. Remus sniffed, his sharp senses desperate to sense something - anything - human in this house. Nothing.

Rohan took out his wand, swished it through he air, and torches on the wall burst into flame. They seemed to be the first ones here -

"Ah, Lupin!" Maybe not, then. A figure looked up from where it had been sitting, on the lowest of a huge, sweeping flight of marble stairs. Remus jumped. The person was close, he should have sensed him.

The man stood up, jumped off the step, and advanced towards them. He was small, slender and dark haired. A ponytail bounced across his shoulders almost jovially, and he smiled, but his bright eyes remained cold and hard. He glanced at Remus, who hid behind Rohan.

"Lupins, then," he said, stressing the pluralism. He had a strong, guttural Scottish accent. Remus imagined he was from the Highlands or some remote island.

"Hullo, Ladov," said Rohan, shaking the man's hand. "What were you doing here in the dark?"

The one addressed as Ladov shrugged. "I didn't realise it was dark. Sorry if I startled you or young Remus." He gave the boy what he obviously thought was a cheery grin, and then made a show of adjusting his hair. "Is Black bringing his boy too?" Ladov asked eventually.

"He did not say," said Rohan.

"Either way, our business tonight is pressing."

Rohan nodded. They stood in silence for a while, Ladov rocking back and forth on his heels, humming something, until the door opened again. It was a huge, shaggy-haired man who strode confidently into the hallway, golden haired and golden eyed. In fact, Remus realised, he wasn't that big. Maybe a little over six feet tall, scarcely taller than Rohan, but the newcomer bore himself as if he were a king. He held his shoulders high, his back straight, his head proud. Yet his eyes. . . Remus shuddered when he looked at those eyes, because they looked back at him with the calm and wisdom of a wolf.

"Good evening," the newcomer murmured in a soft, almost gentle voice. "Where are the others?"

"Late, Mike," said Ladov. "But what do you expect from Rigel, eh?"

Mike grunted. "A dash of consideration would be nice."

"Oh, and Ben's going to Apparate in. It's his first time since he got his licence, so he's still going carefully."

"And Tiana?"

Rohan shrugged. "We assumed she was with you."

"No." Mike frowned slightly. "I hope she makes it tonight. We have much to discuss."

Rohan paused, then asked, "And Cherry?"

Mike rolled his eyes. "When does Cherry ever take the time to contact us? He has made his decision, it seems. I will not report to him on tonight's meeting."

Rohan nodded. They all looked towards the door as it opened once again. A tall, slender, black haired man slipped through the door, trailing a tall, slender, black haired boy, who's eyes instantly alighted on Remus. Remus waved. The other boy shrugged and waved back.

"Ah, Rigel, you finally join us in your own house," said Ladov cheerfully. He beamed as Rigel glared at him. Then Rigel swept past him, shook Mike's hand, and gave Rohan a brief hug.

Sirius Black trotted casually over to Remus. He was nearly a year younger than Remus, but stood a head taller. He slouched a bit, levelling off the height difference, and offered Remus bubblegum from a packet. The older boy accepted, and they stood there chewing while the adults made small talk and waited for the others.

Eventually, Sirius spoke. "My mum says your mum's a silly old witch."

Remus glanced at his companion. "She is."

"Yeah, I know. My mum doesn't like witches."

Remus nodded. Sirius' father had neglected to tell his mother that he was a wizard, and when their son showed signs of being one too, she had walked out on them. Remus knew that Sirius still saw her, but he had chosen to live with his father, in the hope that he would be accepted into Hogwarts when he was eleven. Sirius had no hard feelings about this. He had, as far as Remus could tell, no hard feelings about anything at all. Sirius liked bubblegum and comics and action figures and that was all he needed for a happy life. Remus wished he could be like that. He also wished the moon would fall out of the sky and land in the sea and never be seen again, and he knew that he wished for some very silly things, so he didn't take his own wishing too seriously.

"It's my birthday," said Sirius. "Twentieth of August. I'm nine."

"Happy birthday," said Remus politely. He would be ten on the second of September, and felt that he should be socialising with people his own age on those occasions he was allowed to socialise at all. On the other hand, he had spent some time with a pocket calculator and a calendar, and had figured out that if they both went to Hogwarts, he and Sirius would be in the same year. Remus hoped that there would be someone born on the first of September: he didn't want to be the oldest in the year.

"I got a bike from my mum and a broomstick from my dad," said Sirius. "I couldn't make the bike fly, though. I want a flying bike, I told my mum I wanted one, but she said I would have a proper people bike and like it." Sirius blew a thoughtful bubble, then burst it. "I don't," he said. "It sucks."

