Title: A Time For Change
Author Name: DarkForest214
Spoilers: "Transforming Thoughts"
Summery: Sequel to "Transforming Thoughts." Follow Lily and James in their new relationship while keeping an eye on their mischievous friends Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters or Hogwarts School. I did not write this to try and make money. I am not stealing from JKR and the publishing companies and whatnot… I own nothing!
Author's Note: I am sooooo so sorry I never posted the last chapter after getting back from vacation. I meant to post this a month ago! Please find it in your hearts to forgive me and enjoy the last chapter…
The sun rose the next morning and burned away the fog and dried up the dew. It was business as usual at Hogwarts. Then the post came. There were several screams and gasps as students read the front page of the Daily Prophet. A few students ran from the Great Hall in tears.
"James, read it out loud, don't just gape at the front page like a fish!" Remus urged, aware of the reactions to the news around him.
"I don't believe it! I won't believe it... I can't!" muttered James.
"Believe what?" asked Sirius, sounding irritated.
"I can't believe it!"
"Give me that," Sirius snapped, as he snatched the newspaper right out of James' hands. He read through the article once before reading it aloud. "In the early hours of the morning several explosions were heard throughout London and Diagon Alley by wizards and muggles alike. Several Ministry Officials were found either dead or insane in their homes, and it appears several muggles were killed in these attacks as well. The Minister of Magic refused to release any details on these attacks at this time but here is what he said in a press conference this morning:
'We are doing everything in our power to find the ones responsible and to bring them to justice. We will release the names of the victims at a later date. In the meantime please take precautions at all times and be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you see the Dark Mark above any dwelling or place of business contact authorities immediately and get out of the area," Sirius paused and showed them the photo on the front page.
"The dark mark..." James mused.
"This is just the first attack, and I'm sure it's not the last," said Sirius. "Just look at the smug faces of those slime balls at the Slytherin table"
"Why?" Peter asked, his mouth hanging open in shock. "Why would anyone do something like this?"
"It's amazing what hatred and fear can do," said Remus.
"I should have known something like this would happen," Sirius muttered angrily.
"None of us could have known," said James, trying to calm the storm brewing behind Sirius' eyes.
"You don't understand, I have overheard my crazy mother talking about the rise of a dark wizard calling himself the Dark Lord. Someone that would get rid of muggleborns for good," Sirius said quickly, his voice low and dangerous.
By this time the noise level in the Great Hall had become almost unbearable as the news spread like wildfire among the house tables. Dumbledore rose from his seat and waited patiently for the Great Hall to quiet down and soon—after several minutes of McGonagall glaring at everyone—the roar was reduced to a whimper and Dumbledore spoke. "Please try and remain calm. Your professors and I feel it is best to continue with your studies as it is best to carry on with a sense of normalcy in the face of disaster. I am not asking you to ignore what happened, but to attempt to learn something in your lessons today. As we speak, owls are getting ready to send out with notices to your families, reassuring them of your safety. Although this is very devastating news and a tragic loss to us all I advise you to not let it interfere with your studies. If anyone feels the need to talk to either myself or any one of the staff members please feel free to do so," he sat back down and the low murmur once more grew to a roar. But the roar of the crowd soon died down again as students dispersed to their classes.
"And to think," Sirius muttered to Remus, "you were going to have that talk with Riley today..."
"Hush Padfoot. I know," Remus hissed. "It'll just have to wait, I guess."
"Look alive man, 'cause here she comes!" said James, nudging Remus a little harder than necessary with his elbow.
"Oy Remus," Riley called out through the crowded Entrance Hall. "Let's talk before dinner, O.K.?"
"Sure, there was—"
"Great, I'll see you later," she said before disappearing down a flight of stairs.
"C'mon Moony, my dearest love awaits," said Sirius, grabbing Remus by the arm.
"Yeah, and I know how McGonagall will react if we're late," added James, rolling his eyes.
"She's a feisty one, that's for sure," Sirius winked.
"Can we please make it to class without any inappropriate conversations about our professors?" asked Remus. "Hey, where's Peter?"
"We got separated in the Great Hall," said James.
"He wanted to remain with his dearest love," added Sirius.
"Sausages and eggs?" asked Remus.
"Nope, bacon and ham!" said James.
