A/N: Okay, here's the rub on this story. This is only the beginning of a much larger story, but I wanted to get it on portkey, and this was the closest I could get it to. The full story deals with the fall of the marauders, from when James and Lily (along with Frank and Alice Longbottom) are told of the prophecy, to the time when the final marauder dies. So basically, this will only be like the first three chapters of the story, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT JAMES AND LILY'S DEATHS, THEN DO NOT READ THIS STORY, THAT IS HOW IT WILL END!
I am probably going to ask for permission to write the rest of the fic here at portkey under the harry/hermione ship, b/c it will be there, it just won't be hugely prevalent, and will only be seen through the eyes of Sirius, Lupin, and to a lesser extent (a much lesser extent, if any) Wormtail.
We'll see how that goes later, and I'll inform you all on it with the next update. For now, read and enjoy!
A loud knock came from the entry doorway at the residence of Number 12, Godric's Hollow. A young man, not a day over twenty-one, looked quizzically at his beautiful wife, who was cradling their young son in her arms.
"Who could that be? Sirius didn't say anything about coming over, did he?"
"Maybe it's Alice," The young woman, her hair the color of a burning firelight, responded, nose scrunched in thought. "Perhaps she's come to see her godson now that her and Frank are back from their honeymoon?"
Her lover stood from his chair by the fire, peering at his lovely wife through his black-rimmed glasses, tussling his untidy hair. "Possibly, it is true that she has not seen Harry in quite some time. Not since the wedding, in fact."
"And a wonderful wedding it was," The woman replied, standing herself and rocking the young Harry in her arms. She continued to talk as the door sounded again, while she and the love of her life walked to the source. "Maybe she has brought little Neville as well, he and Harry are going to be quite the friends growing up, aren't they love?"
"They will if we have anything to do about it." He responded with a warm smile, and was rewarded when the petite women gave him a soft kiss on the cheek.
By the third knock the newlyweds finally reached the door, pulling it open, to reveal a somber man of many years, a man who had seen more than any man should be forced to see, but rather than back away from the harsh truths that had been placed upon him, he welcomed them and was the greatest of all men for it.
"Albus!" The lady exclaimed in surprise, a smile forming across her face, from one rosy cheek to another. "What an unexpected surprise!"
But the old man did not return this enthusiasm, something that deeply startled the young, raven-haired man of twenty years and his beautiful wife.
"Lily, James," He said in greeting, giving them both a small nod, the twinkle that was so prevalent in his eye nonexistent.
Lily's face immediately went from that of elation to one of great worry. "What is the problem Professor? Please, do come in. Would you like a cup of tea?"
Albus nodded and Lily stepped aside, still cradling young Harry in her arms. The old man accepted the gesture and stepped into the house, a grim look plastered to his usually passive and jovial face.
"James, while Lily prepares the tea, please contact the Longbottom's and have them come over here immediately. This is something that you all need to hear." Without a second thought, James nodded and walked across the living room that they had now arrived in, stopping at the fireplace and pulling a jug off the mantle, filled with a bluish powder.
He spoke loudly into the booming fire, "Number Nine, Godric's Hollow!"
The fire roared and James stuck his head into the fireplace, eyes scanning the house situated on the other side of the small wizarding town of Godric's Hollow.
Although there were muggles living in the area, Godric's Hollow was always thought of as a wizarding town, as the muggles there knew of the wizarding world, some even being employed in it, but all the while not being able to use magic like the wizards and witches around them.
James and Lily Potter, along with their newborn son Harry, were some of the most recent occupants of the town, as were Frank and Alice Longbottom, and their son Neville, who was but just a day older than Harry.
The early days of October were some of the most wonderful in the year for Godric's Hollow, the weather always being pleasantly cool but never to the point where it was uncomfortable.
The children to young to be in school were always out and about, while it being throwing gnomes from their gardens or playing pick-up games of quidditch at Hollow's Park, they kept themselves busy and blissful while their parents all spoke in hushed tones about the outside world.
