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Doubt

By Umbrae Calamitas

Fantasy / Other

Doubt

Author's Note: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was just playing on television and I was watching it, because I know it by heart, but I haven't seen it in a while. Near the end, a plot bunny jumped from the movie and into my brain. ^^ And there, it bred.

When they are sitting at the end of year feast and Dumbledore is giving his customary speech, he is awarding those infamous last House Points. He offers one of my favorite quotes: "It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends." As he says this, the camera zooms in on McGonagall's face, displaying her long-lasting pensive expression, and all I could think was that those words brought back memories of a previous group of Hogwarts students, known most-well as the Marauders. And I couldn't help but think how McGonagall, being the witty and amazing professor she is, might have recalled those four boys, their current fates, and doubted that which seemed so wrong.

And so, you have this in response. Now, when writing this, I also had my greater fic, The Search For Life and Death, in mind, so consider this something of a branch-off. I imagine that Harry has just been brought recently from the Dursleys and is under the watchful gaze of stern Madam Pomfrey and a worried Sirius Black, who feels fairly guilty for the tardiness of his actions.

So, yes. It's first person, either like her thoughts of even a journal entry, if you wish. Her thoughts wander quite like mine, it seems, but all tie in. I hope you enjoy this. Please leave a review and, as always…

Live long. Live well. Write.

Doubt

The doubt had started at that moment.

It's strange, I suppose, that I am able to pinpoint the exact moment. It seems odd to me that doubt had chosen to enter my mind, at all, for the ploy was faultless; genius, really.

What doesn't surprise me is that it was the words of Albus Dumbledore that spawned the doubt.

"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends."

Those words were spoken before the entire school, at the end of the year feast; the end of the year that Harry Potter had first started at Hogwarts, in my House. Ten points were awarded to Neville Longbottom, a shy and unconfident boy who reminded me, almost frighteningly-so, of Peter Pettigrew.

In fact, there were many similarities, now that I think about it. I'm ashamed that I never noticed it before.

Hermione Granger, a brilliant Muggle-born child with a thirst for knowledge that rivaled that of many her age. She reminds me still, quite astonishingly, of Lily Evans, who was also a Muggle-born witch, who also had a thirst for knowledge that made the Ravenclaws pale even in comparison, and who had also been the best in her year.

Well, the best witch.

One would assume, then, that Harry Potter would remind everyone quite clearly of his father, James. At a glance, this is perfectly true, for the boy was almost a mirror image of his father with his build, those unmistakable glasses, and… even now it comes out as a sigh – hairstyle.

The similarities end there, however. Yes, Harry has his mother's eyes, his father's courage, and his mother's compassion, but he did not have the life that either of his parents were gifted with. He was the Boy-Who-Lived to most that heard his name. Those of us who have met him, however, and who know the boy beyond that title, see him for who he is. Not the Boy-Who-Lived, but rather, Harry, a young boy who paid the price for another's sins.

Harry Potter is a combination, it seems, of two separate memories. These memories intertwined quite frequently. Actually, they were rarely far apart. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin.

It seems strange that Harry would hold a likeness to these two men, whom he hadn't been in contact with after Lily and James died, until his third year at Hogwarts. It wasn't that he acted like them because of his interactions with them, however, but because his lifestyle, the cards he had been dealt by Fate, were very similar to theirs.

I still find myself horrified, at times, remembering what I had learned of Sirius' homelife. True, I knew, as most people did, that the Black family was notorious for their love of the Dark Arts, and their devotion to causing pain to all who they deemed worthy. I will not pretend that I wasn't shocked when Sirius Black was chosen as a Gryffindor, rather than a Slytherin like all of his family. His loyalty, however, was so strong that it could not have been acted. But Sirius Black was a great actor. For three years he fooled his teachers, his classmates, and his closest friends. He never let on that anything was wrong at home, that there were any problems. We were nearly too late when we realized what was happening. The things they put that poor boy through… and just because he was different.

