Chapter 1: Nuts in the Family Tree
So, I've just spent a long time going through and trying to clean this up, at least as far as continuity, grammar, etc. goes. There's still some slightly awkward dialogue and cliche moments, and weak (nonexistent) plot points that I didn't take the time to clean up. Given that I wrote this when I was a freshman in high school, I do think it's decent, but be prepared for a bit of ridiculousness as well.
Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, nor am I making any writing off of this story.
"James Sirius Potter! Fred Remus Weasley!" Rose Weasley's voice rang through the corridors as her two cousins stumbled down the corridors in James' invisibility cloak, laughing the whole way as the smell of newly exploded dung bombs filled the air.
"That's what you get for snogging a Malfoy," James yelled over his shoulder.
"You're dead for that, Potter," Scorpius Malfoy called after them, which only made the two cousins start laughing harder.
Together they ran for the Gryffindor common room. The second that they were through the portrait, they collapsed on the floor, laughing and gasping for breath.
The two of them had been innocently walking back to Gryffindor tower after their Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson, when they happened to run into their little cousin getting up close and personal with Scorpius Malfoy, of all people. So, taking advantage of the ever present supply of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes merchandise that resided in James's bag, they separated the two lovebirds in the most subtle, mature manner possible: dung bombs.
"That was brilliant," Fred managed to gasp. James grinned back at him. It was his famous, maniacal smile. More than several times, people had told him that he looked psychotic when he released the full force of his mad grin, which happened to take up the majority of his face. Even Fred admitted that it was a little scary at times, more so when he got his eyes into it. That only made James smile even more. The idea of other people thinking he was crazy appealed to him.
"Anything I'm involved in is brilliant," James bragged. He knew that it sounded cocky, but it was true. Usually if something had James Potter's mark on it, it had a very high entertainment factor. He thought about the look on Malfoy's face when the dung bombs had gone off. Yes, his work definitely was entertaining, helped even more so by his partner in crime the past six years.
"Anything we're involved in is brilliant," Fred corrected him, and James didn't argue. He and Fred were more or less one person, two people working as a single unit. Never had he pulled a prank without his cousin beside him, and he grudgingly admitted that his friend took after his father enough that James wouldn't have been nearly so successful without him. Fred had a knack for making up new inventions and finding the perfect time to use them. James, on the other hand, wasn't quite so meticulous.
The differences complemented each other perfectly.
As his Uncle George had told him once, watching his son and his nephew with brown eyes that were never truly happy, James and Fred were the next coming of the original Fred and George Weasley. The younger Fred was the George in the pair, the one who was slightly gentler, who thought things through just a little bit more. And James was the Fred. The one who, according to George, was always a bit more loony than himself, who acted on whims, and who didn't let anyone else dictate what he was going to do. Together, they were unstoppable.
"But this," James said, "is one of the most brilliant."
"Easily," Fred agreed.
"Did you see Malfoy's face?"
"It was perfect."
"And Rose was going barmy," James added.
"Her cheeks were red enough that I swore she was going to blow."
"But she shouldn't be mad-," James started.
"Because she's lucky we didn't castrate him," Fred finished. James shrugged his shoulders.
"That is if there was anything to cut off," he said. Then the two of them burst into laughter all over again. Well, until someone stuck their foot into James' back. He started a bit, but relaxed when he saw who it was.
"Who are you going to castrate?" Lily asked. James groaned.
"I refuse to believe that you know what castrating means," he complained. But it wasn't like he was surprised that she did. He knew that his sister spent the majority of her time holed up in their aunt's library. He just never expected that she was learning about things involving male reproductive organs. What did that girl read?
"I'm not stupid. You're talking about cutting off someone's testicles." Fred, who never ceased to be amazed by James' little sister, shot her a look of approval.
"How in the hell do you know that?" James demanded, attempting to ignore Fred.
"I'm interested to know who you wish to castrate, and why."
"Lily," he warned, trying unsuccessfully to glare at her. James had also been told many times that he shouldn't even attempt to be strict because it was really just laughable. He was very aware of how true those comments must be at that moment, when his thirteen year old sister, who was about half his size, started laughing at him.
"Has someone been feeding you U-No-Poo?" Lily asked. "Because you look awfully constipated right now." James, who was still on the floor, lunged for her legs and pulled her down with him.
"It sure sounds like someone wants me to write and tell Mum about what I overheard her thirteen year old daughter say about the ickle Teddy Lupin." He turned to Fred, who'd also happened to overhear the conversation she'd been having with Ally Wood just a couple weeks ago. "Don't you think it's weird that she thinks her cousin's husband, and a man who has been a friend of the family for his entire life, is, what did she say Fred?"
