Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling I did not create Harry Potter. I'm only playing in his world. The same goes for all of the chapters in this story and every other story I write on this site.
An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn't it ironic... don't you think
My name is Cassie Crescent. My story is a long and sad one. There are happy moments, especially in the beginning.
The beginning is always the easiest part to look back on. The least painful.
This is the time before we became heroes, the time before the world sat on our shoulders.
This is our story.
* * * *
With a wicked smile, I closed my closet door and admired my mismatched outfit that I’d designed with no better purpose than to annoy Allyson Crescent.
Speaking correctly, I was supposed to refer to her as Mother.
But that wasn’t how I thought of her.
It wasn’t who she was.
She was Allyson Crescent. Not Allyson, not ma’am. The use of the full name was the only distancing tool I had, even if we did have the same infernal last name.
Once I was sure that there was no way for the oranges, purples and reds to be missed, I pranced across the room and started jumping on the bed with high hopes of her hearing me from her own room on the third floor.
I only had a few minutes left to irritate her.
It felt like someone had blown a small bubble of happiness in my chest. I’d thought for sure that they weren't going to let me into Hogwarts.
My eyes wandered over to the mirror on the wall and my mirth ended, causing me to sit down hard on the feather mattress with a soft puffing sound.
I often wondered why Allyson Crescent had modeled my room around the reflective nightmare.
At first I’d thought she was trying to taunt me, to give me a reminder of what I wasn't every time I looked at it.
Later, I realized that it was there to remind me that I was normal. Or as normal as I could ever get, anyway.
I looked into the only mirror in the house that hadn’t been charmed to show my reflection the way it was supposed to.
I closed my eyes and pictured my face. A grimacing girl of eleven with wild excitement in her eyes. That was me right now.
“Cassandra, come down here!” the voice of the aristocratically inclined banshee shouted up the staircase.
I shuddered, looking away from the mirror as I heard my mother calling me downstairs.
Cassandra. I hated that name. But ignoring Allyson Crescent was never wise unless I was prepared to go on a vegetable and rice diet.
I stood and sighed wearily, grabbing my bag and making sure that the dung bombs and chocolate I had snuck into the house were still there-and in different compartments.
Then, I tiptoed down the stairs with a frown only after deciding that sliding down the banister again wasn't worth the punishment that would follow.
“Ah, there you are darling.” My mother said in that voice, giving my clothing a disapproving look.
It was the ‘mothering voice’. The voice that she used when she was trying to fool someone-usually herself-that she was a good, caring mother figure.
My nails dug into my palms.
The widowed Mrs. Crescent was a rather tall woman with idiotically joyful brown eyes and dyed blond hair. With my shortness, dark hair and wary blue eyes I looked nothing like her.
She was insecure, loud, and her favorite pastimes included marriage, divorce, shopping and having long meetings with the law interpreters that helped her to successfully end-and begin-marriages.
I barely remembered my father-and I didn't want to, but I must have had a lot more in common with him than her.
“Have you packed all your things?” she asked with her beauty contestant smile, still using the voice.
I nodded, smiling slightly at the reminder that I was leaving soon.
“Yes...and you've taken you're potion?” Her voice became even more mockingly motherly and I wondered if it sounded that way to her.
I nodded again, sighing inwardly at the repetition.
It took me many years to realize that I hated adults because they treated me my age, even when I acted more mature than they did.
My potion. I knew that I was dangerous without it, but it tasted terrible and it was just another reminder of what I was.
“Good...now remember the school nurse has your potion so you'll have to go see her and work out a schedule.” I nodded again, slipping into a bit of a stupor. How many times could the woman go over this?
She must have been terrified of the secret getting out.
As soon as Allyson Crescent was satisfied that she could come up with no more queries or reminders, I ran outside, holding the large double doors open for the butler who was carrying my things.
Mother shot me one of those 'remember who you are' looks, and I grudgingly stepped away from the front door and allowed our driver to open the car door for me.
I didn't want to get in the car and I didn't want to be on the train all day. I greatly preferred to be outside than sitting inside breathing recycled air all day.
