Title; Dreams We Have As Children
Author; Phoebe Caulfield
Summary; While we're living, the dreams we have as children fade away; before they were Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, they were little boys gazing into the world with wide eyes. A series of vignettes on the early years of each Marauder's life.
A/N; So, I haven't posted in over six months, I've been switching between slaving and procrastinating over my new Definitive Guide series, and stressing over Chemistry exams. Eventually, as I was drafting a creative piece for my English coursework, I realized how much I missed all this and that if I didn't finish writing something soon, I would go mad. This is what I came up with.
In honor of James Potter's 51st birthday.
Part 1; James
"while we're living, the dreams we have as children fade away..."
"That kid," declares Alastor Moody, London Division Auror-Sergeant and newly appointed godfather, "looks like a complete poof in that."
Alexander Potter, former London Division Auror-Sergeant, recently appointed Dublin Division Auror-Sergeant and newbie father, rolls his eyes, watches his oldest friend shift baby James on his lap and try and fail to arrange the christening gown into a slightly more manly garment, "Congratulations, Alastor. The anointing was less than five minutes ago and already you've started using homophobic slurs in your new godson's presence."
"Corrupting the innocent mind of the child is all part of the job description. Besides, you really should know me better by now," Alastor grins and rubs his hands together, "I'm thinking of getting him The Young Wizard's Guide To Coming Out Of The Broom Closet for the first birthday. Whadya think?"
"I think," Alex says, snatching the wriggling newborn bundle out of his best friend's arms and stroking James's nest of downy black hair, "My wife was right and you are a psychopathic manchild for whom laws were written to keep you from getting near children."
"Whatever." Alastor scowls. "You're no fun anymore. Ever since you've had a baby you've been all Dad Of The Year and gone and moved to Ireland and been all like "no, no, it's childish and irresponsible to get absolutely twatted every Friday and pick fights with drunk monsters." Who am I supposed to go vampire dueling with now?"
"I hear Barty Crouch is free Friday evenings."
"Twat." Alastor ignores the child in Alex's arms and punches his friend on the shoulder.
"So wonderfully mature. You'll be a fantastic role models for an impressionable young child, I'm sure." Diana Potter stalks up behind the frozen men sitting on the churchyard bench, having escaped the stuttering vicar's attempts to convert the family to Catholicism and save their souls from eternal damnation. (Sadly for the vicar, no-one informed him that telling Diana Potter that she is condemned to an eternity of hellfire and brimstone is a sure-fire way to leave you quaking in you boots), "Don't you agree, Alex?"
"Yes, dear." Alex says meekly. Alastor senses an opportunity.
"Such a wonderfully matched couple. James will be a perfectly adjusted, normal child, I'm sure."
For once, Alexander manages to stand up for himself.
"Say what you like about our admittedly dysfunctional relationship dynamic," Alex cuts in, stroking his sleeping son's forehead, "but my baby is going to be great. Just remember that, Al. James Lysander Potter is going to be great."
"James Lysander Potter is going to be great. A Potter is going to be great," Alastor says dryly. "Whatever you say."
And under his breath he adds, "Still looks like a poof in that."
James falls in love with flying on his fourth birthday, from the moment when he is tucked up between Mummy and Daddy in their grown-ups' bed and unwrapping his Big Present with its red bow and green wrapping paper decorated with darting Snitches; a shiny new toy broomstick, with the words Quality Quidditch Supplies; Junior Range emblazoned on the handle.
He hugs Daddy and kisses Mummy, over and over again (even though he's a Big Boy now, and wouldn't be seen dead hanging off their necks in public), telling them they are the best Mummy and Daddy in the world, that it is the best birthday ever (Mummy and Daddy smile at each other over the top of their son's head; he's been saying that all three birthdays previous), that he will win the next World Cup and earn them lots of money so they can live in a palace built out of chocolate with swimming pools and house-elves and the biggest playroom in the world.
Mummy and Daddy barely have time to laugh gently and ruffle James's hair before the newly-four-year-old has jumped off the bed and scampered out the room, clutching his new broomstick and announcing that on his first ever ride on a broom he is going to attempt a Wronski Feint.
It's a big boy's game, Jamie, Daddy tells him, when he falls off his new broomstick for the fifth time in as many minutes, It's okay if you don't get it at first.
But Jamie has always wanted to be a big boy, always wanted to be like Dai Llwelleyn with his Nimbus 1200 and his funny-looking goggles and his stack of silver trophies, always wanted to be twisting and turning and diving with a Quaffle tucked under his arm like it is the easiest thing in the world. So he kicks off again and waits to feel the rush of wind on his face-
-and crashes to the ground, splattering his new Chudley Cannons jumper with mud. Tears start to tumble down his cheeks and he tries desperately to remember that Big Boys don't cry, when he feels Daddy's big hands resting on his shoulders and guiding him back to the broom.
