Disclaimer: I do not own incredibly much, though I wish I did. As usual, I do own Michael and Irene Potter – though I'm not sure I want to for the duration of this story.
Summary: AU. Slash. Mpreg. 2 years ago James was taken out of school because of a terrible secret. But when the truth is known to the whole of Hogwarts, who will be there to pick up the broken pieces of James Potter?
Warnings: See summary. Abuse and rape mentioned throughout. AU because Sirius didn't run away to the Potters', he ran away to the Lupins' instead.
Pairings: Sirius/Remus, and eventual Lucius/James.
Not the most original of story titles, I know, but I couldn't think of anything better.
Chapter 1: Welcome Back
A lone dark haired boy sat in a compartment at the back of the Hogwarts Express; he was curled up in the corner against the window with a book. He had arrived at Kings Cross Station earlier than most people so that he could get onto Platform 9 ¾ unnoticed and get a compartment on his own. The boy ran a hand through his naturally messy black hair and he gazed over his book and out the window, parents and students were starting to fill up the Platform. He watched wistfully as he saw the happy Hogwarts students, new and old, hugging their parents goodbye, he wished he could have that.
The boy turned back to his book, he could hear students starting to pour onto the train, laughing and talking with their friends. As far as he knew, his old friends probably wouldn't want anything to do with him as he had just disappeared at the beginning of his fifth year at Hogwarts, he hadn't contacted them in two years either. He wondered whether they would want him back if he explained why he had left.
A few minutes later he heard two laughing male voices approaching his end of the train, he figured everyone else were probably already in compartments because it was quieting down. He didn't bother looking up when the compartment door opened.
"Oh says you, Mr 'Head Boy' Lupin," laughed one of the boys.
The other boy, Lupin, laughed as well but he fell silent as soon as he laid his eyes on the boy beside the window.
The boy with the book, James Potter, looked up and straight into the eyes of his oldest friend, Sirius Black.
"Where have you been?" questioned Sirius a little while later, after he and Remus Lupin had gotten over the shock of seeing their old friend.
James gave a wry smile, "Ireland, my parents shipped me off there to be with my grandparents."
"I'd rather not talk about that," he replied quietly. He was getting a bit uncomfortable under the intent gazes his two friends were giving him. "I didn't want to go, but I had no choice."
"What about your education?" asked Remus frowning a little.
Sirius rolled his eyes, "I don't think that's too important right now, Rem."
James smirked humourlessly, "I've been doing all my lessons by correspondence with Hogwarts for the last two years."
"But why did you leave?" asked Sirius again. He was so curious, he had been so worried when James had just up and left one morning at the beginning of their fifth year.
"I don't want to talk about it," said James a bit more firmly. "Anyway, what's been happening without me?" he was determined to try and keep Sirius off the subject of his last two years, at least for now, anyway.
Sirius frowned, he was well aware that the subject was being changed to shut him up, but he decided to let it go. For now. "Not too much…haven't been pranking much, because the brains behind the operations took off-" he stopped abruptly when Remus' hand connected with his stomach to shut him up. "Ow…"
"Yeah, anyway," continued Remus after making sure Sirius wouldn't make anymore stupid comments to do with James' disappearance. He could see that the reasons James had left were unmentionable at the moment, so he decided he wouldn't pry, he knew James would tell them in his own time. "Not much really has happened since you left, the only significant change is our new Potions professor." James raised his eyebrows curiously. "Lucius Malfoy is now a Hogwarts teacher. God only knows what Dumbledore was thinking with that particular employment."
James smiled slightly, "So he's just as much of a bastard as he was in our first year, then?"
Remus chewed his bottom lip for a moment, "Well, he's not that bad," Sirius snorted. "I mean, he does pick on us Gryffindors a lot, but he's not an absolute shit to everyone. He has some mercy."
Sirius nodded in agreement, "Also, Lily Evans finally got that rod out of her arse at the end of last year, and Peter, well…Merlin only knows where he is. He has been disappearing a lot recently, at some really odd times." He studied James for a moment. "What have you been up to?"
James frowned a little; he should have remembered just how prying Sirius could be when he was being kept in the dark about something. "That is my business, and my business alone."
Sirius narrowed his eyes slightly, if that was the way James wanted to play it, then so be it. But he was still determined to find out why James had left school, and he was certainly determined to find out why whatever it was had changed his best friend so dramatically. Though he had only been around James for about an hour, he could already tell that his friend had changed, and he was certain Remus had noticed as well, there wasn't much that the werewolf didn't notice. James was much quieter than he used to be, and it was obvious that something bad had happened to him, and that mischievous and happy spark in his light brown eyes had gone, it had been replaced with an almost haunted look. That was possibly what worried Sirius the most, as he had always assumed James had had a happy childhood and everything, one much better than his own.
