The Sugar Quill
Author: Thistlerose  Story: At the Beginning  Chapter: Default
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At the Beginning

Lily and Petunia

“There’s no such thing as magic.”

     Lily turned.

     Her thirteen-year-old sister sat at the top of the stairs, scowling, her blond hair framing her thin face and her long chequered skirt spilling over her knees and revealing her nylons. Lily heard music playing from down the corridor behind her. An Elvis record. Petunia loved Elvis. Once Lily and her parents were gone she would probably turn the volume up and spend the rest of the morning talking on the phone and reading stupid magazines.

     “It’s all a big lie,” the older girl went on. “Just you wait. You’ll get there and they’ll get you on a train and next thing you know you’ll be in Africa getting auctioned off as a slave. You wait.”

     Lily regarded Petunia patiently. “It’s real. Mummy and Daddy believe. They went to Diagon Alley with me. You’ve seen my wand.”

     “Stupid toy,” Petunia sniffed.

     You saw the owl that came with my letter, Lily wanted to say, but instead she closed her mouth and shrugged. All summer she’d tried to convince Petunia that magic was real, that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was real, that she, Lily, would be going there on the first of September, and that she would learn to be a witch and cast real spells. Petunia refused to believe it, even after seeing the owl, even after Professor McGonagall had come to explain about the school, even after seeing Lily’s wand (with a real unicorn hair at its centre, Mister Ollivander had said).

     Lily was done trying to convince her sister. In just a few minutes she would be leaving for London with her parents. She did not want to spend these last few minutes fighting.

     Magic is real, Lily thought as she went into the kitchen to get the snack for the car ride. Of course it was. She’d known it since she was seven, when she’d first read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Hadn’t she spent hours searching this very house for secret passages? Hadn’t she convinced herself that the stone lions standing guard on either side of her neighbour’s walkway were real lions (small ones) that had been turned to stone by a wicked witch? Hadn’t she believed? And hadn’t she been right?

Petunia watched from her bedroom window as her father loaded Lily’s trunk into the boot of the car. She winced when he slammed the boot closed. She watched as her father, mother, and sister got into the car, and drove away.

     Then she slammed the window shut, went to her phonograph, and turned the volume up all the way. So loud her ears throbbed with Elvis’ deep, velvety voice. So loud she couldn’t hear her own choking sobs.

     It wasn’t fair.

     Hadn’t she spent years convincing herself there was no such thing as magic? Hadn’t she spent years wishing it were real? Why, after all these years, should it be real for Lily, stupid, innocent, pert little Lily, and not Petunia?

     She went to her dresser and arranged her bottles of perfume and nail polish, pretending they were magic potions and elixirs. This pink nail polish was a love potion, this miniature bottle of Chanel an elixir that would turn anyone who swallowed it into a badger. Forever.

     After five minutes, though, she began to feel silly, so she placed all the bottles back in their neat rows, and dried her tears on her sleeve.

Severus and Sirius

Asper Snape gripped his son’s arm and jerked him about, out of his reverie. “Look,” he said, pointing. “Over there. Those are the Blacks, Rigel and Lavinia. That’s their niece, Bellatrix, and their elder son, Sirius. He’s your age, he’ll be in your House. Make friends with him.”

     Severus resisted the urge to pull free, refused as well to inform his father that he had no desire to befriend a person just so the Snapes could improve their standing with the other pureblood families. He looked across the crowded platform to the small group of people at whom his father was pointing. They were all black-haired, and they all looked haughty, well groomed, and unpleasant. The boy, Sirius, was pouting and fidgeting with his cuffs while his mother attempted to straighten his silver-and-green-striped tie.

     His father let go of his arm and shoved him forward. “Get over there, boy. Introduce yourself. Make a good impression.”

     While I’m at it, thought Severus bitterly, shall I mention we’re broke and need help, or would THAT at least be beneath us?

     His mother hurried forward and touched his hair. “Oh, I wish we could have afforded new robes for you…”

     “Mariel,” Asper Snape began warningly.

