March 1960 – London – In St. Mungo's Hospital the screams of a newborn infant echoed through the halls. Nothing out of the ordinary, wizards have babies just like Muggles. The very tired new mother was propped up in her bed as the nurse handed her the crying bundle of blankets. The mother had tears in her eyes as she looked at the small being in her arms with black hair sticking up all over the place. The over-anxious father ran into the delivery room just as the baby was being placed in its mother's arms.
"He's a beautiful boy. What are you going to name him?" the nurse asked the new parents.
The child's mother looked up at the nurse and then down again to the baby in her arms. "James. James Potter…"
Adventurers from the Start
DISCLAIMER: All unrecognized characters are original. The characters from Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Inc., Warner Bros., etc... By no way is this work being used for profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my third in my one chapter fiction series. But unlike the others, this one has spun off the inspiration from a few posts on a message board. This is one that will take a brief look into James' past – before Lily. Also I would like to give a special thanks to AnglMscOG, and FlamerFox for their help and inspiration for this chapter and to RavenNat for the help and contribution of ideas and some of the dialogue and giving me the push to move forward. I would also like to mention if you like my work to check out my other stuff found at http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=114650.
And that was how it began, how James Potter came into this world. He was never a silent boy but his parents didn't care. They always said he had a certain spirit that just would not be tamed. The nurse was right when he was born, James was a beautiful child. When he wasn't covered head to toe in mud or some other disgusting substance, he had jet black hair that was always getting messed up and sparkling brown eyes that were hidden behind round-rimmed glasses. He had an innocent looking face but underneath that cute little boy exterior, there lay a born mischief maker.
Though his parents wished they could see the mischief maker less and the sweet boy a bit more, they knew it was impossible when James' best friend, Sirius Black, was around. Both boys were the same age, five year old bundles of energy, and had known each other since their parents had them share a playpen, which some still say had dire consequences.
Nearly every day, one boy was at the others house making havoc for the parent who was 'lucky' enough to have them both under one roof. But neither Christopher and Helen Potter or Edward and Jane Black could protest something that made their children so happy.
Now James and Sirius had been on many escapades even before their years at Hogwarts, many of them particularly trying on their parents, but one was the worst of them all.
It all began on a warm day in early June in 1965.
Christopher and Helen were enjoying a leisurely breakfast after they had received an owl from the Blacks the previous night saying that they were being summoned as Aurors and needed someone to watch Sirius. The Potters were one of the wealthier wizarding families and their estate was quite large. If they had to stop some of the chaos that may ensue from James and Sirius being together for an extended periods of time, they could always separate the boys into different ends of the house. They savored the last few moments of peace they would have before the two rambunctious five year olds were let loose.
Sometime around nine, James awoke and began his daily tear through the house. He had heard his parents say the night before that Sirius would be spending a few days with him and he was positively thrilled, plenty of time for mischief. James flew out of bed and hastily grabbed his glasses as he ran into the kitchen in his Quidditch pajamas and skidded on the tile floor in front of his chair.
"Good morning Jamie," his mother greeted as she helped her son into his chair and set his cereal in front of him.
James started shoveling the food into his mouth, getting half in his mouth and the other on the table. "Sirius is coming today, right?" he asked excitedly with his mouth full.
His father gave James a warning look for talking with his mouth full as he wiped his son's face with a napkin after a small struggle. "Yes, Sirius is coming today. He will be here later this morning and you two have to be on your best behavior together or you won't be seeing too much of him," Mr. Potter warned. "You two will not go breaking everything in this house like last time. It took us a good three hours to cast all the repairing charms."
"We'll be good. I promise," James said innocently as he finished his breakfast. "Can I go play now?" he asked as he was getting off of his chair and heading for his playroom.
"Not so fast, Jamie," his mother said as she took out her wand and levitated her son a foot off the ground to stop him. "You have to have your bath and get dressed first, and then you can play." She stated firmly to a well placed pout on her son's face.
"Do I have to?" James whined in that tone that children seem to master so well.
