Note: For this story I went with the ‘James as Chaser’ idea from the JKR chat
instead of ‘James as Seeker’ from the movie. In the end, it really makes no
difference, because it doesn’t change anything about him except a title. * I
borrowed ‘Diversion Enchantments’ from Arabella and Zsenya - many thanks to
them for the inspiration. * Also, this story does mesh with my other two MWPP
stories, though I did have to adjust my own timeline (I went back through the
other stories and altered where necessary, namely the year in which they are
set; both “Reflections” and “Dog Stars” should take place in sixth year.). But
it is in no way necessary to have read any of the other stories in order to
story begins in MWPP’s sixth year.
to Elanor Gamgee for the beta-read and encouragement.
special thanks to Zeptron Zulu, for the art to inspire and reward me. She knows
where she is in this story. J
Sirius Black had expected to learn
and experience many new things when he came to Hogwarts. He had expected to
play Quidditch, to excel at some of his classes and fail at others, to be in
Gryffindor as his family had been for generations. He had expected to make
But looking back on those youthful
expectations now, he realized he could never have hoped to predict what he
would actually find. The boy he had been could never have truly imagined how
events would change him, nor foreseen the lessons he would learn - about magic,
about life. About friendship.
The sky beyond the hospital wing
window was thick with coming night, indigo and black chasing the red sunset to
the horizon. The dark surface of the lake rippled as something, probably the
Giant Squid, moved just beneath the surface. And reflected on the water was the
bright moon. Even distorted by movement, Sirius had only to glance at the
reflection to know that the moon was a day past full. He had learned to
calculate the fullness of the moon on sight with perfect precision, and that
was one thing he had not learned in a classroom.
Of course, even without the moon in
sight, he would have known that tonight was one night after the full moon. He
would have known it by the sounds coming from the bed behind him.
didn’t like company after the full moon. They all knew it. Even after he had
allowed them to share in the full moon night itself - to see him as the wolf,
to share in his most hated secret - he still could not share the hours which
followed afterward. He never really explained why, though all of them thought
to weather out the hurt - and the self-loathing - in private, where he wouldn’t
have to wear a strong face about it.
time they weren’t going to let him do it. They weren’t going to let him sit
here and blame himself for what had happened.
No. For what had almost
was going to take the blame for last night, Sirius thought grimly, it was going
to be him. Not Moony.
turned away from the window, arms crossed in preparation for a defiant stance.
He glanced at the bundle of shadowed sheets on the hospital bed that was Remus,
then quickly glanced away, grimacing awkwardly. Remus
hadn’t spoken a word to any of them since they’d walked into the hospital wing
almost an hour ago, and his very silence said more clearly than words that he
wanted them to leave.
wasn’t completely quiet anymore. And that was harder to hear than the silence.
shifted his gaze to Peter, who was seated on the next bed over, his shoulders
hunched and his feet barely brushing the floor. He gazed off into a shadowy
corner with an uncomfortable expression on his face.
standing on the other side of Moony’s bed, leaning back against the wall with
his arms folded, a pensive frown just visible through the tangle of his black
fringe. But he seemed, as always, to sense when Sirius looked at him, and
raised his head to meet his friend’s eyes.
was all Sirius needed to know that James was, as usual, sharing his thoughts.
After all, they had come up here for a reason. They’d known that Remus wouldn’t
want to see them. They’d suspected he might treat them to this kind of silence.
But they had come anyway, because they couldn’t just stay comfortably in the
Gryffindor common room knowing what Remus was no doubt doing to himself up in
the hospital wing.
himself up, arms still defiantly crossed. “It’s my fault,” he said, and almost
winced to hear how his voice echoed down the empty hospital wing.
looked up at him, giving him a warning glare. And he was right, of course. The
last thing they needed was to get caught now by Madam Pomfrey.
lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper. “It’s my fault,” he reiterated firmly.
“I was the one who wanted to leave the Forest. It was my
dumb idea. You didn’t have any choice in the matter, Moony. You were just
holding his breath… but the bundle of sheets didn’t move. Nor did Remus speak.
There was another hitch in his rasping breathing, and then nothing.
clenched his teeth on an exasperated sigh, and met James’ glance again. He was
certain that Prongs was just as frustrated by this as he was, but the bastard
had that typical calm and thoughtful expression of his on his face, as if he
were just thinking through the snags on a new Quidditch technique.
right,” James said quietly, his voice low and steady. “And it wasn’t just him.
I went along with it too. It was our
fault. Blame us, Remus.”
answered only by what sounded like a muffled sob.
winced. God, how Moony must hate them right now. He knew that he certainly would not
have wanted to be overheard at a vulnerable moment like this.
it, they couldn’t just leave. They wouldn’t just leave. Not until they
made Remus acknowledge that it wasn’t his fault.
Sirius took a step toward the bed, and made a few futile and violent gestures
with his hands, though he knew Remus couldn’t see them; he had to release the
tension somehow. “In the end, no one got hurt. The kids got away, and we
made it back to the Forest. No one got hurt, Moony.” He
stopped himself just short of adding wryly, except for us. Remus certainly did not need to be reminded
that he’d torn at his friends in the struggle to get him back into the Forest.
It was a good thing that they’d learned all those medical charms over the last
levered himself away from the wall, and turned to gaze steadily down at the
occupied bed. “It won’t happen again. I won’t let it.”
There was a
soft brushing sound as Peter scraped the tip of his toe over the floor, his
shoulders hunching even more deeply. “Or me,” he muttered. “I’ll bite you all
in the ass if you try something like that again.”
stifled a snort and the urge to retaliate with a rude comment.
Peter a sidelong grin.
shifted under the sheets, and a pale hand emerged to rub against his face,
still hidden in the pillow. “No.” His voice was little more than a whisper, and
it cracked as he spoke. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“Oh come off
it!” Sirius snapped, ignoring the quelling look
James was shooting him. “Yes it was! Blame us, damn you.”
snarled. The sheets exploded into movement.
rasped. With a jerk he propelled himself upright, and flung his pillow at
Sirius with so much force that it burst a seam as it hit Sirius’ hands. “It is
your fault! What the hell were you thinking? Go into Hogsmeade? You have
no idea… absolutely no idea…”
“Of what?” James asked grimly. “Of what it would be like if
you managed to bite someone?”
visibly flinched, froze for a moment in an expression of revulsion, and then
dropped his face against his knees.
you’re right,” James went on relentlessly, his eyes bright behind his glasses.
“We don’t know what that would be like for you. That’s why we made a bad
“A really bad choice,” Sirius
muttered, mentally kicking himself for having ever set
one paw beyond the Forest.
“And it won’t happen again.”
Remus said nothing, only wrapped
his arms tightly around his knees.
Sirius sighed, and shrugged when
James shot him a frustrated look.
“You didn’t bite anyone,” Peter
said softly then, his eyes on the floor between his feet. “So it’s sort of
stupid to blame yourself for someone else’s mistake, isn’t it? You can’t help
what you are, and you didn’t… I mean….” Peter hunched down even further,
visibly chagrined, and his glance darted anxiously between Sirius and James, as
though seeking guidance. “I mean… in the end, everything’s all right. You…you
blame yourself for too much already, Moony, when… when…. when most of the time
it’s Sirius’ fault.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Thanks a
lot, Wormtail.” But he couldn’t help giving his small friend a weak grin. At
least he was trying. And he was right, besides.
a garbled sort of sound that sounded almost like stifled laughter.
turned to him eagerly, hoping to see that their efforts had finally paid off,
that Moony would join them in the joke and shake off all this self-hatred…but
his heart sank. Remus’ shoulders were shaking, but he could tell that it wasn’t
with laughter. His face was still pressed firmly into his knees, and he had his
hands clutched in his hair in white-knuckled fists.
turned his face away, and stared through half-closed eyes at the wall.
closed his eyes completely, and forced himself to keep silent.
But as the
sound of Moony’s barely contained sobs filled the quiet air, he decided that
keeping silent was probably the crueler thing to do.
“I’m a git,
Remus.” It wasn’t the most eloquent plea to make, but it was all he could think
of. “A total moron. We…. We can go. We can leave you
seemed unable to answer them.
