Those Left Behind
Maya’s 6th Year and the Marauder’s 7th
Full Moon, December
group of sixth and seventh year students from Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and
Ravenclaw were working together in the Great Hall. Notice after notice from the
Ministry of Magic, informing students of the death of family members, had
slowly worked to consolidate the two upper classes into a tight group. An
unspoken agreement had been made; they were trying to keep the castle that they
loved a safe place. Slytherins were more and more excluded because of a simple
fact that no one could ignore – they got less letters than the other three
houses. Once, that would have been a cause for pity. Now, when a letter meant
spending hours crying in your room or staring at the wall in shock, it was a
cause for a hot pit of jealousy and anger. Peter had gotten one of those letter
already – his dad had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Peter had
spent the afternoon crying in their dormitory that day. And Mary had received a
letter a few days ago. And Christy, too. And so many others.
But that night in December, people were smiling and joking as they traded notes on apparating and talked about Professor Dumbledore’s special class on patronus charms that everyone above the age of fourteen was required to take. People wearing yellow and black or blue and brown sat down with those in gold and red, sharing sweets that had been brought up by the House Elves and comparing essays.
Lily glanced at a watch someone had left on the table and said, “Hey, Remus, Maya. You two better go.” Maya looked at it and nodded, stretching lazily and giving Sirius a kiss on the cheek. Remus closed his books and packed them up, handing his bag to James. Then they both froze.
Remus and Maya looked at each other, blinked and then looked at Lily.
She smiled kindly.
And Arthur, the seventh year from Ravenclaw, said, “We can all read astronomy charts. And Defense Against the Dark Arts books.”
“You...er...can?” Said Remus.
Mary smiled at him. “We’ve gone to school together for seven years, haven’t we Remus?”
“And you got increasingly less sneaky about it as time went on,” added Albert Abbot, a round faced Hufflepuff in their year.
“No one minds, Remus,” said Lily. “And Maya kind of gave herself away last year.”
Maya grinned; “I love Hogwarts.” She said happily before continuing out of the hall. Remus was grinning so widely that he thought he might break his cheeks. This was what he had always wanted. For people to find out and not care. To look at who he was and not what he’d been forced to become.
Peter looked around the room as Maya and Remus left. He knew something important had just happened but he’d been worrying about charms, again, and missed it. He whispered to James, “What just happened?”
James, grinning, whispered back, “They all figured it out, Wormtail.”
“Figured what out?” Peter insisted.
“Moony’s furry little problem,” said James.
“And they don’t give a damn,” said Sirius, a fierce smile on his face.
Peter looked down to hide his frown. The secret had been what kept them together, right? What would happen now that it was gone? He didn’t want to be left behind.
The 14th of February
Lily didn’t think much of it that morning as she worked in the Common Room. She was in a rush to finish her Transfiguration homework before breakfast before she even realized it was Valentine’s Day. She was just polishing up her last few sentences when the crumpled piece of paper flew over her shoulder and landed by her right hand. For a moment it just lay there, but then it quivered and began to wiggle and fold. About a minute later, a perfect origami flower was lying between books and parchment; a lily. The last petal curled outward and revealed a message in James’ spiky handwriting. “Will you be my Valentine? Love, James.”
looked at it for a full minute before turning slowly. James was standing by the
door to the boy’s tower; hands in his pockets, black hair standing on end,
glasses slightly askew. They met eyes across the room. Lily stood slowly and
walked over to him. For a moment they just stood there, eyes boring deep into
each other’s souls. Then Lily stood on her tip-toes and kissed him. She felt
James start in surprise, but then he deepened the kiss, his hand going up to
caress her hair.
By the time they separated, everyone in the common room was looking at them.
“Finally!” Shouted Maya from the other side of the room. She collapsed into a chair beside Christy and said, “It’s about time!” People began to laugh and clap and both James and Lily blushed deep shades of red.
“Can we go on double dates now?” Said Sirius, leaning against the wall behind James. “Please?”
“Shut up, Padfoot,” James and Lily chorused. They smiled at each other, and James gently took her hand and gave that a kiss, too.