"Yes, you do," Mrs. Potter returned as she walked up to her little boy and scooped him into her arms, breaking her levitation spell, and walked into the bathroom. She kept her wand out because she knew she wouldn't really have free hands to keep a hold on James. Helen pointed her wand at the bathtub and started filling it while she undressed her son. She levitated a few toys for James to play with as well as the soap and shampoo while she struggled to get her son out of his pajamas. When she physically couldn't accomplish the task due to James' incessant wiggling, Helen resorted to her wand and the pajamas removed themselves and folded themselves on the edge of the sink and she placed James in the warm water. Mrs. Potter struggled to clean her splashing little boy as he played with a rubber dragon in the water and threw it all over the room. After that chore was done, Helen dried James and dressed him so he was now free to let himself build a frenzy of excitement for Sirius' arrival.
Within seconds of being liberated from the unwanted bath, James practically flew to the fireplace when he saw Sirius and his father fall in. Before the Potters could even get in the room, the two boys had bolted into James' playroom, leaving Edward Black wiping the soot off of his clothes as he stood up.
"Sorry about that Ed," Mr. Potter exclaimed as he helped his friend off the floor. "We did all we could to contain James but he broke free," he said with a small laugh.
"No problem, really Chris," Mr. Black replied with a smile as he handed Sirius' case over. "Sirius had been bouncing off the walls since last night at the thought of spending a few days here. We practically had to tie him to his bed last night. Now I don't need to tell you the drill. If you need us, just send an unmarked owl and we will come back as soon as we can."
"I think we can handle the two of them for a spell. Even though I know I shouldn't say this…" Mr. Potter hesitated but with a smile. "They are just five year olds, what could they truly get into."
Mr. Black did not even want to begin to think of the possibilities as he bid his friend good-bye and disapparated.
Within seconds of Mr. Black's departure, the sound of a very large crash could be heard from upstairs.
"Got it!" James cried out loud.
"JAMES!" his mother's voice responded in a loud echo throughout the house.
"Sorry…" the small boy responded back. Mr. Potter knew this was going to be a long couple of days.
For hours, James and Sirius played together in James' playroom, taking out every action figure he owned and stationing them around the room. The two boys were setting themselves to be great wizard warriors, defeating every dark creature that needed defeating. Each boy was stalking down a particularly feisty dragon that breathed fire or a vicious vampire who wanted to kill them. After some time though, the playroom wasn't challenging enough.
"Why don't we take this out into the woods behind my house? Better spots to hunt the vampires and dragons from." James suggested as he started grabbing a few of his action figures.
"And then maybe we can find a hippogriff or a griffin too!" Sirius agreed as he grabbed an arm full of James' toys.
"We can't go down through the house though. The creature will get away and then my mom will be very mad if she finds a vampire in her kitchen."
"Then we go down the ladder." Sirius said as he pointed to the lattice work outside James' playroom window that went all the way down to his backyard.
James agreed and was the first to start climbing down. "Sirius, don't forget our wands!" he called out as he got closer to the ground and was waiting for Sirius.
Sirius heard James scream up and he grabbed their toy wands and then climbed down the wall to join James. The two boys then started walking for the woods just on the outside of James' yard, just as sunset was approaching. Once they entered the thick trees, they started placing toys every few feet, behind trees, under bushes, on top of rock piles, everyplace which would make good attack targets.
Mrs. Potter was just finishing up preparing dinner when her husband came in the kitchen. "Chris, could you set the table while I get Jamie and Sirius? Those boys have been so good and quiet all day, they must be starving by now," she asked sweetly. Her husband obliged and took out his wand and started levitating everything where it belonged. Mrs. Potter just rolled her eyes and sighed as she went up stairs to get the boys.
Once upstairs, she opened the door to the playroom and found it empty. Now this couldn't be right, they were just hiding. "Jamie…Sirius…time for dinner…" she called out but received no answer. Now this was strange since these boys usually came running when food was mentioned. Now she took a more careful look around the room, in the closet, the trap door, in the play tents, and still no James and Sirius. Then Mrs. Potter turned to find something which made her heart stop – the open window. "Chris! They're gone!" she screamed as she ran down the stairs to get her husband.
"Helen, calm down for a second. What happened?"
"James and Sirius were NOT in the playroom. They must have climbed out the window."