Remus considered this. "You could tie the broom to the bike," he suggested. "Then it'd fly, I reckon."

Sirius looked at him. He grinned. "Yeah, but the peddles wouldn't work."

"So? It'd still fly. You could pretend the peddles were going round."

Sirius nodded. He was still looking at Remus. "What's wrong with your eyes?"

"Nothing!" Remus turned away, half-shutting his eyes. It was full moon in two days, and his usually grey eyes burned bright and silver. He didn't want Sirius to think there was anything wrong with him. He was the closest Remus had to a friend, although he saw Sirius at most every few months or so. What he did know, though, was that Sirius was cool. If someone cool thought there was something the matter with Remus, no one would ever want to be friends with him.

Sirius shrugged and stuffed more chewing gum into his mouth. "D'you know what would be really wicked?" he said, forgetting all about Remus' eyes. "If I could get a BMX and make that fly. Then I could do tricks. *That* would be wicked."

Remus nodded. He supposed that would be reasonably wicked.

Suddenly, the air in the middle of the hall opened up, and someone appeared. It was another tall someone, maybe five or six years older than Remus, and auburn haired. He blushed when he got applause from Rohan, Rigel and the others.

"Nicely done, Ben," said Mike. "Very neat."

"Thank you."

"Now come and join us. We must start the meeting with or without Tiana."

The adults filed into a large dining room, and all sat around a large table. Remus and Sirius followed them, selecting a corner to slump in, and slumping in it. Rigel winced at two pairs of trainers scuffed the highly- polished floor, but didn't comment on it.

"Ladov," said Mike. "You start. How's the situation in Scotland?"

Ladov shrugged. "Quiet, boss. No one's seen a dark wizard for months, never mind. . .him. I've kept an ear close to the ground and I would have heard if there was any Dark activity, but it's all gone quiet up there since old Dumbledore became headmaster at Hogwarts."

Mike nodded. "Yes, we expected that. Rigel?"

"Not a peep in the midlands." Rigel Black was the head of a large, rich family, and owned most Wizarding places in the Midlands of England. He would know if there was anything going on there.

"Nothing in London or the south, either," said Rohan, shrugging.

They looked at young Ben, who confirmed a similar situation in Ireland. Mike sighed and buried his face in his hands. When he eventually looked up again, he no longer looked strong and kingly. He looked like a tired middle- aged man.

"Nothing at all?" he whispered.

They shook their heads.

"Then it is as I feared, ladies and gentlemen. We've lost him."

Silence for a long time, punctuated by Sirius and Remus discussing the pros and cons of skateboards compared to roller blades. None of them paid the boys any attention.

Then Ben spoke up. "Um. . . Look," he muttered. "My father tried to explain this to me before he died, but I didn't really understand. I know we're looking for the one who calls himself V - sorry. . . I know we're looking for you-know-who, but why? I mean, why us? What's so special about you, and what was so special about my father that I had to replace him here?"

Everyone looked at Mike to answer this question, but he didn't seem even to have heard it. Rohan sighed. "It's quite simple, really, Ben." He muttered. "We must do this ourselves because we knew him. We were his friends. We could have stopped him. . . but we didn't."

"You, Ben, are the only one who could take your father's place because you have some of him in you," said Rigel. "We knew at the start this would be dangerous, and we were right. If some of us died, we would have to be replaced. We decided it would have to be our closest relatives."

Ben nodded. "I think I understand now. Thank you."

Mike looked up. "We must decide what to do next. We *must* find Tom."

"We know, Mike," said Rohan soothingly. "And we will. He can't escape us forever. . ."

Remus didn't pay very much attention to their plans. They were always making plans and they were never very exiting ones. Instead, he let his thoughts drift. This Autumn, he would be ten years old. It would be a full two years yet, but he knew in his heart that he would get an acceptance letter from Hogwarts. He had heard what Ladov had said, and Remus' mother had said one day "the only chance for Remus to get into Hogwarts is if Dumbledore becomes headmaster." Remus smiled to himself. There would be people his age at school, people he could make friends with. . . The prospect of friends made him anxious for the future to happen. His father was always telling him the future was going to be tough, but Remus didn't believe him. The future was going to be just great. . .

***

A/N: That was just the introduction. If you can't see where I'm going with this yet, don't worry.

If you want to see more of this, please review and tell me. It will be a long story, and it will take more commitment than I have to finish it, so I'll need plenty of encouragement. Reviews are as welcome as a bottle of Volvic in the Sahara desert. Flames will probably keep my muse entertained.