The Sugar Quill
Author: Jenavira (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Legends in the Making  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

AN: I had the genius idea for this story while driving to work one day. When I got there, it was extremely busy, and I had no time to write anything down until I took my break. Upon reaching the break room, I discovered: alas! no paper. Thus, this story was written entirely on a piece of paper towel stolen from the break room.

In relation to the story: it's a little piece displaying some of Sirius and James' sense of humor. At Remus' expense. (Poor guy.) Book 3 spoilers, as usual.

***

The common room was frequently abuzz just before the Hallowe'en feast, but tonight, this cheerful environment was helped along by the return of half the school from the first Hogsmeade trip of the year. While overexcited third years discussed in detail every aspect of the afternoon, James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus took stock of their profits - largely, admittedly, from Zonko's Joke Shop. As Sirius counted and allotted dungbombs, James sorted out Hiccup Sweets and Peter set to work on a large pile of chocolate frogs.

"Funny how enthusiastic all the third years are, eh?" commented James, grinning as he looked over Sirius' shoulder at a table full of the aforementioned Gryffindors, who were enthralling a group of younger students with tales of the abandoned house that locals had recently taken to calling the Shrieking Shack. The Marauders, who knew the real story behind the house, grinned at each other.

"I wonder why it's so haunted," they could hear one of the first-years saying. Sirius suddenly got a rather familiar gleam in his eye, and Moony felt a pang of apprehension. What, he worried, could Padfoot be up to now?

"You mean you don't know?" Sirius turned to the table behind him with an incredulous look on his face. "I thought everyone knew the story behind the Shrieking Shack." Moony and Wormtail exchanged worried looks; just what was Sirius trying to do?

The younger students, on the other hand, were fascinated. "Why is it haunted?" one of them asked, with eyes full of awe for Sirius' superior knowledge.

This is a really good beginning, and I'm not finding any problems in this section

"Well," said Sirius in the conspiratorial tones of one imparting a great secret to another,

"You know that Hogsmeade is the only entirely non-Muggle settlement in Britain?" The Gryffindors nodded breathlessly. "But do you know why?" They shook their heads just as seriously. Moony rolled his eyes. He hadn't exactly expected Padfoot to go spreading their secret around, but he could be so unpredictable sometimes...

"In the seventeenth century, as I'm sure you all know from those History of Magic essays we all completed so diligently, Muggles engaged in a particularly ridiculous and futile exercise known to them as Witch-hunting," Sirius was saying. James suddenly grinned and moved closer to the conversation; he seemed to have figured out what his friend was getting at. "Hogsmeade used to be a perfectly normal village - witches and wizards lived there, taking care of their business, and Muggles lived right alongside them, none the wiser. But then-" Sirius' voice took on an even more dramatic tone - "some Muggle priests discovered the group of witches and wizards living among them."

Six pairs of eyes widened in horror and fascination.

"What did they do to them?" Remus was starting to wonder if they knew any other forms of speech than incredulous questions, but James was already answering them.

"Anything they could," he said. "Burning, stabbing, drowning - hanging was very popular once they figured out that a wizard could only keep up a Wingardium Leviosa charm for about an hour before getting tired out."

"Within a fortnight, the Muggles had killed them all off," Sirius continued, "but it was even less time before they figured out their horrible mistake." The others didn't even ask prompting questions this time, just sat open-mouthed. "In only a few days, the wizards' and witches' ghosts started appearing."

"Ghosts?" breathed the attentive listeners.

"Of course," James said, "What else would you expect, after all that bloodshed? Naturally those witches and wizards wanted some kind of retribution for all they'd been through."

"The Muggles were haunted relentlessly, and it got to the point where they could hardly continue to live there." Sirius took up the narrative zealously. "They realized what they needed - wizards to keep the ghosts under control. But no wizard would come near them, reasonably enough."

"So they moved out. The Muggles, that is. Packed up and headed out, leaving the ghosts to their own devices in Hogsmeade."

"Then, of course, the wizards moved back in. They wanted to see what could be done - but ghosts are ridiculously difficult to unmake, and what with all the hundreds of them around..."

"So they built the Shrieking Shack, and somehow they forced all the ghosts into it..." James looked as though he was beginning to run out of ideas, so Sirius resumed the main thread of the story.

"They covered the place in shield spells and wards; that's why all the doors and windows are boarded up," he explained reasonably. "No one has ever been able to get rid of all the ghosts, not even Dumbledore. They still haunt the location of their deaths - determined to, eventually, wreak their revenge upon their executioners." Sirius' voice took on a dramatic tone that had everyone shaking - the younger students from fear, the older ones from supressed laughter.

"And look what happened!" said James. "I talked to Professor Binns about it, and he reckons the Shrieking Shack must be the most haunted house in England."

"Really?" one of the young Gryffindors squeaked.

"Of course!" Sirius looked offended. "Would I lie to you?" They looked as though they believed him, despite the fact that next to Sirius, Peter was trying rather unsuccessfully to supress an attack of the giggles. Remus was sitting with his head in his hands, making noises of (slightly amused) despair.

 

"Well," said James suddenly, waking everyone from whatever thoughts they might be having of Sirius, be they reverential or homicidal. "It looks as though it's about time for the feast to start. What d'you say we all head down to the Great Hall and see what's for dinner?" Looking nervous and talking amongst themselves, the younger Gryffindors all headed out quickly.

As soon as they were all out of earshot, Remus turned to his friends, who were wearing identical evil grins, and gave them a look of exasperation. "Witch-hunters?" They just continued to grin at him, and Peter finally allowed himself to break into gales of hysterical laughter.

//
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