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 relationship-centric. James/Lily. Warning SLASH! 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: October 31st-November 1st 1981. WARNING: This chapter contains strong language and scenes inappropriate for younger audiences.
"What you have done on this night, Peter Pettigrew, will change the course of wizarding history."
"It's our own little Halloween feast!" James said happily, gazing at his work. "Just like at Hogwarts."
Lily hooked her arm into his, looking up at the ceiling where a dozen candles floated. The ceiling he had enchanted to look just like an open night sky, the full moon clear and wide in the sky, heavy and yellow. "Looks fabulous."
"I couldn't figure out how to get the weather to change automatically though. I wish I had that book from 2nd year." James said, tapping his chin.
"Looks wonderful. I like it just how it is." Lily assured him. "I'm sure Harry will love it."
Whizzing by on the small toy broom came the infant, cackling with a Jamesian wickedness. James grabbed the broom and Harry, scooping him up and pointing him at the ceiling. "Well Harry?"
Distracted from his toy by the open night sky and candles in the usually calm dining room, Harry looked up silently, before making a grab for one of the candles. James pulled him back down and Lily laughed.
"It's okay. They're non-burning flames. I didn't want to set the house on fire." James said.
Lily smirked. "You do think once and a while."
Harry in the meantime had managed to snag James' wand from his sleeve, and like most things that went into the 15 month old's hand, it immediately was stuck in his mouth.
"No Harry." Lily said quickly, snatching it from him. "Honestly we can't leave these things laying around even in our pockets. He'll end up burning his mouth. Or ruining our wands. I'll go stick this up in the bedroom. Don't forget about them." She smiled, kissing both her husband and son, and headed upstairs.
"Just the three of us tonight, Harry." James said, carting Harry off towards the living room. "It's okay, we outnumber her."
"I'll have a girl someday!" Lily called as she came back downstairs. "Then both of you will be sorry!"
She looked back at the ceiling, remembering former Halloween feasts. She felt particularly nostalgic, standing beneath the crisp-looking October sky. Quiet and a bit lonely. She sighed and headed back to the kitchen for the rest of the meal.
"No! Not Harry! Please, not Harry!"
"In local news, on the night of October 31st in the town of Godric's Hollow, the home of James and Lily Potter exploded in what police and fire officials are labeling a gas main combustion. Although there were no survivors in the home, any fires were minimal and did not spread to other homes in the area. All of us here extend our sympathy to the residents of Godric's Hollow who will mourn the loss of James and Lily and their infant son. In the village of Brentsire on -"
"Tonight, in the ultimate sacrifice, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was defeated! The exact nature of the spell is unknown, but at the home of James and Lily Potter a huge explosion brought the entire house down, where You-Know-Who had come to kill them. Unfortunately he succeeded, and both Potters were murdered. Little is known of their infant son Harry Potter except that he survived the blast. You heard that right witches and wizards, according to witnesses – one of whom is Batilda Bagshot, author of A History of Magic – Harry Potter survived a Killing Curse intended for himself and his mother. He was ferreted away to an unknown location for his own safety, but he is believed to be responsible for the defeat of the Dark Lord! I repeat, Harry Potter, now dubbed the 'Boy Who Lived', is the reason that the wizarding world has been saved from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his dark forces!"
"It's all gone." Sirius stared at the rubble, still smoking in places.
A great hand clasped his shoulder. Sirius gazed at the remnants of a house that had once been more of a home to him than Grimmauld Place ever was. And it was gone.
"Just like that." He whispered, his throat choking. His best friend and his childhood home vanished without a trace.
"Sirius. I'm sorry." Hagrid said gruffly. His warm, black eyes were already bubbling over with tears.
"Merlin... I never... I didn't think..." Sirius' whole body felt almost ill.
"They was good people. James and Lily."
