Disclaimer: I have not and will not ever own anything of the Harry Potter franchise. Except maybe some random HP merchandise and a signed copy of a photo of Daniel Radcliffe. But that doesn't really count now, does it?
Author's Note: Wow. This long, long journey has finally come to a close, and I want to firstly thank you all for your company along the way. For those who have stuck with me from the start all the way to the end, thank you. For those who joined along the way, thank you. For everyone who reviewed, favourited or alerted this story, thank you.
There's a Hole in Your Logic sprung from a simple thought of having new neighbors and has evolved ever so much. A massive THANK YOU goes out to my friend and beta amberbelle who encouraged me when I first spoke of a half formed summer AU story, edited and offered advice on every chapter since and is basically awesome.
As I've said before, this was always just meant to be about the gang over the summer and that's the way it has played out. Sorry if you wanted to see them at school, but I feel that here's where I need to end it.
This will always hold a special place in my heart, it was my first long chapter story and I couldn't have done it without you all.
So, for the final time: Read on, and enjoy!
Chapter Fifteen: They're Back
The morning of September First saw the Tonks' household bursting with activity.
"Andy, have you seen my purple socks?!" yelled Sirius as he ran up the stairs, a piece of toast in hand and his shirt on backwards.
"Try the basket on the landing," called out Andy. "James! Put that down and bring the trunks downstairs. The car will be here any minute!"
James rushed off, cutting off a startled Lily as she emerged from the kitchen. "Car?" she asked Andy, lending a supporting hand to Remus as he jumped around, trying to pull on his socks.
"Ted managed to organize us a deal with the Ministry," said Andy. "They're taking us to King's Cross."
A loud crash interrupted Lily's reply and she, Andy and Remus went swiftly to investigate the source of the noise.
"Oh, James," sighed Andy wearily as they gazed down on his sprawled figure, the contents of someone's organized trunk strewn across the floor.
James grinned meekly up at them from under his ever-tussled bangs. "Tripped," he said, shrugging and letting Remus pull him to his feat. Andy shook her head before muttering a charm under her breath. The various books and items of clothing that had escaped the suitcase whizzed back to their original place.
"Found them!" cried Sirius suddenly, running back down the stairs and waving a pair of purple socks in triumph. Stopping on the second last stair he looked down at the figures standing before him. "What've I missed?" he asked breathlessly.
Lily rolled her eyes in amusement. "Never mind," she said.
A few minutes later James had finished arranging their trunks beside the door . Looking up, he saw Lily watching him. Winking, he ruffled his hair and laughed as Lily rolled her eyes again.
"Come on, help me clear out the sleeping stuff from Sirius' room," she said to him, not waiting to see if he'd follow her up the stairs.
Down in the kitchen, Remus had returned to finish his glass of milk, Sirius following behind and turning his shirt the right way round.
"Dora! What do you think you're doing?" cried Andy as she spotted her daughter rummaging in the kitchen cupboard. The little girl dropped the cookie she was holding guiltily. "You've only just had breakfast. If your father were here…" Andy shook a warning finger at her daughter before sweeping her up and carrying her out into the front hallway.
Remus and Sirius grinned at each other.
"I can't believe we're going back to school already," said Remus as he rinsed his glass and stood it up to dry.
"Can't believe I'm going to Hogwarts," replied Sirius with a grin. "I think my dear mother just might combust on the spot when she finds out."
Remus laughed. "We'll send her a Hogwarts toilet seat," he said with a grin.
"Oh, she'll love that. We can attach a photo of all my new friends with it. A muggle, a muggle-lover and a half-blood. It'll be fantastic."
"Peter's pure-blood," said Remus before realizing Sirius wouldn't know that.
"You'll meet him on the train. You'll like him," he told Sirius.
The black haired boy raised an eyebrow. "Is there anything I should be worried about, Moony? Is this Peter my competition?"
Remus laughed. "I can assure you, you have nothing to worry about. Peter is one hundred percent on the straight and narrow."
