Turning Time

BOOK-LENGTH, MARAUDERS'-ERA! After the Second Wizarding War, Harry Potter struggles to shake his past. The deaths haunt him. His friends, and the family he has made for himself, have changed. And he now knows the truth about Severus.
Ginny offers him a solution. He has the opportunity to travel back to the 70s, meet his parents, get closure. However, things aren't that simple.
What will Harry change in his past, both intentionally and on accident? Will his father like him?
Can he prevent everyone from discovering the secret behind his blue-eyed, light-haired disguise?
Harry finds out how time will turn for Severus and if the lost boy has a chance of being happy and finding love.
**Cover art designed using gimp.

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6. Seeker

Harry missed his friends. He knew he wasn’t off to a good start if it was only two weeks into the year and his chest already ached every time he realized it was going to be another day of being without them. He tried to think of some way he could see Ron, Hermione, or Ginny, but it would be too difficult. He hoped, at some point, the pain would go away, and they would become less and less focused in his thoughts. Because he wasn’t leaving them. They weren’t suffering, even Ginny’d only miss him a few seconds, so why should he torture himself over it?

 

    Of course, Harry couldn’t help but think of possible solutions to his problem. He came up with a new idea each day, but each idea had a drawback: when he saw them again, he’d only miss them more between visits. He’d want to come back, and abandon everything he’d accomplished.

 

    His stress must have been apparent on the night before the first Quidditch practice that Saturday, because Severus noticed. 

 

    “Are you feeling alright?” he asked, his discomfort in expressing concern apparent as he rolled up the homework he’d just finished.

 

    “Yeah, I’m fine.” Harry also closed his books and glanced at Severus, who had already moved on, having believed what Harry had told him.

 

    Harry searched for something to take his mind off of his friends. “Hey, how about we play Wizard’s Chess?”

 

    James had received a special edition version of the game the day before, playing nonstop since class ended. His obsession and winning streak weren’t the only annoying factors; the game was twice the normal size, the pieces were twice as loud and swore when they were taken out to the opposite side. To top everything off, the whole chess set was plated in silver. Harry knew Severus wouldn’t want to take James on, so he thought he’d give him a chance to play without that competition.

 

    Harry went upstairs and dug out his chess set, the same one he’d been given at the Christmas Feast his first year. It was a little worn, so he could say he had bought it secondhand at Diagon Alley.

 

    After he was back downstairs and as he set up the board, Lily and Raven sat down to the left of Severus, curious. 

 

    “Can Raven and I play after?” Lily hadn’t played a magical game yet but hadn’t wanted to verse James, who was clearly getting on her nerves. 

 

    “Sure.” Harry pulled up a stool and sat on the opposite end of the table.

 

    “White or red?” he asked, facing the white side.

 

    “Red’s fine.” Severus studied the board. “I haven’t placed this before.”

 

    “Oh! Right.” Harry quickly explained how each piece moved, then offered, “You can go first.”

 

    Severus hesitated, surveying his options. “Pawn to E5.” And the game began. 

 

    Harry thought he had a chance at winning, since he was seven years older. However, somehow, just thirty minutes in, Harry’s king was dragged off to the side of the board.

 

    “Wow! Sev, you’re a natural!” Lily studied at him, her eyes wide, and after turning to see her expression he blushed. 

 

    “I let you win,” Harry joked, grinning as he rearranged the pieces. 

 

    “Go ahead,” he said to Lily and Raven, and they took their spots as Harry joined Severus and Lily on the couch.

 

    “I bet, if you practiced a bit, you could beat James. Easily.”

 

    Severus straightened with pride. “You think so?”

 

    “Of course…though, he may not like it if you do.”

 

    “I don’t care.” Severus turned half of his attention back on the board. The other half of him was thinking about the possibility of getting James to shut up.

 

    Harry looked over at the Marauders, who were also gathered around a chess board. James was versing Peter, who was close to losing. Remus caught Harry looking over, then motioned for him to join them. Harry said to the others, “I’ll be just a sec,” and went over Lupin with the others. None of the other first-year girls were down in the common room, but there were a couple second-year girls hanging around, chatting and keeping an eye on the game.

 

    “What’s up?” Harry asked. He crossed his arms and peered at the board from behind Peter.

