Long Live (Marauders: Year One)

It's James Potter's first year at Hogwarts and he's got pretty high expectations! Good thing they're not disappointing. He's got wonderful friends, his classes are the literal bomb and Lily Evans is totally in love with him. Okay, so maybe the last one is a lie, but surely one day she'll at least pay attention to him! His friends think he's nuts. But then again, they would. That's why he loves them.
((Part one of a series depicting the life of the Marauders as they go through their lives at Hogwarts, all while the start of the first wizarding war looms nearer))

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4. Friendship

Slowly, as the days passed by, James started to get used to his new routine. He found himself knowing at the back of his mind exactly where each class was, much to the dismay of Peter- who was still struggling to remember their password. Their routine was slowly becoming familiar with him, though the mornings were still tough. Merlin, classes started at eight! Eight! James was hardly up by that time at home, let alone getting his brain to function. However, just as he was getting used to his classes, he was slowly beginning to get used to waking up at such an ungodly hour every morning. James was still praying for Saturday to arrive, though. He could sleep in for as long as he liked!

James found himself enjoying a good many of his classes, despite the massive amounts of homework he was being set by the teachers. "It's as if they expect us to have time turners or something- how on earth can we have enough time for all the work and for ourselves?" Sirius had groaned the previous night as they lounged in plush armchairs, working furiously on a Transfiguration essay that was due in the next morning. Remus, who was letting Peter copy off his notes had sighed and said something along the lines of 'helping us get introduced'. James rolled his eyes at that, the boy was definitely enjoying the work a tad too much. Still, he was glad for his friends. He could copy of Remus, chat to Sirius every time a lesson was boring and Peter… well he could just look at Peter's work if he needed to feel better about his own.

It seemed that the teachers knew that the students were just getting used to the workload, so they were pretty lenient with due dates and such. The only exception to this was Professor McGonagall, who had marched up and down the rows of students with such a purpose that James felt Peter shrink in the seat beside him and told them that she expected the same amount of resolve from them as she did her NEWT classes and that there would be no excuses. However, James wasn't scared. His mother had taught him basic Transfiguration at home and he found the subject insanely easy. By the end of the lesson he had proved this, being the first one to transfigure the willow branch he was given to one of holly. McGonagall had given him her first real smile and awarded ten house points to Gryffindor. When Lily heard this, she turned so red in the face that James was certain that she would spontaneously combust.
Sirius had given him a grin when he'd heard. His friend had been the second in class to succeed, very close behind James in fact. Despite his carefree nature, he really was a very bright boy. His only pitfall was Potions, which James realized was mostly because he was so disgusted by all the ingredients. He wouldn't have penned Sirius as such a girl. In fact, all four of them were horrendous at potions, Remus being best- not saying much at all. It was extremely agitating to watch Slughorn fawn all over Snape and Lily and their "perfect" potions. Half the time James spend in class was purely staring at them in disgust and not actually paying attention to class.

Truth was, James wasn't particularly bad at any subject. Most of the teachers didn't like him because of the sort of attitude he portrayed, especially when he was around Sirius. The caretaker (whose name had evaded James' mind)) positively loathed the boy and gave him a look of contempt to rival Lily's every time they even looked at one another in the corridors. I haven't even done anything…yet.

The highlight of the week, however, was when they arrived at their second Defence against the Dark Arts class that week- last period on Friday. Eagerly, they lined up outside the class, humming enthusiastically with chatter about the lesson.
"I heard that he's going to talk about the types of dangerous creatures there are! Jeanne in Ravenclaw told me!" the brown haired Hufflepuff who sat in front of James in class was saying to his friend.
"No way, Gabriel, that's a lie! Isn't that reserved for second year?"
Gabriel shrugged, a smile still plastered on his face as he tried to peer into the classroom.

"Nice way to end the week, don't you think?" Sirius asked, turning to James as they followed the boy's example and attempted to see into the dim light of the classroom. "I'm excited for us to spend the weekend exploring the castle, though!"
This was referring to the plan the boys had made two nights back, realizing that there must have been numerous secret passageways and hidden rooms in the castle and made it their aim to find all of them by the time the year was over. So far none had been found, but they planned to spend their weekend scavenging the grounds and school for clues and hints to one.
"Yeah, so am I! Think of all the pranking possibilities if we find one!" James kept his voice low so that the others couldn't hear. "Perfect for our little prank on Snivellus." Sirius nodded furiously.

