Author's note! Hmm, what can I say? If I had written as my obsession demanded, this story wouldn't be the length it is today, and would also be finished. And would also be a lot less interesting. However, plot devices, original characters, and You Know Who managed to hijack this story and turn it into the mildly cute turned more-than-mildly sinister story it is now… Don't let the first chapter throw you off…

This came out of my story Snape's Redemption which is on hold until this is finished. But it's not a prequel - actually it's a bit AU. (You'll see by the end of this chapter!). All will be revealed… Now… I would say on with the fic… but it'd be more accurate to say, on with the original author's note…

Author's note (the first original Author's note) – apologies for any Snape's Redemption readers (yes, all 2-4 of you), I'm still a bit unclear as to the next chapter, yet this story just popped into my head one day. It doesn't fit with Snape's Redemption, but it does just about fit with the books. I know exactly what's going to happen next, I just can't be bother to write it all yet, so this is just chapter one. Lots of the ideas from Snape's Redemption are in here, they just turn out differently. There will be surprises, I'm not going to make this orthodox. It's just a kooky sort of Marauder story…

(Disclaimer- characters are all JK Rowling, except Mandy Farrell and a few others to come. If you don't recognise the name, it's probably mine.)

Hogwarts Friends, Hogwarts Enemies

Chapter 1 – First day

The boy with black hair shuffled into the empty carriage and sat down, feeling agitated, nervous. In his Muggle primary school that his father had insisted he attend, he had been a misfit, not just because he was a wizard (how could they know?) but also because he was intelligent, quiet, unpopular. Would he be a misfit again? And how was his sister faring? They had always stuck together in their 'freakiness' yet she would have to go alone this year. But she would cope better than he had – she was so much braver than he was.

The door opened, and a bespectacled boy who looked about his age stuck his head in. "Hullo!" he said, brightly. "Mind if we sit in here?"

The boy with black hair smiled. "Go ahead."

The boy with glasses came in, carrying a large barn owl in a cage. He was followed by a chubby, cheerful looking boy with a temperamental looking cat that was white with tabby patches, not in a carrying basket. The first boy had a cat too, it was a tom kitten his sister had given him. Orion was embarrassing adorable, so much so that he mostly stayed in his owner's large robe pocket, until he grew up to look suitably vicious.

The bespectacled boy sat down, breathlessly. "I'm James, this is Peter."

The boy with black hair winced internally. Two of the most common names in existence just had to be the first to be introduced.

"I'm Severus…" He looked embarrassed. "My dad felt he had to make up for me being half-blood, I guess."

James laughed good-naturedly. "Oh, you should hear my middle name! Luckily they reckoned called me just Dionysus Potter was a bit ridiculous."

Peter choked on his chocolate frog, sending bits of it spraying everywhere.

"Wanna play Exploding Snap?"

When Peter had recovered, James pulled out his cards and they began to play. In spite of his enjoyment, Severus could not help a detached sense of surprise. It had been so long since he'd been accepted so readily. Maybe things were going to be different. After all, they were wizards, like him – it might be all right after all.

Moments later, another boy threw open the door. He was tall, white-blond, around fifteen and followed by a small horde of admirers. He wore and unpleasant smile.

"Firsties!" He exclaimed delightedly, and the horde sniggered.

James looked up, and said coolly, "Yes, that's right."

The other boy surveyed the carriage, and suddenly saw Peter's cat. Out came a wand.

"Mycosa!"

The cat seemed to squeal. It shot under a seat, whilst its skin appeared to erupt. Peter leapt forward furiously, and started to attempt to pound the blond boy, with utmost futility. The horde's laughter became uproarious.

"Peter!" James pulled his friend back from his useless attempts to batter the blond boy, and faced their adversary defiantly. "You're a bully. What did you do?"

"Just a little fungal hex," the boy said, nonchalantly.

Whilst he tried to coax the petrified feline from its hiding place, Severus allowed himself a quick glance of the boy. He felt a fleeting envy… a tiny part of him wanted that power, that nerve.

"Change it back," James said, menacingly. The boy smirked and strolled on down the corridor. Peter started after him, but James held him back. "It's not worth it, Peter," he said. "When we can to Hogwarts, we can tell a teacher then." Peter nodded grimly.

"Now… on with our game…"

***

James, Peter and Severus got out together, Peter's cat nestling terrified in his arms. James's barn owl was still asleep, and Orion was still cosily snoozing in Severus's pockets, oblivious. Hagrid directed the first years to several boats on the lake, and the three stayed together, joined by a talkative girl who introduced herself as Mandy Farrell, an a quiet redhead called Lily Evans. Mandy made a point of asking their names; Peter Pettigrew, Severus Snape, and…

"James Dionysus Potter," James told her, retaining an incredibly straight face. "I'm very picky about the Dionysus." Both Mandy and Lily giggled appreciatively.