Hagrid's comfort wasn't much comfort at all. Sirius sniffed, and tasted salt. He was crying. He hadn't even been able to summon a tear at Dorea and Charlus' funeral. Maybe because as long as James was alive and the house in Godric's Hollow was there, Dorea and Charlus were never really gone. Now it was like they'd never existed at all. He turned to look at Hagrid, who was holding a small bundle of gurgling blankets in his other hand, holding a baby of a year and a half in one giant palm as though it were a cradle.
"He's all I have left." Sirius said. Well, there was Remus.
Merlin. Remus. Guilt came flooding into him like someone had punched a hole in his chest and was pouring it in by the bucketful. All this time, distrusting Remus. Thinking that Remus was the traitor.
Peter. Now guilt was replaced with rage. That squirmy, slimy little bastard. He sold them out. He betrayed the greatest trust that James had put in him ever. Even more than trusting him with secret passages back in school. His life, and the lives of his wife and child. And Peter handed them over like tickets to a really bad concert.
"I can't give 'im to you, Sirius." Hagrid said, accurately reading Sirius' thoughts.
"Hagrid, I'm his godfather, I'll look after him."
"Dumbledore tol' me..." Hagrid kept a grip on Harry, who was starting to fuss in his blanket, "Harry's to go to Lily's family."
Sirius looked at the young infant, that shock of black hair. "Hagrid, James wanted me to take care of him if something ever happened. That simpering Muggle sister of Lily's isn't going to help at all!"
"Dumbledore has plans for 'im. 'E has it all worked out. Sirius, you jus' gotta trust 'im." Hagrid said firmly.
He gave up. Hagrid might not have been a powerful wizard or even the smartest man in the Order. But he was tenacious and loyal and that meant he wasn't going to be letting Sirius take Harry.
He turned his attention back on the smoldering remains of the house. He had come more quickly than ever. Taking the motorbike for the sole purpose of ferrying away survivors. Only Harry had been there. In Hagrid's arms.
But now that he knew that Hagrid would be taking the youngest – and last remaining – Potter to Dumbledore for whatever "plans" the old wizard had, Sirius only had one thing left to do.
Find Peter. And kill him.
"Alright Hagrid. You're right. Dumbledore is a better man to have him than me." Than I, his inner Remus muttered. He ignored it, and motioned to the motorbike. "You should take the bike."
"Wha?" The groundskeeper stared at Sirius as though he had just professed an interest in putting on a frilly gingham frock and dancing the cancan. "You want me to take yer bike?"
Sirius nodded. "You've got to pump the throttle a couple'a times to get her started. She's a bit testy sometimes, and it's cold out."
"Sirius, I can't take yer bike." Hagrid said with concern.
He frowned. "Take the bike, Hagrid. I'm not going to need it anymore."
Hagrid hesitated a moment. Sirius gave him his most authoritative look, and the half-giant caved, smiling sheepishly at the other man.
"Alrigh'. Be better for Harry anyhow."
"Just make sure to keep him warm." Sirius said quietly.
Hagrid tucked the infant against his chest, securely in his coat to protect him from the wind, and cooed at him a moment to get him to settle down. Then he gunned the engine, and with a jump and a roar the bike came to life, bounding into the sky and away. Sirius watched the tail lights until they were hidden by a cloud, and then he took one more look at the house.
"This is my room. It's the most awesome room in the house." James said, flopping down on the bed.
"Pssh. My place at home is pretty awesome." Sirius said cockily, glancing around with a roll of his eyes.
"Oh yeah? What, you got a severed dragon head up on the wall? Maybe a nice silver and green color theme going on?" James sneered.
Sirius frowned and crossed his arms over his chest. "No! The dragon's head is down in my dad's study. And our stupid ol' house elf Kreacher took away all the Slytherin stuff when I got home. Said I wasn't worthy to touch it. Like I want that garbage."
"Too right." James said approvingly, gazing at the Gryffindor flag on the wall. "Gryffindors 'til the end!"
"Gryffindors 'til the end, Prongs." He murmured, closing his eyes and spinning in place.
"Where is he."
The voice hissed darkly, filled with a hatred that Adrian Gale had only recently been able to understand. He managed to get out a cocky laugh around the side of his mouth that was crushed against the moldy wall of the tavern.
