Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.
This is my last update for this story. It's all over! :(
So here's chapter Eighty!
Hope you enjoy it!
It was the final week of Hogwarts. The seventh years were in an odd state. Many were overjoyed that they had finished their N.E.W.T's where as others were just relieved that they only had one exam left. A few were in the stage of taking or waiting outside the great hall patiently for final N.E.W.T of the school year, (Transfiguration), whereas those who took Divination or Arithmancy still had another day to wait for the exams to finish. But even they joined the rest of the seventh years in their strange state. Although they were ecstatic that the full pressure of the N.E.W.T's was ending, they were also rather saddened at the prospect. You even had the select few wishing they had a few more exams left. Because if they still had exams left, the end of their school years wouldn't be upon them. They would still have a few more weeks at Hogwarts left, a few more weeks with their friends in a comfortable castle which was always stocked full of food and activity. A few more weeks of a worry free existence where they didn't have to think about getting a job, a house or the responsibility that was waiting for them out there. But they didn't have a few more weeks. The end had come.
Most of them who dreamed to go into a job with a specific training programme or a high profile position were preparing for them already. If they wanted to work in Gringotts, St Mungos or in a specialised department of the Ministry, like in the department of mysteries or law enforcement, they had to make a trip to their head of house who would give them application forms for training programmes and further opportunities that they were to fill in and return within the month that they left the school. Some Professors were running extra classes in the final week for anyone who wanted help filling in the application forms, helping them with what to put and how to write a personal statement. It was all very methodical and, for those who weren't too enthusiastic with the idea of actually having to grow up, boring. So, basically, Sirius Black and James Potter.
James was still taking his Transfiguration practical exam whilst Sirius and Remus, along with Peter who had been lingering outside the great hall for all his friends dutifully, waited for him to finish. Seeing as these exams always went in alphabetical order, this situation had become a common occurrence for the marauders. The only exception to this was when Remus and Sirius had decided to go and collect Lily from her Ancient Runes exam but they didn't have to do that this time. She was going to meet them by the beech tree after she had seen how Alice, who would be taking her Transfiguration exam after James, had done. Instead of waiting with them until Alice had finished though, she had decided to wait with Alice's long term boyfriend Frank Longbottom. From where Remus, Sirius and Peter were standing, they were talking incessantly.
It took fifteen minutes and a running commentary from Sirius - the contents of the commentary varying from how long they had been waiting to how hungry he was and trying to figure out what Frank and Lily were on about, (he was sure it was him because he was always a featured topic in all conversations. At least in his mind he was) - before James came out of the great hall. He looked mighty proud of himself and made a beeline for Remus, Sirius and Peter, high-fiving each of them and bragging about his success in the practical when he reached them. Peter stood in awe at his friend's confidence whilst Sirius started to compete with James in a brotherly fashion as to whose exam went better and Remus shook his head. Still acting this way, the four of them made their way down to their beloved beech tree to spend their first few hours of freedom in the hot sun.
They arrived at their spot, James kicking a couple of second years from under the tree with his power as head boy, (something which he had been abusing for the last few weeks at Hogwarts), and gathered round in their usual positions. Remus got a book out, (something to take his mind off of his uncertain future), and laid down on the soft grass, the sun beaming down on his sleeve covered arms and making him unpleasantly sweaty. Peter sat crossed legged in between Remus and Sirius, facing James, and picking the grass as he usually did when they were outside. Sirius sat with his legs out in front of him, lounging back on his elbows and looking around at all the pretty girls who had decided to bear their legs and tummy's on this extraordinarily hot day. James sat in what he would call, 'the place of honour', leaning against the beech tree in the coveted shade, rolling the sleeves up on his crisp white shirt. The four boys talked and laughed and discussed how they were going to end the year, (they planned on going out with a bang and perhaps some mystery), and reminiscing on all the pranks they had pulled over the years. Some of the ones that stuck out the most in their memories were the accidental ones, ones they hadn't meant to pull such as the time they made the hallway sink by combining various charms. Others they loved because it was fun to do, like painting the school red and gold, (a particular favourite of James' who did love to paint). Then there were the little things they had done like sewing the Slytherins robes shut or jamming the Slytherins benches. They decided they had had a good run at Hogwarts and did hope that, one day, someone would continue with their legacy. They would help anyway they could of course. They had already discussed it. But there was one thing they hadn't discussed and Sirius was becoming quite worked up about it, suggesting all he cut to fix what he thought was a major problem.
