A/N: Hey readers! Sorry I waited so long to update…new ideas for fanfiction pouring in. I already started another story, so please read and give reviews! I promise to get updated faster! Thanks for the support to those who read my stories!

~Isabella248

To all readers: I think I've failed to mention this but this story takes place nearing the end of James', Sirius', Remus', Lily's and everyone else's 6th year. They should be about two months away from the summer holidays. Thought I should point this out in case there's any confusion in the story.

O~O~O~O

Hermione and Ron both cried out in excitement at the new arrival. The girl looked no more than sixteen, with long red hair and brown eyes. As surprised as she was to find herself in the headmaster's office, she too was excited at the sight of her brother and friend.

"Ginny!" Ron and Hermione called out. They both ran to hug the surprised Weasley.

"Ron! Hermione! What are we doing in the headmaster's office?" Ginny asked. She looked around and spotted the others in the room, all of whom were looking at her with curious expressions. Her eyes widened at the sight of James and Lily.

Her hand instinctively reached for her wand, but Ron shook his head. "Don't worry," he reassured her. "They're not Deatheaters."

Ginny wasn't all too certain but relaxed at Hermione's nod. She gazed warily at the others in the room, surprise flitting across her face at their familiarity, but her eyes continually darted back to Harry's parents-to-be.

"Excuse me, but who are you?" Remus asked, though when he noticed the red hair, he had a suspicion he knew who she was.

"Ginny Weasley," she proclaimed.

"My little sister," Ron added proudly.

Molly squealed and ran to hug her daughter-to-be, Arthur following close behind. "A girl! A girl! At last, a daughter!" Molly said affectionately. Sirius whispered something to James. Whatever it was, no one knew, but everyone assumed it was something inappropriate because Remus and Lily (who had obviously heard) both smacked the laughing Sirius and James.

Dumbledore conjured up another chair.

"What are you all doing?" Ginny asked, sitting next to Lily.

"Reading about Harry, what else," Ron shrugged.

"It's called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Lily added, smiling at the girl. Ginny smiled back, but then the title sunk in.

"This is about Harry's first year?" Everyone nodded. "What part are you at? Is he at Hogwarts?"

"Not yet," Hermione answered. But then she smiled evilly. "We're just about to read when Harry gets his first Hogwarts letter."

Ginny, who had been told personally by Harry about the entire thing, choked back her laughter. This was going to be amusing.

Not bothering to discover the reason for his daughter-to-be's strange behavior—nor did he stop to think of why Ron and Hermione were smirking evilly with anticipation—Arthur picked up the book and began reading.

Chapter Four: The Keeper of the Keys

"Hagrid?" Sirius asked.

"Maybe," Remus answered. "But he could've retired by then, so it may be someone else."

James snorted. "The day Hagrid permanently leaves Hogwarts will be the same day I give up Quidditch," he exclaimed.

BOOM. They knocked again. Dudley jerked awake.

"Where's the cannon?" he said stupidly.

"What's a cannon and why is he dreaming about it?" Sirius asked. No one bothered answering, as this seemed entirely irrelevant to everything else.

There was a crash behind them and Uncle Vernon came skidding into the room. He was holding a rifle in his hands—

"Oh no, he has a rifle!" Lily gasped.

"What's that?" Sirius looked to Hermione.

"A Muggle device used for hunting…or hurting people," she added softly, but everyone still heard her.

now they knew what had been in the long, thin package he had brought with them.

"Who's there?' he shouted. " I warn you—I'm armed!"

Sirius snickered. "If it really is Hagrid, I don't think that Muggle thingy is going to help him any."

There was a pause. Then—

SMASH!

An equally loud noise resonated through the office. No one would've been surprised if Sirius or James had done it, but the noise came from beside Lily. Ron and Ginny, who had caused the noise, were laughing uncontrollably at everyone's bewildered expressions. Most of them fell out of their chairs at the noise and were staring at her in shock.

"Sorry, but the mood was so tense and I couldn't stand it," Ginny apologized, but laughing at the same time. "Thought I should lighten the mood a bit."

Sirius, James and Remus were shocked to find that this girl had outmaneuvered them and done something so freaking hilarious!

Lily was clutching her chest and breathing deeply to steady her heartbeat, paying no mind to the three Marauders ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing), their faces blue from lack of breath. Everyone else, when recovered, shook their heads, especially Molly. Raising her daughter was going to be on hell of an experience.

Arthur picked up the book and continued, throwing his daughter a proud smirk as he was doing so.

The door was hit with such force that it swung clean off its hinges and with a deafening crash landed flat on the floor.

A giant of a man was standing in the doorway. His face was almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles under all the hair.

"HAGRID!" Sirius and James cried out, their faces brimming with exultation. Remus, who was still chuckling, did not bother reprimanding them.

The giant squeezed his way into the hut, stooping so that his head just brushed the ceiling.

Everyone who knew Hagrid chuckled, knowing the half-giant's aversion of what he considered "rooster-sized" doorways.

He bent down, picked up the door, and fitted it easily into its frame. The noise of the storm outside dropped a little. He turned to look at them all.

"Couldn't make us a cup o'tea, could yeh? It's not been an easy journey…"

"Good ol' Hagrid," Sirius laughed. Everyone else smiled.

He strode over to the sofa where Dudley sat frozen with fear.

"Budge up, yeh great lump," said the stranger.

Sirius, James and even Remus burst out laughing. Ron, Hermione and Ginny joined. Everyone else chuckled slightly at the comment.

Dudley squeaked and ran to hide behind his mother, who was crouching, terrified, behind Uncle Vernon.

"Oh, please," Lily said, rolling her eyes.

"An' here's Harry!" said the giant.