James makes a few half-hearted attempts to wriggle free of Dad's arms, but gives up once he nearly goes headlong into the bushes three times in a row, and it's after hours of coaxing and promises of extra Chocolate Frogs at pudding, James manages to wobble around the field a few centimeters above the grass.
It's not much, but if James closes his eyes and imagines he is streaking a lap of the National Stadium, he can almost forget his father's hands on his shoulders.
(He topples of the broomstick the moment Daddy turns his back and scrabbles onto the seat as quickly as he can. Daddy doesn't mention it at dinner, and for that, James is grateful).
Alexander is at first reluctant to send his son to the local Muggle primary. It takes an evening of Diana's arguing and James's puppy-dog eyes, but it isn't until his wife reminds Alex that she went to her Muggle comprehensive, and she certainly turned out all right, unless her dear husband was somehow inclined to disagree?
Alex concedes within five seconds, and that's all it takes for James to slam into his knees and run around in circles chugging out a noise like a racing broom; his latest and most violent way of saying thank you Daddy.
His father picks him up and swings him into his arms, feeling slightly ashamed that it takes nothing but the smile on his five-year-old's face to break one of Ireland's leading Aurors.
James maintains it wasn't his fault.
In the six-year-old's opinion, if arrogant little rich boys like Paul Hewson get to strut about in their big posh sunglasses and push around the weedy kids with their Superman lunch boxes and thick glasses, they deserve to have their sandwiches Transfigured into a fistful of earthworms when they touch their tongues.
(Dad yells at him more than he has ever done in his life and Mum sends him to bed before dinner and he's forced to write a letter of apology to Hewson, somehow explaining how he transported a handful of squirming earthworms from the Class One vegetable garden to Hewson's peanut butter sandwich. He's not sure if it even makes any sense, but he thrusts the tear-splattered paper into Hewson's hand and storms off in a sulk, and the incident is never mentioned again).
James cries when Mum tells him he has to leave his Ireland and move to a place called London, where it apparently rains all the time and everyone stabs each other and there are no flying fields for the nearest ten miles. He doesn't know why they have to go - Mum and Dad are using big, grown-up words, words like mobsters and organized crime and Auror shortage on the force - none of that matters to Jamie, who lives for flying and Chocolate Frogs and St Patrick's day and can't even spell the word Mafia.
"Jamie," Diana Potter whispers, sitting down with him on the sofa, the one piece of furniture still remaining amongst the boxes and boxes packed with James's childhood, home and memories. He tries to shift away, but Diana clasps him into an uncharacteristically intense embrace, "We moved out here... we wanted to protect you. It's a Dark magic area and it's not good for kids... we knew we'd be needed back sometime." she pauses, and James is drawn from his sulk long enough to be surprised; it's his father who stutters through lectures, "You have to grow up sometime."
James shrinks away from his mother, and knowing he is being thoroughly selfish and not giving a damn, says very quietly, "I'm not going to."
For the first time, and definitely not the last, James runs away from his parents' arms and locks the door to his bedroom and hides under the bed.
He hates London.
It doesn't help that on his second day at the new primary (where it's all so foreign that he would hug Paul Hewson if the boy walked through the door, if only for a scrap of home) he's sent into the Head's office and told his father has been rushed to hospital and brought into surgery. Nothing makes an ounce of sense, but Uncle Al is there, and in James's state of feeling like the ground has been swiped from beneath his feet and hidden somewhere he will never find it, he allows his eccentric godfather to take him by the hand and rescue him from the school.
He keeps his eyes averted as Uncle Al hurries him through St Mungo's - the Healers aren't exactly keen on little boys running through the private Auror ward, and for once, James is terrified of what others think. It's only when he sees his dad, wired up to various strange-smelling Potions and vials.
He thinks he might faint. Dad is always there, always steadfast, always looking after him, and it's wrong, it's all wrong and James doesn't like it-
His father's voice doesn't make it all better, but it definitely helps. Alex is pale and washed out, and it's probably because of this that he looks happier than ever to see his son. He falls back on the bed, breathing heavily, "Fell down in a duel... bloody vampires."
James hugs his dad, and despite being stuck in a foreign country and strange hospital, he feels more at home than he has done in weeks. His father entwines her fingers within his, stroking James's small shivering hands and warming him up more than the brightest fire ever could.
Alex suddenly sits up and hauls his ten-year-old onto his lap, something James hasn't let him do for five years, and gives him another hug. "You're a brave boy, Jamie. The bravest boy in the world."
You're a brave boy, Jamie. The bravest boy in the world.
"GRYFFINDOR!" the Hat shouts. James nearly topples to the floor, and whether it is from relief or the Hat's deafening roars he doesn't know, but in amongst the cheering and pride on his new Housemates faces and this blaze of glory, he doesn't even care.
A/N; Well, there it is. Drop me a line if you think my writing's got better or worse, and because I am an absolute review whore, I'll make you a deal; leave me a review and I promise to review one of your stories. (Specify if there's any in particular you want me to review). The title comes a line in the Oasis song, Fade Away.
Also, anyone get the U2 reference?