September 2nd 1972

Lily was munching down her breakfast, delighted to be back at Hogwarts. The long journey and scrumptious feast that followed had put her into a satisfying slumber. Marlene was describing the adventures of her house cat and garden gnome to an amused Sirius and Peter. To her left James Potter was seated, engaged in a serious debate with Remus Lupin.

“I’m telling you, it doesn’t mean anything!” James was saying.

“How could you say that? I mean, it’s obviously the work of this radical group-” Remus started indignantly. Lily’s curiosity was aroused and she leaned in to listen.

“But he’s pure-blood!” said James impatiently.

“He’s an auror!” replied Remus with the same impatience.

“What’s an auror?” asked Lily curiously, unable to help herself.

“Dark Wizard catchers,” explained Remus, “They‘re the most highly trained group of wizards specializing mostly in Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

“Are you talking about Orestes Meadowes?” joined in Marlene.

“Meadowes?” asked Mary sharply, “Like Dorcas?”

Marlene’s expression sobered immediately. “You haven't heard?” Lily and Mary shook her head. Marlene lowered her voice, “Her father was killed over the Summer-” Mary drew in a sharp breath. Marlene continued, “In a muggle locality that too. Gave the ministry quite a bit of trouble in covering it up.”

“But who killed him?” Mary asked, her eyes wide. Lily looked around and noticed that Dorcas was missing from the Gryffindor table. She recalled that Dorcas had been quite subdued at the feast as well.

“Allies of You-Know-Who,” Remus said darkly. James snorted disbelievingly.

“No, I don’t know who,” said Lily, perplexed and rather annoyed at knowing less that everybody else.

Remus frowned at James, who was shaking his head haughtily in disagreement, and continued, “Nobody knows who he is. Those who have seen him are either dead, or his most loyal allies who would rather die than give him up. They say he’s the mastermind behind this anti-muggleborn political propaganda.”

“What do they have against muggleborns?” asked Lily indignantly.

“It’s an old prejudice. Wizards are very protective of their magic, and they believe strongly that it should only be within all-magic families. Muggleborns and wizard-muggle marriages are looked down upon,” said Marlene. Lily suddenly remembered that Severus voiced similar views over the summer, justifying that it was to protect the International Statute of Secrecy.

“But what does this have to do with Dorcas’ father?” asked Mary, perplexed.

“Nothing!” James declared vehemently.

“Everything!” Sirius spoke up for the first time. Remus looked triumphantly at James who was regarding Sirius with surprise. “My cousin Bellatrix didn’t lose any time in celebrating his death,” he said with bitter detachment.

“What?” Lily was astonished.

“Yeah,” his face twisted scornfully, “Made for such pleasant dinner conversation. My family supports this cause,” he explained to a bemused audience. “Orestes Meadowes is one of the Purebloods who are vocal against these ideas. And he was found dead just days after he imprisoned Gregory Burke for using Dark Magic and torturing a muggle family,” he added looking at James. A look of comprehension dawned on James’ face.

“Why doesn’t the ministry catch them then?” Mary frowned, puzzled. Marlene’’s eyes grew wide and she stared at Mary in disbelief.

“It’s not so simple,” Sirius scoffed, “It’s like Remus said. Nobody knows who they are.”

“The ones who are pushing for anti-muggle laws are just activists, and they are well within their rights. It’s the extremists who are responsible for these gory acts,” Marlene explained.

“They’ve started using Dark Magic more brazenly these days,” piped Remus. “I heard my dad telling someone that some of them have enchanted dead bodies to terrorize people.”

Lily felt sick, and judging by the revolted looks on James, Sirius, Mary and Marlene, so did they.

“I don’t think they’re flying under the radar so much these days,” Marlene supposed, with a frown, “I mean, Meadowes was killed in a muggle locality - Pegworth I think. He was found by the local law-keeper men. The Ministry officials had to do emergency damage control to retrieve his body.” Marlene said. Something stirred in Lily’s mind.

“Do we know who these extremists are?” Mary asked.

“Not for sure, but I can tell you certainly that the occupants of the Slytherin table would have the greatest intel on that,” commented Sirius, the corner of his mouth twitched in disgust.

Lily turned back to look at the Slytherins where Severus was seated, next to Rosier and a burly senior she didn’t know. Lily was uncommonly silent as they made their way to their classes. With a start she remembered why the word Pegworth sounded so familiar.

November, 1972

“Oye, Potter!” Nelson Redford, the seventh year quidditch captain called out to him as he lazed in the lawn with his friends during a particularly long lunch hour.  

“Hey, Redford. How’s it going?” he drawled, sunlight glinting off his glasses.

“Good mate. Listen, I’ve been wanting to tell you for a week, but got caught up with NEWTs work this past month. Anyway, Jones, Harper and Kipper have graduated, so we’re a few players down on the team. Tryouts are next Wednesday. I’m putting your name down,” he said heartily, slapping James enthusiastically on the shoulder. James eyes shone in delight as he assured his attendance.

“Two Chasers, one Keeper,” said Peter, counting off on his fingers as Nelson walked away. “Which position are you going to try out for, James?” he asked.

“I fancy being a Chaser. There's much more action down the field than just wielding around a club,” he replied. “Hey Sirius, why don’t you try out for Beater? Maybe work off some of that obviously not-so-hidden anger,” James smirked as Peter sniggered loudly.

