Chapter 6

The New Marauders

Harry had learnt about wards from Bill Weasley when the Golden Trio had stayed in Shell Cottage the previous during the Horcrux hunting. Harry had expounded more on this knowledge by borrowing a book from the Library in Potter Manor. His grandmother had also taught him a few of the wards that had been put on the mansion so that he could put it on his own house. Harry had asked his new house-elf, Dundy, to clean up the house after the Death-Eaters had messed it up in their attack. After that, he put up Notice-Me-Not wards, blood wards so that only a select few could enter, non-compulsion wards that caused people to further their cause about coming to the house and wahl away on the other direction. But, his most successful achievement was his newly acquired Art of Specology book from the Potter mansion itself. Charlus Potter was more than happy to let his grandson to borrow it, because, he said that the book appeared blank most of the times and didn't contain any information of any value.

But now, as Harry was perched in his bedroom at Potter Manor, he realized that only people who had true and pure hearts could read the book and it's true contents. He also realised with a start that the book seemed to ber writing words on it's own while he was reading it.

Welcome to the past Harry Potter! I who know of your deeds in the future, am very pleased with the choice that you've made. It is a path very few will ever take, and those who do take it, are deemed the purest of the pure.

Harry stared at the book's words in front of him. Purest of the pure? What did the book mean? And then, as he was staring at the book, it answered as though it had read his mind.

Many people have sacrificed their lives for you. For the greater good, as Dumbledore called it. I have been in every branch of the Peverell family since Merlin made me, and I have encounterd only three other people, people who held other peoples lives over their own, who could read me. Merlin is not dead Harry, he is in our hearts all the time. Voldemort sought to make himself immortal, but being immortal is not the wish of somebody. It is God who decides your fate in this Universe. Merlin wanted to have four apprentices for his benefit. He wanted to pass on knowledge of the true Magical world. He waited for his fourth apprentice for a long time, but no one ever came. His other three apprentices have lived for generations, each on the look out for the fourth of one of their kind. Merlin also coached the Four Founders of Hogwarts, who in turn imbibed their knowledge to the three apprentices.

This set Harry thinking. How could people live for thousands of years? Maybe Hermione knew the answer. But the very tonight itself was ridiculous to Harry. Maybe this book is another prank on the Marauders part, he thought. He looked at the cover of the book again. There it was, a book worthy of it's age old printing. The book itself looked very old to Harry and he didn't for one moment doubt the authenticity of the book. Well, he wasn't still sure if the book was a prank our not, but he's decided to along with what the biol was telling for the moment until he had something solid to go on. He turned the book over and he saw words forming themselves as they had before.

I can read the doubt in your mind, he read. No, I'm not the cause of the prank. The Marauders are one of the greatest group of pranksters I've ever met, but there is also another group called the Marauders. There are mainly two groups in the Wizarding works as you know. The Light and the Dark. And moreover, I don't see a group of pranksters enchanting a book that tells the past, present and the future. Only the most powerful Wizards have been able to do it, Voldemort bring one of them. Riddles diary was a Horcrux that also contained the most complicated magic ever to be known to mankind. It told the preston who got very close to it of their innermost desires, something that is common with Horcruxes, but never common for a small diary.

Light is one of the most open groups ever to be known. They fight the Dark, they have major positions in the world. The Peverells have never been a part of any of these two. They were a part of a third group, the Grey. In the long battle between the Dark and the Light, the Grey have always been in the sidelines, never taking part in the actual battle, only jumping in when they felt their group was in danger. The actual Marauders are the harbingers of Peace, the glory of the Grey.

It took Harry a moment out two for this information to sink in. But then, he thought, why had he never heard of them? It wasn't like the Ministry and the Daily Prophet to forgo criticizing a group of people for not taking sides during the war. He looked down at the book again. It was answering him. He thought it uncanny that it could read his thoughts.

The Ministry has always prided itself on the fact that they are the most supreme people among the Wizards and Witches of the Wizarding world, he read. When the Prophet first started out, they did publish the truth. But what with rise of Voldemort and the other things that soon followed, the Ministry, or especially Minister Fudge, thought it better to bring the Prophet under the control of the Ministry. Fudge may have been a good man, but his decisions as a Minister for Magic were just about useless. The current Minister has never put any restrictions on the Daily Prophet from publishing the truth. Fudge is greedy for power. He will to anything for power.

