Danger of Dreams
I dont own any of the Harry Potter characters
A couple of reviewers asked for a sequel to Keep On Dreaming, so this one follows James Regulus Black through his seventh year at Hogwarts. I'd appreciate thoughts and reviews, as always, and hopefully I can make this as enjoyable as the last one :)
The loud noise of the once exhilarating train station had long ago come to annoy and frustrate one James Regulus Black. He had long since abandoned the idea that school was thrilling and as truly delightful as his mother had always made out. Six years of watching parents cry at their childs departure was plenty enough to bore him of Platform nine and three quarters. It was particularly frustrating to have to watch his mother fawn over his siblings, and even more so when she attempted to stand on her tiptoes and kiss his forehead. It was not that he was on bad terms with his mother; on the contrary she was very much a friend as much as family - but he did not take well to the public humiliation that seemed to follow such events. His family was notorious it seemed, and when the whole station was watching him, it was somewhat embarassing to hear the sentence that caused his friends to laugh for the next five hours; "Don't forget we love you, and remember to owl us if you need anything at all!" The first year, those words had brought comfort - now they turned his stomach and made him feel rather pathetic. His father would then traditionally give him a brisk one-armed hug, and a sly whisper in his ear about how best to wreak havok on his classmates and teachers, while his mother glared at her husband in a manner that spoke volumes of knowing exactly what her husband was doing.
James' father was an infamous man who, having been wrongly accused of mass murder, was somewhat of a magnet for strange witches and wizards on the Platform. Many a time, James wondered if he were not being confused for his father, especially when he recieved bombardments of questions answered numerous times in newspaper articles, and they asked about 'his wife'. Needless to say, the implication that his mother was his wife was something of a disturbing one, and he found it much better to avoid such questions by ducking away from the conversation and seeking solace in more quiet and secluded areas.
As the gleaming scarlet steam engine pulled into the station, James begrudgingly allowed his mother to place a soft kiss on his forehead, nodding to her cursory words of assurance, before hugging her gently and giving her a promise that he would behave himself this year. He knew as he turned around that his father had seen the two fingers he had crossed behind his back, but knew also that part of his father took great pleasure in knowing that his three sons were as mischievous as he himself had been. Sirius Black grined at his son, pulling him into a tight hug and muttering quietly, "make sure you prank Pincer again, and write me! The humour of your mother is more than lacking." James grinned, pulling away with a small nod, barely perceptible to anyone but his father. Pincer was James' and Sirius' nickname for Madam Pince, the librarian, who James and his brothers had pranked the previous year, by having numerous books chase her around the library and yell obscenities into the early hours.
"Look after Lily," Sirius said, loud enough that Hermione would hear. James didn't miss the smile his mother sent Sirius' way, and was scared to think what reward his father would merit that evening for acting so loving and responsible a father.
James looked over at his timid little sister, currently gripping his younger brother Remus' hand and looking desperately scared. She was short and slim, with long straight hair that fell just below her shoulders, in the same caramel colour as her mothers. Her eyes were the same grey as her father and siblings, but the shy bookishness of her character came very much from Hermione. Whilst Sirius' aristocratic features and eyes had been passed to all of his children, only his sons had gained his hair and mischief. The youngest child, Jane Luna, was just nine, gripping onto James' other brother Alastor, with a somewhat excited look in her eye; James strongly suspected that it was the reassurances from both parents that it would be her turn to leave for Hogwarts next year.
Nodding at his father, James held his arms open for his youngest sister. "Do I get a hug?" He said pleadingly, kneeling down to his sisters height so that she could run into his arms. She squeezed him rather tightly, and whispered very quietly in his ear that she loved him, and that if he managed to get expelled this year it was perfectly fine by her.
"I'll do my best," he promised, kissing her cheek. "Love you too. Make sure Mummy and Daddy don't do the naughty too much. It's bad for them. It'll make Mummy fat."
James grinned as Sirius growled warningly to keep his voice down. "She's not old enough to know things like that."