Remus Lupin was cursed with Lycanthropy; a fate that wouldn't have been so horrible if not for the fact that it caused him so much pain, and that it tore away his mind. The Wolfsbane Potion exists now to permit him to retain his humanity, but when he was a student, he was in agony a great deal of the time. And so quiet… he feared rejection, and who could blame him. Most who saw a werewolf ran in fear, and those that chose to remain usually did so in order to attack, before running themselves. It didn't matter that they were human; to the general populace, werewolves weren't people, and they were outcasts because of something that they could not control.

The same is with Harry Potter.

I am more horrified, I think, of learning that the Dursleys had been beating Harry. It is not because I care for Harry more than I did Sirius Black, though I won't deny that such a thing is a possibility, that I may hold Harry closer to my heart than Sirius. It is nothing against my former student; I knew Harry when he was a baby. I have seem him at his most vulnerable. I suppose this has awakened some maternal feelings within me, but I will keep them in check.

I feel more guilty for the wrongs done to Harry, because I knew. Well, I didn't really know, but I was aware of the possibility. I had heard Lily Evan's complaints about her sister's dislike toward her and our world. I had watched those… people for an entire day and well into the night. I knew with certainty that Harry would not be as happy there as he would have been in any other home.

I… I don't think I ever considered this, though. I don't think I ever thought that they would physically harm him.

I didn't think of it then, either.

They have similar pasts, Harry and Sirius. Both separated from their family; Harry because he was a wizard among Muggles who hated magic, and Sirius because he was a light wizard among dark wizards, a Gryffindor among Slytherins. A dog among sheep, even.

Or rather, among snakes.

Like Remus Lupin, however, Harry has had to grow up segregated from the Wizarding World for something he can't control. Voldemort tried to kill him when he was a baby and failed. He survived the curse that had left no other alive, destroying the Dark Lord in the process (or so we had hoped), and losing his parents… his chance at happiness.

Much like Remus Lupin was cursed as a werewolf, abandoned by his disgusted father, Harry was cursed as the Boy-Who-Lived. The boy who everyone saw as the child who had stopped Voldemort, I feared that he saw himself through eyes lined with guilt; the boy who had lived whilst his parents died.

In truth, Ronald Weasley acted more like James Potter than Harry did. James had been a very jealous boy, always running after Lily and hexing anyone who dared to even think of asking her out. I suspect he was also jealous of the closeness between Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, but those two boys had the harshness of their lives in common, while James was quite blessed with a happy home. He sought the attention and praise of others, where Sirius and Remus often remembered that attention only brought pain.

Ron's jealousy had gotten the better of him on more than one occasion, as had happened to James Potter. He also sought to escape the shadows of his older siblings and bask in the limelight, much like James (though that boy was simply egotistical, and a rather bad influence on his younger brother, his only sibling, dear Davie…).

The resemblances in personality are uncanny, and I'm rather disappointed in myself that it took so long to truly notice.

Peter Pettigrew had been the odd one out for the most part. For some reason, James, Sirius, and Remus worked well together, despite three being a crowd. Ron, Harry, and Hermione were almost as inseparable as the three male Marauders, and Neville made his appearance only occasionally within their group. I think it's more his own doing, however. Harry still has his mother's compassion and has always been welcoming to others. Neville wasn't quite independent, but he was a bit of a loner, probably due to his own raising, and secrets. Dear Frank and Alice…

But that's not the point.

All four of them were placed in Gryffindor; James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. All four were placed into Gryffindor because of their bravery, their courage. They each did, however, have qualities that would have led them to other Houses under different circumstances.

James' bravery outweighed his other qualities, but he would have done quite well in Slytherin, Dumbledore tells me. Apparently, the Sorting Hat told Harry Potter the very same thing, but this would have been for different reasons. Harry sought to prove his family wrong; he wanted to prove to himself that he wasn't worthless, that he wasn't the freak they had been telling him he was for years.

James wanted recognition, he wanted the limelight. He wanted to be noticed and to be considered great. He was, I agree with Lily Evans, quite big-headed, and he had an ego the size of the Quidditch Pitch, perhaps larger.