'I'm just saying it's a good idea.' Sirius said, trying oh so hard to convince his friends to see his way of things.
'No its not.' Remus sighed, turning a page in his book.
'Where would we put it?' James asked finally.
'Oh Merlin's beard!' Remus said in exasperation. Up until now, James had been on the same wavelength as Remus, turning down all of Sirius' awful ideas to rectify their problem. Now it seemed he had jumped ship and was seriously considering Sirius' plan.
Sirius thought for less than a second before replying with the suggestion, 'Outside?'
'Don't encourage him.' Remus pleaded to James.
'Mmm nah.' James chuckled, knowing he was now winding Remus up as he encouraged Sirius' ludicrous idea for sport. 'There's a forest out there.' he gave as an excuse.
'You know what you're letting yourself in for.' Remus warned him, opening his book again, resolving that this was now James' problem as it was his house and it was his idea to switch sides.
'What about inside?' Sirius asked.
'He won't let this go.' Remus stated in a knowing voice, finding his page and continue to read the book Dumbledore had given him a while back for he still hadn't finished it.
'Not enough room.' James shrugged, wavering a bit in his fun at Remus' words.
'Is in the ballroom.' Sirius pressed.
'Told you.' Remus sang as James narrowed his eyes at him.
'Mum would go mental at us.' he told Sirius, now attempting to undo the damage he had done by trying to have some fun and winding his friends up. 'And tell us to put it back.' he continued to point out.
'I think she'd tell you to do that anyway.' Remus said absentmindedly.
Sirius though for a second, roaming through every room he could remember in the Potter mansion in his mind, attempting to find a disused room that they knew the rough whereabouts of. He could only think of one. 'What about the library?' he proposed.
'What?' Remus asked worriedly, looking up from his book. The library, he had already decided, was going to be his sanctuary if he did in fact move into the Potter mansion. It was going to be the place where he could go and get away from the antics of his friends that sometimes drove him round the bend.
'Yeah!' Sirius enthused, 'Give us a reason to go in there.'
Lily had arrived at the tree holding a bottle she had filled with water. James held his hand out for it so he could take a swig for he was thirsty. Lily gave it to him, watched him take a couple of mouthfuls before having it handed back to her and doing the same. She put the top back on after she had had her drink and sat down between James and Sirius, sitting with her legs tucked up beside her so that she was in a modest enough position to not show anything from beneath her skirt. She listened to the boy's conversation, not knowing the topic.
'Besides to make a floating obstacle course out of the biggest books you can find and jump through the air on them?' Remus asked with a raised eyebrow.
'Please!' Sirius scoffed, waving Remus' comment away, 'That's a Tuesday. I'm on about us going in there on other days. And it will give us some much needed shade.'
'The library's inside pea brain.' Remus said with a roll of his eyes. 'There's shade already from this thing we sane people like to call, a roof.' he continued, his sarcasm dripping through every word he spoke.
'Not below the skylight.' James pointed out, literally pointing a finger at Remus who then rolled his eyes at James.
'Then don't stand under the skylight and you'll be in the shade.' he said as if it were obvious.
'Well we'll be putting the tree under the skylight now so that won't make a difference now.' Sirius said with a shrug, pointing at the tree that James was leant against.
Lily followed his hand and frowned. 'Wait.' she paused, 'Are you talking about this tree?' she asked.
'Yeah.' Sirius grinned whilst Lily's eyes widened in unfortunate surprise, shocked at what she was now hearing.
'We're gonna chop it down and take it to Prongs' house.' Peter volunteered, happy to be in on something that Lily wasn't. That wasn't the way things had been recently. Recently it had been Peter who was constantly out of the loop as Lily was now the person that James told things first. Then it was Sirius and then Remus. Peter was usually forgotten about.
'What?' Lily questioned with a speechless look on her face, 'Why?'
