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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7. When Sirius Comes Home

              He believed books to be his requisite to maintain a relatively normal life concerning his abnormal condition.  Luckily nobody knew of said condition though besides the essential people to whom he’d trusted to not only maintain but to protect his secret.  He hated to even imagine the tempest there would be if he was found out.  Unfortunately one person of whom he had entrusted with his secret, an individual whose name he never would’ve placed next to the word “betrayal”, divulged his secret, and he was left with a consistently empty feeling in his gut.  He wished it were just a passing faze of nausea.  He wished that the sickening feeling in his stomach would be due to that funny tuna sandwich he’d eaten at lunch yesterday when he’d found they were all out of peanut butter and jelly.  He wished that his thoughts would be replaced by a pulsating headache empty of meaning than the one beating on his head from analyzing the situation too much.

                At least the other day he was able to get away from it all for a while and pretend that everything was back to the way it was before.  At James’s he was able to take up the task of talking to Lily for James again, for James had wisely become somewhat hesitant at approaching the furious redhead after a particularly enthusiastic kick to the…lower male region.  And let us not forget the firewhisky!  It was a key ingredient to the forgetting portion, and only began his restless fidgeting at the end of the night when James collapsed on the couch fast asleep, and Pete had gone to escort a slightly plump Hufflepuff girl out the door; the clumsy gentleman as always.  That’s when he realized there was no Sirius snogging the convenient Ravenclaw bird in the foyer in what she would take to be quite the romantic occasion, when really, he was just in the need for a surfeit amount of nightly shagging.  But no the absence of Sirius made the room feel as empty as his stomach.  This time, he wasn’t with his lovely books to distract him, even though he’d been stuck on the same page for weeks, the unfortunate event an impediment to his literary escapades.  There was no chocolate to savor.  Not even James’s loud snoring could perturb his train of thought, which was significantly saying something.

                He just wished that it hadn’t ever happened, because now he was desperately and hopelessly torn.  He wanted with every morsel of his being to forgive Sirius and act like the thing never happened, but he was skeptical of the amount of trust he ought to place in him.  It would be awkward, because he would most definitely be faced with the prospect in quite the forceful manner by returning to Hogwarts.  In all honesty, he probably wouldn’t face the prospect at all if it weren’t forced upon him, as he was certain he could survive on chocolate, books, ink and parchment.  At school, they were the spectacle, and it was only natural (as James put it) for the peasants of Hogwarts (students that weren’t “Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs”) to keep their undivided attention lingering on their kings (students that were “Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs” [but mostly Padfoot and Prongs]).  Remus agreed that James’s observations were correct, but the truth was without the arrogant glamorization.  People did notice their predicament, though not the basis for said predicament, and that’s why on the days pre-summer-break he’d acted like nothing had gone wrong.  But pretending had wearied him before, and pretending had wearied him again, leaving him in a state of utter infirmity.  He didn’t know if he had the energy to deceive the entire student body any more than he already had.

                It was strange, because Hogwarts had always been a place of security, where he’d always been at peace and at ease.  He’d always anticipated the return, and indulged in the perks of being a Hogwarts pupil, because he almost wasn’t one two times in his life; once when he was uncertain of his acceptance to the school at age eleven,(special request of Dumbledore), and when Sirius divulged his secret.  Hogwarts was one of those places where there were good and bad things that happened to you, but in the end you only remembered the good, because that was all that mattered.  He’d never dreaded returning to such a place, but he did now.

                And as he lay there on the couch in James’s living room, he listened to the night and he tried to listen to the crickets chirping outside to distract him from his darker thoughts, by which time were becoming admittedly tedious, and he tried to ignore the persistent ringing of the doorbell, and the knocking upon the ornate wooden door.

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                Of course he’d attempted the dangerous before, because he, Sirius Black, fed on danger.  It was his addiction, his stimulant, the thing that he felt fully qualified him as a true Gryffindor despite being completely and utterly insane.  Insanity was just the side dish to danger.  Or perhaps it was the topping?  Sirius did love toppings.  Especially on ice cream….and danger!

                Before this, his most dangerous experience had to be the one where he’d jumped from the astronomy tower in first year, after he’d convinced James it’d be good to get some ‘real life practice’ in the art of levitation charms.  Hence forth, he’d deemed himself a dangerous, swashbuckling rogue with natural suave and the heroic prowess equal to Godric Gryffindor himself, though he probably wouldn’t have done any such thing if dear mindless Peter hadn’t backed his fat arse into him the exact second he’d decided to peer over the edge of the railing to get a good look at what his face would collide with only moments post said glimpse.  Luckily, James had managed to contort his face into what could pass as a serious (not punny at all, guys) expression at the look on poor Sirius’s petrified face, and cast the charm efficiently.  He was only suspended for a moment but plummeted face first towards the Earth, as James broke into a series of delighted whoops at his own “fabulous” wand work.  Sirius waved his pathetic, flimsy, first-year arms outstretched before him to catch the inevitable fall.  Luckily he evaded death, a broken neck, and a friend with a possible life sentence in Azkaban.  Instead he got off nearly scott free, except for a broken arm, two months’ worth of detention, and a look from McGonagall that said quite plainly she wouldn’t mind breaking the other arm.  He then proclaimed he’d rather have faced death than his punishment of scrubbing the walls free of dung bomb induced vandalism credited solely to the seventh years (though Moony really did come up with the idea, the little scamp).  Then there was that lovely Howler of course from dear lovely Mumsy who sent her best regards in said Howler, along with all the mandatory pleasantries that a lady did send in letters of those sorts (I really hope you got the sarcasm).  The Howler didn’t necessarily count though, since he’d gotten one every other week since the sorting that “diminished the Black family honor,” as his mother put it.

