Hi, everyone. This story has been mildly revamped for your reading pleasure. A few OCs' names have changed, and a few minor grammatical mistakes have been corrected. I think you'll find it a bit easier on the eyes this way. Enjoy the story!
The Origins of Snuffles
Chapter One: Chess, Names, and the Full Moon
Padfoot was having the worst day of his sixth year.
Sure, the sun was shining. Sure, the air was clear and crisp. He hadn't gotten detention in these first two weeks of the beginning term, and his hoard of mischief-making supplies was better stocked than ever.
"You'll never escape alive, you mangy cur! Prepare to die!"
Sirius grimaced as James Potter's queen forcefully dismembered his last knight. This was unquestionably the worst game of wizard chess he'd ever played. His king looked at him pleadingly as Sirius forced him to move a space, out of the raging queen's way.
"Tut tut, Padfoot. Don't try to delay the inevitable."
Sirius growled up at Remus Lupin, but the fair-haired teen was already fixing his stare back on the book in his lap, smirking.
"He's right, you know," James said, trying desperately to sound bored. This was to be the first time he'd ever managed to beat Sirius in a game of wizard chess. He moved his queen to face Sirius's king. "Check."
Sirius flicked his eyes nervously over the board, looking for a way – any way – to keep his king alive. His gaze rested on the left-hand side for a brief moment, but he looked up quickly when James started to notice. He swallowed visibly.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll go belly-up in a minute here, mate," he grumbled, moving his king again. Half the Gryffindor common room was watching this match; everyone knew of James's long-standing goal of defeating Sirius in a game. Nobody was willing to give James a tip, knowing full well of the black-haired boy's wrath when he was helped to accomplish one of his personal goals. A few people were bursting at the seams, though.
"You know that three consecutive checks equals checkmate, right, Paddy?" James, confident and excited, commanded his queen to move again.
"NO!" yelped Peter Pettigrew, but it was too late. James's command was complete, and the little figure had moved to the specified square.
"Of course I know that," Sirius said smoothly. "Bishop, eliminate his queen." Sirius's last bishop zipped across the board and smashed the white queen. The handsome teen's face was so serene that it rivaled that of Headmaster Dumbledore, and he didn't look at the crowd around him, some of whom cheered wildly while others groaned.
James was in shock. He had ignored the bishop, and completely forgotten about it for the past two turns. Shaking his head quickly to clear it, he determinedly moved his castle into position to destroy the bishop. There was no way he was going to let that happen again. He glared up at Sirius, but the other teen's calm demeanor unnerved him. The normal Sirius would've been whooping over his trick by now, but the handsome face before him didn't even twitch. Swallowing, James waited for the next move. Would Sirius protect his bishop?
"Pawn to the white queen's home," Sirius said quietly. A small pawn slid into James's home row with a cheer. A puff of silver smoke erupted from the pawn, and when it cleared, a new black queen stood in its place. Sirius regarded it with a tranquil air, then looked at the white king a few squares down. "Check."
James, as well as half of the common room, was in fits. How could he have ignored that pawn as well? How could the game have turned around so suddenly? He glared around at his pieces, but couldn't find a way to escape the queen but to move his king. When he tried, though, the little figure started squeaking.
"Hey! You can't move me there! It'll be a check! No, not there either! Yes, yes, send me there!"
James felt his eye start to twitch. He pulled his glasses off of his face and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He definitely started twitching during the next turn as Sirius's bishop took his castle. The game was practically over. Soon, the bishop and the queen had James's king trapped, and none of his other pieces could help.
"Do you know," Sirius muttered, not looking at James, "what this attack is called?"
Remus chuckled quietly as James growled, "No."
"It's called a...PRONG!" And, with that, Sirius jumped up and began doing his customary victory dance, the hip-gyrating moves of which were reminiscent of a certain popular Muggle singer from a few decades past, all the while giggling like a maniac. "CHECKMATE!" A few second years swooned, and Remus laughed heartily.