"And who would that be, Black?"
"Your master is dead. You've got no reason for loyalty now. And Pettigrew is going to go the same way."
Adrian snickered. Really, it was endlessly amusing. Perhaps it was his Ravenclaw mindset. "He was so easy to manipulate. You lot treated him like garbage. A few drinks on the house and a party or two and he was all mine. He made a better asset to us than you were to Dumbledore."
Sirius slammed more weight forward, twisting Adrian's wrist just a little harder. "Tell me."
"Ah yes. The talented wizard always knows how to use his fists." Adrian scoffed. His free arm was crushed between his stomach and the wall, but he could just finagle his arm enough to loosen his wand.
"I checked Knockturn Alley. You and Peter were chummy. They seemed to respond better to a little physical stimulation." Sirius said with a clinical coldness.
"Quite the detective, Holmes. Here's a news flash. I haven't seen Peter in weeks. And I certainly wouldn't know where the coward would hide after selling out your little friend. Do you think he even feels guilt about it?" Just a bit more. He smirked. "I wonder if Potter begged for his life. Do you think he'd hand over the pretty redhead for his own survival? He seemed the type."
"Shut the fuck up. You don't know James and you never will."
"Clearly. The man is dead."
Sirius brought his fist back, releasing one hand's grip. Adrian jabbed his wand backwards. Sirius rolled out of the way of the burst of flames, and whipped out his wand.
"And now what? You can't kill me. Your precious rules and morals stop you." Adrian sneered, rolling his eyes.
"I've never been much for rules." Sirius said, calmly raising his wand. "Any hints?"
Adrian shrugged. "He used to hang out at this little coffee shop. Was stalking the head barista. Muggle girl, not really of interest, but pretty." He flicked his wand a bit, sparks coming out the end. "You won't kill me."
The dark-haired man smirked cruelly. "You forget. I come from a long line of people like you. And I'm more like them than I'd like to admit. Avada Kedavra!"
The spell flowed from his lips easily. As though he had practiced it a thousand times. The Order was technically permitted to use the Unforgivables, but refrained from doing so on Dumbledore's "suggestion". That didn't mean that Sirius was going to keep to that rule. Not when his vengeance was at stake.
Adrian dropped. Surprisingly fast. Sirius had seen Dorcas drop, but it had felt like slow motion. Now, with adrenaline pumping through his veins, the whole scene was on double time. It wasn't more than a few seconds before Sirius was stepping over the prone form of the scarred Death Eater and heading out the door.
Sirius didn't even know what time it was anymore. All he knew was that the sun was up. It felt like he had been chasing forever. But the rage was burning just as strong as when he had started earlier that night.
The streets of London were crowded. Muggles, moving about their business, trying to get to work. Wizards were out too. Almost too openly, they appeared in the crowd, setting of sparks and causing Muggles to scatter, and shouting, "TO HARRY POTTER, THE BOY WHO LIVED!" They were mostly drunk it seemed.
How could they celebrate? Didn't they know? Didn't they realize? James and Lily were dead and the earth kept turning, and the sun had risen? It was wrong. These people, happy and smiling, celebrating or even just able to get out of bed in the morning. Didn't they understand what Peter had done?
Finally, a coffee shop. Sirius had asked another, more "amenable" character down Knockturn, and he had pointed him to a coffee shop a little ways from the Ministry. Nondescript. There, huddled in the window. A hefty figure with a mop of wispy blond hair, his hands shaking so hard he wasn't even able to hold the teacup in his hands. Sirius stared hard as he came closer, almost as if he were trying to kill Peter with his mind.
Suddenly Peter looked up, his head jerking around in the movements of a mouse in the center of a room. And inexplicably, their eyes met. In an ocean of Muggles and people, they looked at each other, Black and Pettigrew.
And then the crowd surged around Sirius, and when it was gone, so was Peter. "No." He growled, and slipped to the side, his form transforming instantly from human to dog. Peter's scent was familiar and he followed it, his large and mangy form slipping around the people on the street. His focus was absolute.