Just then the door opened. Sirius strolled into the room, looking very pleased with himself. He chucked when he saw Harry reading. "I see that you have inherited Lily's hair if studying during the holidays," he said, sitting down on the bed beside Harry. "I have a surprise for you." Harry was interested.

Sirius' surprises were usually good. He had been surprising Harry all the time he'd been in this time line.

"What is it?" Harry asked excitedly. "Another house on the outskirts of town?"

Sirius smiled. "Now now Harry," he said smoothly. "It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you would it?"

"Yeah," Harry said amused. "So when will this...uh...surprise be spring on me?"

"Not sprung Harry," Sirius said, patting him on the back. "You will get the surprise after we go back in time. Right now, however, is time for your Animagus practice."

Harry had had Sirius giving him lessons on Animagus transformation and occasionally, his parents would help him out too. He had been able to transform almost completely into his Animagus form in his last lesson and he expected to do a full transformation this time. It wasn't painful to transform. It was just a process where you would have to clear your mind, concentrate on picture of yourself next to your Animagus form and then picture yourself as your Animagus form and- lo and behold!- there you would be in all your Animagus' glory. Once a full transformation was achieved, you wouldn't have to perform this process all the time you wanted to transform. You just had to cast Transformation spell.

Harry put the book down on the bed and got ready for the transformation. Sirius perched himself on one of the chairs in the room and made himself comfortable, his wand at the ready, in case something should go wrong. Harry closed his eyes and cleared his mind and let down his weak Occlumency shields. When he felt his mind was fresh, he pictured himself- his green eyes, tousled hair, the lightning-shaped scar, baggy clothes -and then, next to that, he pictured his Animagus form- gold and blue feathers, the long neck, the huge wings, the long tail -in all aspects, a Phoenix. He felt his hands going weightless, but he kept concentrating on his work. He pictured his hands as that of a phoenix's wings, his neck becoming long and narrow like the birds', his leg as that of a birds. And suddenly, he felt weightless completely. He opened his eyes as Sirius started clapping. He looked down at himself and saw the body of a beautiful phoenix. He thought he most certainly looked like Fawkes. He flew over to Sirius and perched on his shoulder. Sirius stroked him and Harry nipped his finger playfully. He soared around the room, singing the Phoenixs' Lament. He didn't know how he knew it, but he felt happy, really happy. He hadn't felt this happy since he'd first found out that he was a Wizard in his original timeline. He flew down the stairs and into the living room, where his parents were sitting. He perched on Lily's shoulder, who started to stroke him. James was looking at the bird with awe.

"Isn't he cute?" Lily commented. "Wonder whom he belongs to." Sirius had come down the stairs and entered the hall at that particular moment.

"Don't you recognize him?" Sirius asked, surprised. "Look at him closely." And James and Lily did look. The phoenix was a golden blue in color, with emerald green eyes. Something about the eyes touched a chord in James' memory, but he couldn't place it. He let it pass, and he continued looking. The phoenix had a beautiful plumage, and there was something near his beak. The plumage above the birds beak was discolored a little bit, forming a lightning shape. This time, something did strike James and he looked closely at the bird again. He had reached his conclusion and was about to open his mouth when Lily shrieked, "Harry!". The bird flew off her shoulder and and landed on the floor.

Harry concentrated with all his might on his form- his green eyes, tousled hair, the lightning-shaped scar, baggy clothes -and then, Harry stood in the place where the phoenix had last been. He dropped to the floor, his transformation having exhausted him. Lily hurried into the kitchen, returned with a vial of potion and a piece of chocolate in her hand and gave it to Harry who gratefully downed the Pepper-Up potion. He refused the chocolate, saying that he was strong enough, no thank you. While the Potters had been figuring out the identity of the phoenix, Sirius had Floo'd Remus asking him to come over. By the time Harry was up and taking the potion, Remus had arrived, and was offering Harry a glass of Butterbeer. Lily didn't like it, but pursed her lips and said nothing. After all, her son was of age and there would be no harm in drinking beer.

"Well," James said, patting Harry on the back and embracing him, "at least the rat has been replaced with the phoenix." Harry didn't understand what was said immediately, but when he did, he thought that lecturing his family would be a good idea.

