The Chances Of That
First Days, Respect and Maurice
Marcus sighed to himself as he walked silently along with his head down. They hadn't even started lessons and already he was getting marched to the headmistress's office. To think he had planned to do a bit more studying this year, well it seemed Fred and James weren't going to let him do any of that! He could hear the pair of them recounting the prank, laughing as they remembered the bedlam they'd all created. Marcus wasn't generally that fussed about getting into trouble – the amount of times he'd been in detention for some prank or other made his mother cringe at the very thought – he'd taken part in the train prank and he'd even helped plan and execute this prank, but getting caught on the very first day and dragging in three first years was a bit too extreme for Marcus, especially after the lecture he'd received in the holidays. He shook his head at how his parents would react when they found their presumably perfect little diddums had landed himself in yet another detention. Someone prodded Marcus in the back; peering over his shoulder he saw the face of Al Potter grinning up at him. Marcus smiled back Al's cheeky grin.
"Hello there Mr Mopey, are you going to tell uncle Al what's wrong or keep looking like a bird just pooped on your face?" Marcus laughed at Al's antics but ignored his question, preferring not to get into his family's issues with him.
"So are you going to tell me how you ended up in this mess? Because one second I was standing laughing my bum off and the next I was sprawled on the floor getting laughed at by three eleven-year olds." Marcus raised an eyebrow at Al who's grin just broadened.
"Ah yes, that particular idea could've only been created by Rose. The perfect combination of hilarity and crappy timing." Al looked over to Rose who was chatting with Scorpius and shook his head fondly. "I'm not even going to bother telling you what a mess she got us in before your prank, you wouldn't believe me!" Marcus laughed, from the time he'd spent at the Weasley/Potter's over the summer he knew all about Rose's luck. They continued walking along together amiably as McGonagall's office loomed nearer. Al exhaled deeply much like Marcus had done a few minutes ago as the Gargoyle reached his line of sight.
"What's up Al?" Marcus asked as he frowned at Al. Marcus had never seen Al anything but happy, but he was probably the first person to know that you should never judge by expectations.
"The sky." Al answered with a half-hearted attempt at a grin. Marcus just tilted his head slightly as he expectantly looked at Al. "Fine, I just didn't really want my first day at Hogwarts to go like this. I know it was inevitable that I'd be landed in a detention with Rose as my cousin and James as my brother, but I wish it was a little later than the first day. Do you know what I mean?" Al's eyes flickered up to meet Marcus's.
"I felt the same when your idiot Brother and Cousin landed me in detention within the first twenty four hours of being in Hogwarts, but in the long run it doesn't matter too much and McGonagall always goes easy in the first week." Marcus smiled warmly at Al as he remembered his horrendous first day.
"You got detention on your first day?" Al asked incredulously. "I can't imagine you ever being corrupted so much in your first year."
"I was a nice, polite young gentleman before your family forced their madness onto me." Marcus laughed.
"Well at least you still dress like a gentleman," Al looked pointedly at Marcus's perfect uniform and hair. Marcus shrugged.
"I had to keep some vestiges of my more innocent life before Hogwarts." Marcus grinned as they stopped in front of the gargoyle.
"Why hello there Gargo, how are you doing old chum?" Fred asked the gargoyle
"Mr Weasley if you insist on keeping up this ludicrous charade up at least think of a better name for Merlin's sake," The Gargoyle sighed.
"I think Edwin suits him," James piped up.
"I dunno, he looks more like a Clarence," Marcus joined in. Teasing the snobbish Gargoyle was actually more entertaining then he'd first thought.
"What about Ernest?" Rose said.
"Nah, it's something like Herman," Al smirked; his previous worries had flown out the window.
"Julius?" Scorpius hesitantly added.
"Maybe, but Maurice just seem to fit you like a glove bro," Fred grinned up at the statue.
"Why do I even bother?" The Gargoyle groaned.
