Author's Notes: In a fit of insanity, I dove back in to Harry Potter for NaNoWriMo 2009, tackling the challenge of the Marauders, Lily, and Snape, in their first year at Hogwarts. I wanted to break some stereotypes and still try and stay within the bounds of canon.

The goal was to make them all into real people, with passions and beliefs, hopes and dreams and fears. To paint a picture of the Wizarding world in the early 1970s, and how Voldemort found a foothold to exploit. There isn't some great evil lurking at the end of the school year, no enemy to face down, no mortal peril to avoid. Just a group of kids growing up and figuring out how they fit into this world that their parents have laid out for them and how to take that and make it their own.

Ambitious, I'm sure, especially since I really want people to read my story and say "Hey, wow, I actually like Peter!" Because I'm really sick of people just ignoring him or turning him into some whiny, wimpy tag-along that the others basically only keep around to harass. I think he has so much potential as a character, and I want to give him the chance he deserves.

Also note-the kids are in their first year; eleven or twelve years old. There is no romance in this story.

The story itself is finished, topping out at 48 chapters. Of those 48, about half of them have been edited, so I figured now was as good a time as any to start posting-and if enough people were bugging me for more, it would hopefully motivate me to finish editing the rest. Also, chapters are of varying lengths, so expect some shorter chapters and some longer chapters scattered throughout.

I'm going to try and maintain a regular posting schedule, but I've been extremely busy, and that isn't likely to change any time soon. Please bear with me.

Also, thanks to Robin and Vera Rozalsky, who both contributed to various stages of beta-ing and kicking me in the butt to get this thing anywhere near finished.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and associated content belongs to JK Rowling and various other groups, which don't include me. Books and characters mentioned within the text belong to their respective owners. I'm making no money from this. Disclaimer applies to all chapters of this story.


Peter had spent most of the day hiding behind his favorite book. Despite having read it several times, he never bored of The Count of Monte Cristo, even if it was written by a Muggle. His uncle had given it to him when he was seven and just starting to get the hang of reading, and his mother had fussed for days that it wasn't an appropriate book for him to be reading. But he had fallen in love with it, and spent most of the three weeks following his birthday reading it and reading it again.

So now, sitting in the corner of the train car, he turned once more to his old friend. He knew some of the other children, but he had never been particularly close to any of them, and this suddenly new environment had them all nervous. Excited, too, but the nerves had won out and he couldn't quite bring himself to try and make friends. Besides, what if he made friends with someone only to find out they were Sorted into a different House?

There were three others in the compartment he had chosen, all of them reading books. The red-haired girl and the black-haired boy seemed to already know one another, because they would occasionally comment to one another about something they were reading. He also suspected they were Muggleborn, because one had a copy of their Potions text while the other had a copy of the Charms book.

The other boy would look up every time the others spoke, but never said anything aside from a quiet greeting when he entered the compartment two hours earlier. Peter had taken note that the brown-haired boy was reading A Tale of Two Cities. He'd heard of it, of course, but the one time he had tried to read it, he found it terribly dull. Dickens might have been a wizard, but he knew nothing of writing a good adventure story.

The door to the compartment slid open. "Anything off the cart, dears?" an older woman pushing a trolley full of sweets offered.

Peter looked at the candy longingly as his stomach chose that moment to growl. He didn't often get treats like that. His mother was always worried about him eating too much sugar.

"Oh, yes, please!" the girl said, standing up to peer at the contents of the cart, oohing and aahing over the Cauldron Cakes and the Chocolate Frogs and the Bertie Botts Beans.

Must be a Muggleborn for sure, he thought, watching as she carefully counted out a handful of knuts, bringing the candy back to her seat.

His stomach growled again, so he fetched the small sack his mother had given to him before the train had left. He smiled as he pulled out the sandwich.

Chicken. She remembered. The nervous knot in his stomach eased just a little with the reminder of his mother's thoughtfulness at packing his favorite sandwich. The girl was sharing her treats with her companion, and Peter saw the brown-haired boy peeking over the top of his book with a look of longing.

"Want my apple?" Peter offered the other boy, realizing he didn't seem to have anything to eat. He looked up, appearing startled. "I'm Peter, by the way. Peter Pettigrew."

"Remus Lupin," the boy replied. Peter offered the apple out to him again, and Remus took it reluctantly. "Thanks."

"Mum's always trying to get me to eat healthy stuff, but I really don't like apples, and she always gives them to me no matter how much I tell her that." He stopped talking abruptly, realizing he had been babbling, and looked down, trying to hide the blush he could feel growing on his face.

"Nice of her, regardless," Remus said, his voice still soft. Peter was amazed that there was someone else in the world who was about as shy as he was. Peter didn't know what else to say to that, so he took a bite of his sandwich while Remus took a bite of the apple, and they both avoided looking towards each other. Their awkward silence was broken by the girl.

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry for being so rude! I'm Lily Evans, and this is my best friend, Sev Snape," Lily introduced herself and her companion. Peter looked over to see the boy grimacing at what Peter assumed to be a nickname. Remus didn't look willing to speak up first, so Peter took a deep breath and plunged ahead.

"I'm Peter Pettigrew. That's Remus Lupin. You're Muggleborn?"

"I am, but Sev's mum is a witch. We figured out ages and ages ago that I am too, and we've both been dying to get to Hogwarts. How about you two?" Lily asked. She was bubbly and enthusiastic, and Peter couldn't help but smile-just a little.

"My mum's a witch. Dad was too, but he died when I was just a baby," Peter said.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," Lily said. Peter was surprised that she did sound genuinely sorry, even though they had only just met. Something about the way she gave him her full attention when she asked him a question, making Peter feel like she actually cared what he had to say.

"It was a long time ago," Peter said with a small shrug, uncomfortable with the subject. He didn't even remember his father. Lily offered him a sympathetic smile before turning her attention to Remus, who blushed under the scrutiny.

"Dad's a wizard. Mum's a Squib," Remus said, barely audible. Lily beamed at him.

"I don't know about you, but I'm terribly nervous," Lily said, sounding anything but nervous. "I mean, here we are, at the beginning of something amazing! It's just like out of a storybook! I can't wait to start classes. Mr. Ollivander, he's that strange old man who sells wands in Diagon Alley, he said that my wand would be good for Charms, but I haven't even a clue if I'll be good at any of it!"

"You'll be fine, Lily," Sev said, sounding as if he'd had this conversation with her plenty of times already. Remus had already buried himself in his book again, and as Lily smiled at her friend, Peter took the opportunity to do the same.

The others were nice enough, but Peter still didn't want to make friends with someone and find out they'd never get to see one another once they were at school. At least he knew the Count would always be there for him.

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