     “It’s all right, Mother,” Severus said, turning to face her. He wanted to tell her not to worry about him. She seemed so anxious, but then, she always did. He wanted to tell her to take care of herself, to not let his father bully her, but what good would that do? He did not try to smile, though she did, rather limply.

     Without a glance at his father, Severus gripped the handle of his trunk, turned again, and started toward the Blacks.

Sirius saw the other boy approaching, but pretended not to. He pretended to be listening to what his father and mother were telling him, which was probably to behave himself; to report back to them about this new headmaster, this Albus Dumbledore; to try not to besmirch the proud and ancient name of Black.

     He nodded where he supposed he should, but then his gaze met his cousin Bellatrix’s, and her mouth quirked, and he realised that he wasn’t fooling her, at least.

     Instead of feeling as though he had a compatriot, though, he felt as though he were being spied on. Her grey eyes pierced, and her smile was not empathetic. I know what’s on your mind, she seemed to be saying, and I shall be watching you.

     Go ahead, he thought. Stupid bint.

     He stole another glance at the other black-haired boy. He was closer, now, though he had stopped walking. His eyes were very dark, his face pinched, sallow, and hook-nosed. His hair was a scraggly mess; his robes a size too small, and frayed at the elbows. He remembered his father’s words from earlier that morning: You will be a prince among the rabble at this school, Sirius. Act your part, but remember that a prince without rabble has nothing. You are as powerful as the people you control.

     Sirius lifted his eyebrows to let the other boy know that he had seen him. As he did, his father grabbed his arm and jerked him about.

     “Are you listening to me, boy?” Rigel Black demanded in a low tone that nevertheless was heard above the general noise of the Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. “What was the last thing I said to you?”

     “That I have a duty to honour my forefathers and follow in their footsteps,” Sirius recited petulantly. Well, it might have been the last thing his father had said. It was a line he’d heard often, at any rate.

     His father seemed satisfied, if not pleased. “Fine,” he said, releasing his son. “Go on, then. Don’t disappoint me.”

     “I’ll make sure he does not, Uncle,” said Bellatrix, touching Sirius’ hair with a long, white hand.


Remus pressed his forehead to the window and watched the platform as it began to recede from the slowly moving train. He saw his parents, still scanning for him, but he did not wave to them, and in another moment he had lost sight of them.

     Turning away from the window, he bent double, reached into his rucksack, and pulled out his dog-eared copy of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Settling back against his seat cushions he flipped to the page he’d marked --the brave ship was approaching the island where dreams -- all dreams, not just good ones, especially not good ones -- came true -- and began to read.

     The constant rattling of the train was distracting, though, as was Athena, who did not like being stuck in a cage and was hooting peevishly. Remus glared up at the owl. He hadn’t wanted her, she’d been a present from his Grandpa Argyll, so it wasn’t his fault she was stuck in a cage on this bumping train. He would much rather have brought Pippin, the family cat. But Pippin was getting old, his mother had said, and would not enjoy the tumult of Hogwarts. And Grandpa Argyll had been adamant that the youngest member of the Lupin family should not be sent off to school with anything less than the most handsome of Tawny owls. So, Athena had been an early eleventh-birthday present.

     Never mind the fact that Remus’ robes were all old (though carefully hand-laundered). Never mind that all of Remus’ books had been bought second-hand, or that his cauldron and trunk had been his father’s. His grandpa was more concerned with things people would notice readily…like an animal.

     At least his wand was new, Remus thought. New, and not just for show, twelve inches of supple beechwood, with a griffon’s feather at its core. The wand of a Gryffindor, his father had said with pride, when they’d purchased it last week.

     His father, of course, had been in Gryffindor. It made perfect sense to Remus who could imagine no man braver than Nicholas Lupin. His father had been a boy when the German Muggles dropped bombs on England. He’d been at Hogwarts when Grindelwald had tried to seize power. After leaving school he’d gone on secret missions for Albus Dumbledore. He’d met his beautiful French wife, Remus’ mother, on one of those missions and he’d brought her back to Scotland and promised to protect her from the Dark Lord Voldemort, who would want to kill her because she was a Muggleborn. And for the past twelve years he had done so.

