Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot & Prongs:
the Story Behind the Marauders
(Some of the names I have made up, otherwise, all characters, even the ones just mentioned in the Harry Potter books, belong to J. K. Rowling, not me.)
Chapter One, Owls & Visitors
The time of the year had come for the young James Potter, as it had for many young witches and wizards alike, to receive their owl to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a school consisting of four Houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, each House, of course, named after the four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. Gryffindor being the Houseof which the most good witches and wizards came, and Slytherin being the House reputable with the lot of the Dark wizards, those of whom include He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
James, a child nearly twelve with messy hair that could not be kept out of his eyes, was laying out in the garden of their home talking to Sirius, James' best friend of the same age with slightly longer black hair and spectacular gray eyes.
"Got your letter yet?" asked a curious James, rolling over onto his stomach to talk to Sirius.
"Mhm," he mumbled a reply. "Me mum wasn' all tha' thrilled. Said she knew I'd get in all along.. what with all the magic that I've been doing.." He took another bite out of his apple, "You?"
"Oh yeah, I got it about a month ago. Bit exciting really. Of course I knew I would get in, ha, but it was just.. a weird feeling I got when our owl flew in and made its crash landing on my face." James pointed at the long thin scratch on his cheek while Sirius rolled over, spitting bits of apple everywhere in a fit of laughter.
"I can see you now! 'Look mum! Me letter has come!' and then, and then, the owl just HA!" his hands moving elaborately, envisioning an owl flying in and landing on James' face. "Weird feeling it must've been! Never had an owl to land on my face, and I reckon I don't want it to happen anytime soon, either!"
"What I meant," replied James with a somewhat amused look on his face, "was that I got a weird feeling when I held the letter and read it.."
"I know what you meant!"
"Yeah.. ok." He rolled back over on his back and continued to stare at the clouds.
"Hey look, James. That one looks like a Phoenix." Sirius pointed with the hand that contained the apple, the other one being used to prop up his head.
"We're going into Diagon Alley tomorrow to get all my school supplies. Want to come with?"
"Sure! That'd be great. I'll just have to ask me mum though, but I'm almost sure she'd be glad to get rid of me as much as she can!" They both laughed, and continued to gaze up into the sky which had now turned a light shade of midnight blue to signify that night was coming, and it was coming fast.
As they lay there, James heard a sound of rustling leaves over by the herb garden along a side of the east wall. Thinking it was just the wind, he ignored it. Then he heard it again. Sirius propped himself up on his elbow.
"I thought I saw something over there.." He got up and went to investigate. "Lumos," he whispered to his wand as he withdrew it from the waist of his pants. The wands' tip illuminated the near darkness under the hydrangea bush. "Hey, get over here. It's a gnome.."
"Gnomes.. stupid.. gits.." Sirius muttered, throwing the core of his apple into the compost heap on the opposite side of the garden.
James on one side and Sirius on the other, they cornered the gnome, Sirius grabbed it by the heels, swung it over his head and let go. They stood there and watched it sail far off into the field behind the Potter house, landing just before the edge of the woods.
"I say, a nice throw. I think that beat the last time!"
Sirius smiled and shook James' hand. "What say you we go inside and get some dinner?"
"Sounds good to me. Kind of smells like we're having.. roast beef."
"Oh, good!" Sarcasm oozing over every bit of the words, Sirius followed James inside.
"Aye, Sirius, James. Dinner's almost ready. Sit down, won't you?" James' mother had suddenly appeared out of nowhere carrying a heavy cauldron. She was dressed in a violently purple sweater, obviously hand knitted with a long black velvet skirt. Her hair was long, black and shiny. She had a smile on her face as she greeted Sirius. Her hair was pulled up into a loose bun, sitting neatly on top of her head. The kitchen was a cozy little kitchen, and now had a large table with seven chairs around it. Usually it had just a small table with four chairs, the fourth chair being for Sirius. He hardly ever stayed at home nowadays, so the Potters got quite accustomed to having him around. They often thought of Sirius as being much like a second son, to James, like a brother.
"I smelled roast beef.. I still smell it.. but where is it?" James asked, looking around the kitchen. Mrs. Potter has set the cauldron down in the empty fireplace on the far left wall, and was waving her wand around above it in complicated motions. "Aye, we are having roast beef, but it's not ready yet. It's in the cauldron, see?" She moved out of the way so James could look down into the now full cauldron of boiling water.
"Don't you think that's a bit much?"
"Of course not. My only concern is that it would be just enough. Didn't I tell you? Your father's invited a few people over from work."
"Why am I always last to know everything? The cat knows more than I do!" Sirius let out a laugh and quickly covered it up with a cough when James shot a daring look at him.