Sirius grinned. He was happy to see his friends happy. And Lily’s use of his nickname meant that she had fully accepted him as a friend too. Maya gave him thumbs-up across the room, beaming.
Maya looked up at the sound of footsteps. Sirius was coming towards her in the library, a pleased expression on his handsome face. “What did Dumbledore want?” Maya whispered to him.
He silenced her with a kiss. “I’ll tell you on the way,” he whispered once they’d broken apart. He shouldered Maya’s bag and took her hand, “Come on.”
“The Order of the Phoenix,” Maya said thoughtfully a few minutes later. They were all outside under their favorite tree on the way to the Lake. Spring was just beginning to warm the earth and the lively bunch were tired of being cooped indoors.
“Yeah,” said Peter, his eyes wide. “He even asked me! I mean, obviously he was going to ask James and Sirius and Lily and Remus but...wow...”
Sirius laughed, “You underestimate yourself, Wormtail.” Peter beamed.
But Maya’s forehead had pulled into a wrinkled frown as she looked back towards the castle.
“Midnight?” Asked James.
“I just realized that none of you will be here next year,” she said softly. “What am I going to without you guys here? I’ve always just...” Her voice trailed off and she bit her lip. Sirius pulled her back into his arms so that she was leaning against his chest.
“Hey, don’t worry,” he said. “It’s only for a year.”
Maya pulled back. “How...how dare you!” She spluttered.
“Uh...what?” Said Sirius blankly.
Maya jumped to her feet. “Of course I’m going to worry!” She said. “People are dying and disappearing out there! Giant smoke skulls with snakes coming out of them popping up all over the place. People like...like us. People who are different and have done no crime except be different or accept people who are different! And you lot are going to go and fight these people and you ask me not to worry?! How dare you, Sirius Black!” Maya looked close to tears. “Of course I’m going to worry! You’re all my family! I...”
“Shhh,” said Sirius. He got to his feet and rubbed her arms soothingly. “I didn’t mean it that way. Please, calm down.”
Maya took a deep breath and closed her eyes, nodding.
“You’re what my grandpa used to call a firecracker, Maya,” said James with a grin. He was currently leaning against the tree, his arm around Lily’s shoulder. “All full of fire.”
“You’ll be able to join the fight soon, Maya,” said Remus. “And we can take care of each other until then.”
“Yeah, right,” Maya muttered, but a small grin had appeared on her face.
“They’ve got me now, Maya,” said Lily pointedly. Maya brightened considerably. “That’s true!”
“Hey!” Complained Sirius. Everyone laughed. Maya and Sirius sat back down and they began talking about upcoming exams and debated about going down to Hogsmeade in a few hours.
Then there was the sound of a large group of footsteps. James looked up, back towards the castle, and his gaze darkened. Everyone looked.
It was the gang from Slytherin, all headed in the direction of Hogsmeade, although no one believed that to be their final destination. Silently, the group in silver and dark green walked away. None of them looked at the group of Gryffindor’s lounging on the grass. But Maya and Sirius couldn’t look away from one of the figures in the back.
I have to try, Maya thought wildly. The image in her head was of a young boy with short black hair leaning against the back railing of the Hogwarts’ Express, shouting with joy and exhilaration as the countryside flew past them. She remembered him laughing and giving her chocolates at Christmas. One last time, despite everything, I have to try.
Maya jumped to her feet and shouted, “Reg!”
Regulus Black jerked in surprise and then turned around, slowly, deliberately. Sirius looked at Maya in something close to wonder and then looked down, refusing to make eye contact with his younger brother.
Remus saw Sirius’ hands tighten into fists.
Regulus raised an eyebrow and said nothing.
“Don’t go with them,” said Maya softly. “Please.”
Sirius closed his eyes and prayed silently.
Regulus looked at them blankly for a moment, then a satisfied and dark smile spread across his face. “This is a war, Maya Night,” he said with a sneer. “I’ve chosen my side – I hope you can live with yours.” Regulus’ tone made Maya’s blood go cold. Regulus turned sharply on his heel and left with the rest of the group.