 

    “Nothing. I nearly beat James in chess, but of course he has more experience…” Suddenly, Remus looked uncomfortable. Eyes locked on the floor, he whispered, “You know I trust you, but you—you haven’t told anyone, have you?” He seemed ashamed to doubt Harry’s promise to keep his problem a secret.

 

    Harry was just about to reassure him when Sirius, who had just needed a way out of talking to the overeager second-year girls, asked, “Told anyone what?”

 

    Remus paled. Harry, buying himself time to think of an excuse, tried to look like he had just been telling an inside joke and said, “It’s nothing.”

 

    Sirius raised an eyebrow. Harry expected him to back down—after all, Sirius didn’t know him well enough to pry.

 

    Sirius put an arm around Remus, who flinched a little at his touch. “Remus, c’mon, you can tell me.” 

 

    “Oh, er, well…in Charms this week…Jacob let me cheat off him.” He said the last part of the sentence all in a rush. His face was flushed from the lie and he continued to stare at the ground, as if he really had done it.

 

    Sirius looked disappointed. “Oh. Well, that’s not a big deal, I cheated off of James just yesterday in Potions, didn’t I?” 

 

    James looked up and nodded, grinning. “What you don’t know is I was copying Peter, so I think we’ll all get bad marks.”

 

    The two laughed, and Peter joined in, still getting used to being the butt of their jokes.

 

    “Checkmate,” James said lazily, his attention back to the board, and Peter’s king was dragged off to the side. 

 

    James yawned and stretched. “I’m pretty tired…and this is getting boring. I’m gonna go upstairs.”

 

    “Yeah, me too.” Sirius took his arm off Remus and followed James out. 

 

    Peter hurriedly packed up the game and went after them. Remus turned to go, but Harry said, “Do you want to hang out with us?”

 

    Remus smiled shyly. “Yeah, sure.”

 

    Harry led him over to where Raven and Lily were engaged in their chess match, while Severus sat silently, deep in his own thoughts.

 

    “Hey guys, mind if Remus joins us?” The three shook their heads. Lily smiled warmly at Remus.

 

    Remus smiled back reflexively at her, then blushed again at her enthusiasm. He sat on the couch and adjusted his hair so it fell over his scars.

 

    “So, I’m not sure if you two have really met, but Remus, this is Severus. Severus, this is Remus.”

 

    “Hi,” they said simultaneously. Severus’ eyes flickered to the scars that ran across Remus’ face. Remus must’ve been able to tell what Severus was looking at, because he abruptly turned away.

 

    Severus also looked away, but his mind was clearly still focused on the scars. Lily continued playing as though nothing had happened and started to tell a story to ease the tension. Ten minutes passed, and the first official meeting between Remus and the others was going well, especially between he and Lily.

 

    Until Lily couldn’t hold back her curiosity. “How did you get those scars?” The others looked at his face, glad someone else had asked.

 

    “I…don’t want to…” Remus struggled to explain his discomfort.

 

    “Oh. Sorry. I didn’t mean to—” Lily reached out to him but he drew back. 

 

    “It’s all right. I’m used to it.” Remus flipped his hair to cover his scars, but he could tell it looked funny and the seconds he felt insecure ticked past. He turned to Jacob. “I’m actually kinda tired, you don’t mind if I…”

 

    “No, I don’t, er, yeah, go ahead. See you tomorrow.”

 

    “See you.” Lupin stood up and headed to the dorms, taking the books he had brought to the common room on his way.

 

    There was silence for a minute after he left, then Raven and Lily went back to their game. Lily got over her guilt and managed to beat Raven.

 

    “Good game. It was close,” Lily said, grinning.

 

    “Yeah, right. I’m awful at Wizard’s Chess.” Raven sighed. “You’re really good, though. Tomorrow,” she nodded toward Severus and Lily, “you two should verse each other.”

 

    Lily grinned. “It’s on.”

 

    Severus smiled back, though he seemed unsure of whether or not he would let her win when they played.

 

    “Well…” Lily stood up and stretched. “…I’m off to bed.”

 

    “Me too. G’night, Severus. G’night, Jacob,” Raven said.

 

    “Goodnight,” they replied.

 

    “See you in the morning, Sev! And see you after Quidditch tomorrow, Jacob!” Lily smiled and followed Raven to the girls dorms.

 

    Jacob and Severus put the chess set back in its box. As Severus handed Harry a pawn, he asked, “Why did Remus get mad when we asked about his scars?”