While they believed that they were safe in the confines of Godric's Hollow, that was not to be said for England at large. An evil, dark wizard, possibly the worst wizard and the greatest threat since Salazar Slytherin himself, had been making a living hell out of the world for the past ten years.
This wizard had christened himself Lord Voldemort, but was never spoken of by this name, but rather by the alias' of You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Wizards and witches worldwide feared to speak his name, but these two new families in Godric's Hollow; the Potter's and the Longbottom's, did not abide by this unspoken rule, and spoke the abomination's name freely.
"James?" A sweet voice came from just out of his line of sight, soon to be followed by a small woman with a round face, a baby boy with similar characteristics tucked under one of her arms.
"No time to talk. Get Frank and floo over here immediately. Albus is here and has something to tell us all. I think it may have something to do with Voldemort."
Alice asked no questions as she nodded and hurriedly left the room, seeking out her husband of less than a year. Neville had been a surprise to them both, resulting in their quick marriage. They had been engaged before Neville was discovered, but they had decided to rush the wedding so that Neville would be born into an official family.
James and Lily had married directly after Hogwarts, and Harry came some time later. This couple now sat in their living room in complete and absolute silence, sipping gently on the tea that Lily had prepared with Albus in a lone loveseat across from them, the two lovers sharing one of their own.
A few tense moments later there was a tumbling noise at the fireplace, and the jolly figure of Frank Longbottom tumbled out of the fireplace, followed quickly by his wife Alice. Even in dire circumstances, which this coming conversation promised to be, the Longbottoms could not be anything other than joyful, it was just the way they were.
"Sorry it took a moment, Neville spewed all over my new jumper just before I pulled out the floo powder, so I had to go back and change," Alice commented, taking a glass of tea from the tray situated in the middle of all the loveseats and taking a seat next to her husband, smiling lovingly at the baby in her arms.
"I am sorry to interrupt the formalities," Dumbledore spoke gravely. "But tonight I come here on a sad note." He bowed his head slightly. "It is best that I start from the beginning."
The two couples settled in, ready for a long story.
"As you know, with the retirement of Professor Kensington, we are in need of a new Divination Professor at Hogwarts,"
"About time to," James grumbled, remembering back to his Hogwarts days, when the old hag Kensington had predicted thousands of things that never came true.
Dumbledore nodded slightly. "Please, James, do not interrupt me. This will be a hard story to tell, and one to hear as well,"
James nodded slightly, surprised at the headmaster's words. Whatever this was, it must be of the utmost importance.
Dumbledore continued. "As I was saying, we are in need of a new professor for the class of Divination. One of these candidates is Sibyll Trelawney," He held up a hand to stop any questions. "Yes, this is in fact a descendent of the Trelawney who predicted my own defeat of the dark lord Grindelwald."
The room fell into the second of many uncomfortable silences that night. They all knew the basics of Seer work, and that one family of Seers usually predicted the same type of prophecies, in the Trelawney's case, this was war and death.
"As I suspected when I arrived there, Sybill was quite the fraud, without what seemed even a fraction of talent in the ways of predicting the future."
He paused and drew in a deep breath. "But then she said something, something in a voice not her own, in a trance, in a state that a Seer is in when predicting the future." He let out the breath he had been holding. "She told a true prophecy."
He allowed a moment for the others to get over their initial shock, and took that moment to bring out a small pool of silvery liquid, a pensieve. Without a word, he pulled out his wand and spun it around thrice times in the pool of silver - very reminiscent of Unicorn blood - and a scene began to play out.
There was Sybill Trelawney, standing behind Dumbledore, seemingly normal, until her eyes drooped and her voice became scratchy.
"THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES…BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES…AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE THE POWER THAT THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT…AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHERFOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES…THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES…
Silence reigned supreme once again, as the occupants of the household contemplated the meaning of Trelawney's words…
It was less than a week after they had left Hogwarts forever, James and Lily Potter were enjoying their honeymoon at the wizarding beach in Atlantis, an aptly named island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, christened by the muggle myth, and invisible to all those who did not know of it's existence.
But the honeymoon was cut short, one fateful night under the stars.
"Mm, have I told you how much I love you today Lily?" James asked her, nuzzling her neck. They were sitting on a towel facing the ocean, peace reigning over them as they listened to the sounds of the sea…
"Hmm, yes, I believe you have, but you could say it again," His wife responded, a hint of elation in her voice.
"Lily Evans Potter, I lo-"
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
Lily and James spun around and were immediately on their feet, James subconsciously moving in front of Lily with his wand held high.
"It's time to die James," A cold voice hissed from the center of the three.
On the left there was a beautiful woman, with an exception of her eyes. They burned with such a maniacal hatred that it made one wonder whether she was truly sane.
On the right stood an intimidating man, a malicious sneer crossing his otherwise handsome features.
And in the middle was a tall, pale, man, with the eyes of a snake, glinting red, but not like the firelight, rather innocent blood.
"I don't think so Tom," James replied suavely, attempting to cover up the fear he was harboring inside. Lily grasped his hand from behind, showing him his support.
The Dark Lord laughed. "Barty, Bellatrix, make quick work of them, we have other business to attend to."
Without hesitation or warning, Barty Crouch and Bellatrix Lestrange split apart and came at the Potter's from the sides, while Voldemort walked straight towards them. James made to attack Bellatrix, whom he believed the weakest of the three, but a squeeze from his wife kept him in place.
Knowing better than to not trust his wife in a situation like this, James abandoned his initial instincts and rummaged through his brain for what his wife must be thinking.
'The only way out is the portkey in out cabin, but that's a hundred meters away and we'd have to go straight through Voldemort to get there, what we need is to surprise them, and then outrun them, but how?'
Then it clicked. He grasped his wife's hand, signaling that he thought he knew what she wanted. She responded vocally and confirmed his suspicions. "Let's get out of here Prongs."
Before Voldemort and the others knew what had happened, James and Lily Potter were gone, and a stag had rammed Voldemort to the ground, while a phoenix flew a beeline for the cabin. The couple were within twenty meters of the house before Voldemort and his death eaters could react, and by then, it was too late.
All three of the dark magic users succeeded in getting off a killing curse; Crouch shot a few meters high of Lily, while James felt the whoosh from Bellatrix's killing curse as it passed his ear. Voldemort, knowing that he had been beaten, aimed his beam at the cottage instead, screaming in anguish as he watched the Potter's vacation spot explode a mere second after James and Lily had portkeyed away.
That had been the first of three times James and Lily had escaped the Dark Lord, and they knew that sooner or later, their luck would run out.
Albus watched the couples in silence. While he did not know the details, he knew that both sets of parents had escaped Tom Marvolo Riddle three times, and that both of their children were born in the dying days of July. There was no doubt in his mind that the boy that the prophecy spoke of referred to either Harry James Potter or Frank Neville Longbottom.
Albus cleared his throat. "There is a charm, a powerful charm that Fidelius Flitwick has recently created, christened 'The Fidelius Charm'. It will ensure the safety of you and your children. There is a complicated ceremony we must put you all through, and you must select a 'secret keeper'. This will be the person who performs the charm, and only that person will be able to tell the whereabouts of those under the charm.
"One could peer into your kitchen window while you were having evening tea, and they would be unable to see you, do to this charm. I strongly recommend that you allow yourselves to be put under this charm, it will save you lives, or in the least, prolong them."
Lily asked the question that had been on the tip of James tongue. "But why? If the prophecy was told to you, how will Voldemort ever know?"
The other three in the room nodded, all thinking the same thing. Dumbledore sighed. "This meeting took place in the Hog's Head, and a death eater was there to hear the story, though he was thrown out halfway through and did not hear the entire story."