Harry looked up into the fierce, wild, shadowy face and saw that the beetle eyes were crinkled in a smile.

"Las' time I saw you, you was only a baby," said the giant. "Yeh look a lot like yer dad, but yeh've got yer mom's eyes."

Sirius, Remus and the others smiled warmly, looking at the couple. James and Lily beamed at the description. Ron, Hermione and Ginny smiled, wondering when it had started annoying Harry whenever people pointed that out.

Uncle Vernon made a funny rasping noise.

Sirius started wheezing, almost like he was having a stroke. "Is that how he sounded?"

Lily rolled her eyes while James laughed. Remus just shook his head in amusement.

"I demand that you leave at once, sir!" he said. "You are breaking and entering!"

"Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune," said the giant;

Everyone burst out laughing.

he reached over the sofa, jerked the gun out of Uncle Vernon's hands, bent it into a knot as easily as if it had been made of rubber, and threw it into a corner of the room.

And harder. James and his two brothers were practically dying of laughter.

Uncle Vernon made another funny noise, like a mouse being trodden on.

Sirius whispered to Remus and James, "Don't think Wormy's gonna like that comparison." They chuckled. Lily looked at them suspiciously. Wormy…mouse?

"Anyway—Harry," said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, "a very happy birthday to yeh.

Lily smiled. "He remembers," she breathed.

Ron chuckled. "Of course he does," he said. "He wouldn't forget; he sends him gifts during every occasion."

Got summat fer yeh here—I mighta sat on it at some point, but it'll taste all right."

"Uh oh," Sirius gasped dramatically. "Hagrid's cooking." Anyone who tasted the half-giant's food shuddered and chuckled at the same time.

"Poor Harry," Ron shook his head but sniggering. "No one warned him about the food."

From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.

"Awww," the girls cooed. The boys just smiled at the warmth.

Harry looked up at the giant. He meant to say thank you, but the words got lost on the way to his mouth, and what he said instead was, "Who are you?"

Lily huffed. "That was rude."

James laughed. "He meant to say thank you. Shows he has manners, Lily." Lily frowned, but then smiled. Snape rolled his eyes. He still considered the situation rude.

The giant chuckled.

"True, I haven't introduced meself. Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts."

Sirius smiled. "Glad to know he's still there. He'll take care of Harry," he said.

He held out an enormous hand and shook Harry's whole arm.

"What about that tea then, eh?" he said, rubbing his hands together. "I'd not say no ter summat stronger if yeh've got it, mind."

Everyone laughed. "Same as ever," Sirius smiled.

Lily frowned. "He better not drink in front of my son."

His eyes feel on the empty grate with the shriveled chip bags in it and snorted. He bent down over the fireplace; they couldn't see what he was doing but when he drew back a second later, there was a roaring fire there.

McGonagall stiffened. "Did he just do magic? He's not allowed to," she said in her ever-so-familiar strict tone.

Albus waved his hand. "Tis a minor detail, Professor McGonagall," he said. McGonagall huffed, refusing to let it go and already planning to visit the gatekeeper on the matter.

It filled the whole damp hut with flickering light and Harry felt warmth wash over him as though he'd sunk into a hot bath.

James' smile widened. "Good, Harry won't be cold anymore." Lily smiled at that; Snape just glowered.

The giant sat back down on the sofa, which sagged under his weight, and began taking all sorts of things out of the pockets of his coat: a copper kettle, a squashy package of sausages, a poker, a teapot, several chipped mugs, and a bottle of some amber liquid that he took a swig from before starting to make tea.

Lily huffed but said nothing.

Soon the hut was full of the sound and smell of sizzling sausage.

Sirius groaned. "Aw, this book is making me hungry again," he complained.

Remus rolled his eyes at his friends. "The mere mention of food would make you hungry, Padfoot."

Frank shook his head. "It's a wonder how he kept all that in just his coat!" he exclaimed. "I wouldn't be surprised if he had an animal in there somewhere!" (A/N: I couldn't help but put that in!)

Nobody said a thing while the giant was working, but as he slid the first six fat, juicy, slightly burnt sausages from the poker, Dudley fidgeted a little. Uncle Vernon said sharply, "Don't touch anything he gives you, Dudley."

The giant chuckled darkly.

"Yer great puddin' of a son don' need fattenin' anymore, Dursley, don' worry."

"YEAH!" practically everyone shouted in the room. Sirius added, "Give some to Harry, though."

"I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing," Lily whispered.

He passed the sausages to Harry, who was so hungry he had never tasted anything so wonderful,

Sirius' eyes widened. "Whoa, you mean he actually cooked something edible!" he gasped. "It' a MIRACLE!" he and James shouted in unison. Everyone else shook their heads at the antics.

but he still couldn't take his eyes off the giant. Finally, as nobody seemed to explain anything, he said, "I'm sorry, but I still don't know who you are."

The giant took a gulp of tea and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Call me Hagrid," he said, "everyone does. An' like I told yeh, I'm Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts—yeh'll know all about Hogwarts, o' course."

Ginny, Hermione and Ron all smirked—this was going to be amusing. The others just stared at each other nervously. Hagrid upset is not a good thing.

"Er—no," said Harry.

Hagrid looked shocked.

"Sorry," Harry said quickly.

Remus shook his head. "Why is he apologizing?" he asked.

Ginny huffed. "He always thinks something's his fault when it's not," she growled. "Trust us, we know better than anyone!" Hermione and Ron nodded in agreement.

"Sorry?" barked Hagrid, turning to stare at the Dursleys, who shrank back into the shadows.

"As they should," Alice huffed.