 

    Harry looked at him in surprise. “Well, of course Remus is going to be sensitive about something like that. I doubt he likes being described as ‘the boy with the scars.’ He’s probably just careful when he makes new friends because he figures you’re going to judge him. That’s all.” He realized it was from experience in which he was speaking—Remus and him were similar in that way. He was simplifying the reason, however, as Remus was also protective of his secret.

 

    Severus gave Harry a calculating look. “You’re really good at that sort of thing.”

 

    “What sort of thing?” Harry asked, trying to seem naive.

 

    “Reading people. Being able to tell what they’re feeling, or why they do…what they do.”

 

    “Oh. Thanks. I guess so.” He hoped that over time Severus wouldn’t become suspicious that the reason Harry could more easily tell how his friends felt was that he wasn’t as young as he appeared to be.

 

    Back at the dorm, no one was asleep yet; they were all up, talking. Severus and Harry got ready for bed quietly as the others recovered from their laughter.

 

    Sirius leaned against one of his bedposts, grinning.

 

    “Okay, now do me,” James said eagerly. Peter, for once, was not laughing along with them; instead he looked annoyed and frowned at Sirius.

 

    Sirius straightened. “Give me your glasses. For effect.” He put them on. “Blimey! You’re nearly blind! Wonder what could’ve done that…”

 

    “Sod off!” James stood and pushed him a little, but smirked. From the bed he grabbed a small container that resembled a mint tin and flipped it open. “Which color?”

 

    “Hm…how about green? I think that’s Voice.”

 

    “Here,” James said, handing it to him. Sirius popped it in his mouth.

 

    Suddenly, his body shuddered and he coughed. “Testing. Testing. 1, 2, 3.” His voice had taken the likeness of James’.

 

    Sirius leaned back casually, imitating how James stood. He ran a hand through his black hair, making it stand up in all directions. Then he went on a lengthy, serious rant about Quidditch. For every laugh he managed out of his audience, his confidence inflated slightly.

 

    Harry glanced over at Remus, who was reading, and decided to talk to him about what happened. 

 

    “Lily didn’t mean to offend you.”

 

    Remus started, then put his book down. “I know.” He rubbed his temple. “I was acting ridiculous…Can you tell her not to worry about it?”

 

    “Of course.”

 

     After barely ten minutes, Sirius’ voice gradually became rougher and slightly lower until it was his again.

 

    Peter clapped, grinning. Lupin and Harry followed suit, without thinking about it, while Severus glowered. Sirius bowed and thanked them.

 

    James smiled, but he looked a little annoyed. The spotlight had been pulled away from him, and he wanted it back. “Okay, now let me try you.” James got up and Sirius extended his hand. He poured several of the mints into Sirius’ palm, the first step of the process, then took them back in one fluid motion. 

 

    “Wait! James! You know you can’t take more than one at a time—”

 

    James cast him a sly smile and popped the mints all at once.

 

    Sirius gaped as he watched James, waiting for something to happen. At first, nothing did. They were just beginning to relax when James’ face contorted and bubbled. His head stretched slightly, and one of his hazel eyes became slightly smaller and brown. His eyebrows grew to the thickness of Sirius’, then continued to grow. None of them knew whether to laugh or be concerned, and they just watched in astonishment until the transformation was complete. A mash-up between Sirius and James stood before them, looking sick.

 

    “You should take him to Madam Pomfrey as soon as possible,” Harry suggested to Sirius before anyone else began to react.

 

    Sirius nodded and guided James out of the dorm. After a moment, there was an awful retching sound, and Sirius swore loudly. Harry grabbed his wand and quickly went out to help them. With quick swish of his wand, he cleaned the sick. They thanked him clumsily, and continued along down the stairs. 

 

    Back in the dorm, Peter and Lupin were laughing. Severus grinned, relishing the fact that James was now on his way to the Hospital wing, and that he wouldn’t have to deal with either of them for the night.

 

    It proved relatively easy to remove the effects of the pill. Later that night James and Sirius returned from the Hospital wing. Everyone was already in bed, but they all woke up from the poorly-attempted-at-being-muffled laughter from the two boys. “It was not worth the twenty-five galleons,” one of them said. The other replied, “Well, at least we know now what our kid would look like.” They laughed, before shushing each other. “Mustn’t wake the kiddies!”

 

    Fortunately, they must’ve been exhausted, because they drifted off into silence, and Harry fell asleep again.