"Caithness," McGonagall said the password curtly before another round of guess the gargoyle's name could commence. The group fell silent as they trooped up the stairs deliberately not looking at the smug gargoyle. As they filed into the circular office, the three first years' undeniable guilt was plastered on their faces. The group walked over to the tartan-covered chairs facing the large, clean desk with a small tin of ginger newts reserved for when McGonagall was really out of her depth. The headmistress swept over to her straight back chair and sat down eyeing her students with a glare terrifying enough to make Voldemort tremble in his grave.
"Sit. Now." McGonagall ordered her lips pressed so tightly together Marcus wondered if she was going to eat them.
"Ah if it isn't Potter and Weasley again," a voice drawled from a portrait. "It seems that the arrogance of the Potters will never die." The portrait sighed causing the greasy black hair to flutter slightly.
"Severus you have yet to let go of your old grudge after all these years, you must learn to let go of old grudges after all this time," The portrait behind Professor McGonagall shook his head wearily. His bright blue eyes surveying the dark man in the portrait next to him behind his half moon spectacles.
"Albus even you cannot deny that this … spawn is an arrogant twit like his grandfather," Severus Snape pointed his finger at James - who was lounging in his chair ruffling his hair as if he couldn't hear Snape – in indignation. Albus Dumbledore simply chuckled.
"Ah my dear Severus, sometimes you are blinded by your hatred to see the good qualities in a Potter. I myself know that Mr Potter here has many more merits then his ego after our many delightful encounters. Though I do have to comment it may be more prudent if they didn't happen so often or you young man will end up giving Ginny a heart attack," Dumbledore smiled down at James with a twinkle in those fathomless blue eyes of his. James grinned cheekily up at his father's old mentor deciding that Dumbledore was worth listening to or at least not pretending to ignore.
"Hang on a second Albus and Severus. You don't mean that …" Al trailed off as he finally clicked that his two namesakes were arguing amongst themselves.
"Wow Al, your so clever I would never of guessed that these two men who have the exact same name and are both in headmaster's portraits would be your namesake. I mean Albus and Severus are pretty common names. And I'm pretty sure they were the heads of Durmstrang not Hogwarts," James said sarcastically. "How unforgivably dumb of me." James gave his younger brother a smirk before grinning at Fred, who just shook his head at him - trying to fight off a small smile that was curling the edges of his mouth.
"James, do the world a favour and keep that flytrap closed," Al said as James' eyes narrowed slight at Al, trying to set him alight with his mind. A small chuckle interrupted James' concentration.
"Even after all these years Harry still brings a tear to my eye," Dumbledore said as he wiped the errant tear away from his eye.
"Potter actually named his child after me?" Snape asked incredulously, only a slight hint of his true delight at this tinged his voice.
"Yes, Severus," McGonagall cut in sharply. "Now if you're quite finished your mothers meeting I'd like to get on with this." Marcus could almost see McGonagall bristling as she reached the end of her tether.
"But Minnie, you know that you love our witty banter," James smirked at McGonagall who was starting to tremble with rage. Everyone in the office shrank back as McGonagall straightened up and glared down at the six of them. It really wasn't pretty when McGonagall lost her rage.
"Mr Potter, if you would be so kind as to shut your mouth now I would be extremely grateful," McGonagall snapped, before taking in a deep breath so her torrent of ranting could begin. "What in Merlin's name were you thinking? Do you even think about anyone but yourselves at all? You even got first-years involved! I didn't think you could sink so low, but you three never fail to surprise me. Professor Slughorn has now got a dislocated knee and no Mr Potter that is not funny!" Marcus wouldn't be surprised if McGonagall started breathing fire at this point as glowered at James who promptly stopped sniggering. "The train incident I'll have to overlook as there was no official staff to bear witness to that particular prank, unfortunately"
"You know you just love us too much Minnie to really punish us," Fred whispered under his breath. Unluckily for him McGonagall had the hearing of a bat.
"Fredrick Weasley! How dare you interrupt me with your insolent comments! Your family and friends are now facing weeks of detention and it's almost entirely your fault! If you step another toe out of line for the next month, I'll write to your mother! Oh I almost forgot – Scorpius well done on getting into Gryffindor and eventually breaking that ridiculous Malfoy-Slytherin line," McGonagall permitted herself a tight-lipped smile at Scorpius before turning her glare on Fred while internally thanking Molly Weasley for the rant that now had Fred Weasley almost quivering in fear. Molly really did know how control the Weasley clan, considering even James was sitting up straight and giving McGonagall his full attention.
