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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1. The Train Ride

When James Potter stepped onto Platform 9 and ¾, it was like the sun had risen twice that day. For there was this light, this bright glowing light that had reflected off the shiny black surface of the train and into his dark-rimmed glasses, causing them to flare up and for this brilliant golden light to cover his hazel eyes. Though it was rather cliché, and very uncharacteristic of him, he couldn't help but have a thought. This must be a good omen.

Of course, the light passed in an instant and he blinked a few times to get his eyes to adjust. He was practically familiar with the station, having pleaded with his father on various occasions to describe the platform in excruciating detail. In fact, he had pleaded with his father to tell stories of everything at Hogwarts in excruciating detail- especially in the past year, where the wait had become unbearable. James had wanted to know everything about the school; the sort of food that was cooked, where he was to sit on the train, which order the house tables were placed in. "He won't be able to enjoy it for himself" his mother had teased one rainy afternoon a few months before, as the three sat around their kitchen table, drinking hot chocolate and talking about which house he was to placed in. James couldn't help it, however. He was just dying to get to Hogwarts.

And there he was, standing on the platform, just a few minutes away from his first train ride. He could hardly believe it himself, the giddy feeling hadn't quite worn off yet and his eyes were round with aw. In a few moments, he would step onto the train and set off towards Hogwarts. Today, he was going to make friends he may keep for the next seven years. Today, he was going to be able to laugh himself silly, to walk the corridors of Hogwarts, to look up at the ceiling of the Great Hall. Tonight, tonight, he was to be sorted.

Wow.

"Almost exactly how I remember it." a voice came from James' left side, his father, who had joined him on the platform. He smiled warmly at his son, his green eyes twinkling as he took in the awe on the boy's face. His mother stood by his other side, her brown hair tucked into a neat bun.

"Oh James, fix your hair!" she scolded, though it was obvious her heart wasn't into it. Like her husband, she was gazing fondly at her son. James hardly heard her, he was too busy taking it all in.

"Come here." she sighed, bending down to try to flatten his bird's nest of a head- to no avail. "You want to look good in front of your teachers, don't you?" Mrs Potter smiled. James rolled his eyes at her comment, as if it was obvious that that wasn't going to happen.

"Why should I give them false hope?" he gave them a gap-toothed grin. Mrs Potter simply sighed and went back to fixing his hair. Mr Potter, however, leaned down and gave James a stern gaze.

"Promise me you won't get into too much trouble, James?" he said. "I don't want to have to send a Howler."

James rolled his eyes once again. "I'm not sure I can keep that promise, but I'll try." he smiled mischievously. "I can't believe it!" he added, looking out at the scene around him. Students milled around, chattering about their summers, saying goodbyes to their parents and promising to keep in touch. That reminded James…

"You'll send Calliope, right?" he asked, mentioning the family owl. James was only to have a pet when he proved he was responsible enough to take care of one, his parents weren't really too sure about that one yet. However, Mr and Mrs Potter had agreed to let James take joint ownership of their owl, Calliope, a small, sleek, grey thing. As much as he didn't like to admit it, James was rather fond of the she-owl and his parents knew that she would be the only way to force him to stay in constant touch.

"Yes, with a letter and everything. You must keep in touch, James." His mother stopped trying at her pointless task of combing his hair. Just at that moment, a horn sounded, signalling for all students to board the train. They were leaving.

"Be good! Don't you go getting into any trouble, you – oh and don't forget to say hello to Harriett's son! I'm so proud of you James!" his mother called after him as he hopped onto the train and peered out one of the windows. She and his father stood at the end of the platform, smiling and furiously waving as the train began to move. Slowly but steadily it began to pick up speed, rushing forwards until the platform and his parents were merely pinpricks into the distance.

This was it. He was going to Hogwarts.

Safely away from his parents, James ran his fingers through his hair, causing the already scruffy black hair to appear even more so. He didn't have his bags anymore, his father had hauled it off to wherever the luggage went, so he was empty handed as he wandered down the train- staring at the students in compartments as he went. A gaggle of third year Hufflepuff girls giggled loudly as he passed them, and a couple prefects smiled at him warmly. For a split second he felt a little lonely, perhaps a little lost. However, it passed almost as soon as it came. Don't be stupid, James, he thought, you'll make friends soon enough, surely.