"Who?" James asked interestedly.
Dumbledore looked him dead in the eye, and said with solidarity, "Severus Snape."
"SNIVELLUS!" James roared, the power and magic behind his voice causing the tea to jump and spill out of the glasses, burning a few hands. "I knew that pathetic excuse for a wizard was going to-"
"SILENCE!" Dumbledore stated strongly, raising to his feet, and looking directly at James. "I confronted Severus after the prophecy, and I have deemed him trustworthy."
James jaw dropped, along with his wife's and the Longbottom's.
Dumbledore continued. "Severus is going back to Voldemort, knowing that he has only half of the prophecy, and no James, he was not told whole thing. Severus knows nothing of 'marking one as his equal' and therefore will not know that in attacking the one to which this prophecy refers, he could risk turning one of these boys into his equal in terms of power. Severus has gone to Voldemort and will tell him this prophecy, and this will no doubt get Voldemort to act. This is where we can put a stop to this war, this is our opening. We cannot kill the man, but we can cripple him until the one chosen by the prophecy, be it Neville or Harry, is strong enough to destroy him. I will have no questions to Severus' loyalty, I trust him and you will respect that."
He waited a moment for his words to sink in before continuing. "I volunteer myself to be your secret keepers, if you wish it."
"No," Alice said quietly, surprising everyone. "You have enough to deal with as it is, Albus. We will have Frank's mother as ours." Frank smiled weakly at his wife, before she turned to James and Lily. "And yours will be…" She trailed off, obviously wanting an answer.
"Sirius." James said, without hesitation or remorse. Lily nodded in silent agreement. Sirius Black, James' best friend since their first year at Hogwarts, and loyal to a fault. No one in the wizarding world doubted Sirius' dedication and loyalty to Lily and James Potter.
James thought of his friends, the always adventurous Sirius, the man who could hardly hold his wand straight, Peter Pettigrew, and…the traitor…Remus Lupin.
They had known for some time now that one of the Marauder's - what James, Sirius, Peter, and Lupin called themselves - was a traitor, and passing information along to Voldemort. James obviously knew that he was not the traitor, and he trusted Sirius with his life. Peter was frankly to much of a moron to be able to pull it off, and that left…Lupin. Moony, the werewolf. The man they had sacrificed so much for, had betrayed them all. It broke James' heart when he realized that this must be the truth - it was the only logical solution.
But the more he thought about it, the more he couldn't see how Lupin could be a traitor. As he thought of it now, he allowed himself to think what if it was Peter, was it possible?
The loud noise of a motorcycle engine revving up tore James away from his thoughts, thoughts that he would never dwell on again. No doubt Sirius had arrived, but hopefully he didn't do anything stupid, as they had guests over-
"Pongs? Ish zat you Shames?" Slurred a drunken Sirius as he practically fell into the living room, smelling of liquor. "I's gots a bottle of fire whishky wish your name ons it Shames!"
James rolled his eyes and put his head in his hands. Lily chuckled softly next to him while Frank tried to keep in his laughter on the next loveseat over. Alice let out a sigh of exasperation and stood, pointing her wand at Sirius. James wondered what in the devil she thought she was doing when she said, "Sobrietus!"
A soft yellow beam of light hit Sirius in the chest, causing him to stumble a little and shake his head. When he looked up, his eyes were no longer foggy and he managed to wipe some of the hair that had been plastered to his head. He looked around in a daze.
"Huh? When'd I get here? I had just got shot down by that tease Nicole when I went for a drink and…"
His gaze shifted over to James, who was gaping at Alice. "You have got to teach me that one some time Alice!"
Lily groaned and elbowed him in the ribs. James recoiled and gave her an innocent expression. "What?"
"Now that we are married, James, I do believe that you will no longer be needing the sobriety spell, seeing as you aren't drinking any more."