"Pro-professor will we really be in detention for weeks?" Rose asked in a very small voice. Sighing McGonagall turned her attention to the youngest Weasley, only to find Rose looking terrified. Marcus was almost jealous of Rose's sweet and innocent persona that was sure to get her out of a lot of trouble with the professors. Marcus shuddered imperceptibly as he imagined Slughorn around Rose – as if it wasn't going to be bad enough with her being a Weasley!
"I think I'll let you off this once as it's your first day Miss Weasley. Mr Malfoy and Mr Potter you can go as well. However I must impress on you how important it is not to fall into the ways of these three," McGonagall cast a glare over to Marcus, Fred and James. "I will not let you off detention next time, in fact the only reason I'm letting you go I because I'm certain those three had some corrupting influence over you. But go now and remember next time you won't be let off so easily so don't do something like this again." McGonagall sent them a very stern look before she waved her hand in dismissal. Having looked away, Headmistress didn't catch the look Al and Rose exchanged. Marcus grinned slightly at their "well that's never going to happen" look he knew only too well from the amount of times Fred and James had sent the exact same look to him. It must have been a Potter/Weasley clan thing. Scorpius, Al and Rose hurried out of the office laughing as they descended the staircase. James lounged back into his chair again and began to twirl his wand round his fingers.
"Minnie that's favouritism, you gave us a detention on our first day," James whined. McGonagall turned the full force of her glare onto James. Marcus was actually quite concerned that James would be murdered.
"James Sirius Potter, is there anything else apart from your own well being that is taking up your mental capacity? You have just roped your younger brother and cousin into the Headmistress's office on their first day! Don't you remember how terrified you were? But I guess if it doesn't directly affect the great James Potter it doesn't matter does it? It was bad enough when you dragged Marcus in here last year, but this time it really is a new low. Not one, not even two, but three first-years were in here. Oh and if that isn't enough you have to go and infuriate me more by calling me 'Minnie' which isn't really making anything better is it? Is it really impossible that you learn to have at least some compassion and manners? But I guess it is because after twelve entire years on this planet you have yet to show your own headmistress some respect!" McGonagall finished her rant at James with a glare at his shrunken figure. "You will go to meet Filch in the trophy room at 8pm tonight. There will be no need for magic, but of course you probably know the punishment better then me. Now go before I give you a longer punishment," McGonagall dismissed them by opening the door with her wand before sitting down heavily in her chair. The three boys shuffled out of the office and down the stairs.
McGonagall slumped forward in her chair and put a hand over her eyes, her stern persona completely disappeared. She mentally berated herself at shouting at a twelve-year-old like that. However a lone tear slid out the corner of her eye that she quickly wiped away. They were too much like the marauders; even James using that old nickname they'd dubbed her with brought back the pang of hurt that she associated with them now. Her favourite students, Dead. And the other a treacherous idiot that ended up killing one of the only people who cared about him while the other two were lost in the war. And Lily. Another tear slid from her eye. She took a deep breath to collect herself; there wasn't any use in getting so worked up about them. She was just a stupid old woman who was living in the past, the present was here and now. The war was long over.
James sat down in a nearby chair and sighed as Flitwick restarted his explanation on the correct way to perform the aresto momentumcharm. The Ravenclaws glanced up quickly to see James, Fred and Marcus enter the room before quickly turning back to their extensive notes. Marcus and Fred slid into the seats next to him; chatting amicably. James normally would've leapt into the banter but today he actually felt bad. Yes, the impossible had happened. After countless attempts Minnie had eventually got James Sirius Potter to slightly regret his actions. The prank was still as hilarious as ever, it was more the involvement of his brother and cousin who he should've been looking after. He and that weird albino kid probably shouldn't have ended up in the Headmistress's office. It was the very first day of Hogwarts for them and they would've already been racked with nerves as it was. James ruffled his hair - a nervous twitch he'd picked up from his dad – oblivious to the Ravenclaw behind him narrowing her eyes at the back of his head.
