Before Harry Potter

Before Harry Potter, Lily, James, Severus, and their friends/enemies existed in what us Potterheads like to call the "Marauder Era". Read to figure out what happened when J.K. Rowling wasn't looking
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the drawings/Cover art

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8. Back To Hogwarts

          It was with relief that he stepped through the barrier. Although the relatively pungent fumes wafted from the train, Remus reveled in the familiarity of it all. The reverie was broken by a familiar face, though not one destined to the setting. Her voice was compressed by the stifling loudness of platform 9 ¾; the very overwhelming sound that reflected both their emotions. Lily Evans, with her billowing red hair smiled up at him. She was the only person whom he had spoken to since he left James’s house the morning after Sirius’s hasty arrival. Guilt echoed within him but he couldn’t be bothered with the banging on of apologies and the awkwardness that came with it. It seemed like a decent resolution to leave it and let things smooth out for themselves without the added pressure of Sirius’s insanity.

          The remainder of the summer had been spent in relative solace, in exception of the company of his father, who really wasn’t much company at all being locked away in his office at all hours. The very aura around the locked door reeked of stale coffee; the kind that’d been spilt over the carpet as his unshaven chin hit the desk, completely overcome with the exhaustion that the expulsion of words onto a blank paper had left him with. He lived for his art. Only when he’d left for the last time had he run into Lily. It’d been two days before their return to Hogwarts, what seemed to be the longest two days of his life, but he’d been glad to have gotten away from the silence of his father, and the burden of confusing complications with Sirius.

          “I guess this is it,” Lily said, as he helped her haul her trunk onto the train. His face flushed with the strain of lifting the gargantuan thing.

          “What is ‘it’?” Remus inquired with one last heave, that left his knees feeling a bit wobbly. It was almost the full moon, and he always got a bit weaker around the time, as if the wolf that festered within him were draining him of the energy it was to exert in a multitude within a night. And of course, Lily hadn’t a clue.

          “You’re going to have to talk to Sirius now. You can’t very well avoid him if you’re going to the same school-”

          “-It’s a big school-”

          “-and in the same year-"

          “-I’ve arranged it: we’ll only have potions together-”

          “-Not to mention you’re in the same dorm!” Lost for a good come back, he merely shrugged. He retracted a book from his bag, and carefully opened it to the fragile dog-eared page. It’d actually been a gift from Sirius upon his hasty departure; a stolen token from the depths of the Restricted Section. Evidently it’d been misplaced, for it contained only the most PG of fantasy material.

          “Well, you’re going to have to speak to James now,” Remus remarked, not looking up from his book. Lily merely scoffed.

          “When have I ever made it a priority to talk to him?”

          “Ever since you haven’t been able to get your mind off of him,” Remus responded. She raised her eyebrows, staring agape at the sandy haired boy across from her, as if he were a complete lunatic.

          “You’re talking rubbish,” she said quickly. She tore her awkward gaze from Remus’s probing gaze as she bent down to rummage for something in her own trunk. What it was, she didn’t know, she just didn’t wanted an excuse to look away.

          “Lily, I know legilimency. You really don’t have to lie,” he said with absolute sincerity. Her face drained of color for a moment, before their eyes met and she flushed with a red to rival her hair. His eyes widened in surprise.

          “It’s true?”

          “Wait, what? No! Not like that at least, I mean,” she said, and, as if it were possible, the rose color in her cheeks deepened even more.

          “How, then?” he asked.

          “Just at the party, what you said. Was it true, or did you just say it big up your friend?” she asked.

          “Both,” he said after a little contemplation. She nodded in understanding, and leaned back against the cushions of the compartment seat.