 

    After what seemed like a minute, Harry woke up to his alarm. He changed, then trudged through the school and to the Quidditch Pitch. It was just him and the captain, Violetta, so she could explain Quidditch to him and teach him one-on-one. 

 

    Violetta was already at the Quidditch pitch when Harry arrived. 

 

    “Jacob! Hi!” She shook his hand, then stood back and looked out across the pitch. 

 

    “Isn’t it a beauty?” She said dreamily.

 

    Harry nodded and followed her gaze. 

 

    “Well. Let’s get started. Do you know anything about Quidditch?”

 

    “Oh, yeah, I read a lot about it when I made the team.”

 

    “Practical guy, huh? When we scrimmage I’ll have to put you to the test, then. But for now, let’s practice some moves. If you wanna change into your uniform, you’re number seven.” She gestured to the locker/meeting room for the Gryffindors. “Since I’m ready, I’ll just warm up.” She mounted the broom she was holding, a Cleansweep, and took off. 

 

    Harry watched her for a moment (she was quite good) then went to change. The uniform was slightly different from the modern ones: they were striped with the house’s colors, collared, less fitted, and the print was smaller. The pants were a dark gray, and the padding was a standard black.

 

    He skimmed over the rack of brooms and was surprised to see an old version of the Nimbus. It looked brand-new; Harry wondered if it was for him. He brought it outside, briefly tasted the crisp autumn air, then took off.

 

    The air whipped past him as he sped forward. Violetta noticed he’d joined her and stopped the dive she was practicing. 

 

    “You found your new broom! The team all pitched in to get it.”

 

    “It’s incredible!” Of course, it wasn’t comparable to his Firebolt, but it would probably be better than everyone else’s broomsticks. 

 

    “Okay, so we have a few routines to warm up. The first is just to race from post to post and back, then to fly from the post to the center field and touch down, then to the next post…”     She explained the basic exercises to him and let him complete them as she watched from above. The warm-ups required little effort, but were fun, and better than the ones Harry had done at his training. When he was done, Violetta was anxious to get him onto more advanced moves. She showed him flying moves to confuse opponents, dodge Bludgers, and to show off. 

 

    Most of the techniques he knew by experience, though he had never officially been taught them. He was glad that Violetta didn’t act jealous or suspicious that he was brilliant at the sport without, supposedly, any training. He almost expected her to because it was clear Quidditch was her passion, and she worked hard to get to being the captain of the team. 

 

    After a couple hours, Violetta motioned him down to the ground. “That was brilliant! We are definitely going to win the Cup this year! We’ve been in second place the past two years, since I’ve been captain…” She pushed past the shroud of self-doubt. “But this time, our team is more experienced, and we’ll practice more, and…we have you!” She ruffled his hair and grinned. “So training is every Saturday and Sunday afternoon before dinner, and on Tuesday and Wednesday the same time. And, like you, the Beaters, Chasers, and Keeper all have a private practice this week.”

 

    “What position are you?” 

 

     “Keeper. I was a Chaser my first year, then a Beater, so this is my first year as a Keeper.”

 

    “Really?”

 

    “Yeah. I’m kind of nervous about it. My worst position is Seeker, but my second worse is Keeper. I’m not consistent. I guess I was better than the people who tried out, but barely.”

 

    “I’m sure you’ll be brilliant,” Harry assured her. She kind of reminded him of Ron.

 

    “Thanks. We’ll see for sure in a month, I guess.” 

 

    They changed in the separate locker rooms and walked back together to the castle. Nearly three hours had passed since they started that morning and they were both starving. 

 

    “I’m glad I ate some Chocolate Frogs on the way here, or else I would’ve passed out by now.” Her stomach growled loudly. “Ugh. I could probably eat a hippogriff and still be hungry.”

 

    Harry laughed. “Right.”

 

    Violetta spotted someone beyond Harry and waved. “Hey! Alice!” She said quickly to Harry, “Well, I’ll see you for the next practice! Bye!” Then she ran off to join her friend.

 

    Practices went spectacularly. Everyone welcomed him as part of the family, a family whose talents matched the talents of his teams in his time. 

 

    And over the next few weeks, everyone fell into a steady rhythm. The Gryffindor first years were, of course, used to the classes, but it was over these times that they really began to settle into routine. The three groups of first year Gryffindors were, for the most part, pretty defined. There were the Marauders, Harry’s group of four, and the remaining three tightly-linked girls.