"Dad," he started, sitting next to his parents on the couch. "Ignoring Pettigrew without giving him a reason is just stupid! How would you feel if I just left you guys alone for weeks and never talked to you and turned the other way if I saw your face in the crowd?" James was about to answer, an indignant look on his handsome features, but Harry pushed on. "There may be only a few weeks left for us before we start this journey of ours. Pettigrew liked to bask in your glory, the Marauders, Sirius Black and James Potter, the two most popular guys in school. All he wanted was to be with friends who would accept him, and fortunately, you guys were in the same dorm as him and you struck up a close friendship with him. After graduation, you and Mom got married, Sirius was estranged from his family, Remus couldn't get a job because of his lycanthropy, and at the most, Pettigrew was just left alone. The Marauders never met that much, what with the war and the Aurors trying to get Voldemort, and Peter wasn't accepted anywhere. 'Where id Peter now? What is he doing?' were a questions true friends would have asked. They would look out for each other. But what happens here?" Harry paused to take a breath and looked around the room. The three Marauders who had been looking down at their feet a few moments before in shame raised their heads with a retort on their lips. Harry held up his hands to silence them. It felt strange, having to lecture his elders. He looked at his mother, who was nodding at Harry with a proud look on her face. He knew that she had been persuading the other three to not ignore Pettigrew and to be his friend. He continued, feeling a bit more confident.

"In my time line, it was due to these reasons that he turned traitor. He could no longer bask in the glory of James Potter and his cronies, the Dark Lord was at his peak. The Dark Lord had been targeting the Potters and his only safe haven was with the Death-Eaters. If you people had taken the incentive, then all this could've been avoided. Pettigrew would never have turned traitor with the knowledge that he was safe with his best mates. But instead, you turned to him after he switched sides and he decided the only way he could live safely was to turn traitor." Harry started pacing the length of the room and didn't speak for sometime. Seizing the chance, James spoke.

"Harry what you say maybe right, but-"

"But what?" Harry interrupted, angry. "But what James? You just let him tag along behind your "group" so that you'd have more followers? So that you'd be more popular? So that you could show everyone that you cared about every kind of person, no matter how small or shy he might be? Answer me James. I want to know why you did that." Harry's voice had increased with every question, and it didn't help him control his anger a lot. He suddenly felt ashamed for having shouted at his father. But, it was all for a good cause, he decided.

"Harry," James said, cautiously, choosing his next words carefully. "I agree that Peter was shy and that we did accept him into our group for selfish reasons, but that was for his benefit. The poor fellow was often left alone and he rarely made friends. Being a Pureblood, he was one of the first one's in his family to be sorted into Gryffindor. His parents didn't care a lot, but he did. We made him understand that it never mattered which house you belonged to, you were always a part of the big family called Hogwarts. Sure he was shy at first, but that only did him a lot of good. Could you imagine if he wasn't shy? He would have just waltzed off with the Slytherins and never turned his back on us. We left it that way, we just left the poor fellow alone and let him join our group and prank along with us. And then, you came along- not that I'm complaining- and told us about the future. We only figured that it wouldn't hurt if we left that fellow alone. After all, he did betray us." Harry was totally enraged now.

"JAMES POTTER!" he bellowed. "HOW DARE YOU!" Then, he calmed himself a bit and continued. "I'm here to make a few changes. I want to save as many lives as I can." he walked over to Lily and put his hand around her shoulder. "My dear mother and close friend will help me in this quest, I'm sure." He looked into Lily's emerald green eyes. "Won't you Lily?" Lily nodded and gave him a peck on the cheek.

"I will do anything to support my son," she said firmly. "Even if that involves hexing my own husband." Harry laughed, his anger suddenly forgotten. He went over to James and held his hands in his own.

"Dad," he said softly. "All I ask of you is your cooperation. Befriend Pettigrew and save a life. He may not deserve it for what he did in my time line, but that isn't an excuse when you have a reason to change the future. I'm not asking you to tell him everything, just a few things. But his friendship is every bit necessary for us to live together in the future. Understand?" James had tears in his eyes now. He nodded and embraced his only son tightly.

"For a young man, you are very brave and confident, Harry," he said, halfway through a sob and a laugh. "I trust your judgement with my life. You have seen a lot in life and you understand it better than me. That is also one of the reasons you got a phoenix for an Animagus." James released him and Harry looked around the room and noticed that Sirius and Remus had long since disappeared. He shook his head, smiling. Sirius and Remus will never change, he thought.

"You four are the only people I have," Harry said looking at his parents. "And I intend it to remain that way. I want to make for the lost seventeen years right now." And with that, he found himself in a group hug with his parents.