And none of
them moved to leave.
their places, as if frozen there by some unbreakable charm, each of them
staring off into a different shadowy corner, each of them intensely aware of
the others’ presence.
after what seemed like an eternity, Remus stilled. He slowly dropped his hands
from his head and gripped his knees instead, his breathing hoarse.
could only imagine what he was thinking. He had never seen Remus break
down like this. He wondered if maybe coming here hadn’t been a mistake. He
wondered if Remus would ever forgive them for it.
spoke. No one moved. But as the sound of Moony’s breathing returned to normal,
Sirius could feel the air around them grow warmer, somehow. Of course it was
probably only his imagination… but it was there.
next hour, the silence between the four of them felt like a tangible thing,
like strands entwined, binding them together in a way that fumbling words never
And when the three anxious friends
finally left the hospital wing and its lone patient behind them, they knew that
they had been forgiven, and that all was as it should be once again.
I hope your summer
has been absolutely brilliant so far. Personally, I’m beginning to think that
summer is a great waste of valuable time, time which could be far better spent
in advance study for N.E.W.T.s - preferably in a secluded broom closet
somewhere, as I’m sure Sirius would say. That bastard.
The last thing he told me when we left King’s Cross was that he’s willing to
bet his Nimbus 1500 that they make me Head Boy next year, and if they do he
promises he will make my life living hell. When I pointed out that he doesn’t
even own a Nimbus 1500 yet, he got a bit shirty, I
have to say. I said that being mates with him was already a living hell, and
he’d have to think of something better. I confess I’m beginning to regret that
statement. The glint in his eyes as he left the station was not at all
would be willing to bet my quite tangible Nimbus 1500 that you, Miss Evans,
will very certainly be made Head Girl for next term. Which I think is quite a
marvelous state of affairs, as you can then make sure that we are always let
off easy after being caught releasing animated Cockroach Clusters in the
Slytherin girls’ toilet.
I miss you.
My whole first evening
and morning of summer holiday have been lovely, thank you for asking. I would
have responded to you last night when Ganymede brought your letter, but Mum
prepared a big fancy supper, and she made me stay at the table almost all night
telling them about all the new spells we’ve learned. Sometimes I think she
wishes she were a witch too, the way she’s so fascinated by even the simplest
Charm. But I imagine I would be the same way if it had been Petunia who got the
invitation to Hogwarts rather than myself. Though I’m
sure she wouldn’t have gone, even if she had been invited. She hates it when I
talk about Hogwarts. Sometimes it makes me sad, because I really think it’s me
she hates. And then sometimes it makes me angry, because she shouldn’t hate me.
She’s my sister! But this is far too gloomy a topic for the first letter of
Sometimes, James Potter,
you are really spectacularly stupid, and you simply ask for trouble. You have
been Sirius Black’s friend for years, and yet you’re still too thick to refrain
from baiting him. If I didn’t know that you enjoy it so much, I would think you
were thicker than Davey Gudgeon.
It would be a real honor
if they asked me to be Head Girl. Mum and Dad would be so proud, and I admit I
would be proud too. I remember I was so scared, my first year, that I would
never learn how to be a proper witch. And it would be nice, wouldn’t it, if a Muggle-born witch or wizard was given that distinction? You
know that I don’t want to antagonize anyone, or make an example that would
cause more pain and trouble, but even so.... I would be proud to be that
But this is even a more
depressing topic than talking about Petunia. Do say hello to your mother from
me. And remind Remus that he promised to write me
about Astronomy - he’s the only one of you from whom I can get a decent
Be careful with yourself.
My Dear Lily,
If it weren’t a
terribly unsporting thing to do, I would give Petunia a sound and thorough
Cursing for treating you poorly. Perhaps if I had your permission first I would
feel like less of a heel about it. Should I?
Of course, this is
assuming that I shall be permitted to see you this summer. It has now been two
days since holiday began, and I am most distressed that I haven’t yet received
an invitation to the Evans home. Do they think I’m not good enough for you? I
don’t suppose I could convince them with a display of Quidditch prowess? Or a Confundus
But I am, as you
know, an impatient bloke. I am therefore issuing a formal invitation of my own:
My Dear Miss
Evans, I would be most honored if you would consent to visit me at Rosewood,
home to generations of Potter wizards and generally one of the dullest places
in England. I promise to do my best to entertain you, and mother would be
delighted to see you. I only wish you could have come when my father was here.
And I must say
that I’m surprised to hear you calling Davey Gudgeon ‘thick.’ Wasn’t it you who
told Sirius that if he insulted ‘poor Davey’ one more time you were going to
I haven’t heard
from Remus yet, but he usually sulks for the first week of holiday. You know
how moody he gets. But we decided that we’re not going to let him mope the days
away this time. Next week is the full moon, and if we can’t be there with him
then we’re going to do whatever we can to make his life miserable in other
ways. When I write him I’ll be sure to let him know that you demand an Astronomy
lecture. I think you’re both ill.
You know how proud
I would be if they made you Head Girl. You’ve worked harder than anyone else I
know, and you deserve every shred of recognition. And besides, I think it would
be a good smack in the face for all those Slytherins.
Did you see the
paper this morning? Do you still have a subscription to the Prophet at
home? I’ll have Ganymede bring you my paper if you don’t. There was another
attack last night. I...
I don’t want to
talk about this in a letter. I’ve half a mind to Floo to London and find one of those telephones so that I
can talk to you.
Reply as quickly
as humanly possible, or I will become quite depressed.
You know that I would
love to visit. But I do think it would be prudent for you to visit here first -
my parents do want to meet you. And actually, I think Dad would be very
impressed by stories of your Quidditch prowess. He’s a great fan of football,
and while Mum is always asking questions about Charms, Dad asks questions about
Quidditch. It’s strange, in a way, to come home to a world where Quidditch is
an oddity. It’s hard to believe that my life has changed so completely in only
six years. I can’t imagine life without Quidditch now... and I imagine you find
it hard to understand what I mean. You’ve never had to make the transition
between two worlds like that. It’s an amazing transition to make, it really is.
I think it’s beautiful.
I don’t understand why
some people can consider it wrong. I don’t understand how they could kill
because of it. I wanted to understand, once. I wanted to know why, to try to
figure it out, to make some sense of it all. I think I wanted to justify it,
somehow. I don’t know if I even want to understand anymore, James. I just want
it to end. I wish I could have met your father, too.
I’m sorry to be so morose
today. I do still get the Prophet, and I read about the attacks. I’ve
decided to hide the paper from my parents this summer. I know that may be wrong
of me, but they don’t need to know this. They would only be frightened and
worried and they might try to make me stay away from Hogwarts next term. I
can’t do that. Hogwarts is my life now - and that’s something I need to tell
them soon. After we leave school, I’m going to make the transition to the
wizarding world complete. I need it now. It’s who I am. That’s going to be a
hard conversation to have, and I’m not looking forward to it. I can just hear
what Petunia’s going to have to say about it. (I should warn you that if you do
come to visit, Petunia is not going to be very nice to you.)
You know perfectly well
why I threatened to hex Sirius if he didn’t stop harassing Davey Gudgeon.
Making private jokes is one thing. Seeing him accidentally trip at the dinner table
and then asking him if he lost his good eye in the Christmas Pudding
and would he please mind not setting everyone off their appetites in future is
another thing entirely. Sirius knows exactly what I think of that kind of
behavior, and he knows what will happen to him, so don’t you bother
I’m glad that you’re
looking after Remus. You are the best friends he could ever have hoped for, and
I admire you all for what you’ve done for him. Though I still wish you would
have told me about it earlier. I could have helped with your Animagus research.
But you did quite fine on your own, didn’t you? Honestly, James, I think Sirius
might be right - I would not be surprised if they asked you to be Head Boy.
You’re quite smart enough, though you know how I hate to worsen your already
inflated head. And besides that, I think the teachers, and Dumbledore, know
they can trust you. Which is quite ironic, really, considering how often you’ve
tried bringing the whole castle down around their ears. But they will need a
Head Boy they can trust next year. We can’t pretend that the school doesn’t
need such things as badly as the rest of the world these days.
I miss you awfully.
I have tickets to
the League Quarter Finals - Wanderers versus the Wasps. So be sure that you
have your sorry ass here by the 15th. You can stay for the rest of
the summer, too, if that’s all right with your Aunt. But if Lily comes to visit
I expect you to make yourself scarce.
P.S. If Ganymede
comes back in any way altered from his natural state, you’ll regret it. Pursue
your quarrels like a man and leave the owl out of it this time.