Sirius Black was brave to have lived with his family for so long. It must have taken a great deal of courage (as well as stubbornness and utter stupidity) to keep silent as his family hurt him continuously. The boy would have been the pride of Hufflepuff, however, had things gone differently. His loyalty was unmovable. I suppose this knowledge helped to spurn the birth of my doubt.

Remus Lupin held a bravery few his age, few twice his age, could boast. Once a month, he became victim to the whims of a ravenous beast, and he body was mastered by a puppeteer as he was put through pain worse than any Cruciatus Curse could ever match. He came to Hogwarts still, despite what people might say if they found out; what his friends might do, or say, when – if – they learned his secret. But the boy was brilliant – brilliant in a way that was almost terrifying – and he would have been the star of Ravenclaw, if not for what I think was divine intervention upon his meeting the others.

Peter Pettigrew… few would recognize the last name as of any significance, because it belonged to that of a Half-blooded wizard. Small, chubby, with no great ambition, he had been the tagalong to the Marauders, and I truly think he was only accepted as a Gryffindor because of his association with James, most of all. True, the others might have gone into a separate House if they had not met one another, but they all had instances in their lives which made them brave.

Peter wasn't very brave throughout school. He was quiet and hid in the back. He let other people do the work, let others try to talk their way out of trouble, and sometimes he tagged along for the praise or the detentions. He was a shadow, though, and one that wouldn't have done well in Ravenclaw, for he wasn't very smart, nor in Hufflepuff, for his loyalty was questionable even then, but later proved nonexistent. Perhaps, he would have done well in Slytherin, or at least been accepted, despite his blood, for he was not extremely intelligent, but he was very sly. He had a way of distancing himself from a scene, even while he moved not a muscle. He had this particular way that he could appear to be nothing more than an innocent bystander, or an added shadow, even when he was the main culprit.

He had a way of appearing the victim, when he was the criminal.

The signs had been there when they were children, but I had never taken much notice of them. They were children; they would change as they grew.

And they did; they grew further into those roles, and defined themselves by them and those around them.

James Potter became less the star who sought attention for himself, but the man who praised his son senseless; the man who was a peacock waving feathers, but who did so not for his ego so much any longer.

Sirius grew further into his loyalty, learning from his mistakes and becoming the watchdog that many in Hogwarts had attributed him to; the protector. The guardian.

Remus Lupin remained the bookworm, but grew into a man who came to trust, and who taught others lessons from books as well as life.

And Peter grew into a cunning shadow, who slipped unnoticed through the curtains of guiltiness, and into the false limelight of innocence.

He proved the reason he was in Gryffindor a few years after they all graduated from Hogwarts.

"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends."

He might have acted like a cowardly rat, and perhaps he was to a degree, but Pettigrew stood against those who called him brother that day, betrayed them, sold their lives to Voldemort.

And then slipped back into the darkness as a shadow and let another take the blame, as he had done so often at school.

I wish I had noticed it, then. I wish hindsight wasn't 20-20, but rather the sight of the present. I wish Dumbledore was wrong, but I know he isn't; not about this.

I suppose I have to wonder, though. He seemed so shy, so lacking in courage in school, could he really have so much courage as to stand against his friends?

Unless he didn't consider them friends. Unless, somewhere along the line, they had become the enemy. Perhaps Voldemort and his fellow Death Eaters had taken the place of friendship along the way, and Pettigrew gained the courage to stand against James, Lily, Remus, and Sirius, because there were shadows he could slip into; because he had someone he could blame it on. Because he could play the cowardly child and hide in the shadows while someone else took the blame, took the fall.

I know it now – the truth. I learned it the year that Sirius Black escaped Hogwarts, but I can see it in his eyes, now. The loyalty, still alive and burning, even after so long… after so much horror.

I wish I had seen so much, but at least I can see, now. At least it didn't take me long to accept the truth. After all, I'd already had my doubts.

"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends."

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