 

    It was rare for any of them to socialize with any of the older years at first, but as time went on everyone began to know each other. With most students he could link to a weak memory from his time, some whose names he vaguely recognized as part of families from the present. 

 

    Some of those people he remembered were in the Order of the Phoenix.

 

    “Alice, come here.”

 

    Harry looked up from where he was studying. Shock cut through him. He hadn’t seen it before when he was with Violetta. The rounded face, slightly awkward posture, kind but surprisingly strong expression; she was Neville’s mother. The similarities between mother and son were unmistakable. But the contrast between the her smile that shone now and the disheveled, mad look she had when Harry had seen her at St. Mungo’s was dramatic. 

 

    “What is it?” She approached a teenager with curly brown hair. Frank Longbottom. He was more like the Neville of now; more confident, and full of life. An image of the couple, mentally disabled after being tortured, flashed across his mind, and his frown deepened.

 

    Harry felt Severus’ curious eyes on him, trying to figure out what had caught his attention, but Harry pretended not to notice.

 

    Alice gave Frank a quick kiss and looked at what he had wanted to show her. It looked like a letter, one that was only meant for their eyes, judging by the way they bent over it and looked around cautiously.

 

    “What are you looking at?” Severus asked, and Harry turned around.

 

    “Nothing,” he replied automatically. Severus sensed this change, but apart from studying Harry’s face, didn’t mention it.

 

    More and more each day, Harry considered how much he was really helping the group. Lily and Severus were in Gryffindor together, and that seemed to help in many ways. James stayed away from Severus, for the most part, who now hung out with “the good guys.”

 

    That’s how it seemed, for a short while. But Harry should’ve known better. If something happened once, there’s a perfectly reasonable chance history would repeat itself. 

 

    He realized this a week before Halloween.

 

    “What are you doing?” Harry asked suspiciously, and Severus jumped, shoving a book underneath his pillow.

 

    “Nothing,” he replied, a little too quickly. He avoided Harry’s pressing gaze and tried to think of something that’d divert his friend’s attention. “Just studying.”

 

    Right. Harry wasn’t an idiot. There was obviously something Severus was trying to hide. He dreaded the possibility of…well, that wasn’t likely. 

 

    That week leading up to Halloween gave Harry enough reasons to confirm his fears. Severus, as he had in the other reality, had involved himself in the Dark Arts. 

 

     He realized that the multiple times over the past month Severus had said he needed space, or to study alone, or claimed James was bothering him…it was just so he could go off and meet with Slytherins.

 

    What had Severus done to win the trust of the Slytherins? Did Harry, or the increased time with Lily, have no effect on him? Did nothing that changed matter anymore? Was everything destined to follow the same path? As Harry struggled to answer these questions, he was also dealing with the ache in his chest over his friends, the feelings that brought him here in the first place, and figuring out where he belonged at the school.

 

    His alternate identity, Jacob, had an aura of maturity and strength that kept the Marauders away from bullying Severus directly. “Jacob” wasn’t threatening, but the others could tell there was something…different about him. Every time one of the kids said something childish (which happened pretty often), he would roll his eyes, or not laugh along with everyone else. His opinions made sense and he was always the voice of reason, so his friends looked to him for advice. 

 

    “Severus, can we talk?” Harry asked that Friday.

 

    Severus continued writing on the scrap piece of parchment he had. “I guess.”

 

    “Okay.” Harry sat on the bed across from him. “I know what you’ve been doing recently.”

 

    Severus didn’t look up, and his face remained concentrated on his work. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He was getting better at hiding his emotions.

 

    Harry sighed. “C’mon, Severus. We’re friends. You can’t hide these things from me.” He hardened his tone. “I know you’ve been involved in the Dark Arts…and you’ve been meeting with the Slytherins.”

 

    Severus knew there was no use denying it, so he became defensive. “So what if I have? It’s…It’s my choice.” 

 

    “I know, but you don’t understand what will happen if you do!” Severus had no idea how his life would turn out. 

 

    “I can make my own decisions.” 

 

    “Right. At age eleven, you know how to make your own decisions.” Now Harry was getting frustrated.

 

    “You’re eleven too!” Severus’ eyes blazed with fury. “You—you act like you know everything all the time! It’s so annoying! You act like you’re my…my mother.”

 

    “I act like I’m your mother? I’m the only one, then.” Harry retorted.