     Just as, for the past five years, he had protected his werewolf son.

     Remus did not care which house he was Sorted into, so long as it wasn’t Slytherin. His father did not like Slytherin. He said lots of students who were Sorted into that house came out as Dark Wizards. Remus was secretly afraid he would be Sorted into Slytherin. He was a Dark Creature, after all. He wasn’t so worried about becoming a Dark Wizard, but what would the Werewolf Registry think? They didn’t want him attending Hogwarts at all, and it was only because Professor Dumbledore had made special arrangements for him that he was on this train, now.

     Not Slytherin, he pleaded silently and tried to concentrate on his book. Not Slytherin. Gryffindor would be all right, although he did not consider himself to be very brave. Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff would be best. He could be studious. He could be loyal.

     But the full moon was only four nights away. What if the Sorting Hat sensed the wolf?

James and Frank

Frank Longbottom whistled appreciatively. “Nimbus 1001. Top of the line racing broom.”

     “I know,” said James Potter proudly.

     “I mean this is the top of line,” said Wesley Cardew, inching closer to his friend to get a better look. “Must’ve cost a fortune, this.”

     James shrugged. “Dad got it for me when we went to get my books and stuff. Mum did her nut. I know I can’t try out for the house team this year, but I reckon if I practise there’ll be no problem next year, right?”

     “First-years aren’t even supposed to have brooms,” said Cardew, running a fingertip admiringly over the broom’s shaft. “Better not get caught with this, especially by Malfoy.”

     “Malfoy?” said James. The name sounded familiar.

     “Head Boy this year,” Longbottom replied. “Lucius Malfoy. Biggest bloody git you ever met. Slytherin, too, so you can bet he’ll favour his house.”

     “Dark Wizard in the making,” Cardew added sourly. “Only don’t let him hear you call him that, or he’ll hex you bad. And prove you right, but… Better get that broom away. He and the Head Girl and the prefects will be inspecting all the compartments. If he sees you with this, he’ll confiscate it.” It seemed to James to take an enormous effort, but the older boy tore his gaze from the broomstick and looked out the window at the passing countryside.

     “Could just pretend it’s ours,” Longbottom suggested.

     It sounded like a good plan to James…except for the fact that it was his broom, and if Longbottom pretended it was his, everyone would believe him, especially since he and Cardew were second-years and planning on trying out for Gryffindor’s Quidditch team in a few weeks. It wasn’t fair that James could not do the same and that James was not supposed to have this broom with him at all. Both rules were so stupid. He’d been flying practically since he could walk.

     Whatever Longbottom read in his glance, it caused him to bite his lip and pass the broomstick, silently, to its rightful owner. James clutched the shaft tightly.

     “Just don’t get caught, Potter,” the other boy warned. “The team’ll need you and that broom next year. If Gryffindor loses the Cup to Slytherin again…”

Lily, Alice, and someone else

“This way!”

     Lily threw the door open and pushed the other girl inside. She followed and closed the door behind her, realising only when it was too late that she had been wrong and this compartment was in fact occupied.

     “I’m sorry!” Alice squeaked, a plump hand pressed to her mouth in chagrin.

     But the compartment’s sole occupant -- a young, rather pale boy with light-brown hair -- shook his head and assured them swiftly that it was all right. “Really, I was just reading. I don’t mind. I’m just sorry if I startled you--”

     Lily peered at the boy. He looked very young, but that might have been because he was so thin, and so pale. His large dark eyes contrasted sharply with his pallor. Really, he almost looked ill.

     But he had a pleasant smile, Lily noted, and the book on his lap…it was upside down, but she recognised the illustration. “Narnia!” she exclaimed. “You’re reading Narnia! The Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- it’s my favourite!”