'Cause it's our tree!' James said, repeating the line he said so often when topics like this came up.
'What is it with you and trees!' Lily said, rolling her eyes as Remus had done earlier, 'You're so possessive.'
James paused. 'Jealous it's not you?' he asked.
'Little bit.' Lily conceded with a half-smile.
There was a pause in the groups conversational dynamic but it was all brought back when Sirius, who had crept round behind Lily and James and was now just to the back of the middle of them, asked Lily with a mischievous smirk, 'Wanna help us chop it down?'
'No.' Lily said, with a shake of her head, 'You do know you can't just chop down one of the schools trees right?'
'Yeah we can.' Sirius replied.
'All we need is an axe.' James joined in.
Lily looked between the pair of them. 'You are joking?' she asked rhetorically, knowing she was wrong.
'No.' James and Sirius said in unison, James joining in once again with Sirius' absurd suggestion just to have a bit more fun and wind Lily up.
'Oh good lord.' Lily said succinctly.
'Welcome to my world.' Remus said to her, starting to put his book away in his bag now as it was clear he wasn't going to be doing any reading at the minute. He never did in these situations really but he liked to be optimistic.
'Why do you want to take this tree with you anyway?' she asked James and Sirius, regretting the question almost immediately. Really, after hanging out with them for two years now and dating one of them, she should have known how they would react to this inquiry.
'Because it's our tree!' James replied immediately, Sirius jumping in afterwards without a pause to give a more dramatic variation of what James had said.
'And it would make sure that no one else can sit under it, climb over it or deface it but us!' he said, starting to stand up as if he were in the middle of making an inspirational speech, which it probably could have been if the contents of it were not about a tree. 'If it's here and we're not, no one, and I mean NO ONE! Will know they CAN NOT do that to OUR TREE! AND-'
'Jeez alright! Alright!' Lily said, cowering away slightly from Sirius for his voice had rose so much in volume, some other student who were sat a good twenty feet away, had turned to see what the commotion was actually all about. 'There's no need to yell.' she finished, pulling Sirius back down to the ground to sit.
'But I-' Sirius began dismayed.
'Why don't you just initial the tree?' Lily suggested to the four boys.
The four boys looked at each other with curious frowns. 'Didn't one of us already do that?' Remus asked his friends.
'I think I did.' Sirius put in, thinking back over to the other times he had become protective over their tree. He was almost certain that he had already initialled the tree with a large S.B, J.P, R.L and a tiny little P.P. to keep the peace. It sounded like a selfish action he would take over something as beloved to him as the beech tree they had sat under all these years at Hogwarts.
Lily examined the tree briefly. 'Well I can't see anything so if you did you didn't do it very well.' she said to Sirius who scowled back at her for dissing something he had done. .You could just do that instead of chopping the tree down though.' she continued, ignoring Sirius, 'Less mess and less conspicuous. And besides, people do that in books and films all the time.'
'Films?' Peter enquired.
'Oh Merlin's pants films Pete!' James enthused, 'They rule! We watched gumpa umpas-'
'Oompa Loompas.' Lily corrected.
'-prance around in this tiny little box! It's like a picture that tells a story instead of calling you bone idle and irritating all the time.' James went on, taking no notice of Lily's amendment.
'I've told you if you stop annoying the fat lady she won't call you that.' Lily said with a small shake of her head.
'What you doing mate?' Sirius questioned Remus who had gotten up and sat the other side of James whilst he was explaining what films were. He was concentrating very hard at the base of the tree trunk, looking rather odd as he did so. He almost looked like he was having a starting competition with it.
'Initialling our tree.' he answered, showing them the small knife which he carried in the front pocket of his bag ready for potions classes. He hadn't taken it out even though they had finished their lessons now.
'Ha! So you agree it's our tree then?' Sirius exclaimed with a fist punch into the air, 'We own it! Yes! I'll shut up.' he finished at a raised eyebrow look from Remus.
The boys and Lily watched him for a few minutes before Lily asked, 'Why you doing it there?' referring to the place in which he was carving five sets of initials, (he had included Lily in their group).