My love of fresh air was one of the only things about me that had never changed. I hated being rich too, probably because I hadn't been raised to go on shopping trips.
It was hard to like having money when you never got to put it to good use.
I sat down gingerly and looked out the car window but looked away just as quickly because it was wrong.
“Mother?” I asked tentatively. I usually avoided that word like the plague, but I had just realized something.
“They've...they've charmed all the mirrors at Hogwarts...right?” My voice shook and I gulped, feeling ashamed.
Hufflepuff was waiting for me. I just knew it.
She smiled “Of course, dear. Every reflective surface has been charmed, nobody will notice anyway! You can be so silly sometimes.”
I nodded before resolutely looking through the window. I refused to be scared.
Reasons six and four why I hated my father; my potion and mirrors.
The car stopped at Kings Cross Station an hour later and the driver opened my door. I got out and didn't even bother to try and grab my trunk. The last thing I needed was another “know your place” lecture.
The driver wheeled my cart onto the platform and pushed it through the large plastic numbers of nine and ten. I trailed after him, feeling lost, and my mother followed.
“Well goodbye dear! I know how busy you'll be so don't trouble yourself to write.” The woman said happily before turning and walking away.
A grim smile set itself upon my lips. Now that she was going to be free from me, her true colours were showing. She didn't care. She never had.
She was afraid of me, and for good reason.
Reason two I hate my father; leaving me with my mother. I thought dully, as my feet carried me up onto the train.
I liked lists. Lists of reasons for why I hated my father, lists of things to do before I died and lists of lists were just a few of my favourites. They kept my mind organized. Maybe I would be in Ravenclaw. That wouldn't be too bad.
I was just walking down the aisle, wondering how I was going to find a place to sit by myself when there was a small explosion from behind me and I heard footsteps.
I turned around to find the area deserted except for a handsome boy about my age with black hair running towards me.
When he saw me he smiled and urgently grabbed my arm, pulling me along after him.
“You definitely don't want to get caught back there.” He said firmly, pulling me into a girl’s bathroom and shutting the door with a confidence that confirmed his insanity.
He seemed to be fighting the urge to laugh. I didn't know it then, of course, but this was my first encounter with Sirius Black.
I just looked at him. I had left my mind back in the aisle and I was still catching up on being dragged into a girl’s bathroom by a complete stranger who happened to be a boy.
Once I had gotten caught up with myself, I got a better look at him. He was taller than me-which made me wrinkle my nose-and had short black hair that was slightly mussed from running around.
What intrigued me the most were his eyes.
His were a deep stormy grey that twinkled with mischief, but behind that was the familiar look that he had seen too much of the real world too soon.
I knew that look because I had it too.
He smiled slyly at me when he caught me staring.
Suddenly there was a loud shout and a stampede of footsteps. The voice of an angry boy cried out, “WHERE IS THAT LITTLE RUNT I”LL-”
“Rodolphus calm down!” commanded a second female voice that sent chills down my spine. “He'll have run off now with all the shouting you've been doing. Besides, we can get him later. Have someone get all this gunk off of you, it's disgusting.”
“I’m sick of it Bella! He’s-”
The cool voice cut him off again. “He’s an eleven year old with talent and power that are worlds ahead of your own. Stop embarrassing yourself.”
"Just because he has the keys to the kingdom-" Rodolphus's voice was cut off.
The boy smirked, pressing an ear against the door to hear the conversation better. He seemed to know those voices.
When I thought hard, they sounded familiar along with the names. I must have met them on one of my rare forays into the pureblood party scene-which was comprised mostly of stuffy tea parties.
“They deserved it. He tripped me on the way in....I think we can get them again later...wanna come?” He asked this as if he was inviting me to a book discussion some other mundane event.
This wasn't an uncommon situation for him, then. I liked that.
I stared at him, at a loss for words and all I could say was, “You'd better know what you're doing.....who exactly were they?”
He seemed to take that as a 'yes' and grinned broadly, “Excellent! I'll take you to meet James and then we'll plan the next attack. They're older Slytherins, most of them are in sixth or seventh year but I've learned enough from tutors to be able to kick their butts. My name's Sirius by the way, what’s yours?”