     The boy, who had been looking somewhat askance from Lily to Alice, fixed his dark gaze back on her and said softly, “Mine too.”

     “What’s your favourite part?” Lily wanted to know at once. It felt odd plunging into a conversation with a stranger, but everything today had been so exciting and confusing, and here she had found a boy whose favourite book was the same as hers.

     Without giving him time to answer, she said, “Mine is when Lucy’s alone by the side of the ship. And she sees the little mergirl. The shepherdess. And they never know each other’s names, and they only see each other for a second, but they’re friends forever.” She blushed unaccountably, and stole a glance at Alice, who was watching her with eyebrows raised.

     The boy’s slim fingers moved over the pages as though he were protecting them or drawing strength from them. At length he said, “I like the part with the Dufflepuds. They’re funny, and they have the wrong idea about -- well, everything. I like Eustace, too,” he said as though she had criticised his choice. “He makes me laugh.”

     “Polly was my favourite character,” said Lily.

     “Polly isn’t in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

     “No, but I mean, out of the whole series.”

     “Eustace is still my favourite,” said the boy. “Out of the whole series. He starts out as a right prig, but in the end… He’s quite brave in the end.”

     “Well, he gets turned into a dragon,” said Lily. “And that…un-prigs him. Well, Aslan slices his skin off, first.”

     “Yes,” the boy agreed, sounding rather breathless. “That would un-prig…anyone.”

     “Who’s Aslan?”

     Lily and the boy looked in astonishment at Alice. The other girl looked utterly bewildered.

     “A lion. Well, not just any lion. In The Chronicles of Narnia. They’re books,” Lily explained after a moment’s silence.

     “Muggle books,” the boy added quickly.

     “But with dragons…?”

     “Muggles know about dragons,” said the boy. “Most of them don’t think they’re real, but they know about them. And unicorns. And…well, a lot, really.”

     I believed, Lily almost said, but thinking it would make her sound very immature, changed her mind. Instead she said to Alice, “I have the books in my trunk. You can borrow the first one. He’s reading the…” Remembering her manners suddenly, she turned back to the boy. “I don’t even know your name. I’m sorry!”

     Did he hesitate for a fraction of a second? Lily was unsure. He might have. But then he said smoothly, “My name is Remus Lupin.”

     “Remus,” she repeated, trying it out. “Like Romulus' brother? That’s a funny name, though.”

     “Not for a wizard,” said Alice, sounding relieved to know something Lily did not. “And I’m Alice Talbot.”

     “Lily Evans. Please, may we stay?” she asked Remus. “There were these horrible boys chasing us--”

     “I think they were part troll,” Alice put in. “Is it all right?”

     “It’s all right,” said Remus, smiling again.

     He really did look better when he smiled, Lily thought.

Severus and Sirius, and someone else

By the time Severus Snape had known Sirius Black for ten minutes he had made up his mind that the other boy was the most spoiled, arrogant, and lazy boy he had ever met. By the time the Hogwarts Express pulled out of King’s Cross Station Severus had decided that Black was the most spoiled, arrogant, and lazy boy in the entire world.

     He had not brought his trunk on board the train. His parents’ House Elf had done it. Out of all the things new students were told to bring, the only thing Black had gone to get himself in Diagon Alley had been his wand; his parents’ House Elf had picked up everything else. He liked Quidditch, but he didn’t play. He didn’t do any chores; by his own admission the only thing he did around the house was get in everyone else’s way.

     He talked incessantly.

     “Going to be in Slytherin House,” he said while Severus stared out the window at the sky, which was swiftly turning grey. “Blacks are always in Slytherin, except for my cousin Andromeda. She’s in Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw wouldn’t be so bad, except I’d have to study.”

     He never studied. Big surprise, that, thought Severus, concentrating on the gathering clouds.

     “Always got good marks from my tutors,” Black continued to prattle.

     Of course, thought Severus. If they failed you, you or your parents would fire them and get new tutors.

     “I’d rather die than be in Hufflepuff.”