My Aunt will be
glad to get rid of me. She’ll deny it, of course, but I think that throwing the
gnome through her parlor window instead of over the hedge yesterday
successfully snapped her final nerve. She believed me when I said it was an
accident, but swears that nothing can be done to repair the old flying carpet
the little bugger managed to eat half of before we got him out of there. Not
that it’s much of a loss, mind you - that carpet hasn’t done anything but hover
and spit threads for at least twenty years.
So yes, I’ll be
there on the 15th. And I will make every effort not to mock you in
public whilst Lily visits. Are you going to invite Moony and Wormtail to visit
before September? Don’t forget to write Moony. I’m wondering if I should send
him a Howler telling him not to mope all summer.
The Wasps are going
to crush the Wanderers, no doubt about it. Did you see the results of
yesterday’s game against the Bats? Absolutely brutal.
Sixteen goals! Sorriest excuse for a Keeper I’ve ever heard of. Even you could
do better than that.
P.S. Did I ever tell
you that you are the most arrogant bastard I have ever known? I still cannot
believe you named your bloody owl Ganymede. And rest assured that I will leave
the owl out of it from now on. It’s not his fault he has an absolute git for an
owner. (Notice I did not say ‘master’ much less ‘god.’)
I thought you
might be interested in knowing that I’ve been doing research lately into
enchanting objects with sentience, and I think I’ve come up with a clever way
to make the Map ‘talk.’ As soon as I work it out a bit more, I’ll send it on to
you for the Lupin stamp of approval.
For now, I’m
sending on a package of Fizzing Whizzbees, so that you can use them every time
you start to feel down on yourself. You’ll notice I’ve included one for every
day of the week.
P.S. Lily asked me
to remind you to write to her about Astronomy. I am growing increasingly
convinced that you are using Love Potions on my girlfriend. Is it going to have
to come to a duel?
Don’t forget to
write to Remus, and to keep me informed on what he says. Remember the bet was
for two weeks. Personally I think you’re being quite stupid. I KNOW that Remus
will threaten to kill Sirius in less than two weeks. You have too low an
opinion of Sirius’ ability to antagonize people.
Two weeks. Ten Galleons. And a box of Sugar Quills.
I would be quite
willing to endure Petunia’s displeasure if it means getting to see you again.
When can I come? Will you really come here afterward? For how
I just heard some
news from my mother this morning. She heard from a friend of hers (Elsa
McKinnon, she works in the M.L.E.S.) that Bartemius Crouch has decided to
temporarily lift the restrictions on underage sorcery. It hasn’t been
officially announced yet, but I imagine you’ll see it in the Prophet within
the next few days. I guess the Improper Use of Magic Office was being
overloaded, sending out warnings for all sorts of people trying to put wards up
around their homes. I imagine most of them were Muggle-born. I always thought
it was pointless of them to start teaching us about wards early in our studies
if we can’t use them when we leave school on holiday. Promise me something Lily
- promise me that you’ll put up every ward you can think of. In fact, ask your
parents if I can visit as soon as possible, and I’ll come over and put some
wards up too.
But that’s not the
only reason I mentioned this. You’re probably wondering what’s in the pouch. Well,
inside the pouch is enough Echo Powder to last you about a week. I know it
won’t work in your fireplace, but Sirius and I modified this particular batch a
few months ago. Just conjure up any wizard flame (you can do it now without
worrying about being expelled, isn’t that nice?) and put the Powder in that. It
will only be enough to carry your voice, but this way I can talk to you. (I
didn’t pay nearly enough attention in Muggle Studies to know how to use a
telephone properly, I’m afraid. You don’t want to hear about what happened
yesterday in London.)
I’ll be at my
fireplace all night tonight. Please use it.
I’m at a loss. I don’t
know how to thank you sufficiently for your thoughtful concerns. But rest
assured that I am not, as you so quaintly put it, ‘Moping around with my head
up my ass.’ I am, at the moment, merely thankful that there are no neighbors in
the immediate vicinity.
If you ever send me a
Howler again, Black, you will sorely regret it.
Your slightly deaf friend,
You know quite well that I
have never been much good at potions. If you’re concerned about this, you
should look to Sirius, as I seem to recall him mentioning something about
making a trip down Knockturn Alley sometime this summer. May he rot there.
What enchantments have you
been researching? It might be possible to enchant the Map so that it would
respond to more than one command. What did you have in mind?
Thank you for the Fizzing
Whizzbees. You do know they give me indigestion, don’t you?
I talked to James
last night. Has he told you about the underage sorcery restrictions being
lifted? I’m tempted to send Bartemius Crouch a thank you gift. He has no idea
what he’s unleashed. We are going to get a lot of work done this summer.
By the way, James
and I decided something last night. He’s supposed to visit Lily sometime soon
(Can you believe it? He is completely lost), and as soon as he knows where she
lives, he and I are going to sneak back one night and set up extra wards around
her house. Lily’s a smart girl and there’s no doubt she’ll set some up herself,
but we want to be extra sure. He doesn’t want to upset her too much, so we’ll
take care of it quietly. You need to find a way to come with us, Remus. We need
you for this. Don’t mention it to Peter, though. He’ll want to come and help,
but it would be better if he stays behind. The last thing we need is to be
spotted. Lily might get startled and hex us out the window, and I do not want
to be on the wrong end of an Evans curse. I’ve had bad experiences with it.
You’d better not
be moping still. And if you’ve already started advance reading on next term’s
set books, I will see that you suffer for it.
James let slip
about your bet. I can’t believe you two were wagering on my death. Some people
are simply callous.
You owe Prongs ten
Galleons, I believe - I’ve already managed to work Moony into a froth. But you
can send that box of Sugar Quills to me. Those two bastards just don’t
appreciate good sweets like you and I do.
I kept Ganymede overnight
because he looked quite tired. You’ve been overworking him, I think.
It was wonderful to talk
to you last night. I don’t really have much more to say, not after that lengthy
conversation. Except that it feels strange to go down to breakfast in the
morning and not see you there.
I spoke with
Sirius and explained my new ideas for the Map. He seemed to think they would
work, and told me to talk to ‘the Professor’ about them. I’m assuming he meant
you, as I’m certainly not about to bring it up with McGonagall.
It was Peter’s
idea to make it so that the Map could give instructions that started me
thinking. If we can enchant the Map with enough sentient memory to give
instructions on opening the secret passages, how much harder could it be to
enchant it with OUR sentient memory? I mean, think about it - if you were to
find this Map, and learn how to use it somehow, and needed instructions on
opening a secret door, wouldn’t you rather see it in Sirius’ colorful
vocabulary? All right, maybe not. I wouldn’t either. But it could have other,
better purposes. Right now, if someone doesn’t know the key words, then the Map
simply won’t appear. It would be damn entertaining to make that refusal bit
more interesting, don’t you think?
I’m sending you
this book on Ensnaring Enchantments that I found in my father’s study.
There are some spells in here which I think might work. What do you think?
P.S. Sirius told
me about the Howler. I don’t think you should let him get away with that. I
just wanted you to be aware that I am available should you require any
I know you still
have a few days’ worth of Powder left, but I went ahead and modified some more.
This way you don’t need to worry about your supply running out. No need to worry
about conservation. Am I being pathetically clear enough?
I will talk to you
I miss you.
Feel free to keep Ganymede overnight again if the urge strikes you. I think he likes you better anyway, not
that I blame him. And this way he’s spared having to deliver things to Sirius -
I swear he starts to molt feathers right before my eyes at the mere sound of
I can’t believe he told you
about the bet. No, wait, yes I can. He might at least have waited the two
weeks, though. But knowing you, you probably beat it out of him somehow. No one
can keep a secret with you around.
I think I’ll keep the Sugar
Quills for myself.
Mum won’t stop bothering me
about my marks. Please tell me we’re going to do something fun this holiday. I
don’t want to be stuck alone here any longer.
You don’t really need ten
extra Galleons. Besides, I think it’s only fair that you provide me with proof
of a death threat before I have to hand any money over.
I think I’m going to need
that Arithmancy help next term after all. I hate Arithmancy.
Sirius says he ‘worked you
into a froth.’ What happened?
I hear I am supposed to
write to you about Astronomy. As you are quite talented at Astronomy yourself,
I doubt there is much I could tell you that you don’t already know. However, I can
tell you that I was successful in acquiring the Fwooper eggshells you were
hoping for. (It was an interesting experience, exchanging Muggle money at the
bank. Are you certain I can keep one of these ‘notes’? Also, the eggshells were
not nearly as expensive as we’d feared, so I’m sending along the extra in
I hope the color pattern
on the shell is satisfactory. Most of what they had was pink and orange, but I
managed to find this green one at the bottom of the tray. I hope the piece is
large enough to work with.