"Does this not bother you?" Lily asked. She had been walking quietly behind them holding her tongue and lost in her thoughts.
"Not really," said James. "We've known of Peter's love of food since third year."
"Second year at least," corrected Sirius.
"James, Remus, Sirius—"
"Why am I always last?" Sirius interrupted.
"At least a dozen wizards were killed last night and you're making jokes?" Lily continued as if she hadn't heard him. "I'd almost expect this from Sirius and James, but you Remus?"
"Lily, we all have our own ways of dealing with grief," said Sirius, a somber and serious look on his face. "We just happen to do it in the privacy of our own dorm."
"At which point Sirius will explode with anger towards his pureblood fanatic family. James will be wrought with grief by the injustice done to those that were killed. And I will worry and wonder in silence, writing my thoughts down and avoiding confrontation, making sure these two don't explode," said Remus matter-of-factly. Sirius and James nodded, he had described their thoughts accurately. "So, if you want to see us being completely miserable than I suggest you stop by tonight after dinner. But until then, let us be merry and bolster the spirits of those around us," said Remus more harshly than he intended.
Lily stopped dead in her tracks and eyed the three boys warily. She knew Remus was right. He had to be. Now that she was aware of their true feelings she could see their moods reflected in their movements. Remus's usual straight and studious posture was slumped. The regal air Sirius normally carried himself with seemed coiled and ready to pounce on the first Slytherin that crossed his path. While James' typically bouncy and energetic step was slow and shuffling.
Time dragged on that day. Very few students ate lunch, some nibbling on bread without an appetite, awaiting anxiously for news from their families. Classes seemed to last an eternity, but before the end of them several students had gone to the Hospital Wing in tears while several others prepared to go home.
Just before diner Remus met with Riley in a deserted classroom. He eyed her warily, the lines he had rehearsed with Sirius running through his head and becoming jumbled in the process. She looked distraught, the usual cheerfulness gone from her eyes. 'Perhaps she's lost some family members,' Remus dared to think.
"Thanks for meeting with me on such short notice," said Riley, sitting down in a nearby chair.
"Oh, it's not a problem. I understand it's harder to find me when I am not in the Hospital Wing," said Remus, laughing nervously.
Riley smiled briefly, but her smile disappeared the moment she began to speak. "I told you the other night that I like you."
'Uh-oh,' Remus thought, 'she's going to guilt me into being with her...' "I like you too, but—"
"Don't Remus, you'll only make this harder for me than it already is," Riley interrupted. "I received a letter from my father saying my grandparents and two of my young cousins were killed in the attacks. I can't see you anymore, even though I like you. I don't want to force my burdens on to you. I can't use you as a crutch. I can't—" her voice broke as she fought back tears. "I just don't want to get attached because right now I can't bear any more losses."
"I understand," he said, throwing Sirius's words right out the window. "And I don't want to hurt you. I think you're right, we shouldn't do this," said Remus, a sense of loss already welling up in his chest. "I just want you to know that I had fun while it lasted," he added rather lamely.
"Stop Remus, you're making this harder than it should be," she cried out. "I'm sorry but once we leave this room I am going to forget about all of this. Forget about being happy, forget about how the mere thought of you used to make me smile. It should be easy right? I mean, we weren't even dating. I'm just going to forget about you and I think you should just forget about me," she said rather harshly. "We'll just go about our normal lives and prepare for war, because those responsible will be punished."
The look of fiery determination in her eyes alarmed Remus. She was so quiet, so peaceful. But this girl was not to be messed with. Remus stood and moved to the door. "I'm sorry for your loss," he said softly. "I know how it feels. I lost my father when I was younger..." She nodded her thanks and he left. "Goodbye Miss Wolfe, it was nice knowing you..."
That night at dinner Remus told them what had happened with Riley and they all agreed that he had handled it well. Even Lily felt he had handled the situation as best he could, given the circumstances. After their measly meal the four boys prepared themselves to finally let go of all of the emotions that had built up during the day.
