Five minutes until 11:00, and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was swarming with students. Among them, putting his luggage on the train, was a boy with midnight black hair and silver eyes. The boy boarded the train and opened the door to a compartment about midway down and he was greeted with the sight of a boy with messy black hair, hazel eyes, and glasses.

"Mind if I sit here?" The silver-eyed boy asked.

The other boy turned his head. "Sure." The silver-eyed boy took a seat next to the messy-haired one. "My name's James. James Potter."

"Sirius Black. Nice to meet you."

There was a moment of silence in the compartment until the train whistle blew. The train began to pull away from the station, and moments later, another boy and a girl came into the compartment. The boy also had black hair, but it was longer than Sirius's own-just passing his thin shoulders. This boy had black eyes, ones that seemed akin to spheres of obsidian. The girl had fiery red hair and emerald green eyes, and wore an expression of anticipation. The other two boys made eye contact with the new arrivals, with the boy named James addressing them first.

"Hello, my name's James Potter," James announced, a jovial smile adorning his youthful face.

"I'm Sirius Black," Sirius proclaimed.

"Lily Evans," the girl with red hair declared. "This is my friend, Severus Snape."

"Hello," the boy named Severus greeted coolly.

Severus and Lily planted themselves adjacent to the two boys, with Severus taking the window seat. James observed for the bit, then turned to look at the third occupant.

"So…'Black', eh? What's that like?"

"Hm? Oh-it's bloody awful. Folks are proper gits, they are," Sirius responded while crossing his arms.

"That right? My mum's a Black-or was. When she married my dad, they disowned her, apparently."

"Makes sense to me," Sirius affirmed, nodding once. "The Potter's are a pure blood family, but they aren't exactly favored by my family. Consider them blood traitors, they do."

"Really?" Lily asked, cocking her head.

"Yup. Anyone who doesn't confirm to what the Blacks label 'tradition' is chucked in the bit, so to speak. The Black Family despises anyone who sympathizes with muggles and muggle-borns."

"That's terrible," the red head commented in a low tone. "My parents are muggles."

"Don't worry-Evans, right? I'll protect you!" James declared with a smug conviction.

"Thanks, but I can handle myself, just fine," she replied suspiciously. There was something in the boy's tone that rubbed her the wrong way.

"In any case, enough of my rotten family. I wanna hear more about you, Potter."

"James, please," the messy-haired boy corrected with a finger. "Waddya wanna know?"

Sirius shrugged. "Dunno."

"Is there anything even worth knowing?" Severus jabbed, still gazing out the window.

"Ooo! I think you just got served, James!" the silver orbed boy enthused.

"I dare say, I think I just did!" James proclaimed in dramatic shock. He then proceeded to flop unto the compartment floor and threw an arm over his forehead, mirroring a distressed maiden. "How shall I ever atone? My pride as a man has been reduced to utter squander!"

Severus rose an eyebrow in disbelief. How could someone be so irksome?

Lily rolled her eyes, annoyance rising in the back of her mind.

Sirius, however, laughed. "You sure you're a wizard? 'Cause you look like a fainting goat to me!"

"A goat?" James repeated with a grin.

"A goat!"

"You both look like idiots to me," Severus remarked.

"So I'm an idiot-goat, then?" James asked in mock geniality, earning him a sigh from the other boy.

"Wait, how am I an idiot?" Sirius inquired, a curious finger to his chin. "Is it the hair?"

"No way mate. You look magnificent," the boy with glasses reasoned.

"Why thank you."

"I meant in how you carry yourself, Black," Severus clarified.

"But how can I carry myself? My arms aren't long enough."

"Quick! Alert the Aurors! Sirius Black's arms aren't long enough for him to carry himself!" James ordained, shooting up from the floor. "Something must be done to right this great injustice!"

"How cruel of the universe!" Sirius cried in mock despair. "That I should be robbed of long arms with which to carry myself!"

"You two are insufferable twats, aren't you?" Severus put forth, bringing a hand to his temple.

"That depends on your definition of 'insufferable twats'," Sirius pointed out.

"If by 'insufferable twats', you mean 'smashing-good blokes'," James chimed in.

"Of course, now I have to question your definition of 'smashing-good blokes'," the thoroughly irritated boy muttered.

James and Sirius chuckled, greatly amused with themselves. Neither of them new it yet, but they had a feeling this was going to be the start of something truly entertaining. But they also realized just how well they worked off each other-where one casted the fishing line, the other pulled back on the slack and delivered the punchline in a swift fashion. The two looked at one another then, smiling from ear to ear.