"I believe the words that she used were 'A dreamy hunk of man meat.' Oh, and she also mentioned something about hating to see a body like that wasted on Victoire ." Lily gave a little squeal.
"There was a comment about abdominal muscles in there too, wasn't there?" James wondered, while his sister's face grew redder and redder, until it nearly matched her flaming hair.
"Hmm… I believe there was," Fred said, evidently getting as much enjoyment out of this as James. "I also recall something along the lines of 'seeing him shirtless at the lake this summer was a memory she was going to treasure forever'."
"Okay, shut up," Lily pleaded. "I apologize for telling you that you looked constipated. What I really meant to say was that you're the most terrifying and ferocious person I have ever seen."
"I don't know," Fred said teasingly.
"That wasn't convincing enough, was it?" James asked him.
"No, I don't believe it was."
"Mother will be so ashamed to hear about this," he said to his sister.
"You're only thirteen, after all," Fred told her.
"And Teddy is twenty."
"That's a bit of a difference, after all."
"It's actually quite disturbing."
"Maybe Aunt Ginny will get you counseling," Fred suggested.
"So that you'll grow to pine after people your own age," James explained. He could see his sister getting ready to snap. He didn't miss that her eyes were flashing dangerously, or that her hand was already reaching into her robes for her wand.
"Would you guys just shut up?" she asked. At that moment, the portrait opened, and Rose Weasley stepped through. Fred and James were still where they'd stumbled to a stop during their laughing fit, so the extremely angry Weasley girl was almost right on top of them. James could see her looking at the three of them, her eyes landing on Lily, whose face was still quite red.
"What's going on?" she asked, automatically jumping to the conclusion that the two had been harassing James' little sister. It may have been true, but still. James was offended that she thought so lowly of him.
"Lily told James that he looked constipated when he was glaring at her," Fred said, trying to nonchalantly get his wand out. James followed his example.
"Why were you glaring at her?" Rose asked. James could see that she had already been planning on laying into them for what they'd done before, but Lily's presence had stopped her.
"Because, she wouldn't tell me where she learned what it meant to castrate something. I was trying to be a good brother, and-'
"And his sister just couldn't take him seriously."
"Why," Rose asked, horror in her eyes, "were you talking about castrating people?"
"They said that they wanted to do it to someone, but they didn't think there'd be anything to cut off," Lily told her.
"We were talking about Malfoy," Fred informed her.
"For sticking his tongue in our baby cousin's mouth," James finished. Rose was starting to turn as red as Lily.
"But Lily was eavesdropping on our conversation," James continued.
"And she then she said testicles."
"Which was very inappropriate for my baby sister."
"Which led to James glaring at her," Fred said.
"And then she made that comment."
"So we were teaching her a lesson about manners."
"They were blackmailing me," Lily complained to Rose.
"We were just offering to tell Ginny about Lily's crush," Fred said.
"On Teddy," James concluded. Lily and Rose both looked at each other. The pair's eyes flashed with the same unmistakable glint than any decent Weasley (or Weasley-descended) woman got when they were angry.
"We're going to get hexed, aren't we?" James asked the two witches. They nodded.
"Bat-bogey?" Fred wondered, his voice reflecting that of a person in imminent doom. Again, the witches nodded. James and Fred glanced at each other. As the usual beam of bright green light headed straight for the two cousins, they raised their wands and both said, "Protego." The spell bounced off of them, and right back at the two redheads, who shrieked in horror.
James and Fred trotted past them, both grinning. Getting the girls like that was one of the simple joys of life.
"Beautiful shield spell," James told his cousin, holding his hand out for a high five. Fred slapped it.
"It was spectacular, wasn't it?"
"Watch that ego," James said.
"Pot. Kettle. Calling the other black. Ring a bell?" The two of them started laughing again as they retreated to their dormitories to get much needed rest. James fell asleep with his grin still on his face, perfectly content with his life as it was.
On the other end of the spectrum was Sierra Scamander. Her mother was a war hero and one of Harry Potter's closest friends. Her parents held respectable careers as magizoologists, and her family was quite well off, all things considered.
Despite this (or maybe because of it), Sierra often felt like a disappointment.
She'd been born with many of her mother's odd attributes. Along with believing very strongly in the creatures her mother had taught her about, she was shy and quiet, as well as clumsy and rather unlucky. It was understandable, then, why she had no friends. If Harry or Ginny had walked into the school and saw Sierra Scamander, the probably would have done a double-take, thinking they went back in time and were looking at Luna Lovegood before they'd befriended her.