Eventually, having made his way down at least half a carriage, he sat down in an empty compartment. Outside the window, countryside was passing by at an incredible speed- fields of corn and rolling hills sparkling under the slightly overcast September sky. A warmth filled James as he gazed outside, a bubbling excitement at the years to come. This was it. The start of his adventure.

"Hey." a voice came from James' left and he snapped around to glance at whoever it was who made the noise. A boy stood in the doorway to his compartment, a tall boy with a head of dark, curly hair. He had a youthful and handsome face, olive skin and piercing grey eyes. There was something about him the James quite liked, and he smiled at he met the boy's eyes. "You don't mind if I join you, right?" he asked. He had a strange voice, as if he was brought up to speak in a posh accent, yet was trying to hide it. However, his smile was warm and fully and James nodded right away.

"Of course!" he said, nodding at the empty seat across from him which the boy gratefully took. "I'm James Potter, by the way." James held out his hand.

"Sirius Black." the boy smiled back at him and shook James' outstretched hand. James felt his smile fade a little. The Black family -probably the one this boy was from- was notorious for being one of the many pure-blooded families who believed in everyone being underneath their aristocracy. Almost every member had been a Slytherin, and James wasn't sure how to feel about that. Both his parents were Gryffindors and he was aiming to be in the house as well.
However, there was something about this boy that struck James as different. He wasn't sure what it was and he couldn't put his finger on it. All he knew was that he liked him and that he had a feeling that they were going to get along. And that was all that mattered to James.

"Nice." he smiled and leaned back in his seat, taking a quick glance out the window. A shadow fell across their compartment as Sirius plopped into the seat across from him.

"Are you excited?" he asked, the look on the other boy's face giving away the answer before he even spoke.
"Obviously." He snorted. "Though not enough to actually read the textbooks?" Sirius pulled a face and leaned in. "Did you know I saw this boy on the platform, first year- I think, with our History of Magic textbook already open. At least save it for the train!"

James snorted. "Really? At least read something interesting. According to my dad, History of Magic is the worst." Sirius' face fell slightly at the mention of a family member (yeah, there was definately something going on there...) , so he quickly changed the subject. "What subject are you looking forwards to?"

"Defence against the Dart Arts!" Sirius looked up. "Won't it just be so cool to learn about all those spells and creatures?"
James nodded, agreeing with the boy. "I really want to start with Charms. Can't wait until we learn all those hexes. I am going to have a field day with pranking here."
Sirius grinned widely at him, eyes shining brightly at the mention of pranking. "Don't tell me you're into pranking as well?" he asked, voice high with excitement.
"Only the best!" James said confidently, doing a little shimmy in his seat. "Just wait until I tell you what I did to my aunt last month."
"Oh man, we are so going to get along."

And so the pair fell into easy conversation, laughing loudly and exchanging stories and troublemaking ideas. If a teacher was to walk past their compartment at the time, they would've had a heart attack at all the devilish schemes the two were already coming up with- they hadn't even reached the castle yet! Eventually, however, their conversation was interrupted.

The perpetrator in question was a girl, another first year by the looks of it. She was really quite pretty, with dark red hair that bordered on brown and bright green eyes. However, she didn't look very happy, completely ignoring the pair as she slid along the seats to the corner by the window and crossed her arms over her chest. Her eyes were slightly red and she was sniffing slightly. It was obvious that she'd been crying.

James and Sirius exchanged glances, each glancing at the girl in turn. She completely ignored the pair, entirely absorbed in the scenery that passed outside. A cloud had covered the sun and the sky was slightly overcast.
Shrugging, Sirius turned back to James and began to reanimate their conversation. They passed through a plethora of topics, from favourite Quidditch teams to which flavour of Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Beans they found the most disgusting. With every topic that they reached, even the most boring ones, it seemed Sirius and James could find something stupid to laugh about. At one moment when their conversation had reached a comfortable silence, a voice could be heard from their compartment- high pitched and drawling.
"-You'd better be in Slytherin."
At the mention of the house, both James and Sirius looked up. A boy stood there, thin and bat-like, with greasy black hair and a pale face. He was talking to the girl, who had on a half forced smile.

"Slytherin?" James asked incredulously, giving a look of distaste at the boy. His father had told him all about Slytherins, sly, greedy little things that were really quite awful people. If this boy was a Slytherin then James didn't want to talk to him.

