9 Years with the Marauders: 1972-1981. Beginning in 2nd year, the trials and tribulations of the Marauders right up until the deaths of James and Lily Potter. Remus/Sirius romance-centric. James/Lily. Warning! Contains m/m content in later chapters.
DISCLAIMER: All characters, locations, and bits (with a few exceptions) are property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Studios.
NOTES ON THIS CHAPTER: This takes place sometime early in the marauder's second year of school, after Halloween but before Christmas.
"Oy, Remus, you're gonna miss breakfast." The curtain surrounding the boy's bed was yanked back. A pair of dark eyes narrowed in confusion, turning around to look at the boy next to him, a bit shorter and with glasses. "He's not here."
"Brilliant observation Sirius." The boy – James Potter – rolled his eyes.
The one called Sirius made a face and let go of the curtains. "Seems like he misses breakfast a lot. He's a growing kid like us you know. Needs the energy." He thumped his chest, causing James to roll his eyes a second time.
"James, Sirius! Isn't it time for breakfast, are we going?" A stocky blond poked his head into the dormitory where the other two were still standing in front of the empty bed.
"Yeah, Pete. We're going." Sirius stuck his hands in his pockets, glancing only once more at the empty bed before he followed Peter and James down to the Gryffindor common room. Everyone was gone, since classes would be starting in less than an hour, and breakfast would be over soon. James adjusted his book bag, but all Sirius had was a quill stuck behind one ear. James would lend him the paper and probably use of his book in their first few classes. Or Peter Pettigrew – the blond – would.
They got to the Great Hall just in time to see most of the students filing out. Sirius wrinkled his nose. "Probably nothing left but fruit and eggs."
"Yes, Merlin forbid you eat some fruit." James retorted as he sat at the Gryffindor table and grabbed a banana, cracking the peel and starting to eat.
"Not if I'm to keep my svelte physique." Sirius responded, jabbing James in the rib and nearly causing him to choke on the banana.
Sirius' eyes kept flickering to the door, waiting for Remus to appear. It seemed almost like clockwork the brunette would vanish one morning, sometimes making it to breakfast, sometimes missing their first class altogether, and looking like he'd slept in the Whomping Willow's sweet embrace.
But no, even though Sirius insisted they wait until only five minutes before class, Remus did not show up, and so the trio of James, Sirius, and Peter were forced to race to morning Transfiguration in order not to get in trouble. Sirius collapsed into the seat just as McGonagall turned away from the chalkboard, peering down her nose at Sirius and James, and barely sparing Peter – forced to sit one row behind because there were no more seats – from her intended disapproving gaze.
"You're very lucky you weren't delayed a moment longer." She said carefully.
Sirius and James nodded their heads in perfect unison, folding their hands on the table in front of them and looking the perfect picture of demure little second years. Peter did so as well, but belatedly and not as convincingly as the two boys in front of him.
Not ten minutes after she had started class however, the door opened and Remus Lupin stepped in. The twelve year old looked like a shrunken old man, sandy brown hair falling every which way and exhausted lines on his youthful face. He had a book bag over his shoulder, but it looked as though it was weighing him down even further. He barely made it to the last remaining seat beside Peter and directly behind James, sinking into it with careful movements.
Professor McGonagall had turned and watched him come in, but not with disgust or anger or even a hint of reproach. "And where have you been, Mr. Lupin?" She said, but it wasn't accusingly, more out of habit than anything else.
Remus looked up and cleared his throat, redness appearing around the edges of his ears. "Hospital wing, ma'am. I... wasn't feeling well this morning." He explained with a marked hesitance.
She was surprisingly satisfied with that excuse, and returned to beginning her lecture on their assignment for the day, turning teacups into mice. Sirius looked positively indignant, and James looked confused, looking at each other with bewilderment, and then over their shoulders at Remus, who was staring at the teacup and trying his hardest to keep his eyes open.
Finally after her lecture she let them go ahead and start their Transfiguring, James and Sirius turned around simultaneously to look at Remus. "Why did McWhiskers let you get off that easy?" Sirius demanded, waving his wand idly at the teacup but without any real interest in seeing a mouse appear on his table.
Remus shrugged, keeping his gaze on the teacup as he swirled his wand over it. "I don't know. Maybe because she knows I did the homework for last night?" He commented, almost with boredom.
Sirius shrugged one shoulder. "I read the book chapter." He said in his own defense.
"Liar. I read it out loud last night cause you claimed you had insomnia." James said, as the teacup sprouted whiskers and a tail in front of him.
Sirius grinned. "And it worked, didn't it? Slept like a baby." His teacup now had a tail, but unlike James' it wasn't twitching in the slightest. "Aw man, I think I'm Transfiguring a dead mouse." He complained, turning a bit more towards his table. James already had a recognizable mouse, though the porcelain handle coming out of the back was a bit disturbing.
Remus sighed. At least with Sirius complaining he wouldn't ask -
"So why were you in the Hospital Wing?" Peter piped up, his teacup still... teacup-shaped.
