You Want To Make A Memory?
This is the story of four boys. This is the story of a boy from a family he wants to escape from. This is the story of a boy who is from a family he loves deeply, but lacks the gift of a best friend. This is the story of a boy who has been living with a curse his entire life, fighting to overcome it. This is the story of a boy who wishes to show people what he can do. This is the story of how these four boys came to know each other, of how they became friends. This is the story of their unbreakable bond, of a bond that could survive any test, any trial. This is a story that will ultimately end in tragedy.
A Compartment for Four
A sandy-haired, green-eyed boy of eleven sleepily pushed his trolley through the crowd of travelers at King's Cross Train Station. His parents walked along in his wake, talking in hushed voices. They knew their son was excited, but they needed him on his guard. He knew what accepting his spot meant, the precautions that had to be taken. Their son knew, of course, everything that came along with his invitation, the chance he thought he had been denied. He knew he had to be careful, but that still didn't stop his parents from worrying.
They stopped outside the barrier between platforms nine and ten and waited patiently, looking for the perfect chance the race through the barrier and onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
"Listen, Remus," the man said, looking down at his son. "You know Dumbledore went through a lot of trouble for you."
"I know, Dad," Remus replied, looking longingly at the barrier, eager to find a compartment on the train and catch up on his sleep.
"You're not going to slip up, are you?"
"Of course not."
"Good," Remus's father said, patting his son on the shoulder. "You know we're proud of you, don't you?"
Remus nodded. He knew that his parents were prouder of him now more than they had ever been. It had been decided a long time ago that the idea of Remus attending school was out of the question. How could a boy like him possibly be admitted? Not that Remus was a bad person; he was just unfortunate enough to have been bitten by a werewolf at a young age.
"The Lupins are a smart lot, you know," Mr. Lupin went on, putting his arm around his son's shoulder and leading him closer to the barrier, Mrs. Lupin following. "A whole line of Ravenclaws on my side of the family."
"My side wasn't exactly dumb, Harry," Mrs. Lupin said reprovingly.
"I know, Anna, but we're talking about Wizard knowledge right now," Harry responded in a lower voice, grinning at his wife's frown.
Anna Lupin rolled her eyes at her husband and walked forward, pulling her son into a hug. "You be good, you hear? I don't want to get a letter saying that you blew anything up."
"Unless, of course, it's the Slytherin common room," Harry added, earning a disapproving look from his wife. He cleared his throat and regained an authoritative manner. "Yes, well, listen to your mother, Remus." He gripped his son's shoulder and shook it.
"See you at Christmas," Remus said, hugging his mother once more before turning around with his father, preparing to go through the barrier.
The crowd seemed heavy enough that no one would notice two people disappear through a solid brick wall, so they took this chance. They reappeared on the other side, and were met with a fairly empty platform. This made sense, of course, as they were a half hour early. The rush never really started until twenty to the hour. This was how Mr. Lupin had wanted it; he didn't want any attention drawn to his son, whose face bore painful looking scars.
They found a compartment at the back of the train and Mr. Lupin helped his son stow away his trunk before he climbed on board. Remus stepped onto the platform once more to say a proper goodbye to his father. Mr. Lupin gave his son one last hug before he got on the train and he went back into the Muggle world to his wife.
Remus settled himself on the unusually comfortable seat and leaned his head against the window. He could see his father take the trolley and push it through the barrier, offering one last look at him before he disappeared. He grinned at the thought of blowing up the Slytherin common room; it had been a mission of his father's when he went to Hogwarts – a mission he never achieved. His mother, a Muggle, sometimes failed to understand the significance of that statement. His father absolutely hated the Slytherin house; he would never dare step foot into that house and neither would Remus. Honestly, Remus would be happy in any house that wasn't Slytherin. With that thought in mind, he allowed himself to be lulled away to sleep.
A boy with long black hair and grey eyes walked silently beside a rather forbidding woman. He listened, uninterested, as she babbled on about nonsense he had heard at least a million times in his life. He couldn't be exact about how many times he had listened to it; he had lost count at two hundred and fifty two, but he knew he had heard the story many times over. When he was younger he used to protest, saying that he didn't want to listen. Now he knew better. He would simply smile and nod, knowing that he would never actually follow the orders his mother bestowed upon him.