"Who'd want to be in Slytherin? I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?" James asked, glancing at Sirius who, surprisingly, wasn't smiling.
"My whole family have been in Slytherin." he said, sounding slightly ashamed.
"Blimey," James tried to give Sirius a friendly grin to show that he wasn't mad or anything. That boy was anything but a Slytherin. "And I thought you seemed alright!"

Sirius smiled, finally. "Maybe I'll break the tradition." he sounded hopeful. "Where are you heading, if you've got the choice?"

James beamed widely and held up his hands as if he was carrying an invisible sword. "'Gryffindor, where the brave dwell at heart. Like my dad."
The other boy gave some sort of a snort, a mix between disgust and mocking. James and Sirius exchanged glances at that, knowing exactly what the other was thinking. Sirius smirked.
"Got a problem with that?" James asked. The boy shook his head, but the look on his face said otherwise.
"If you'd rather be brawny than brainy –"
"Where are you going, seeing as you're neither?" interjected Sirius. James guffawed and gave him a high five. The girl, who hadn't said anything yet, stood up quite suddenly.
"Come on Severus, let's go find another compartment." she sighed, giving a look of disgust at the two, causing them to laugh harder.
"Oooo" Sirius imitated her voice as they walked past, James trying to trip Severus as he did. "See ya, Snivellus!" he called as the door slammed shut.
"Good one!" James snorted as they were left alone again.

Sirius grinned back at him, his eyes falling away from the pair and meeting James' hazel ones. He had such an exhilarated expression on his face, as if he was sure that he'd never laugh that hard again and he was trying to savour the moment. Feeling a shock of pity for him, James sat up a little straighter. Usually he didn't enjoy being serious, but he really liked Sirius. I can be serious for Sirius, he thought, mentally snorting at the pun.
"I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to teach me all of your comebacks." James said casually, leaning back in his seat and watching Sirius carefully. The boy looked up, as if realising that James had noticed. Then a wide grin overtook his face, making him look all the more handsome and carefree.
"I'm sure I-"
"Excuse me?"

Another voice intruded their conversation, though this time it was neither Severus nor the girl. Instead, another boy stood there- a first year by the look of him. He must have just changed, having donned his Hogwarts robes and he had a slightly shabby look about him, long and slightly messy hair that covered his eyes.
James and Sirius looked up, pausing in the middle of their conversation to take in the boy. He halted for a second, as if uncomfortable under their scrutinizing gazes.

"I went to get changed and this couple were sitting in my compartment. They weren't exactly the nicest and all, so I was wondering if I could join you?" asked the boy, eyes flickering between the two. James nodded furiously and scooted over to make room for the boy, who sat down graciously.
"My name's Remus, by the way." he said, holding out his hand to James and then in turn to Sirius, who both shook it.
"I'm Sirius, and that's James." Sirius said, nodding towards to James, who leaned in to look Remus in the eyes.
"Were the couple consisting of a greasy looking boy and a girl with red hair?" he asked. Remus frowned and nodded. "You know them?"
James nodded. "We just had a little encounter of our own with them." he flashed a grin at Sirius. "He's not a particularly nice bloke- we should get him when we get to Hogwarts."
"Get him?" Remus echoed. "What does that mean?"

Sirius beamed positively manically. "You've just entered the compartment of the pranking masters. Tread carefully, Remus." The boy seemed to realize it was a joke and he smiled, settling down a little bit.
"You're going to plan him? Are you sure that's a good idea, you might get into trouble."
"Only if we get caught." James lowered his voice. "I've stolen my dad's invisibility cloak from his room. Might as well put it to good use."
"Woah." Sirius said, his eyes wide. "You've got a cloak?" James nodded.
"Just for opportunities like this." he smiled. "Guess I've got some sort of future sight. OOOooh." He wobbled his fingers in mock creepiness.

"I'm sure." Remus said sarcastically and suddenly James liked him a lot better. After a few more minutes of easy conversation, where James realized that Remus also was aiming for Gryffindor and that both he and Sirius had family working in the ministry, the pair bid the shorter boy farewell and went hunting for bathrooms to change their clothes in. As they made their way down the hall they continued to converse, laughing so loudly that a few sixth year Ravenclaws had to tell them to be quiet.