 

    Severus’ face flushed angrily. “But your parents think you’re a freak! At least my mother took me to Diagon Alley!” Severus thought the insult was pretty good, but he just continued to exasperate Harry, who reverted back to the voice of reason.

 

    “Say whatever you want. I’m just telling you that you’re making a mistake.” Harry closed his eyes and thought, rubbing his temple, as Severus calmed down. He opened them again when he heard the scribble of a quill on parchment.

 

    “Listen,” Harry continued, while Severus continued to write. “I can’t tell you what to do. Because then you won’t learn anything. But one day…” The image of Lily defending Severus flashed across his mind. Severus’ worst memory. “…one day everything will fall apart because of the Dark Arts. And when it does, you’ll wish you’d never got involved. But until then…do whatever the hell you want.”

 

    Severus was quiet. Just as Harry was about to leave the dorm, he looked up from his parchment. “Wait!” Harry turned around. Severus asked quietly, “We’re still friends…aren’t we?” 

 

    Harry snorted. “Yeah, but I doubt your new Slytherin pals approve of having two Muggleborn friends.”

 

    Severus said nothing, he just watched Harry go. A few seconds later, Harry reappeared in the doorway.

 

    “You can’t keep it a secret forever. Sooner or later, if Lily hasn’t already found out, I’ll tell her. She has the right to know. Besides, if being involved in the Dark Arts truly isn’t a big deal, she wouldn’t care whether or not you are. And you know that’s not the case.” With that, he left the room.

 

    Severus wiped his eyes quickly and scrutinized his paper.

 

    Downstairs, James sat with Sirius, across the room from Harry and the others, as Peter rushed to do their homework. Remus read, but he seemed to be doing so just to have a distraction from what they were saying. He probably felt guilty because James and Sirius were doing last minute planning for tomorrow’s Halloween pranks.

 

    Wordlessly, Remus closed his book and went over to where Lily and Harry were sitting. James and Sirius stopped talking and watched him. Then they glanced at each other and changed the subject.

 

    “Hello,” Remus said, joining them on the floor. He looked immensely tired and a bit sick. “Good game,” he said to Harry.

 

    “Hi, thanks.” He replied. “What are you reading?”

 

    “Oh, I’m reading ahead in…” he held up his Defense Against the Dark Arts schoolbook and smiled, a little embarrassed.

 

    “Cool. Your favorite subject?” 

 

    Remus nodded. 

 

    “Yeah, mine too. So, do you want to play Exploding Snaps? The winner of each game gets a Chocolate Frog.”

 

    Remus nodded and looked up. James and Sirius were standing behind him, looking more relaxed than they were before. 

 

    “We want to play, too.”

 

    “Sure.” Harry glanced at Peter, who was looking at them hopefully, waiting to be invited over. 

 

    Harry sighed. “Hey, Peter, do you want to play, too?” 

 

    “Okay!” He got up and accidentally knocked over the small pile of books that was around him. Blushing, he picked up the mess and shuffled quickly to them.

 

    “I hope you didn’t wet yourself,” James snickered, and he and Sirius laughed. 

 

    Lily rolled her eyes. James noticed and stopped laughing. He cleared his throat. “I’ll deal.” 

 

    Harry handed him the pack of cards.

 

    “So, where’s Snivellus? And the black girl…Sparrow?” Sirius asked, leaning back on his hands instead of cross-legged like most of the others.

 

    “You mean Severus and Raven. They’re not here, so you don’t need to worry about it.”

 

    “Ooh…” Sirius and James exchanged a look. “Severus and Raven, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then—”

 

    “Shut up,” Lily and Harry snapped at the same time.

 

    James raised his eyebrows and was about to say something else when Remus said, “There they are.”

 

    Raven glanced at the group and whispered something quickly to Severus. He crossed the room and went up to the dorms while Raven walked over to them, her face glowing with a rare smile. But it wasn’t toward them, it was more a smile of excitement. 

 

    “Where were you?” Jacob asked casually.

 

    “I…went to get help in Potions. Severus came too, to help me, and to, er…ask Professor Slughorn about doing more advanced stuff, since he’s not being challenged.” 

 

    Harry didn’t want to tip off the other, so he went along with her story. “Oh. Okay then. Want to play?”

 

    Raven hesitated awkwardly. “No, Slughorn, er, recommended I reread some chapters…five through eight. I’ll see you ‘round.”