For the next hour, James and Sirius chatted about magic and Hogwarts, soon finding themselves brimming with excitement. Even Lily and Severus, who had been conversing amongst themselves, overheard their neighbors' wholehearted words and shared in their infectious delight.

"So what House do you want to join?" James asked everyone in the compartment.

"I don't know, they're all so great," Lily gushed in her enthusiasm. She was so excited to be going to Hogwarts, she didn't care what House the Sorting Hat put her in. Although, she did hope it would be the same House as Sev.

"I'm going to be in Gryffindor, just like my dad was!" James announced, jumping up from his seat and wielding an imaginary sword. Sirius chuckled.

"I'm probably going to be in Slytherin," he surmised. "My whole family for generations has been in Slytherin."

"Really?" asked James. "And I thought you were one of the good guys!"

"Sorry, mate."

"Slytherin is a great House to be in," Severus explained. "Much better than thick-headed Gryffindor."

"Ouch, mate," said James, smirking. "Gryffindor's the best House there is!"

Severus rolled his eyes and turned to look out the window again. Sirius and James continued to chat amongst themselves, occasionally attempting to bring Severus and Lily into the conversation, although Severus seemed to have little interest and Lily didn't seem to like either of them too much.

Finally, after a long journey, the train pulled into Hogsmeade Station. All students exited their compartments and began their trek up to the Hogwarts Castle. Rubeus Hagrid met everyone at the station and announced that all First Years were to come with him. Once all the First Years had gathered around him, he led them to the Black Lake where there were a number of boats waiting for them. He climbed into the one nearest him and beckoned everyone to do the same. After crossing the Lake, Hagrid led the students through the castle and up to the Great Hall. Once there, they were greeted by Professor Minerva McGonagall.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," the professor stated. "Once you are Sorted, you are to sit at the appropriate table. This House will be like your home. Academic triumphs are rewarded with points, and any rule-breaking will lose points. Let's begin."

Professor McGonagall led the First Years through the Great Hall and up in front of the Professors' Table. She stood next the stool that held the Sorting Hat and picked it up. "Now, when I call your name, come up and I'll place the Sorting Hat on your head… Phineas Black."

Sirius' head turned to see his cousin, Phineas, moving through the crowd to get up to the stool. The boy looked like he could have been Sirius's twin, where it not for the difference in hair length-the raven tresses reached to the small of Phineas's back. His round eyes were a powder blue; a color reminiscent of the sky in the early morning. The boy was also quite lean, looking almost gaunt. Sirius hadn't seen his cousin since the soiree his parents held last month, so seeing him here was happy reassurance. Phineas was one of the only relatives, aside from Phineas' older sister Andromeda, that he could stand to be around.

Phineas approached the stool and sat down, waiting for the Hat to be placed upon his head. Once Professor McGonagall had done so, the Hat paused for a moment before announcing: "Slytherin!"

Sirius clapped obligatorily, and he waved to his cousin as Phineas passed by. Phineas noticed his cousin and beamed, waving back.

"Sirius Black," McGonagall called out next.

Sirius calmly walked up to the stool and sat down, his back elegantly straight. McGonagall placed the Sorting Hat on Sirius' head. The Hat debated for a couple of minutes, looking quite torn. Nevertheless, he made his decision after what felt like an eternity for Sirius: "Gryffindor!"

The boy sat in shock for a few seconds before getting up and reluctantly making his way towards the Gryffindor table. The only table that wasn't clapping was Slytherin, their harsh gazes boring into Sirius as he sat down at his respective table. Sirius looked over at the Slytherins and saw nearly each and every one of them glaring at him. His cousins looked especially displeased, all with the exception of Phineas, who was staring in surprise. Sirius looked away from the Slytherin table and towards the Sorting with a growing sense of unease and trepidation. His mother would not be happy about this.

"Lily Evans."


Lily practically leaped off the stool and cheerfully made her way to the Gryffindor table, sitting in front of Sirius once she got there. Sirius could still feel his cousins' eyes upon him, so he continued to distract himself by paying close attention to the Sorting. His eyes lingered on one boy who was called up—he was very small in comparison to the other First Years and he had golden eyes and dirty blonde hair. He seemed to shrink even further once he was sitting on the stool. Despite his obviously skittish demeanor, the Hat eventually called out: "Gryffindor!"