In the opening of an alleyway Peter was trying to run off. Sirius was human again, and he screamed. "Pettigrew!"
Peter shrieked girlishly, his entire form completely white. Sirius scrambled for his wand. The blond burst into tears.
"Sirius! How could you, Sirius?" He suddenly cried out, and Sirius froze, wand pointed out.
"What are you-"
"James and Lily! James, your best friend! Why did you do it? Why did you join You-Know-Who!" Peter wailed, his voice pleading and desperate.
"You ratfucker!" Sirius snarled. "I never-"
"How could you kill them!" Peter shrieked even louder. Around them people were stopping and looking.
Sirius stared. Peter was going to try and pin this on him?
"He was your best friend!" Peter yelled, the point of his wand just barely visible in his hand. Sirius muttered a Shield Charm, but the jinx or hex he was expecting didn't come.
There was a bright light, and a boom so loud that everything went fuzzy. He tried to look at Peter, but couldn't see anything, spots clouding his eyes. He skidded backwards several feet, hitting the wall on the opposite side of the alley, but his Shield Charm was powerful.
When the smoke cleared and the ringing stopped Sirius gazed at the other side of the alleyway. A giant gaping hole was there, along with Peter. He watched with a certain horror and fascination as Peter sliced off his own finger, dropping it. Their eyes met one last time, and then a pile of clothes was all that remained. Sirius barely spotted a grey blur scurry down into the hole, where a sewer was waiting.
His brain was buzzing, not from the explosion, but from a realization. Peter was the spy. All along. A full year. One of the people closest to him. Closest to James. And he had turned him into the Secret-Keeper. He had handed James and Lily and Harry to Voldemort on a silver platter with a side of wine and cheese. Peter had been working for Voldemort all along.
Arms grabbed him, and he looked around, startled, struggling on instinct. They wore Ministry badges. Hit Wizards. His throat caught. Peter's words, the explosion. He faked his death while making it look like Sirius had done it. Everyone but James thought he was the Secret-Keeper. They hadn't even told Dumbledore, the one person who could save him.
A high-pitched laugh rang out. It was several moments before he realized it was his own. Pettigrew, the traitor. Pettigrew, the criminal mastermind. As they dragged him off, he couldn't stop laughing, hysteria bubbling up as his eyes gazed at the hole in the street. Pettigrew, defeater of James Potter and Sirius Black.
After all this time, after all the taunting, the teasing, the agony they bestowed upon him. It turned out Peter Pettigrew was the smartest of them all.
James stroked his fingers through Lily's soft hair. Across the room, Harry slept peacefully in his crib. His two very exhausted parents were sitting in the rocking chair. Lily was perched on James' lap, and she'd already fallen asleep on his chest.
Harry's mobile was spinning over his bed, the lullaby had apparently soothed both son and mother. Her cheek was somewhat smushed against James' chest, her hair was tickling his neck. But he didn't move it.
Everything was perfect. "This is what heaven should feel like." He murmured into the thick red locks. Lily stirred, and he stroked her cheek.
Remus gripped around Sirius' waist firmly. The wind was moving past them too fast. He closed his eyes, and instead focused on the large body in front of him. Sirius was strong and firm, and the perfect grip.
"LOOOOLA-" Sirius called out in a sing-song voice.
Remus kicked him. He might be getting more used to the flying bike, and he might even like that he was forced to cling to Sirius in order to stay upright and not to have a panic attack, but he did not approve of the singing.
"Mrs. James Potter." Lily slowly drew a heart around the words with a bit of a flourish, smiling to herself. He really was quite cute. To the eleven year old, he was almost perfect. She'd have to do something about his hair though. And his friend would have to go.
Suddenly she felt something hit her. She looked down to see a large eyeball rolling towards her. She shrieked and stood up, and suddenly saw James with a handful of eyeballs in his hands, gazing at her with a smirk.
"Sorry... slipped right out of my fingers."
Ten minutes and five eyeballs later, Lily picked up her quill and very firmly began to score over her little heart. Stupid James. Stupid boys. She resolved then and there to never think about him again.
