The Sugar Quill
Author: Jo Wickaninnish  Story: The Marauders: Year One  Chapter: Chapter Two: Turnips
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The following morning it was pouring rain

The following morning it was pouring rain. Peter drew back the curtains on his four poster bed and looked around. Next to him was the bed that James had tumbled into the night before; it now had all the curtains tied back. The bed had the comforter drawn back over it but Peter could tell from all the lumps that the sheets were probably still in disarray and the pillows were just tossed towards the headboard. James’s chest lay at the foot of his bed and on top of it were several textbooks and what appeared to be an empty messenger bag. However, James was nowhere to be seen. Peter looked at the bed next to James’s and found it in a complete state of disarray; the curtains were tied back but the comforter, pillows and sheets were in shambles, there was a foot locker at the base of the bed and robes, ties and books oozed from it and spilled out onto the bed. Although Peter hadn’t seen where Sirius had wound up last night, he was pretty sure that that was his bed. He couldn’t be sure though, as Sirius wasn’t in bed either. A second later he heard noise coming from the small bathroom the five boys would share.

“Potter, if you don’t give me that hairbrush right now… like you could even do anything with that ratty head of yours.”

“Sirius, if you don’t leave me alone, I swear, I’ll drop your toothbrush in the toilet.”

“Give me my hairbrush.”

“It’s going, I’ll even flush too.”

“Don’t you dare James!” Peter chuckled to himself and his eyes widened a bit when he heard a flush followed by a fit of laughter. From across the room he saw a pair of hands fumbling with the curtains around the bed. A bedraggled reddish brown haired boy was trying to tie them back. Peter stood up, walked over and helped him.

“Thanks. Can’t quite think straight in the morning,” the boy muttered to him. “I’m Frank Longbottom. Do you know who those two gits making all the noise are?” The boy was swinging his legs out of bed as he said this.

“I’m Peter Pettigrew. James Potter and Sirius Black are the gits I think you’re referring to.” Peter walked to the other side of the bed to help Frank straighten out the sheets and comforter. After this brief exchange, Frank began to root around in his trunk for his clothing and Peter crossed back to his side of the room and made his bed, rather lumpily and the comforter was crooked… but it was made. He sat down in the middle of the bed, figuring it best to wait until Sirius and James finished in the bathroom, rather than risking his own toothbrush receiving an unwelcome bath. He looked over to the fifth bed in the room, the one to his left. Its occupant was apparently still asleep and for the life of him, Peter could not remember the boy’s name. James came out of the bathroom still chuckling a minute later and, not looking where he was going, smashed into Frank.

“Oh, hello. I’m James. Nice to meet you.” He stuck his hand out and Frank, still looking extremely disheveled and slightly confused, muttered something along the lines of “Frank Longbottom, nice to meet you” and shuffled off to the bathroom, bumping into the doorframe on his way in.

James ran his hand through his hair, “Hmm, clearly not a morning person. Hey, Pete!” He jumped onto Peter’s bed. “Ready for classes today? I can’t wait. We get to take classes in Transfiguration. I hear it’s really hard, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do it. Mr. Ollivander told me my wand was especially good for it when he sold it to me.” Peter just stared back blankly; while he wasn’t necessarily not a morning person, he’d never met someone with so much energy right away before. A second later Sirius came flying out of the bathroom.

“Not much of a morning one, is he?” Sirius said with a gesture towards the bathroom door. Just as Peter had thought he would, Sirius dropped a towel into the already chaotic area near his bed.

“I’m not so sure Pete is either,” James said as he smirked and got off Peter’s bed to go sit by his own and rummage through the schoolbooks sitting at the end.

“Well, alright then, so it’s me and you and Pete here and then there’s Frank… who’s the other person we’re stuck with for the next seven years?” James asked, looking over at the bed with the closed curtains.

“Hmmmm,” said Sirius tapping his chin, “Shall we wake him up? I mean, it’d be a shame if he slept through breakfast…” He had a certain glint in his eye.

“Oh yes, such a shame. Care to be an aide, Pete?” James said as the two began to advance on the bed with the closed curtains.

“Oh no, leave me out of this,” Peter said, he then quickly gathered up a towel, toothbrush and hairbrush and made a beeline for the bathroom.

“On the count of three then, Sirius?” James asked. Sirius nodded. James cocked his head. “Three.” The two sprang through the curtains yelling “Wake up, wake up, sleepyhead!” “Time to get up!” and various other nonsensical phrases. All of a sudden there was a loud growl that even caused Peter and Frank to look up from the sinks in the bathroom.

“Just so you know,” Sirius popped his head into the bathroom, “dorm mate number five is clearly not a morning person.”

A few minutes later the four boys left their dorm to head down to the Great Hall, figuring that their fifth roommate would prefer to have a bit of a lie in.