This statement caused Sirius to double over in laughter. "Ha! Yeah right! James give up drinking? Why, just the other night-"
He cut off at a glare from James, who was being glared at by his wife. James visibly cringed. He had promised Lily he would give up the alcohol, but then Sirius accused him of being whipped, and James couldn't let him get away with that, so…
Sirius broke the tension when he noticed his old Headmaster. "Bloody hell! Hi there headmaster Dumbledore sir. Um, well, you see, we don't really drink, because we're still underage, I know, you see, I meant that in the metaphorical sense, and-"
"It is quite alright, Sirius. My memory has temporarily eluded me, and I have no recollection of the past ninety seconds."
James and Sirius grinned at each other. They knew they liked that guy for a reason.
Sirius found a seat and sat down, his free-spirited personality shining through. "So what calls for the celebration, eh?" He asked, eyeing the tea glasses.
After the initial break from reality Sirius' visit had allowed, everyone was now snapped back to the harsh truths they were facing. James eyed his best friend wearily. "I'll fill you in…"
"…and I want that secret keeper to be you." James finished, about twenty minutes later, to a stunned Sirius.
"I'm floored James, I really am, but-" James saw a flash pass through his best friend's eyes, a glimmer that only James knew the meaning of - Sirius had a plan. "-why don't we go to another room to discuss this? In private."
James nodded without hesitation, knowing full well that Sirius had a plan. He followed his best mate into the bedroom, and sat on the bed. He patted the place next to him, but Sirius scrunched his nose and asked, "When was the last time you and Lily washed the sheets?"
James, confused, answered, "I dunno, a few weeks?"
Sirius chuckled and planted his feet firmly into the ground. "No thanks, I'll stand." James rolled his eyes with a small chuckle, finally getting what Sirius was insinuating.
"Okay, be my guest, what is it? What's the plan?" James prodded, anxious to get this out of the way.
A wicked grin crossed Sirius' face. "Oh no!" James interrupted, suddenly alarmed. "I know that smirk. Last time you gave me that one I ended up in the hospital wing after I fell off your 'magnificent' broom that you oh so conveniently forgot to tell me didn't fly, and I fell fifteen feet from the porch and landed on my back in the mud."
Sirius smiled broadly. "Ah…good times, good times…"
James snorted. "Maybe for you! I about broke my assbone!"
Sirius waved his hand dismissively. "There's no such thing as an assbone, my dear friend, but anyways, let me get to the point." His face became very serious, and James knew that what he said next would be 'the plan'.
"I think you should make Peter your secret keeper."
"What!?" James exclaimed, leaping up from the bed and contemplating whether or not the sobriety spell had a side-effect that made people go temporarily insane. "No way, you're my best friend! You're a great wizard! I want you as my secret keeper! Pettigrew means well, but frankly, he's a dunce!"
Sirius shook his head sadly. "Look James, this secret keeper thing will break sooner or later, it's just a matter of time. When Voldemort finds out about this whole 'secret keeper' business, who's the first damn person he's gonna go after?"
James, realizing the logic, sat down hard and whispered, "You."
"You're damn right he'll come after me. And all this time, while he's chasing me, the real secret keeper - Peter - will be safe at home munching on some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. When Voldemort finally does catch up with me," He gulped. "I-I won't have anything to tell, because I won't be able to give the information away, no matter how much he tortures me for it. Come on James, it's infallible, you know it."
James sat for a minute and considered his friend. It covered all the possibilities. Lupin wouldn't have a clue. It all fit. He smiled at the best mate that he would ever have, and that any could ever wish for.
"Let's do it."
A/N: Now obviously, a lot of this story will be depressing. James and Sirius believed Remus to be the traitor, so that's how he will be portrayed in their eyes in this fic, until the very end. (of this portion, not the entire fic, obviously)
p.s. - Should I add 'angst' as a genre? I've never really understood the meaning of the word, and I'm not sure if it describes this story well or not. Please let me know!