Harry had, by no means forgotten the book. He still spent the majority of his time finding out more about the new Marauders and took any advice that the book gave him. He had been able to find out the current names of the other living apprentices. All the names shocked him, for he had never expected any of them to be an apprentice. The first apprentice was a very well known man in the society, a man who to most was an idol or was the reason of trade of Chocolate Frog cards. With a broken nose, white hair and a long beard, he was Harry's mentor in the original time line. Albus Dumbledore never stopped smiling when Harry relayed this information to him. He patted Harry on the back and filled him in on the other apprentices. The second apprentice was a complete shock to Harry. Tom Marvolo Riddle, or better known by Lord Voldemort, was the second apprentice. Dumbledore told Harry that he would tell him the story of this particular apprentice later and warned Harry that he should, in no way tell Voldemort or anyone else the truth about his identity.

The third apprentice, Dumbledore refused to speak about and told Harry that he must find out for himself. He just told him that the book would help him out in his quest. And now, Harry sat in his usual place in the bedroom with the book in his hands and communicated with it.

At last Harry Potter, we meet again, the book read, though I was hoping you would come to me sooner. I didn't expect you to meet Albus and confront him so quickly. I expected a lot more pushing on my part for you to do that. Yes, I see the Sorting Hat's decision on putting you in Gryffindor, though I must confess that you would do rather well in Slytherin. Harry was once again astounded at the accuracy of the information relayed by the book.

It was my wish to join Gryffindor, he thought.

And right you were, the replied, forming the words on the empty pages. I couldn't imagine the Fourth apprentice being a Slytherin. Now, I assume you need me to clue you in about the third apprentice? Harry nodded his head, then realizing that the book couldn't see, thought yes.

There is more to this than meets the eye apprentice, the book formed the words. The apprentice living over the years has a secrecy to it, but I think I can confide in you how it happens. The soul, is something that can never be destroyed by a living being. It can be torn apart by grief, by anger or by performing really Dark magic. I am sure you know what I am talking about here.

Horcruxes, Harry thought. Or blood magic, like my mothers, who sacrificed her life for me.

Precisely, the book read. Have you ever imagined why your mother would sacrifice her own life when she had the chance to choose over you and her life?

Love, Harry thought. The same reason my Dad sacrificed his life.

Partly true, the book read. Your fathers sacrifice was just his Gryffindor bravery playing with his love for his family and the only person he truly ever loved. But your mothers was something very different. She knows Blood magic, true Dark magic and the only reason Voldemort wanted to spare your mothers life was because he never wanted to waste one of his own kind.

It took Harry a few moments for this information to sink in. And when it did, he was very confused. Kill one of his own kind? he thought incredulously. But that would mean...

"MOM!" he yelled, flinging the book down. He went down the stairs to the kitchen where he was sure she would be working on dinner. And she was there, a pleasant look on her face, as if nothing in the world could destroy her happiness. She turned around as Harry entered the kitchen and noticed the look on his face at once.

"Is something the matter dear?" she asked her son, concerned. Harry shook his head, amused. How funny that mothers care about their future sons.

"Isn't it?" Lily asked, turning back to her cooking, as Harry audibly gasped.

"You heard me?" he asked her. "I do have my Occlumency shields, you know and you never made eye contact to cast Leglimens."

"Well," she started, looking at her son out of the corner of her eyes, pointing her wand at a few dishes that required to be cleaned. "We are special after all." She sighed and turned her attention on Harry placing her wand in her front jeans pocket. "We have to talk," she said. She gestured to the window outside, suggesting they walk. Harry nodded and followed her outside.

"Right," she said, once they were a good distance from the house, but were still protected by the wards. "Where to start?"

"The beginning," Harry said, the corners of his mouth twitching upwards. Lily sighed again and started her tale.

A/N: Hey guys, don't get angry, but I really had some work to do. I hate leaving the chapter at cliffhangers, but it is necessary. I have decided to become more seroius about this story, so you will constantly find that you will have to wait longer for updates. I'm not good at writing romances, but it will be there later in the story, so you will have to bear with me, I believe. I think I owe you guys an explanation about Harry's strange attitude towards Peter and his mother towards the end, and I assure you that they will be covered in the next chapter. My friends(namely you people), didn't bother to help me out with his Animagus form, but I do think that I like his form for reasons that blend in with the story. Remember, phoenix's are really rare and only people with a pure heart could talk to a phoenix, let alone hear its lament. Well, enough said. Have a nice week.