They inconspicuously walked through a solid brick barrier and reappeared on the other side, lost amongst the crowds of people scurrying about, saying rushed goodbyes to each other. The boy's mother spun him around by his shoulders so that he was facing her. She studied him noiselessly, taking in every wrinkle on his shirt, every lose strand of hair on his head. She clicked her tongue irritably, straightening a crease on the boy's sleeve.
The boy grimaced and shrunk away from her. "Will you stop it, Mother?" he asked, annoyed.
"Sirius, you have to look presentable at least once in your life," the woman said.
Sirius rolled his eyes. He really couldn't care less if he looked presentable or not. Who was he trying to impress anyway? Certainly not the kinds of people his mother wished him to become acquainted with. He knew it was his mother and his father's wish for him to lead on the Black Family name. He was the heir, after all. He was only grateful his father was home with his younger brother, Regulus. His father was just as strict about these absurd family notions as his mother was.
Sirius gripped the handle on his trunk and slowly pulled it off the trolley. He wanted to get away from his mother as quickly as possible. He looked over his shoulder at the scarlet steam engine behind him – the Hogwarts Express. It was a sight. The train stood proudly, puffing mammoth clouds of smoke into the air as it awaited the departure to Sirius's ticket away from his family – Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He checked his watch and saw he did not have much time to get on the train and find a suitable compartment – preferably far away from the so-called appropriate companions.
"Mother," Sirius said slowly, inching backwards ever so slightly. "I really should get on the train now."
"Oh, yes, of course," Mrs. Walburga Black said, checking her own watch. "Well, remember all that I've told you," she added, pointing a finger at her oldest son.
"Of course, Mother," Sirius agreed, cracking the fakest smile he could. He picked up his trunk. "See you at Christmas." With that, he was off to school, away from the one thing he had so longed to escape.
Sirius walked up and down the corridor, looking through the windows of the compartments in hope of finding a vacant one he could have for himself. As he neared the back, he discovered that this was not likely to happen. Every compartment was either full or else had some nasty looking occupants. In the very last compartment, however, was a sandy-haired boy fast asleep against the window. He won't mind, Sirius thought, sliding the door open as quietly as he could.
He entered the compartment and stowed his trunk in the overhead and took a seat. He observed the slumbering boy, who did not seem as if he would be waking up any time soon. This is going to be a long ride.
A boy with untidy, jet-black hair and glasses that framed his hazel eyes hurried through the crowd of witches and wizards on Platform Nine and Three Quarters. He had ten minutes to find a good compartment, or else he would be left sitting with people he knew he would not like. The train left at eleven and, according to his father's watch, it was now ten to. The boy couldn't wait to get on the train and speed away to his new life at school, the opportunity he had been waiting for for a long time. He loved his parents, yes, but there just wasn't anyone his age around. He was an only child, the youngest cousin by many years… he needed to be near people his own age.
He peered through the windows of the train, hoping he could discover a decent compartment from outside. He didn't much fancy running into some nasty Slytherins, not that he was afraid of them. He was very confident that, if the need arose, he could defend himself. He merely wasn't in the mood to fight. He acquitted his search, however, and focused his attention on his parents. It caused them a great deal of distress to let him go. They were considerably old and, having a child so late in life, they spoiled him a little more than they should.
"You'll do great, James," James's father said, smiling fondly at his son.
"Thanks, Dad," James replied, grinning broadly.
"Write as much as you can," his mother said, wearing a grin similar to her husband's.
"All the Potters have been in Gryffindor, I have no doubt you'll be there as well." Mrs. Potter beamed at the thought of James being in her and her husband's alma mater. "Right, Charles?" she said to her husband.
"Actually, Hannah, I think there was a Hufflepuff somewhere along the line in my family. Hufflepuff's a great house too; it wouldn't be terrible if you got in there."