The boy's eyes widened. He wasn't expecting to get Sorted into Gryffindor—House of the Brave. He absentmindedly made his way over to the Gryffindor table and sat next to Sirius, casting his eyes back over to the Sorting. Sirius watched the boy for a few moments before tapping him on the shoulder. "Remus Lupin?" He asked.

The boy—Remus Lupin—turned around in surprise. "Y-yes?"

"Hi, I'm Sirius Black!" Sirius introduced, holding his hand out for Remus to shake. Remus looked at the outstretched hand for a moment before taking it.

"Hello, nice to meet you."

"Looks like we'll be rooming together," said Sirius, astutely.

"So it would seem," said Remus.

"What are you most looking forward to here at Hogwarts?"

"I'm really looking forward to classes and learning magic."

"Oh yeah? Which classes are you most looking forward to?"

"I don't really have any, I'm looking forward to all of them."

"Right, well I'm looking forward to not being at home," Sirius explained. "My family's right awful."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," said Remus, sympathetically. "I hear the Blacks are… traditional in their ways."

Sirius barked out a laugh. "That's one way of putting it!"

Remus smiled in response and Sirius felt butterflies in his stomach.

"Joanna Harker."


A girl with long chestnut-brown hair and bright green eyes strolled over to her respective table, sitting beside Lily Evans.

"Good to meet you, I'm Joanna Harker."

"Likewise! I'm Lily Evans. I'm so excited to get started here! My friend Sev told me all about Hogwarts and magic."

"So you're a muggle-born too?" Joanna asked with a bright smile.

"I am."

"That's awesome!"

Both girls felt a spontaneous kinship, evidently due to their shared origins.

"Eli Nashton."


A boy with reddish-brown hair and navy blue eyes got off the stool and went over to the Slytherin table before taking a seat on Phineas' left side. "Hey, I'm Eli," the boy introduced to Phineas.

"Phineas," he introduced back.

"So, is Sirius your brother or what?"

"No, he's my cousin."

"Interesting. It seems like he broke the family tradition of always getting Sorted into Slytherin."

"I'm not surprised," said Phineas, smiling over towards where Sirius was sitting. "He's always been the white sheep of the Black family."

"Peter Pettigrew."


Another small boy got off the stool and made his way toward the Gryffindor table. This boy was a little bigger than Remus however, and he had small, watery blue eyes and his hair was entirely blonde. He sat on Remus' other side.

Sirius leaned past Remus and said, "Hello, my name is Sirius Black."

Peter Pettigrew turned toward Sirius. "Hi, I'm Peter Pettigrew."

"James Potter."


Sirius high-fived James as he swaggered over to the Gryffindor table and sat down on Sirius' other side. The two immediately struck up another conversation while the Sorting continued.

"Danielle Queenan."


A girl with blonde hair and azure blue eyes quickly left the stool and bounced her way towards the Gryffindor table, waving to someone sitting further down the table.

"Hey Big Brother!" she called over the roar of the hall. An older boy with pecan brown hair waved back, smiling warmly. After this, the blonde girl sat down in the empty seat on Lily's other side.

"Hello!" said Danielle enthusiastically.

"Hello," said Lily, smiling.

"Lily and Joanna, right?" Danielle asked, leaning over to look at the other girl.

"Right," Lily confirmed.

"That's correct," Joanna affirmed.

"You can call me, Dani," said Danielle. "Everyone does."

"Ok, Dani," Lily acquiesced, smiling as Joanna nodded.

"You don't sound British," Joanna observed.

"That's 'cause I'm American," Dani explained. "My dad's from England though. He moved to New York for work and met my mom. She's a muggle, you know."

"Oh, I see," said Joanna thoughtfully.

"That's pretty cool," Lily stated in mild admiration.

"I'm so excited to be here," Dani gushed. "I'm really looking forward to learning magic!"

"Me too!" Lily agreed.

The three girls engaged each other in their own conversation, meanwhile, the Sorting was near its end.

"Severus Snape."


Lily glanced over at Severus and sadly watched him move over to the Slytherin table and sit on the other side of Phineas. "I was really hoping we would be in the same House," Lily lamented.

"Oh darn," said Dani, sympathetically. "Well, there's still classes and free time."

"That's true, but still…"

The Sorting was finished soon after and McGonagall took the Hat away. Then, Headmaster Dumbledore went to stand behind his podium and he gave the traditional "Welcome to Hogwarts Speech". Swiftly following the end of his words, the feast appeared on the tables, much to the students' delight.

"Oh, this all looks wonderful," Peter murmured.