Sirius grinned. "Good, then I can have you all to myself," he said with a suggestive wink.
Remus blushed, but before he could reply, Andy interrupted them. "Boys!" she called from the front of the house. "Car's here!"
Ten minutes later James, Lily, Remus and Sirius were sitting comfortably in the back of a black car that smelt faintly of tobacco smoke. Andy had Nymphadora on her lap in the front.
"All set?" asked the driver.
"All set," confirmed Andy. They turned to wave one last time to Wendy and John who had come out to see them off.
"See you at Christmas!" called Remus.
Without warning the car pulled away from the curb and they were all thrown back into their seats violently. Remus smiled as he felt Sirius take his hand in his.
The group arrived at King's Cross with ten minutes to spare.
"Hurry now!" called Andy as the driver helpfully wheeled over trolleys for their trunks.
"There should be a medal awarded for the wheeling of trolleys between platforms without hitting anyone," said Sirius as they wove their way between crowds of people.
"Where are we going, anyway?" he asked, realizing suddenly that he had never actually asked how students get to Hogwarts. The train station they were standing in gave him a hint, but he couldn't imagine how you'd stop Muggles noticing a train surrounded by people wearing funny clothing. Not to mention carrying owls and toads and cauldrons of all shapes and sizes.
By the time the question had left his lips however, they had all stopped in front of a wall.
"Right, and where does the train come in?" asked Sirius to no one in particular. James turned around and grinned at him.
"Padfoot, you're going to love this," he said, walking backwards slowly. When he reached the wall, the black haired boy yawned largely and leaned backwards.
"Brilliant!" cried Sirius as he watched his friend disappear. "Can I have a go?" he asked eagerly.
Andy laughed and nodded towards the bricks. "Go ahead."
When they had all emerged onto platform 9 ¾, Andy quickly bustled them towards the gleaming scarlet train.
"Hurry, hurry, it'll be leaving soon!" she said.
After a round of hugs goodbye and a warning "behave!" she pushed them towards the doors. "Go on, find a compartment before they're all full!" she said as the clock chimed eleven o'clock.
Sirius watched as Andy and Nymphadora sped away from them, Andy waving heartily and Dora chasing the train's last carriages. Turning around after they'd disappeared into the mist he saw the others had already started moving up the train's carriages.
"Wonder where Peter is," said James looking into each compartment they passed.
"James! Remus! Over here!" they heard a voice call suddenly, and they looked up to see a round face popping out of a compartment further up the carriage.
Peter moved back to let his friends through and goggled as Lily made to go in after them. Turning questioning eyes to Remus, he let her pass.
Remus laughed at Peter's expression and placed a hand on his arm. "Pete, you missed a lot this summer."
"I missed a lot as in James finally pulled his head out of his arse –"
" – or Evans went batty and decided to be friends with him?"
Remus ignored them and grinned at Peter. "A little of both I think," he said.
Peter nodded and turned to Lily. "Welcome to the gang, then," he said, with a bow.
"Stop trying to steal my girl!" cried James.
Lily swatted at his arm. "I am not your girl!" she said, somewhat shrilly.
Peter simply laughed before turning to sit down in his usual place by the door. He stopped when he realized that someone was already sitting in it.
"Who are you?" asked Peter, more out of surprise than actual rudeness.
Sirius laughed. "I'm Sirius," he said, stretching out his hand for Peter to shake.
"He moved in next to Remus this summer," James said. "He's Andromeda's cousin."
"Oh!" Peter turned wide eyes onto Sirius. "You're a Black, then," he stated.
"Unfortunately, yes," Sirius grimaced.
"Don't worry, we can't always help what we are. What really matters is who we choose to be," said Peter in an uncharacteristically solemn tone.
The group was silent for a moment, all staring at Peter who after a second cracked a smile.
"What happened to you this summer?" asked James incredulously.
Peter laughed and pulled out a book from the bag beside him. "My Aunt gave it to me. It's about the Swedish Royal Family, going years back. It's full of all these weird quotes and proverbs. And look!"