"It's them as should be sorry! I knew yeh weren't gettin' yer letters, but I never thought yeh wouldn't even know abou' Hogwarts, fer cryin' out loud! Did yeh never wonder where yer parents learned it all?"

"All what?" asked Harry.

"ALL WHAT?" Hagrid thundered.

"Yah, you yelled!" Sirius cried out while others jumped up from their seats. That was the first any have heard Arthur yell.

Arthur shrugged. "I'm a bit angry myself about how Harry was lied to," he explained before returning to reading.

"Now wait jus' one second!"

He had leapt to his feet. In his anger he seemed to fill the whole hut. The Dursleys were cowering against the wall.

"Wish I could be there to see this," Sirius said. Like Hermione, Ron and Ginny, he was smirking evilly at the Dursley's discomfort.

"Do you mean ter tell me," he growled at the Dursleys, "that this boy—this boy!—knows nothin' abou'—about ANYTHING?"

Hermione and Lily huffed. "Don't say that about him," Lily growled. "He's plenty smart."

"That'll just make Harry feel bad," Hermione reprimanded.

Harry thought this was going a bit far. He had been to school, after all, and his marks weren't bad.

"They better not be, Petunia's already in enough trouble. If I hear he's failing school, I'm going to risk expulsion and do illegal magic on her arse!" Lily threatened. Both James and Snape found the mental image very entertaining.

"I know some things," he said. "I can, you know, do math and stuff."

But Hagrid simply waved his hand and said, "About our world, I mean. Your world. Yer parent's world."

"What world?"

Hagrid looked as if he was about to explode.

Sirius, who had summoned a house-elf to ask for food just moments earlier, was happily eating popcorn from a bowl, getting more and more entertained. He passed the popcorn around but kept his eyes on the book as if he were watching a movie.

"DURSLEY!" he boomed.

Sirius smiled as Arthur yelled; the others groaned, their ears beginning to hurt.

Uncle Vernon, who had gone very pale, whispered something that sounded like, "Mimblewimble."

James and Sirius laughed; the others chuckled.

Hagrid stared wildly at Harry.

"But yeh must know about yer mom and dad," he said. "I mean, they're famous. You're famous."

"Are we really?" Lily asked Hermione, Ron and Ginny.

All three nodded. "You're plenty famous," Hermione replied. "Everyone in the Wizarding world knew who you two were."

Lily smiled; surprisingly, James didn't.

At that, Snape could no longer hold in his vexation. "What's the matter, Potter? Is your head too swollen from fame that you can't even speak?"

Everyone stiffened, looking from James to Snape.

"Severus," Lily scolded.

"Leave him alone, Snivellus!" Sirius cried out, his hand drawing toward his wand, ready with a hex in mind.

Even more surprisingly, in a low voice that held no venom but only pain, he whispered, "I'm not pleased with the reason for why Lily, Harry and I are famous, unless you've failed to notice, Snape!"

Everyone frowned when James said that, the mood now solemn—they wouldn't want to be famous for that, either. Sirius, Lily, and Snape were shocked rather than sad. They were surprised James hadn't hexed Severus, insulted him or called him Snivellus.

It took a while before the reading continued, but Lily continued looking at James from the corner of her eye.

"What? My—my mom and dad weren't famous, were they?"

Lily frowned. Now that she thought over James' words, she didn't like being famous, either.

"Yeh don' know…yeh don' know…" Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair, fixing Harry with a bewildered stare.

"Yeh don' know what yeh are?" he said finally.

"Of course not, or else he would've known about Hogwarts!" Remus pointed out, getting impatient.

Uncle Vernon suddenly found his voice.

"Stop!" he commanded. "Stop right there, sir! I forbid you to tell the boy anything!"

Sirius snorted, still not entirely over what Snape said to James, so his voice was a bit harsher than intended. "Try and stop him, you whale!"

A braver man than Vernon Dursley would have quailed under the furious look Hagrid now gave him; when Hagrid spoke, his every syllable trembled with rage.

Everyone smirked evilly (everyone except Snape, who was looking at James, still shocked that he hadn't been hexed or insulted yet).

"You never told him? Never told him what was in the letter Dumbledore left fer him? I was there! I saw Dumbledore leave it, Dursley! An' you've kept it from him all these years?"

Sirius cackled evilly. "I hope Hagrid gives them what they deserve!"

McGonagall huffed—angry or not, she didn't want to hear of Hagrid doing illegal magic.

"Keep what from me?" said Harry eagerly.

"STOP! I FORBID YOU!" yelled Uncle Vernon in panic.

Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.

"Drama queens," Ron muttered.

"Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh," said Hagrid. "Harry—yer a wizard."

Everyone cheered.

There was silence inside the hut. Only the sea and the whistling wind could be heard.

"I'm a what?" gasped Harry.

Everyone laughed. "Good reaction, mate," Ron said between laughs.

"I've always wanted to know if Harry left out something when he told me this story," Ginny giggled. She smirked evilly. "I'm going to make sure he's never going to forget this." James, Sirius and Remus (all seriousness forgotten) looked at each other, entertained by Ginny's words. They liked this girl—no doubt, she is a prankster!

"A wizard, o' course," said Hagrid, sitting back down on the sofa, which groaned and sank even lower, "an' a thumpin' good'un, I'd say, once yeh've been trained up a bit.

"Hagrid wasn't lying when he said that," Ginny whispered to Hermione and Ron.

With a mum an' dad like yours, what else would yeh be?

James beamed and Lily blushed at the compliment.

An' I reckon it's abou' time yeh read yer letter."

"Yah, he gets his letter," Sirius cried out happily.

Harry stretched out his hand at last to take the yellowish envelope, addressed in emerald green to Mr. H. Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea.