 

    “See you.” Harry said, pretending he believed her. Raven’s excuse was good, she was doing poorly in Potions, but still…it was more likely Severus had brought her to a meeting with his new Slytherin friends.

 

    Everyone else had lost interest in their conversation. James had already dealt most of the cards. Harry was the only one lost in thought throughout the game, so he didn’t have to try to lose each one like he normally did.

 

    “I’ll sit this game out,” Harry said, and went to the dorms.

 

    Severus was lying in bed, flipping through his Transfiguration book. He looked at Harry questioningly. 

 

    “Look. Just answer this question. Did Raven ask you if she could come with you or did you drag her along?”

 

    “I don’t know—”

 

    “Come on,” Harry cut in impatiently, “All I’d have to do is ask Slughorn if you were there today.”

 

    Severus glared at him. “She wanted to come with me. But she told me not to tell.”

 

    “She’s my friend, too. I want to tell her the same thing I told you.”

 

    Severus opened his mouth to reply, but sighed instead.

 

    That night, Harry sat with Raven, hoping he’d be able to at least convince her to give up the Dark Arts. “…I told Severus the same thing. But I know neither of you are going to listen.”

 

    Raven just looked at him. 

 

    “Well, alright then.” Harry didn’t know if he got through to her—she had been silent the whole time. “Are you going to say anything?”

 

    “I…don’t know why I chose Gryffindor,” she said quietly, and with a final glance up at him, she walked away.

 

    Chose Gryffindor? Harry thought. She must mean why she got sorted into Gryffindor.

 

    As Halloween approached, Sirius and James could be seen in the Common Room, huddled, as Peter and Remus dug through books. Harry was nervous for Severus’ sake. The hatred James and Sirius felt for Severus became stronger each day, and it was at the point where the threat of Harry defending him had little effect. 

 

    Harry convinced himself the pranks would be good-natured, maybe not intended for Severus specifically.

 

    But on their way to breakfast (after waking up and seeing two empty beds in the common room), Harry was proven wrong.

 

    Severus dropped a piece of parchment and rushed back to pick it up. Before he could rejoin the others, a large pot appeared over his head and dumped its contents over him. 

 

    Severus yelped and covered his face with his hands.

 

    “Severus!” Lily ran to him. Harry and Raven followed, scanning for James and Sirius.

 

    Lily drew back in shock as she watched Severus’ long black hair lengthen. His nose grew until it stuck out between his fingers. Severus whimpered in embarrassment when Lily put her hand on his shoulder.

 

    “Take him to the Hospital wing, and I’ll see if I can find James,” Harry said to Lily.

 

    “How do you know it was James, and not a Slytherin?” Was Lily defending James or she just hadn’t realized the animosity between them?

 

    “You’re right, I don’t.” Though, to Harry, it was obvious. Who else was pranking people? Besides, he knew because of the lack of evidence; the pot had appeared out of nowhere, and no one around seemed to have been controlling it. 

 

    And James had an invisibility cloak. 

 

    Harry slowly surveyed the area for any clues that his dad was still there. He wasn’t expecting to see anything when he noticed a particularly overweight student suddenly trip and fall flat on his face. Harry ran to help him up, partly as an excuse to see if he could hear James. Sure enough, there was a quiet laughing from nearby. It sounded as if there were two people.

 

    So both James and Sirius were the culprits. Harry casually walked in their direction, and heard one of them hush the other, and there was silence.

 

    He strained to hear footsteps, and sure enough, there was the sound of careful feet that didn’t line up with the few kids that walked by. 

 

    When Harry was parallel with their direction, he jumped to the side and grabbed for the cloak. He was on target. With one fluid motion the two boys were standing, shocked, with their wide eyes on Harry.

 

    “How did you—?” James took out his wand, unsure of what to do. Sirius did the same. 

 

    “Can I ask a favor? Severus is my friend, and I don’t want you to mess with him. Or anyone else, for that matter.” The boy they’d tripped watched them from down the hall. 

 

    James and Sirius glanced at each other, eyebrows raised.

 

    “Come on. You can’t actually be friends with him,” Sirius snickered.

 

    Harry looked at him seriously. “Yeah, I am. I can’t make you stop bullying him—”

 

    “He deserves it, you know,” James cut in matter-of-factly.

 

    “No one deserves what you want to do to him. If only you understood—”

 

    “Understood what? I don’t think we like being talked to like this, do we, Sirius?” 