I feel it my duty to say
that you’re spoiling James terribly, and he’s quite spoiled enough as it is.
But I do think he’ll be honored. If he doesn’t act suitably honored, in fact, I
will berate him soundly for you. My pleasure.
It’s convenient (among
other things) that they’re lifting the underage sorcery restrictions, as you’ll
be able to use a few handy spells now to help you with your project. At least
you’ll be taking advantage of it in a productive manner, whereas Sirius is
already plotting evil doing. (He could use a good cursing right about now,
Thank you so much for
getting the eggshells for me - this green is absolutely perfect! And yes, I
probably am spoiling James. But I can’t help it. And I imagine that you don’t want
to hear me going on about him, so I won’t. But if he doesn’t act
honored, then I give you permission to soundly berate him, or curse him, or
whatever it is you four do when there’s dissension in the ranks.
Of course you can keep
the notes. I’m always amused by the wizard fascination with all things Muggle.
I like wizard coin so much better. It has a weight to it that the notes don’t
have. And I guess it… just means something to me.
I’m a bit surprised by the lifting on underage
restrictions, honestly. I never would have imagined Crouch authorizing such a
thing. I guess that attack on the Farrows really shocked everyone. The very first day of holiday. Everything just gets worse
and worse, doesn’t it?
I hope you’re feeling
well. From what James tells me, they all sound rather determined in making your
life miserable this summer. But I’m sure you’ll give as good
as you get.
Thank you again for the
eggshells. I owe you.
I spoke to my parents
after our conversation last night, and they think it would be lovely if you
could come to visit this next weekend. I haven’t quite convinced them about
letting me stay at Rosewood for the last few weeks of summer, but give me time.
I’ll work on Mum a bit, and I’m sure I can make them see reason. You might ask
your mother to write them - I think that would help.
P.S. Remus is asking me
to curse Sirius. What exactly has been going on? It seems that every time
there’s a lack of other people to torment, you all turn upon each other.
I would be glad to help
you with Arithmancy. It would help me to have someone to do revisions with,
What did Sirius do? He
exists. Does it require more of an explanation?
The truth is that I think
he’s getting restless with his Aunt. I don’t think he’s happy there. It’s been
years now, but I don’t think he’s ever grown quite comfortable with it. I know
he’s going to stay with James for the rest of the summer, and I think that will
be good for both of them. I can tell that Prongs isn’t dealing very well with
his father’s death, and he needs someone right now who will understand.
You don’t sound too happy
either, Wormtail. What a sorry lot we all are.
Your ‘moping’ friend,
Your marks are
perfectly fine. Don’t let the old bag tell you otherwise. And don’t bother
berating me for insulting your mother - I’m only repeating your own words.
absolutely right - we need to do something interesting this holiday. Now that
the underage restrictions have been lifted, we can really have some fun. James
and I have been talking about improvements on the Map. And I think that a trip
to Zonko’s is in order - we’re low on supplies.
Let us know if it
gets really bad over there and we’ll come rescue you. Or set the house on fire.
Whichever works more effectively.
I can see you
twitching over there. I’m just kidding. You know I’d never set your house on
forgiven me for the Howler yet, have you? I would almost feel guilty about
sending it, if I didn’t know that you were in fact moping - don’t try to
deny it - and therefore deserved every howl and shriek.
I know you’re
perfectly capable of giving me the silent treatment, but look at it this way:
if you won’t talk to me willingly, you know that I’ll only find other ways of
getting your attention, and the longer you ignore me, the more creative I’ll
become. It’s in your best interest to talk to me, or Howlers will be the least
of your worries.
I’ve been thinking
about the full moon next week, and I really think that Padfoot could sneak onto
your property without your parents noticing. If nothing else,
I can hang around outside the shed, and we can yip yap away the hours.
Prongs is just too damn conspicuous with that shining white coat of his to
sneak in anywhere (someone has a complex, I’m telling you), but Wormtail could
come with me just fine. So do me a favor and just
consider it, all right?
I waited all night
by the fireplace like a dutiful friend, and your head did not deign to make an
appearance. There I was, prepared to roast a few apples in that ridiculous hair
of yours, and yet… no Potter.
I’m going to make
a wild leap and guess that you were talking with Lily and my very existence had
completely slipped your mind.
Well, if you had
bothered to talk to me as scheduled, I would have told you that the Lightning
Lacquer High Speed Performance Polish I ordered from
Quality Quidditch finally arrived yesterday. At the moment I’m debating whether
or not to let you use any of it. You know how petty I am.
But I am also
magnanimous. I forgive you for your bout of forgetfulness. After all, you’ve
got the League tickets.
If I were to give you the
silent treatment for every juvenile prank you pull, then we would never speak
again. While that sounds appealing in many ways, in the end, for some
unfathomable reason, I still have a desire to talk to my friends.
I don’t want you to sneak
onto my family’s property on the full moon. I endured this for years before I
ever had company. I can handle it now. It’s not worth the risk; if you or Peter
were spotted, it could lead to all sorts of questions that none of us are
willing to answer. I appreciate the sentiment, but this matter is best left
And I’m sure you’re
wondering by now how I managed to enchant this parchment to project Augury
cries - and, more importantly, how you can stop it. While I certainly don’t
wish to shorten the duration of your suffering by helping you with the problem,
I will give you one piece of advice: if you destroy the parchment before
disenchanting it, the cries will continue to echo in the room indefinitely.
You can thank James for
this, by the way. If it weren’t for the book he lent me on Ensnaring
Enchantments, I never would have figured out how to work this spell. I
quite like it. At first I considered enchanting it with Fwooper song, but since
you are already quite insane I decided that would only be redundant. In the
end, I chose Augury cries in the hope that it might convince you to throw
yourself out of a high window.
Do let me know how it
You’re a real
Thanks to your
little trick I’ve been punished with de-gnoming the entire neighborhood. I’ve
been at it since dawn, after a single hour’s sleep, since that was all that was
left of the night by the time I stopped that damn spell.
I hope you’re
I suggest you
start to prepare yourself now. You’ll need it.
I think going to Zonko’s is
a good idea, and the Three Broomsticks too. You know
how my mum gets about Butterbeer in the house, and I’m just dying for some. She
still thinks that I don’t know about that bottle of Firewhiskey behind the
Well, if you’ll help me with
Arithmancy then maybe I’ll actually pass the next term. Hopefully Lily will
help with the Divination stuff next term as well - she’s really good at it, and
it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why should I even want to read tea
leaves? I don’t even like drinking tea that much. I was thinking about dropping
Divination next year altogether. What do you think?
You know, I hate writing all
those essays for History of Magic, but I’d rather be at school than here at
home. You can’t do anything at home these days without hearing horrible news. I
guess I just don’t know how to deal with it.
Is everything going to be
all right with the next full moon? I know that’s a stupid question.
My Dearest James,
I realize that I’m
not as pretty as Lily Evans, nor can I hope to tempt you with the myriad
delights of the female body. But it has been at least a week since I heard from
you and IF YOU DON’T START TALKING TO YOUR BEST MATE VERY SOON YOU WILL BE VERY
SORRY. I should never have helped you develop that special Echo Powder. I
should have known that the moment you could talk to Lily at any time I would
never hear from you again.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s the 15th in two days and I will be on your doorstep whether
you’ve spoken to me or not. But I warn you, if you haven’t at least written me
a note to say ‘sod off’ by that time, then you are not going to like what I
bring with me.
I’ve had a
brilliant idea!!! Find frogs - as many frogs as you can get your hands on. Small ones. Preferably dead, though live
ones could work. I’ll bring the chocolate. I think it’s time we paid
James and Remus back for... for everything they’ve ever done. Who needs a
reason? They’ll never suspect it coming as a gift from you. That damn guileless
look of yours is pure gold, Wormtail, pure gold.
The full moon will
pass. There’s no need to worry, but
thanks for the concern.
I know how you feel; there
doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid hearing dreadful news these days. We just
have to get through each day as best we can.
The summer will be over
before you know it. I would rather be at Hogwarts too.
I won’t need to prepare
myself. Anything you throw at me is likely to be easily countered. Give it your
You think too
highly of yourself.
