The Sugar Quill
Author: Jo Wickaninnish  Story: The Marauders: Year Two  Chapter: Chapter One: Paddleball for Wizards
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Paddleball for Wizards

Author's Note: As always, the standard disclaimer applies. These are JKR's characters- I just manipulate them in strange and unnatural ways. Please don't sue me. :0)

Thanks to my ever amazing beta KATBLUE512.

 

 

Paddleball for Wizards

 

Peter looked up to check for traffic as he crossed the street near the park. It was nearly August and he’d just received his Hogwarts owl with his school supplies list for second year. Shortly after that owl had left, he’d received two owls in quick succession bearing the handwriting of James on one letter and Remus on the other. He’d grabbed them and headed out into the warm day. He figured he would take a walk and read the letters but had instead decided to head for a park near his house.
He sighed as he thought of how dreadfully slow the summer was going. Many times he wondered if maybe he hadn’t imagined the past year at Hogwarts. The letters from James, Sirius and Remus were really the only validation that he had. So far, none of the boys had been able to visit one another. The Blacks refused to house four young Gryffindors, the Potters had spent most of July traveling and wouldn’t be back in England for at least another week and Remus had been very quiet about his whole family situation.
Peter pulled one of the letters out of his pocket as he sat down on a swing and broke the seal.

 

Hey Pete!
I hope this reaches you. The owl looks near ready to keel over, doesn’t it? But mum and dad keep using ours for work, so I can’t use him. Russia is cold. Can’t really say I like it much after Paris, but we’ll only be here a few days. My dad is trying to hunt down some sort of relic. I don’t know, he won’t give me any details. I guess that’s why they’re called Unspeakables. Mum seems to know more than I do though. Anyway, we’ll be home next week and I wanted to know if you wanted to come spend the week at our home. If your family has got a fireplace we can hook you up to the Floo Network for the afternoon, if not, we can figure out something else. Anyway, owl me back with a reply sometime before next Monday and we’ll come get you. You have to come, we need to work on all our plans for next term. I’m inviting Sirius and Remus, too.

James

Peter grinned widely. His parents would probably let him go and it felt like forever since he’d last seen his friends. He reached back into his pocket and pulled out Remus’s letter. As he opened it, he pushed off and began to pump his legs, swinging the swing as he read.

 

Dear Peter,
Sorry I didn’t get right back to you, I was kind of sick for a few days. Anyway, I’m sorry. The WWN is the Wizard Wireless Network… like Muggle radios, I think they’re called. But I’m glad you asked because I got tickets to the Banishing Banshees concert for August 19th, I thought you lot might want to come and then spend a few days at my house. Get back to me with your response and then I guess we’ll try to figure out a way to get you here. Did you get your Hogwarts letter yet? I can’t wait to see what texts they assign.

Remus

Peter shook his head and grinned again. Only Remus would segue from rock concerts to textbooks. Peter put both of the letters back into his pocket and looked around the park. His eyes stopped for a moment on the girl perched on top of the slide. She was just sitting there, writing in a book.
It can’t be, Peter thought and rubbed his eyes. "Lily Evans?" he yelled across the park, causing the girl to make a very startled noise, slip and slide sideways down the slide before tumbling unceremoniously into the dirt.
"Peter Pettigrew? What are you doing in Little Whinging?" she gasped as she stood up and brushed off her shorts.
"I live in Little Whinging, what are you doing here?"
 
"Well clearly I live here too," she said and began walking towards the swings. "Why didn’t I ever notice you before?"

 

"My family moved here while we were at school. I didn’t go to primary school here," Peter said as she sat down in the swing next to him. "What’s that?" He gestured at the book in her hands.
"Uh, nothing," Lily said and wrapped her arms tightly around the book. Then she grinned widely. "It’s so good to see you. I really thought that maybe I just imagined… I mean, I know I didn’t. But it’s so hard to believe sometimes."
"I know what you mean," Peter said, kicking off to swing again. "How’s Alice and Becca?"
"They’re fine. We’re going to get together in August for a bit. And Remus and Sirius, how are they?" Lily asked. Peter noticed she’d deliberately left out James.
"Alright. We’re all going to the Potters in a few weeks. Oh, what about Melissa and Tessa, do you ever hear from them?"
"Oh, I don’t really. My horrible sister won’t let the owls anywhere near our house most of the time! The Hogwarts one got through this morning, but most of the others aren’t as persistent," Lily said, her face in a scowl.
"I wish I’d known you were here this past month," Peter said.
"Me too. It’s been such a dull summer. But I can’t wait to go to Diagon Alley and get my school supplies. When are you going?"
"I don’t know. Whenever my parents have a bit of time, I suppose."
"We could go together. My mum and dad are great about all this magic stuff, but I bet they’d really like to meet another set of Muggle parents," Lily offered.
"Yea, alright," Peter agreed and the two set to discussing the various events of the summer thus far.

