"Hey Addie, I found your quidditch jersey packed in with mine," James said as he entered his sister's room.
"I've been looking all summer for that!" Adeline exclaimed as she rushed over and grabbed the shirt from her brother's hand.
"James! Adeline! We're going to be late!" their mother called from downstairs.
Adeline threw the jersey into her trunk before grabbing a rogue pair of socks off the floor and closing her trunk shut. The two siblings then set off down the stairs.
"You think after five years we would have gotten this right by now," Euphemia exclaimed as she ushered her children out of the house.
Adeline went to her dad who was already standing in the drive while James stood beside his mother. Moments later, all four Potter's apparated to King's Cross Station. It was already 10:55am by the time the family walked through the brick wall between platforms nine and ten and rushed over towards the scarlet steam engine.
"Make sure to write to us about quidditch tryouts!" Euphemia exclaimed as both parents helped their children with their trunks onto the train.
"We will!" both Adeline and James answered as they bid their parents farewell.
"And for goodness sake, try and stay out of trouble James!" his mother added while James just ran his fingers through his hair and laughed.
"Adeline, watch your brother," Fleamont ordered as she smiled at her father and nodded.
"Hey! I don't need a babysitter! I'm the older child!" James exclaimed.
"Go get a seat," Fleamont responded as he dismissed James' complaining and waved his children to go off into the train.
Adeline and James then continued to walk down the train's corridor as they looked for their friends. It wasn't long before they came across the compartment where the fourth and fifth year Gryffindor's were sitting.
"Addie!" one of the fourth-year girl's cried as Adeline entered the compartment.
"Blythe!" Addie responded with the same amount of excitement.
The two girls had shared a dormitory since their first year and had met during their first welcoming feast. The two girls had fortunately sat beside each other and had mocked James all throughout as Blythe had noticed him unsuccessfully try to dye the hair of the girl beside him. Fortunately, again, Lily Evans had noticed and reamed him out for being an idiot. It also wasn't until the next day that Addie owned up to James being her brother which had caused another round of hysterical laughter, cementing the new-found friendship.
In the last four years though, Blythe and James had become good friends along with the other dorm mates who were also sitting in the train compartment.
"Oi, this trunk is heavy, move along," James ushered as I let go of Blythe and moved in to put my trunk up on the racks.
I then turned around and was met by my other three dorm mates, Fern, Elodie and Zelene who all stood to greet me. The five of us sometimes seemed like an odd group, from all different walks of life, but we had all become incredibly close. Blythe and I were both on the quidditch team after we had both tried out in our second and third years. On our second attempt Blythe had become a beater alongside Sirius while I became keeper. James was the seeker while our friend Max, who hadn't yet joined us, was one of the chaser's along with our quidditch captain Indigo Bloom. Indigo was in her sixth year and had taken over from our previous captain who had recently graduated. This also meant that there was an open chaser position, allowing that we all re-made the team.
Aside from quidditch though, Blythe was athletic by nature and always offered her opinion, even when you weren't necessarily looking for it. She was also very kind and extremely loyal amongst her friends and fellow Gryffindor's. Next was Elodie, who was another personality all together as she loved all things feminine and sophisticated. She also made a lot of her own clothes and had excellent taste; something she continually pointed out that I had none of. Fern was somewhere in between as she was quieter and more reserved than either of them but livened up when she was around her friends. She was also extremely patient and often thought before she spoke; another quality most of us lacked. Zelene finished off the crew with a flare of personality. She was overly zealous in everything she did and became extremely determined if she decided she wanted something, including boys. The rest of us had not yet become very interested in dating which had sadly disappointed Zelene. She herself had started dating this past summer and had started to have a thing for Sirius, as she had continually mentioned in her letters, much like the rest of the girls at Hogwarts. Her interest in boys however had far pre-dated the summer.
Adeline couldn't quite fathom the craze which was the Hogwarts obsession with Sirius and her brother. For obvious reasons, she had no idea about her brother, but Sirius had a lot of fatal flaws which could easily cancel out his innate attractiveness. Yes, he had the glossy hair, the muscular build, the uniquely gray eyes, and always dawned a smile; but he was also self-absorbed, egotistical, and had a propensity for pulling pranks.