An hour later, dinner was over and everyone was to report to their dormitories. The Prefects escorted the First Years to their respective Common Rooms. Lily waved to Sev as she passed and Sirius clapped Phineas on the shoulder, sending him a sympathetic gaze as they parted ways, following their respective Prefects.

Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter put their stuff away after they went up into their First Year dorms and got ready for bed.

"Night, mate," said James to Sirius as he climbed into his bed.

"And pleasant dreams to you too, James," said Sirius right back. "Night, Peter, night, Remus."

"Goodnight," said Remus and Peter, each with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Meanwhile in the First Year Dorm of Slytherin House, Phineas, Severus, and Eli exchanged similar pleasantries, as they had become fast friends during the Feast.

The next day, everyone attended their first classes. Much to Sirius' and Lily's delight, the Gryffindors shared classes with the Slytherins, which meant that Sirius could sit next to Phineas and Lily could sit next to Sev. Sirius beckoned his new friends to come sit with himself and his cousin, and Lily encouraged Dani and Joanna to sit with her and Sev. Phineas was already sitting with Eli and Severus, however, so all ten of them ended up sitting in one huge group-Sirius, Phineas, Eli, Severus, and Lily in the second row, and James, Remus Peter, Dani, and Joanna in the first row. Given how everyone's friends were intermingling, they ended up staying together as one big group throughout all their classes and they all got to know each other on a relatively intimate level. While not everyone wholly liked everyone in the group—Lily and Severus finding it difficult to stand James and Sirius—they soon became an inseparable bunch. By the end of their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardly, the group of fast friends became as close as wolves in a pack.

Sooner than they would have liked, their first year had come to a close. The group gathered at Hogsmeade Station and put their luggage aboard the train.

"I can't believe the year's over already," Lily lamented.

"Yeah, I don't want to go home," Sirius muttered. "Mum's waiting for me and nothing good's gonna come of it."

"Don't worry, mate," James reassured Sirius. "We'll write you every day."

"Definitely," Peter seconded.

"Maybe we can all meet up in Muggle London sometime," Remus suggested.

Sirius smiled warmly at Remus. "I'd like that. Better not tell my parents, though."

"Right, of course not."

The whistle of the train sounded.

"We'd better get on," Dani murmured sadly.

"Yeah, let's go," Phineas encouraged. The group piled onto the train and they split into two compartments—Dani, Lily, Joanna, Eli, and Severus went into one; James, Sirius, Peter, Remus, and Phineas went into the other.

Hours later, the train reached Platform Nine and Three-Quarters and the students got off. Everyone eventually found their parents and they said their goodbyes, eagerly awaiting for the next year of Hogwarts to begin.

The first half of Second Year was uneventful, unless you count the consistent disappearances of one Remus Lupin. He always told his friends that he was visiting his very ill mother but something wasn't quite right about that. You would have thought that Remus was the ill one, given how he always returned fatigued and deathly pale. One night he was gone, Sirius happened to chance a look outside from where he was in the dorms and noticed that there was a full moon outside. Just like that, it clicked for the young Black scion.

"James! Peter!" Sirius called in a weird sense of excitement.

"Whaaaat?" James groaned. "We're trying to sleep here!"

Peter threw a pillow in Sirius' direction. Sirius caught it. "I just realized, you two!" He said. "I know what's wrong with Remus!"

"He's visiting his sick mum, Sirius," Peter muttered, annoyed. "Now let us sleep in peace."

"He's not visiting a sick mum, Peter!" Sirius insisted. "That's just a cleverly concocted lie! Remus… is actually a werewolf!"

He had their attention now, though it was fraught with skepticism and disbelief. "What do you mean, he's a werewolf?" James asked. "Where ever did you get that idea from?"

"Look at the moon," Sirius instructed. The two boys did so. "It's full. Remus always comes back from 'visiting his sick mum' tired and pale right?"

"Right," James repeated, slowly.

"Well, he would certainly look ill himself if he spent the whole night as a werewolf right?"

"I don't know, Sirius," said Peter, skeptically. "He could just be worn out from caring for his mum."

"That wouldn't make you look so sick, Peter," Sirius argued. "I'm telling you: He's a werewolf."

"Okay, Sirius," James started. "Let's say he is a werewolf—where would he be? It wouldn't be safe to have a werewolf loose on Hogwarts grounds. Dumbledore wouldn't allow such a thing."

Sirius was quiet for a moment. He stared out the window and over the grounds. Then, he spotted something. "The tree."