     Severus hoped fervently that Black would be Sorted into Hufflepuff. Perhaps the Hat would mistake incessancy for persistence.

     “’Magine Gryffindor would be all right, but Slytherins always hate Gryffindors, and Blacks are always in Slytherin. My great-great-grandfather was Headmaster a long time ago. The least-liked Headmaster in all of Hogwarts history.”

     He seemed rather proud of that distinction.

     Black showed occasional glimmers of intelligence. He’d read a lot. He’d read Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan novels and Severus had almost liked him for about two minutes after that admission. But the books had meant nothing to him. He hadn’t found the Muggle concept of fantasy the least bit interesting. He saw no parallels between the lives of the earls of Gormenghast and the lives of certain pureblood families. He’d only read them on a whim, because they were Muggle books and his parents didn’t want him reading them. After that admission Severus resumed hating him, his family, and all they stood for, in sullen silence.

     He was a spendthrift -- with his parents’ money, at least. When the plump little witch came by pushing her cart of sweets Black bought an armload of Cauldron Cakes, Mint Mice, and Chocolate Frogs. At first Severus had thought that Black had bought them for himself and added glutton to his growing list of strikes against the other boy.

     But Black dumped half of the sweets in Severus’ lap. “Tuck in,” he said and then flopped back against his own seat and began to unwrap a Cauldron Cake.

     Severus gathered the sweets and placed them in a neat pile on the seat beside him.

     Black raised his eyebrows. “Donchoo ‘ike?” he said around a mouthful of cake,

     It wasn’t that. Asper Snape forbade his wife and son to waste what little money they still had on frivolous things such as sweets. But even threatened with Cruciatus, Severus would not admit that to this boy. “I’m not hungry,” he said simply. Then, at the narrow look from Black, he could not help adding, “But, thank you. That was…magnanimous.” He wondered if Black knew what the word meant.

     Black swallowed his cake. “You’re welcome,” he said curtly.

     Something in his tone, or in his posture, or his expression -- or all three -- riled Severus. He straightened -- he was taller than Black, and it was time he made use of that fact -- and glared down at the other boy. “Yes, I suppose you think you’re quite magnanimous. With the rabble.”

     The other boy hissed and coloured slightly. Severus went on, “So, your great-great-grandfather was Headmaster. Once. Many years ago. I suppose that makes you think you’re the heir apparent or something. I know about you Blacks. You think that just because your name is so ancient, you're descended from Merlin. You think that you're kings and everyone else is dirt under your feet. You always think you're better than everyone else. Well, you're not. You're just a bunch of jumped-up, mannerless, ill-bred and brainless serfs who learned how to do magic better left to your betters. And you're the proof!”

     Black blinked up at him. He remained slouched in his seat, but his blue eyes glimmered coolly and a sneer tugged at his lips. “Congratu-fucking-lations,” he drawled, and Severus added vulgar to his list. “You don’t know everything about me. Anyway, I know about the Snapes. Scruffy oiks, the lot of you. You’ll lick anyone’s boots.”

     “That’s my father,” said Severus tightly. “I’m not my father.”

     “Well, I’m not mine, either!” Black yelled, and was on his feet before Severus had his wand in his hand. His speed was astonishing, considering how indolent he’d seemed until now. He caught Severus’ wrist in a painful grip and twisted it brutally.

     Severus grunted, but did not cry out.

     “Merlin,” said Black with a sneer. “My father was right. You lot can’t afford anything, not even soap.”

     Severus tensed, and squeezed his wand. He knew some good hexes. His parents didn’t know, but he’d been teaching himself for months now, just so no one would get him like this. If only his hand were free, Black would be unrecognisable by now, his pretty face covered with tentacles or gaping sores or whatever suited Severus.

     But he could not break Black’s grip. So instead of doing what he wanted, Severus did what his mother always told him -- begged him, sometimes -- to do; he willed his muscles to slacken, willed the bile that pooled in his throat back down into his heart to be stored and remembered.

     “Let go,” he said. He kept his voice low, but it was an order, not a request.