So, it wasn't surprising that once they all started to sit down, Zelene made her way to sit beside Sirius while James sat on his other side with Remus by the door. The four of us girls sat on the other side while Peter was forced to sit on the floor, as was usually the case. Adeline often felt bad for the shy friend who had somehow managed to stay friends with the other boys who were quite raucous and almost too self-assured, aside from Remus. Moments later, after they had all settled in, the compartment door opened, and two more boys filed in, Max and Wendall. We had met Max two years ago when Blythe and I had tried out for the team for the first time in our second year. All three of us hadn't made the cut as a lot of seventh years were still on the team at that point. But the following year the three of us had easily swept away the competition and taken the vacant spots left by the graduated members. Wendall on the other hand was Max's best friend, who had met him in first year and shared a dorm together.
"Budge up will yah?" Max asked as they both stowed away their trunks and went to sit down.
We all groaned as both sides shuffled down so Max sat beside Elodie and Wendall sat beside Remus.
"Hey, why couldn't you have done that for me?" Peter whined while James waved him off.
"Well we can't do that now," he answered as Peter pouted.
"So," Max said as to break the awkwardness. "When do you think Indigo will hold quidditch tryouts?"
"By the end of the week for sure," James answered.
"Think you'll all remake the team?" Wendall asked while those of us from the team last year all scoffed.
"There's no way any of us could be replaced," Sirius said confidently.
"But I do wonder who will get the open chaser position," I said.
"I know Donald Bowler from third year was eager to try out," James said while shaking his head disapprovingly.
"That guy can't even fly a broom straight," Sirius replied while bowing his head in disappointment.
"Well, I've heard Riley Bedford is also gunning for it and he's not half bad," I added.
"Isn't he in third year as well?" Blythe asked.
"Yea, but I think he can actually stay on his broom," I added while James sighed.
"Well, let's hope he can do more than that."
Riley Bedford did end up proving his worth as he filled the vacant chaser position along with everyone else reclaiming their old positions. Gryffindor had kept a pretty fit team over the past few years, especially since most players practiced diligently over the summer. Addie and James could often be seen training in their backyard, especially since their parents were home less and less these days. Sirius would also join them as he had spent most of the summer at the Potter's manor anyway. Blythe trained with her brother who had since graduated off the team a few years back while Max physically trained despite not being able to ride a broom during the summer near his London home.
"I think that went really well everyone!" Indigo beamed as we dismounted our brooms after a two-hour practice.
"Hufflepuff won't stand a chance," James added smugly while the others nodded.
"Just don't let that big head of yours get in the way of catching the snitch tomorrow," Blythe commented while I snickered along.
"You just make sure to keep the bludgers away from me and I'll make sure I win the game for us," James countered while Blythe just rolled her eyes.
We then all headed for the change rooms to clean up before dinner.
"So how was practice?" Elodie asked as we came over to join them.
"Hufflepuff won't know what hit them," Max answered confidently.
"Oi, you're almost as bad as James," I said while chuckling.
"No, that would be him," Blythe commented while indicating towards Sirius.
"Hey, Turner, I heard that!" Sirius retorted as we all laughed; Zelene maybe a little too hard.
Since Blythe and Sirius had been beaters together they were always going back and forth like this. They really did get along, but both had big enough personalities to not let the other get away with anything. Zelene's reaction however was a little discouraging.
"Don't tell me you're still on about Sirius?" I asked woefully as I had seen Zelene in action many times before.
With her black, wavy hair and Amazonian stature, Zelene was very beautiful and, at times, made Adeline feel inadequate. Her letters this past summer had also been filled with her romantic ventures with a local boy named Todd before they had turned to focus more on Sirius.
"That's all she's been talking about for the last month, haven't you noticed?" Fern added as we all sighed.
"I never caught the name of whoever Fit and Fearless was," I replied.
Zelene often came up with a code name for the guys she went after, especially since James and Sirius couldn't keep a secret to save their lives. Especially since they were popular, everyone seemed to know their business, and by extension, ours.
I could tell that none of the other girls thought this was a good idea but we all knew how determined and stubborn Zelene could be.
"Just don't make it easy for him," I cautioned since I knew enough about Sirius' love life to be moderately scarred.