'Cause if the tree is ever chopped down, they will still be on the stump.' Remus explained, thinking his idea was genuinely a stroke of pure genius. It did confuse others though.
'Wait,' Sirius frowned, 'so are we chopping the tree down or not?'
The last day at Hogwarts was a Friday and the marauders had been doing little things all day. They had created a giant model of the solar system which filled the ceiling of the great hall at breakfast, only explaining it as a replacement gift for Dumbledore. He chuckled at it appreciatively and left it until the marauders enchantment had worn off. Everyone was glad that he had done this for, at the end of breakfast when a full hour of the solar system being in the air had past, each of the planets and their moons had begun to explode, one by one, from Pluto to Mercury. When they had exploded, and only then, did the sun explode, releasing thousands of little gold birds along with a red spark firework which spelt out the words across the ceiling, 'The Marauders: 1971-1978'. That too stayed for an hour before fading away and raining down the sparks that had held the words. The two hours of breakfast were filled but they didn't stop there.
They hung streamers in house colours all the way around the school, even green and silver for Slytherin as it was the last day of their Hogwarts years. They had encased all of the suits of armour in large blocks of jelly, putting the final touch of a party hat on the top of the large jelly cuboid. They had replaced all of the toilet paper in the school with spellotape and had used the toilet paper they had nicked to cover the walls and tables completely in it ready for lunch before attempting to start a food fight. No one actually joined in on that so the marauders just had fun throwing yogurt and cream and custard at each other and the wall to 'paint a pretty picture' or so they said. Lily took a photograph of them afterwards covered in food and standing with their arms around each other on the high table at the front of the hall with the toilet paper backdrop.
After lunch they created a web of string in all of the hallways that had lessons taking place in the classrooms leading off it so that when the class was let out, they had an obstacle to get through. They also covered the gargoyle outside Dumbledore's office in Christmas wrapping paper and tied a huge bow across it with a tag that simply said, 'Thanks for letting us use your office' on it. When Dumbledore went up to his office after seeing this, he found his walls plastered with thousands of pictures of the four boys, including one on the desk in a Christmas paper wrapped frame with a tag that stated 'Your four favourite students'. The marauders also indulged in placing swings, like the ones you find in parks, hanging down from every archway they could in the castle which was practically every turning into a new corridor as archways were an architectural design for Hogwarts. But by far, the trick that everyone thought was genius was outside. The marauders had been up in the middle of the night in the Hogwarts grounds, putting little balls of cotton on the branch of every visible tree including the whomping willow. Everyone loved this and that was probably because no one could figure out how they had managed to do that to such a wild tree.
They stopped their pranks mid-evening when James and Remus had to go to the final Prefect meeting of the year. They were having a little farewell party for all the seventh year prefects and James and Lily as head students. There was a banner hung across the chalkboard in the Transfiguration classroom that read 'Good Luck', directed at all those who were leaving and applying to be in training programmes or something similar. They all had party hats on, (a request of James' who stated it wouldn't be a party without them), and there was music playing on a gramophone in the background. Set out on the desk at the front of the classroom was a huge buffet complete with large bowls of jelly, (another request of James'), which the Prefects were stuffing themselves silly with, forgetting about the end of school feast they were all required to attend. It was a fun little party and they all joked and laughed about, even those who didn't particularly get on very well, for it was the end of the school year and they had only decided to make the effort for the one gathering.
James spent about an hour soaking in the compliments he was receiving about being a fun head boy, (not a great head student like Lily had been, just fun), before he looked at his watch and announced he was leaving for a previous, shocking everyone but Remus who he dragged out of the room with him. Lily wasn't particularly happy about being left alone with all the prefects but she knew better than to try and stop him if she wanted to avoid having a little spat. They didn't have a lot of spats but James did sort of throw tiny hissy fits if he didn't get his way and wasn't able to do something he wanted. And, obviously, he wanted to go do something with the other marauders. Lily didn't ask.