I smiled, understanding what he said about tutors. They had taught me enough for me to be in third year already. Of course, I never left my house, so I had nothing better to do. But it still counted.
“You can call me Cassie.” I said, smiling as he turned his concentration to the door. He was already planning another attack. I knew it.
He nodded distractedly as he pressed his ear to the door again.
“You should go out and check to see if the coast is clear, I'm not supposed to be in here.” he said nodding at the rest of the small girls’ bathroom he had barricaded us in.
I snorted. It was rather amusing that he was more concerned about being caught in a girls’ lavatory than by a large group of angry Slytherins.
“That wasn't very ladylike.” he whispered looking amused.
“No. It wasn't.” I agreed smugly before nudging him away from the door.
I unlocked the door and peered out. The hallway was once again deserted, so I pulled him out by his arm.
“Who's James anyway?” I asked curiously.
Sirius smiled “My best mate”
I blinked, “How long have you known him?”
The look on his face indicated something.
Sirius checked his watch, “It's been a good 20 minutes now, and you’ll like him.”
I opened my mouth, closed it and followed him to James's compartment.
He stopped in front of one of the last compartments on the train and pulled open the sliding door. I followed him and found two other boys lounging on the leather seats that were about my age.
One was sitting with his feet stretched out on the seat-swaggering even in stillness; he had the most untidy jet black hair I had ever seen and was wearing glasses. Even so, he was still handsome. He had hazel eyes that reminded me of chocolate. I loved chocolate.
The other boy was sitting with a rather large book on his lap, staring out through the window as if he could see something that the rest of us couldn‘t. He had sandy blond hair that was almost brown and green-brown eyes that made me think of forests.
Both boys were about the same height as Sirius and all of them were taller than me. I wrinkled my nose when I realized they were only going to get taller. Boys.
Sirius pulled me into the seat beside him across from the boy with the messy hair. Both boys were looking at me curiously.
It was the first time, but we were already sitting in our usual seats.
“James, this is Cassie. I kind of had to kidnap her because she walked right in on the prank... Cassie, this is James and...I don't think we've met?” he said identifying the black haired boy and directing a question toward the sandy haired boy.
The boy smiled, “I'm Remus who're you?” Sirius laughed. He seemed to be easily amused. I liked that too.
“Sirius.” Sirius said happily.
James smiled “Pleasure to meet you, Cassie; I hope Sirius didn't scare you.”
"I don't scare that easily.” I told him truthfully. “It wasn't nearly as bad as the time I blew up my mom’s guesthouse. I had to hide up a tree for hours before they stopped looking for whoever did it and I could sneak back into my room.” I said with a smirk.
Remus laughed, “I have a feeling you'll fit in well here. Apparently, It took those two all of five minutes to start planning pranks after they sat down.” James and Sirius looked very proud of themselves.
They were looking at me with interest now. I struggled not to laugh. They were recruiting fellow pranksters. This would work out fine as long as they didn't get suspicious.
“I think we'll all be great friends! We'll get sorted into the same house and prank the world into chaos!” James said excitedly.
It was like we had known each other forever.
I didn't like fate. I wanted to control my own future, not have it decided for me. I can only call that day on the train fate though.
If I had come thirty seconds later or earlier the entire world would have changed from what it became.
But what kind of world let stupid little decisions, like an eleven-year-olds decision not to slide down the banister and be late because she was being lectured, decide things like who would live and die nearly ten years later?
How could it decide the fate of an entire part of the world?
If we had known the truth in James's words we might have sat in shocked silence, or possibly gotten determined and tried to fight it, we may have resolved to take what we got and meet it all when the time came. I know one thing for sure. Not one person in that compartment would have changed a thing. Even if we knew happily ever after wasn't coming.
We didn't know it yet but we were the start of a legacy and we would never be forgotten.
* * * *
A few minutes after the train left the station we had our plan.
We would take all the dungbombs we had (which was a rather disturbingly large amount) and use James's invisibility cloak (which we had all been in awe of since he pulled it out) to sneak into all the compartments holding people deserving of a good aroma therapy session (those were Remus' words for what we were doing).