James frowned and Lily growled at the address. Everyone else (excluding the teachers and Snape) were forming their own plots of revenge against these horrid Muggles.

He pulled out the letter and read:

HOGWARTS SCHOOL

OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDY

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,

Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Headmistress

James beamed at his Head of House. "I'm glad you're still there, Minnie," he said sincerely.

McGonagall smiled, but then frowned. "Don't call me Minnie," she had tried to say curtly but her voice was softer than usual. The others just smiled.

Questions exploded inside Harry's head like fireworks and he couldn't decide which to ask first. After a few minutes he stammered, "What does it mean, they await my owl?"

"Good first question, pup!" Sirius said, laughing. The others just shook their heads in amusement.

"Gallopin' Gorgons, that reminds me," said Hagrid, clapping a hand to his forehead with enough force to knock over a cart horse, and from yet another pocket inside his overcoat he pulled an owl—a real, live, rather ruffled-looking owl—

"An owl?" Remus gaped at the book. "He pulled an owl out of his pockets?"

"Poor owl," Frank said.

"Don't know why you say that, it's funny," James said laughing. His laugh was contagious and soon everyone began laughing.

a long quill, and a roll of parchment. With his tongue between his teeth he scribbled a note that Harry could read upside down:

Dear Professor Dumbledore

Give Harry his letter.

Taking him to buy his things tomorrow.

Weather's horrible. Hope you're well.

Hagrid

"Hagrid's really funny," Alice commented, who was among the two people in the room who wasn't as close to Hagrid to know his personality (the other is Snape).

Hagrid rolled up the note, gave it to the owl, which clamped it in its beak, went to the door, and threw the owl out into the storm. Then he came back and sat down as though this was as normal as talking on the telephone.

"It is normal," Sirius commented.

"Not to those raised by Muggles," Hermione contradicted. "I found it really weird the first time I've seen that."

Harry realized his mouth was open and closed it quickly.

"Where was I?" said Hagrid, but at that moment, Uncle Vernon, still ashen-faced but looking very angry, moved into the firelight.

"Of course he's going to try and stop Harry," Lily growled.

"He's not going," he said.

"I'd like to see him try," Sirius snorted.

Hagrid grunted.

"I'd like ter see a great Muggle like you stop him," he said.

"A what?" said Harry, interested.

"Hagrid's gonna tell him," Ron interjected before Hermione could launch into her speech about Muggles.

"A Muggle," said Hagrid, "it's what we call nonmagic folk like them.

"Let it go," Ginny whispered to Hermione, who looked like she wanted to add on to that explanation.

An' it's your bad luck you grew up in a family o' the biggest Muggles I ever laid eyes on."

Sirius laughed. "Does he mean that literally because he wouldn't be lying."

"We swore when we took him in we'd put a stop to that rubbish," said Uncle Vernon, "swore we'd stamp it out of him! Wizard indeed!"

"Stamp it out of him?!" Hermione growled. "That's absolutely ridiculous! It's people like them that give Muggles bad names!"

"You knew?" said Harry. "You knew I'm a—a wizard?"

"Harry's not too happy, either," Sirius said sadly—why couldn't he and Remus have been the ones to raise their best friend's son?

"Knew!" shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. "Knew! Of course knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was?

"Excuse me, what did you call her?" James cried out, venom in his words. Snape glowered at the book, looking like he wanted to set it on fire.

Everyone else just glared angrily. Arthur read the next lines angrily.

Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that—that school—and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats.

"I thought we couldn't do magic outside of school?" Ron questioned, trying to lighten the tension. It worked, slightly.

Lily shrugged, sad at her sister's words. "We can do magic, to show our parents that we're being taught something." She waited for Arthur to continue.

I was the only one who saw her for what she was—a freak!

Ron huffed. "She's not a freak!" he and Hermione growled. He snorted. "I bet the real reason she's so bitter is because she's jealous."

Lily smiled slightly at Ron's words.

But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family."

She stopped to draw a deep breath and then went ranting on. It seemed she had been wanting to say all this for years.

"Yes, she probably wanted to," James said. He was getting more and more tempted to hex Lily's sister with each line.

"Then she met that Potter at school and they left and got married and had you,

Despite the situation, James couldn't help but smile at that. Lily blushed, just another proclamation that she would marry James in the future.

and of course I knew you'd be just the same, just as strange, just as—as—abnormal—and then, if you please, she went and got herself blown up and we got landed with you!"

Ginny wasn't sure if she should be livid or sad. "I can't believe she would say that to Harry," she sighed. "It's no wonder he always looks sad when you two are mentioned."

Hermione and Ron frowned. They didn't like those moments when Harry was upset. James and Lily flinched. They didn't want to hear of their deaths causing Harry so much pain.

Harry had gone very white. As soon as he found his voice he said, "Blown up? You told me they died in a car crash!"

Sirius's evil smile returned slightly. "Hagrid's not gonna like that."

"CAR CRASH!" roared Hagrid, jumping up so angrily that the Dursleys scuttled back to their corner. "How could a car crash kill Lily an' James Potter? It's an outrage! A scandal! Harry Potter not knowin' his own story when every kid in our world knows his name!"

"Don't say that like it's a good thing," Ginny murmured. Seeing the puzzled looks on their faces, she answered everyone's question, "Harry hates being famous, too."

"But why? What happened?" Harry said urgently.

The anger faded from Hagrid's face. He looked suddenly anxious.

Dumbledore sighed. It looked like Hagrid would be the one to explain, and he wasn't sure if that was the best decision.

"I never expected this," he said, in a low, worried voice. "I had no idea, when Dumbledore told me there might be trouble gettin' hold of yeh, how much yeh didn't know. Ah, Harry, I don' know if I'm the right person ter tell yeh—but someone's gotta—yeh can't go off ter Hogwarts not knowin'."