James nodded. He knew Hufflepuff was a good house; people just made it seem as if it was for dodders. He took another glance at his father's watch. "I think I should be heading on the train now," he said pointedly, the Hogwarts Express was nearly ready to leave.
"Oh, of course!" Mrs. Potter said, pulling her son into a hug. "You write every week, you hear?"
"Yes, Mum," James replied, his voice muffled by his mother's shoulder.
"Do well, James," Mr. Potter said, clapping James on the shoulder.
With one last look at his parents, James pulled his trunk forward and began his search for a compartment. As he trailed the train's corridor he discovered that being late put him in something of a dilemma. Almost all of the compartments were completely full, or else held some rather mean looking dwellers. He dragged his trunk, his arm getting tired, to the back of the train where he prayed he would at last have success. He peered into one of the windows and found a compartment with only two people in it. One was a sandy-haired boy, who was currently sleeping. The other was a black-haired boy who was leafing lazily through a book. Clearly he was in need of some company that was actually awake.
He slid the door open and the boy looked up.
"Mind if I sit here?" James asked. The boy shook his head and James gratefully took the seat across from him, next to the still sleeping boy. "I'm James Potter."
"Sirius Black," the boy replied, placing his book into his pocket.
"Black? I think I've heard of that name before."
"No… no, you probably haven't."
James looked at Sirius curiously, but said nothing. Obviously Sirius wasn't at all comfortable with speaking of his family. He vaguely remembered his father saying how the Blacks were too pureblood obsessed, how they couldn't care less about the Muggle-borns. James shrugged this thought off; Sirius didn't give off that air of arrogance. He decided the best thing to do would be to hit it off with him.
A boy with mousy blonde hair and watery blue eyes trudged along behind his parents as they led the way to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. He knew he should be excited; every eleven year old witch or wizard was, but he couldn't be. For so long he had believed himself to be a Squib, that he had no magical powers, despite his bloodline. Then his letter came, the letter that proved his notions wrong. This letter invited him to the best school in the country where he could learn magic.
He and his parents strolled unnoticeably through the seemingly solid barrier between platforms nine and ten and reappeared on the other side to see the students frantically running across the ground to the train. The boy glanced down at his watch; he hadn't realised he'd arrived so late. He should have listened to his mother when she told him to wake up, but he had chosen to sleep and now he was paying for it. He turned to his parents, not wanting to say a rushed goodbye, but having no alternative.
"The train's about to leave," he said unnecessarily. His parents had clearly noticed this by simply watching the students dashing about.
"You'll do fine, Peter," his mother said, ruffling his hair fondly. "All of the Pettigrews have done well; you just have to believe you can."
Peter did his best to smile. His mother obviously had no idea what he was thinking at the moment – that he would be at the bottom of his class. What if he didn't even make it into a house? What if he was deemed unworthy of any of the four houses because of his lack of capability? He didn't want to even imagine the looks on his parents' faces when they found him on their doorstep the day after he left for school. He couldn't disappoint them in such a way; they had done too much for him.
"I know you're nervous, Peter, but your mother is right," Mr. Pettigrew said encouragingly. "Come on, Maggie," he added to his wife. "Peter has to go."
"Right, John," Mrs. Pettigrew said.
Peter hugged his mother and father before hurrying on the train, which was about to hurry away. He grabbed the handle of his trunk, hopped on board and set out for a place to sit. Peter had always found it a little difficult coming upon strangers, especially when there were so many of them, which was why he searched for a compartment with fewer people inside, three at the most. He ended up at the back of the Hogwarts Express, at a loss for where to sit. He had encountered far too many overly occupied compartments.
As he was looking about he heard the distinct sound of two voices laughing. The voices seemed to be coming from his right; he turned and peered through the window of the door. There was a boy with untidy black hair laughing with another boy who had long black hair. They seemed to be friendly enough, he would chance it. He pushed the door open and cleared his throat, attracting the attention of the two boys.
"Erm… hi," Peter said awkwardly. "Mind?"
"Not at all," the boy with the untidy hair said, gesturing to the seat across from him. "I'm James Potter."