You were warned.
Expect me to arrive at Rosewood tomorrow with disaster at my heels.
Your mother likes
me better anyway.
“He spoke about you often.
Quidditch was… was special to him. I think he would want you to be there.”
It wasn’t as if they could have
Attending this funeral was the last
thing that James wanted to do, and easily the worst end to the Christmas
holiday that he could imagine.
But it was now the only
thing he could do for a person he had considered a friend, so he would see it
done. And though it wasn’t by any means a comforting thought, he steeled
himself for the task by reminding himself that Aaron MacAllister’s family was
having a far worse Christmas holiday than he.
Aaron had been killed on Boxing
Day, just after leaving Diagon Alley, where he’d gone to commission magical
repairs on the dress he’d bought as a gift for his mother. Sixth
year Gryffindor, a Chaser under James’ captainship for the last three years.
“Is this… is this thing on right?”
James turned at the sound of the
subdued voice to see Malachi Gordon, Gryffindor Beater for the last two years,
tugging helplessly at the Muggle necktie around his shirt collar.
“Here.” Sirius stepped up to him,
pushed Malachi’s hands aside, and fixed the necktie in silence. He’d been
silent most of the afternoon, which was a rarity for Sirius, even on somber
But then, James reflected, the only
other time he’d ever been with Sirius at a funeral had been at the service for
Alexander Potter a year ago… and James could remember very little about that
day, except for the engravings on the side of his father’s coffin. He
remembered those engravings with perfect clarity. He also remembered that
Sirius had been there, standing at his back the whole time, though he couldn’t
recall what, if anything, his friend might have said to him that day. He
supposed that Sirius must have been as silent and somber then as he was now,
adjusting the necktie for his fellow Beater.
The whole team was here. They had
all received letters from Aaron’s parents just yesterday, informing them of his
death, and inviting them to attend the funeral. Quidditch was special to him,
they’d said. He spoke of his teammates all the time, it had been his greatest
joy in discovering wizardry, and would they do this last thing for him?
It wasn’t as if they could have
There were others here, too, more
of Aaron’s schoolmates, mostly Gryffindors. Aaron had indeed been obsessed with
his performance on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and had interacted with few
people outside his own house - a kind of team loyalty taken to the extreme.
He’d been a good Chaser, James
thought. A natural. Good Chaser, proud Gryffindor,
and a good wizard.
a hand brush lightly against his shoulder, and he turned to see Lily standing
behind him, giving him a weak but comforting smile. He reached out and took her
hand in his, glad for the contact.
standing next to Lily, looking intensely awkward in the Muggle clothing they’d
all been given to wear for the occasion. While everyone else looked pale, some
of them even teary, Peter looked positively gray. He hadn’t know Aaron as well
as James and Sirius had, but
most of the seventh and sixth year Gryffindors had come today;
they’d known Aaron the longest. A few had been unable to make it, or too
nervous about mingling at a mostly Muggle gathering.
James only wished that Remus were
here; Moony had a way about him that calmed people. But last night had been the
full moon, and Remus was currently in no condition to go anywhere, certainly
not to a funeral. In the end, for this one month, James supposed that Remus had
Malachi muttered as Sirius gave one last, not altogether gentle tug on his
necktie. “I think it’s been wrong all afternoon. Muggles certainly don’t go for
Bones, Chaser, and the youngest on the team as a third year, gave a quiet grunt
of agreement. Morton had a wiry build, and a tendency to look awkward in
anything but a Quidditch uniform; the Muggle clothing seemed to stick out at
strange angles on his thin frame, and he looked decidedly uncomfortable. His
eyes were bloodshot under his mop of yellow hair, and James suspected that he’d
probably been fighting tears ever since they got here. Morton had looked up to
everyone on the team, but to Aaron and James especially, as fellow Chasers.
Aaron had always been patient and friendly with him.
just a kid, James thought, trying not to show his concern too openly. But
he couldn’t help feeling for Morton. He was just a third year, just starting to
really take in what was happening in the world outside of Hogwarts… and this
was an ugly lesson.
Looking at Morton’s pale, freckled
face, James suddenly felt very old and tired. He closed his hand more tightly
around Lily’s but couldn’t bring himself to look at her for fear that his
expression would break and reveal too much. He had to be strong. He was the
team Captain. It didn’t matter if they weren’t on the pitch right now, he was
still the Captain, and this green cemetery field demanded more of him in that
capacity than any Quidditch pitch could.
suddenly at his shoulder, his voice low and his eyes looking paler and brighter
than usual in his white face. He nodded back in the direction of the building
from which they’d just emerged.
looked back to see Michael MacAllister, Aaron’s older brother, Muggle, trying
to catch their eye from just inside the doorway. Michael didn’t look pale nor
his eyes bloodshot; he looked like his face had been carved out of stone, and the nod he gave them when he caught their eyes
was a stiff one. James remembered that kind of stiffness. At his father’s
funeral, he’d felt like his body was encased in one of the suits of armor that
liked to wander around the lower floors of Hogwarts; too heavy to move
properly, and cold to the touch.
Sirius murmured, his voice, too, sounding as though it
were coming from the hollow depths of a suit of armor.
his head, trying to clear it of morbid wanderings. He gave Lily one last look,
drawing strength from her steady green gaze, then released her hand and
followed Sirius back into the building - where the last of the mourners were
just filing out, and Aaron’s brother led them back to the coffin.
wizarding funeral, it was customary for the coffin to be levitated by all of
the deceased’s family members and closest loved ones. Wands out, the witches
and wizards would float their burden to its final resting place. But this was a
Muggle funeral. And he and Sirius had been asked to take part in this final
stage of the Muggle ceremony.
nothing as he took up his position at one corner of the coffin, only exchanged
one last, bleak glance with Sirius before they both joined Aaron’s brother and
father in lifting the wooden frame onto their shoulders.
steadied the burden with his hands, and tried to focus only on the feel of the
polished wood beneath his fingers as they walked. He stared blindly ahead at
Michael’s feet, following their trail and the pull of the weight on his
shoulder. He tried not to think about the last game they’d played with Aaron,
and how ecstatic he’d been about the win against Ravenclaw. He tried not to
think about the way his father’s coffin had felt similarly cool and smooth
beneath his hands.
walked on and on, and the weight pressing down on his shoulder grew greater and
more painful, all James could think of was how unfair and cruel it seemed that
Muggles should have to carry their dead in such a fashion. At that moment, he
would have given anything to be able to pull out his wand and do this the
proper way. Aaron would have appreciated that, he thought. He might have been
Muggle-born, but he was a wizard too.
After this - James decided, feeling
the edge of wood digging into the base of his neck - after this they would all
go to Hogsmeade, and they would do something to remember Aaron in their own
way. He might have been killed for the magic in his blood, but Aaron had loved
being a wizard, and James refused to let the spell that killed him be the final
magic worked in his name.
Finally, after what seemed like a
bleak eternity, they came to the appropriate place and lowered their burden.
But James found that, even with the weight gone, he couldn’t bring order to his
thoughts. He felt cast adrift, unable to focus on the final words being spoken,
or on the people around him. Instead, his thoughts kept wandering back to their
last Quidditch practice, and the Porskoff Ploy he and Aaron had been working on
“I’m just not as good as you,
Aaron always had a laugh for every
self-deprecating comment. He always had a smile for every time he swore to
improve. He was always better than he claimed to be.
James frowned. He’d never be able
to pull off that Ploy without MacAllister. Morton couldn’t handle it, not yet.
He just couldn’t do it without MacAllister.
He struggled to come back to
himself, to answer the concern in the voice at his side. Lily’s
“I’m all right.”
Her hand slipped into his again,
cool and steady. She didn’t call him on his lie, and he was grateful for it.
“Everyone’s leaving,” she said
James blinked, wondering stupidly
if there was something wrong with his glasses, and managed to take a look
Everyone was leaving. Even
Aaron’s family was trailing away from the graveside, moving together as though
they feared being lost if separated. The rest of the Muggles were leaving, too,
and even most of the Hogwarts students. They also left in groups, and they had
good reason to do so; attending the funeral of a Muggle-born friend could be a
risky thing these days, and traveling in numbers was only a wise precaution.
But every member of the Gryffindor
Quidditch team remained, along with Lily and Peter. They were waiting, he
realized. Waiting for him.