The Hogwarts Express drew to a halt at Hogsmeade Station some hours later, and the three old friends got off the train together and found a carriage to take them up to Hogwarts.
James was very conscious of the suspicious looks Remus and Sirius kept throwing him, and he was especially conscious of the questioning looks they were giving each other, it was almost like they were communicating vie telepathy. But then he supposed, he had changed since he had left Hogwarts, he knew he had and he knew exactly why as well. But he could not tell his friends the real reason he had been taken out of school, could he? He was certain they would probably never speak to him again if he told them the truth, he felt sure they would think much less of him as well. They would probably think of him as some easy slut or something. He felt terrible enough as it was about what had happened to him the summer before his fifth year, but he just knew it would be ten times worse if people knew. He was dirty and tainted, and everyone else would think so too if they knew, wouldn't they?
There was no way anyone would ever find out, James refused to let his dark secret become known to the entire wizarding world, or even just the population of Hogwarts. He knew that Dumbledore knew of what had happened to him, but he didn't want anyone else to know. They couldn't know, he would never be able to live it down.
The three boys soon entered the Great Hall for the Start of Term feast. James gazed around the massive hall, it hadn't changed at all since he had last set foot inside at the beginning of his fifth year.
No sooner had the three boys sat down; Professor McGonagall entered the hall with the new first years trailing nervously behind her. Not long after that, Dumbledore had stood to say his start of term speech, though James had tuned out for most of it, just like he used to. It was only when he heard his name that he started to listen again.
"…And James Potter, could I see you in my office after dinner, please," the old Headmaster gazed at James momentarily, along with most of the student body. "That is all, now let the feast begin."
"I wonder what he wants to see you about," said Sirius as nonchalantly as he could; though it was very obvious just how curious he was. It showed right through on his handsome face.
James shrugged and started picking at his food, he really wasn't that hungry, "I really have no idea,"
"Well, well, look whose back," said a female voice from just along the table. "How are you, James?"
James looked passed Remus, who was sitting on one side of him, to see Lily Evans with her Head Girl badge glinting in the candlelight. "I'm fine, thanks. You?"
Lily, who was clearly surprised by James' unusually pleasant manners, replied sweetly, "Good, thanks. Haven't seen you around for a while."
James shrugged again, "No you wouldn't have, seeing as I haven't been here and all."
Sirius smirked, ah now that was a bit more like the old James. "Oh stop flirting with him, Evans, it's sickening."
Lily raised an eyebrow at Sirius, "And you and your little boy toy snogging in the common room isn't?"
Sirius shook his head with a charming smile on his face; Remus at least had the decency to blush. "Of course not. Least we're getting some."
Lily glared at him before turning back to her giggling friends to tell them to 'shut up'.
Sirius snickered but he stopped immediately when Remus leaned around James and smacked him in the arm, "Ow…that time of the month already?"
Remus rolled his eyes, "No, but there's no need to tell everybody what we get up to in our dorm."
James smirked a little, he wasn't at all surprised that Sirius and Remus had hooked up during his absence, he had always thought there was more than just friendship between the two of them. He was happy for his friends though, neither of them had had easy lives, Sirius with his family and Remus with his lycanthropy, and it was obvious that they made each other happy.
A while later the feast had finished and James was on his way to Dumbledore's office. As he neared he saw the gargoyle jump aside and out came Lucius Malfoy from the secret door.
The blond professor gave James a curt nod, though his cold grey eyes were calculating. James felt like he was being sized up. "Potter, the Headmaster is waiting for you."
James nodded nervously, he had heard of the Malfoy heir's interest in the Dark Arts, and frankly that really unnerved him. "Ok, sir…" he walked passed Malfoy and onto the stairs that would take him up to the Headmaster's office. He could feel Malfoy's eyes on him before he disappeared from sight, just from that intent gaze he knew almost for certain that the blond knew about his past, but for now he tried to push that to the back of his mind. The door to Dumbledore's office was still open, but James cautiously knocked on it anyway. "Sir?"
"Ah, James, do close the door behind you and sit down," said the Headmaster from behind his desk where he had been reading something.
James closed the door and went and sat down in the big squishy chair that was in front of Dumbledore's desk, "What did you want to see me about, sir?"
Dumbledore finished reading what was on his desk before gazing at James over the top of his half moon spectacles, his blue eyes were kind and James definitely thought he saw some sympathy in them. "I received a letter from your grandparents before you arrived earlier this evening, there is no need to look so worried, my boy, they just thought it would be best to let me know how you have been coping the last two years," James nodded slowly. "Now tell me, how are you?"
"Ok, I guess," replied James quietly.