"I knew when I was her age." James retorted proudly.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "And I made damn sure Harry got a good kick for it I can assure you."
Checking her watch, Hermione suddenly began pushing her children towards the train. "You've only got five minutes, now hurry! Make sure you write, and James if I hear that you're encouraging any bad behaviour then I'll..."
"Have you expelled and working at a Muggle Residents Home for the rest of the year. Yes Mum." James kissed her lightly on the cheek, then reached for Lily's hand, joining his two brothers as they headed for the train. "If I don't write, then she's almost definitely in Hufflepuff!"
Before either parent had a chance to reply - knowing that Sirius' would be one of utter amusement at the mere idea that any of his children were poncy enough to be in Hufflepuff - James had picked Lily up, and they were all jumping onto the train in an effort to escape the tirade of comments from their angry mother. Lily giggled, waving at their parents and yelling "I love you!" at the top of her small voice, before being set down just as the doors closed.
"Right," Alastor said, looking up at his ever-so-slightly taller brother with a small frown. "What do we do with her H.B pencil?"
James glowered at him darkly. "Just because you're my brother doesn't make you exempt from detention. And just because I'm Head Boy doesn't mean I won't have fun." He grinned. "Think I'll have heaps of fun personally."
"Yeah, right when you realize how thick you are and actually look at the bloody stupid badge of yours." Both Alastor and Remus grinned and stepped several feet backwards as James glanced down at the badge glinting on his chest. In bold letters it read "Hairy Balls". Turning a vivid shade of red, James glared at both of them. "You little...!"
"James!" Lily said, tugging at her brothers shirt. "Can we find a seat now please?"
He nodded, with a very sour glance at his two brothers, before opening the door to the next compartment. Alastor and Remus followed, keeping a safe metre or so away from James, who was easily better at duelling, and twice as quick as both of them put together. The first compartment was being used by several second years, all of whom looked at the group in utter fright. Perhaps it was the distinctly good looks, or even the badge on James' chest that was thankfully unreadable at a distance, perhaps it was the mere fact that the three boys looked so similar, and the way in which they seemed to treat the younger girl spoke volumes, it might even have been the sheer obviousness of their relation to Sirius Black; either way, the carriage remained silent as they walked through, and only after the compartment door closed did they speak again.
"If they give you trouble," Remus said, boldly running to stand next to his brother as he spoke to Lily, "then tell me, and I'll tell Alastor, and Alastor will tell James, and then we'll give them a good kick, OK?"
"Remus," James warned softly, "there'll be no kicking..." with a sudden grin, he whipped out his wand and turned Remus' black hair vivid pink. "We're wizards after all." The four laughed, passing through several more carriages before they came to one crammed full of timid looking first years, all of whom glanced at the three boys and squeaked in fear. James opened his mouth, but it was Alastor who stepped forward first, pushing Lily reassuringly forwards and speaking loudly to all of them.
"Alright settle down. No need to be scared, we're just the sons and daughter of a murderer! Seriously now guys, come on be quiet, it's not all fun and games!"
The few children who had dared speak stopped abruptly, looking at the new four as though they might hex them at any moment. "Good one brains," James heard Remus mutter, and couldn't quite stifle the grin on his face.
"We're not going to hurt you," Alastor said, in such a patronising manner that both James and Remus grimaced in disgust. "We're just bringing Lily down here and..."
"Alastor, shut up." James said, gritting his teeth. He looked at Lily, who appeared to be more scared than all of the other children. He nodded at her, smiling brightly and giving her a small push forwards. She hesitated, then said, "I'm Lily... I'm first year too..." A small redheaded girl stepped forward with a smile and held out a hand. "I'm Rowena." Several more stepped forward, and all three boys stepping slowly backwards, leaving Lily with her peers without another word.
"Why'd you do that?" Alastor said scornfully to James when they were walking back up the train. "I was doing just fine. They were shut up and listening and..."
"They were scared shitless." James said frankly. He smirked at Remus. "Sorry Remy, cover your ears."
