A Time Out Of Memory
by S. L
At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the year 1981:
James Potter, I'm going to kill you!" The familiar call awoke the sleeping Gryffindor, as usual, on the first day back from the summer holiday. After six years of the same rude awakening, the students were well used to it. Even the first years had heard about the on going feud between James Potter and Lily Evans.
"I love you too Lily dearest," was the answering call from the boy's sixth year dorm. James had been lying awake in his own bed for the past hour waiting for his rival to awaken to his newest act of mischief. It was just as he had imagined it to be.
Next to him, James' best friend Sirius Black rolled over, not the least bit startled by the wake up call. "What did you do to our darling this time, and without me, I might add?" he shot his friend a mock-angry look as he crawled out of bed.
Their other friend and dorm mate Remus Lupin sat up and pulled the blankets from his head as he watched Sirius' antics. Somehow the other boy had managed to entangle his legs into the twisted sheets, and fall to the floor in a flurry of feathers.
"Nothing terrible, I hope," Remus said as he shook his head hopelessly at his roommate. While James and Sirius never thought once while pulling pranks, and had no problem with rule breaking, their third friend, Remus, was always careful. He was the one that made sure all of their tricks were executed cautiously and without really hurting anybody (except Slytherins, of course).
James smiled brightly and hopped out of bed, giving Sirius a good natured push to the floor, just as he'd managed to dislodge his right foot. "Nah, nothing bad, she'll live." Changing the subject he looked over to the fourth bed. "Is Peter up yet?"
Sirius threw his bed sheets down to the floor with him, with a good natured grunt. "Him? Huh, he could sleep through anything," Sirius gestured to the fourth member of their group, a chubby boy, still in a very sound sleep. They could tell by the loud snores that issued from his bed.
Then the snores were muffled by the sudden pounding against the door that caused all three boys to turn and smile. They could just make out a muffled argument between the chattering voices of the sixth year Gryffindor girls. It seemed that Lily Evans quickly won, for it was her loud and angry voice that rang out next.
"You're lucky my friends took away my wand Potter, it seems now that I can't unlock your damn door!" James and Sirius snickered; Remus made a move to almost open the door, but stopped, reconsidering his options. No one wanted to face an angry Lily Evans, even when being helpful, for nothing infuriated her more than James. "Just let me tell you that the minute I see your ugly face, I'm gonna curse you so hard..."
A scream of protest followed the announcement, followed by several muffled cries. It seemed that Lily's captives had taken control once more.
"Sorry guys!" Anna, one of Lily's dorm mates, called out in a breathless voice. "We couldn't control her, we've got her wand for right now though, but James, I think you'd better take her warning seriously! She's just about had it with you, I think! You might want to stay away for a couple of days."
"Whose side are you on anyways?" A third voice retorted in a droll voice, this unmistakably belonged to Emily. "I wanna see her cream him- don't you? Besides, Lily is our friend and you shouldn't be consorting with the enemy!" Fortunately for the boys, Emily sounded merely amused, and not mad. When that girl got mad... well, she tended to have a temper worse than Lily even, and that was saying something.
Sirius bound towards the door and yelled happily through cupped hands. "Tell my most treasured Lily Billy, that we are all very astonished at James' horrifying actions and intent to kill him on the spot. He has disgraced the race of man as a whole and we will do anything to get rid of such a shameful- Marauder." He turned and winked at Remus, who smiled in return. "Anything for our darling Lily!"
Then, quicker than James, who was staring at Sirius in open mouth disgust, both Sirius and Remus leapt atop James. Remus laughed over James' squeals of protest, while Sirius called out to Lily in his most heroic voice. They tumbled around for a few minutes, and by the time they arose the three girls had gone.
"Disgraced the race of man as a whole?" James asked through the laughter. "Where the hell do you come up with this stuff Padfoot?"
Sirius shrugged, getting into another fight with his blankets as they had captured his arm in the fight. "Dunno, it just came to me. Perhaps I should be a poet?" A dreamy expression crossed his face, the sheets forgotten.
"If that's poetry, I'll kiss Snape," Remus said with a snort and began rummaging through his things. He looked towards Peter. "Shall we wake Pettigrew?"
They all exchanged looks and smiled. "Nah," they said in unison as the three friends began getting ready for breakfast.
The Gryffindors went about their first day of school, looking very sleepy indeed, after their abrupt awakening. In fact it was only James' group of friends, known widely as Marauders, that looked upbeat and cheerful. Peter, however, had not shone up for classes at all. It was rumored that he was still asleep in his dormitory, which believably, was a regular occurrence.
Other house members hook their heads sadly at the Gryffindors in their tired state, though the Slytherins were known to put in a few snide comments here and there.