Their dormitory was eerily silent. Remus sat in a chair reading a book while Sirius paced around the room. 'A time bomb ready to explode at any minute,' Remus thought. James sat at his desk, his eyes tracing Sirius's movements as his thoughts raged on silently in his head. Peter was lying on his bed starring straight up. He was most likely asleep. 'Sirius will be the first to go. He'll just explode...any minute now...any—oh I can't take this, he's too distracting.' "Sirius, do you mind? I'm trying to read but it's a little hard to concentrate with you burning a hole into the floor." 'That ought to do it. Explosion in three...two...one...'
"Oh, I'm being distracting am I? I'm so sorry that the attacks are driving me mad while you're sitting there calmly trying to read. How inconsiderate of me to be thinking of the dead!" Sirius snapped. James eyed Remus almost thankfully and Peter propped himself up so he could see better.
Remus slowly and deliberately marked his place and set the book in his lap, folding his hands neatly on top, Sirius glaring at him the entire time. "Yes, I have thought of the dead. I grieve for those we know who lost someone. But I also know that if we ignore the things we've learned and rush into things blindly we risk causing more damage than good," Remus said calmly.
"Newsflash Remus, we can't really do anything while we're stuck in this school!" Sirius said, his voice growing louder.
"What are you going to do about it? Drop out?" Remus asked. "It will be very easy for those dark wizards to defeat you if you've never completed your training here."
"I can hold my own against a dark wizard," Sirius spat. "I grew up with them. I was the pride and joy of my mother and the heir to the throne so to speak. I can hold my own."
"Really, 'cause you're shite against a werewolf—which is considered a dark creature," Remus replied.
"Against fully trained wizards with more years of experience and more knowledge of the dark arts than even you, your highness?" James asked, joining in at last.
Sirius glared at them both, "My mum and dad probably knew. They could have been involved for all I know. Hell, at least half my family was probably involved!" Sirius nearly shouted. "These are proud purebloods, you don't want to underestimate them."
"What are going to do? Ask Regulus if he knows anything about this?" James asked. "From the looks on their faces this morning, the Slytherins know something."
"I could just pound his face in right now if he crossed my path. That spineless little twerp will end up joining them just to please mum and dad, and to live up to the hopes they had for me," said Sirius, beginning to pace again.
"Join who? Does this group have a name?" James asked, leaning forward in his chair.
"I overheard mum talking once, well screaming at Regulus really, but apparently they call themselves Death Eaters," said Sirius. "And their master is not one to be messed with."
"You should go to Dumbledore with what you know," Remus said quietly.
"NO!" Sirius shouted, causing Remus to start. "No, I will not tell him what he already knows. I will not add myself knowingly to Voldemort's hit list."
"Voldemort?" said Remus.
"We've heard that name before," added James. "Doesn't he call himself the Dark Lord?"
"Aye, and you'd be better off not saying his name aloud," said Sirius. "There has been talk of him growing over the past few years. Going about and finding supporters amongst the purebloods. Preaching on the uselessness of muggles and muggleborns or halfbreeds. He has been gathering supporters for years. His list of allies are growing as we speak."
"What can we do about it?" Peter asked.
"Not much if you drop out of school," Remus said smugly.
"The Death Eaters," James mused. "I bet Snape will join their ranks after school," he said and Sirius agreed.
"If only there was more than just the Aurors fighting them. A secret order fighting for what's right," Remus thought aloud. "A group as secret as the Death Eaters, but fighting for peace and justice."
"I'm sure Dumbledore has already thought of it," said James.
"Your turn," Remus said suddenly to James.
"What?" he asked slightly taken aback.
"It's your turn. Sirius has vented, and I'd rather not have you explode in your sleep," said Remus. "Lily would never forgive me if I knew it could have been avoided."
"They were innocent," he said simply. "Just because they are muggleborns does not make them inferior to those who boast of bing pureblood. Plain and simple it's not acceptable." He stood and moved to his bed, laid down and curled up on his side, his back to Remus and Sirius.
Sirius stopped pacing and flopped unceremoniously onto his bed and stared moodily at the ceiling. Remus picked up his book and continued reading as silence reigned once more.
"Everything is going to change, isn't it?" Remus asked quietly after a few minutes of staring blankly at the page.
"Yes," James grumbled from his bed.
"But don't let it get to you, Moony," said Sirius. "We're marauders through and through."
Remus smiled and silently hoped Sirius was right. The calm before the storm... these attacks were only the beginning. It truly was a time for change.