Some Kind of Trouble
Lily figured it was better to introduce the Marauders to her group slowly. James was the ringleader so it fell to him to be the first of the group to publicly interact with the Slytherins. If the twitching and fidgeting was anything to go by as he slid into their table at the library, he was doing a valiant job of fighting the urge to run as if Hellhounds were hot on his heels.
The acts were already in place, but that didn't stop the tremor from making it's way down James' spine as Lucius mercury silver eyes drilled into him imperiously. "Well Potter, I don't know how you managed it, but with the contract forming between you and Evans, it falls to us to make sure you act like the gentleman I know your parents tried to raise you as. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her actions at defending our house honor, and we will uphold that debt in any way we can. Treat her with care, or you will wish you had never been born." Lucius warned smoothly, the debt giving a politically acceptable reason for the Slytherins to defend Lily that even their families could not object to no matter her blood status. The threat was as real as the debt, they would draw and quarter James if he hurt her because she came to him in desperation.
"I would never hurt Lily, intentionally or otherwise, if any action of mine causes her pain or distress I give you full permission to do your worst to me." James replied seriously, a fire lighting his eyes. Yes, he was surrounded, and the older snake intimidated him greatly, but he was a Gryffindor and he would not back down. Not when he knew this would happen when he agreed to this in the first place.
Bellatrix laughed then, a laugh thick with derision and a touch of darkness, "Oh really? And what does a golden lion like you know of our worst? Are you sure you want to make a pledge like that?"
"You are not the only Purebloods in this school; the Potters are almost as old as the Malfoys and just as old as the Blacks. I know the basics of what gets passed down in those houses, and I still stand by my words, If anything happens to Lily, do your worst, I would deserve it." Was it just him, or was the youngest Black scarier than Lucius?
"I'll hold you to that," Severus muttered under his breath, but not quite low enough to avoid the warning glare sent his way by Narcissa. It was going to be hard for all of them to get along, but the purposeful antagonizing had to stop, or this farce didn't stand a hope in Hades of working.
Lily broke in then, smoothing out some of the tension, it was a fools hope to remove it all but every little bit helped, "I can protect myself if I have to. I appreciate the concern, but if he hurts me, you will have nothing left to curse but a particularly warty toad." She warned calmly, not even looking up from her charms notes.
James had a bit of morbid curiosity wash over him, "Why a toad?"
"Its tradition," Lily's small smile was a bit wicked, and it caused both James and Narcissa to shift a bit in their seats.
"Which tradition? I didn't know there was such a thing." Regulus spoke cautiously, he was always far shier than his brother, but this plan would hopefully put him back into contact with Sirius. He needed to get on James' good side first though, or Sirius wouldn't talk to him.
"I know you are all aware of the muggle myths about magic, one of the more common stories is the man who angers a witch and gets transfigured into a toad. Granted in most muggle myths all witches are bad, but the toad thing always seemed like an interesting punishment to me." Lily explained to him, noticing the others had listened in too.
"I think a slug would be worse, or a flobberworm," Bellatrix seemed to be honestly considering that, and it made more than a few of the people at the table shoot nervous glances her direction.
Lily nodded, "Oh there is plenty worse, I just thought using a muggle myth to punish him would be poetic justice."
"Something tells me you are a very bad person to make angry, you are very vindictive when you want to be," Lucius noted.
"I've known that one since first year," James admitted, relaxing slightly after five minutes had passed and no one had hexed him yet.
Lily blushed slightly and shook her head, "What? You didn't all think I was some delicate little flower did you? If you are mad enough to attack someone, might as well do it with a little finesse."
"I never thought you were delicate," Narcissa whispered into her ear, so the table couldn't hear her, "Beautiful, strong, and amazing, but not delicate."
"Do you mind? I know it can be hard to handle." Lily whispered back, ignoring James on her others side doing his best to eavesdrop.
"I love you all the more for your fire, it feels wonderful after being cold for so long," She admitted.
Lily slid her hand over Narcissa's discretely, no one at the table would comment, "I'm glad, because I love you too, and I never want to let go."
"Then don't," Narcissa's smile was sweet and soft, a gesture rarely seen on her face, but one Lily cherished.
Realizing the two girls could use a little privacy, James spoke to Regulus, "I'm sorry about what I did to you, it was wrong of me I realize that now." The apology was long overdue, but at least he had finally done the right thing.
"I knew the way it would look when I returned his journal. I should have done it in the great hall, or had someone go with me, maybe you wouldn't have reacted so badly. Still, please is Sirius all right? He hasn't been talking to me at all, I miss him, I understand why he ran, and I won't tell anyone. I just want to know if my brother is alright." Regulus knew it took a lot for him to swallow his pride and apologize. He had to forgive him this time, it would go a long way towards proving this group was worth saving, and he would be one step closer to being reunited with his brother.
James realized what was motivating Regulus, and his expression softened towards the younger boy. "At least you did return it, a lot of people probably would have kept it, or spread it around the school. I know he wrote things in there that could have gotten him, and the Marauders, in a lot of trouble. I guess I should thank you for not turning him in to the Professors. Sirius is doing a lot better, he needed out of that house. Being the heir just put too much pressure on him and he couldn't take it anymore. My family is taking good care of him, and he is coming around. He couldn't be sure that you wouldn't report back to your family since all the pressure that was on him is falling on you."
Regulus winced slightly, "They didn't have much time before school started to really do much to me, thank Merlin for that, this summer will likely be pretty bad though. Sirius should still watch out, they may attempt to pull him back into the fold a few more times before giving up completely. There aren't very many Black males left, if the name and titles are to carry on, he needs to be brought around. I assume that's what Mother is thinking anyway." Orion Black was stern but more involved with politics than family, it was Walburga that forced the traditions onto her sons.
"I'll pass that along, though you will probably get to talk to him, at least a little bit, before all this is over. He is my best friend, and if you're here I assume you are part of Lily's honor guard." James was glad he had agreed to do that after the hopeful look spread over Regulus' face. The boy looked a lot like Sirius, only a little slimmer and much shier.
Regulus shook his head, "I'm not her guard, instead I'm her friend. Lily doesn't need anymore back up, she has plenty, but nobody has too many friends."
"I agree," James even smiled a bit at the Slytherin as he spoke, proving to Lily as she caught the end of their conversation, that this crazy idea might just work.
'Harry rested the journal on his lap, and rubbed his aching eyes. With every word written in his mother's smooth hand writing he was drawn deeper into her world, her dreams and fears, there was so much to take in. At least his dad was finally coming around, and the rest of the Marauders would likely follow him.
It was nice to hear more of Regulus. The youngest Black was a bit of an enigma to Harry. He had never known Sirius' little brother. He had been little more than a name on a tapestry in Grimmauld Place. He wondered why Sirius never seemed to talk about him, then again it wasn't like he had a whole lot of time with his Godfather. Usually they spoke of his parents, and the Marauders, if they weren't trying to get him out of his latest jam at Hogwarts.
It was also good that Slytherins had found a way to protect his mother, even in public. Lily wouldn't have to face the coming storm on her own. He was grateful for that, and it just made his interest in Lucius deepen. Hearing about the loyal honorable man his crush had been in school only made the attraction burn hotter. With every word he read about Lucius, he felt the connection grow deeper between him and the older wizard. If he got nothing else out of this journal, Harry was happy to have that.
With that last thought he turned the page and began to read on, losing himself to the past once more.'