All right, happy thoughts, firstly I own none of these characters but I do own the plot and that's all. Harry Potter's parents and his friends and magical world all belong to the author J.K. Rowling. Next, some things have been pointed out to me that need some clearing up. Zonko's is indeed in Hogsmeade...I know that...but (big hint) stores relocate. Next, James was a chaser!!! Not a seeker, like many people have come to conclude, J.K. even said so in her second scholastic interview. Lastly cave trolls are in LOTR's...oops my bad. Anyway...this is the only A/N I will be writing cause I hate these things.
"They were the ringleaders of their little gang"
Chapter One: Of Trains and Pranks
James Potter hurried onto the train after quickly kissing his mother goodbye and giving his father a hurried hug. He pulled his heavy trunk behind him and hurried to find his friend, Sirius Black, who was supposed to be saving a train compartment all to themselves. The idea had seemed simple enough at the beginning, until James had talked with his older cousin, who had said that it was near impossible to get a car for yourself if you were only a first year student.
He sighed deeply when he first entered the train and quickly began walking its length, apologizing profusely to the other students that he interrupted on his trek through the train, in search for his best friend. When he finally spotted Sirius, in the last car, he was with the strange boy they had met in Zonko's when they had gotten their school items in Diagon Alley. James shifted a bit in the doorway as he looked at their acquaintance. He hadn't seemed like a bad kid but the idea had been for Sirius and him to share a compartment with just themselves for company. With him sharing with them, he would most likely just get in the way. James sighed, as he looked the lonely boy over. He smiled slightly at him and then walked into the room.
When they had met this boy for the first time, had seemed very sick and unsure of himself. James glanced at the boy, once more in thought, he had short sandy colored hair and seemed to have gained some of the color back in his face that had been lacking the first time they had met him, and overall seemed more sure of his surroundings than he had in Zonko's. As he slowly assessed him, unconsciously, he smiled and realized that the boy was most likely not going to be a threat to any of his or Sirius' plans for the year. James relaxed slightly at the thought and finally cracked a sincere smile as he opted to give their fellow classmate a chance.
"Hello? It's Remus, right?" James asked as he put his trunk in the corner of the compartment. The boy in question just nodded his head in reply while James moved over towards them and sat down across from the two of them.
"Well, then I guess we should get started." Sirius announced, realizing that James had given his go ahead. He then, quickly pulled out a small black (magically altered) rucksack and opened it. He placed it carefully on the table before he slowly, but surely, began to pull out candy, parchment, and other "fun" things out of the bag. All of which would potentially, if used inappropriately, get him, and anyone involved with him, expelled from Hogwarts.
"We'll use the frog spawn in the prefect bathroom to get my cousin back-"
James, despite himself, rolled his eyes and cut Sirius off, "What did Narcissa do this time?"
Sirius groaned loudly, as if this disturbance in his explanation of prank supplies had ruined his whole point of going over them in the first place. But, Sirius kindly answered James' question anyway. "She poured a pitcher of really cold water on me when my mother told her to wake me up. I, apparently, didn't move as fast as she had wanted me to." He sighed dramatically before he continued. "She needs to pay for the intrusion! I mean my family is nice enough to let her stay in our house over the summer, so she should treat all of us with respect not just my mother and father or my bloody little brother." He finished with a mixture of true hatred that was dripped tastefully with sarcasm. He stopped for a long moment in thought and then added, more to himself than anything else. "Plus, it was five 'o' clock in the morning."
James just shrugged his shoulders at his friend. There was no use trying to convince Sirius that his cousin, let alone any other member of his family were 'good people.' Everyone knew, except for the family themselves, that the Black's were a horrible and conceited breed of purebloods. And due to that fact, it was pure torture for Sirius to even acknowledge that he was even related to the lot of them. Starting with the simple fact that all of the Black's had been sorted into Slytherin. Sirius had taken it upon himself to pride himself, all through the summer, on the fact that he wanted to be the first and only member in his family to ever manage to get into Gryffindor. Sirius wanted this, more than anything, because he knew it would hurt his parents. That was the idea that thrilled him the most because he had no respect for either of his parents in the first place. And so, he had made his stay at number twelve Grimmauld place very miserable, after he'd received his letter of acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with this newly fueled attitude.