"Wonder what it would've been like if he didn't know," Ron mused.

Hermione shuddered at the mental image. "If he didn't, he probably would've been confused—and frightened—by everyone's staring. I'm not sure hearing it from other students or even the teachers would've been any better."

He threw a dirty look at the Dursleys.

"Well, it's best yeh know as much as I can tell yeh—mind, I can't tell yeh everythin', it's a great myst'ry, parts of it…"

Sirius frowned. He didn't really want to hear how James died.

He sat down, stared into the fire for a few seconds, and then said, "It begins, I suppose, with—with a person called—but it's incredible yeh don't know his name, everyone in our world knows—"

"Not everyone," Hermione contradicted. "Muggles didn't know."

"Lucky them," Sirius grumbled.

"Who?"

"Well—I don' like sayin' the name if I can help it. No one does."

"Still?" James said in disbelief. "Oh, please, it's just a name!"

"Why not?"

Ron looked at Hermione. "Why were you so scared to say his name?" Ron asked. Hermione blushed and scowled.

"I read about him in some books," she answered softly. She shivered. "I really didn't like learning about what he did to Muggles and wizards." Ron nodded. That was reasonable. He heard the stories, too, and that contributed to his fear of the name greatly.

"Gulpin' gargoyles, Harry, people are still scared. Blimey, this is difficult. See, there was this wizard who went….bad.

"More than bad," Remus added.

As bad as you could go. Worse. Worse than worse. His name was…."

Hagrid gulped, but no words came out.

"Could you write it down?" Harry suggested.

"He probably can't spell it," James pointed out.

"Nah—can't spell it.

James smiled smugly.

All right—Voldemort."

Remus, Sirius and James started clapping. Everyone stared at them. "He made Hagrid say the name, that's a huge accomplishment!" Sirius said happily.

Everyone rolled their eyes but clapped along, much to the Marauder's enjoyment.

Hagrid shuddered. "Don' make me say it again. Anyway, this—this wizard, about twenty years ago now, started lookin' fer followers.

Unwillingly, James' eyes drew toward Snape, but he looked away before anyone noticed.

Got 'em, too—some were afraid, some just wanted a bit o' his power, 'cause he was getting' himself power, all right.

Everyone shuddered—they didn't like hearing about that.

Dark days, Harry.

"And we're living them," Sirius muttered darkly.

Didn't know who ter trust, didn't dare get friendly with strange wizards or witches…terrible things happened.

James looked over to Sirius and Remus—he trusted them wholeheartedly, along with Peter. But he flinched when he thought about the other students. He was friends with practically everyone in Gryffindor, and was polite with a few Hufflepuffs ad Ravenclaws (obviously no Slytherins). Would most of them go down that path? Which friends would betray them as soon as they leave Hogwarts?

He was takin' over. 'Course, some stood up to him—an' he killed 'em.

Remus and Sirius flinched at that, their thoughts directing to James.

One o' the only safe places left was Hogwarts. Reckon Dumbledore's the only one You-Know-who was afraid of. Didn't dare try takin' the school, not jus' then, anyway.

"Of course not, since we have you headmaster," Frank commented, smiling at the aged wizard. Everyone was smiling, except those from the future.

Ginny, Hermione and Ron didn't dare look up—they mentally cringed at how everyone was going to respond when they read about Dumbledore's death. Only Dumbledore noticed their silent behavior but thought better than to comment.

"Now, yer mum an' dad were as good a witch an' wizard as I ever knew.

James beamed. "Thank you, Hagrid!" Lily blushed but was also smiling at the half-giant's compliment.

Head boy an' girl at Hogwarts in their day!

"WHAT!?!?" Sirius cried out. Everyone was gaping at James.

Lily didn't notice. She squealed and was jumping up and down in victory. James was staring at the book, dumbstruck.

"B-b-b-but," Snape was stuttering. He always wanted to believe that he would be made Head boy. If it had to be someone among the Marauders, Remus would've been the better candidate, but Snape never dreamed that Potter of all people would be given that title! What was Dumbledore thinking?!

"YOU TRAITOR!" Sirius shouted. "You've broken the Marauder code! You said it yourself, 'Never be a Prefect or Head boy'," he quoted.

"What about Remus?" Alice pointed out.

"That's different," Sirius explained with a lazy wave of his hand. "Remus wouldn't become one of those overpowered, too-serious-that-he-can't-even-take-a-joke Prefect, he knows better than to let power get to his head. But James…Head boy? He's a Marauder! We've dedicated out entire careers at Hogwarts at pranking! How can he do that now when he has to act serious?"

He fell to the floor, grasping James' robes in his hand, pretending to weep. "Where, oh where did my brother go?" he said dramatically. "When did you become so unSirius?" Everyone who was watching this began laughing.

McGonagall was relishing the idea of James becoming Head boy—no more pranks! She smiled, unsure if that was Dumbledore's intention but happy that this may be a result. Dumbledore just smiled mysteriously.

Lily was still bouncing up and down. She was Head girl! Yes! James was Head boy, of course, but as Sirius pointed out, no more pranks when that happens! That had to be the reason he was picked!

When everyone has settled and Sirius stopped pretending to have a heart attack (which made everyone laugh harder), Arthur began reading again.

Suppose the myst'ry is why You-Know-Who never tried to get 'em on his side before…probably knew they were too close ter Dumbledore ter want anythin' to do with the Dark Side.

"Of course not," James said offhandedly. He was still in shock at the idea of being Head Boy.

"Maybe he thought he could persuade 'em…maybe he just wanted 'em outta the way.