A few minutes after the last footsteps retreated down the steps, the curtains to the fifth bed parted and a small brown haired boy crawled forward on his knees to tie back the front ones. He was in a particularly bad mood since two of his new roommates had just attacked him out of a dead sleep. He looked around and saw that the room was deserted. Climbing out of bed, he reached over to his trunk marked “Remus Lupin” and grabbed his robes and uniform and wandered into the bathroom. It wasn’t big. There were two toilet stalls, two shower stalls and three sinks, but it still would work for five of them. For the first time the boy smiled; he was a part of something. He dressed quickly and thought about heading downstairs. He realized that he should apologize to the two boys who jumped him and warn them that he was definitely not a morning person.

Remus neatly made his bed and closed his trunk. Then he walked out to the stairs, closed the door and descended into the common room. A few people were sitting around, but he made his way over to the portrait hole. He could see the girl who’d been muttering about battling a werewolf the previous evening talking to two other girls as they made their way to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the girls’ dormitories. The memory amused him. He climbed through the portrait hole and looked around, realizing he wasn’t entirely sure how to get to the Great Hall. He started off down the hallway and made a left at the fork. A few feet later he realized he’d found the library, but that was of no use to him at the moment. He turned and nearly ran into a girl who was wearing a Ravenclaw uniform.

“Do you know where the Great Hall is?” he asked.

She shook her head, “I’m looking for it too. I have no idea how I wound up here. I must’ve walked past it at some point. We can look together if you want?” She looked over to him.

“Sure. My name’s Remus Lupin,” he said and looked over at her, starting off down the hallway.

“I’m Trixie McGonagall.”

“Like the professor?” he asked.

She smiled. “That’s my Aunt Minnie. Except I have to call her Professor McGonagall while we’re here. Are you in Gryffindor? Well, I suppose that’s a stupid question, I mean you are wearing Gryffindor robes.”

“Yea,” he answered. All this talking so early in the morning was getting to him, but he couldn’t exactly ditch her until they got to the Great Hall. “You’re a Ravenclaw?”

“Yup, my aunt is the Gryffindor Head of House, so I was hoping to be a Gryffindor, but Ravenclaw is good too. I heard you have to be pretty smart to get put there. My house won the House Cup for the last three years, but the Gryffindors beat us for the Quidditch Cup last year. Anyway, that’s what one of the third years told me at the feast last night. Do you play Quidditch? What’s your favorite team? I want to be a Chaser someday on the house team, I hope anyway.”

Remus had no idea how to respond. He’d lost track of which question was which five questions ago and had very little interest in Quidditch. Fortunately, at that moment, the two of them rounded a corner and the Great Hall came into view. “Great, we found it, well… I’ll see you later, Trixie.” With that he ran off to go find a seat at his table.

He looked around and spotted one of the boys who’d jumped on his bed, the one with the messy hair. He was sitting with two others, a boy with blond hair, whom Remus thought was named Peter, but wasn’t entirely sure and another boy whose name escaped Remus entirely. He glanced around for Frank, whom he had sat with at the feast last night, but saw him sitting with his sister and some of her friends, and while Remus would’ve rather sat there, he went over to apologize for snapping, or had it been growling, he couldn’t even remember anymore, at James and the other boy.

“Hi, can I sit with you guys?” The three faces peered up at him.

The blond one responded immediately, “Of course.” He moved over a bit to give Remus some more room.

Remus looked up. “Sorry for growling at you this morning. I’m really not much of a morning person. My mother says she’d rather wake up a rabid dog while covered in dog food than me.”

Sirius looked up from the porridge he was eating, “I can sympathize with her.” He and James smiled and held out their hands. “Sirius Black.”

“James Potter.”

Remus shook both their hands. “Remus Lupin.”

Peter turned to look at him, “Peter Pettigrew, but my hands are covered in jam so I think it’s best to stick with nice meeting you.”

Remus laughed, “Nice meeting you.” He pulled over a piece of toast to butter while Peter wiped his hands on his napkin trying to get all the jam off. A few pieces of paper came their way and James grabbed them.

“Schedules. Niiice. Here Pete… Sirius… and Remus.” He handed them their schedules, took his own and passed the pile to the girl next him. “Yes! Double Transfiguration right after breakfast! I can’t wait.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “There is definitely something wrong with you, my friend, definitely.”

Remus looked at his schedule. “Potions this afternoon, I always though that would be a fun class.”

Sirius and James both made faces. “Yea, it might be a fun class if they didn’t have the spawn of all evil teaching it. Professor Nackle is head of Slytherin House. He totally favors his own students and hates Gryffindors,” James said.

Remus and Peter both made faces. “Great,” muttered Peter, glancing down at his schedule. “At least the rest of the day is free after that… well, I guess if we want to be on time, we should get going.”