James and Peter looked at each other. "What tree?" Peter asked.

"The Whomping Willow," Sirius clarified. "That tree was planted our first year here—Remus' first year. Maybe there's a passageway or some sort of bunker beneath it to hide him when he's transformed."

James looked a little more convinced, but not entirely. "I don't know, Sirius—" James was interrupted by a loud howling. The three boys immediately went closer to the window and looked out.

"Maybe that was from the Dark Forest?" Peter wondered.

"I think it came from the tree," Sirius insisted.

James groaned with exasperation. "Always you with that fuckin' tree."

"Because I'm right!"

"Alright then," James started, walking away from the window and toward his bedside table. He grabbed his alarm clock and set it for sunrise. "We'll get up at the butt crack of dawn and watch the Willow. If he comes out, then we can assume he's a werewolf."

"Works for me," Sirius agreed.

Peter groaned. "Do we really have to get up that early?"

"If we want to prove anything," James insisted. "On that note, let's get to bed now."

James' alarm went off at six in the morning, rousing the three boys from a restless sleep. Despite Sirius' conviction, he too shared in his friends' uneasiness that Remus might actually be a werewolf. You certainly wouldn't think he was one, what with how nice, shy, and easy-going he was, as well as how it took a lot to get Remus riled up in any way—the complete opposite of how werewolves were often portrayed.

I won't think any differently of Remus, werewolf or not, Sirius decided.

The boys went over to the window and watched as the sun gradually rose. Then, soon after dawn, a figure was making its way towards the Willow—Madame Pomphrey, the school's nurse. She stopped just in front of the tree and levitated a branch up toward the tree. The branch seemed to make contact and the tree ceased its agitated twitching. Madame Pomphrey walked closer to the tree and then seemed to disappear down a hole.

"What's Madame Pomphrey doing there?" Peter whispered, as though the matron would be able to hear him should he speak any louder.

"She's gone to get Remus," Sirius asserted.

The boys watched for what seemed like hours until Madame Pomphrey finally reappeared—with Remus Lupin in tow.

"I knew it!" Sirius shouted. "Remus is a werewolf!"

"Remus is a werewolf," James muttered quietly, disbelieving.

"Never would have thought so," said Peter, going to sit back on his bed.

"Certainly right about that, Pete," James agreed.

"I gotta tell Phineas about this," Sirius decided.

"Should we, though?" James wondered. "We weren't supposed to know; I don't think it would be right to tell anyone else."

"On the contrary, I think we should," Sirius argued. "We're all supposed to be friends who can tell each other things like this. None of us are gonna judge Remus for being a werewolf."

"We don't know that," James insisted. "There's a reason this is kept secret, Sirius. If people found out who weren't as accepting—like one of your other cousins, for example—then they would make a fuss and Dumbledore will get pressured from the Ministry to expel Remus."

Sirius was silent as he contemplated James' words. "I think we can trust our friends, James. I really do."

It was James' turn to be silent. "Alright, fine, but be prepared to do damage control if there's a problem."

"There won't be a problem," Sirius insisted.

A few hours later, the group sans Remus converged for Study Hall. Sirius made sure that they sat at a table the farthest away from everyone else.

"We have something to tell you," Sirius began.

"What is it?" Eli asked.

Sirius was silent for a moment, looking between James and Peter. "Remus is a werewolf."

The rest of the group went silent. Severus raised an eyebrow and both of Lily's eyebrows went up.

"… Really?" Joanna whispered.

Sirius nodded his head. "He left to 'visit his sick mum' last night and it was a full moon. This morning, we watched the Whomping Willow and saw Madame Pomphrey go inside some kind of hole and then come back out with Remus."

"That makes sense," Phineas muttered. "He always looked so sick whenever he came back…"

"Very interesting," said Severus.

"Are you guys okay with this?" James asked. "He's still our Remus, he just has a… furry little problem."

"Yeah," Joanna answered. "Of course I'm okay with it. You're right, he's still our friend."

"I'm okay with it too," Eli agreed. "If anything, he's more interesting."

"Eli!" Lily scolded. "He's a person just like us—not some exhibit."

"Did I say anything like that?" Eli countered. "I'm just saying he's got an interesting quirk."

"Quirk… I like that," said Severus, smirking.

"I like 'furry little problem' better," said Phineas.

"So we're all in agreement then?" Sirius asked. "Remus is deserving of an education here and we won't jeopardize that by telling anyone else that he's a werewolf?"

Everyone nodded.

"Of course!" said Lily.