James and Addie had always been best friends, especially pre-Hogwarts when all they had were each other in their large manor. So, when James went away to Hogwarts a year before Adeline and befriended Sirius, it came to mean that the two boys often shared far too much with her, including their love lives.
Sirius had become a playboy type by the time he noticed girls. He was also optimistically aware that nearly every girl in Hogwarts had some sort of infatuation with him, which he ate right up. James was hardly any better as he basked in his popularity and hardly ever turned down a girl who would willingly snog him. However, to make it worse, James had been smitten with Lily Evans since their third year, and that was only a tentative guess; Adeline believed it started way before then. But James was continually stone-walled by Lily who refused his constant, outward advances, which led him right back to snogging random girls. It was a nightmarish cycle which Addie had heard about too many times.
"Why won't he say anything?" a frustrated Zelene huffed as she sat down with us in the common room one night.
"Sirius won't ask you out?" Fern asked without even looking up from her book.
"No! And I've tried everything. The first Hogsmeade trip is only a few days away and I'm afraid he won't ask me in time," Zelene sighed disdainfully.
"You could always ask him," Blythe offered.
"No, that means he wins!"
"I've come to think this has become less about love and more about competition," Elodie surmised as she looked at Zelene with concern.
"This was never about love!" Zelene exclaimed emphatically.
"Then I'm only afraid to ask why you've been going on about Sirius Black for the past couple months," I replied skeptically.
"He just seems the most interesting out of all the Gryffindor boys," Zelene answered.
"There are more houses than just Gryffindor you know," Fern stated while a frustrated Zelene just huffed.
"Yea but Gryffindor's know how to have a good time," Zelene explained while I just rolled my eyes.
"You could go ask his brother," Blythe offered as the rest of us scowled.
"There is no way I will ever go out with a Slytherin, most of all Regulus Black!" Zelene retorted scornfully.
It was true that Regulus was a slightly younger, physical model of Sirius, but their overall personalities and belief systems were complete opposites. Whereas Sirius was fun-loving, charismatic and accepting of others, Regulus was reserved, apathetic and believed in blood supremacy amongst wizards. Sirius hardly ever mentioned his family and ignored his brother outright whenever they were at school. I also knew that this past summer had been especially bad for Sirius at home with his mother and family which is why he had come to practically live with us.
"So, to cut this conversation short, I think I'm going to call it a night," I said after having heard more than enough about Zelene's infatuation with my brother's best friend and no interest in hearing more about Regulus.
"Why won't you just talk to him for me?" Zelene whined as I made my way towards the staircase.
Zelene had started asking me this over the past week and I had absolutely no interest in becoming involved with the affairs of my friends.
"You know I won't" I answered without even turning around.
I heard Zelene sigh again as I continued to walk towards the stairs.
Saturday arrived with a very dejected looking Zelene while the rest of us started heading out for Hogsmeade. This was only our second year in being able to go down to the village and I found it exciting not to be the youngest one's going anymore. The five of us girls were accompanied by Max and Wendall along with the Marauders who were not too far behind.
"So, we'll all meet at the Three Broomsticks in an hour?" James asked once we had arrived at the village.
"Sounds good," I confirmed as we all agreed and went our separate ways.
The four fifth year boys headed straight for Zonko's Joke Shop while Blythe and I along with Max and Wendall headed for Honeyduke's. Zelene and Elodie announced they wanted to go to Gladrag's while Fern went on her own to Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop for supplies.
"So, do you think Zel will drop this whole thing with Sirius?" I asked Blythe as we separated from the boys in the sweetshop.
"Probably not," Blythe stated plainly. "Why do you care?" she asked with more interest in her voice.
"I'm just tired of her asking me to interfere," I explained while Blythe nodded.
"Is that the only reason?"
"Of course," I answered, surprised by Blythe's suspicion. "Why would there be another reason?"
"I don't know, maybe you like Sirius," she answered again, with her trademark candor.
"How- how could you even think that? I don't like anyone like that!" I replied hastily.
"I know none of us have really started to like anybody, aside from Zel, but I do think that if you were to like someone and go out with them, you and Sirius might actually be pretty good together."