"I'm Amanda Katerina Farrell, if it makes you feel better," Mandy said. "Have you got familiars? Mine's a toad. Take a look." She pulled out a huge green creature, and Lily yelped in surprise. "His name's Gregory," Mandy said affectionately. "He's an old family pet." She talked as if he were a sweet, loyal Labrador rather than a huge, ugly toad, Severus thought. Mandy was still talking. "I really can't wait… Does anyone know which house they're gonna be in? My family are all Hufflepuffs and…"

Everyone hushed. The castle was up ahead, immense towers of granite resplendent in the crowning glory of the golden shafts of sunlight striking through, and offset by the peachy sky of sunset. "Oh, wow…" Mandy was the first to speak. Again.

Soon enough they were ushered into the hall. There was a short delay whilst Peter told a strict-looking teacher, Professor McGonagall, about the incident with his cat. The professor took the terrified moggie and promised to find and chastise the boy – was it Lucius Malfoy? As they waited, James asked Lily, "So do you have a familiar? Mandy left us quite speechless." In spite of herself, Mandy chuckled.

"Oh, yes… Mum promised me a snowy owl, but she had to order specially, she's a Muggle you see…"

Mandy bounced in. "Wow, what are they like?"

"Er… non-magical," Lily said, stiffly, at a loss.

"I've got an owl too," James interceded, brightly. "He's a barn owl. His name's Dave."

"Dave?"

"Yup." James pointed to the slowly awakening bird. "Wakey wakey Dave… What about you, Severus?"

"Oh, um…" Severus felt awkward. "I have a cat. Orion."

"Where is he?" Mandy asked, eagerly. Severus reluctantly pulled the kitten from his pocket. Lily and Mandy both shrieked at once.

"He's sooo cuuute!" James laughed, and even Severus managed to smile as they both ticked and petted the bewildered cat, speaking to him in abnormally high voice.

"Think you got a winner there, Severus," James said.

"My sister gave him to me…"

Before long, they were ushered into the hall, and lined up. Severus took the time to looked at each individual table – Slytherin were green banners, and he saw the white-blond boy – Lucius Malfoy – returning from his talk with McGonagall to the Slytherin table. Ravenclaw were blue banners, Hufflepuff yellow, Gryffindor red. McGonagall was making the speech about the importance of the houses. She motioned towards a scruffy hat on a chair, which all of a sudden began to sing…

The Sorting Hat is what I am

Though I look torn and old

There's not one hat can parallel

The wisdom I have told

Countless first years, year on year

Have listened to my song

And then placed me upon their head

To see where they belong

The loyal go to Hufflepuff

The brainy – Ravenclaw

The cunning go to Slytherin

The brave to Gryffindor

So put me now upon your head

And let me see your mind

For if it's not filled with bits of fluff

I'll tell you what I find

The entire hall burst into applause. McGonagall began to read names. Avery, Andrew was first, and he was Slytherin. Barons, Adrian was Hufflepuff, Black, Sirius was Gryffindor. Sometimes it was quite quick, sometimes extraordinarily slow. Severus prayed he'd be a quick one. Evans, Lily was called and Lily had sat there for ages, giggling nervously – they'd been applause when at last she became a Gryffindor too. Mandy was up next, and it took a slightly shorter time to sort her to Hufflepuff, then two Ravenclaws, another Gryffindor, another Slytherin, another Hufflepuff, and then Peter, after a slight pause, was placed in Gryffindor, and then the hat barely had time to touch James's hair before it screamed to the hall that he was a Gryffindor too. There was applause for him, too, as he blushingly approached his new housemates. Soon after, Severus was called up, and tried the hat on for himself.

A tiny voice… "Well, you're an interesting one, aren't you… It's really one of two."

"I don't care," he thought back, stubbornly. "Just be quick."

"Isn't there anything you want from Hogwarts?"

Power? Admiration? Appreciation? They were all tempting. "I want to stay friends with James…" Hardly careers choice of the year. He was glad no one heard that silly, childish thought… he just wanted acceptance.

"Well, you can't do that in Slytherin. RAVENCLAW!"

The Ravenclaw table cheered, and he went to join them nervously. James waved and gave the thumbs-up. It looked like he'd have friends this year.

***

A/N – about Pettigrew lunging at Malfoy – he's a Gryffindor, once of the brave ones. I thought maybe we needed some evidence :-)

A/N 2 – In Snape's Redemption I make no excuses for Snape. In this story, there will probably be enough to send you into tears on Sevvie's behalf. Sorry about that.