However, they didn't have any time to complete the thought, for just at that moment the door to the classroom burst open and Professor Andre burst out, his cloak billowing behind him.
"In, please!" he called, beckoning the students to follow him into the darkened classroom. Murmuring quietly, the crowd of students slowly shuffled forwards into the classroom and sat down.
"Wands away, please." Andre said, smiling as he took in the low groaning that filled the classroom. "Not to worry, we'll have another practical lesson soon. Today will be more of an informing lesson than most, but there is plenty of interesting stuff to be learnt! Usually the syllabus for first year follows an introduction to the subject, but I think that you at least need to be aware of the types of "Dark" creatures that exist. Can anyone give me an example?"
Lily's hand shot up into the air. "Giants?"
Andre frowned. "I'm not sure Giants classify as a "Dark" creature, but I can see where you're coming from- they are very dangerous. We'll cover them in more depth later on this year. Now, can anyone tell me the name of the Giants' distant, rather ugly, cousin? I'll give you a hint, they're much more common- yes, Mr Wilson?"
"Trolls?"
"Yes, trolls. Very good. Now-"
James missed what Andre said next, as just at that moment Sirius had leaned in. "Or Snape, depending how you look at it."
James snorted loudly. A few heads turned to look at him, including Professor Andre, who gave him a sharp look, despite the twinkling of his dark blue eyes.
"Ah, Mr Potter, as you find this lesson so interesting, tell us the name of another dangerous creature?"
James shot an irritated look at Sirius, who was silently laughing behind his textbook. "Uhh, vampires?"
There was a long pause before Andre spoke again, clapping his hands together.
"Yes, good! Vampires do, in fact, classify as a "Dark creature", despite them being more humanoid than beastly. However, the tendencies that they have do link them to more of a dark creature than most, as they do have motive to harm wizards and witches like us. Of course, this is a generalization, not all of them are like this. Can anyone else tell me a similar creature that is classified in the same was as a vampire?"
"A werewolf!" someone called out. Andre narrowed his eyes, trying to find the source but eventually failing. Unhappily, he sighed.
"Yes, a werewolf. Now what is interesting about-" James was not paying attention to him, instead turning his head to his left to look at Remus, who had suddenly gone very pale. He looked very sick, as if he was going to throw up and James nearly asked if he wanted to go up to the Hospital Wing- but he didn't want to interrupt class again. Instead he gave his friend a concerned look and turned back, tuning into what Andre was saying.
"-cast in wizarding society. So, now what I want you to do is turn to page 89 in your textbooks and…"

Soon the lesson was over and James felt a warm wave of exhilaration pass through him. He'd survived the week! Sure, he had a mile of homework to do and a feud with Snape that wasn't going away, but he was content! The week was over!
Turning to his friends to speak, he opened his mouth but was nearly knocked over by Remus, who barrelled past him, murmuring something about not feeling well and dashing into the nearest restroom. Exchanging a concerned glance with Sirius and Peter, they stayed back outside- waiting for a good ten minutes before realizing that the boy wasn't coming out soon. Shrugging, slightly worried, James began to make his way to the Common Room.

They only saw the boy again at dinner, where he sat in their usual spot at the edge of the Gryffindor table. As they approached, he smiled at them- as if acting like nothing had happened. Taking his cue from this, James flopped into the seat across from him and began heaving sausages and mashed potatoes onto his plate, talking rapidly as he did.
"So, I was thinking that we could go and explore around tomorrow?" he said. Peter nodded his agreement at the prospect enthusiastically, matching the speed at which James was eating.
"Sounds good to me. My uncle said there's lots of hidden passageways in the school, if you know where they are."
James frowned. "I didn't know you had an uncle that went here, Peter. Aren't you muggleborn?"
Peter shook his head. "No, I'm half-blood, my mother went to school here a while ago. My whole family's been in Hufflepuff, so I can't wait to hear their reaction when they find out I'm in Gryffindor."
Sirius sighed, looking downcast but didn't say anything. James, realizing that the talk of family reaction wasn't a good topic for his friend, hesitantly began to talk about something else.
"Well, both of my parents were in Gryffindor, so I wasn't surprised. Of course, this house is just about as full of amazing people, just like me." He glanced at Lily. "Her, on the other hand."
Sirius frowned. "I was meaning to say, I heard Lily sneak outside last night, past lights out. Wonder what she's doing out there."
James grinned wickedly. "We should follow her and find out."
"With your cloak? Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"I'll be fine, don't worry! Plus, I'm sure it'll be hilarious when we give her a proper fright, huh?"

They spent the whole of dinner time talking enthusiastically about their plans for the next day and what to do when they caught Lily sneaking out, making sure to talk in low voices so that the girl wouldn't have any suspicion of them plotting against her. In fact, they were still chatting about their plans avidly as lights out neared, all of them lying in their respective beds and joking in low voices to one another about the ideas they could come up with.

"Are any of you planning to stay for Christmas?" James asked, after a long pause where he was sure Peter had fallen asleep.

Sirius let out a deep sigh. "Me, probably. Once my parents find out I'm in Gryffindor I'll probably be disowned anyways. Not like I care." James could tell that this was an obvious lie and that the boy was really quite worried about what his family thought, even if he didn't agree with them.
"S'okay Sirius, we can be your new family." James joked, surprised at how much the boy's eyes lit up at the prospect.
"Yeah!" Remus agreed. "I've always wanted a brother!"
"Same." James said, frowning as he realised something. "Hey, we're all only children here, right?"
The others nodded. "What do you mean?" Peter asked.

James paused. "Well, maybe we could form like some sort of club? Since none of us have brothers, we can be one another's brothers…" there was a silence. "If that's okay?"
When Sirius' voice came, it was heavy with emotion. "I'd like that." He sounded as if he was smiling, and James let out a sigh of relief.

It was a long time before the group quit talking, laughing about all the plans they had for the future, ideas and pranks, plans on how to get James and Lily together. Soon enough, light snoring filled the room and James rolled over, closing his eyes.
It was true, what he said. Though he'd only known these boys for a short time, he already felt like they were his own kin, caring for them as if they truly were. He knew he would do anything for these boys, and he knew they'd do the same.

Goodnight, whatever we are, James thought. We should find a name for us. A real name, something to call ourselves. Something to make us special.

And with that thought in his head, James smiled and fell asleep.

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