“Maya,” said Sirius hoarsely. She looked at him. “Thank you for trying,” he whispered.
“How did both of them end up like...” Lily didn’t even know how to finish.
“I don’t know,” said Maya. “I just don’t know...”
Maya’s 7th Year
Filch looked at the parchment suspiciously and then glared at Maya. “Just a spare bit of parchment you say?” He asked.
“Yes,” said Maya, as innocently as she could.
Filch glared at her. He knew that Maya had hung out with those wretched brats that called themselves Marauders, but he had hoped that the nonsense would end once they left the school. But no! There was water all over the floor and a sopping wet Maya Night was at the scene of the crime. She’d tried to hide the paper as he rounded the corner but Mrs. Norris had been too quick. Filch may be a squib, but he was smart in his own way, and he had long suspected that those kids had somehow gotten a hold of a map of the school. And he knew that Maya wouldn’t spend this much time trying to convince him to give a piece of parchment back to her if it wasn’t important. “If it’s so unimportant, I’ll just keep it,” he said. Filch pocketed the parchment and marched off, quite pleased with himself.
Maya ground her teeth together loudly as Filch left. Barty Crouch Jr, who had been the true culprit behind the flooding, came out from around the other corner, laughing. “Shut up,” she snapped at him.
“Aw,” he taunted unkindly, “Is the kitty all wet?”
Maya glared at him and pulled out her wand. A second later, all the water on her had been transferred to him. Crouch Jr. gasped in surprise and Maya stomped off.
“You’ll get what’s coming to you, half-breed!” Crouch yelled. “You and your Order friends!”
Maya’s eyes flashed and Crouch found himself petrified in a puddle of water.
December, One Day into Christmas Break
The Night House
Maya was lying on her back on her bed, in her attic room of the large house that belonged to her family. The holidays were coming up, so everyone was home. Cousins, aunts, uncles – everyone.
Her room hadn’t changed much since she was five years old, but there was a lot more stuff in it. Maya’s broomstick was propped against the wall with her heavy winter cloak beside it, remnants from a game with her cousins the day before. Advanced Defense Against the Dark Arts books and her Care of Magical Creature textbooks from the last six years were stacked on the desk. And the walls were covered in pictures. Moving pictures developed with potions Maya had brewed herself (those from her first year were a little fuzzy), static photos Sirius had given her from Muggle magazines (they particularly enjoyed National Geographic), and some drawings by Peter Pettigrew and Thomas. Her prize was Peter’s original sketch of the Gryffindor Common Room and Quidditch fields that had been used as the rough draft for the Marauder’s Map.
It was the first day of the break and Maya was enjoying a brief moment of solitude before the craziness that would ensue in a few hours when she took the floo network to the Potter’s House. Her heart beat faster at the thought of seeing everyone again, especially Sirius. He’d come to visit her almost every other week, but she still missed him like crazy. It had become common for him to pop into Hogsmeade on errands for the Order and take the time to come to her Quidditch Matches.
Maya smiled, a bit sadly. Hogwarts was different without all of them. Still amazing, but different.
“Maya?” Maya’s oldest cousin, Jasper, knocked on her door. “May I come in?”
Maya sat up. “Sure.”
Jasper came inside and sat on the edge of her bed. He looked around at all the picture and laughed. “Wow, I haven’t been up here in ages. Since when did you become such a collector of photographs?”
“Since gramps gave me a camera for my birthday my second year,” said Maya, looking around proudly. “And those from my first year were taken by one of the older kids…he wanted to be a photographer for the Daily Prophet or something…I can’t even remember his name now…”
Jasper looked at her and smiled.
“What?” she said. “You’re being weirdly nice.”
“Hey,” he said, “I can be nice.”
“Yeah but…this is weird,” said Maya.
Jasper shrugged and looked at a picture behind her bed that showed Maya on Sirius’ back. They were both laughing, and the figures in the picture kept falling over, shoving each other and then photo-Maya would jump back on.
“You did it, you know,” said Jasper.
“Now you’re being cryptic,” said Maya. “Did what?”