"You know, Prongs, you should really learn what I mean when I tell Padfoot here to not drag things out," Lupin grinned over the roar of the people in the common room.
James looked murderous. Whether it was being so close to victory or Sirius's dance on the table that had him so irked was anyone's guess. He stood up suddenly and stormed away from the table, parting the students around him like water. Sirius stopped celebrating and hopped down from the table, throwing his arm around James's neck.
"S'alright, Prongsy. I'll let you win one of these days, promise," Sirius Black chortled, his face inches away from James's ear. He suddenly jerked away, but it was too late. A loud pop and a flash of light exploded from James's wand, and Sirius reeled backwards with bright blue hair.
"He hexed me! Did you see that, Moony, Wormtail, he hexed me! Just because he was angry about losing!"
Remus chuckled. "I can't say I feel too badly for you, Sirius. Besides, it seems to have cleared up the tension," he said, indicating James, who was laughing at Sirius's hurt disposition. After seeing his happy face, Sirius couldn't help grinning as well.
Okay, so Padfoot was having a pretty good day after all.
At the Gryffindor table at dinner that night, Lily Evans glared at James, who was casually playing with the hem of her robes with his foot. He pretended not to notice.
"Padfoot, why do you still have that blue hair? Pomfrey would've fixed that for you in an instant."
Sirius grinned, pushing his shocking mane out of his eyes. "I dunno, Prongs. Maybe 'cause the girls seem to like it even better than my normal hair?" he said, smiling down the table at a couple of fourth years. The girls giggled and started whispering among themselves, throwing him glances occasionally.
James sighed in mock disgust. "Oi, Wormtail, pass the rolls, would you? And Moony, could you hand me the—" he was cut off.
"Why do you do that?" Lily said suddenly.
"Do what?" James asked, wide-eyed.
"Call each other by those weird names? They have to mean something. Or are you just being idiots?" she accused, eyes narrowed.
"Oh! That's what you mean. Well, early last year, in Divination, we were reading our textbook when we came across a section about reincarnation and its effect on your current life. Intrigued, we headed to the library for more information. Sirius, charmer that he is (here the boy in mention flashed a mega-watt smile), got old Pince to let us into the Restricted Section."
Lily raised an eyebrow. Remus did the same. He certainly had no idea where this story was coming from...
"There we found a book steeped in the mystical arts of Divination and reincarnation. It contained a recipe so closely guarded that we knew we simply had to try it out," James continued explaining, "So, late that night, by the light of the quarter moon, we performed a secret ceremony in our dorm room, mixing up a dreadful potion—"
Sirius cut in suddenly, "Unicorn eye fluid, grindylow droppings, and hair of greaseball. We used a bit of Snivellus's. Quality grease there, I tell you."
"—anyway, we mixed this potion, drank it, and it told us what we had been in our previous lives. Moony here was a beautiful and delicate luna moth."
Remus snorted. His werewolf self was anything but beautiful and delicate.
"Padfoot was a stealthy tiger, always silent."
Sirius grinned. "Rawr."
"Wormtail was a rat, and I, Prongs, was large dragon with a pronged tongue. And now that I've told you our deep secret, how about a date, Evans?"
Sighing with deep disgust, Lily kicked James's foot hard for its troubles, then stood suddenly and stalked off, muttering under her breath. "Creep. Can't have a conversation without thinking about dating... What does he think I am...easy?..."
The other three Marauders looked at James with a curious glint in their eyes. Peter was first to speak. "How come you only told her my real form?"
"Because," James said dismissively, "no one would ever believe that you could be anything other than a rat."
"A moth, Prongs? Really...!"
Then the four dissolved into conspiratorial sniggers.
Sirius finally had his hair changed back to its normal color two days later, when McGonagall told him he'd get detention if he didn't do something about it that instant. Funny how hard it is to teach a class when more than half of the girls are staring at one boy and giggling like mad.