Peter held up the book so the others could see. Over the double page spread was a picture of a large ballroom. Covering the 'floor' of the ballroom were small moving figures that appeared to be dancing. Next to each was a label stating which Royal Family member the figure represented.
Peter turned the page. "It goes on for all the rooms in the castle. They can move around to different ones but you can always tell who's who because of the names. It's wicked."
"Brilliant charms work," muttered Lily, staring avidly at the book. Remus nodded silently next to her and James rolled his eyes.
"Trust you two to think of it as a school project," he said.
"We are simply admiring the magic behind it James, there's nothing wrong with that!" said Lily defensively.
As the two started bickering, Remus rolled his eyes and smiled at Sirius. He had been quieter than usual and Remus wondered if he was perhaps nervous about Hogwarts.
"It would be great to have a map like that," said Peter contemplatively, the noise of James and Lily almost drowning him out. "Like of Hogwarts or something. We could see where everyone was."
For the second time in less than half an hour the compartment grew silent and they all stared at Peter in shock. Suddenly James threw his hands up in the air, startling Peter enough that he dropped the book he was holding.
"Pete, you are a genius!"
"I am?" asked Peter, confused.
"It would be brilliant! Imagine – a map of Hogwarts, where you can see everyone, anywhere at any time. Do you know how much easier it'll be to plan pranks now?!"
Peter nodded enthusiastically at his friend while Lily rolled her eyes.
"We could map it all out and – hey! Sirius! Where's that map Remus drew for you yesterday?" James asked.
Sirius pulled out a slightly crumpled piece of parchment from his pocket.
"Yes!" said James, taking the roughly drawn map from his hands. Pulling out a crushed looking quill from his bag, he launched into ideas enthusiastically, scrawling over the parchment. Sirius, Remus, Lily and Peter tried best to keep up with their friend's rambling.
"It would be brilliant," conceded Remus, "but very dangerous in the wrong hands," he continued as he took the map from James to see what his friend had scribbled there in the last few minutes.
"Then we'll find a way to hide it," said Sirius. Remus glanced at him and saw that he was smiling, eyes shining as his mind turned over hundreds of possibilities. Turned out scheming was a good distraction from nerves. "We could make it invisible, like you're cloak."
"You told him about the cloak?" cried Peter, before James could respond.
James waved his arm, flapping the question away.
"But then we wouldn't be able to find it," said Remus.
"How about a book, or a piece of parchment or something? We could charm it so it would look like something else to other people," said Lily.
"Yes!" said James, beaming at her. "That's perfect."
"It's going to be a lot of complex charm work, you know," said Remus.
"We'll be fine," said Sirius confidently. "We've got –"
A knock on the compartment door interrupted their lively conversation. They all fell quiet and tried not to look like they were Up To No Good as an elderly lady in orange robes popped her head inside their compartment door.
"Anything from the trolley?" she asked.
On Sirius' questioning look, Remus quickly explained the trolley's function.
A few minutes later, the compartment door was firmly shut and their laps full of sweets.
"That was close," said Peter as he munched on a purple Slithering Snake.
"We shouldn't talk about it here," agreed Sirius. "Too many ears."
They all sank into a cheerful silence, snacking on chocolate and sweets and sharing conspiratorial glances.
"Peter!" cried James suddenly a few minutes later, almost choking on his chocolate frog. Sirius thumped him on the back while the black haired boy spluttered for air. "Is that a tail?" He finally managed to gasp, pointing at Peter's open bag.
"Oh, this?" asked Peter, reaching down and pulling out the offending item. "Yeah, it's a rat's tail. They keep them as amulets in Sweden."
Lily shuddered away from the tail in Peter's hand. "Can you put it away now?" she asked.
Peter shrugged and shoved it into his pocket. "It's only a tail," he said.
"Yeah, a disgusting one that looks like a worm," she said, shuddering again.