James let his gaze travel over
them, taking in their sad and frightened faces. Malachi had his arm - thick
arm, good Beater he was - around Kelly Dobbs’ shoulders. Dobbs had played
Keeper on his team for three years, and James had never seen her looking as
devastated as she did now, not even after they’d lost that game to Hufflepuff
last year. Morton had his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his trousers,
his head hunched down in the misbuttoned collar of his shirt, and he refused to
meet anyone’s eyes. Lakshmi Patil was standing next to Sirius, tears streaming
silently down her face. She was a small girl - perfect Seeker build - and she
looked even smaller now, drowning in a Muggle coat too large for her, and
looking very much as though she wished Sirius would extend her a comforting arm
as his fellow Beater was doing for Dobbs. James knew that Lakshmi had had a
crush on Sirius for ages. But Sirius, for all that he flirted outrageously with
any girl who stood still long enough in his presence, was in truth rather
oblivious to the way the girls in question were feeling.
thought about how difficult it would be to fill an open position so late into
the season. They’d have to familiarize themselves with a new player’s
techniques. It was going to be damn hard to win this next match without Aaron. Next match… against Slytherin.
win. He’d see to it.
pulled Lily closer, and rested a comforting hand on Peter’s shoulder. He swept
his gaze over his team again. “Let’s go.”
nodded and immediately turned Kelly around to walk slowly across the cemetery
lawn, heading for the cover of trees where they could all safely use the
Portkey that would take them back to Hogsmeade. Morton followed after them, his
caught Sirius’ eyes, and for a moment they just stared at each other, sharing
everything that always went unspoken in situations like these. Then Sirius
quirked a small, reassuring smile, and James was glad
to see it. He’d needed it.
swept a careless arm around Lakshmi and led her away, seemingly oblivious to
the way she leaned her dark head against his shoulder and wiped quickly at her
eyes. As they passed, James could just make out the sound of Sirius murmuring
something about Muggle fashion, and Lakshmi giggling softly through the hiccupping
of fading tears.
started to follow after them, but James found that he couldn’t move. She
stopped, still holding his hand, and gave him a questioning look. When he
couldn’t seem to find his voice either, she just nodded. “I’ll give you a minute.”
She let go of his hand, and moved to catch up with Sirius and Lakshmi.
turned and stared down, one last time, into the grave. Someone had thrown roses
onto the polished coffin lid. He couldn’t remember whom.
“You were a
great Chaser, Aaron,” he murmured. Because it would have
meant something to Aaron MacAllister. He’d loved Quidditch more than any
pureblood wizard James had ever known. “The best.”
He almost expected a reply, just as he’d
almost expected his father to sit up that day last year and brush off the
effects of a killing curse like so much Floo powder.
hadn’t. And neither would Aaron.
turned away from the grave, and saw Peter still standing behind him, looking
grayer than ever and as uncomfortable as Morton in his Muggle clothes.
“Wormtail.” James gave the best comforting smile he could
manage. “Waiting for me?”
gave him a bleak look. For a long moment, he said nothing, and then his voice
emerged softer and more uncertain than usual. “How can we fight this, James?”
He made a jerky motion, as if to gesture at Aaron’s grave, but quickly gave up
and just wrapped his arms around his chest under his jacket, looking small and…
frightened. “I don’t think I can fight this.”
didn’t know what to say. Right now, he didn’t trust himself to say anything
that wouldn’t just upset Peter more than he already was. He didn’t want Peter
to know that he’d been asking himself the same question for a long time now -
and he hadn’t come up with any kind of comforting answer.
So he said
nothing. He just clapped his hand again on Peter’s shoulder and shook his head.
“Let’s go home, Wormtail.”
frowned, then nodded with a sigh.
his eyes on Lily’s hair in the distance and followed it like a beacon, like
some guiding spirit to lead him away from darkness and onto safer ground.
We’re free. I can
hardly believe it. I could walk into the M.L.E.S. headquarters right now and
sign up for training as a full-fledged wizard. It’s about bloody time. Seven
years. Whose idea was it to make school seven ruddy years long? Probably someone like you.
I think I’m still
hung over from that party. This means that another round of Butterbeer is in
order to cure my ills. What about tonight? I’ll write Wormtail as well. I think
James is a lost cause for tonight, if the way he was looking at Lily yesterday
is any indication. Sometimes I just want to lock them in a cellar somewhere so
they can get it over with.
Write me back
about tonight, or Echo, or something. I’m going stir crazy. We still ought to
What say you to
another evening at the Broomsticks tonight? On me. A
drink for every time McGonagall said we’d never even learn how to transmutate
an egg into a chicken if we didn’t “PAY ATTENTION” in class. We showed her,
didn’t we? I’ll never forget how long it took us to catch that headless chicken
of yours - still one of your greatest feats, as far as I’m concerned, even if
McGonagall was “not amused.” Ah, the memories. Come to Hogsmeade tonight and
let’s get started on being those nostalgic old wizards in the corner booth,
gabbling about the old days of Hogwarts to all the hapless third years on their
first visit. We’ve earned it.
You’re right - you can
walk into the D.M.L.E. and sign up for training. Are you going to?
Thanks to the Rum Ramoras
you thoughtfully dissolved in my Butterbeer, I’m rather hung-over myself. I
think you owe me an unadulterated round, and so I will meet you tonight at the
Three Broomsticks where you can buy off your debt to me. Always assuming
Rosmerta has been able to repair all the damage by now, and that she’ll welcome
us back at all.
And before you go about
locking James and Lily into any cellars, you might consider what Lily would do
to you afterward.
I hear you went
out carousing last night without me. You’re still upset that I beat you out on
the end-of-the-year speech, aren’t you?
I just got a
letter from Jeremy Abbott inviting us to meet up with the Hufflepuff team next
week for a post-term match. He says he’ll try to get Ackerley to bring along
his Ravenclaws too, and get in touch with some of last year’s players. Sounds
like a time to me. What do you think?
Thank you for last
I should pay a
visit to your parents sometime soon, I think. It’s been a while. I wouldn’t
want Petunia to forget all about me.
My mother wants to
see you again, too. She…
She’s not doing
well, Lily. I’m worried about her. She’s acting like she’s hiding something,
and I’m not sure what to do about it.
But I didn’t
intend for this letter to be morose. We have our whole lives ahead of us now. I
tend to share Sirius’ opinion on this: we should be celebrating. In that
spirit, I say we go to all of those disreputable taverns in the Aberdeen
District that can no longer turn us out.
Somehow I doubt
you’re going to be quite as enthusiastic about that suggestion as Sirius would,
but I thought I’d give it a try.
Please tell me
I’ll see you again soon.
I was thinking
about what you said in your letter yesterday, about the M.L.E.S. I was too soused last night to think about
much of anything, but it’s all very painfully clear this morning.
I think they need
all the Aurors they can get right now, and it’s not as if people are exactly
jumping at the opportunity these days.
But I keep
thinking about what Dumbledore said to us when he caught the five of us alone
in the hallway. It’s like he was telling us to expect something from him. Or am
I going mad?
just flew in the window. Let’s see what Prongs has to say about the latest
progression in his torrid affair with the Head Girl.
Of course we
should take up Abbott’s gauntlet. Sounds like a blood-bath to me. If he thinks
we’ll play easy just because the Cup isn’t at stake, then he’s got another
And I’m not sure
what party you were at, Prongs old boy, but you most certainly did not outshine
me in any capacity, not in speeches nor in charm nor in good looks, no matter
what Miss Evans might have to say about it.
And speaking of
Miss Evans, do you have any intentions for the next months that don’t involve
sweet nothings and sonnets? Have you written off to Nimbus yet, or are you
going to head to the M.L.E.S. with me?
brings me to something else that I’ve been reluctant to mention, but I think we
need to do something about it.
What are we going to do for Remus? They won’t take him at the Ministry, no
matter how qualified he is. And without that experience, he is going to have a
hard time finding a teaching post. Can your mother put in a word for him with
some of the Department heads? We can’t let these people destroy his career,
I think we need to
My parents would love for
you to visit again, and Petunia, of course, has been pining for you.
You’re always asking for
trouble, aren’t you?