James's thoughts drifted back to his punishment, he was really hoping his dad wouldn't find out. His dad – or more like his mum forcing his dad into some vague form of parental authority – was never pretty. There wasn't any shouting or screaming but the shaking head and disappointed sigh of "I'm sure you'll do better next time" always made James feel immensely guilty. Sure it wasn't enough to actually stop his mischievous habits but it placed a constricting band of guilt around his stomach that slowly squeezed his insides. However he really wouldn't have minded at all if his mum heard, because in all honesty getting told off by his mum was just funny. She always got so worked up that she'd end up ranting about the tiniest things. James smiled a little as he internally replayed his mum shouting at him for having that "stupid Potter hair" the time he'd turned Lily's cat blue. Yeah, that had made sense.
Marcus gave a loud snort at something Fred had said but hastily turned it into a hacking cough; yeah Marcus was smooth like that. However looking at Marcus reminded James about what McGonagall had said. Had James really dragged Marcus with them so blithely? Was Marcus even happy being friends with them if he got in trouble so much? James knew vaguely that his parents didn't really approve of Marcus's detention history, but what parent would encourage their kid to get in trouble? James heaved a sigh. Marcus had always been a very conscientious person in nearly aspect of his life – even James and Fred hadn't been able to stop Marcus's weird habit of actually working in class – so did he actually enjoy spending time with the Weasley/Potter clan and their craziness. The clan was almost the exact opposite of Marcus's polite upbringing compared with their food fights and mayhem. Was it really the best thing for Marcus to be hanging out with him and Fred? They disrupted almost everything he did with new ideas for pranks and unleashing chaos upon the un-suspecting (though they might be a little more suspicious after last year) students of Hogwarts.
James looked inconspicuously at Marcus. He seemed happy enough joking on with Fred while still jotting down a few notes on Flitwick's lecture, but James couldn't help but worry that Marcus would have a better time somewhere else. His hand reached up to ruffle his hair again. James heard an exasperated sigh from behind him and glanced round to see a brown haired Ravenclaw girl with glasses glaring at him. He raised an eyebrow at her that only seemed to provoke her even more. He had never even seen the girl before and here she was getting all annoyed with him for what? Scratching his head?
"I'm sorry am I bothering you?" He asked in faux politeness. She put on a fake bright smile.
"Oh of course not, whatever would give you that impression?" Her tone was sweet, with an undeniable undertone of sarcasm. "I mean it's not like I have to sit behind a self-obsessed idiot who is constantly messing up his hair. It's not like that's a constant distraction or anything," She said giving him another smile that was faker than Erin Duffle's new tan. James was completely taken aback by her unexpected anger.
"Merlin it's obviously someone's time of the month," James said, a small smile curling the edge of his lips before he turned back to his desk. The Ravenclaw stared murderously at James before picking up her hefty charms book to fling at his head. Her two friends saved James Potter from death by charms textbook by restraining their angered friend. James turned to Fred completely unaware that he'd just been saved from the projected missile of a charms book.
"What was that about?" Fred asked as he leaned forward onto his desk, resting his head on his arms.
"Well apparently she hates me," he jerked his head towards the furious girl behind him. "And she's having her monthly gift from Mother Nature," James said with a shrug as Fred snickered.
James, Fred and Marcus filed out of charms; James had actually managed to go the whole lesson without getting killed from a murderous Ravenclaw due to strenuous efforts on her friend's part. Stretching and yawning the three boys raucously made their way down the corridor, grinning and winking at giggling girls as they meandered down to the courtyard. James's heart however wasn't fully in making even fifth years blush as he gave a bright red Hufflepuff a particularly charming grin. His mind still wandered back to his thoughts in charms, he glanced over at Marcus yet again as he tried to catch a glimpse of discontent. The three of them strode over to their favourite bench in the courtyard and sat down enjoying the last of the summer heat that was slowly getting whisked away as an autumnal breeze ruffled the trees in the forbidden forest. For the millionth time James looked at Marcus out of his eye only to see Marcus staring straight back at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Okay James, what's going on?" Marcus asked.