Dumbledore frowned a little, "Now, your grandmother said that you have been having nightmares since 'it' happened," James nodded in affirmation. "Just to make it a little easier on you, I have requested that Professor Malfoy make you a batch of Dreamless Sleep Potion to keep in your dormitory, and if you run out just ask him to make another batch. No need to look like that, James, Lucius can be rather accommodating when he needs to be, and he knows that I will be having words with him if he refuses to make this potion for you."
"Oh…ok…" James cracked his knuckles, it was a nervous habit of his that he couldn't shake. "W-what else did my gran say?"
Dumbledore sighed, "Well, she said that you have been doing extremely well with your school work so you are more than able to take the Advanced classes this year. She also mentioned that you are still against talking about what happened to you," James looked down at the ground. "I will not force you into talking to anybody, I assure you, James, but you do know that it might help you recover if you talk to somebody."
James nodded shakily, "I just…I'm still trying to come to terms with it myself…"
"Understandable," Dumbledore watched the young man in front of him for a few moments. He had always quite liked James, he was a good boy but he had had it hard with a father like the one he was born to. He knew the boy's childhood had been worse than that of some of the student's from Dark families, such as the Blacks for instance. "But if you ever do need to discuss it, my door will always be open, as will those of the other staff members. Professor McGonagall especially, as she is your Head of House."
James looked up at the old man and smiled slightly, "Thank you, sir. I appreciate it."
Dumbledore smiled, "There is no need to thank me, I am quite happy to do it," he folded his hands on his lap. "This letter also says that Harry misses you a great deal already."
James smiled sadly, "I miss him too. I am able to go home for Christmas, right?"
"Of course," Dumbledore nodded. "Now, that is all I wanted to tell you, is there anything else you wish to talk about?"
James hesitated, "…N-yes, actually, there is," Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. "Um…wh-if people found out about why I left…what would happen? I mean, would I have to leave or could you memory charm them or something?"
Dumbledore thought for a moment, "I would not make you leave the school, for starters, as for who and how your past was found out, we would most likely have to deal with it if the occasion arises." James chewed his bottom lip nervously. "I am certain we will not have to deal with something like that happening, but I will never say never."
James nodded, "Ok, thank you."
A little while later James had entered Gryffindor common room, he had gotten the password (Black Bean Sauce) off Remus before he had gone to see Dumbledore. He gazed around the common room noting that it had also not changed a bit since he was last in it. He then headed to the stairs that would lead him up to the old dormitory that he had shared with his three best friends for the first four years of his time at Hogwarts.
"Hey James," said Sirius from where he was half hanging off his bed, his shoulder length hair was brushing against the floor and he had a sugar quill in his mouth. "What did Dumbledore want to see you about?"
"Oh for Merlin's sake, Sirius," started Remus from where he was reading a book on his bed. "Leave him alone."
James gave the brown haired boy a grateful smile, but he answered Sirius anyway, "He just wanted to see if I was able to settle back in easily and stuff, that's all." He went over to the only bed that hadn't been used in two years and took a flask out of one of the pockets in his robes. Professor Malfoy had delivered the last of his stock of Dreamless Sleep Potion to James before he had left Dumbledore's office. "Hey Peter, how are you?"
Peter Pettigrew was sprawled on his bed with a sugar quill in his mouth as well, "Fine thanks, sugar quill?"
James smirked and shook his head, "No thanks, I'm stuffed."
"Where abouts in Ireland have you been?"
James raised his eyebrows at the blond boy.
"They told me," Peter pointed in the general direction of Sirius and Remus.
"I was in Dublin," replied James, "With my grandparents."
"Cool, I'm from Dublin-"
"Pete, you've been telling us that since we started school, I think we know by now," said Sirius before sitting up and becoming immediately dizzy from all the blood that had rushed to his head.
It was nearly midnight by the time the four old friends retreated to their beds. Remus, Sirius and Peter had been telling James a few tales of what had been going on without him around, tales about their various dismal attempts at pranking the Slytherins without James' brain behind them.
James was curled up in his bed gazing through the crack in one of the curtains out at the night sky. This year was going to be hard, especially if Sirius was going to continue questioning why he had left, at least Remus and Peter had decided not to bombard him with questions. There was also little Harry to consider, he would certainly miss the little fella, he already did miss him. He sat up a little so that he could have a bit of the Dreamless Sleep Potion, before settling back down to sleep. He couldn't be certain when his nightmares would strike, but it was usually when he was fairly happy, and Dumbledore had said that considering the content of the nightmares he should take the potion every night in case he woke any of his dorm mates up by sleep talking. Obviously his gran had also mentioned that he quite often sleep talked, especially during those nightmares.
James soon drifted off to sleep, curious of how his first day of classes would be tomorrow.
A/N: How was that for a first chapter? Cryptic enough, or is James' past easy to guess? I know I'm not exactly subtle about it.
Next Chapter: James' first week of classes, and do the Slytherins know something about James' disappearance?