Peter grinned and sat down. "I'm Peter Pettigrew," he said.
"Sirius Black," the boy beside him said.
Peter smiled at the boy and then something caught something in the corner of his eye. It seemed that these two boys weren't the only people in the compartment. There was a boy fast asleep in the corner. "Who's he?" he asked them.
"We don't know," James said. "Sirius said he's been asleep since he got here. Makes sense, the kid looks exhausted."
This was true. Peter saw dark circles underneath the boy's eyes and his face was quite pale. He, James and Sirius did their best not to be too loud and wake him. As the ride progressed, Peter found that he liked these boys; they were both funny, but seemed to have a mischievous streak. This was well demonstrated when James announced that the first thing he'd like to do would be to set off Dungbombs in the Slytherin common room, if he could find it. Sirius gladly seconded this idea.
The lunch trolley rolled by after some time and James immediately got up, Sirius at his heels. Peter looked over at the still sleeping boy; he looked as if he could use some food. Peter slowly edged towards him and gently shook the boy in the shoulder. The boy must have been close to waking up, as his head jerked up immediately upon Peter's touch. Peter jumped back slightly, but managed a small, apologetic smile for him.
"Hullo," Peter said, in the most pleasant voice he could muster.
"Um… hullo," the boy said, rubbing his eyes and looking around tiredly.
"I didn't mean to wake you," he said hurriedly.
"No, no that's fine. I was about to wake up anyway."
"I'm Peter Pettigrew, by the way," he said, beginning to fish through his pockets for some money.
"Remus Lupin," the boy responded, standing up to stretch.
Sirius and James reentered the compartment, their arms laden with every sweet imaginable. They dumped them together on one of the seats and looked over to Peter.
"Hey," James said, his eyes moving to Remus. "Sleepy finally woke up."
"I just woke him to see if he was hungry," Peter explained. He turned to Remus. "The lunch trolley is still out there, if you're hungry."
"No, I'm not much hungry," Remus replied, sitting down once more.
Peter shrugged and went out into the hallway, coming back in moments later with some Cauldron Cakes.
"Well if you become hungry, we got plenty," Sirius was saying, gesturing down to the enormous pile of candy on his seat. "I'm Sirius Black," he added to Remus. He picked up a Chocolate Frog and ripped the pack open, instantly checking the card. "Morgana," he muttered. "I've got three of her; either of you three want it?" James and Peter shook their heads, saying they had her card already. "What about you, Mr. Sleepy?"
"Err… sure," Remus said, gratefully taking the card and pocketing it. "And my name's Remus," he added.
"I'm James," James said as he picked up a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. He tore the top open and pulled out a murky green coloured bean. He was about to put it in his mouth when Remus stopped him.
"I wouldn't do that," Remus said warningly. "That's booger flavoured. I got one like that once."
James looked curiously at the bean, as if he was deciding if Remus was telling the truth, and then threw it back in the box. Instead he grabbed a Pumpkin Pasty.
"So," he said slowly. "How long do you think before we get there?"
"Maybe a few more hours," Sirius suggested. "I can't wait."
"Do you know how we get put into houses?" Remus asked.
Sirius, James and Peter stared at him. He must have been Muggle-born, but then he couldn't be if he knew what Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans were.
"You don't know?" Peter said, slightly incredulously. "Your parents never told you?"
Remus was visibly uncomfortable. He shifted in his seat and said, "well, my mum's a Muggle, so she couldn't tell me and my dad never really… err… thought it was important I know."
"What, did your dad think you were going to be a Squib?" James asked.
"No, he knew I wasn't a Squib. Just forget about that, how do you get Sorted?"
"With the Sorting Hat. My dad told me that it looks in your brain and decides from that where you belong."
Peter observed Remus and saw that he did not appear to be happy about this. He couldn't understand why, it wasn't at all painful and didn't require a vast knowledge of magic. He glanced at Sirius and saw that he did not look too excited about this process either, but he had at least had a forewarning. He shrugged his shoulders, he would find out eventually. For now he concentrated on having fun with his newfound companions. Questions could wait.