"Who me? I don't know, I mean there's absolutely nothing going on with me, but what about you?" James said rapidly while his eyes darted around the courtyard, his gaze landing everywhere but on Marcus. It totally didn't look suspicious at all…
"Wow, that was so believable James. I am now completely at ease that you're not going to suddenly dump a load of stinksap on me," Marcus said sarcastically. "Really what's wrong? You've been perving on me since we went into charms, McGonagall didn't actually get to you, did she?" Fred gasped in mock horror as James nodded his head.
"You don't mean to say that James Sirius Potter the second most notorious trouble maker at Hogwarts has actually done the unthinkable and listened to a teacher?" Fred asked as Marcus sniggered quietly.
"Second most notorious? Who the hell's the most notorious then?" James asked.
"Me of course, it's not like you can compare with my great intelligence and wit." Fred smirked at James.
"Getting back on track," Marcus said before James could defend himself. "What's up?" Marcus looked directly into James's eye with a very 'Marcus expression'. James sighed to himself, the concerned and patient I'm-trying-to-help-tell-me-now-or-every-puppy-will -die-because-you're-being-horrible-to-me always made James blurt his secrets out. Damn Marcus and his logical patience.
"Do you –in all seriousness – enjoy being my mate?" James asked in a rush before cringing in preparation for Marcus's answer. Fred sighed slightly to himself, as he knew James would pick up on this while Marcus's eyebrows shot up his head as he took in James's question. When he realised that James had indeed been serious, Marcus just started to laugh. James peeked up at Marcus and Fred when he heard the laughter. Marcus started back and forward as laughter shook his body. Fred and James exchanged a look as they both began to worry about their friend's mental health; it was really weird to see their usually calm and measured friend to find one sentence that funny. Marcus managed to calm down his laughter slightly.
"Merlin James we're not toddlers anymore," Marcus said. "You don't need to ask me if I'm your friend. Anyway why would you think that, I wouldn't hang around with you if I detested your presence you absolute idiot." Marcus shook his head but there was still a smile on his face.
"But we didn't exactly give you a choice though," James muttered tilting his head down slightly to hide his face.
"So you don't think a year is enough time to tell you that I hate you? I'm really not sure how you passed any tests with intelligence like that James," Marcus smirked at James.
"Shut up. It was a valid argument, you didn't exactly look happy when we met on the first day," James said as he pouted.
"James it was my first day here and you two got me in detention! Sweet, innocent, pre-madness Marcus really wasn't expecting to be dragged in with you lot!" Marcus grinned.
"James, mate I think you should except that Marcus doesn't hate your guts and quit while your ahead," Fred laughed and looked between Marcus and James. Fred really was friends with the weirdest people. James stuck his tongue out at Fred before asking his final question.
"Wouldn't it have been better if you weren't friends with us," James voice had slowly got quieter as he spoke. Marcus looked James in the eyes, all of his laughter gone from his face.
"Maybe, I would get in less trouble and get work done with better grades," James's heart sank so low it ended up somewhere near the dungeons. "But what kind of fun would I have? Sure school is important if I want to get somewhere, but it's not like you two don't let me do any work. Also what would you do without me? You'd probably have burnt down Hogwarts by now! Anyway you liven up my life and I was perfectly happy to ditch the apple polishing Marcus for present Marcus," Marcus smiled at James who was feeling like getting up and doing a jig, but restrained himself for fear of public humiliation.
"Okay Marcus you love us very much and James you are delusional. Problem solved? Great, so are you thinking about tying out for the quidditch team with us Marcus?" Fred asked diverting the conversation to nearly everyone's favourite topic.
"I don't know, you two being at quidditch could provide me with the opportunity to run away from you two and make my escape," Marcus winked at James who stuck his tongue out in response.
"What ever you say Marcus, personally I think you're not trying out because my immense chaser skills are too intimidating to even try and compete with," James said with a smirk. James heard a snort from behind him, looking round he saw it was the Ravenclaw girl from charms.
"Of course you would think like that Potter," The girl said venomously.