Earlier that day, Sierra had been slinking through her hallways on her way to potions when someone had pushed her, causing her to fall forward and spill all of her things across the floor. She hurried to pick them up even as other students stepped over her, glaring at her for being in the way. That was probably why she missed her transfiguration book. The transfiguration teacher, Slytherin's head of house, Professor White, hadn't listened to her explanation about the other students, and had given her a week of detention.
Along with that, James Potter and Fred Weasley had been walking through the hallways, offering sweets to any passing students. She took one, hoping that it'd make her feel better, but it had just been another prank, and she'd run back to her room with tears in her eyes and boils popping up across her face. They'd gone away in just an hour, but it still left her sitting in her bed the entire night, staring into space.
She remembered the stories that her mother had told her of her first years at the school, about how the students had treated her. But she'd made friends eventually, by her fourth year. It was Sierra's sixth, and she hadn't had any luck so far. In one year, 'Psycho Scamander', was going to be gone, and with no more friends than she'd started out with. Then she was going to have to find a job, and there'd be no friends there either.
A lone tear rolled down her face. She knew that everyone had good in them, that they didn't mean anything when they teased her. It wasn't even the teasing that she cared about. She could deal with that. It was hurtful and annoying, but it had never bothered her. The reason why she was crying, why she was so upset, was because despite all that, there wasn't even a single person who she could turn to when she needed a smile.
So while James Potter fell asleep, thinking about how perfect his life was, Sierra Scamander fell asleep as well, not even daring to dream for a single friend.
And why should have she? It had been six years and she had no one. How could she have hoped for any different?
Usually James and Fred would roam the school during their free hour after breakfast. They'd toss dung bombs, scare lone students, and disguise skiving snack boxes as normal candies, then laugh as their victims succumbed to the sweets' hidden effects.
But the day after the dung bombs incident with Scorpius and Rose, Fred decided to hang out with his girlfriend, leaving James to wander the corridors by himself. He never did lone pranks—it didn't feel quite right without his other half—so he settled for taking a leisurely stroll through the castle instead.
Then he heard yelling from one of the corridors.
Playing the part of hero (he blamed his father for that instinct), he jogged to where the shouting was coming from. Once he rounded the corner, he saw two girls arguing with each other at the end of the hall. He listened carefully as he dug his invisibility cloak out of his bag.
"Harry Potter was, and always has been a fraud. He just got lucky," a girl spit. James recognized the nasally voice as that of Michelle Zabini. He knew that she didn't have a problem with using her wand when she wanted to, so he started heading down the hall to break up the fight.
"I don't think anyone gets quite that lucky, but perhaps the wrackspurts have you confused; they're rather common this time of year." James had to hold back a groan. Luna Scamander's daughter was getting picked on yet again.
"You think you're so smart, don't you Psycho?"
"I suppose that I believe I am smarter than you, but that's because I'm in Ravenclaw-" She stopped when Zabini took out a wand and pointed at her throat. James, who'd been planning on just leading Zabini away from the confrontation, took out his wand as well.
"Densau-" Michelle started to say.
"Expelliarmus," James shouted, sending a jet of light right into the Zabini's stomach, throwing her backwards, her wand sailing through the air.
"Get out of here," James shouted to Zabini as he shrugged off his cloak and walked up behind the other girl. She quickly scooped up her wand and hurried down the hallway. When she was gone, Sierra Scamander slowly got up and turned around. Then, she saw exactly who'd saved her, eyed him cautiously, and backed away without a word of thanks.
"You know Psycho Scamander?" James asked Fred as they were walking through the halls later that day.
"Kinda. Her mum's close with my parents."
"Yeah. Luna spends a lot of time around my house too. But her daughter's never with her."
"I didn't even know she had a daughter until she came to Hogwarts."
"That's weird, huh? How close her mum is with our parents, but we never talk to her." Fred shrugged, obviously not thinking much of it.
"She doesn't talk to anyone, really."
"Unless she's trying to defend herself," James added, thinking of the way that she was arguing when he'd come across her and Michelle Zabini earlier that morning.
"Yeah. She gets kinda defensive about her wabberspurts or whatever."
"It's weird. If she shut her mouth, they'd stop making fun of her in the first place."
"Maybe she doesn't know that. One time she walked up to Professor Longbottom and asked if she'd seen her shoes because Nargles took them. The girl doesn't realize that there are some things people just don't do. Such as openly speak about things such as Nargles."