"Excellent," said Sirius, beaming. He turned to James. "See? I told you there would be no problem."

James smiled. "Yeah, yeah, you were right. Just don't let it go to your head."

"Too late," Phineas joked, much to the group's amusement.

"Are we going to tell Remus we know about his 'furry little problem', then?" Joanna asked.

"I think we should," said Lily. "He needs to know that we're on his side. I'm sure he hasn't gotten a lot of that until now."

"Right!" Sirius agreed. "We'll let him know once he's out of the Hospital Wing for free time. We'll meet in the courtyard."

"Got it," everyone settled.

Later that day, Remus reunited with Sirius, James, and Peter in the Gryffindor Common Room and the four of them went outside to the courtyard where they met the other six. They gathered in front of the fountain and James threw an arm around Remus.

"Remus, me lad!" James exclaimed. "We've got something to tell you."

"Which is?" Remus asked, intrigued.

Sirius grabbed Remus' hand, garnering him the boy's attention. Sirius looked Remus in the eyes for a moment, before whispering ever so quietly: "We know you're a werewolf."

Remus' eyes nearly bugged out of his head and his palm turned sweaty in Sirius' iron-hard grip. "Wh-wha-what?!"

James removed his arm from around Remus and instead placed his hand on the werewolf's shoulder closest to him. "We know you're a werewolf."

"What do you mean—I'm not a—That's not—" Remus stuttered and stammered with his mouth gaping like a fish out of water. Finally, he resigned himself to his fate and he hung his head, breaking eye contact with his friends. "How did you know?"

Sirius gripped Remus' hand tighter, causing the werewolf to look up into Sirius' face. The boy looked at Remus forlornly. "Last night was a full moon and you always return looking sick after 'visiting your ill mum'—you look it now. Plus, I saw Madame Pomphrey go into some sort of hole at the base of the Whomping Willow and come out with you. Don't worry—no one else knows!" Sirius hurried to reassure Remus. "It's just us, and we're your friends—we won't tell anyone else."

Remus seemed to calm down slightly. "You… you won't?"

"Of course not, mate," Eli assured. "You're the best one out of all of us here—you don't deserve to lose your place at this school."

"Your secret is safe with us, Remus," Joanna whispered, wrapping her arms around Remus for a brief moment. Remus hugged back before she pulled away.

"Are you okay, Remus?" Dani asked, looking concerned. "I know this must have been pretty jarring for you, what with us coming to you about this all out of the blue like we did."

Remus took a big breath and sighed it out. "I'm feeling better… thanks for standing by me… despite what I am."

"We love you, Remus," Sirius whispered, finally letting go of Remus' hand, only to wrap his own arms around the werewolf. I never want you to have that look of complete and utter terror on your face ever again… I'll protect you from anyone who wishes to harm you in any way. You can count on that!

Remus wrapped his own arms around Sirius. "Thank you, Sirius…"

Sirius and Remus were embraced for a few moments before pulling away. Phineas cleared his throat. "I have something to get off of my chest…"

"What's wrong, Phineas?" Dani inquired.

"… Remus isn't the only dark creature here," Phineas reluctantly admitted. "I'm one too."

"You're a werewolf too?" Sirius asked, eyes going wide.

"No…" Phineas whispered, apprehension leaking from his tone. "Worse… I'm… I'm a vampire."

The group was silent for a long while and Phineas was practically vibrating with worry. Finally, Joanna said: "You're really a vampire?"

Phineas nodded in response.

"When did this happen?" Sirius questioned his cousin in intrigue and concern. "And do your parents know? I find it hard to believe they didn't do anything like disown you."

"I was turned when I was eight, and no, my parents don't know. Remember how I was constantly ill when I was younger?"

"Yeah, you were in and out of St. Mungo's a lot," Sirius recalled.

"Wait, he was?" Dani inquired, concern spreading across her face. Then she turned to the boy in question. "You were?"

"Well, I was dying. Shortly after I was deemed terminal, my parents stopped visiting me. After a few weeks of having no one, I started receiving visits from a man named Dimitri Bludhaven. He stayed with me and kept me company the entire time I was in hospital—he came every morning and stayed until late at night, telling me stories. When the day came that I was to expire, he asked me if I wanted to live. Well, I was eight and scared. I was so scared of dying, I accepted his offer of help—"

"He sired you?" Eli surmised.

"I thought that was illegal?" Joanna murmured.

"Actually no, he had me drink blood from a vial he said he always kept with him as a promise to his former master. Drinking the blood was enough to turn me, however."