Lily finished the party forty-five minutes after James and Remus left, telling the prefects it was probably best the get to the feast which had been on for a good ten minutes already. She let them all go and packed up everything herself, ensuring that the classroom was clean and tidy before she left for fear of Professor McGonagall throwing a fit. She made her way down to the great hall five minutes after the rest and took her place at the Gryffindor table which had been saved for her by Frank and Alice. James, Remus, Sirius and Peter were nowhere to be seen so she assumed that they were still off god knows where doing god knows what, but Filch was also missing so she hoped they were at least being careful.
She glanced around the main hall. Everyone was there so at least she really was having a proper last school feast. She didn't know everyone by name but she was glad that everyone had turned up because you usually got those who thought they were too good to spend any time with anyone, let alone the rest of the school. She could see Joshua Hunt and Hestia's ex-boyfriend Sean over the far side of the hall. They were in intense conversation with each other. She saw the Hufflepuff Prefect Megan with her friends and they looked to be having a laugh. She looked over to the Slytherin table and for a brief minute, glanced over at Avery, Mulciber, Wilkes and Bellatrix Black who she was sure were going to be hunting her down after they left Hogwarts because she was a mudblood to them. But her eyes rested on Severus Snape for the majority of the minute and she couldn't squelch that part of her, the eleven year old part of her, who thought that one day they would be graduating Hogwarts together. Not that she would change how things were now though. She was happy how it all turned out eventually. It was the same with Hestia who was sat a little ways down the Gryffindor table from her. She was sat on her own, having fallen out with Mary and Emmeline too because they weren't particularly used to her gossiping, attitude and sense of humour and it could come off in the wrong way. Lily had also thought that she was going to be sat next to her on this day but, again, it obviously wasn't meant to be. She still wouldn't change the way things were though. She felt so strongly about James that other things just seemed unimportant sometimes.
She sat in feeble conversation with Alice and Frank for fifty more minutes before James sat down beside her, Remus and Sirius opposite them and Peter next to James. They were covered in soot and their hair had slightly frayed ends. It wasn't too noticeable on James and Sirius because their hair was black but it was visible on Remus and it stuck out like a sore thumb on Peter.
'You're late! Where have you been?' Lily asked James who was grabbing some food and stealthily putting it in his bag. His friends were doing the same because they knew the plates would clear in a few minutes. Plus they were starving.
'Getting caught.' James winked at her.
Lily sighed, knowing that Flich's absence meant that he was the one to catch them. 'Getting cau-?' she began but getting shushed by Sirius halfway through her sentence. Dumbledore had stood up to speak.
'Well done on another successful year at Hogwarts!' he began, his arms out in welcome. He looked exhausted and Lily and James knew it was because he hadn't been at school for the past month and only returned that evening. He was supposed to meet with them at the end of the school year but had cancelled explaining in no detail why in a private letter which, under strict instructions from the man himself, no one was allowed to read.
'It is time to announce the house cup.' he proclaimed which people sat up straight for. Everyone knew Slytherin had won the cup, thanks to the green and silver banners hanging from the ceiling amidst the floating candles, but they weren't too clear on the other places. Dumbledore told them. 'In last place, Ravenclaw with four hundred and twenty points. In third place, Gryffindor with four hundred and eighty points. Second, Hufflepuff with four hundred and ninety and, in first place, Slytherin with five hundred and thirty points.'
There was a spattering of applause for each of the houses, Slytherin cheering their own victory at the end. When Dumbledore had settled them down with a motion of his hand, he continued with his usual safety warning about the dangers of the wizarding world at the minute, reminding the student body to stay safe and to be wary of all that was going on in their world at the minute. He then thanked the teachers of the school for their dedication to the profession and announced that Professor Linkedin was to be leaving them as she was unable to return for the following year thanks to recent unexpected family issues. (Everybody knew what this meant but nobody dared say anything). He then thanked Filch and Hagrid for their continued service to the school and wished everyone a safe journey home along with good luck for the future to the seventh years. That was what James, Remus, Sirius and Peter took their cue.
Peter was in charge of changing the colours of some of the candles in the sky to red and gold whilst James, Remus and Sirius moved them around in the sky to spell out a few words. The student body read them carefully.