I want very much to visit
Rosewood again and see your mother. I can’t pretend to understand what might be
going through her mind right now, but James, I think it understandable that she
might seem depressed. Not to mention that she’s probably exhausted. From
everything I’ve seen in the Prophet recently, anyone working in the Department
of International Magical Cooperation right now is going to have a hard time of
it. But she couldn’t ask for a better son. You’ll know what to do for her. You
As for the disreputable
taverns in the Aberdeen District, that is indeed something you will have to
share with Sirius. But any time you feel like going back to Heather’s Grove,
feel free to invite me.
I got a letter from
Lakshmi yesterday. She says that her cousins are moving to France, and they’re lending her use of their cottage in
Hogsmeade. She asked if I’d like to live with her. What do you think?
I think you’re right about
Dumbledore, but who knows how or when he’ll speak to us again. He has more than
enough on his mind, and I doubt we are at the top of his list of priorities. I
think it would be wise to go ahead with our own plans, and deal with situations
as they come.
It’s true that the
Ministry needs as many Aurors as they can get, but it’s not as if you can just
walk in and be assigned a seal and sent out to work. You know how impatient you
get about training. This is probably something you should think through
carefully for once.
Help. Mum is trying to force
me into applying for work in the textiles research department at Gladrags. She
seems to think that wizard tailoring is a ‘dignified profession with a long and
noble history’ and I should be eager to spend the rest of my life up to my ears
in robes and undergarments. I can’t convince her that I don’t know anything
about tailoring and I’m no good at research. If I don’t come up with an
alternative soon I’m doomed.
I think that if
you and Lakshmi Patil decide to live in the same house then I will be forced to
put wards up all around it to keep besotted men away at all hours of the day.
I think that you’d
be happy in Hogsmeade. I think it would be easier to visit you in Hogsmeade. I
think you would be safer in Hogsmeade.
I think it’s a
good idea. I only wish I could come up with something better. Or rather, with something feasible. But I’m going to do this
properly, Lily. I’m going to have something to offer you. Sirius can laugh all
he wants about ‘the Potter fortune,’ but you deserve something more than
I have some things
to take care of in Diagon Alley tomorrow. Could I pay you a visit afterward?
P.S. I wasn’t sure
if you still had any of that Echo Powder left, so I took the liberty of sending
you some more.
Needless to say, I
think we should keep our conversation from last night to ourselves. Remus would
not appreciate it if he learned we’re trying to plot his life like a pair of
village crones. I spoke to Mum, and she’ll do what she can, but she doesn’t
think it will make much of a difference. Prejudice against werewolves is
usually bad, but these days it’s much worse. I hate to say it, but I think the
best we can hope for is to get good reports and recommendations permanently
added to his file at the Werewolf Registry. It makes me angry, but I don’t know
what else we can do.
I sent the letter
to Nimbus this morning, and one to Universal. There isn’t as much of a demand
for Test Flyers this season, but one can always hope.
positive replies from the whole team about Abbott’s challenge, so I’ve decided
we ought to make a small wager on the outcome. Think of something creative.
I think the appropriate
question here is: would you be up to your ears in ladies’ undergarments, or
I thought you were
planning to take an apprenticeship in the Spirit Division of the
D.C.R.M.C. Did you change your mind?
I would like to
retort by saying that I always think things through carefully, but we both know
that would be a lie. Instead, I’ll defend my honor by saying that I’m aware of
the demands of Auror training, thank you kindly for the warning, Professor. I
think you’re just concerned about my safety. You’re downright sentimental,
I’ve decided to
have a go at the early Apparition exams next month, and I think you should all
come with me.
going to the Jaded Jarvey tonight. We thought we’d catch the Knight Bus out to Aberdeen and book a return bed, as attempting to
Floo after an evening at the Jarvey probably isn’t wise. Flag the Bus at half
nine to meet us.
Think you could
escape the Hag tonight at quarter nine to catch the Knight Bus and join us for
a night at the Jaded Jarvey? There’s a new band called the Weird Sisters
playing the stage tonight, and they’re supposed to be good. We all know how
much you love a good hornpipe, Wormtail.
How hard do you
think it would be to sneak into the Werewolf Registry files and set the whole
lot on fire?
As for the match,
I think hearing the Hufflepuffs singing all fifty verses of The Bulging Badger
would be a suitable reward for our victory, so long as they include the miming
on the chorus. I would say they should do it starkers as well, but I have a
feeling the girls wouldn’t appreciate that, even if I would.
I’ll see you on
the Knight Bus.
If we go to one more tavern
this week, I’ll never leave the loo again.
I don’t think I’m cut out
for working in the Spirit Division. It sounded like a great idea six months
ago, but none of you have any idea what it was like getting cornered by the
Bloody Baron last Easter when it was my turn to make the kitchen run. I don’t
think I was meant to handle Exorcisms.
Honestly, I think that’s what Sirius should be doing. If his skill for
tormenting Myrtle is any indication, then working with the S.D. is probably his
I need to talk to
you. Meet me tonight at the Broomsticks?
was just here. The bastard. That absolute bastard.
He got a letter
today from Puddlemere United. They want him to play first Chaser starting
mid-season. FIRST CHASER.
He says - if you
can believe it - that he doesn’t know whether or not to accept. I could kill
him. In fact, I think I shall. Or at the very least I’ll give him a bloodied
He’s off right now
to go talk to Lily about it. Maybe she’ll talk some sense into him, though I
P.S. If you ever
tell anyone the following, I’ll hex you. But I have to be honest and say that
I’ll understand if he turns it down. We’ve got more important things to think
about than Quidditch these days. Which
reminds me that Prongs said he’d take the Apparition exams next month, and I
think Wormtail garbled something to that effect last night through his third
Sorcerer’s Scotch. What about you?
I’m not at all surprised
about the invitation from Puddlemere. Have you heard anything yet from Prongs
about his decision?
I suspect, though, that
his answer will be no. James has other things on his mind. I’d be willing to
bet that he and Lily marry by the end of the year. And I don’t think that he
could calmly play Quidditch while others go hunting Death Eaters any more than
you could, Sirius.
Yes, I’ll try the exams
next month. Has someone mentioned this
to Lily? If any of us should master Apparition as soon as possible, it’s her.
Did you send your reply
to Puddlemere United yet? I know how hard it will be for you, and I wish you
could feel right about accepting, but I want you to know again that I’m proud
of you for making this choice. I also want you to know that if you change your
mind, I will just as happily go to every single match and sing Beat Back Those
Bludgers at the top of my lungs. I want you to be happy. I want all of us to be
But in the meantime, I
suppose you will have to be satisfied with a Gryffindor cheer at your game next
week. I think that game will be good for all of us. You do realize, though,
that it’s only one day before the full moon? I do hope you don’t expect me to
keep Remus calm if you lose.
All my love,
I’m in love.
My Aunt’s cousin
called yesterday. Remember I told you that she married a Muggle last year?
Well, he came along as well. And he brought his motorbike.
Have you ever
ridden a motorbike, Potter? I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about
Muggles and their strange contraptions. They’re brilliant. They’re all
It’s better than a
broomstick. Broomsticks are just a bundle of twigs. Riding a motorbike is… I
can’t even describe it.
I need one. If I
could get my hands on one, I’m sure I could make it…
I bet I could make
Liam says he’ll
bring it again when they visit. If they don’t come back soon, I’m going to have
to track them down. You’re coming with me. You have to see this.
As amused as I am
to hear you waxing poetic about a bloody motorbike, if you let your newfound
rapture interfere with the match tomorrow, I will make you very sorry. I have
absolutely no intention of losing this wager to Abbott and his team - or do you
really want to see Malachi with his knickers on his head? If you force me into
flashing my bum to the world while Lily’s on the field you will wish you’d
never been born.
All last night, in
my dreams, all I could hear was Dunstan’s voice… singing…
I will never be
able to think of Badgers innocently again.
performance yesterday, I think you owe me a trip to Bath. You have to see this motorbike.
I’ll go with you
I think we should
visit Remus tomorrow. It looks to be a stormy night tonight, and that always
upsets the wolf. It will be a bad night for him, and at least we can try to cheer
him up tomorrow. I’ll mention it to Peter.
I realize that all basic
courtesies are lost on you, but I would feel callous if I didn’t at least
attempt them. So…
I hope this letter finds
you well. In this case, you may interpret that as: I hope this letter does not
find you in the midst of an illegal or life-threatening activity, and that
you’re not dragging James into it…
Actually, I’m afraid that
I have ulterior motives for writing this letter. I haven’t heard from James in
two days, and I’m concerned. When I tried to contact him by fireplace there was
no reply. He told me that you all went to see Remus after the moon, and while
he sounded a bit somber, he didn’t say that anything went wrong with the visit.