"Piss off James."
Remus fell silent. Alastor looked carefully around then grinned. "Look, it's Oli and Ruby!" All three boys grinned as they walked into the next carriage, greeting their Uncle Harry's twin children. "Jamesy!" Ruby squeaked, hugging him tight around the waist.
After three years at Hogwarts, Ruby still found it neccesary to clench James in a fierce hug at every available oppurtunity. Her face, as it turned out, came to be right next to his badge and she gasped, jumping backwards.
"Eww. Why do you say Hairy Balls on your chest?"
Alastor and Remus grinned, suddenly finding an excuse to leave them to it. "I have two younger brothers who thought it'd be funny." He explained, waving his wand and rectifying it easily. Fortunately, the two were not yet advanced enough to know how to make such charms irreversible, and it was quite fine by him.
"I'd better be going too actually," James explained. "I'm meant to have gone to the front the second I got on here. I'll see you at dinner!"
James walked down the carriages for an hour, doing his Head Boy duties and preventing any scuffles that looked as though they were about to break out, and making sure the first years were doing well. This was easily his favourite part of the day, not simply because he was with his sister, but because he was doing something vaguely useful. The mixed assortment of looks that came his way - from fear, to admiration - made him nervous, but somehow he took comfort in the way his little sister sent a smile his way the moment he entered the compartment. He spent and hour eating lunch with his brothers and their mixed aged group of friends; somehow it had never surprised him how well the two got on, and it seemed that they had chosen friends that were not disgruntled to be seen with younger students. In the years during which Alastor attended without Remus, there had been little or no spark of interest when it came to Alastor, and though his humour was in tact and he managed plenty of pranks, the two years since Remus' arrival had simply brought out more in him than ever before. James himself felt somewhat alienated from his two brothers - not for discomfort, not even for lack of humour and pranks. He himself had replaced the Weasley twins as top Prankster, and on several occasions the three of them had pulled master pranks on unsuspecting victims together, usually cleverly enough to avoid detention. Yet somehow he was not as close to them as he was to Lily, who had, for all her eleven years, been the closest to him. He felt particularly protective over her, more so than over Alastor and Remus, and though he had often attempted to convince himself it was a matter of gender, he understood very well that Lily was simply what some might call his soulmate. He had contemplated it many a time, wondering if to call his sister his soulmate could be considered wrong, yet he knew why he referred to her as such- they were very similar, more so than he was with his brothers, despite the near identical looks. Lily was easily as intelligent as him, she was compassionate, she was kind, she knew how to be mischeivous and cheeky, but always knew when to stop. Like him, she could easily be seen to posess both their fathers qualities at times, and their mothers qualities at others. Sometimes he wondered if it was the story behind their names that brought them together, but at others he understood more so than ever that it was not their names so much as their souls.
He believed in souls. He believed in soulmates. Mostly, he believed in Lily.
The Great Hall was buzzing with pre-Sorting excitement, filled with teachers and students all dressed in crisp new robes. At the Staff table, James could make out Severus Snape, and the moment their eyes met he inclined his head respectfully in a nod. At that same moment, the somewhat frail Professor McGonagall cleared her throat, leading the first years up to the stool at the front of the hall, on which perched the frayed, patched and tattered wizards hat that was used to sort students into their houses. Lily walked past, scanning the tables for James, and the moment he saw her he lifted both thumbs up, a smile on his face. She seemed to skip suddenly, and he felt a slight pang at the idea that she might not be in his House. It had never really crossed his mind before; he supposed he must have assumed on a subconscious level that she would just be sorted with him, but with it so near, he felt that he was probably more nervous than Lily herself.
"Mate, what'd you look so bummed about?" A voice to his right interrupted his thought, and James turned to look at his best friend of six years, Deneb Lira. He was a blonde haired boy, with a skinny bone structure and a slightly wonky nose that looked as though it had been broken on numerous occasions. His eyes were a bright green, with speckles of brown that often made James feel unreasonably scrutinized. His lips were thin and pale, an odd fact, given that the rest of his skin was naturally brown. By no means was Deneb much to look at, but in more than one way, he'd proved himself a true friend over the years.