The secret to our success is now hidden in the school
And those who dare to find it well, they're pretty sure to rule…
'We really wanted it to rhyme but it was a lot harder than we thought.' James whispered to Lily who was shaking her head fondly at the marauders last little bit of big scale magic. It was quite pretty actually, the candles all glittering above them with the ones that Peter had coloured forming the letters M, W and P.
'Yeah.' Sirius sighed as if it was hard work, 'New found respect for the sorting hat.'
'We had to add a sort of coda to the end just to make it make sense.' Remus added to Lily whilst the rest of the hall erupted in chatter to try and figure out what the little poem in the sky meant. It was a puzzle that they would all be mulling over for years but never solved. The marauders would truly be leaving a lasting impression on them.
'We weren't sure if people would realise we meant rule Hogwarts.' Peter added, wanting to contribute something.
'Yeah.' Sirius laughed, continuing loudly with, 'There's already one nut job out there who thinks he can rule the world. We don't want another one.'
'Plus the people in this school aren't too bright.' James put in, 'I just hope someone can figure it out eventually.'
Lily had been staring at the message in the sky for a good five minutes now and she had no idea what it meant. She had to ask. James would tell her. 'Figure what out?' she wondered.
'Well…' James smirked, 'I guess you'll never know.'
Severus walked through the hallways of Hogwarts for one last time, memorising every stone of the only place he had ever thought of as home. He was now heading out into the world, with no place to stay but definitely a reason to go on. He was about to leave and do some of the best most important work of his life and he was proud for it. He was excited even and couldn't quite wait to get on with it. But there was also a part of him, a part that he supposed would always be there, that didn't want to leave the safety of Hogwarts, the place he was comfortable in. The only thing that spoiled it at the moment were the rotten ash footprints that he just knew James Potter and his group had left on the ceiling the previous night. That and the charred corridor along the fifth floor that Filch was currently in charge of scrubbing down, much to his disgust. But that wasn't Severus' problem. All he had to concern himself with now was leaving the castle.
He walked down to the lake where the boats that had originally brought them to the castle all those years ago, were now waiting to take them back out. It was a seventh year tradition, led by Hagrid as he had led them as first year. The only difference for the collective was the knowledge they had gained. The were no less scared than they were when they were elven, only this time for different reasons. Severus also had the absence of Lily to contend with. Last time he was in one of these boats he had been with her. He had entered Hogwarts with her but he would be departing from it in a small rickety boat along with Avery, Mulciber and Wilkes with whom he filled the four standard spots.
He looked over to Lily who was still on the shore staring up at the castle, obviously still in awe. She was then called loudly to a boat by Sirius Black who was sat with James Potter and Remus Lupin. Peter Pettigrew was in a different boat, next to the one which his friends were in, with Alice Prewett and Frank Longbottom and one of Frank's old friends. Other people he knew from Lily, but did despise, was Mary MacDonald and Emmeline Vance. They were sharing a boat with two people from Hufflepuff who Severus believed weren't worth the time of day. Hestia Jones, who Severus had thought, if they hadn't been in different houses and hadn't have hated each other, would have gotten along with him splendidly over the past few weeks because of James Potters role in ending their friendships with a certain red-head. But that thought wasn't worth a second of Severus' time so he forgot it and never revisited it.
The half-giant with his beady little eyes and huge moleskin coat, ensured all the boats were full, (as they should have been if everyone was present). When he had finished his count, he climbed into the boat at the front, once again taking it all to himself, a sight that the seventh years would never see again, and the boats jolted forwards to a start. They glided effortlessly across the lake and the students looked back up at the castle they had lived in for so long, already missing the safety net they had been able to fall into if they went wrong. Missing the chances they had to redo something if they had gone wrong. Missing the teachers they loved, the rooms they had grown up in and the friends they would probably not speak to again. It was all disappearing and fading as if it was only a shining dream. It slipped through their fingers and with a thud, the boats stopped at the other end of the lake, and it was gone.
They got out the boats and Severus saw that some people were starting to cry. He thought them weak and pathetic. Severus was going to miss Hogwarts too but he wouldn't cry about it. It was over now and he had other things to do now. He had a different adventure to bark upon now. And he was sure it was going to be the journey of his life.