Though nobody, Slytherin or no, dared to utter a word to Lily all day.
James had gotten her good this time, payback for her prank on him, on the last day of school last year. Hear ears were literally smoking and her face was flushed with angry blotches on her cheeks. Her normally brilliant green eyes were now more colorful than a rainbow, flashing different colors, faster than you could follow. That wasn't the worst of it even.
Somehow James had managed to shrink Lily. She was now no taller than a house elf, in very baggy witches robes that looked like they belonged to a doll. Lily was so small that her friends were forced to carry her books all day and even her wand looked too heavy for her to hold. That fact was probably the only reason that James Potter was still alive by the end of the day.
James himself had been seen dodging the particularly wrathful girl all day. Somehow, he always managed to sit on the opposite side of her in class, and didn't even bother showing up for meals. All the knowledgeable students knew of course, that James had done something bad as usual. Those who were not so knowledgeable tilted their heads curiously whenever James threw himself into a darkened hall, wondering why he was trying to escape a house elf.
The teachers, too, had not bothered to say a thing about James' behavior, or even Lily's appearance. After six years, they were well used to the feud by now. Their young, but very strict Transfiguration teacher had looked at the two long enough to shout, "Potter, detention," before returning to the lesson. James had simply smiled and bowed to the classroom accepting their laughs proudly.
"Uh, oh Jamie boy," Remus remarked, sometime after class had ended. "You'd better run, Lily Evans at two o'clock." He pointed in the vague direction of a very angry looking elf that was just entering the common room.
It was after dinner and the two Marauders were sitting in the common room, working on their homework- for once.
James leapt up immediately from his seat in front of the fire and ducked behind the sofa, trying very hard not to laugh.
He didn't have to wait long, only a moment passed before Evan's voice sounded. He had to stifle a cry of delight though at the sound of her much squeakier voice. He hadn't paid enough attention to notice that this morning.
"Remus, where is that damned friend of yours?" She shouted exasperatedly. The sounds of a struggled followed.
"Dunno Lil,'" Remus answered, though he too seemed to be hiding giggles. "Need help getting on the couch?" James nearly burst out laughing at the image of a little Evans struggling to reach the high Gryffindor couches.
"Yes!" Was the reply, then, "Honestly Remus, this stupid spell better ware off soon, or I'll kill him! Hell- I'm gonna kill him anyways!"
"Oh come on Lily, you've done worse to him."
"I have not!"
"Yes you have!"
"Fine, but that's going to be nothing compared to what I am planning to do to him after this damned spell ends."
"What's that Lily?"
"I don't quite know yet, but it's going to be huge!" Evans laughed evilly. "Well goodnight Remus, I think I'm just going to finish my homework in my dorm. Tell me if you find bigheaded Potter though!"
James had only to wait another minute before Remus' head appeared over the couch and smiled. "She's gone, and might I say that I think I should be owed thanks for my splendid work. I could have told her where you were and ensured myself a good hour's worth of entertainment."
Laughing, James scampered back to his seat, ignoring the stares of his other housemates. "Oh, that was classic, but please, you've got to tell me how hilarious it was seeing Evans' trying to get up on the couch!"
Remus' laughs joined his friends. "Oh it was priceless, but don't tell her I thought it was funny, or I'll be joining you in the graveyard."
"Really Moony, I don't see why you two are friends, I couldn't put up with her for a minute!"
"Really Prongs, I don't see why you two aren't friends. You're more alike that you think."
James stopped laughing, as far as he was concerned, that was a matter not to be taken lightly. "Friends? With Evans?" he snorted, regaining his usual joyful demeanor. "I'd sooner marry that girl before become her friend!"
Marriage, my dear partners in crime?" Said a familiar voice as Sirius bound up to the boys. "Now which one of my mate's is getting married? Who's the lucky dame?"
Remus opened his mouth to inform Sirius, but James intercepted him. Once Sirius got an idea in his head, it stayed there. If he knew the joke was about Evans and him, Sirius would never let him live it up.
"Nothing Padfoot, we were just planning our next adventure. Full moon's in a week you know." James smiled to complete the story. Remus looked tolerant and unreadable, it was the way he always acted when his lycanthrope was mentioned.
Their friend looked more hurt than ever. "Without me? How dare you?" Sirius' lip quivered. "Just because of that, I don't think that I am going to tell you my good news." Then he turned pouting; his head thrown back and his lip out, eyes screwed shut tightly.
That statement got the other's attention immediately. "What good news?"
"Nope you've gone and hurt my feelings. You don't deserve my information." He crossed his arms across his chest and huffed. Altogether Sirius Black looked like a sullen child; James could almost laugh at his best friend, but decided that he wanted to hear the so-called good news first.