"She has to be dense if she thinks that Nargles are stealing her things."
"Very," Fred agreed. Then he looked at his friend. "So, why are you wondering about Scamander?"
"Zabini was mouthing off at her this morning. I got there soon enough to hear her call my dad a fake, then Sierra said that she was only saying that because wrackspurts got in her head."
"Aw, that's cute. Psycho's probably all starstruck over your dad." James rolled his eyes at that.
"Like that's anything new." He shrugged. "Anyway, I hit Zabini with a spell and chased her away."
"Was it a painful one?" Fred asked hopefully. James grinned at him.
"Just like your daddy," said Fred, giving him a high-five. "I bet she ran away crying."
"She sure got out of there quickly enough," he said with a laugh.
"And what'd Scamander do?" Fred wondered. "Confess her undying love for you?" James kicked him in the shins, causing Fred to hold up his hands questioningly. "What? I wouldn't expect anything else. You are thee James Potter. Hell, if you saved me, I'd probably propose myself."
"Do you want me to tell Brooke about that little development? If you're considering proposing to a man, and your cousin at that, well…. She may want to reconsider going out with you." Now it was Fred's turn to kick James in the shin. And James, mirroring Fred's reaction, held up his hands. "What? I know that I'm irresistible, and you're damn good looking yourself, but if we're going to start something, I think that your girlfriend should know about it."
The two of them cracked up. James could feel most of the students they past looking at them like they were crazy, but that just made him laugh harder. He'd stopped caring about the way people looked at him like he was somewhat unstable a long time ago. It was just part of being half of the Weasley/Potter duo.
"So, what exactly did she do?" Fred asked James after they'd calmed down a bit. They were just stepping into the potions classroom. Professor Spector both gave them cautious looks, as she did whenever the two showed up for class. James supposed that may have something to do with the time they caused the explosion in third year. It wasn't that bad, not really. The burn marks on the floor had been easily removable, and it had taken no time for Ethan Corner to grow his eyebrows back.
"Scamander?" James asked. Fred nodded. "She ran. I'd just saved her, and I was going to ask if she was okay, but the second she caught a glimpse of my face, it was like I'd scared her or something. She was gone in a second." Fred started laughing, earning him a glare from Spector.
"You're kidding, right? You scared stinking Psycho Scamander?"
"Yeah, I think I did."
"You couldn't scare anybody if you tried. I don't believe that."
"I scared Zabini."
"Yeah, but that's because you hit her with a spell. You were being nice to Scamander, and I know how charming you can be when you're nice. Why else did you think I fell for you?" Their professor shot them another glare.
"Class hasn't started yet," James informed her, then looked back towards Fred. "Yeah, yeah. I know that you think I'm charming. But if I was, then why did she run?"
"Um, I don't know… Maybe because she's crazy?"
"Don't take it to heart, okay? I doubt it was anything you did."
"I'm just worried that she thought I was going to hurt her or something."
"Chill out. I think the entire school knows that you hurt no one. They could see that when you went out with that fat chick for like a week last year because you couldn't turn her down. If Scamander is scared of you, it's because she's out of touch with reality; I doubt it's anything you've done."
"What about our pranks?" James asked, dropping his voice to a whisper as Spector started class. "Maybe she thought I was going to do something like that." Fred considered that, then shrugged.
"I dunno. Possibly. She does wander into our attack zone a lot. Maybe she thought you were picking on her." The thought bugged James. Along with his uncle's sense of humor, he also had his father's desire to be seen as a good person. Even though he knew people found him overbearing, and some people did say not all of his pranks were harmless, no one thought that he ever had spiteful intent.
Sure, sometimes he didn't think about what he was doing before he did it, but he was never knowingly cruel to anyone and a part of him wondered if Psycho Scamander had taken it that way. He knew people picked on her a lot, and no doubt she would interpret a spiked piece of candy, or a telescope that hit her in the face, or something invisible whispering in her ear, as something malicious. He didn't want to be seen like that, especially not by Luna's daughter.
"I should talk to her," he whispered to Fred. His cousin turned to him and rolled his eyes.
"Saint Potter," he whispered. "The man who blackmails his sister and curses his cousin, but still can't stand to let a damsel in distress worry that he may not be Prince Charming. You would be perfect if you didn't have that tiny piece of your father in you. The Weasley part, that's amazing, but Harry just tainted it."
James slapped his arm and smiled. He knew that Fred's teasing meant he was willing to go along with whatever he decided to do about the situation.