Is Remus all right?
I’ve had no letters,
either, and that’s not like James at all. I was hoping you could let me know
what’s happening, if anything. There’s been nothing in the Prophet, so I’m
trying not to worry too much. But if you talk to him, tell him that he’ll have
a very angry girlfriend on his hands if he doesn’t get in touch with me soon.
I haven’t spoken
to him either. I figured he was too busy trysting with you, but now that I know
that’s not the case I think it’s time I paid a little visit at Rosewood. You
need to move to Hogsmeade so that you’ll have access to the Floo Network. In
the meantime, I’ll assume the burden. And if he’s not trapped under something
very heavy then he’ll come to wish he was.
Don’t worry. I’m
sure he’s fine. We would have heard about another attack on the Potter family
if anything had happened.
You’ll hear from
I’m sorry. I
wasn’t thinking clearly and… well, there’s no excuse. Can I see you? I ought to
apologize in person for worrying you, and I could really use your company.
I love you.
He’s alive, though
I saw to it that he is not unscathed. If he doesn’t write you by the end of the
day, tell me.
We need to have a
bit of a conversation - all of us. Can you get to Hogsmeade tonight? We can
meet at the Broomsticks and then head out to those caves we discovered last
year. I’ll get in touch with Peter.
Mrs. Potter had a
talk with James the other day and… well, he should tell you himself.
He’s going to need
us, Remus. More than ever.
Lily remembered with perfect clarity
the first time she’d seen Rosewood. She’d walked through the gate in the
hedges, holding James’ hand, and listened to him tell her how Rosewood had been
the Potter family estate for the last two hundred and fifty years, how it was
passed from firstborn to firstborn, and how, as his parents’ only child, it
would be his inheritance when they were gone. When his mother was gone, he’d
amended quietly. His father had been six months dead that day.
She’d listened to him tell stories
about his childhood as he led her through the gardens and the hallways, never
once letting go of her hand, and she’d felt as though she too had spent her
life tripping over every cobbled pathway and swinging on the enchanted
Lily Evans had fallen in love with
Rosewood that day. But standing now on the green lawns, watching the sun set
behind the terraced roof, she looked on the rose-strewn walls and pillars and
thought them a rather grim sight. Because tonight, for the
first time, she was seeing the place for the full weight of its history, and
the heavy responsibility that history placed upon those who called the estate
Lily drew her cloak closer about
her and turned to see, much to her dismay, that James
had not moved. He was sitting on one of the stone benches at the edge of the
lawn, hunched forward with his elbows on his thighs, his hands dangling
motionless between his knees. His head hung forward so that the fall of his
tangled black hair hid his eyes; all she could make out was the golden glint of
sunset on the edge of his glasses.
It hurt to see him like this. He hadn’t moved
for at least twenty minutes, and hadn’t spoken in longer. She’d thought that
just being here today might help him, and so she’d Apparated over as soon as
she got his letter. But it didn’t seem to be making much of a difference, and
it was killing her to see him like this.
Carefully arranging her cloak so as
not to get it tangled with his, Lily sat down next to him on the bench. She
wanted to reach under his arm and take his hand, but she knew better, knew him
too well. If he was going to take any comfort from her presence, then he would
have to come to his senses enough to ask for it, or it would never truly reach
him. James rarely retreated into himself like this, but when he did, there was
no helping him unless he could first help himself.
But she couldn’t do nothing.
With gentle hands, Lily reached
back and pulled his cloak more carefully onto his shoulders, so that it might
actually serve its purpose and offer him protection against the growing evening
She smiled when she noticed that he
was wearing the cloak clasp she’d made for him last year.
A lily, she’d grinned,
trying to cover awkwardness with levity, handing him the magically carved
clasp. To remind you who owns your heart.
He’d grinned back in that disarming
way of his. To remind me of your eyes.
blushed, she remembered. It had been, of course, why she’d wanted green Fwooper
shell to work with in the first place; he was always complimenting her on her
eyes. But she’d been too shy about it to actually say anything outright, and
she’d been glad that he made the connection for himself.
He used the
clasp all the time, but it still made her blush every time she saw it.
adjusting his cloak, she shifted close enough to him to touch her shoulder and
hip to his, and then tucked her fingers between her knees and waited.
It was a
truly beautiful sunset. The sky was streaked with coral and gold, and the
clouds were lined with color and light. Rosewood’s façade grew shadowy as the
sun descended further behind the line of the sloped rooftop. A sudden breeze
rustled through the sycamores, and Lily had to raise a hand to push her
suddenly tousled hair back behind her ears.
know if I can stay here.”
was so raw, so uncertain. So unlike him.
the urge to wrap her arms around him, and kept her voice low and calm as she
replied. “You don’t have to.”
lifted his head and stared with narrowed eyes at the manor in front of him. The
corner of his mouth twisted in a small, bitter smile. “Don’t I?”
frowned. “No,” she said firmly. “You don’t. No one is asking you to. Everyone
understands. Your mother understands, James. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have
mother,” James murmured wryly, dropping his head again,
“doesn’t think she’s ever going to see this place again. She doesn’t think
she’s ever going to come back from Scotland.
She’s given up. She gave up two years ago. She gave up when my father died.”
her hair back behind her ear again, thinking of the last time she’d seen
Mariana Potter, of the sound of the woman’s tired voice.
did,” she said softly. “But that doesn’t mean you have to.”
moment, as he continued to hang his head, she feared that her words hadn’t
reached him at all. Then she heard him draw a deep breath; his shoulders
straightened, and when he lifted his head she could see that his expression was
set and determined.
giving up,” he said with quiet intensity. “I don’t care about fate. It doesn’t
matter whose blood runs in my family. Gryffindor’s heir or not, I’m not just
going to give up.”
her eyes begin to sting, and quickly bit the inside of her cheek to keep
herself from crying. He wouldn’t really understand that it wasn’t fear for him
that made her throat ache with unshed tears, but a painful pride, and she
didn’t want to cause him any further distress.
the quiet strength in his voice faded again, and he grimaced as though in pain.
“I just don’t know if I can stay here. The house is so… empty. I can understand
why mother went to stay with the McKinnons. They can use her up there.” His
voice grew suddenly hoarse with pride. “No one casts a better Diversion
Enchantment than my mother. But even when she comes back… because I can’t
think that she won’t come back… even when she comes back, I don’t think she
wants to come back to Rosewood. Not without Dad. Not anymore. And I… what am I supposed to do? Live here by myself?”
swallowed. “No,” she whispered.
turn his head - he seemed unable to look away from the building in front of
him. But his hand moved, brushed over her leg and closed over her fingers.
ask you stay here with me,” he said in little more than a murmur. “It wouldn’t
be… right. It wouldn’t be safe.”
She turned her hand in his grasp to twine her fingers through his. “Don’t try
to push me away because of some…some perceived destiny.”
locked so tightly with hers that she could feel the muscles beneath his skin
get bad, I might have to… I might have to go live in a tree stump somewhere.”
came out of her so suddenly she almost coughed on it. It banished the sting of
threatening tears, and she turned her face to smile at him, deeply glad to see
that he was watching her out of the corner of his eyes and smiling slightly as
mind,” she murmured, still smiling. “You’d make it entertaining, somehow.”
suddenly faded, and he turned to face her fully, half of his face lit by the
sunset, half of it cast in shadow. He loosened his grip on her hand, only to
wind his fingers more closely with hers.
It was no
closed. She could feel his hand shaking.
leaned forward to rest his forehead against hers, she closed her eyes as well,
breathing the scent of him, feeling his warmth. Loving him.
Rosewood to my mother’s cousins,” he murmured, his hair brushing against her
forehead. “They don’t have any Potter blood. They’ll be safe here. He’ll have
no reason to come for them.”
nothing, because she knew that he didn’t need her to; he just needed to say it.
And he needed her to be here. Where she belonged.
“Tomorrow,” he said, and she could feel his
voice deep in his chest, as though every fiber and breath of him filled the air
between them, “we’ll start looking for a nice tree stump.”
smiled. Every part of him smiled as he kissed her. And when he pulled her head
tenderly onto his shoulder so that he could rest his face in her hair, Lily
opened her eyes, and rested her gaze contentedly on the sight of their clasped
hands. Fingers pale in the shadow of coming night, woven together, inseparable.