Peter shrugged again. "Suit yourself."
"So, how long is there to go until we get to Hogwarts?" asked Sirius, as Lily shifted in her seat, shooting distrustful glances at Peter's pocket.
"Another few hours," Remus told him. "Must always have ways to amuse oneself," he continued, reaching into his pocket. "Who wants to play Exploding Snap?"
Darkness had fallen before anyone thought of the time again. It was only when the train began to slow that they realized they were pulling into the station. Changing into their robes quickly, the five teenagers gathered their belongings and prepared to disembark.
The corridor of the train was full of bustling students, shouts of greeting, gossip and general mayhem. In the confusion, James took the opportunity to take Lily's hand in his. When she looked down in surprise, and then up at him, he simply looked at her innocently. Rolling her eyes, Lily looked away but she did not pull her hand out of its hold. The grin on James' face could have been spotted a mile away.
"Need help there, Wormtail?" asked Sirius, pulling Peter out from between two burly seventh years as they stepped off the train.
Peter looked at him in confusion. Behind them, Remus laughed.
"It's your new nickname, Pete," said Remus. "We all have one."
"Except me!" called Lily.
"It's a guy thing," said Sirius superiorly before Lily stomped on his foot.
"Ow!" he yelled, clutching at the wounded limb.
"Come on, let's go find a carriage," said Lily, ignoring Sirius' wails.
They set off towards the line of carriages, whispers following them as Lily and James led the way, still hand in hand.
Sirius, Remus and Peter followed behind. Remus nudged the black haired boy with this shoulder softly. Sirius' eyes sparkled in the moonlight as he grinned at Remus and nudged him back.
"You know," said Remus, with a laugh, "That you're currently the most interesting specimen in all of Hogwarts?"
Sirius looked away from Remus' playful eyes unwillingly and saw to his surprise that a number of students were staring at him with open curiosity. He grinned, waving at them and laughed as they averted their eyes in embarrassment. Turning back to Remus he leaned closer and whispered, "and do you find me interesting, Mr. Lupin?"
Remus could not help his smile as his heart stuttered unhelpfully in his chest.
"Why Mr. Black, I find you much more than interesting."
Beside them, Peter coughed loudly.
In usual Hogwarts style, by the time they entered the foyer before the great hall, gossip was circling around their heads at an alarming rate.
"Did you hear?"
" - Lily and James – "
"I heard he slipped her a potion…"
"Who's the new kid?"
" – over the summer, yeah – "
"He's the prince of Bavaria!"
" – what is she thinking?"
"He's pregnant, obviously…"
" - purple elephants - "
"I always thought he was gay."
"Mr. Black!" a sharp voice cut through the whispering around them.
They turned as one to see a thin, severe looking woman striding towards them.
"McGonagall," whispered James into Sirius' ear.
Professor McGonagall advanced casting warning looks at the students still dawdling in the foyer keen to see what would take place between the new student and Transfiguration professor.
"Miss Feither, hurry along then!" she waved a girl with dark brown hair into the Great Hall. "All of you, shoo!"
Soon James, Remus, Lily, Peter and Sirius stood alone with the Professor.
"You four, head into the Hall, please. Mr. Black, if you would follow me," said Professor McGonagall before striding off without a backwards glance. The teenagers exchanged glances before Lily nudged Sirius to follow. Remus managed to squeeze Sirius' hand reassuringly before he was pulled into the Great Hall.
By the time Professor McGonagall came to a stand-still, Sirius was thoroughly confused. He had followed her up numerous flights of stairs, through what seemed like a hundred hallways and past statue upon statue upon suit of armor. He had considered pulling out the map Remus had made him to see if he could at all figure out where he was but realized James had taken it with him into the Hall.
They were standing in front of a stone griffin and frowning a little, Sirius shot a sideways glance at his chaperone.
"Honeycomb stars," said McGonagall without warning.