I gaped at Blythe as she continued to look at the sweets. I had never even thought of boys in any other context than friends and hadn't even had any interest. The stories I heard from Sirius and James were enough to put me off all together, so I found it especially odd that Blythe would think Sirius would be an acceptable suitor. Sirius Black was an experienced playboy who seemingly knew every trick in the book and lavished in the attention his popularity brought him. What would he ever do with an inexperienced girl like me who also happened to be his best mate's sister?
"Ly get anything good at Honeydukes?" Sirius asked me as he used his own personal nickname for me.
"They had these new ones called Glacial Snowflakes that I wanted to try," I answered as I handed over the box to show him.
"Oh yea, these are pretty good," he answered as I looked at him in confusion.
"But they didn't have them last year," I explained.
"Oh, sod off James," Sirius whispered at my brother who was sitting beside him before turning back to me.
I couldn't help but notice Sirius was rubbing his shin.
"Right, you're right Ly, I must have been thinking of something I tried in London," he explained while I continued to look at him skeptically.
"Would you like to try one?" Zelene interrupted as she held one of her own up to Sirius.
She was sitting on my other side and completely leaned across me to offer.
"It's alright Zel, I'll just go purchase my own," he answered politely while I saw Zelene's expression fall.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with the eleven of us all packed around a table at the Three Broomsticks. We talked a lot about our recent win against Hufflepuff and the anticipation of facing off against Slytherin.
"Practices are probably going to start increasing to three times a week," I said while the others nodded.
"How're you keeping up with the OWL work plus quidditch?" Elodie asked the older boys who just scoffed and shrugged.
"There's nothing more important right now than beating Slytherin next week!" James exclaimed proudly.
"And you wonder why Dumbledore made me prefect," Remus said while shaking his head at his two friends.
Soon after they all meandered back to the school to make it back in time for supper.
That night the group spent it quietly sitting in the common room, or as quietly as the Marauders were capable of.
"So why the self-appointed name Marauders?" Elodie asked while the boys played exploding snap.
"Because all heroes need an awe-inspiring name," James responded confidently.
"Marauders aren't typically heroic, though are they?" Fern asked while Peter laughed boldly, and James gave him a questioning look.
Peter then stopped and bowed his head with an embarrassed look.
"We have an image to maintain and Marauder seems to sustain that quite nicely," Sirius explained simply while I saw Remus smile and shake his head.
"So why weren't we ever invited to the club?" Max asked through his concentration of playing exploding snap with Wendall.
"Because we all met before we knew any of you and by that time the application deadline was closed," Sirius continued unabashedly.
"So why not Addie?" Blythe asked. "You obviously knew her beforehand."
"Because," I said somewhat dramatically before any of them could answer. "I am much smarter than them refuse to give myself a name which paints a target on my back. If I'm going to get into mischief, I'm not going to get caught or arouse suspicion like these idiots."
Remus was really chuckling at this point while I saw Sirius give a surprising praiseful smile. James however remained quiet as I could see his ears turning a slight shade of pink.
"Better be getting to bed," Blythe interrupted as I noticed the late hour. "It'll be an early practice tomorrow and I doubt Indigo will let us leave until dinnertime."
We all then got up and filed to our respective dormitories.
"Why do you think Sirius refused to take my candy?" Zelene asked once we were all safely in the fourth-year dorm.
"Maybe he just didn't want them Zel," Fern offered while Zelene rifled manically around in her trunk for her pyjamas.
"It was just a harmless candy!" Zelene ranted while the rest of us shrugged.
"Zel, I think maybe it's time to face the possibility that Sirius Black is just not into you," Blythe stated while Zelene shook her head.
"That can't be it, there has to be something else at play here," Zelene went on while Blythe turned and gave me a look.
I felt my face flush while I shook my head at the idiocy of it all. I did not like Sirius and he did not like me. Plus, he was an idiot for not liking Zelene, but I could also feel a sense of relief in my stomach that Sirius did indeed seem as if he wasn't interested in Zelene. I threw closed my curtains amid my confusion and laid back in my bed before I could give the situation anymore thought. Instead I filled my mind with quidditch strategies. Tomorrow, I knew, was going to be a harrowing practice as they prepared to beat Slytherin next weekend and I needed to be prepared.