 

~~*~~

 

"Come on, Dad," James whined excitedly while standing in front of the fire. "Peter’s waiting."
Mr. Potter chuckled at his excited son and grabbed his cloak. "Oh no, James. It looks like we’re out of Floo powder." Mr. Potter said sadly looking into the jar on the mantle.
"What?!? But I must’ve checked it ten times between last night and this morning," James said as he grabbed for the jar, only to find it filled to the brim with the greenish powder. "Dad!"
Mr. Potter chuckled, grabbed a handful and tossed it into the fire as he stepped forward saying, "Pettigrew Residence, Little Whinging."
James followed after him quickly and before he knew it he had spun into the Pettigrews kitchen and toppled over a nearby chair.
"James!" the chubby, blonde boy exclaimed happily. "Mum, Dad, this is my friend James and his dad."
James looked up and noticed two Muggle adults standing in the nearby doorway, smiling apprehensively. James recognized them from St. Mungo’s and both of their grins widened when they realized who he was.
Mr. Pettigrew stepped forward first and reached out his hand to Mr. Potter, "Pleasure to meet you."
Mr. Potter stepped up and grasped the outstretched hand, "Likewise." His eyes were darting around the kitchen. Like many wizards and witches, he was amazed at how Muggles managed to get on without magic.
Mrs. Pettigrew beamed at Mr. Potter and James. "We’ve heard so much about you, young man. Next summer you’ll have to come and stay with us for a bit."
"Sure," James agreed and turned to Peter. "Where’s your stuff?"
Peter gestured towards the duffle bag by the door. "That’s it."
Mr. Potter walked over and slung it over his shoulder easily. "It’s been very nice meeting you, but we really need to get home. James is expecting two of his other friends any moment."
Mrs. Pettigrew reached for Peter and hugged him. James overheard her whisper, "Are you sure this is safe, dear? It’s a fire" and Peter respond with a drawn out, "Muuuum."
"See you in a week," Peter said and reached for the vial Mr. Potter handed him.
"Just toss it in, step into the fire and say ‘Potter Manor’ loudly and clearly," James instructed him. "Here, watch." James stepped into the fire, followed his own instructions and was gone a moment later.
"Off you go then, Peter," Mr. Potter said, extending his hand one last time to Mr. Pettigrew, but Peter didn’t see them shake hands, he was too busy spinning towards Potter Manor.

 

~~*~~

 