The tension returned. Sirius sobered and Remus frowned. They didn't want to hear this.

All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where you was all living, on Halloween ten years ago. You was just one year old. He came ter yer house an'—an'—'"

Sirius bowed his head and Remus just stared blankly at the wall. Both fought against the tears that threatened to show in their eyes. Snape was staring at Lily—sweet Lily, who was going to die by the wizard he admired for a long time.

Everyone else just looked sadly at the grim-looking couple.

Hagrid suddenly pulled out a very dirty, spotted handkerchief and blew his nose with a sound like a foghorn.

"Sorry," he said. "But it's that sad—knew yer mum an' dad, an' nicer people yeh couldn't find—anyway…

Remus smiled. "He's right about that," he said. He and Sirius both smiled at James. James smiled back, albeit weakly. Snape would've liked to point that he didn't think James was the nice person Hagrid portrayed him to be, but his thoughts were on Lily still.

Everyone else smiled, but the tension didn't lift. Hermione and Ron looked at each other. Poor Harry.

"You-Know-Who killed 'em.

Everyone flinched.

An' then—an' this is the real myst'ry of the thing—he tried to kill you, too.

Despite knowing that Harry was alive and well, James couldn't help but grind his teeth. Lily growled. Hermione, Ron and Ginny didn't look at each other. Thoughts of Harry dead circulated in their brains and none of them wanted to think about that.

Wanted ter make a clean job of it, I suppose, or maybe he just liked killin' by then. But he couldn't do it.

Dumbledore grew thoughtful at that. His eyes drew to Lily without meaning to.

Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That's what yeh get when a powerful, evil curse touches yeh—took care of yer mum an' dad an' yer house, even

Sirius and Remus flinched again.

but it didn't work on you, an' that's why yer famous, Harry.

"And that's exactly why he hates it," Ginny added sadly.

No one ever lived after he decided ter kill 'em, no one except you, an' he'd killed some o' the best witches an' wizards of the age—

Arthur stopped, reading the names and his face growing pale with horror.

"What's wrong?" Remus asked. Arthur didn't answer but merely handed Dumbledore the book, wrapping both arms around his very confused wife. Dumbledore read the next line, looked at the others sadly, and read.

the McKinnons,

"You can't mean Edgar?" Frank cried out. When Dumbledore didn't answer, Frank bowed his head at the thought of his best friend's impending demise.

the Bones,

Lily covered her mouth and closed her eyes. She didn't want to think Amelia was going to die. Not her, not her good friend and dorm mate.

James, hesitantly, wrapped his arms around her. She didn't pull away but merely buried herself in his chest, sobbing.

the Prewetts—

Molly whispered "no" beneath her breath. She whispered, then cried out, and finally screamed, crying. She buried herself in her husband's arms, remorse for her two younger brothers.

Ginny and Ron grinded their teeth. Neither had known their uncles Fabian and Gideon and for that they were angry and sad.

an' you was only a baby, an' you lived."

James and Lily both smiled. Harry was alive. That should be enough for them.

Something very painful was going on in Harry's mind. As Hagrid's story came to a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than he had ever remembered it before—and he remembered something else, for the first time in his life: a high, cold, cruel laugh.

"Oh dear," McGonagall gasped.

Everyone else shuddered, especially those from the future.

Hagrid was watching him sadly.

"Took yeh from the ruined house myself, on Dumbledore's orders. Brought yer ter this lot…"

Sirius felt himself getting angry. He could've raised Harry, and Remus and Peter would've helped. Why didn't Dumbledore allowed it?

"Load of tosh," said Uncle Vernon. Harry jumped; he had almost forgotten that the Dursleys were there.

"So did we," Frank commented. A few people chuckled, not entirely over the sad speech Hagrid made.

Uncle Vernon certainly seemed to have got back his courage. He was glaring at Hagrid and his fists were clenched.

"Now you listen here, boy," he snarled. "I accept there's something strange about you, probably nothing a good beating wouldn't have cured—

James and Lily growled. Sirius looked to Hermione, Ron and Ginny. "They didn't hit him, did they?" he asked harshly.

"He never said," Ron said. His face darkened; Hermione and Ginny's expression were murderous and frustrated. "But Harry never tells us things like this. He prefers to keep his troubles to himself, that git."

and as for all this about your parents, well, they were weirdos, no denying it, and the world's better off without them in my opinion—

Sirius and Remus threw dozens of hexes at the Vernon mannequin that lay in the corner of the room. Hermione repaired it so that she, Ron and Ginny could vent out their frustration and hatred. No one bothered to repair the thing when the kids were finished.

Dumbledore, who had read the next few lines of the paragraph, conjured up enough Vernon mannequins to occupy the empty space in the office. He didn't bother answering everyone's puzzling looks but instead continued reading.

asked for all they got, getting mixed up with these wizarding types—just what I expected, always knew they'd come to a stick end—"

Dumbledore, James and Lily ducked to the floor to avoid the curses flying from every direction. Even McGonagall found herself livid from the Muggle. She destroyed a few mannequins herself. A good twenty minutes had passed before it was safe for Lily, James and Dumbledore to emerge. All of the mannequins lay destroyed, burnt, and beyond repair and recognition.

Remus was sitting still with his eyes closed, breathing deeply, meditating. Sirius and Snape were both glowering at the floor; their vexation for the Muggle had not passed and destroying the mannequins did little to ease their frustration. The others just slumped into their seats, exhausted by the amount of magic they had burned.

Another five minutes passed before Dumbledore felt it safe to read again.