"Fascinating," Lily and Joanna muttered in unison.

"Truly, indeed," Severus agreed. "Normally the only way to become a vampire is to be sired. How could just blood be enough to do the job?"

"I don't know," Phineas admitted. "He refused to tell me anything about the matter. He said I would find out when I was ready."

"Cryptic," Peter muttered.

"Have you stayed in contact with this Dimitri?" Severus asked.

Phineas shook his head. "He said he would come find me once I came of age. He didn't say why, though."

"Hmm…" Severus hummed contemplatively.

"So, you're a vampire, but I've seen you out in direct sun and you don't get burned," Eli pointed out. "You also eat human food, which vampires normally can't stomach."

"The 'getting burned by sunlight' thing is actually a muggle myth," Phineas explained. "Vampires do become weaker and more tired during the day, but that's about it, and vampires from old, established families have even less of an aversion."

"But vampires can't use magic," Peter pointed out. "You can, though."

Phineas shrugged. "I don't know why I can, I just do."

"Very interesting," Severus muttered. "How can a vampire use magic? I'd like to find an answer."

"Maybe there's something in the library about it," Remus suggested. "There's plenty of texts on vampires, we should check those first."

"I agree," said Joanna. "How about we go there now? We've still got an hour before dinner."

"Sure," Lily agreed.

It took the group a couple of weeks to go through all the books the library had about vampires and they were no closer to finding an answer to why Phineas was able to use magic despite vampires not being able to do so. Meeting again in the library, Severus claimed he had another idea.

"We could try looking in the Restricted Section," he advised.

"But we're not allowed there," Peter pointed out. "Madame Pince would tan our hides if she found out."

"She won't if she didn't find out," James explained. "We could use my invisibility cloak to sneak in!"

"Great idea, James!" Sirius praised. "If the Restricted Section doesn't have anything, then nowhere will!"

"We can't all go, we won't fit," Eli reminded. "We'll have to take turns."

"I don't know, guys," Joanna began, concern lacing her words. "I don't like the idea of breaking the rules like this."

"It'll be fine!" Dani reassured. "With James' cloak, we'll be in and out of there before you can say 'Merlin's buttcheeks'."

"I'll go with every group," Severus insisted. "Those books likely have curses on them—since I know my fair share, I will be able to counter curse them should the need arise."

"Good idea, Sev," Phineas commended. "We'll start tonight, how about that?"

"Sounds good to me," Sirius agreed. "I'll go with James and Sev tonight. Tomorrow, we'll decide who goes should we need to."

That night, James and Sirius met Severus outside the Slytherin Common Room just before lights out and all three snuck into the library. Once they made it into the Restricted Section, they started from the very first row and skimmed through the titles. They grabbed anything they could find about vampires and opened them so that they could discern whether it was cursed or not. Luckily for them, it either wasn't, or it was only cursed with some sort of noise alert, which Severus could easily cancel out with a noise-dampening curse. They gathered all the books they could carry and made their way out of the library. James and Sirius dropped Severus off right in front of the Slytherin Common Room and the other two boys made their way back to their own dorm.

While the books were very interesting in their own right, none of them held the answer they were looking for. Then one day, two weeks after they started their foray into the Restricted Section, Severus called for a group meeting out on the lawn by the lake, as far away from the castle and any other student population as possible.

Once everyone was assembled, James turned to the boy. "Did you find something, Sev?"

"I did, indeed," Severus claimed. He pulled a large, thick text out from inside his robes and flipped it around to show them the cover: The Demonomicon. "I found this while we were in the Restricted Section a couple nights ago. It's an encyclopedia of every single dark creature that has ever roamed this earth-from the extinct to those still living. It catalogues all sorts of creatures from every corner of the globe from the very beginning of time."

Eli whistled in amazement. "That's impressive."

"No kidding!" Sirius breathed, reaching out to touch the tome—it was dark brown in color with smudges like someone rubbed dirt into it. The cover was rough and aged along with the yellowed pages, and it was bound in ancient dragon hide leather. It was incredibly thick—easily the width of two books placed together that were a thousand pages each. Severus opened the tome and started flipping through it—the words were written in Edwardian Script; long and swooping and curling. He stopped about a sixth of the way through the text and showed everyone a certain passage: Count Dracula.

"What does Count Dracula have to do with anything?" Peter asked, puzzled.