Remus winced as he felt James and Sirius return their attention to their friend, obviously also listening for the answer to this question. He managed a weak smile and shrugged one shoulder. "Woke up with a headache, decided to go and get it checked out before classes." He said casually.
"And Pomfrey decided that the cure for a headache was a troll attack?" Sirius said dismissively, making the red reappear on Remus' face.
Remus scowled and prodded his teacup, which squeaked in horror and sprouted a set of legs, which it then used to attempt to escape. Peter caught it clumsily, holding the thing in place until Remus grabbed it and tried to calm it down. "No. It was just a headache."
"You've got interesting headaches then." James said, just as McGonagall appeared again to observe their progress. By this point James was holding an actual mouse, Sirius had a mouse head and tail coming out of the teacup, Remus had managed to handle ears and a tail as well as the feet, and Peter had a teacup with a patch of grey fur. She praised James of course and looked at Sirius and Remus with a you can do better expression, before merely sighing at Peter and moving on.
At the end of class Remus got up and headed for the door, almost not waiting for James and Sirius, who were busy trying to catch James' mouse to try and release later in the common room. Peter waited patiently, and Remus eventually paused by the door. "We're going to be late for History of Magic." He called out wearily.
"Like Professor Dustbins will notice us." Sirius said, before pouncing on the floor and scooping up the mouse, shoving it into James' bookbag and catching up with Remus, smacking him on the shoulder.
Remus collapsed into the wall as Sirius hit him, and instantly James and Sirius rushed over, James dropping his bag and not noticing as the mouse went scurrying off. "Remus!" James said with concern.
He was up off the floor again quite quickly, but he didn't look sturdy. Sirius took his book bag from him, frowning. "I didn't hit you that hard."
"I know that!" Remus' usual cool snapped for a moment and he clutched his shoulder. "I'm fine, really. I... lost my balance." He moved his hand from his shoulder and Jame snatched his wrist.
"Blimey Remus, you're bleeding!" The hand touching the shoulder had a circle of crimson wetness at the palm, and Sirius looked truly bothered.
"I didn't hit him that hard." He repeated.
"Let's go back to the Hospital Wing." James insisted. "Dustbins can wait."
Remus looked reluctant, then took his book bag back, putting it on his other shoulder. "I'll go myself. See you in a bit." He said, heading off down the hall in the opposite direction as class, while James and Sirius mentally debated over whether or not to follow him. James eventually shrugged and pulled Sirius off towards class.
Remus didn't appear at all in History of Magic, which was unfortunate because he was the only one to actually take notes in that class. Even James spent most of the class drawing on his parchment, only writing down certain parts that their ghostly teacher actually got "enthusiastic" about. If that was the right word for it.
"What do you think is wrong with him?" Sirius questioned near the end of class, Remus still not having come back into the picture after stalking off.
James shrugged and chewed on the end of his quill. "Dunno. He never tells us."
Sirius slid further into his chair and stuck his lower lip out slightly. "He's gone at least once a month, comes back looking like a Dementor snogged him, plus he gets all tetchy."
James barely managed another shrug before it was finally time to go, looping his bag over his shoulder and heading out into the hall again. "He's sick a lot. That isn't a crime, Sirius."
"But it is a mystery." Sirius pointed out with a smirk. James looked at him, knowing the expression on his face.
"Fine." James allowed, and Sirius' grin grew even more excited, if that was possible.
"What are we doing?" Peter had been listening silently this whole time, but now spoke up, not understanding the telepathic language that Sirius and James seemed to share.
Sirius tapped the side of his nose. "Investigating."
"Oh Gob id hurds!" Sirius whined melodramatically, his hands over his face. Blood was leaking out between his fingers. "I dink by node id brogen."
"Would you hold still Mr. Black!" Madam Pomfrey sighed in exasperation as Sirius wriggled around, trying to avoid showing her his nose.
"I cand feel by node!" He protested, and she eventually pried it away, only seeing a very bloody nose.
"It's not broken, will you stop whining. It just looks like a bad nosebleed, that's all. What did you say you did?" She said, waving her wand over his nose. Immediately the bleeding stopped.
"I uh... oh, that's much better, thank you." Sirius said happily, moving his hands away. She muttered a scourgify at them and they were cleaned. "I was trying to Transfigure my uh... my friend's owl into a Bludger and it hit me in the face." He sniffed lightly, and Madam Pomfrey rolled her eyes.
"Well, I think you'll be fine. Looks like a bit of swelling and bruising, nothing that can't go down all on its own. Take this for the pain." She handed him a small bottle of potion and he dutifully slugged it down, making a gargling noise at the taste. "Anything else, Mr. Black?"
He peered back at the rows of beds, frowning. "Is uh... Remus Lupin in here?"
She gazed at him curiously. "No, no he's not. He left some time ago. Why?"
"I was just thinking... he would be a good tutor for the Bludger thing."