Then, we would conceal dungbombs everywhere in every said compartment. After all the dungbombs were planted, we would cast a spell to make them all go off simultaneously (thank you Remus!). We had even managed to figure out how to make the haze from the bombs form words.
The only problem was we didn't know what to make them say.
After several minutes of increasingly moronic ideas (including writing our own names, HA!, and my personal favourite “smells like teen spirit”) I came up with an idea.
“Hey guys...how about we have something like 'we thought this would make you smell so much better' and then sign it with a group name that we could use for all our pranks...?”
They sat in silence for a moment before cries of “Cassie you're a genius!” echoed throughout the compartment.
I smiled proudly, “Great...so what’s our name going to be...?”
I instantly regretted my words. Here we go again. I thought hopelessly as the boys started calling out suggestions.
It was James who finally cried “AHA!!” and got an excited look on his face, “How about ‘The Avengers!?”’
I shook my head sadly and Remus rolled his eyes.
“No...we need something vaguely threatening and cool sounding…” Remus trailed off muttering under his breath.
I leaned back and started listing possible names under my breath, “Musketeers, Rogues, Rascals, Marauders, Delinquents, Miscreants-” I cut off as Sirius clapped excitedly in a rather girly manner.
“What was that one you said?” he asked happily.
I raised an eyebrow and wondered if he was being vague on purpose.
“Miscreants?” I asked warily.
“No, before that!” He said nearly bouncing up and down.
“Rogues?” I asked being deliberately unhelpful.
“No...it was M...something! Come on! ”
“Marauders?” I asked looking up at him with a smile. The name did fit. I liked it.
“Yes! Great thinking Sirius!” James exclaimed happily.
I glared at him.
“I mean...great thinking Cassie...and great listening Sirius?” He asked timidly. I nodded and Sirius snickered.
Half an hour later everything was set and our plans had been executed perfectly-mostly because James was already suspiciously good at using the invisibility cloak.
We had no idea that we were making history. As we were about to head back to our compartment to wait a bit before we set the whole thing off, I heard it.
The whimper that I should have ignored. But how could I guarantee that it wouldn't have come back later or been worse? I couldn't.
"What was that?" I turned around and looked down the long aisle to find the source of the noise. An open door three compartments down caught my attention. I walked towards it and the boys followed me curiously.
A vulnerable looking boy with short mousy blond hair about our age was cowering next to another boy who looked as if he had never even seen a bottle of shampoo in his entire existence.
The greasy boy was standing with his wand out, wearing a cruel smile and equally unclean clothes.
The timid boy whimpered again and mumbled frantically, “I didn't mean anything by it I swear....didn't realize...I would never...I'm so sorry...”
The greasy boy sneered, "Of course you're sorry now. People respect power, Pettigrew."
Sirius nodded at the last comment, but appeared to be disgusted by both of the people in the compartment.
That was how Sirius was. He was disgusted with those who hurt others and those who couldn’t-or wouldn’t take care of themselves.
He expected everyone to be as brave as he’d always been. A tall order by any measurement.
Luckily, Sirius was talented at hiding his feelings. And since his views on life led him to be annoyed by over ninety-five percent of the human population, it was a very good thing.
“That’s enough!” I shouted, having seen enough to hate this grease ball for the rest of my life-which is exactly what I did.
He looked up “Hello little girl. Do you wanna play too?” he asked sneeringly.
I glared at him, feeling my carefully constructed mask slip.
Nobody calls me little girl. Suddenly, his bravado was an act, stymied by the look on my face.
He saw it, then. The thing that had haunted me for three years. Last year a man had dropped his shopping and run away from me looking like he had seen a ghost. Or worse. Not even a month ago I’d made a six year old girl go into hysterics just by looking at her.
Some people saw it clearly, others only slightly. Most people were oblivious.
He smirked nervously at me and lifted his wand, but James and Sirius were too quick.
I was a little miffed that they got him first.
The slimy little grease ball erupted in large purple and orange welts as his hair was filled with soap.