James had seen, one time, during one of the rare instances when both of their families had met with each other to discuss, or rather yell, over the problems they had with one another. During this day, when they were seated in the dining room in complete silence, Sirius had openly stated that he would die if he wound up in Slytherin when his mother had gone into her typical speech about keeping pride in the family. Sirius had almost wound up beaten in front of everyone in the room, had his father not realized that the Potter's were still there to witness the occasion. So after that, James had no doubt in his mind, that Sirius would die if he was placed in Slytherin.
After a brief pause, as if he was still mulling over the morning's events, Sirius began to pull out the assorted prank supplies from his bag, that were intended to last the whole year. Sirius next, pulled out a quill and James' face broke into a large smile as his previous thoughts instantaneously vanished in the haze. "This will be good to use on the Slytherins."
Remus looked at each of them in with a confused expression plain on his face. "Why on earth would we use a quill on the Slytherins? Are we going to write them to death, or something?"
Sirius stared at Remus in utter shock. "You don't prank many people do you?" Sirius asked slightly annoyed. At the blank expression Remus' was giving them, he assumed not and went on to explain the item he was holding in his hand. "This, Remus, is not an ordinary quill. This quill happens to shoot ink out from the feather end and not out of the tip." He smiled widely with pride as he put it gently down on the table.
"But why would we want to prank them?" He asked innocently.
James sighed, this kid had seemed pretty cool in Zonko's but now he was just kind of, well, annoying. "Well, they're all horrible, aren't they? I mean you met his cousin" James said and pointed at Sirius. Remus nodded remembering the blond girl that had dragged Sirius away from him and James in the store, "and she flat out insulted you. She's a Slytherin. Then, also, when my cousin was in school a group of them turned his hair green and silver the day of the Gryffindor verses. Slytherin, Quidditch match, and he was the captain of the Gryffindor team!"
"Oh, okay," Remus said with a half smile, obviously he was imagining the sight of someone with hair of those particular colors, "continue."
Sirius did continue, without any interruptions, for the next five minutes or so. He gradually pulled out item after item of potential pranking objects. Each item slowly getting more and more dangerous as he added them to the table in front of them, which had begun to run out of space. After a while their compartment door opened and a small, chubby boy that looked slightly lost, appeared in the doorway, and glanced at the three of them with hopeful eyes. They watched him uncertainly as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other looking very unsure of his new surroundings.
"Hello?" Remus greeted cautiously.
The boy stared at Remus, Sirius, and then James as if they were going to attack him. His eyes then settled on the table in front of them with the mountain of Zonko's objects upon it. He then looked back up at the three boys and said softly, almost daringly, "Can I stay here? The others won't let me into any of their cars."
Remus smiled gently, cutting Sirius before he could speak, "What's your name?"
James smiled and stood up, quickly checking over the young boy. He then glanced down at Sirius who looked vaguely annoyed with the fellow first year. James just shrugged, and turned back to Peter. He smirked slightly as he took in the robes that were a little too big for the boy and the uncertain expression that was planted on his face. He opened his mouth to apologize and kindly turn him away but the words got stuck somewhere in his throat. He felt bad for the boy, not being able to find anyone nice enough to let him in. So the intended "nice to meet you, but sorry their isn't enough room here" quickly changed to: "My name's James, and this is Sirius, and Remus." He felt his hand move to make a gesture to both Remus and Sirius as he stated their names. He noticed Sirius mouth drop slightly in shock but ignored it as he told Peter to sit next to him. The boy did as he was told and Sirius quickly went back to emptying his bag, as if nothing had interrupted him in the first place.
It was fun for James to watch Peter's face light up while Sirius took out the last few objects; toffees with assorted colored wrappers, there was something interesting about the excitement. There was a certain freshness that grew on James as Sirius had continued, which gave James the feeling that Peter might actually be fun to have around. When Sirius had finally finished he put his bag upside down and shook it slightly just to see if it really was empty. When nothing fell out he put the bag back down beside him. "Now, the most critical element for our plans this year- " He looked up at all of them before he rested gray eyes on James, "is your Invisibility cloak." At those words Peter and Remus started to talk quietly in awe, for they had been wondering to themselves how on earth they were going to accomplish all of these pranks without getting caught, if indeed the two boys were going to be nice enough to let them in on it.