“Professor McGonagall teaches that, doesn’t she?” asked Remus. James nodded. “I heard she’s a bit strict. I met her niece on my way down here today.” At the mention of a girl, Sirius’s head perked up.

“Her niece goes here, eh? Is she cute?” he asked.

“She wasn’t ugly,” Remus answered without much thought.

“Bloody hell…” James shook his head, grabbed his bag of book and started towards the door.

“Whatta ya mean, bloody hell? I mean, Remmy here could be getting pally with a real babe. It’s necessary to find out these details…” Sirius was saying as he grabbed his books and a piece of toast to follow James.

Remus and Peter looked at one another. It seemed to them that they’d suddenly reached a point… to get up and follow the other two, mocking Sirius’s girl crazy attitude or to sit there and finish their breakfast. Remus gave Peter a quick smile and grabbed both their book bags. “Can’t exactly let those two lunatics loose on their own, can we?” he said and handed Peter his bag.

Peter shrugged. “Guess that wouldn’t be wise,” he said, and accepted his bag. The two headed out of the hall to catch up with the other two.

 

~*~*~

 

“You know, they really need maps for this place,” Sirius said as the four of them headed down the wrong corridor yet again. They were late for Potions again and Nackle was really going to let them have it. On their first Monday, Peter had somehow accidentally melted his cauldron while brewing a really easy potion. Nackle had been convinced they’d been screwing around and taken ten points from Gryffindor. To top it off, when the cauldron had melted, the potion had wound up all over Remus’s feet, which had then proceeded to swell to nearly five times their normal size. It had taken both Peter and Sirius to get him to the hospital wing while James stayed behind to clean up all their cauldrons. Their following lessons hadn’t gone much better. Even more to their dismay, Nackle clearly favored his own house, which they had Potions with. His favorites seemed to be Malfoy and Snape. One look over to their little corner though, and it was clear Malfoy had no idea what he was doing. Snape would sit there and whisper help to Malfoy for the entire class period and Professor Nackle couldn’t care less, but if he heard the tiniest whisper from Remus to Peter he’d dock points from Gryffindor quicker than you could say “Quidditch”.

“That’s not a bad idea, Sirius. I’ll get right on it. I’m sure a map for a school where the passages and stairways move and there are hidden doors and walls at every turn would be ever so easy to chart,” Remus said sarcastically. They were on their seventh week of classes. The four of them had quickly and easily fallen into a tight friendship. It was already becoming evident in classes that James, Sirius and Remus were highly intelligent, amongst the top in the year. A few people were beginning to wonder what led them to hang out with Peter, but none of the others in the group realized that people were thinking that. The four of them were quite comfortable together.

            “I think you’ve got something there, Remmy,” James said as they finally found the entrance to the dungeon.

            “About time,” Peter mumbled under his breath and sped up to get to the Potions classroom. The four entered and took seats as far back as possible, Remus and Peter sitting next to James and Sirius.

            “Cauldrons out. Quickly now. Today you will all be brewing the Horeshound Potion. Then take a flask and stopper it and leave it on my desk when you’re done. The instructions are written on the board,” Professor Nackle said; with a sweep of his wand, the words appeared on the chalkboard. “No talking. This is a test. You may begin.”

            The whole class looked like they’d been hit in the head with a brick. Suddenly there was a scurry to grab their cauldrons and collect the necessary ingredients. Twenty minutes or so later, Remus, James and Sirius had thick purple potions brewing. Sirius looked over to where Remus and Peter were working and saw Remus concentrating hard on his own potion without much trouble. However, Peter’s potion had turned a sickly green. From where he was sitting he couldn’t help Peter without getting them all in trouble. He kicked James under the table, who looked up, a bit surprised, but when Sirius made a small gesture over to where Remus and Peter were sitting, James knew what he was getting at. He thought for a moment, leaned down and dug into his bag. He drew out what looked like a Gobstone and flung it at Remus, causing him to drop a handful of gillyweed into his cauldron. Remus let out a startled gasp as his potion suddenly began to bubble over the top and turn a violent shade of pink. He looked around quickly and saw James make an “I’m sorry” kind of face and gesture towards Peter, who was now trying to get both his and Remus’s stuff out of the way of the overflowing cauldron. While all this was happening, Remus didn’t notice the large bubble growing in the middle of the cauldron until it popped all over him.

            James and Sirius both quickly stoppered a flask of each of their potions and ran them up to Professor Nackle’s desk, as they were sure they were going to have to escort Remus to the hospital wing again. Sure enough, by the time they looked up, both Peter and Remus were covered in a strange mixture of pink goo and what appeared to be turnips growing out of their skin. The two were howling in pain and Nackle was paying no attention to them at all. James and Sirius grabbed one of their arms each, careful to avoid the goo, and led them towards Madam Pomfrey. 