Hestia Jones was mooching over to the train, on her own, no friends surrounding her. She had lost everything in a matter of weeks and she believed herself to be one of the only seventh years to actually be relieved to be leaving the castle. She had had a great time up until…well, she believed she could pin point it to when Lily had started to become friends with James but she also knew it was unfair to blame everything on him. After all, she had to accept that it was her who wanted Lily to get along with him to make her life easier, to allow herself to skip the conversations they used to have complaining about him and his friends and focus more on the problems she was having with nail polish or boys. And she did accept that.
But Hestia couldn't help the little bubble of anger that had started when she herself was dumped by her first boyfriend who she believed she had the potential to love. She had supressed it with Sean and had even begun to get over it, the romantic side of her growing again in his company. But she dumped him for spreading a rumour about Lily, one which wasn't true. She wished she hadn't as Lily hadn't done the same for her. She knew it was a different situation that time but she had thought at the time that Lily had to do the same for that would mean they were even. They had both sacrificed for each other. But it didn't work out that way and she now knew she was to blame.
She had jumped the gun too quickly and she knew who Remus was. She knew, in the heart, that he wasn't a dangerous person. He was sweet, gentle and kind. But the stereotype of a werewolf had overtaken her mind and that was all she could focus on. It was all she could think about at the time but now she knew her mistake. She wouldn't admit it though.
She knew she was wrong in every way. She knew she was wrong to yell at Remus. She knew she was wrong to ask Lily to choose between her and her soul mate. She knew this but she didn't want to accept it. She knew she had made bad choices and she shouldn't have spread rumours about her best friend through anger and, to some extent, envy. She never let herself know she was jealous of what Lily had. The love she shared with James. She wanted to know what that was like for herself. She had never experienced it before and she wanted too so desperately that she knew she would be lying to herself if she didn't say that that had played a factor in the way things had ended with Lily. It was wrong of her to think in the way that if she wasn't happy, Lily shouldn't be happy either. Misery loves company and all.
She went and sat on the train, ready for it departure. She was in a compartment on her own and watched the door absentmindedly, wondering to herself if anyone would come in. No one did. Instead she watched them pass her by. Younger years, her old friends, people she knew and people she had always wanted to know. She saw them go by one by one, none of them stopping to even glance into her compartment. It hurt her. Especially when the last people she saw pass the glass door was none other than Lily and James, followed by Remus, Sirius and Peter.
She wanted so much to follow them. To apologise and make amends before it was too late. Before they all went their separate ways to live their separate lives. She wanted to leave Hogwarts with her friends as she had dreamed about at the start of the year. Only she couldn't. She couldn't apologise. She was stubborn and to was too hard. It was too hard to admit to them that she was wrong. So she rode the train on her own, consumed by her own thoughts, to the end of the line.
For the final time, the Hogwarts Express pulled into platform nine and three quarters at Kings Cross station. It stopped with a smooth jerk and the whistle sounded, smoke billowing out of the funnel at the top of the train to signal that the students were now able to get off safely and that their journey had come to an end. A clatter of cages and the hooting of owls filled the train corridors with the occasional meow or hiss of a cat. The chatter rose like a bubble of hot air, bouncing and resonating around the corridors of the train and, finally, on the platform. And, on that platform, amongst families being reunited with their sons and daughters, the marauders and Lily were saying goodbye.
Peter was the first to leave. He left the group almost straight away, his mother collecting him, and made plans with his friends to meet up at James' house in a few days' time to fill out their auror applications together as a group. It quelled his biggest fear; losing contact with his friends after school had finished for good. He then disapparated, (being forced to hold his mother's hand as she didn't trust he could make it home in one piece without splinching himself), leaving only Lily, James, Sirius and Remus. But their quartet was dwindling as Remus was the next to leave.
He hugged James and Sirius goodbye and then also hugged Lily, kissing her on the cheek as well. He made plans with James and Sirius who were adamant on him moving into the Potter mansion and living with them. Their sole purpose: to wreak havoc in the house. They arranged for Remus to move in over the next couple of days. He was to go home to his parents' house that night, tell them the plan and spend one last day living with them as nothing but their only son. James and Sirius, (and Peter) were then heading over to his house to pack up Remus' belongings and take them, as quickly as possible, back to the Potter mansion and set him up in the room next to theirs, (apparently he wasn't allowed to choose his own room). The plan was set, and when it was, Remus said one last goodbye before apparating home to break the news to his parents leaving only James, Sirius and Lily.