But at that moment, Hagrid leapt from the sofa and drew a battered pink umbrella from inside his coat. Pointing this at Uncle Vernon like a sword, he said, "I'm warning you, Dursley—I'm warning you—one more word…"

"Good," Sirius said. "Hex him, hex him, hex him, hex him." Soon a few people began chanting along with him. Ron, Hermione and Ginny fixed their faces to reveal nothing of their anticipation and glee.

In danger of being speared on the end of an umbrella by a bearded giant, Uncle Vernon's courage failed again; he flattened himself against the wall and fell silent.

"That's better," said Hagrid, breathing heavily and sitting back on the sofa, which this time sagged right down to the floor.

Harry, meanwhile, still had questions to ask, hundreds of them.

"But what happened to Vol-, sorry—I mean, You-Know-Who?"

"Just a name, cub," Remus sighed, who seemed the most calm among the group. "Don't fear it."

Lily stared at him. "Cub?" she questioned.

Remus shrugged, not looking at her. "My nickname for him," as if that was all that need to be said. Lily turned away, her suspicion peaking. Snape, who knew the reason, bit back the smile that threatened to appear on his face. How he wished he could talk to Lily and tell her the Marauder's dirty little secret! He'd had to do it when Dumbledore's not looking…

"Good question, Harry. Disappeared. Vanished. Same night he tried ter kill you.

"Thank goodness," Alice breathed.

Makes yeh even more famous.

"Like he needs it," Hermione sighed.

That's the biggest myst'ry see…he was gettin' more an' more powerful—why'd he go?

"No need to question it," Sirius said with a shrug. "As long as he's gone, there's no need to worry."

Everyone but Dumbledore failed to notice how silent the kids from the future had gotten. Dumbledore began reading quickly before it was noticed.

"Some say he died.

"I wish that happened now," Sirius whispered, and not only for the reason of wanting James and Lily to stay alive. Sirius still didn't like that Harry was raised with those Muggles—what good did it do for him to suffer like that?

Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die.

Dumbledore paused at that, his twinkling blue eyes flashing toward the future kids, who were suddenly very interested in the decorations of the room. You need a soul to be human, a soul to die, unless it was torn…rip to pieces…could it be…

Only a few seconds had passed before he began reading again. No one had noticed Ginny, Ron and Hermione's strange behavior.

Some say he's still out there, bidin' his time, like, but I don't believe it.

"Why not?" Sirius questioned.

People who was on his side came back ter ours. Some of 'em came outta kinda trances. Don' reckon they could've done if he was comin' back.

Everyone shuddered. There was only one spell they knew of that could make people do something against their will…

"Most of us reckon he's still out there somewhere but lost his powers. Too weak to carry on. 'Cause somethin' about you finished him, Harry. There was somethin' goin' on that night he hadn't counted on—I dunno what it was, no one does—but somethin' about you stumped him, all right."

Hermione lowered her voice so that no one but Ginny and Ron could hear. "Lucky for us," she snarled, her voice relieved and shameful at the same time. "That bought us a few years of peace."

Ron could understand why Hermione was so ashamed of herself. If not for that night, who knows what state the Wizarding world would've been in?

Hagrid looked at Harry with warmth and respect blazing in his eyes, but Harry, instead of feeling pleased and proud, felt quite sure there had been a horrible mistake.

"Why?" This time it was James' turn to be confused.

A wizard? Him? How could he possibly be? He'd spent his life being clouted by Dudley, and bullied by Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon;

Everyone (besides Snape and the teachers) growled.

if he was really a wizard, why hadn't they been turned into warty toads every time they'd tried to lock him in his cupboard? If he'd once defeated the greatest sorcerer in the world, how come Dudley had always been able to kick him around like a football?

"Doesn't work that way," Sirius explained. He sighed dreamily. "If it did, I would've turned my mother into a cockroach a long time ago." Everyone chuckled.

"Hagrid," he said quietly. "I think you must have made a mistake. I don't think I can be a wizard."

To his surprise, Hagrid chuckled.

As did everyone else in the room.

"Not a wizard, eh? Never made things happen when you was scared or angry?"

"Yes," was the unanimous answer. And a lot more happened in the future, Hermione and Ron both thought.

Harry looked into the fire. Now he came to think about it…every odd thing that had ever made his aunt and uncle furious with him had happened when he, Harry, had been upset or angry…chased by Dudley's gang, he had somehow found himself out of their reach…

"That was awesome," Sirius said, pretending to wipe away a tear. Everyone laughed.

dreading going to school with that ridiculous haircut, he'd managed to make it grow back…

"That is useful," Remus said, sniggering, as was everyone else (except James, who was embarrassed and angry, and the future kids, who did know of the prank that was played on James involving his hair).

and the very last time Dudley had hit him, hadn't he got his revenge, without even realizing he was doing it? Hadn't he set a boa constrictor on him?

"You set it free, you didn't tell him to attack him," Remus corrected.

"Better if he did," Sirius added.

Harry looked back at Hagrid, smiling, and saw that Hagrid was positively beaming at him.

"See?" said Hagrid. "Harry Potter, not a wizard—you wait, you'll be right famous at Hogwarts."

"Just what he's always wanted," Hermione said, sniggering with Ron and Ginny, who also knew of Harry's aversion to fame.

But Uncle Vernon wasn't going to give in without a fight.

James grumbled. "Hate to admit it, but you got to admire his persistence. Doesn't know when to give up."

"Haven't I told you he's not going?" he hissed. "He's going to Stonewall High and he'll be grateful for it. I've read those letters and he needs all sorts of rubbish—spell books and wands and—"

"If he wants ter go, a great Muggle like you won't stop him," growled Hagrid.

"YAY HAGRID!" the Marauders cried out, Remus more softly than his two companions.

"Stop Lily an' James Potter's son goin' ter Hogwarts! Yer mad.