            With Remus and Peter safely deposited in the hospital wing, James and Sirius went back to the dungeons to clean up all their stuff. By the time they had lugged it all back to their dormitory, the two boys realized they were going to be late for History of Magic and set off down the hall at a run.

            “I told you we need a map of this place,” Sirius said.

            “You may have something there, but we really don’t have time to draw one up right now,” James said, panting as they turned around at their fourth dead end. As they were going around their fifth corner, they ran into Peter. “We were wondering when you two were going to ‘turnip’.” James and Sirius burst into gales of laughter.

            “Oh shut up,” Peter mumbled, still a slight tinge of purplish pink to his skin.

            “Where’s Remus?” Sirius asked peeking into another door. “What is this?” he asked almost indignantly. “I’m looking for a classroom and I find a room with a small pond and six ducks walking around. Why is there a room like this??” He made a disgruntled noise and slammed the door shut. They continued on their way. “So Pete, where is Remmy?”

            “Still in the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey kept him. He was looking kind of sick anyway… besides being covered in turnips and all…” Peter trailed off. “I think it’s this way,” he pointed left at the point where the corridor forked. The group followed him and found he was right. They slipped into their seats as Professor Binns droned on, not even noticing their entrance.

            “Is he ok?” James leaned over to ask Peter, midway through the lesson.

            “I don’t think Binns was ever ok, I mean acute lack of a personality is definitely a terminal illness,” Sirius said as he leaned forward from behind Peter.

            “Not Binns,” James whispered. “Remus, you said he didn’t look well.”

            “I’m sure he’s fine. He got hit by a lot more of the turnip potion, or whatever the heck that was, than I was,” Peter whispered back the two of them. “I’m sure he’ll be fine in time for double Transfiguration, he hates to miss classes.”

            The rest of the class continued uneventfully, other than the occasional thud of a student’s head hitting the desk when he or she fell asleep. When the bell rang, Peter, James and Sirius headed down to the Great Hall and when they were nearly there, James suddenly changed directions.

            “Where are you going?” Peter asked.

            “I want to try and find the hospital wing, check on Remus,” James said, peering at the three different staircases which all lead in opposite directions.

            “It’s this one, James,” Peter said and beckoned for the other two to follow him. They followed Peter through the twisting passages out into a long narrow one until Peter opened a large door on the left side. “Madam Pomfrey?” he asked tentatively.

            A large woman with her hair pulled back in a tight bun came bustling forward. “Oh what have you three gotten yourselves into now?” she nearly shrieked. The infirmary was bustling; apparently it was a busy day.

            “Nothing at all, Madam. Honestly,” Sirius stepped forward and the other two stepped back, knowing that when it came to charming disgruntled adults, the job was best left to Sirius. The same way the other two had known to step back and follow Peter, who had an uncanny sense of direction. Sirius continued, “We were just hoping to visit our friend Remus, he came here with Peter over there earlier today,” he gestured at Peter, “we thought he might like to copy our History of Magic notes. He gets a little worried when he misses a class.”

            “Oh, well then. That’s nice of you boys. He’s in the last bed on the left side. Go on then,” Madam Pomfrey presented them with a rare, small smile. The three boys headed down the isle and pulled aside the curtain around Remus’s bed. He was dozing off and the three boys could see he still had the same strange tint to his skin as Peter, but he was paler and looked like he was actually sick. When the curtain rattled a bit more for the three boys to go in around the bed, Remus opened his eyes. He looked surprised and displeased at the same time.

            “You guys shouldn’t be here. We have class. I’ll see you all sometime tomorrow probably,” he said.

            “Tomorrow? I’m fine already. What’s keeping you here?” Peter asked and sat down in the chair next to Remus’s bed.

            “Yea, come on Remmy. You’ll miss Transfiguration,” Sirius said and plopped down on the bed.

            “Speaking of classes, here are my History notes, if you want to copy them.” James held out a parchment with his messy handwriting and doodles all over it.

            Remus smiled. “Thanks, James. I’ll copy it later.”

            “So why are you still here?” James asked and sat down next to Sirius. Then he pulled himself all the way onto the foot of the bed, turned and sat cross legged looking towards the other three.

            “I’ve got a cold or something too. The turnip potion must’ve made it worse,” Remus said quickly. “You should all go, or you might catch it.”

            “Well that’s easy, Madam Pomfrey can just give you a Pepper-Up Potion and you’ll be fine. Tastes really nasty and you smoke from the ears for a while… but it works,” Sirius said.

            “Oh ummm… we tried that, so I guess it isn’t a regular cold…” Remus was interrupted by the bell. “You guys have to go to class. Take good notes, so I can copy them later, ok?”

            Sirius gave him a strange look, “Yea, sure, Remmy. We’ll check on you again later, alright?”

            “Nah, don’t bother. I’ll be fine really.” Remus looked after the boys as they left.

 

//
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