"That was great, Mrs. Potter," Sirius said, leaning back in his chair holding his stomach. "I’m so stuffed I don’t think I’ll be able to eat for a week!"
"Or an hour, at least," Remus grinned.
"Well I’ll definitely take that as a complement. You growing boys need plenty of nourishment," Mrs. Potter replied as she began to gather up dirty plates and silverware. "Run off now, you three. I’ve got to clean up this mess."
The four boys ran up the stairs and settled in James room. The week had been rather uneventful so far, but the Marauders were just happy to be together again.
Suddenly Sirius leaned forward. "Did I ever tell you the joke about the vampires?"
"The vampires?" Peter asked, from his spot sprawled across James bed.
"Yea, so three vampires walk into a bar. The first says, ‘I want a Bloody Mary, the second says, ‘Make the two’, but before the third…"
"Ugh, Sirius, I’ve heard this. Don’t finish that joke," Remus said from the floor. He reached over, grabbed a book and started to read it.
"Some of us have no senses of humor," Sirius began, grinning widely. He was thoroughly amused by how prude Remus could be.
"Some of us have a concept of social graces," Remus countered, flipping a page.
"Social graces? What are friends if not people to ignore all social graces with?" Sirius said his eyes looking at the other two.
"So, a manticore, a hellhound and a horklump walk into a bar…" Peter began before he was assailed by three other pillows. "Or not."
Sirius laughed. "Well, at least Pete attempts a sense of humor."
Peter grinned.
James grabbed a Quaffle off his floor and tossed it to Sirius, who tossed it back. For the next hour, the four passed the time quietly with Remus reading, James and Sirius playing catch and Peter watching them.
"Did I tell you guys Lily Evans lives by me?" Peter asked later in the evening.
James dropped the Quaffle for the first time in an hour. "Do not say that name under my roof," he bellowed.
"Right, nevermind that then," Peter mumbled.
Remus, completely ignoring James, asked, "How’s she doing?"
"She’s alright. We got our school stuff at Diagon Alley together last week. My parents really liked meeting other Muggle parents, and I finally met that sister of hers."
"Oh yea, is she as bad as Lily makes her sound?" Sirius asked as James growled, still angered at the mention of Lily.
"Worse. She didn’t even know me and she glared at me like I was diseased," Peter said shaking his head. "I don’t know how Lily deals with it."
"You know what would be great?" James said out of nowhere. "If we could Apparate. Could you imagine the places we could go?"
His attempt to end the conversation about Lily succeeded admirably. "We could go to Hogwarts and play a pick up game of Quidditch on the pitch!"
"No, we couldn’t," Remus said, sitting up. "You can’t Apparate in or out of Hogwarts. It’s in Hogwarts: A History, don’t you guys ever read anything?"
"Not that, no," Sirius said just as James said, "I forgot about that."
"You knew that?" Sirius said. "Don’t tell me you’ve read that book."
"Yeah, part of it, while I was in the hospital wing once last term," James shrugged.
"You and Remus are officially disowned. Come on, Pete, let’s get away from these lunatics," Sirius declared, sticking his nose up in the air, rising from his spot on the floor and crossing to the doorway.
Peter shrugged at the other two and followed Sirius out of the room.
"What do you suppose they’re going to get up to?" Remus asked.
"Probably best not to know," James replied. "We’ll got find them in a bit. Honestly though, it’s not as though I’ve read it cover to cover and memorized it like you."
"I haven’t got it memorized, but it does have some useful information. It’s where I got the idea to tap statues while saying dissendium."
"Really? So what’s this new band? The Banishing Banshees? I didn’t hear about them in Europe."
"They’re pretty popular on the WWN. My mum said I could have you lot over for the weekend. Get there Friday night, concert on Saturday and then you all go home on Sunday morning," Remus said.
"Cool-" James was cut off by a loud bang. "Oh no, come on Remus." The two jumped up and dashed for the door.

 

~~*~~

 