For several days, Remus had been growing more and more sickly. Each night he would sit on his bed and stare at the gibbous moon, hardly sleeping. His friends knew what was coming, and they pitied him, but couldn't suppress the excitement they felt at the approach of the full moon.
Finally, the day arrived. Remus could barely attend his classes, and his pale, drawn look frightened most of the students. It was not long before sunset that Professor Dumbledore came to the spot the two were supposed to meet at and led the teen to the path beneath the Whomping Willow.
When Remus crawled into the little room that was his sanctuary during the full moon during his days at Hogwarts, he was met by the sight of three animals. A large stag was standing in the middle of the floor, a rat sitting between its sweeping antlers. On the bed lounged an enormous black dog, its pale eyes locked on the panting Remus.
"Hello, Moony," the all seemed to say.
The dog inclined his head, as if quipping, "About time."
"Shut up, Padfoot. You know how painful this is for him, you overgrown Chihuahua."
"Mmm...venison. Don't tempt me, Prongs."
"Please, both of you! You're stressing me out."
'How odd of me to imagine these conversations,' Remus couldn't help thinking. He chuckled, but the laugh turned into a wracking cough. By the time he stopped, his body was covered in a cold sweat, and his breathing was coming in short, painful spurts. He felt the prickling, burning sensation creeping along his back that told him the transformation was about to begin. He struggled out of his clothes and laid them aside; he'd ruined enough sets of robes during the full moon. Then he curled his exposed body in a corner, waiting for the change from boy to beast to occur. He closed his eyes and began to think of happier things. He felt the soft fur of Padfoot brushing against his arm and the hot breath of Prongs on his hair, so it was easy to imagine nicer times.
The dog, stag, and rat sat beside their friend, refusing to flinch with the screams started. They barely moved when claws were swung at their faces. Eventually, instead of the pained teenager sitting in front of them, there was a large werewolf.
When Remus opened his eyes again, it was to a much different kind of vision. He could see better, and farther too. He could smell the delicate scents of the animals around him, and hear the warm blood rushing through their veins. He whined happily and sprung towards the door, the others following after.
It was a great night. The four explored the grounds outside Hogsmeade, stirring up rabbits for Remus and Sirius to chase. Finally, when the moon began to sink in the sky, they turned back towards the school. They had almost reached the Whomping Willow when a very bad thing happened: a student was outside the castle for an early-morning stroll in the grey light of pre-dawn.
Immediately, Remus went wild, the werewolf instinct taking complete control. He began to snarl, lunging towards the girl with great bounds, every hair bristling and every fang prepared to slash into the yielding flesh. James was just able to cut him off and hold him at bay, landing several smart blows with his cloven hooves on the wolf's head and snout. Peter ran ahead to press the knot on the Willow, and Sirius bounded towards the student, barking to raise the dead.
Suddenly, he slid to a stop. There, in front of him, was Lily Evans. That was a bit unexpected. He blinked in confusion for a moment, then, casting a glance back towards the woods, Sirius thought of James trying to hold back the mad Remus. He turned to the girl and wagged his tail, licking her hand and nudging her back towards the castle.
"Hello, there, boy!" she cried. "What're you doing out here?" She bent down to inspect the huge dog. "No collar? You're a stray then..."
Sirius continued to use his bulk to usher the girl back towards the nearest castle entrance. In the distance he could just hear snarling and the bleating sound of James being attacked, followed by a whimper that meant Prongs had landed a good hit on the mad werewolf. Finally Lily began to move of her own accord, and Padfoot trotted along beside her, attempting to hasten the escape.
Because his mind was elsewhere, however, Sirius didn't hear the dooming words coming out of his charge's mouth: "I'm sure they'll let me keep you. You're such a dear! You just need a bath and a collar is all. Yes, I'm sure we'll have lots of fun, boy..."
Dun dun DUN! Poor Sirius. He has no idea what's going to happen to him.
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