He snickered, peering over the edge of the table. "Target at five o'clock."
Next to him, James slowly rose up to look at their target. "Hard to miss that one."
"It's the sailboat nostrils." Sirius said calmly. "I wonder if his sense of smell is all that good."
"Good? Must be fantastic. Although if he can smell himself I don't know how he's lived this long." James said.
"Target is on the move." Sirius said, eyes following Severus as he walked the length of the Great Hall. "Repeat, Target is on the move."
"Peter should be intervening in three, two..." James smirked as Peter popped up out of nowhere, slamming into Severus.
The Slytherin was forced off-track, snarling under his breath as he made a turn to go around Peter.
"Target is in line." Sirius said happily. "Peter actually did it right."
"A great but pleasant shock." James agreed.
"Time to lay the trap. Where's Remus?" Sirius said, glancing around briefly.
"He refused to be present. But I've got the goods." James pulled a dungbomb out from under his robes, and lit the fuse. "He assured me that these would work."
"Brilliant he is. But I do wish he'd stop being such a prude." Sirius said, watching as James rolled the dungbomb directly into the pathway of Severus. The long-nosed boy had only a moment to recognize the small sphere in his path, before it exploded.
Just as Remus had promised, the cloud of brown smoke was now a torrent of greenish water. Mint flavored to be exact. Drenched from head to toe and smelling of peppermint, Severus looked for the perpetrators. He wouldn't have to wait long.
Sirius popped up from behind the table. "Smell that Severus? It's called hygiene!"
James appeared beside him. "Honestly, we're just trying to do you a favor. I know you live in a dungeon, but mold shouldn't actively be growing on your skin."
Snape stared, his nostrils flaring. Laughing hysterically, Sirius and James vanished, running for the door.
Remus was waiting outside, next to Peter. He rolled his eyes when he saw his friends' mirth. "Congratulations."
James looped his arm around Sirius' neck. "Congrats indeed. Your bombs worked fantastically. I hope the smell sticks. For our sakes."
"I hope it doesn't." A sharp female voice caused all four boys to look up, eyes wide. McGonagall peered down at them. "For your sakes."
"Sev, look what I found." Lily rushed forward, her palms outstretched.
The boy looked, to see a butterfly with one crushed wing. "It's a dead bug."
"No it isn't!" Lily protested. "Look, it's moving! It's still alive."
"Who cares? It'll be dead soon anyway."
Her eyes welled up with tears. "Stop saying that! It's a poor butterfly and it needs my help."
He fell silent, looking at her. "How?"
"I dunno... I was just going to try..." Lily said, bending over the butterfly. For a moment her hair obscured it. Then she raised up her hands and the butterfly flew off, completely restored.
He watched it go. "That was really good."
She smiled. "I wanted to help."
"I bet you'd make a good Healer someday, Lily." He said wisely.
"Oh? Is that another one of those wizard jobs?"
"It's like a doctor. Only with magic."
She grinned, and sat down next to him. "Tell me more about wizard jobs."
He smiled back, though it was hidden a bit by his hair, and leaned forward, his shoulder just barely touching Lily's, his black eyes glittering with happiness.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well... there you have it. Our story comes to an end after 4 months of work, research, and fun. Really, I've enjoyed every minute of this storytelling. Sharing my creativity and having it received with such welcome by you guys has made this the best fanfiction experience I've ever had. I hope that despite the sad ending you still loved the story as much as I do.
And I'd like to remind you all that Dear Diary - the companion piece to 9 years - is already up to 3 chapters on www(dot)caitlinvanmeter(dot)com. Every Monday you can enjoy moments from 9 Years you may have forgotten, looking at them through the eyes of a young Lily Evans.
Also, next Wednesday will be the premiere of my Avatar: TLA fanfiction. Enjoy it right here on .
Again, thank you all for being here with me. I hope that you enjoyed it, I hope that you continue to enjoy it in the future, and I hope that you'll stop by again to read other works I produce.