     To his surprise, Black did. He released his wrist at once and pushed him away, then made a production of wiping his robes clean.

     Severus scowled, but said nothing more. He did not get the chance.

     The door to their compartment burst open and a small, plump boy with blond hair all but fell into their arms. “Potter’s got a broom!” he blurted. “A Nimbus 1001! I’ve never seen one be--” He stopped himself, then, and his double-take was almost comical. “Oi,” he said accusingly, “you’re not Thomas and Kirk. Merlin, I’m sorry, I--”

     “Potter,” Black said quietly.

     Severus glanced at him. The other boy was smiling, and it was not a pleasant smile at all. Well, of course. If the Blacks knew about the Snapes, they certainly knew about the Potters, who were just as pure of blood, and nearly as affluent as the Blacks, but nearly the opposite politically. The Blacks were very conservative, the Potters quite radical. Rigel Black’s hatred for William Potter was well known.

     “A Nimbus 1001,” Black continued thoughtfully.

     “Brand new,” the plump blond boy whispered, clearly intimidated by the other two boys, but unwilling or unable to simply leave.

     “I want to see it,” said Black.

Sirius and James and…

Looking back, Sirius could not explain why he did it. He could not remember a single thought from that episode. In fact, he was fairly certain he had stopped thinking altogether the moment Pettigrew announced that Potter had a new broomstick.

     Next thing he knew he was tromping down the corridor with the plump blond boy at his heels. At some point the other boy had to have told him which compartment Potter and his friends were sharing because when he arrived there he threw open the door and said, “Let’s see that broom, Potter.”

     There were three boys in the compartment. They all turned to look at him, and the skinny black-haired one with the glasses said, “Bugger off.”

     Sirius saw his eyes widen as he recognised Rigel Black’s son. Potter looked like his own father, too; Sirius had seen clippings. William Potter, who advocated intermarriage with Muggles, who advocated equal rights for part-humans, who wanted all bloodline records abolished. Who stood for everything Sirius’ father stood against.

     Sirius braced himself against the doorframe and said, “Let’s have it, then. I want to see. Present from your father, is it? Let’s see it.”

     Potter stood, and his two friends rose behind him. “No.”

     Sirius flushed. His hands trembled. He clenched them to try to keep them still.

     “Get your own, Black,” said one of the boys behind Potter, a tall boy with sandy hair and a broad face. “Have your own father get you one. He’s got the gold. Go crying to him.”

     Sirius’ face burned hotter.

     “Look,” Potter grated as he stepped forward. “I don’t have to do what you say. My father’s right about you Blacks. You think everyone’s your toady. You think you lot are better than everyone else. Well, you’re not. You’re all a bunch of snotty-nosed toffs, and you’re just like everyone in your stupid family, so sod the bloody hell off.”

Looking back, neither James nor Sirius could be certain who struck the first blow. One moment blue eyes were glaring into hazel. Then fists were flying and thudding into soft flesh. Insults were flying, too, brutal and unintelligible. It felt so good to shout them, and to hit, and to be hit. Sirius did not feel any real pain until, with one great burst that took all of his strength, James sent him hurtling against the door to the opposite compartment -- which for some reason opened so that he stumbled back and fell against a soft body, sending them both to the floor.

     A girl -- or two girls -- screamed. The person Sirius had ploughed into -- a boy, by his voice -- swore and tried to push him away.

     But Sirius didn’t get up. He hurt everywhere, and all his fire seemed to have been sucked from him. Utterly dazed, he tilted his head back and found himself looking into large, angry brown eyes. “Hello,” he said pleasantly through puffy, bleeding lips.

     The brown eyes blinked. “Hello,” the other boy replied uncertainly.

     “Black. Potter,” said a smooth, cool voice from the doorway.

     Sirius knew the voice from countless boring social gatherings. Lucius Malfoy. Bugger.

     “Detention,” said the older boy, “And I’ll have that broom.”

