A/N. Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last two chapters. All the reviews made me positively happy and encouraged me to write more. So, thanks again.
James, Sirius, Remus and Lily were thrown through the huge book and the dizziness was getting to them. James thought they would eventually come out of the other side of the book, Sirius figured this was probably some joke a stupid Slytherin had played on them and was already plotting revenge, Remus panicked thinking that they were possibly traveling through time and Lily was scared that they were all going to die.
Then, suddenly, just as James had predicted, all four of them were pushed out of the whirlwind.
“Ow!” James and Sirius groaned as they fell on top of each other.
“Merlin,” Remus said, picking himself up and helping Lily to get to her feet. He looked around them with wide eyes. “Where are we?”
“What do you mean ‘where are we’?” Sirius said, pushing James off him and trying to stand up. “We are still at Hog- Oh!” He, too, looked around in surprise. The sun was shining bright over their heads. James seemed awed while Lily was looking behind them frantically. They were standing at the edge of some sort of a long bridge constructed over a river. “Where’s the book?” she cried out in alarm. This caught the boys’ attention and they turned around. Indeed, the huge book wasn’t there anymore, just a blackened cement wall.
“Whoa,” said Sirius. “We went through a book and came out of a wall.”
Remus turned to look at Sirius and James angrily. “I told you not to touch that book,” he scolded. “You both never listen to me.”
“Hey, relax, Remus. I was just curious. I didn’t know we would be thrown out of Hogwarts for merely touching a book,” soothed Sirius while James nodded.
“I followed Padfoot because I thought he was in danger or something,” he explained. Remus sighed and finally turned to face Lily, who was gawping confusedly at something over their shoulders.
“And you, Lily?” Remus asked catching her attention. “What made you follow us like a silly girl?”
All three boys turned to look at her as she sheepishly muttered, “I didn’t want to get left behind.”
Remus’ mouth dropped open and Sirius let out a laugh. “Well, Prongs, you have got an adventurer on your hands. Be careful,” he said. James grinned and blew Lily a kiss. She glared at him.
“Well, we better ask someone the way to Hogwarts,” James said, ignoring Lily’s death glare.
“Don’t be silly, Potter,” the redhead said. “Can’t you see we are in muggle London?” She looked up annoyed when Remus nudged her. “What?”
“I don’t think we are in London, Lily,” he said, pointing towards the bridge on which the strange looking things with wheels were passing. They had never seen these types of vehicles before.
“What are those?” Sirius’ tone was awed as he pointed to a couple of black and green colored three-wheeled vehicles. He walked forward and the other three followed. They were finally out of the shadow of the wall and were being noticed. People shot them weird looks as they passed by. A little girl, who was crossing the road with the mother, even shouted out to them. “Mummy, mummy. Angrez!” One look at the boys and Lily and the woman hurried her child away from them.
“What did I do?” James asked after he had witnessed the incident.
“Maybe she got scared by the messiness of your hair…or maybe it’s your crooked ugly nose,” Sirius offered, highly confused himself.
“Or maybe,” Remus intervened. “She thought we were crazy people all dressed up in robes. They are muggles, after all.” Lily nodded and looked over the high stone railing at the river below as they walked. It was a complete slum area at one side of the shore.
“Remus, this isn’t good,” she whispered to the boy walking beside her. “I have a bad feeling about all this.”
“Me too,” Remus whispered back, trying very hard to ignore the stares people were sending the four of them.
They had almost reached the middle of the bridge when James and Sirius abruptly stopped. “Now, what do we do?” James asked.
“Yeah, we’ll have to wait for the night to send an owl to the Ministry,” Sirius said and looked below at the calm river. It was dirty brown color and Sirius stuck out his tongue disgustedly. Hot air blew his hair into his eyes and he noticed how hot this place was. Perhaps they were in some place near to the equator.
“Well, we could…er-,” Remus looked around, totally lost as to what they should do. Then he spotted a girl standing some distance away from them. “We could start by asking that girl where we exactly are.”
He confidently walked up to the girl and the others followed him. The girl in question had her back to them and was hunched up over the stone railing with both of her hands holding her head. Since they couldn’t see her eyes, Remus had no idea whether she was staring at the river below or had fallen asleep while standing.
“What is she wearing?” Remus heard Sirius whisper to James.
“Seems to be like a uniform of some sort,” was James’ reply before Lily shh-ed them.