I knew immediately that Sirius was responsible for the latter jinx because he took his hair very seriously. I avoided laughing at the pun in my head. The small boy gave a huge sigh of relief and all of us Marauders doubled over in laughter.
As Greasy fell to the floor with a dull, yet satisfying thump, the compartment door opened wider.
James’s life was changed forever.
A short redheaded girl with startlingly emerald green eyes walked in, looking shocked, followed by a blonde of average height who looked mostly amused.
I ignored her, wondering if the boy was going to leave a grease stain on the carpet and what would have to be done to clean it off.
The look on James's face told me that he was thinking the same.
“What have you done with my friend?” The redhead asked with menace in her voice as the other girl worked to conceal a smile and failed. Apparently she wasn't so fond of Greasy boy either.
I should have put Lily on a level with Greasy, but somehow, I knew that she didn’t belong in his category.
James stepped over to the redhead, very narrowly-and unfortunately-missing the hexed boy with his foot.
“He attacked our friend first!” James smiled speaking as though this explained everything. “Now there are much more pressing matters at hand.” he winked at her.
He actually winked.
I had lean against Sirius for support and stuff my fists in my mouth to keep from breaking down completely and falling down on the floor laughing hysterically. The others were laughing too. Even the redhead’s friend let out a badly hidden giggle.
The small boy seemed rather shocked at being called our friend so suddenly, but pleased all the same.
The redhead however, was not amused. If steam had started to come out of every hole in her face, I wouldn’t have been surprised.
“Red, I think we should be friends. You'd like us!.” James said, obviously believing that he was being extremely charming.
The girl looked disgusted. “First of all my name is not Red, it's Lily Evans, Second; Severus Snape would never attack anyone and third, I wouldn't I would be your friend if you were the last person on earth, let alone sit with you! Besides if you're talking about that one getting cursed,” she said pointing at Peter, “Then he probably did something to deserve it!”
She said all of this without ever taking the disgusted look off her face while her friend seemed to be struggling to keep from rolling her eyes behind her.
I did burst out laughing then.
She glared at me.
I cleared my throat. “Sorry. I just…I just didn’t know it was possible.”
She raised an eyebrow.
I continued, fighting off giggles. “For someone who is obviously so smart to be such an awful judge of character. You have restored my faith in the human race.”
Actually, I was very wrong there. Lily Evans was an excellent judge of character.
That was why she saw the good in Severus Snape that the rest of us couldn’t. It was also why it took her so long to become friends with us.
Our arrogance shielded our good side, even to her.
Sirius and I gave up on trying not to laugh and he had to hold me up to keep me from falling to the floor in a fit of laughter. I don't know how he managed to stay upright.
James scowled at us and stalked out of the compartment taking good care to step on Severus Snape as he did so.
Lily Evans was outraged.
“You'll give in eventually Evans.” He said with a confident, award winning smile before leaving.
Lily Evans seemed to be wondering whether she was more shocked or angry when Sirius pulled me out by the hand.
Sirius, Remus, the boy and I followed James back to our compartment. I shut the door as we walked in and we all started teasing James.
“Yep, I bet they'll end up married someday.” said Remus sarcastically as James glared.
“I reckon you're right, Remus. I mean they got along so well! She might even propose to him. You‘d better get a jump on that, mate.” Sirius said in the most sincere voice he could manage while snickering.
James scowled, "I only asked her to be our friend! She's not even pretty!"
Being eleven year olds, and therefore mean, we ignored him.
I laughed and sat down between Sirius and the small boy. “What’s your name anyway?” I asked curiously.
Our acceptance of the different and the weak-our willingness to accept people we didn’t even know- was both our greatest strength and the thing that tore us apart. If we’d known it then, I doubt that anything would have gone different.
It was odd, we could have had a written copy of our future sitting in front of us, and nothing would have changed.
Every step we took seemed so necessary, so perfect.
For some reason he blushed before he muttered, “Peter Pettigrew.” I smiled at him and introduced everyone.
After a few minutes James, Sirius and Remus smirked evilly.
“Isn't it time for our prank?” James asked suddenly.