                No.  what he did was far worse, far more dangerous, and ought to be far more illegal than murder!  Reason being, he’d risked friendship, and he considered friendship a far more fragile, important, and rare force than life itself.  He would happily risk life to maintain friendship, and not call it ridiculous or stupid because that would be a thrill compared to this misery.  But through jeopardizing friendship, he would perhaps renounce his nobility, his class, his elegance, and appear completely vulnerable to admit his stupidity, because when you lose a friend, you don’t get that good thrill of danger like the one you get when you jump from the astronomy tower for a laugh. Unfortunately that’s just what he did, and unfortunately that’s what got him walking along the pavement morosely watching the concrete beneath him as streetlights of Grimmauld Place flash by as he walked to somewhere, anywhere, that would take him away.

                Last year was when it happened, when he committed the terrible deed of betrayal.  He risked the fragile friendship he had fumbled with for nearly five years.  The terrible thing was he’d passed the stage of fumbling with the friendship.  He’d dropped it, and was now waiting for it to hit the ground and shatter.  The awful thing was the shards stuck more painfully in Remus than it would himself, and somehow, he’d known that all along, but hadn’t really cared until it had become apparent their friendship would shatter the moment Remus awakened from his post-moon slumber.

                The easy explanation of why was because he’d not considered Remus’s condition to a degree as serious as it actually was.  He’d forgotten the importance of the secrecy he’d been sworn to because by the time of the encounter, Remus’s “furry little problem” didn’t seem like much of a problem anymore after having seen the effects of it so many times over the past five years.  It seemed common, and that was probably the worst false pretense he’d ever fallen under.  He had silently vowed to never speak of it again, because it was a stupid mistake, but mistakes, mishaps, and accidents alike still leave scars, no matter the absence of intention.  He thought Remus had vowed to do so too, because it seemed as though he didn’t mind the last few days before summer, when people had begun to get suspicious of the Marauders’ separation.  Momentarily, he was filled with a giddy sense of joy when Remus spoke to him, before he realized Remus was looking through him, not at him directly in the way that old Remus used to look at him.  And then he realized it wasn’t because of forgiveness, it was because he just wanted the people to stop looking.

                He remembered the boy lying there in bed, his golden brown hair ruffled all over the pillow, all over his face, matted with blood and dirt.  His face was engraved with a series of new gashes; a design to add to the map of scars.  It was a spectacle he hadn’t seen since fourth year, when he’d abruptly burst into the Hospital Wing a windy Saturday morning to find Madam Pomfrey tending to the deep cuts vigorously slashed into Remus’s pale skin.  Remus’s breath was still ragged against his lungs as he drew steady gulps of air in his sleep.  Of course Remus hadn’t the slightest inkling of what the wolf had nearly done that night, but James did, and Sirius did too, and he wished with every particle of his being that the headmaster would hurry along with Snivellus’s recollection of the encounter so he wouldn’t have to explain the accordance of events to Remus himself.  He hated how un-Gryffindor that sounded.

                Of course James was commended for his heroism by McGonagall (who only knew half of the story), while James hung his head in guilt.  And Sirius got reprimanded by Dumbledore, which he really didn’t need, because he knew he’d done wrong, and Dumbledore ought to know that because Sirius Black never looked down at the floor when he was being told off.  He always looked the administrator of discipline in the eye and gave him his cheeky defense.  He was defenseless this time, because he knew that he couldn’t possibly find a defense truthful enough to justify his case.  He didn’t exactly want to either.  He’d looked at the lines of the floorboards, the lines scratched into the surface of the headmaster’s desk from predecessors who’d decided to write angry, vengeful letters with quills pressed too hard to the paper.  He looked anywhere but the lines of Dumbledore’s face though, or worse, his piercing blue eyes.  And he just let Snape talk, because everything was so bloody mixed up, and he couldn’t stop thinking of the vision of Remus’s back turned from him in the library, ignoring him talking during lunch, and walking with the Ravenclaws because, he, Sirius Black had betrayed him.  And the wrinkles of his eyes, so deepened by laughing, were suddenly obscured by silent tears.

 

 

Without fully registering what he doing, he was knocking on the door of James Potter’s house…

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                “Sirius?”  James asked blankly as soon as he shoved the door open to reveal a disgruntled looking Sirius Black, his hair nearly as messy as James’s.  At the mention of his very name, Remus sat bolt upright in the couch, the blanket that had been tangled around him a moment before fell to the floor, and he blushed besides himself.

                “Mate, why didn’t you come for the party?  It was bloody depressing without you!”  Sirius replied with an empty silence that James took no notice of, as he continued to babble incoherently.  “Why’d you bring your trunk?  Are you staying?  Why didn’t you tell us!?”  James was grinning ear to ear taking no notice of the scent of firewhisky lingering on Sirius’s lips, or the fact that his hair was more mussed up than usual, it’s carefully placed elegance leaving no trace.

Remus lowered himself slowly back onto the surface of the couch before James or Sirius could notice his discomfort.

                “Shut up, Prongs, it’s late,” Sirius said, but as much as his comment would be appreciated if necessary as usual with James’s never ending obsessive dwelling over the one Lily Evans, it was completely useless, a waste of breath, as James had pitched himself to the plush leather armchair, and was already snoring in the way that gave Remus a reason to appreciate his time away from Hogwarts.            

                Innocently, Remus watched as Sirius took of his jacket and laid it out beneath him as of a pillow, and curled into a ball somewhat like a cat.  It would’ve made him laugh, the irony of cat vs. his Animagus form, the enormous shaggy black dog.  But now, he was too thoroughly confused that he forgot to laugh. 

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