Mr. Potter had to find a way to calm his wife down, who was on the verge of losing it completely. "Let me check outside first, ok?" he told her gently as he walked over to the back door and took out his wand. "Lumos…" he whispered so he could light his wand and shine a small light over the ground. He scanned the ground for a few moments underneath James' window and his stomach sank when he saw two sets of small footprints leading from the window to the forest behind the house. "Oh damn…" he thought to himself. "How are we going to find them now?"
James and Sirius had gone deep into the woods before they had realized it had gotten very dark out and much cooler. James stopped abruptly in a small clearing, trying to find which way his house was, when he heard an odd noise. "What was that?" said James.
"What was what?!"
Sirius gulped. "Just a branch."
"It was a werewolf!"
"It's not a full moon," Sirius said, sounding slightly relieved.
"Maybe it's a pixie. Those aren't so bad. You aren't afraid of those, are you?"
"I'm not afraid of anything."
"Not even werewolves?"
"Nope," said Sirius, his voice wavering a little. "Not even werewolves."
"Well me either," James agreed. "How about we go that way."
He pointed towards a line of trees hidden in the shadows to the right.
"I think it's the other way," Sirius said.
"Nope. I know and it's my house. You aren't scared of going that way, are you?
"Why would I be?"
"That's what I thought," replied James.
Mr. Potter walked almost nervously back into the house, clutching one of James' dragon toys in his hand, as he approached his already frantic wife. "They're in the woods someplace but I don't know where," he said flatly as he quickly moved to embrace his wife. "Owl the Blacks. I am going to need Ed to help find them."
"You are going back out there right?" Helen asked quickly. "They are only five years old. They have to be hungry and scared, not mention it is getting cool out and they don't have jackets…" she exclaimed frantically, without taking a breath.
"Yes, I will go out there until it is too dark to see with my wand. Just owl the Blacks and tell them to get here quickly. With luck, they will be back in this house before bedtime," Mr. Potter exclaimed as he kissed his wife and grabbed his cloak and went back outside towards the direction of the woods.
In the meantime, the five year olds begin to panic a bit. The boys had been wandering even further, trying to find their way back to James house, but with little success.
"We've seen this rock already, James!"
"Well, what I am supposed to do!" cried James, slightly tearfully.
"I'm just as lost as you are!"
"Are you scared, Siri?"
"No," replied Sirius, biting his lower lip to keep it from trembling.
"I am a little bit, Siri."
James and Sirius were hungry, tired, and starting to get cold, which wasn't at all helping them. They kept walking through the woods, trying to find anything they could that looked familiar but it was getting too dark. James and Sirius turned down a path of woods that looked completely new to them instead of one that they had circled several times already. They nervously walked down the path, wondering if it was the path to home. They slowly and tiredly walked but never found the lights of Potter Manor, but they did find a shelter in the means of a small cave.
"We should wait here for now. It's better than walking all night," Sirius said as he sat down in the small crevice.
James sat down next to him and brought his knees to his chest, trying to keep warm. "Too bad we put all my toys out in the woods," he said almost sadly, knowing if they had even just a few they wouldn't be so nervous.
Mr. Potter had his wand illuminated as he walked through the woods, looking for any sign of the boys. He called out their names but only heard his own voice echo back to him. But not one thing pointed to where the boys had gone. "James! Sirius! Give me a sign of where you are!" he called out aimlessly, hoping for anything right now. He took a few more steps and felt something sticking up under his foot. He shone his wand over the impediment and reached down to pick it up. It was one of James' vampire action figures. "Okay boys…I know you have been here but where did you go…" Mr. Potter thought to himself as he tried to find more toys that the boys may have dropped.
As it got darker out, James and Sirius were worried that they may not be going home tonight. Their tummies were rumbling from not having any dinner and they were starting to get tired, not being able to hide the yawns and the shivering. They lay down on the cold dirt, curling themselves into little balls to keep warm, slowly falling asleep. As James and Sirius drifted off to sleep, a small fire to keep them warm appeared at their feet. Sometimes when your magic acts up it can be a good thing.
When it got too dark to see anymore, Mr. Potter returned to the house with his pockets full of small toys that the boys had dropped. He walked in the house to find his wife sitting on the couch with the Blacks. The sound of the door made them jump out of their seats and fear course through them when they did not see their sons.