Indeed, the girl was wearing a dark blue colored pinafore over a white shirt and black shoes exactly like the ones Lily was wearing right now. Hoping against hope that she, too, wouldn’t run away from them, Remus cleared his throat and spoke, “Excuse me, Miss.”
The girl jumped a little before whirling around angrily to face them. However, her anger faded after she had a good look at the four of them. Now, she merely looked amused.
“Er,” Remus said, slightly taken-aback.
“Kuch bologe kya?” The girl asked. Remus’ eyes narrowed in confusion and he turned to look at his friends. The boys seemed completely non-plussed but Lily’s mouth was hanging open in shock. Remus sent her a quizzical look.
“That’s Indian!” she burst out. “The language, I mean.”
“What?!” Three male voices exclaimed in unison.
“Yes, I am sure. This girl is an Indian,” Lily said excitedly. “We are in India!”
“You mean ‘red Indian’?” Sirius asked stupidly. Everybody ignored him.
“Now wait. How do you know this, Lily?” Remus asked, glancing quickly at the girl. She looked ready to burst out laughing at any time.
“Well, I took language classes last summer and Indian was one of them,” explained Lily.
Remus raised his eye-brows. That didn’t make sense at all. “You mean to tell me that we got thrown here, in India, all the way from Hogwarts?” His tone was highly disbelieving.
“It’s a possibility,” Lily shrugged. She turned to the girl and cleared her throat. “Kya hum Bharat mein hain?” she asked clearly, praying she hadn’t messed it up.
Instead of answering Lily’s question, the girl burst out laughing. Her laugher was contagious and soon, James and Sirius started grinning too. They had to admit what Lily had said seemed very funny indeed. Lily, however, looked affronted that someone was laughing at her language skills. She opened her mouth to try again but this time, the girl spoke. She had stopped laughing but the amused grin never left her face.
“Great joke, guys,” she announced. “Who sent you?”
“Nobody sent us,” Sirius said, stepping forwards. “We landed here by accident.” Lily seemed relieved that the girl spoke English and that she wouldn’t have to translate everything. She nodded her agreement with Sirius.
The girl raised her eye-brows at Sirius. She looked around at James, Remus and Lily. “You seem very familiar. Do I know you?” she asked, her eyes narrowing in thought.
“Well, you must have heard of me,” Sirius said, going into his bragging mode. “I am Sirius Black.”
The girl snorted. “Yeah, and pigs can fly,” she said.
“What? That’s my name!” Sirius scowled.
“He is right,” James said, speaking for the first time. “I am James Potter, that’s Remus Lupin and this redhead here is Lily Evans.”
The girl stared at the four of them, her expression skeptical. “Good for you,” she finally said. “But the joke’s over for me.” She turned around and began to walk away.
“Wait!” Lily cried desperately. This girl was their only hope if everyone was going to behave like this with them. “Please, we aren’t lying,” she said and her eyes filled with tears.
The girl turned back around and looked at Lily. Her eyes softened but she didn’t smile at them. “Alright, suppose I believe you,” she began testily. “But if you truly are the Marauders and Lily, then what are you doing in India?”
Lily looked triumphant. Wiping her tears away, she said, “See? I was right about where we are.”
“Forget that bit,” Sirius said, looking at the girl with the same suspicious expression that Remus and James had on their faces. “How do you know we call ourselves the Marauders?” he asked.
She rolled her eyes. “Each and every Harry Potter fan knows that,” she answered. “And so do you, don’t you? You obviously did a lot of work planning this prank. Hair color, Harry Potter merchandise…But you know what? It’s not going to work on me.”
“Harry Potter?” James asked, knitting his brows together. “Who’s he?”
“Must be your son or something,” Sirius suggested. “We must be in the future then.”
Remus opened his mouth to speak. It was time he took the matter into his own hands. “Listen, miss, we have no idea what you are talking about but we know who we are. All we are asking from you is a little faith,” he said directly, looking into the girl’s eyes. “Please believe us.” He paused and waited for her to say something.
She bit her lip and remained silent for a long while. Her eyes flickered over to each of them one by one and Remus could almost see the wheels turning inside her head. Eventually, she nodded her head. “Salma Shekh,” she smiled, sticking out her hand.
Remus let out a breathe he didn’t know he had been holding and grinned. He took her hand and shook it. The others followed suit, looking relieved. When it was Sirius’ turn, he asked, “What does ‘Selma Shake’ mean?”
The girl laughed. “That’s my name. Salma Shekh.”
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