"For future reference, turning a harmless owl into a ball that wishes to break your nose is not the best way to practice your homework." Madam Pomfrey said in a scolding tone, and Sirius quickly nodded his head and glanced at the beds again. One of them had the sheets piled at the end, evidently not taken by a house-elf yet, and the white sheets were obviously dotted with what looked like blood.
"Was he okay?" Sirius questioned casually, inching towards the door in case she grew angry with his line of questioning.
She sighed. "Mr. Lupin is just fine. I sent him to lunch, where you should be going before you miss it. And eat more vegetables, Mr. Black, nothing but bread will not help you grow up nice and strong!" She raised her voice at the last bit because Sirius was already heading out the door and running for the Great Hall.
James had been waiting outside, and he rolled his eyes as he jogged after his friend. "Owl into a Bludger?"
Sirius snorted, then winced as it aggravated his still sore nose. "I was thinking on my feet."
"I'm surprised you know how to think at all sometimes."
"Shut up. You didn't have to hit me with the Jinx so hard, by the way. My nose is going to hurt all day."
"I've been waiting ages to see if it would work properly, I just got a bit excited." James said nonchalantly, and Sirius gave him a look that clearly spelled revenge.
"Use it on Snivellus next then." Sirius said after a moment, a certain amount of glee coating his tone. "With that great honker of his, he'll bleed out within minutes and we'll be saved forever from looking at his great ugly face. I'm pure genius!"
"You are pure something." James said as they raced to get to lunch, seeing Remus and Peter sitting next to each other at the Gryffindor table, with Peter having resolutely saved two seats for the arriving boys. Remus looked rather miserable.
"Remus, you're back." Sirius tried to sound excited, but only managed to sound a bit bewildered.
"Yeah, back." Remus smirked, but his heart wasn't in it, as he prodded the bit of chocolate pudding on his plate. James and Sirius shot each other a glance.
Remus never turned down chocolate pudding at lunch. He did of course eat his vegetables like a good little boy, but he always had the pudding, and sometimes he had seconds, which earned him a joking from the other boys. To see him now only poking at what was considered a highly sacred food in the Lupin diet, Sirius and James seemed to grow only more determined to figure whatever this was out.
James prodded Peter with his textbook and when the blond moved over he and Sirius sat on either side of Remus. Exactly at the same time, they loaded up their plates with food and then turned and stared at the sandy-haired youth, Sirius propping his chin on one hand as he looked over.
Remus continued to pick at the chocolate pudding, but he now seemed to sense that there were many eyes on him, and that those eyes seemed to be multiplying in intensity even though they only belonged to two people.
He ignored them, but even as they began to shovel food into their mouths Remus was pinned under an icy yet curious stare from both sides. Peter was also trying to join in, but it wasn't working out, he just didn't have the ability to look that calculating. Remus just knew that something horrible was going to happen if he didn't speak up, probably involving either his socks or his pillow and something indescribably smelly.
"... what do you two want." He eventually muttered, glancing at Sirius, who seemed more determined than James, and was easier to look straight in the eyes. He didn't have the same expression as James. Sirius was more like "I want to know because it fascinates me and I don't let things go that easily". James was "I want to know because I'm your friend, and I never abandon a friend in a time of need".
Sirius smirked. "Are you feeling better?" He asked patronizingly, making Remus' stomach curl up into a little ball of displeasure. He was letting that little bit of Pureblood into his tone. He didn't even know he was doing it though, which was what annoyed Remus the most. But when he wanted information or if he wanted to pull rank over the first years – not that they had a lot of rank being only second years themselves – he would get this little undertone to his voice, something that reminded Remus too much of Lucius Malfoy and his friends when they caught Remus at "their" table in the library.
He tore his gaze away and turned back to his pudding, then glancing over at James. James' gaze was also steady, and even worse Peter was behind him and attempting to copy the expression on Sirius, which would be perfectly impossible for Peter's pale round face. Remus actually felt the urge to laugh, which he killed quickly before it overwhelmed him. He sighed, set his spoon down, and grabbed his book bag.
"Leaving so soon?" James said casually, and Remus shrugged.
"You can be late to Charms if you want, but I heard Flitwick is giving us quizzes. You know if you don't take it, he'll just give you a great big pile of homework instead." Remus said lightly. The three boys – the last remaining at the Gryffindor table in fact – instantly rushed to shove as much food in their mouths as possible and race after Remus in an attempt to beat him to class.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well there you are, chapter one. This is going to prove to be something I might not handle, but I'm determined to finish! Please review, and even suggest things you'd like to see in this fanfic, so that I can make it the best Marauders experience for everyone!
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK:
hotpinkfleur: as my constant advisor. Whenever I needed help, she was willing to crack open a book and research it for me. She is the only reason that I actually went through with this (so you can blame her if it falls through =D).
J.K. Rowling: for creating a universe and characters as wonderful and diverse as those within the Harry Potter world, and for making everyone love reading once again.