(Disclaimer: If I were rich, British, and blond, maybe they'd be mine... but since I'm poor, American, and brunette, they're not...)
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981. In a duplex in London, a pair of blue eyes opened.
Awake, their owner observed. Mama awake?
There was no reply.
Again, no reply.
A boy with a great deal of crinkly brown hair and the aforementioned blue eyes, age almost seventeen months, extracted himself from the family bed, carefully, so as not to wake his parents, both still asleep. The bed consisted of only a mattress and box spring, set on the floor without a frame, so the child had no trouble getting to the floor.
I go find Meghan. We play. He toddled down the hall, went backwards down the stairs, crawled over to what looked like a solid wall, and pulled himself up on it, feeling it all over as he saw his Daddy do. When he found the door handle, he turned it by pulling down hard, and the hidden door swung open, making him crow with delight.
The stairs were in the same room in Meghan's house that they were in his, so they weren't hard to find. Going up them was also easy. Once at the top, he opted to stay low to the ground, since he could make much better time crawling than he could walking. Besides, he liked crawling. It reminded him of nighttimes.
He sniffed the air outside each bedroom door. Two of the bedrooms didn't smell like anyone, but the third one smelled like a lot of people. He had to stop and think hard. He knew lots of smell words, more than even a lot of grownups, since his parents had taught him the names for the things he could smell at night.
The musk and mint smell, then, was Padfoot. Clean robes and rosemary was Letha. And salt water and wind was the smell he wanted.
He pushed the door open, crawled into the room, and pulled himself to standing with the edge of the bed. It took only a few seconds for him to climb onto it and crawl over Padfoot to Meghan, who was sleeping in between her parents, the way he always did.
He frowned. It would be easier if he could mind-talk to Meghan, like he could with Mama and Daddy. But in the daytime, only Mama and Daddy could hear him mind-talking, and he had to mouth-talk with everybody else. Mouth-talking was hard. He didn't know as many words, and they were harder to say.
"Meghan awake?" he said carefully, poking at the girl.
"Hmm?" Letha roused.
Uh-oh. He held very still. Maybe she'd go back to sleep like Mama liked to.
But after a large yawn and a stretch, Letha rubbed her eyes, then opened them, and saw him sitting there.
"Reynard Alexander Lupin," she said, sounding a little like she was scolding, but he knew she was teasing. "What are you doing here? Did you want to play with Meghan?"
He nodded happily. Letha always understood.
"Well, it's still awfully early in the morning for playing. So I'm going to take you back home now, and you're going to stay there until after breakfast, and then maybe you two can play, all right?"
"No home," said Reynard, making a sad face. "Pway wif Meghan."
"No, not now. After breakfast."
"I'm sorry, no. And if you cry and wake Meghan up," she added quickly, seeing the look on Reynard's face, "then she won't want to play with you. So you'd better not cry."
Reynard still pouted a little, but nodded, and allowed Letha to pick him up and carry him down the hallway to the upstairs door between the houses, the one that had a special lock on it so only the adults could open it. He thought that wasn't fair.
"Delivery," said Letha, coming into the bedroom.
"Hunh?" said Mama, opening her eyes. Oh, Reynard, did you go out again?
Yes. Going out is fun!
Yes, going out is fun, but is coming back like this fun? "Thank you, Letha, I'm so sorry – we're going to have to start locking all the doors before we go to bed."
"No, we'll have to start doing that," said Letha, putting Reynard down on the bed. "Since you two are usually in no position to be using wands at bedtime."
"Whoever does it, we need to start remembering to do it. If little fox here gets out of the house before sunrise, we'd have a heck of a time explaining how the wolf Animal Control bagged turned into a human child."
Reynard whined a little in his throat, having caught the trend of Mama's thoughts, which were full of scary men with nets and cages. She quickly sent a soothing feeling to him, explaining that it was a not-real thing and he didn't need to be scared.
"Yes, that would be a bit of a problem. Think you can get it across to him that if he goes exploring, he has to stay in the house? Preferably on your side?"
"I can try. Thanks again, Letha. Now go back to bed before you fall over and I have to drag you there."
Letha stuck out her tongue at Mama and left.
Daddy rolled over in bed. What'd I miss? he asked.
Your son went exploring again.
Classic. Whenever he's bad, he's my son. But as soon as he does something good, it's, "Oh, look what my Reynard did!"
Are you accusing me of favoritism?
No. I'm not quite sure what I am accusing you of, but favoritism isn't it. I'll think of it eventually.
I in trouble? asked Reynard before Mama could answer.
Both his parents looked at him. That's a good question, Remus, said Mama. Is he in trouble?
Not this time, decided Daddy. But Reynard, if you go wandering again before we're awake, you will be in trouble. If you wake up before us, stay in this room. Understand?
Understand. Reynard frowned. He liked going looking for Meghan.
You can go look for Meghan all you like, said Mama. Once we're all awake. All right?
All right. Reynard lay down on the bed and snuggled up to his Mama. Breakfast?
Mama laughed aloud. Someday you'll learn not to ask for things the instant you're not actively in trouble. All right, yes. Breakfast.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981. In a ramshackle house in Devon, two pairs of brown eyes opened.
He listened hard. There were no other sounds in the house, except the moaning of the ghoul several stories up. No one else was awake. Except her, of course. She woke up whenever he did. That was a given.