"I'm sorry?" began Sirius before his attention was caught by the stone griffin that no longer seemed to be made of stone. It had moved to reveal a slowly revolving staircase. Before Sirius could continue to marvel, McGonagall pushed him towards the steps.
"Ah, here he is," said a voice once Sirius stepped off the stairs. Finding himself in a spacious but simultaneously cluttered office, Sirius looked around curiously.
Professor Dumbledore came around the side of his desk in order to clasp Sirius' hand.
"How have you been, m'boy?"
"Great, thank you," said Sirius, looking around in wonder. "This is your office, sir?" he asked.
Dumbledore chuckled. "Yes, yes it is. And those are the past headmasters of Hogwarts," he said, catching Sirius looking at the portraits on the wall. Most were eyeing the boy curiously, the others feigning sleep in order to spy more inconspicuously.
"I understand you have already met Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore. "She teaches Transfiguration and will be your head of house if you are sorted into Gryffindor."
Sirius looked behind him and was surprised to see that she had not followed him up the stairs.
"Professor McGonagall has gone to assist in the Sorting of the first years," Dumbledore explained. "Speaking of which, you too will need to be Sorted into one of our four houses. But first, Sirius, we have some paperwork that must be taken care of – "
"Sirius?!" cried a voice suddenly, interrupting the Headmaster. Both Dumbledore and Sirius turned to the portrait that had spoken.
The image of a man with slick black hair that had previously appeared to be sleeping glared down at them.
"And what does my great-great grandson think he's doing in this school?" the portrait sneered.
"Phineas," acknowledged Sirius in a cool tone. "I am here to learn, clearly."
Dumbledore watched the exchange with quiet amusement.
"You already have a school to learn at," said the portrait, lip curling.
Sirius chuckled darkly. "Hasn't mother told you? Hasn't she deemed it important enough to let the family know her son has run away?"
Phineas' eyebrows shot up in surprise but suspicion quickly clouded his features. Without so much as another sneer he walked out of the frame.
"And now we have to work quickly," said Dumbledore. Sirius jumped, having momentarily forgotten where he was.
"If your mother hears that you are at Hogwarts, intending to study she may well contact Durmstrang. Since you are not officially unenrolled from that school they have every right to block your intention to attend Hogwarts."
"However, if we hurry, we can sign all the necessary documents and seal your status as a Hogwarts student for good."
"But don't we need permission from my old school or that of a parent?" asked Sirius worriedly.
Dumbledore looked up from where he was signing a number of pages with a large golden quill.
"There are ways around that, m'boy," he winked, before turning back to the documents on his desk.
"Now, if I can just get you to sign here, here, here, here, and over here, we should be set."
Sirius scribbled his signature hastily and put down the quill in relief. Silver sparks flew from the parchment and zoomed around to form a shimmering ribbon around the paper that soon faded.
"And not a moment too soon," said Dumbledore with a smile as the papers glowed bright green. The silver sparks returned and again performed their locking motion. "I do believe that was Durmstrang trying to block the papers. Just a minute too late." He beamed at Sirius.
Sirius ran a hand through his hair and smiled. "It's all happening," he said in disbelief.
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes. Now come, I must give my welcome speech and we have to get you Sorted."
Sirius wrung his hands together nervously. Usually confident in all situations, he had come to realize that being introduced to hundreds of strangers who would no doubt be quick to judge him, was a little daunting. Sirius stood waiting with Professor McGonagall in a side chamber to the Hall, listening to Dumbledore wrap up his speech to the students before him.
"…and while I am sure you are hopelessly awaiting a scrumptious dinner, we have one final matter of business. This year we have a new, older, student to be sorted."
Mutters erupted around the hall and Dumbledore stood patiently, waiting for them to die down before continuing.
"He will be beginning Sixth year and while you will no doubt want to bombard him with questions, please respect his privacy. I am sure he will divulge his life story when he sees fit. May I introduce Sirius Black."
The level of noise in the hall rose dramatically as Sirius stepped out of the side chamber, followed by McGonagall.