"It must've slipped my mind then. Go wash up dears." She turned back around and was stirring the water inside the cauldron magically with her wand, while floating spice bottles flew around her adding various herbs and such to the steaming water.
"Hey, can Sirius come with us to Diagon Alley tomorrow?"
"If his mother will let him, I'd be delighted to bring him along," staring down into the cauldron, she looked up and gave Sirius a motherly smile.
"Thanks. James is awful lucky to have a mother like you.." Sirius said, looking at James with a grin on his face. James looked questioningly at Sirius, then ran over to his mother, nearly knocking her down, hugged her and said, "Yes I know! She's zee best mother in zee WHOOOOOLE world!"
Sirius and James rolled with laughter and headed up to James' bedroom.
"Oh, you two, honestly! Go wash up, and make sure you look presentable!" Mrs. Potter gave with a laugh, returning to her roast beef.
- - - - -
When James and Sirius returned, the four visitors of whom the three extra chairs had been set out for had arrived. Mr. Potter was sitting at the table, deep in conversation with what it looked like, a Ministry worker.
"Ah, James, Sirius! So glad you could finally turn up! I'd like you to meet some very important," he emphasized 'important', "people from the Ministry!" he looked at the people, who stood to shake James and Sirius' hands. "This, is Dometrius Warluff. He works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office." James' father introduced him with a smile. He was wearing new plain black robes, his hair falling in odd layers, much like James'.
He stood to shake James and Sirius' hands in turns. "Very pleased to meet you." Mr. Warluff was wearing long midnight blue robes, with a pointed wizards hat perched on top of his nearly balding head. "Your father talks quite fondly of you, but he mentions that you can be a bit of a trouble maker at times. Is this true?"
"Um, well.." James shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. "Um, at times, I guess I can be.." Embarrassed as his ears turned red, but no one could see them, though, for his hair had gotten in the way again after all that combing to make sure it laid straight, but this only made it worse.
"Never you mind that, you seem like a nice boy to me." Mr. Warluff gave an approving smile and returned to his seat.
"This," gesturing over to the man to the right of Dometrius, "is Albus Dumbledore, Chief of the Wizengamot and Hogwarts Headmaster."
James' eyes widened.
"Pleased to meet you, James. I understand that you have received your letter? As well as young Sirius here?" He took his time to speak as if it seemed he had all the time in the world. His long beard was a blond colour and his eyes, sparkly blue behind his half-moon glasses. He smiled at James as he and Sirius took in the way he was dressed. Elaborate purple robes with gold and silver stars and crescent moons embroidered on it with a gold sash tied at his waist. His long blond hair was trailing beneath his hat, tied into a neat pony tail along the back. His hat was also purple with the same stars and moons embroidered onto it.
"Yes. Yes, sir, we have." James looked more frightened than he sounded, most likely because he was used to being questioned for things that he claimed he had never done. He sounded almost calm as he answered Dumbledore.
"I shall be awaiting your presence at my school then. September 1st, as always." He let go of James' hand and shook Sirius', taking special care in what expression he wore on his face. Apparently he got it wrong, because James prodded him hard in the ribs.
"And this," gesturing once again to the right of the last person, "is Bartemius Crouch, Sr., Minister of Magic." Mr. Potter looked very proud to have introduced him to James for his eyes were glowing and his voice had taken on an air of confidence.
Crouch said nothing, but held out his hand. James obediently took it. He was wearing green robes and had taken off matching green hat and was holding it in the other hand. James noticed that his hair, a dark brown colour, was starting to go a bit gray.
"Pleasure to meet you, sir." James broke the silence. "I've heard loads about you all, what you do in the Ministry and all. Must get very tiring, doing all that work."
There was laughter about the kitchen and James gave a nervous laugh. "You could help me a bit here." he shot at Sirius out of the corner of his mouth.
Sirius leaned over and replied, "I could, but you're doing a splendid job of it yourself. Oh, and," he paused to look at James, "stop turning red. You're embarrassing me." He grinned at James who turned around and glanced at his father. He tipped his head, which was a signal that he could sit down now. He did so quickly because the strength was quickly draining from his legs.
"Dinner almost ready, m'dear?" He smiled over at his wife.
"Almost. Just a little bit of," she waved her wand and one of the spice jars tipped over in mid-air and shook three times, and the water in the cauldron stopped boiling. "That's it."
She fished the roast beef out of the cauldron and set it on a nicely decorated platter with sprigs of parsley for colour. She poured some of the steaming broth over the roast beef for additional flavour, then sent a knife and fork flying to cut it up. Seven shining white china from the cabinet landed in front of them, accompanied by fork, spoon, and knife. She then set another small cauldron that James had not noticed before onto the table, it's steam rising to the ceiling and the lingering smell of vegetable soup in the air, making everyone's mouth water.