 

***

          It was on the back of a bike, where James was reflecting on his life. Sure, he’d ridden on a broom before, and very well might he add, but he felt that despite it’s closeness to the ground, a bike was more prominently placed in death’s path. And instead of the traditional trunk that would contain a year’s worth of contents for the school year, he had a flimsy duffel bag that had been thrown together in the haste of everything, most likely containing only have of the contents it should’ve. It seemed as though at that very moment would be the very time that something incredibly fateful might happen, almost plausible, as Sirius’s driving skills were wild and dangerous on a focused day, and today wasn’t even one of those. Especially not today.

          “See Prongs, I just don’t get it,” he ranted on, his fingers digging deeper into the foam molded around the bike handles, his teeth gouging into the strap of his duffel bag, which he unreasonably clung to like Padfoot. He was utterly unaware of the bespectacled boy behind him clinging to his middle like a petrified toddler.

          “Why did he leave like that? I didn’t even get a chance to speak with him!” Shouted Sirius into the corrupt air, infected with the fumes of passing busses and honking cars.

          “Perhaps because you nearly exploited him in front of the entire school, jeopardizing his every chance at a normal life,” James said. As soon as the words left his lips, he longed for the ability to reach out and capture them again from the air before they could land on Sirius’s ears. But of course, such an ability is unfathomable to any human, and it inevitably resulted in the abrupt jerk of wheels, and Sirius’s own temper thrown into a muddle. James clung on for dear life, his own nails digging into the clenched sides of Sirius’s stomach, as busses honked in their wake.

          “I had every intention of apologizing to him. I did apologize. I just didn’t get a chance to do it properly, okay?” Sirius growled, pulling his bike into an abrupt stop that lodged James’s jaw sharply into Sirius’s back. James was too frightened to speak, his eyes bulging so far out that they could probably touch the lenses of the glasses that had bumped down the front of his nose in all the ruckus. James shakily retreated off the bike, his legs wobbling as though he’d just been hit with a jelly legs jinx, his rucksack hanging loosely off his shoulder. Sirius himself flung his leg over the side of the bike to hop off and join James on the sidewalk, where the only danger was veering cars and his roaring temper. “Sorry,” Sirius grunted half heartedly. James merely nodded.

***

          The train had just vacated the station, with children practically hanging out of their windows to try to get a last glimpse of their waving parents. Even the trolley lady, who had a heart as sweet as the candies she sold, was yelling at them to get back in their seats. Remus had grown bored of the book already, a tiresome story about a lovestruck witch in love with a Muggle in the middle ages, the time where being a witch was certainly not something to brag about. The extravagant language that it used already had his head spinning, and that along with the customary road sickness wasn’t a good combination.

          “Anything good in the Prophet?” he asked Lily, whose head was embedded in the pages of moving pictures that made his spinning head nauseous.

          “Good? No. It’s really quite horrible actually,” she said in a strained voice.

          “What? What happened?” Remus asked. He had been on edge about the recent events being reported ever since the dementor attack on the Ministry of Magic’s own Doge Madgen, a well known advocate for Muggle’s rights. It’d happened in the same vicinity of Sirius’s cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange, who Sirius had said (before their disagreement) he strongly suspected.

          “Do you remember Marlene McKinnon?” she asked him.

          “No, I can’t say I do,” he admitted.

          “She graduated a few years back, I think. She had blonde hair, and looked like Mary. Actually, I think she might’ve been a distant cousin of her’s, I’m not sure,” said Lily.

          “Oh that Marlene!” he exclaimed, suddenly remembering the tall, blonde girl. He didn’t know her personally, but often he could see her laughing at the Ravenclaw table with a crowd of girlfriends. “What happened to her?” he said, an influx of anxiety seeping into his voice. She began to read from the page.