They had to part ways now. The platform was emptying and soon the entrance would be sealed and the charms that prevented apparition on the platform during the summer would be put in place. Lily had to say goodbye to James and Sirius now but she just couldn't.
'Are you crying?' James asked her and he wrapped his arms around her waist and looked into her eyes.
Lily instinctively placed her arms around his neck but looked away from him. 'No!' she denied with a small sniff.
'You are.' James laughed, mocking her playfully, 'Why are you crying?'
'Because we're leaving Hogwarts!' she said, a few tears rolling down her cheeks now as she looked back to James, 'We're leaving all our friends. Everyone I've ever known in the magical world has been here. And I'm leaving you! That's the worst bit. I don't know when I'll see you again.'
'Tuesday after next.' James answered, 'We made plans remember?'
'That's such a long way away.' Lily whined.
'Aw Lils!' James smirked, 'Come here you silly moose!' he said, leaning in for a kiss.
'Did you just call me a moose?' Lily asked, pulling away.
'Felt right.' James shrugged.
'Seems weird.' Lily scowled, little lines appearing in a crease on her forehead. Her arms moved from round the back of James' neck and rested on his shoulders instead.
James grinned cheekily. 'Yeah but you're-'
'Don't you dare finish that sentence James Potter!' Lily warned. She didn't know where he had gotten it from and wasn't particularly sure when it had started but he was always calling her weird. I mean, sure she had some odd moments but that didn't really mean she was full blown odd did it?
'Beautiful.' James finished, saving himself just in time. 'You're beautiful and I love you and I'll see you Tuesday.'
'Not before then?' Lily said, pulling a famous Sirius-type puppy dog face in an attempt to get James to change his mind. It would be weird not seeing him for a week when she had been seeing him every day almost for so many years.
'Afraid not.' James shook his head, 'We've got to fill in all our applications to the auror department and you've got to do your healer applications.'
'Can't we do them together?' Lily suggested, pouting, hoping he wouldn't refuse her.
'No.' James said with a chuckle, pushing her bottom lip in with his forefinger, 'You'll just distract me then I'll get nowhere. We'll see each other on Tuesday.'
'Tuesday?' Lily asked disappointedly.
'I promise.' James nodded.
He leant in to kiss her but Lily stopped him with a finger to his lips. 'This has to last for a week.' She told him to which he just smiled. She also saw his smile falter when they heard a sob from the side.
The both looked to Sirius, who they had been successfully ignoring for the last five minutes, actually forgetting his presence in their private moment. He was stood with his arms crossed as it he was protecting himself and there were genuine tears in his eyes.
'Are you crying Padfoot?' James mocked.
'No.' he sniffed, looking up and avoiding his best friends mocking smirk.
'You are!' he laughed, poking fun at him.
'I can't help it!' he sobbed, 'It's the end of an era!'
James looked back to Lily with a humorous look. 'He's so dramatic.' he said, 'I'm not sure where he gets it from.'
'Ah hell!' Sirius gave in, walking over to James and Lily, pushing James aside and enveloping Lily in a tight hug, both of them with water stained cheeks form few tears.
'Sirius.' James protested, 'You're kind of interrupting my good bye here!'
'Wait your turn!' Sirius snapped at him.
'And all this from someone who didn't like her that much a couple of months ago.' James mumbled under his breath. He waited for five minutes before Sirius pulled away from Lily and gave him a nod of permission to have his own goodbye.
James rolled his eyes. 'My turn?' he asked sarcastically.
'Sure go ahead.' Sirius shrugged.
James shook his head and walked back over to Lily who smiled at him. He wrapped his arms around her waist once more and she circled hers around his neck. He leant forwards and kissed her; a long, lingering kiss. It was sure to last the first days of the summer holiday that they were to spend apart. But after that, they would be able to spend as much time with each other as they wanted. Hogwarts was over. The world awaited them.
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