 

    Sirius pulled out his wand. “If you don’t give us back the cloak and walk away, we’ll make you give it back.”

 

    “Fine. But if you do anything to him…you’ll have to face me.”

 

    “Ooh, I’m so scared.” Sirius searched for something witty to say. “You’re his knight in shining armor, aren’t you? He’s the damsel in distress.”

 

    Harry normally would’ve rolled his eyes at such an idiotic remark, but the comment stung. That’s not how it seemed, did it?

 

    Sirius looked to James for reassurance of his joke’s humor, shoulders straightening with confidence when James smirked.

 

    Harry’s fingers grazed his wand. “I know he can defend himself. But what’s the point of bullying him in the first place?”

 

    This sailed right over James and Sirius’ heads. They looked at him like he was the one missing the point. Before they could say something stupid, Harry continued. 

 

    “Never mind. Just remember what I said.” Harry turned around and walked in the opposite direction. Suddenly, he felt a shock race through him, and became frozen to the spot.

 

    “Thank you, Sir Knight,” Sirius said, and they laughed. Harry had forgotten to give them the cloak, and they’d done just as they promised.

 

    The boy he’d helped up earlier managed to unfreeze him, looking sympathetic. But he didn’t know how painful it actually was for them to treat Harry as they had.

 

    James was Harry’s father, and Sirius had been the last family he had. Harry wanted to do what was right, but he also wanted to be friends with them. Somewhere below the surface he knew they were good people, but it would be ideal if they didn’t wait until adulthood to show that.

 

    Harry, back in the empty dorm before class, sat down on his bed. He felt a new weight on his chest. His own father didn’t like him. Should he have tried to befriend him instead of acting how he did? A rush of anger overcame Harry and he stood up. He kicked his bed frame and threw the contents of his nightstand on the ground. 

 

    Harry’s anger abruptly turned to shame. He ran a hand through his hair and surveyed the mess, then sighed. He couldn’t give up on his father, or his godfather. They’d get along eventually, as long as Harry was patient.

 

    “Yeah, definitely,” came Sirius’ voice from outside. 

 

    Harry heard footsteps approaching the dorm. He threw on his invisibility cloak and moved the mess under his bed, just as Sirius and James appeared in the doorway. James stopped in his tracks, hushed Sirius, and stared at Harry’s bed.

 

    “What?” Sirius said, impatiently, breaking James’ concentration. “C’mon, we’ll be late to class.”

 

    “I think this is more important, don’t you?” 

 

    Sirius grinned, and got to work searching through the pile of junk around his bed.

 

    “So, Jacob…” 

 

    Harry flinched in surprise, then realized Sirius was talking to James.

 

    “Yeah? What about him?”

 

    “I don’t know. He’s…weird.” More rummaging, then a pause. “Why is he friends with…them?”

 

    “A better question is, why is Lily friends with him?” This had clearly been bothering James.

 

    “I don’t know. But, he’s almost…older than he is.”

 

    “He’s older than he is?” James raised an eyebrow.

 

    “That’s not what I meant…It’s that…he acts all mature, all the time. It’s really annoying.”

 

    “Yeah, I know. Well, we’ll see how mature he is when he pisses himself after dinner,” James joked, and they laughed.

 

    “But, er, do you think…” Sirius began, slowly, “…we should be nicer to him?” He was clearly uncomfortable suggesting it.

 

    “To Jacob? Or Snivellus?” James looked at Sirius incredulously. 

 

    “Jacob!” Sirius replied impatiently, as if Severus wasn’t a real option.

 

    “I dunno.” James shifted on his feet, annoyed. Only Sirius had enough influence on him to consider it. 

 

    Glad he wasn’t dismissed, Sirius continued, “He’s good at Quidditch—” James made a face, so Sirius added quickly, “—almost as good as you, and he’s in our house…” A thought occurred to him. “And he could help you be friends with Lily.”

 

    James mulled this over, and his mouth stretched into a grin. “You’re brilliant!” He checked the time. “Shit! Let’s talk about it on the way to class.”

 

    The two left the room, and Harry sat on the bed, still cloaked. He felt better. He had a shot at becoming friends, even though it may be just so James could get to Lily. At least it was an improvement from being bullied by them.

 

    The problem was, if Harry had planned to give Severus and Lily a chance, how would he deal with James?

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