          “Debra McKinnon, Barty Mckinnon and son, Gerald Mckinnon were found dead in their Oxford home early on the morning of August 31st. It was a blow to the neighboring Wizarding community, as the Mckinnon family have been a respected contributor to St. Mungos Hospital for decades. Marlene Mckinnon, the daughter of the deceased couple, found her parents and brother in the kitchen among a fleet of infiri. Infiri, as most of the Wizarding community have been informed in the latest issue of Magical Defense for the Practical Wizard, are bodies bewitched to do a dark wizard’s bidding. The dark wizard responsible, we strongly suspect to be He Who Must Not Be Named and members of his army, as this is only one of many attacks that have been reported to the Auror’s office this month. We’ve asked Rufus Scrimgeour, the new head of the Auror’s office about the recent disappearances and attacks. He refused to comment in detail, but has expressed his sincerity that this problem will most likely be put to a close in no time. His confidence in the leads that the Auror office have made are certainly reassuring, however we implore you and your family to remain cautious in the meantime,” Lily concluded.

          “It’s getting worse,” Remus said, his mouth dry. He leaned into the cushion of the chair and breathed in.

          “I know,” Lily said in a small voice, biting down on her lip.

          Suddenly, someone burst into the room. Remus jumped in his seat, and Lily released a small, but shrill shriek. They’d momentarily forgotten that they were in the Prefect’s compartment and not in a private one. Alice Adkins, accompanied by a Mary, who's eyes were bloodshot from crying and a lack of sleep.

          “Didn’t mean to frighten you,” Alice said with a kind voice. She smiled sheepishly as she led the disgruntled Mary to her seat.

 How’re you doing, Mary?” Lily asked. Remus leant forward, doing his best to seem genuinely concerned. 

“I’ll be fine,” Mary said, wiping the accumulating tears away with the sleeves of her shaggy sweater, as though she was frustrated at the very appearance of the tears on her cheeks. “I’m done with all this crying, it’s ridiculous,” she said, sniffing.

***

          "Where is he?” Sirius said, his leg jiggling up and down with anxiety. He was looking up and down the hallway through the sliding glass door, as though he expected Remus to come waltzing out to him. He also looked acutely displeased at James, as though his best friend had him shackled to the seat, when all James really wanted was to get away from him for a bit.

          "Shut up, you idiot. He’s in the prefect’s compartment!” James remarked, kicking Sirius’s foot in frustration. He was tired of hearing about the incident, Sirius’s apologies to Remus, Remus’s stubbornness to evade Sirius at every turn. He wished they’d just get over it and move on, but the severity of Sirius’s mistake suggested otherwise.

          “Oh yeah, he’s a prefect,” Sirius muttered to himself.

They waited in an awkward silence for a moment, as James’s eyes scanned the pages of the Daily Prophet half-heartedly, distracted by the tapping of Sirius’s anxious fingers against the side of the wall. He sighed, closing the paper with a slam, and glared at Sirius.

          “Jesus! If you want to go find him so much, just bloody do it!” James said in a voice that was held under the tightest control, but still shook with rage and malice, as he flung the discarded paper into the corner of the compartment. Sirius shot up out of his seat, cast aside the sliding glass door and disappeared to find Remus. James sighed in relief and closed his eyes. It’d been days on end of Remus ranting and verbal family abuse and James was utterly through with it, though once pretending to behead cousin Bellatrix had once been a childhood sport of theirs. James picked up the paper again, and begin to read again. It was only once he got to the bottom of the page that his eyes caught on a familiar name.

          Meanwhile, Sirius was darting down the long hallway, dodging the odd first year and gaggle of oggling girls. “Siri-” he heard from an overexcited Peter, before he passed by the compartment. “Hey, Worms!” he bellowed back at him. He’d just reached the end of the narrow corridor, panting hard. He could see Remus through the sliding glass door, talking with the bright redheaded girl. “Remus,” he muttered the name, grinning, trying it out on his lips as it’d seemed to be gone for so long. Then, in an instant, it was like icy fingers had twisted his insides, and the grin melted from his face as Remus’s eyes met his. They went from jovial to filled with sorrow, before with a tired wave of his wand, the screen came down with a flap, and they were obscured from one another once more. 
 

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