He lay down on his belly and reached through the bars on his crib with his foot, stretching, reaching, farther, farther –
He tripped the release bar, and the side of the crib fell with a clunk. Quickly, he pulled his foot back in and climbed out. He hit the release bar on her crib, letting her climb out as well, and the two of them set off down the hall.
The room which was their target was one flight of stairs below their own. They went down the stairs backwards and helped each other up at the bottom. The door was shut, but it was easy enough to open.
The person they were after was asleep in his bed, snoring a little bit, his glasses on the side table. Ron and Ginny Weasley grinned at each other and shouted aloud together.
Their big brother Percy came awake with a snort, flailing his arms wildly.
"Get out of my room," he said when he caught sight of them, with all the dignity that being five years old to their one could give him. "Go away."
The second set of Weasley twins fled, giggling. It was time to wake up Mummy and Daddy, if Fred and George hadn't already done it for them.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981, but Evanie Pettigrew had been up for quite some time. Her charges needed careful attention at all hours, not just when it was convenient for her to be awake. And she didn't like the looks of that one kneazle. It hadn't stopped sneezing since it got in. She'd been careful to place it in isolation, but the infection might have spread anyway, and the last thing they needed was an epidemic.
Her husband was still sleeping – he and Hagrid had been up half the night with a sick thestral, so he needed his sleep. She was perfectly capable of handling the morning chores by herself. Her darling Peter could have a lie-in for once.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981. Gerald Lovegood sat at his desk, already considering possible stories for the December issue of The Quibbler.
"Minister of Magic Fudge Wears Foot Pajamas." He considered this for a moment. No.
"Children With Green Eyes More Likely to Fulfill Prophecies." He frowned. No.
"Family Are Humans By Day, Wolves By Night." He snorted. Definitely not.
"Daddy?" asked a small voice from the door.
"Tiny Moon Holds Editor Hostage." Gerald turned to smile at his little daughter Luna, holding onto the doorframe and regarding him solemnly. Yes.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981. Alice Longbottom let herself into the house and sighed. She'd pulled night duty three weeks in a row, and she was exhausted.
No one forced me to take this job. I wanted it. I wanted to help make the world a safer place.
And that she surely was doing. Even if it was hard to see, from her post outside the mansion of the Minister of Magic. There were days she thought she'd be doing the country a greater service if she went in there and Portkeyed Fudge to the middle of the Sahara Desert, to go live with all the Quidditch referees.
But I'm being unfair. Certainly, he can be a pretentious fool, but he's trying to improve. So I shouldn't be rude. The very fact that I can complain about it means my life is almost entirely good – and I have so much to be thankful for...
Two of the things she was most thankful for were coming down the stairs to meet her. Frank, smothering a yawn, and Neville, wiggling in his father's arms. "Mama!" he shouted happily when he saw Alice.
Her irritation with Fudge vanished, the man himself might as well never have existed, as she took Neville from Frank and kissed her husband on the cheek. She was home, and that was all that mattered.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981. Still, Lily Evans Potter was already up, sipping at a cup of tea and looking out her back window at a tiny dot in the sky far above.
Why do I love that man so much, when he does such crazy things? Taking our sixteen-month-old son out flying on a cold morning – any sane woman would hex him off that broom, take Harry, and go.
She smiled into her tea. I suppose insanity is catching.
Far above, James Potter sent his broom into a steep dive. His son Harry was sitting in front of him, affixed to the broom three different ways. James might be crazy, but he wasn't that crazy.
Harry lifted his mittened hands off the broom and yelled joyfully as the ground rushed nearer and nearer. James thrilled to the absolute lack of fear in his son's voice.
He'll be flying on his own by the time he's three. And able to beat everyone else by the time he's five.
He pulled up out of the dive and looped the loop, enjoying Harry's squeals of delight as they came upright. "Do 'gain!" the little boy insisted, looking back at his father with bright green eyes under the hood of his warm jacket.
"Do it again? All right!" James climbed steeply, then did a backwards roll this time, for variety.
Life is so good.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981. In a prim neighborhood in Surrey, two households slept. Each consisted of a man, a woman, and a child. Neither would be unduly disturbed this morning.
In one house, a little girl lay calmly awake in her crib, watching the patterns the weak sunlight made on the ceiling. Her nappy was wet, and she was hungry, but neither of these problems had yet reached a point where she felt obligated to cry about them. She knew perfectly well that as soon as she cried, everything would be all right, so there was as of yet no need to cry. It was the same attitude she would take towards many things throughout her life – the result was assured, so there was no need to take any drastic action.
In another, a boy, little only by comparison with his parents, was already wailing, with his mother getting up to fuss over him and make sure everything was perfect for him. She would soon go downstairs to put out the milk bottles, but she would not find anything unusual on her doorstep. Nothing would cause her to scream. The child she was cooing over would not have a live-in playmate, or rather plaything, in the next weeks and months and years.
It was early on the morning of 1 November, 1981.
(A/N: So many people wanted fluff that I just had to do a little of it. So here it is. Sorry there won't be more, but such is life. As for "Till We Reach That Day" – kudos to everyone who figured out the title is that of a song from the musical "Ragtime"! Listen to it, it might get your thought gears turning as to where I'll take that story... and please, please, remember to review!)