"Are you ever going to tell me what that bang was?" James asked Sirius and Peter wearily as they all stood in front of the fireplace preparing to leave.
Peter just grinned evilly and stepped into the fireplace, shouting his destination.
Sirius stepped up to the hearth and grinned back at James. "I’ve left you one in your room. The first one… didn’t make it." A second later, he was gone.
"Good luck with that James. And be careful, I’d rather you showed up at my house all in one piece," Remus called over his shoulder as he too disappeared into the green flames.
Mrs. Potter bustled into the living room. "Did you all have a nice visit dear?"
"Yes, mum," James replied and started off towards his room as she took out her wand and quickly cleaned the Floo residue and dust off the furniture.
"James, may I ask? What is it that you four did all week? Besides wreak a considerable amount of havoc and degnome my garden six times?"
"Oh, not much mum. We just chatted about our summers and stuff," James shrugged, caught off guard by his mother.
His mother hesitated for a second before asking, "Well, what kind of stuff? You never seem to sit and chat with me anymore… I understand you’re growing up but I still do miss it, dear."
James felt guilty for a second and decided that there were probably a few things he could tell her about that they had discussed that week. "Well, you know when we go to Remus’s on Friday, we’re going to a concert. We talked about that," he began as he crossed the room and flopped down on the sofa. His mother smiled and lowered herself down onto the loveseat across from him. "We talked a bit about our classes and maybe the extra classes we want to take during third year. And well, a lot about Quidditch. Sirius and I are going to go out for the team and we hope we’ll be able to talk Remus into it also."
"What about Peter?" his mother prompted.
"He’s adamant about not going out. He’s really not all that good on a broom anyway. He really does do a good commentary, perhaps when Agatha Chubb graduates he can do that. What did you and your friends talk about when you were twelve, mum?" James asked, suddenly curious for an insight to how the mind of a twelve year old girl works.
Mrs. Potter looked slightly taken aback and then grinned. The grin surprised James because it wasn’t her warm, motherly smile that she usually wore, but far more similar to the look his father referred to as ‘trouble’ whenever he used it himself. "Well, primarily boys, dear. That is what tends to take up the minds of most twelve year old girls." She sighed at an old memory and giggled. "Then, of course, there was revenge to get on your father."
James blanched, "Excuse me?"
"Well, your father was so… square? I think that’d be an adequate word. His friends were all so very dull, so your father seemed slightly lively out of that group, but in general… let’s just say, he didn’t have much of a sense of humor for some time. And, well, not having a sense of humor just didn’t go over well with me and my group of friends." She smiled nostalgically again. "So I flat out tortured him until he fell madly in love with me. I’ll have you know, although you must swear never to repeat it, your father is far more bothered by those owls they send home from school all the time than I am. For Merlin’s sake, I don’t think I even got half as many about you as my mum and dad did about me my first year."
James could feel his jaw drop to the ground and heard his mother chuckle as she looked his way.
"Well, didn’t you assume you got that talent for trouble making from somewhere?" she asked.
"From dad," he replied quickly, thinking that mothers should not be doing any of the things he got up to at Hogwarts.
"Oh goodness, no, I’d say you got your academic brains from your father, but the creative side necessary for some of those pranks describes by Minerva in those owls… that comes from me," she said with a faint trace of pride. "But, before I give you any ideas, perhaps we’d better desist with this tangent. What else do you boys discuss?"
"Well, current events," James said, making it his mother’s turn to looks surprised.
"Current events?" she questioned.
"Well, yeah. They’re not very… peachy, right now, are they? I mean, a girl in our year…" he trailed off.
"The McGonagalls," she murmured quietly and James nodded. He looked up and saw him mum shake her head sadly. "Poor little Trixie."
"They were just herbologists, mum! And they were as pureblooded as we are! We’re just concerned, especially with more evidence coming in daily that it may well have been Voldemort and he’s never actually killed anyone before, so why start with them?" James poured out. This had actually been the primary topic of discussion for the week among the Marauders.
Mrs. Potter frowned sadly. "Darling, who knows why such bad things happen? If they prove it was that Voldemort man… well, everything possible will be done to stop him."
"Is that what dad is working on?" James asked very quietly, looking his mother in the eye.
She paused a moment and then nodded slightly. "Yes, he is part of the investigation."
"Does he know why it was the McGonagalls?" James asked.
"James, I think you’re a bit too young to be worrying about all this. Leave it to the adults, it’s best to just enjoy your childhood. It’ll be gone before you know it." Suddenly James noticed the faint wrinkles on his mother’s face and the streaks of gray in her dark brown hair. He’d never noticed how old she actually was before. "Go on dear, it’s getting a bit late. Maybe you’d best head up to bed. I did enjoy talking with you though. Remind me sometime when you’re a bit older to tell you about the passageway in the old Charms classroom."
James mentally filed away that last bit, crossed the room and gave him mother a peck on the cheek. "Goodnight, mum."
Suddenly she wrapped her arms tightly around him. "Goodnight, James. I love you dearly, you know that?"
James paused for a moment, surprised, and then hugged her back. "Of course, mum. I love you too."
He exited the room and walked up the steps to his room, trying to stop worrying about Voldemort and attempting to picture his twelve year old mother cackling madly at some prank at the same time. The later won and made him smile.
On his bed he found a strange shaped piece of wood with a ball stuck to it and a note lying on top.

 

James,
Peter said this is called a laddlefall. Paddleball, I mean. You hit the ball against the wood repeatedly, it’s some sort of Muggle game… we had a bit of fun improving it the other night, you could say. The point is to bounce the ball off the wood repeatedly, that rubbery thing (Peter said it’s called a rubber band) holds the ball to the wooden paddle. Good luck with it. See you Friday.

-Sirius and Peter

 

The gift appeared innocent, but James knew the two of them better than that. Improved, eh? he thought as he turned that paddle board over in his hands. Well, I’ll be a sport and give it a shot. Hopefully they fixed whatever made that massive bang last time.
He picked up the paddle and started bouncing the ball, thinking This is so easy, any idiot could- He was cut off as the ball suddenly exploded with a massive bang.
"Oof," he gasped as he picked himself up off the floor and began to feel for injuries. Well I survived that one, he thought happily as he crossed his room to double check himself in the mirror. Before he could hear her, the door to his room flew open and his mother was standing in the doorway looking quite anxious.
"James Harold Potter, what are you doing?" she shrieked.
"Umm… paddle ball, mum," he muttered.
"Paddleball?"
"It’s a… er… Muggle game of sorts."
"Why is it that I can’t really envision Muggles playing a game like that?"
"Well, Sirius and Peter improved it a bit…"
"Improved?!?"
"Well, I don’t think it explodes when Muggles play it…"
Mrs. Potter shook her head and looked back at her only son. "Well James, I certainly hope your eyebrows re-grow in time for that concert on Saturday."
James whirled around to look in the mirror as Mrs. Potter gently closed the door, walked to the stairway landing and burst into laughter.
//
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