"I'm not." James said in a dull manner. "I'm just thoughtful."
Deneb snorted and twisted in his chair. "Which do you reckon we'll get? None of them look like they could play quidditch do they, and we need to fill the team up soon, we've only got three players now!"
James smiled. "Yeah you're right, we do. I dunno... that kid over there... the tall one with the brown hair... he could be a beater with a bit of practice. He's chunky. And he's sure as hell scary enough..."
"Yeah... but next to Askan? He'd look like an ant!"
James smiled. "Fair point. How about that other one... bit tubby but he'll thin out."
Deneb laughed unashamedly. "That's Longbottom! Can you imagine what a mess we'd be in if we had a Longbottom on our team? We'd be killed."
Sighing James shook his head. "Longbottom's aren't that bad."
"Not saying they are as people, but on a broom? We'd better just resign now! Can you imagine what Sn..."
"AHEM!" McGonnagall looked over at them with piercing eyes and both shrank back in their seats. James shot a small smirk at Deneb, then turned attentively to the Sorting, where the hat's brim opened into song:
In days gone by when I was young
The Founders thought it right,
To spread to you by fabric tongue
The words I speak tonight.
The lion came from mountains high,
To prowl upon the ground,
The snake it slid from forest low
To spread their magic round.
The badger crawled from in it's sett
To nurture younger minds,
The eagle flew from former threat
And the story now unwinds.
When Gryffindor he fought a duel,
He was the bravest man,
He sought out harsh and mean and cruel,
Who from his anger ran.
Fair Hufflepuff was mild and loyal,
She sang a different song,
She led the Founders through their toil
And kept their friendship strong.
Sweet Ravenclaw was wise and clever,
Attractive and divine,
She had herself a secret treasure
Of metal wrought and fine.
Slytherin was sly and pure,
With greatest high ambition,
He wanted to teach wizards raw
To follow in his mission.
They all agreed on fields one day
That school was of importance,
And so devised a perfect way
To offer constant guidance.
Bold Gryffindor he thought of me,
Sat proud upon his head,
He took me off, and as you see
I think for him instead.
"Sort the students some apart,
And House them in our names,
Be true and honest, right and smart,
Be sure they meet our aims."
It once was lost that they should be
Friendly to one another,
But in these recent years you see,
Your fellows are your brothers.
Fear not my friends which House you seek
You will not live in shame,
For whether you be loud or meek
The school sees you the same.
No sit right down upon this stool,
No need to be afraid,
Come join the nobles of this school,
Your fate must now be made
Along with the rest of the school, James clapped enthusiastically, grinning at Deneb as he recalled, in the same way he did every year, their own Sorting Song. "Come drink at the fountain of good will, it's not what you might think! Our school is just and kind and still, come in and take a drink." James was quite certain that over the years they had changed almost all, if not every one of the words in the song, as he had never heard the hat repeat anything of the like again.
Professor McGonagall called forward the first of the students -"Abbott, Helen"- and interrupted their laughter as she was sorted into Hufflepuff.
"No surprises there," Deneb muttered out of the corner of his mouth as he clapped his hands politely with the rest of the school.
James agreed, silently.
And finally, after what seemed like hours to James, who sat impatiently clencing his fists under the table on his knees- "Black, Lily."
An agonizing wait, and James was certain that his knuckles had turned white, his jaw had clenched and his eyes refused to blink...
James leapt up, applauding loudly with the rest of the school as Lily ran over to the Slytherin table with her eyes brimming with positive delight."
"I knew I'd be with you!" Lily squeaked in excitement, hugging her brother as they sat down. Deneb moved politely aside for Lily to be beside James.
James could only smile as he looked over at Alastor and Remus on the Gryffindor table, who both smiled at James and Lily before turning back to the sorting.
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Mage of the Heart