I smirked too. The infamous Marauder smirks-the looks that ended up making first years and teachers alike run for cover on a regular basis- had just made their debut.
I nodded at Remus who led the way out the door while muttering an incantation. Ten seconds passed and boom!
Forty-seven dungbombs went off at once and the haze in the hallway gathered together to form several copies of the same message.
We thought you could use some perfume to cover up your awful smell.
And then the compartment doors opened. Most of the students were covered in green goo and the smell was terrible, but definitely worth it.
There was shouting and the word ‘Marauder’ came up several times.
I snickered, pulling the guys in and shutting the compartment door again.
“We definitely have to keep this up!” I said grinning broadly.
We left that compartment some hours later with many dangerous, rule crushing plans. And to this day if you go onto the Hogwarts Express, go to compartment seventy-two and look at the ceiling you'll find the inscription; Compartment Reserved for the Marauders written in red and gold.
* * * *
I was so scared and nervous that the hat was going to make me a Slytherin that I was shaking.
I couldn't help but think reason eight that I hate my father, Slytherin. If I was sorted into Slytherin it would be entirely his fault because of what he did.
What was so bad about Slytherin? It signified everything that I was and didn’t want to be. It was the house that my family belonged in. Therefore, I needed to escape.
The need to distance myself from my family name was based on more than what my father had done. It was a part of me. I felt like I’d been born with the need to escape.
I shivered making a mental note to make it a priority to see the school nurse for my potion tonight. I heard Sirius's name being called as if through a long tunnel that distorted sound.
I looked up and everything shone vivid clarity. I could see all of the faces staring at me with bored tolerance-or just plain irritation and hunger.
Sirius walked to the stool and jammed the hat on his head. The hat sat on his head for almost a full five minutes. Loud whispering and shifting became widespread before, "GRYFFINDOR!"
I smiled. At least Sirius had gotten what he wanted. Sirius’s youngest cousin had made it a great part of her lifes’ work trying to keep Sirius from becoming a ‘pureblood fool’, and had succeeded.
I could, however, detect his upbringing. Raising a person to believe that they were royalty always had it’s effects.
Even if it was something as small as an uncontrollable swagger, an occasional bout of condescension, a drawl, or a lack of sympathy in a situation that made others cry, it showed.
People could look at a person and know that they were a Black or a Malfoy or any other pureblood simply by the way they behaved.
Sirius and I were marked for life in this way.
The Slytherin table sat in complete, disbelieving silence as they watched the eldest son of Orion Black sit at the wrong table.
Sirius was supposed to have been one of their most powerful snotnosed eldest sons. Now, there would be jockeying for position.
Much too soon I heard Crescent, Cassandra and upon hearing that name I was momentarily paralyzed. But I couldn’t afford to lose it here, so I took a deep shuddering breath and walked on.
I neatly sat on the stool, crossing my ankles and sitting up straight on purpose instead of purely out of habit. With a shaky breath I jammed the hat on my head with shaking hands, frowning as it covered my eyes.
I hated being so small.
Hmmmmm....interesting.... very intelligent, but you would never fit in Ravenclaw....moderately brave,....oh yes....and loyal-maybe to a fault, but so untrusting-an odd combination....you are also cunning and sly not to mention you have a very interesting connection with dark magic and the sheer arrogance-and the fear!
I'm surprised that I can fit on your head!....I wonder....Gryffindor...or Slytherin? You have a very contrasting personality, my dear.
I gulped nervously. The hat deliberated silently for what felt like hours. I was abruptly glad that the hat was covering my eyes. Where would I look? Was it normal for the hat to think for so long?
The word rang through the hall with all the authority of fate itself.
I was so relieved that I nearly fell off the stool.
Stumbling to Gryffindor table, I sat next to Sirius, unaware that the reaction to my sorting was similar to his.
A Crescent and a Black in Gryffindor? It wasn’t possible.
I was vaguely aware of James, Remus and Peter being sorted into Gryffindor too, but my main focus was on my relief.
The moment the hat called out 'Gryffindor!' from the top of Peter Pettigrew’s head, our lives were forever changed.
There was no turning back now.
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