He poked his friend. "Don't be like that Padfoot, old friend, we were waiting for you to show up- honest!" Sirius opened one eye and glared at his friend. "Tell us the news of I'll show that picture I've got of you, to the entire school!"
Sirius gasped incredulously. "You wouldn't dare!"
James nodded grimly.
"Fine," he said resuming his usual nonchalant manner, and plopped on the couch. "The Defense teacher's quit; said that he finally had enough of this place."
Both of his friends frowned. "Professor Brooks?" Remus asked. "But it's the first day back, why would he quit today? I mean he always had seemed like a bit of a head case, but really, he could have only had one class already."
Sirius looked away innocently, but James saw right through him. "Sirius, what did you do?"
His friend looked up and grinned. "Nothing much, but I'll accept your thanks."
Twenty years later in the year 2001, in the very spot where Sirius, James, and Remus were joking, three other such students were also talking:
"So what is that thing Harry?" Asked the girl who had particularly bushy hair, but an otherwise composed disposition.
She was talking to a boy with messy black hair and glasses. The boy shrugged at his friend's question. He looked extraordinarily like James once had so many years ago. "Dunno," he said. "It came at breakfast when you were at the library. Dumbledore says it shouldn't be dangerous, but he wouldn't touch it."
"What did Sirius- er, I mean, what did Snuffles say about it?" The second boy asked. He was tall and lanky, with flaming red hair and a number of freckles sprinkled across his face. Unlike the girl he stood next too, he was in complete disarray. He was disorder, from his dusty robes to his untied shoes.
"He took a look at it, but couldn't get it open. He said he'd never seen anything like it," was the short answer.
The girl considered this for a moment while the red headed boy took the thing in his hands and examined it. "You didn't show this to anyone else did you?"
Harry shook his head. "Nope, no one seemed to notice its coming at breakfast. Then I went straight to Dumbledore. I only happened to see Snuffles on my way back here, and then you two showed up."
"I dunno Harry," the second boy said fearfully. "What if its from... You-Know-Who?" He ended in a hushed voice.
Unlike most people, when discussing the fearful Dark Lord, Harry looked calm. "I don't think it's from him. It doesn't really seem to be his style. First of all, Hedwig delivered it, and second, it hasn't tried to kill me, or transport me anywhere- yet. He's more of an immediate kind of person."
The red headed boy passed the box to the girl. "Here Hermoine, see what you think of it."
Hermoine ran her hands over the thing, looking for a clasp, but finding nothing. "I haven't a clue as to what it could be. Though I'd believe Dumbledore Harry. He's usually right, and we can trust him." She pursued her lips. "Even so, maybe you'd better hide it away, just in case it's a port key or something." The girl nodded finally. "Yes, that's what should be done. Just run it up to your dorm so that we're not late to Transfigurations. McGonagall will have a fit if we're late."
"Thanks Hermoine, Ron." Harry said, meaning his thanks. He was so grateful to have such good friends. "You two go on to class, I think that I'm going to go to the hospital wing first," Harry said rubbing at his temples.
Hermoine immediately looked concerned. "What's wrong Harry?"
"Not your scar is it?" Ron put in, sounding worried. Already he was beginning to glance about the room nervously as if expecting the Dark Lord to show up at any second.
"Nah, it's nothing serious really. I just have a bit of a headache is all. Go on then," Harry gave his friends a reassuring smile and watched them leave the empty common room uneasily.
Harry was very fond of his friends and wanted to follow their advise, but there was something about the box... Dumbledore really hadn't been any help; he hadn't managed to stop the uneasy feeling in his stomach, at least. Harry was sort of anxious too, the way he was right before a Quidditch match.
Sirius had done nothing, but worry him even more, if possible. He knew his godfather was safe under the powers of the polyjuice potion. He had been going around as Dumbledore's dear friend 'Sean Craley' since last May, but the guise still made Harry worry. All the teachers knew who he really was of course, and had been told the truth, but it still made him uneasy. What if someone discovered? No Harry's godfather hadn't done much more than upset him further, but as always, Harry was grateful for his help.
He really didn't think that it was Lord Voldemort either. Though the Dark Lord had plagued him for all of his years at Hogwarts, this just lacked the usual grandeur. No, Harry thought, this most definitely wasn't the Dark Lord's doing at all. At least, he desperately hoped it wasn't.
Harry Potter walked slowly up the dormitory steps to his room and sat down on his trunk, turning the box about in his hands as if looking for answers. Who could have sent it? What did it do? As he passed all kinds of thoughts through his worried head, he felt a nauseating tug from behind his navel, an all too familiar feeling. He barely had time to clutch at the trunk beneath him before all of his senses blanked out completely.
Little did he know that his two friends and his godfather, all of the beings that had come in contact with the box, were experiencing similar sensations.