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DISCLAIMER~ I've got a riddle for you! I'm not rich, I'm not famous, I'm not genious, and I do not own Harry Potter. Who am I? Not J.K Rowling!...haha...that was great....

The feast had been an interesting one. The food was good as usual, the Sorting Hat had sung a new song, fresh first years had been Sorted, and Dumbledore had given a Welcoming speech. All the aforementioned activities were normal for the first day back at Hogwarts. However, something had drastically changed in the students' absence.

The atmosphere of the school was different than how they had left it when they departed in June. The place was no longer relaxed and carefree, but instead filled with tension and anxioty. Dumbledore had addressed the matter in his speech.

It was all because of Voldemort, he had said. He was much stronger, and had many more followers. He was a flourishing Dark Lord who thrived on lies and despair. He created a web and lured people into his trapped. Forced them. And the wrost bit was that Dumbledore reckoned he'd be the worst Dark wizard in history.

Additionally, Dumbledore was pleading with the students ot get along. "The onnly way we can be strong on the outside is if we do not crumble from within," he had said. During this part of his speech, James had lookedat the Slytherin table and saw Severus Snape. Snape had fixed him with a stare that plainly said: 'I wish you nothing but the most painful death.' James didn't hold the gaze and had quickly turned away.

So now the four Marauders were sitting in the Gryffindor common room, staringinto the warm amber flames. They were unusually quiet. It was odd, but the summer had changed them, especially James. They were no longer the happy-go-lucky prank-playing Marauders anymore. Now they were nothing but four kids who felt the weight of the war on there shoulders, and for no apparent reason.

"He really thinks things are going to get bad, huh? Dumbledore, that it," Remus said quietly.

"Yeah," James said softly, not taking his eyes from the flames. "Funny though, isn't it? I mean, you would think we were in a full-blown war right now, but we're not. I'll bet we are by the end of the year though."

"Do you think Professor Dumbledore will defeat You-Know-Who, like when he defeated Grindewald?" Peter asked excitedly. Sirius scowled.

"If Dumbledore could defeat Voldemort, do you really think he would be so worried? Obviously, Voldemort will be more than a match for Dumbledore. But now, the question is, who will be powerful enough to defeat him?"

At the use of Voldemort's name, Peter let out a very mouse like squeal of fright, and Remus jumped so bad he nearly fell out of his chair. James however, snapped his head in Sirius' direction.

"Decided to use his name now, have you?" he asked, sounding rather amused.

"I've decided it's stupid not to," Sirius replied, shrugging. Then he posed his question once more. "Who do you think will be able to overpower Voldemort?"

Remus and Peter flinched, but nothing as dramatic as the last mention of his name occured.

"It could be anyone. For all we know, it could be someone inside this school now. It may even be one of us," Remus said quietly, having recovered very quickly.

"Or maybe...maybe one day it'll be one of our kids," James said ironically. "Or, it may just never happen. Voldemort might die of natural causes."

"Or," said Sirius, "maybe hen wont die - ever. Maybe he knows something that will keep him immortal. Something they don't teach at Hogwarts?"

No one said anything for a while. Dumbledore's speech had been the truth, and unfortuneately the truth was scary. James didn't like any of it, but he felt particularily uneasy because Dumbledore had made eye contact with him several times. It could have been mere coincidence, and he coudl have made eye contact with other students as well. However, James chose to keep that bit of information to himself.

"Dumbledore really wants House unity," Peter stated suddenly.

"It's because we're the next generation," Remus said matter-of-factly.

"Yes, but do you think that's ever gonna happen?" Sirius asked.

James snorted. "No. I'm sure most of Slytherin are already Death Eaters, or they are going to be. I mean, Voldemort doesn't care how young they are; he wont care if they get hurt. He only wants power, and he'll do anything to get it, wont he? The real question is, how do we pick them apart?"

Remus, Peter and Sirius all looked at James with blank expressions.

"So...who do you think are Death Eaters?" Remus asked.

"Well...Snape, Nott, and that Malfoy who graduated last year, probably his girlfriend Narcissa, and..." James began.

"And of course my favorite cousin Bellatrix, and my dear brother Regulus," Sirius added, his voice heavily aided by disgust. "I'm ashamed to be a Black."

"Don't hold your last name against yourself, Padfoot," Remus offered. Sirius nodded slightly.

"And then of course that fifth year Macnair, and then Gibbons, and that one blonde Slytherin, and-"

"Don't limit the possiblities to Slytherins, Prongs," Remus cut across him.

"Who else would bother Moony? They're in Slytherin for a reason..."

"It could be anyone," Lily said, walking in through the portriat hole. "For all we know, they could be in this House..."

Peter, who had been unusually silent, shifted uncomfortably and looked out the window in a paranoid fashion. Everyone else stared blankly at Lily.

"A Gryffindor? You don't honestly think so, do you?" Sirius asked in disbelief.

"It's quite possible, yes. Remember, Gryffindor's aren't Gryffindor's for being good, nor are Slytherins for being evil. The traits are bravery, nobility, that kinda of thing, and cunning and..well, being evil or being good has nothing to do with it. Anyway, James, we're going to start patrolling the halls tomorrow night. We'll do it together the first time, and after that we'll split up. We can cover more ground like that. I've made a schedule, for this month. Here. If anyting needs to be changed, for schoolwork, or Quidditch, or well anything, let me know," she said quickly handing James his schedule.

"Well, I need to go to bed: classes start tomorrow. Good night," she added to everyone as she walked upstairs to the girls dormotories.

Completely forgetting their previous discussion, Sirius shot an accusing stare at James.

"What?" Jaems asked, snapping out of his trance.

"Since when are you and Evans on a first name basis?"

"Oh, I" James had forgot to mention it on the train.

"Well this is good! Have you asked her out yet?" Peter asked.


"Why?" Peter asked dumbly.

"He's been distracted," Remus explained patiently. "Wouldn't you be, if you were him?"

Peter looked ashamed.

Silnce fell over the four good friends, broken only by the sounds of the crackling flames. Each were lost in their own thoughts about the war, the hero of the war, Death Eaters, and in James' case, Lily. She had been so nice to him recently. He looked down at his schedule and saw her neat handwritting. He smiled, thinking maybe this year wouldn't be too bad, even after his life changing summer...

Another noise broke the silence. An important looking owl was tapping its beak against the glass of the window impaitently. James got up and walked to the window thinking the letter must be to him from his mother. He undid the latch and the owl soared in, flew the lenght of the room, and as he turned to fly back to the window, he dropped the letter onto the table James had been sitting by moments before.

James shut the window after the owl and walked back to his seat. He did not sit down but instead picked the letter up. The handwritting on the front was unfamiliar, but it was adressed to him. He opened it quickly, tearing the envelope. Remus, Peter and Sirius watched him curiously as his eyes slid back and forth over the parchment. As he read, James' eyes be came round and troubled.

"Oh my God," he said, dropping back into his chair. Every syllable rang through the silent room. "Oh my God."

A/N: Wow, that took me forever to type. I hope it's long enough to make up for the long wait between this chapter and the second one. Sorry about that guys! Hope you can forgive me and I swear I'll try to update sooner, but my internet is down at home so I don't know. Also, I'm working on two other fanfics at the moment and I am trying desperately to finish my Draco/Hermione fic called Poisoned Candy. Check it out and leave a reveiw if it's something you like to read! Also, my friend spiffichick has a new fic out, also Draco/Hermione called Forbidden. Check that out too, if you are into that pair. I think thats all so, happy reading, please reveiw! Much love~AMW

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