"Ah, Arabella! I have long awaited to taste your fine cooking!" Dumbledore looked longingly at the cauldron and roast beef and rubbed his hands together. "William speaks too highly of your cooking. Always saying how I should come over and sample it, but of course, I have always been too busy, but I am here now, so what say you we eat, hm?"
Mr. Potter looked very pleased with his company, and was glancing toward James and Sirius, giving them odd looks, which they quickly understood that they meant to behave.
James and Sirius nodded quickly. No one seemed to be talking now but Dumbledore, but they were either listening or ignoring every word he said, obviously trying to concentrate on their meal.
"Have you got your supplies yet, James? And you, Sirius?" Dumbledore asked, looking up from his already half empty plate and bowl.
"Some butter bread with that soup, sir?" Arabella asked politely ask Dumbledore stared into his bowl.
"Oh, that would be delightful, thank you." He gave an approving smile and turned back to James.
"No, sir. We're going into Diagon Alley tomorrow, me and Sirius-"
"Sirius and I."
"Yes, sir, Sirius and I, to get all our supplies."
"Very polite indeed, William. You should be proud."
"I am, sir, very proud." A grin crept slowly up Mr. Potters face as he took another bite of what looked like green beans that were trying to walk across his plate. He quickly jabbed a fork in them, and they dropped where they were.
"Enchanted green beans. Such a bother really, but delicious, I'll give them that." Dumbledore mumbled as he speared his own. "Quite delicious, Arabella. I don't believe I've had a more wonderful supper!"
Mrs. Potter blushed pink as she was complimented. "Thank you kindly, sir."
"Why does everyone have to call me 'sir'? I am but a wizard, same as the rest of you. I have done nothing great."
"But, sir, you're the head of the Wizengamot! Shouldn't we call you 'sir'?" James asked, amusement in his voice as he watched Sirius trying so desperately at his attempts to spear his green beans. He finally gave up and started using his hands. James picked up his fork, aimed, and hit it on the first try. Dumbledore pondered this question, but never answered.
"Thanks." Sirius mumbled.
"Don't mention it." James grinned.
The rest of dinner much went on like this; Dumbledore asking questions, Sirius fighting his food, Mr. and Mrs. Potter looking very pleased to have such high ranking people into their kitchen, although this hadn't been the first time. They had many people over from the Ministry plenty of times, but never the Minister of Magic and the Headmaster at the most popular wizarding school in Britain.
James glanced nervously at his watch which had stopped working after he and Sirius went after a plimpy, a round fish with two long legs and webbed feet, they saw floating at the top of the lake, just beyond the trees out back. Apparently it had gotten into a fight with other plimpies because its legs were tied together. Thinking it would be fun to go after the stranded creature to untie its legs, they dove in, clothes and all to retrieve it. James was torn from his memory by Crouch, who rose and replaced his hat, patting his stomach.
"Well I think it's high time we'd better get going." Crouch said looking at the clock on the wall.
"Oh, dear. Just as I was about to ask Arabella if she had made some pie. I do favour raspberry." Dumbledore looked quite sad at this, in which Mrs. Potter stood.
"William told me how you liked raspberries, and we have so many raspberry vines out growing in the garden, so I thought I'd put them to good use. I've never made a pie with raspberries in it, but I did make you some jam." She wrapped up the jars in light blue cloth and set them neatly in a basket.
"Thank you very much." He paused to smile, "William, she's a keeper!" He winked at William.
"Yes, I know. That's why I picked her and not anyone else." He smiled lovingly at his wife who blushed pink once more.
"Well, William, I'll be seeing you at work tomorrow?" Crouch asked, walking to the door.
"Bright and early!"
"I got an idea." James mumbled to Sirius.
"Can you stay the night?"
A grin swelled on Sirius' face. "If mum won't let me, I'll throw a fit."
As the Ministry of Magic officials walked out, (after Dumbledore had planted a light kiss on Arabella's cheek in thanks, of course, for the jam) William trailing behind them, bidding them goodnight, James turned to his mother and asked if Sirius could spend then night.
"Oh, all right. Let me just ask his mother first." She took out a little bag of Floo powder, threw it in the fire and said "Number twelve, Grimmauld Place!" and stuck her head into the green flames. She called for Sirius' mother and when she returned from the fire, she was smiling. "Your mum said you can stay, Sirius, but only if you don't cause any trouble."
"You know me, Mrs. Potter. Sweet as sugar, and as innocent as I'll ever be!" he beamed at her.
She gave a warm smile and the two headed off to bed.