“Broke the werecat curse,” said Jasper.
Maya frowned and looked at him with her head tilted to the side, looking very cat-like indeed – despite the fact that it was a New Moon.
“The real curse was that we were too scared to reveal ourselves to anyone,” said Jasper. “My mom was an exception, and gramps and grandma were actually cousins…”
“Which is weird,” said Maya, making a face.
Jasper shuddered. “Just don’t think about it,” he said, “But you, Maya, you went to Hogwarts and you found all these people who care about you…you did it. Even with this war, werecats aren’t going to be ignored or feared anymore. You made us matter.”
Maya looked at him in surprise. She didn’t think her cousins had noticed how close she’d gotten to her friends. “You really think…I’m not that important, Jasper. I’ve always just followed them.”
Jasper smiled at her, sharp canines flashing a bit, “Soon, little cuz, the Marauders will be following you.”
Maya grinned and Jasper’s eyes got a mischievous twinkle. He pounced on her – two kittens playing in the winter sun – and began to tickle her. Maya let out a surprised yelp and tried to wriggle away, laughing.
Maya sat up, her smile gone and Jasper leapt to his feet without realizing it.
They both froze, listening. The house was quiet except for that faint crackle of magical fires warming their large home.
Maya’s heart beat was increasing and she knew something was wrong. “Jasper,” she said quietly, straining her ears and cursing both the daylight and the new moon that had stolen away her extra powers, “Who did the protective spells around the house?”
“I don’t…all of us I guess…” said Jasper. He sounded very unsure and Maya’s heart rate increased. Maya was the only Night to go to Hogwarts in almost one hundred years. Despite being the youngest, she was also the most skilled with magic. If the spells had worn off…
“When were they last renewed?” Maya asked, her hand slowly going to her wand on her bedside table. As if being still and quiet could stop what was happening.
Jasper’s face went very white and he opened his mouth to reply when the entire house shook with an explosion.
Downstairs, people began to scream. The faint crackle of lively fires in their place became a frightening roar and smoke was already filling the air outside.
“NO!” Jasper shouted, leaping across the room and pulling open the door.
Maya was right behind him, her wand in her hand.
Fifteen minutes too late.
Severus Snape apparated to what remained of the Night Bungalow. Fire had already consumed the lower levels and smoke was billowing from the top floors. His long, greasy hair blew in the harsh, hot wind that was coming from the house and the heat was singing the tips of his Death Eater robes. The spells that had protected the house were completely gone. His eyes traveled to the very top floor, to the attic bedroom that a hazy memory of a twelve-year old girl with curly hair told him was Maya’s room.
Had been Maya’s room.
Sev’s heart actually began to pound with something equal to fear. He knew Maya was dead. Bellatrix had told him. All of them were dead. All those dirty half-breeds are gone! There entire race is extinct! Gone forever! She had laughed like a maniac and Severus had almost stepped back in fear. He’d had to see. And now he was seeing and he felt…empty.
Fifteen minutes too late.
There was a small pop and Severus drew his wand before registering who it was. Regulus Black was standing beside him, his chest heaving with emotion as he looked at the burning house.
“Everyone is dead, Regulus,” said Snape harshly. Harshly to stop his own tears from falling. “And you can’t let any of the others know that you cared. Understand?”
Regulus looked at him in shock for a moment, and then an ugly, angry look flashed across his face. “You. Don’t. Understand,” he hissed.
“Don’t you lecture me on what I do or do not understand,” Snape snapped at him. He looked back at the burning house and he said softly, “Fifteen minutes too late, Reg.”
Regulus closed his eyes in pain.
Dumbledore finished speaking and waited. Remus’ legs gave out underneath him and he fell into a chair. Hiding his face in trembling hands. Lily’s hand were over her mouth in horror, tears already streaming down her face. Peter just look stunned. And James’ instantly looked at Sirius.
Sirius who didn’t move. Who didn’t react. Who just looked silently at Dumbledore with that fiery light in his eyes completely out. Several long minutes passed and then Sirius fell to his knees and screamed.