Sirius huffed. "He shouldn't say that! The only one worthy of that title is our headmaster!" he proclaimed proudly. The aged wizard merely nodded and smiled; the others chuckled.

His name's been down ever since he was born. He's off ter the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world. Seven years there and he won't know himself. He'll be with youngsters of his own sort, fer a change, an' he'll be under the greatest headmaster Hogwarts ever had, Albus Dumbled—"

"Why did you stop, it's true?" Frank teased.

"I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!" yelled Uncle Vernon.

"Oh boy," Sirius said, grinning evilly.

Dumbledore sighed. "Oh dear, Hagrid won't be pleased with him."

"That's exactly what we're hoping for," Ginny said. This time, neither she nor Hermione or Ron bothered hiding their anticipation and evil smirks. Everyone stared, confused, but then looked away when their headmaster began reading again.

But he had finally gone too far. Hagrid seized his umbrella and whirled it over his head, "NEVER—" he thundered, "—INSULT—ALBUS—DUMBLEDORE—IN—FRONT—OF—ME!"

McGonagall sighed, defeated. "He's going to use magic, isn't he?"

He brought the umbrella swishing down through the air to point at Dudley—there was a flash of violet light, a sound like a firecracker, a sharp squeal, and the next second, Dudley was dancing on the spot with his hands clasped over his fat bottom, howling in pain. When he turned his back on them, Harry saw a curly pig's tail poking through a hole in his trousers.

Ginny, Hermione and Ron, who were already roaring with laughter at McGonagall's question, laughed even louder. Everyone joined in. Frank, Arthur and Sirius practically fell out of their seats. The others were holding their stomachs and some looked like they were crying.

Everyone practically died when Sirius began impersonating Dudley (holding his butt and howling). It seemed like hours before everyone's giggles had stopped and McGonagall ordered Sirius to stop his Dudley impression, long enough for Dumbledore to begin reading again.

Uncle Vernon roared. Pulling Aunt Petunia and Dudley into the other room, he cast one last terrified look at Hagrid and slammed the door behind them.

This made everyone laugh again. They stopped almost instantly at the sight of McGonagall's glare.

Hagrid looked down at his umbrella and stroked his beard.

"Shouldn'ta lost me temper," he said ruefully," but it didn't work anyway. Meant ter turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway there wasn't much left ter do."

McGonagall's glare, for the first time in Hogwarts history, failed to silence the room. Everyone was shrieking with laughter.

"You have got to love Hagrid," Sirius gasped between laughs. It seemed a while before everyone gained control again.

He cast a sideways look at Harry under his bushy eyebrows.

"Be grateful if yeh didn't mention that ter anyone at Hogwarts," he said.

"Big dilemma," Sirius said, pretending to be serious (A/N: is it a pun? *evil smile*). "Should Harry be honest or should he protect a friend?"

McGonagall sighed. Being James' son, of course it would be the latter.

"I'm—er—not supposed ter to magic, strictly speakin'.

McGonagall's nostrils flared and her eyes narrowed. "No, he should not be doing magic at all," she huffed. "I'll be sure to speak to him on the matter."

"Of course, after we finish the book, Minerva," Dumbledore said, his voice friendly but his eyes filled with finality. The elderly sorceress knew better than to argue when he looked like that.

I was allowed ter do a bit ter follow yeh an' get yer letters to ye an' stuff—one o' the reasons I was so keen ter take on the job—"

"Why aren't you supposed to do magic?" asked Harry.

"He never does tell us why," Sirius pointed out. "I asked him once but I don't think he heard because he was trying to give his pup a bath."

Remus shrugged. "He always changes the subject when people ask." As he was looking in their general direction, Remus saw Ginny shift uncomfortably in her seat, Hermione blush and Ron's ears go red (as Arthur's did when under extreme pressure). Do they know something?

"Oh, well—I was at Hogwarts meself but I—er—got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wand in half an' everything. But Dumbledore let me stay on as gamekeeper. Great man, Dumbledore."

"Yes, he truly is," Sirius agreed wholeheartedly.

"Still, I would like to know the reason he was expelled," Frank commented. He looked Dumbledore but the aged wizard pretended he didn't hear.

"Why were you expelled?"

"It's gettin' late and we've got lots ter do tomorrow," said Hagrid loudly. "Gotta get up ter town, get all yer books an' that."

Ron snorted. "That's only going to make him curious," he pointed out.

"Which means that Harry will try to find out, one way or another," Hermione sighed.

He took off his thick black coat and threw it to Harry.

"You can kip under that," he said. "Don' mind if it wriggles a bit, I think I still got a couple o' dormice in one o' the pockets."

The girls shuddered. "Ew, mice!" Lily squealed.

Dumbledore looked at the clock. It was getting close to dinner. "Perhaps one more chapter, and then we shall go and have ourselves a small feast," he suggested.

"I'll read, if no one minds," Remus said, taking the book.

O~O~O~O

A/N: Three questions to all who read this chapter, which of course means you, a possible reviewer! I am thinking of making a few more characters turn up in later chapters, but am undecided about who to invite to the party. Along with reviewing, would you mind answering the following questions? It'd be much appreciated.

~Elizabeth248

Question 1: which characters would you like to appear in this fanfiction?

(PS cannot be Harry and Ginny's future kids, or anyone else from that generation! Sorry but I wouldn't know how to fit them into this fanfiction)

Question 2: Harry and Neville will definitely show up (without a doubt!) but the question is when you would like for them to be introduced?

Would you, the esteemed reader, like for more romance to be involved, and not just between James and Lily?

I would like the results before Wednesday, April 21 because by then I would be probably finishing the chapter! Thank you!