"Everything," Severus claimed in a harsh tone. "I told you, this tome catalogues every kind of dark creature that ever lived—we're talking chupacabras, werewolves, vampires, giants, trolls… even demons."

"Demons?!" Dani gasped, grabbing tightly onto Phineas' arm. "You mean demons used to exist?"

"It would seem so," Severus confirmed. "I read through some of the other entries—there used to be some pretty gruesome beasts that roamed during this planet's infancy and all the way through the Dark Ages, some of them even making it through the Medieval Era. None of them are alive now, of course… well, not that we know of. Who knows just what kind of creatures are still living in the backwoods of the country."

The group, with the exception of Severus, looked very unsettled.

"Well… anyway, you said Count Dracula had everything to do with Phineas' ability to use magic?" Sirius recalled.

"The entry on Count Dracula in here talks about everything surrounding him—the legions he commanded, the encounters he had with certain powerful figures, and pretty much every detail regarding his own personal abilities."

"Go on…" Sirius murmured, transfixed.

"I've corroborated the fact that vampires cannot use magic based on the entry regarding them in this book… Count Dracula, on the other hand, could and did use magic."

"What?!" Eli, Dani, and Joanna exclaimed.

"Count Dracula was the only one of his kind who could use magic," Severus explained. "He never had a wand but he was able to use wandless magic, which as well all know is a very powerful form of magic, despite it having its restrictions. It also states that Count Dracula had no sort of aversion when it came to sunlight and he was able to consume human food."

"Are you trying to say that Phineas is Count Dracula reborn or something?" Peter asked, eyes darting between Severus and Phineas in apprehension.

"Not quite. It also states in here that Count Dracula's blood is the only kind of vampryic blood strong enough to sire a human, which works the same way if he were to sire a human the traditional way—the sired human would become of Dracula's lineage. I'm saying that the blood Phineas drank was most likely the Vampire King's, thus making him the last son of Dracula."

The group was silent for a very long while, looks of apprehension on their youthful faces. What? How could he be the last son of Dracula? Sirius thought to himself. That doesn't make any sense… and yet… it makes perfect sense. If Dracula's blood is truly powerful enough to sire humans into vampires, then that would make Phineas a part of his lineage. But still… I can hardly believe it…

I can't believe Phineas is a Dracula, thought Lily. The Count was practically an urban legend… an old wives' tale… someone that mothers and fathers used to tell their children would come for them in their sleep if they didn't pick up their room, or help wash up.

Never in a million years did I think that the Vampire King was real, Remus supposed. Let alone that he was capable of wandless magic…what else is there about him that nobody ever mentioned? What else is in that book?

Joanna finally spoke. "How fascinating," she whispered.

Phineas somehow looked even paler than normal. "I'm… a son of Dracula? The blood that Dimitri gave me… That means that the former master he was talking about… was actually Dracula?!" How could that be?! Count Dracula was the worst sort of vampire… how could I be related to him now?

"Yes, I had surmised the same," said Severus. "You can see for yourself here." He handed the thick tome to Phineas, who rapidly skimmed the entry, reading everything for himself.

"Dracula was a monster," Phineas whispered. "And now, I'm the son of that monster?!" I can't be… it isn't true!

"I wouldn't worry about that, Phineas," said Lily, compassionately. "Dracula's long dead and you're nothing like him. You're not a monster."

Phineas' breathing was quick and shallow, and Dani watched him sympathetically before she put her arms around him and squeezed Phineas in a hug. "Lily's right, Phineas," she said. "You're not a monster—you're our friend. Having Dracula's blood in your veins won't change that. Ever."

Phineas looked down at Dani before slowly placing his arms around her to return the hug. "Thank you, Dani."

Dani beamed. "Don't mention it! And hey, if you're ever feeling down or worried about this whole thing, remember that I'm here for you!"

"All of us are," Sirius amended. "Never forget that, Phineas."

Phineas grinned. "I definitely won't. Thank you—all of you."

"This goes for you too, Remus, and all you guys," James chimed in. "No matter what happens, we all always be friends—regardless of what we become or do."

"I second that notion, James!" Sirius proclaimed.

"I couldn't agree more," said Peter.

Remus and Phineas smiled warmly as the rest of their friends gave their collected approval. It gratified them to know that they had such reliable mates.

"So, we should head back—our free time is almost up," Lily advised.

"Alright," James whined, drawing the word out childishly.

Severus rolled his eyes, and then gestured for the Demonomicon from Phineas. The vampire gave it back as he rose, along with everyone else. As a group they made their way back to the castle, ready to attend their next class.