Sirius smiled as if he was impressed with his own genius, and quickly began to put the prank supplies back into his bag. "So, what house do you all want to get into?" Sirius said simply. Changing the subject so naturally that no one seemed to notice.
"Gryffindor," James said. "You know that already, everyone in my family has been in Gryffindor. I don't want to be stuck anywhere else."
"To true." Sirius agreed.
Peter, who had gone silent, spoke softly at first, still not entirely sure of these new people. "I hope I get into a house. My dad told me that if you don't fight a cave troll, then you're sent home straight away." He then looked down at his chubby hands, that were placed on his lap, in disgrace, "But then he could have been joking, I'm not entirely sure." He looked up at the three boys and said. "My mum thought I wasn't even going to get a letter-" His voice trailed off with more shame.
"That's non-sense. Fighting a troll! We don't even know any spells yet, plus a grown man can barely take on a troll, how can we?" Peter looked up from his hands to Sirius without saying a word. "That's about as useful as fighting a tree." Sirius finished with a smirk.
"Not if the tree fights back." Remus chimed in bitterly.
"What?" James looked at Remus. Remus just shrugged his shoulders, obviously not wanting to talk about his two cents, so James went on. "We just have to put the sorting hat on our head, it then yells out what house we're going to be in. That's it; simple as that." He looked at the others. Peter's face appeared to be a little more relieved but James could tell what he was thinking. What if the hat didn't say anything at all?
"Don't worry Peter...we're all staying at Hogwarts."
They sat in silence, as if dwelling on these words. After a while Sirius grew distracted under the pressure of the silence and quickly opened up another discussion. The four then spent the remainder of the trip discussing different ways that they could prank people, and other simple questions about each others family and life. In the end they found that they all had plenty in common, and rather liked being with each other.
During the trip they only stopped talking once, and that was when the lady with the treat trolley came by. They quickly bought their snacks and once the lady had left, were left alone to further discuss whatever tickled their fancy until they reached Hogsmeade's station. The train stopped abruptly and they climbed out of their car only to be greeted by a shocking sight.
"Firs' years, th's way. Follo' me."
Sirius stared in awe of the huge man, who was no more than thirty years of age, though he was more than the size of an adult elephant. His hair was a tangled mess; his robes were dirty and old. Yet, through the tangled mess of hair and makeshift dirty robes, he could make out an indefinite smile and the man's two beetle black eyes all a light in joy, at the sight of the new students. "What's he?" He asked as he leaned into James, who merely shrugged his shoulders in response, not entirely knowing the answer to his best friends question.
"His name is Hagrid. He's the ground's keeper here. He wouldn't hurt a fly, Sirius, don't worry." Remus stated from behind them attempting to answer Sirius question.
"Yeah, but what is h-" He was cut off by Hagrid yelling for the first years to keep up with his gigantic stride.
Hagrid led them to the lake on the grounds and all the first years climbed into the small boats that were waiting for them at the shore. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter got into one of the old boats, finding that they were more comfortable with their little group from the train compartment, than any of the other new faces that surrounded them.
Along the short trip across the lake, that seemed to last forever in the minds of each of the boys, one of the giant squids tentacles had come up and rapped on the side of their boat nearly scaring Peter to death. The three boys had a good hearty laugh at the incident, as Peter tried his best to regain his composure a mist his claims that it wasn't funny, while the others continued to poke fun at him. James had carefully placed his hand in the cold water, when Peter had calmed down, and splashed him once again causing another outburst of fear, and "that wasn't funny" from their new friend, coupled with more laughter from the other three. This scene played a for a bit, until Hogwarts came into view and the four stopped their horsing around, as all sound got stuck in their throats and they stared open mouthed at the castle they would call home for the next few months.
Once they had made it to shore, Peter made the fastest exit out of the small boat (compared to all of the other first years) they followed Hagrid out onto the grounds and up the castle's steps into a very large foyer. The small group of first years stood gaping at the hall as they slowly began to draw their attention up to the top of the staircase. There they saw a woman in dark green robes. Her hair was tied back into a tight bun and her lips were pressed firmly together forming a small line. Once the chatter had settled down to a bare minimum she spoke loudly and firmly to the group of children. "I am Professor McGonagall. We are nearly ready for the ceremony to begin. Now, you all must wait here until I come back for you. Once the task is ready."