"Oh Merlin," The girl's friend whispered as James sent a glare at the Ravenclaw.
"Well at least I think, unlike you," James retorted.
"Wow saying that to a Ravenclaw remember you dolt. But at least I know how to show some respect," the girl shot back at James, reminding him forcefully of McGonagall this morning.
"I show respect!" the girl looked slightly taken aback at James's forceful defences – James was as well in all honesty but he was too riled from being called disrespectful twice in one morning. It had already caused him enough self-doubt. "You don't even know me yet you're going round passing judgement, does that really seem like someone who should be telling people to show respect?" James said, feeling slightly victorious as he saw her get even more riled up. However when it looked like the Ravenclaw was about to blow her top she took a deep breath and calmed her self down until it seemed she was almost still, which unsettled James.
"Fine Potter if you respect everyone so much, what's my name?" She asked in a level voice, though her calmness didn't quite hide the glint in her eyes. She'd trapped him in a corner. James desperately tried to recall anything over the past year and came up blank. In a last ditch attempt James started guessing names that might suit her. Mary, Jane, Patricia, Betty, Martha didn't seem to fit.
"Okay give me the first letter," James said admitting a slight defeat, but hopefully it would narrow down his choices or re-jog his memory.
"Well seeing as you're the role model to all of us with your high respect for everything surely you should know that. But I'm feeling kind today so, it begins with a B," the girl grinned like the Chesire cat. Unfortunately for James his memory wasn't being particularly helpful towards him that day, so he decided that taking a random guess would probably be the safest option.
"It's Beth isn't it?" He asked. The girl simply raised an eyebrow and shook her head.
"Respectful my arse, we've been in the same classes for a year and you've yet to remember my name. Hogwarts really isn't that big you know there are only a few people in our year, so I though you might've passed that test. But no, you're just as big of a jerk as I thought Potter." With that the girl – who James had know dubbed Beth in his mind even though it was wrong, but else was he supposed to call her? – Walked away. He turned around again to talk to Fred and Marcus only to find them chatting to her two friends. Seeing that James had finished his argument with Beth they said hurried goodbyes and left.
"See you around Carol, Anna," Marcus called after them smiling at each of them in turn to receive a quick smile back.
"Those lasses were nice," Fred commented idly as he slouched into the bench.
"You're doing it again," Marcus sighed. "You're going Geordie on us," Marcus said as Fred looked inquisitively at him.
"Damn, it just keeps slipping out," Fred said with a shake of his head. "But anywho getting onto a much more interesting subject then my occasional accent slip, what did that lass- whoops sorry girl want?" Fred asked.
"To shout at me and tell me that I have no respect for anything, then made me guess who she was called but the best I got was Beth," James sighed as he relaxed into the bench. "I don't suppose either of you know her name, you both were getting kinda cosy with her mates," James asked.
"Now, now Jamsie-poo that would be cheating. Find it out for yourself," Fred smiled deviously at James, as James' face remained un-amused. The bell for their next lesson rang before James could try and wheedle out more information.
"Come on, next lesson's potions with the Slytherins," Marcus said as he consulted his new timetable. James and Fred groaned – potions was their worst subject, it just wasn't chaotic enough to sit patiently by a cauldron for twenty minutes with giant walrus badgering them.
"Should be a barrel of laughs," James said sarcastically getting a laugh out of his two companions as they headed inside.
A/N: MERRY CHRISTMAS! I haven't updated in ages and feel like a terrible person, sorry about that ... but on the bright side I have managed to listen to so many Christmas songs to get me feeling festive, pass my music grade and procrastinate so much more then ever before! Oh I also got the pleasure of basically ramming my head against a mental brick wall with the amount of writer's block I've had.
Special thanks to wrenthewriter and cc4s when I got your reviews I thought my email had broken or something so thak you very much :) reviews are always greatly appreciated, also another huge thank you - as always - to OnginalMaz for having the tenacity to beta all of this chapter with its giant amount of faults.
quick question before I finish: should I skip to the next year either in the next chapter or the one after or keep in the same year and not update quickly due to huge writers block that seems to affect me so regularly? Just wanted to ask you lot first before I did a random time change.