The Sugar Quill
Author: Katie Black  Story: Except the Past  Chapter: Chapter One: The People in the Pictures
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Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter belongs to J

Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter belongs to J.K Rowling. I do not own anything except for the plot and new minor characters. Such as Cassy and Melody. Special thanks to iviolinist (Liz) who helped me along the way. I owe you more than I can ever repay.  I also have to thank Yolanda who went through this again for the Quill. Thank you.


“Except the Past”

Chapter One: The People in the Pictures


The day was crisp. A cool breeze went through the castle’s many corridors and an eerie quietness could be heard throughout the whole of Hogwarts as Nearly Headless Nick sat, or rather floated, in the Hogwarts Archives room. Just yesterday James and Lily Potter had been killed by Lord Voldermort, the greatest adversary the wizarding world had ever faced. The depravity he had inflicted upon the world would not easily be washed away by sad tears or the sweat from members of the Ministry working in front of their desks, but by time alone. While most of the wizarding world was out celebrating Voldemort's downfall, despite the gravity that had just befallen the Potter family, Nick sat in the banal archive room looking through old photographs of the Gryffindor Alumni.


The first photo he picked up was of Lily in her first year. She had been a short girl of just 1.4986 meters (4 ft. 11 in.), her smooth, blood red hair going down to the middle of her back and curling at the end. Her eyes were much too large for her; they seemed to occupy her entire head. Nick gave a little laugh, James used to call her the green-eyed monster and by Merlin, had it fit her then. The picture blinked and it was amazing how big those eyes really were and how bright! Her teeth, while perfect in size, were a little crooked, but she smiled a full smile, her checks blushing around the sides. Lily had been thin, even for an eleven-year-old; her small Gryffindor robes seemed to devour her, going onto the ground and almost to the middle of her hands. Slung over her shoulder was a huge bag, filled to the brim with books, and a quill was stuck behind her ear. Lily was one of the smartest witches in Hogwarts, the only one as a matter of fact, who Professor McGonagall was known to extol.


The next few pictures were mostly group shots, but the picture that caught Nick’s eyes was a picture of the Marauders from their fifth year, taken at the Quidditch pitch. The year after James had changed positions from Chaser to Seeker. There, Nick could clearly see Remus Lupin, the announcer, Peter Pettigrew, who at the moment was jumping up and down, Sirius Black, and James Potter. How could this Sirius Black ever betray James Potter, Nick thought. He remembered them well, always pulling pranks, but the best of friends. Now Sirius had betrayed James and Lily. The same Sirius who had been a happy, lighthearted boy recklessly roaming the castle was now a traitor.


In the middle of the photo, covered in dirt and mud, his glasses askew, stood James Potter. A Shooting Star was slung over his shoulder and in his other hand was the tiny golden Snitch, its wings still fluttering. A huge grin was plastered across James’ face and his brown eyes, which most of the girls referred to as "chocolate", were twinkling. His black hair, while caked with mud, was poking up in the back and was incredibly messy. James had the build of a true Quidditch player; he was tall, at least 1.7526 meters (5 ft. 9 in.), and appeared lanky, but he was truly built of pure muscle. If you looked close enough, you could see a scar in the middle of his hand, between the thumb and index finger. During September of that year something had happened. James had been badly scarred on his hands and arms but no one knew why and no one really wanted to ask. This picture was taken when James had become what most people knew him as: the gorgeous guy who was chased by nearly every girl within fifty miles, Muggle or witch. No one seemed to remember the small boy who wouldn’t go near a broom if his life depended on it.


The next twenty pictures were other Gryffindor pictures from balls and a few of the Slytherins in odd clothing combinations, their hair flashing in bright pink shades-one was even colored green for Christmas.


The last photo Nick came across was the one he was looking for; it was of the Marauders and their girlfriends: Arabella Figg, Lily Evans, Cassy Clearwater, and Melody Jockins. This picture was on the Hogwarts grounds in front of the lake, three days before they left school, and their old lives behind. They were all on a huge, checkered picnic blanket. Arabella was leaning against Sirius’ ; chest as he ran a hand slowly through her long black hair,  his blue eyes were not mischievous, but content.


Next to Sirius and Arabella sat Peter and Melody. They were a chubby couple, but they looked cute together and seemed right for each other. Nick remembered how crushed Peter was when Melody had been killed only two months after leaving school. Melody had been working for the Order and had been killed on a mission.. Peter hadn’t grieved then, he hadn’t wept, but he had vowed to get revenge for it.


                Remus Lupin was next, his girlfriend Cassy curled up in his lap. Nick gave out a sigh. Poor Remus, he thought. Cassy had been killed along with Melody; now Lily and James were gone as well. Sirius was dead as well in a way. Once the Ministry found him he was going straight to Azkaban, a tomb in its own right.


Then came Lily and James. They had started dating at the end of fifth year, much to the disappointment of the female population and many of the males, since Lily had blossomed like the flower she was named after. She had begun to fill out at the beginning of fifth year and was no longer a twig, but a well-proportioned woman with, as Sirius had one day put it, "more curves than there are goblins in Gringotts." Lily’s hair was longer than in her first  year; in fact, it trailed down to her waist when she let it, but now it was pulled back in a loose bun, stray pieces framing her face. Her face had also thinned out a bit and gotten a tad longer so now you could see her high cheekbones and her eyes fit perfectly into her head, like two jewels in a ring setting.


Now She was smiling, not a huge toothy grin like her earlier picture, but  a small content smile. The photographic Lily laughed, and you could see that her teeth were now perfectly straight. She began to read a book called Fairytales to James, as she leaned her head back onto his chest.  James had not changed drastically since  fifth year; in fact, he was almost the same. He still had the body of an athlete; if anything, it was more finely toned. He no longer looked lanky but muscular, even through his robes. The scars on his hands now appeared just as wrinkles and his face showed a new awareness, a knowledge that had escaped him in his fifth year.


During the summer between James’ sixth and seventh years year his family had been tracked down and killed one by one at the wand of none other than Voldermort. James remembered those times and knew they would never really come to an end until Voldermort was dead. He had even thought of breaking up with Lily to save her from an early grave, but she would have none of it. As far as she was concerned, their love was stronger than any Unforgivable Curse and he wasn’t getting rid of her that easily. He had felt both a dread and a feeling of relief at these words.


In the picture, James pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose. His eyes, while still chocolate brown, were pools of worry. His black hair, messy all around, fell into disarray around his face and a look of concentration was set in his stature. James was a man not ready for the future, but still accepting it. His gaze lingered on Lily before taking a glance at the couples around him. His arms wrapped around Lily tighter and his Adam’s apple bobbed up for a second.


Nick watched as James and Lily rocked back and forth on the blanket. Lily and James were gone, Peter was gone, and Sirius was responsible. Pearly tears fell from Nick’s face and slipped through the stone floor as he floated up to the owlery to send this photo to Remus Lupin. The poor man had nothing left except the past.



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