They were making their way back to the compartment when they heard a slight commotion coming from down the hall. Peering their heads around the corner, James and Sirius could see a fairly short boy, blonde and wide eyed. Standing above him were a bunch of older students, fifth year by the looks of it. At the forefront of them was a tall boy with pale blonde hair, almost white. He had an angular and his emerald green robes gave his house away.

"That's Lucius Malfoy." Sirius breathed. James didn't question how he knew, he was too busy staring intently at the events that were being unfolded.
"…is our compartment now." aaid the boy, Lucius, apparently. The boys that stood around him, his cronies perhaps, laughed loudly. Lucius gave the short boy a look of contempt before swinging the door shut.

"Hey!" James called out and ran forwards, but it was too late.
"Bad idea." Sirius murmured, following him. "That boy was a prefect."
"What was he going to do, take away house points?" James asked sarcastically. "That pompous, stupid little-"
"Are you sure you're not talking about yourself?"

James whirled around to find himself face to face with the redheaded girl from earlier. She still had a scowl on her face and she gave him a look of pure hatred. At first James was tempted to say something, but she'd already cut him off.
"I don't appreciate what you said to Sev," she began and James knew he was going to be lectured. "If all the students in this school are as pig-headed, insufferable-"
"That's James to you." he smirked.
She looked at him coldly, staring at his outstretched hand as if it was some sort of disease. She opened her mouth to say something but apparently decided against it, whirling around and marching away, red hair spilling over her shoulders. James grinned.
"I like her."
Sirius snorted and whacked him over the head. "You're nuts, mate."

"Thanks." A voice said and the pair turned their heads to look at the blonde boy, who had stood up off the floor. James had forgotten all about him in the action and suddenly feeling bad, grinned at the boy.
"No problems. I'm James by the way, and this is Sirius." He said. The boy smiled back, eyes shining at having been noticed by the pair.
"I'm Peter." He was beaming now and James couldn't help but follow his example. There was something about his smile that was contagious and soon they were all laughing about the girl and what had just happened.
"She's crazy." Peter said when James had finished the story, looking back at the direction she had come from. "Why's she friends with him in the first place?"
"Good question." Sirius said, staring to make his way back. "We should head back, coming Peter? You can help up plan, we need to add that girl to our prank."

Peter happily agreed and soon they were back in the compartment. Remus was still in there, leaning against the wall with his mouth open, having dozed off.
"Watch this." Sirius mouthed, tiptoeing to the sleeping boy.
"BOO!"
"ARGH!" Remus yelped, jumping up. The other three fell into hysterical laugher and despite himself Remus started to laugh as well. After filling in the other boy on what had happened they began to talk about the possible pranks they could pull.

"We should get them together." Sirius announced, once they had decided that they were indeed pulling a prank. The other three nodded their consent, but Remus spoke up.
"Though we should wait a bit before we do it, a week or two. Just so we get used to the workload, you know?" he said.
"Great, Remus, you can be our manager." James laughed.
"If he's the manager, then I'm our mascot." Sirius joked, clawing out his hands. "Rawr!"
"You're not a tiger, you're more like a dog." Peter piped up. Sirius laughed and rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and you're a mouse, Peter!"

This then lead to a conversation about which animals they'd be, which in turn lead to a conversation about patronuses and then to lessons and teachers. The boys were so deeply engrossed in conversation that they hardly realized when soft rain began pattering at the window, nor did they notice when the light outside dimmed down as night fell outside. In fact, the only time they noticed anything was when the train came to a full halt and the excited yelps of students outside their compartment came closer.
"We're here!" James was the first to notice it, leaping out of his seat in excitement and promptly banging his head on the overhead rack. The other three burst into hysterical laughter, cut short by the view of the red headed girl and her slimy companion, both giving them the most disgusted look. Of course, their silence was only for a second for they remember their pranking plan and began to laugh again, much louder.

Eventually the four had made it out of the train. James took a sharp inhale in, taking in the fresh air and the scent of rain. In the distance someone was calling for the first years. Around him milled students all in their uniforms, chattering animatedly and in the distance James could see lanterns, though his glasses were becoming splattered with water rather quickly.
"Come on, James!" called Sirius, who was a few feet ahead of him now. James peered up at the three new friends who were impatiently waiting for him by a giant of a man who was calling for first years. Peter, looking around him in awe, Remus, who was engaged in avid conversation with the tall man about the school, and Sirius, who gave him the biggest smile James had ever seen.
These were his friends. This was his school.

God, this year was going to be fun.

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