Looking out at the sea of faces, Sirius could see that his name had caused quite the uproar, particularly at the table of green and silver – Slytherin – his brain supplied. He should have expected, really, that people would know who he was. Having heard from Lily, James and Remus the general stereotypes of each house, he realized with dawning horror that with his family's history he would certainly be placed in Slytherin.
Gulping, Sirius lowered himself onto a enlargened wooden stool. I do not want to be in Slytherin, he thought just as Professor McGonagall placed a battered wizard's hat on his head.
Sirius could hear the hall quiet before him, the students no doubt waiting with bated breath the verdict from the Sorting Hat. His eyes rove down the table of red and gold, and finally locked onto a pair of golden brown. Remus smiled encouragingly at him.
"You have a great deal of courage, I see," whispered the hat into Sirius' ear, "And are headstrong to the point of recklessness."The hat chuckled to itself. "No doubt a worthy candidate for Gryffindor.
"Yet you posses a devious mind also," it continued, "which would serve you well in Slytherin House. Your ambition, too, is great yet your loyalty to those you love is stronger… Hufflepuff, perhaps? A tricky one you are, Mr. Black, but I have always enjoyed a challenge." The hat fell silent for a moment and Sirius could sense it making its final decision.
"No, no, I think the best house for you is GRYFFINDOR!"
Cheers erupted from the table of red and gold and Sirius released a breath of air he had not noticed he'd been holding.
Standing up quickly and putting the Sorting Hat down on the stool, Sirius could not help but grin as he made his way to Gryffindor table. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Slytherins staring at him in shock and suspicion, a boy with greasy dark hair and a hooked nose standing out in particular. Turning away from the green and silver, Sirius strode confidently down the side of the table, heading determinedly in the direction of his friends. Relief tore through him, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Spotting James he punched the air exuberantly, eliciting another wave of cheers from the table. Remus sat opposite James, smiling at Sirius' boyish display as he walked towards him. Sirius grinned impishly and watched as Remus stood up and stretched out a hand to him. Curious whispers erupted again as Sirius, now close enough, took the offered hand and pulled Remus into a hug.
"I'm in Gryffindor!" he said into Remus' ear.
Remus laughed. "That you are. Come sit down."
Lily smiled at him from across the table, where she sat next to James, and Peter shook Sirius' hand as he sat down.
The dishes in front of them filled not a second later and everyone dove forward in order to fill their plates.
"Not bad, mate," said James around a mouthful of chicken. "You took your time up there though."
Sirius shrugged. "I posed a challenge for the hat," he said pompously before having to dodge a drumstick that came flying at his head.
Over his goblet of pumpkin juice, Dumbledore looked down at the laughing students with a twinkle in his eye.
"They seem almost complete now, don't they?" asked McGonagall from his left. Dumbledore turned in surprise to see the lady watching the five teenagers with an unidentifiable expression.
"They do, don't they, Minerva?" he agreed, turning back to observe the group. He smiled as he watched Sirius distract Lily so James could take the opportunity to turn her food blue. McGonagall harrumphed beside him.
"You'll no doubt be hearing a lot from them this year," said Dumbledore with a chuckle.
As Lily smacked James upside the head, his smile grew.
McGonagall sighed. "It seems so. I only hope that I will be able to count on Miss Evans and Mr Lupin to keep them in line. At least a little bit," she sighed in resignation as Peter set off a mini Filbuster Firework in the onion soup.
McGonagall made to stand up but Dumbledore placed a calming hand on her arm. "Let them have some fun," he said with his customary twinkle.
In the confusion following the exploding soup, Dumbledore watched as Remus leaned closer to Sirius. The black haired boy was so absorbed in whatever was being whispered in his ear that he did not notice Remus' arm snake around his neck, wand pointed at Sirius' head. A moment later Dumbledore openly guffawed as Sirius' hair turned the colour of bubble gum pink. The look of horror on the boy's face was priceless.
"Looks like the Marauders are back with bells on," said Dumbledore to himself.