"It got too dark to continue. Ed and I will go out right in the morning to start looking again. They were out there playing." Mr. Potter said as he set the toys he found on the table. "I think there may be more of these out there so they may lead us to them."
Helen and Jane had tears in their eyes when they thought about their babies out in the woods all night.
"They have probably fallen asleep by now." Mrs. Black said as they gazed out the window into the night, trying to sense if their children were all right.
The night passed slowly for the distraught parents. None of them slept. They were all too worried to think about anything but James and Sirius. As the first sign of the sky lightening with dawn, Mr. Potter and Mr. Black went back out into the woods to look for their sons.
The two fathers walked methodically looking for any clues to find their sons. After going somewhat deep into the forest, Mr. Black found another action figure and the start of some foot prints – the first real clue to finding James and Sirius that they had. The fathers started following the little sets of prints, picking up the occasional toy as they went deeper into the woods. After sometime, the sun had risen fully in the sky and everything was visible again but there were no more toys to be picked up. Potter and Black started to notice that the footprints started circling around themselves.
"This has got to be where they started getting confused. They walked through this spot three times." Mr. Black noticed.
Once Ed had said that, Chris noticed a weaker set of tracks leading down a path way. "But then they went down there," he pointed out as he turned his friend in the direction of the small pathway that was probably just big enough for the five year olds to fit through.
The two fathers broke and pushed their way through the brush down the path way to find the small cave that was a shelter for their sons the previous night. As they got closer to the cave and everything became clear into view, relief swept over the men when they found James and Sirius, still asleep under the little rock formation. Mr. Black noticed the remains of a small fire and guessed that one of the two accidentally magicked it. They each picked up their own son, trying not to wake them as they lifted the sleeping boys. James whined a little when he was lifted but soon laid his head down on his father's shoulder and fell back asleep. Sirius was more like a rag doll, all dangling arms and legs as his father rested his son's head against his chest. Once they were sure that the little boys were comfortable and secure, Mr. Potter and Mr. Black started back for Potter Manor, which was easy to see through the trees in the daylight.
The trip back to the mansion was brief. Once back inside the safe confines, each father set their sleeping son down on the plush couches to let them keep sleeping for now. Both men had to nearly restrain their wives from smothering their sons with happiness the second they walked in the door so that the boys could still sleep. Mr. Potter and Black laughed to themselves because it had seemed that their wives had forgotten about all the times that they scolded their husbands for even considering the thought of waking a sleeping baby.
Some time in the later morning, both James and Sirius awoke to different surroundings that they fell asleep in. James rubbed his eyes sleepily and wondered how they got back to his house since he saw no one around.
"Hey Siri! We must have magicked ourselves back here during the night," he exclaimed as he shook Sirius even more awake.
The parents had heard the boys' voices and walked back into the living room from the kitchen. Despite how relived and overjoyed they were to have their little boys back, they were still angrier than a mother dragon that has had her egg stolen from her.
"Mom! Did you see we magicked ourselves home?" Sirius exclaimed excitedly as he ran over to hug his mother.
"What were you two thinking?" Mrs. Potter stated angrily, sending both boys cowering for the couch they had just awoken from. "You two should know better to go off without telling anyone where you are going."
"It is a good thing your fathers found you and brought you home," Mrs. Black added in the same unwelcoming tone. "You could have been hurt or taken and we would have never gotten you back. Never ever do anything like that ever again, do you hear us?"
Both boys nodded silently, feeling very guilty for what had happened and very scared from their mothers yelling at them. Both James and Sirius were chewing on their bottom lips so they didn't start crying. The sight of their babies about to cry melted away all the anger that Mrs. Black and Potter felt and they immediately rushed to their sons and scooped them up into near crushing hugs, showing how overjoyed they really were.
A few hours later, the Blacks apparated back out again to finish their Auror assignment, but not without a severe warning to their son that they had better not get owled again for something like this. Once the Blacks had left, the boys went back to what they normally did as if nothing had happened, like they had never gotten lost. The Potter were completely relaxed hearing James and Sirius playing upstairs, knowing that they could stay sane if all they were doing was playing and they could hear them. Then…a loud crash that sounded like something glass echoed through the manor.
"JAMES!" his father cried out.
"We didn't do anything…" two voices called back innocently even though to themselves they solemnly swore they were up to no good.