* * * *

3 September 1971

Dear Mum,

Thanks for the jumper. I can’t believe I forgot it! Thanks for the biscuits, too.

Professor McGonagall said she sent owls to our parents, so you know I’m in Gryffindor. It’s nice, I suppose, except there are so many stairs you have to climb. It’s a tower. The other blokes are all right, I suppose. There’s James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin. The girls are Lily Evans, Dorcas Meadows, Emmie Vance, Maddin Mayfair, and Alice Talbot. Lily, Alice, Dorcas, and Emmie are nice. Maddin and Sirius are mean. Remus hardly talks, but he’s nice. James and Sirius hate each other. They have detention all week. James brought a broom. First-years aren’t supposed to have brooms. He and Sirius got in a fight. This other boy told the Head Boy. Sirius and James hate him the most.

We had lots of nice puddings at supper. I like Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall is scary.




5 September 1971

Dear Mum and Dad,

Hogwarts is brilliant. Dumbledore’s a brick. PLEASE can you write to him and tell him to let me have my broom back? I wasn’t going to fly it, I SWEAR. Professor McGonagall says I can have it in JUNE. It’s tyranny!

I have detention with Black AGAIN tonight. I HATE Black. THERE SHOULD BE NO BLACKS IN GRYFFINDOR.

I hope all the Malfoys die.

And all the Snapes.

The Catapults beat the Wasps! Did you see? Brilliant!



P.S. Girls are stupid. (Not Mum and Aunt Helen.)

P.P.S. Remus Lupin got sick tonight. Probably because he has to live with Black.


6 September 1971


Make your own alliance with the Blacks.



7 September 1971

Dear Mum and Dad,

I’m sorry I didn’t write yesterday. I was too tired. (Athena’s useful. I don’t have to go up to the owlery if I’m too tired. Nobody minds if I keep her in the dorm.) Everything went all right. I told everyone I felt sick and went to the matron. I don’t think anyone noticed. I missed classes next morning, but Lily copied the work for me. She’s nice.

The other boys are all right. They’re all very different. Sirius is a bit mental, I think. James is mental when he’s around Sirius. They hated each other at first. They had detention all week and beat each other up every night. Now they get along better. Do you remember the story we read where Robin Hood and Little John crack each other’s heads with their quarterstaffs and that’s how they become blood brothers? I think that’s what happened to James and Sirius.

Or maybe they just hate Severus Snape (a first-year in Slytherin) and Lucius Malfoy (the Head Boy, he’s also in Slytherin) more.

Peter’s the other boy in my dorm. He’s all right. He thinks everything James does is just brilliant.

Alice (a girl in my year, in Gryffindor) never heard of Narnia. Lily and I are making her read the books. We’re going to look for secret passages, tomorrow, after Potions.

I love you.




15 September 1971


Hi, cub. So, I’m tweaking the lion’s tail in Gryffindor. Did Mother blast me off the tapestry yet? Remember what I said. Do everything I’d do.

-the Dog Star


23 September 1971

Dear Petunia,

I hope this owl doesn’t scare you! I promise, I found the cleanest one. How is school? I like it here. I learned how to make pens (they use quill pens here!) levitate. Yesterday I made a potion that makes you sleepy.

Here is a picture of me and Alice Talbot and Emmie Vance (girls in my dorm, Gryffindor). We move in the picture! See? That’s the lake. There’s a giant squid, and mermaids.

Two weeks ago Alice and Remus Lupin (isn’t that a funny name? Lots of names are funny here) found a secret passage behind a suit of armour. I didn’t go very far, but we found this little room and we hid some things, there. Then we made a treasure map. Remus said he’d hide it, and maybe a long time from now someone will find it and use to find what we hid, like in Treasure Island, and Over Sea, Under Stone. Except our treasure is just Chocolate Frog cards and marbles and some other things.

Today is Remus’ birthday. Alice and Emmie and I were going to make a surprise party, but James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew made one for him first. I hate boys. They’re so stupid. Well, most boys, anyway.

I love you.



PS. See? I told you it was real.


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