“Git!” Sirius replied, slapping Peter on the back of his head. “Let’s see,” he said to James noncommittally.

“Remus, what about you?” Peter turned to ask.

Remus, who had been silent until then, looked dispirited. “I can’t,” he replied, sounding disappointed, “I am going to visit my mum at that time.”

“But that’s right in the middle of the week,” Sirius pointed out, confused. “Can’t it wait till the weekend?”

Remus was looking highly uncomfortable. “N-No...I’m afraid not. You see, Dad is going someplace for work, and he needs me to stay at home with Mum,” he rushed. James thought he looked a little pale and stricken. Remus then muttered something about leaving his books in the common room and hurried into the castle.

Sirius frowned slightly at the departing Remus. “Listen, how often does he visit his Mum?” he asked.

“I guess about once a month,” replied Peter absently, lying back on the grass. James looked sharply at Sirius, who was still looking thoughtfully after Remus.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, when Sirius didn’t say anything.

“This is the second time he’s had to go home in the middle of the week, and we are just three months into this year,” Sirius pointed out.

“So?” Peter asked, not understanding.

“So, why can’t it wait till Friday?” Sirius wondered, raising his eyebrows. James caught his gaze and realized with a slight frown that the same thing had happened a few times the previous year as well.

“Like he said, his Dad had to work,” Peter replied, oblivious to the befuddlement that had set in the two of them. James and Sirius continued to look at each other skeptically.

Professor Binns had the most powerfully sedative voice. As he droned on about International Warlock Convention of the thirteenth century, most of the class was almost flat on their desks. Peter was drooling on his parchment. A select few (mostly Ravenclaw) were devotedly taking down what he was saying.

“Oye Lupin!” James whispered loudly next to Remus’ ear, causing him to jump and drop his quill.

“Don’t tell me you’re actually interested in what Professor Snuffed-it has to say,” drawled Sirius.

“Of course not,” Remus shot back in a whisper, rolling his eyes. “But I don’t intend to fail my finals.”

“We can always read from the books then,” James dismissed, “Hand me that,” he demanded, plucking the quill that Remus had just retrieved from the floor. James leaned over stretching his arm with the quill. Adhara, sitting behind Sirius and James, knew what was coming and suppressed a smile. A few more people seated around them had  either abandoned their attempts to listen or merely intrigued, were watching with interest. Sirius raised his finger to his lips, indicating the onlookers to be quiet, silently sniggering.  James reached out across the aisle to where Marlene was sleeping face down, her forehead resting on her forearm. Lily’s eyes widened as she realized what James was about to do. She glanced at Marlene sleeping blissfully next to her. Remus, grinning, caught her eye and frantically signalled her to stay quiet. Adhara watched on as James reached out further and -


Marlene shrieked, shooting upright, her hand vigorously slapping away at her left ear. Peter jerked up with a sound resembling a vacuum suction. A couple of parchments went flying. Professor Binns jumped startled, the notes in his hands flying in the air and his glasses almost slipping down his nose. Lily’s head was bent low, her shoulders shaking in silent peals of laughter. The rest of the class who hadn't witnessed it then had caught on and were beginning to laugh as well. Marlene glowered at James, but grinned grudgingly as the humor in the situation crept up to her.

Professor Binns, who had now caught up to which century he was in, glared in the direction of Gryffindors, which was the heart of commotion. “You! The one who screamed!” he wheezed, pointing an angry finger at Marlene, “you will submit an essay on Middle Eastern views on International Warlock Convention of 1259. Four and a half feet.” Professor Binns looked more alive than any of them had seen him. Marlene looked thoroughly indignant and opened her mouth to protest at the unfair punishment. But Binns had gone back to his lecture suddenly as if nothing had happened.

Around twenty minutes later, the class was dismissed.

“Sirius,” Adhara called out as the class dispersed, “Can we talk for a minute?”

Remus and Peter looked intrigued as Sirius nodded, walking away from them. James looked between Sirius and Adhara slightly offended. She ignored him as Sirius motioned them to carry on.

“Sirius,” started Adhara when she was sure the others were well out of earshot, “How are things with your Mum?”

“Fine,” he replied curtly. Adhara turned slightly red. “How are things with your brother?” he asked, his voice slightly softer.

“Great,” she laughed bitterly. They shared a wry smirk, the awkwardness in the air dissipating a little.

“Is he still asking you to prove your loyalties?” Sirius enquired disdainfully.

“Not after I kicked him in the shins over the holidays,” she replied.

“Wish I could do that to Mum,” Sirius commented resentfully.

“My Mum told me how she spoke about you at your Dad’s birthday dinner last month,” she said, watching his reaction.

“Is this what we do now?” Sirius asked sarcastically, “talk about how our families treat us for breaking convention?”

Adhara was taken aback at his tone. “No… I was just…”

“Listen Adhara,” Sirius cut in, “I already told you last year. Our situations maybe the same, but we are not. I don’t care what my family thinks of one bloody sorting. They have to get their heads out of their hats. We don’t have to do or prove anything.”

“I’m not… I was not -”

“I don’t want to talk about this,” he said with a tone of finality, “Is there anything else you have to say?”

Adhara looked at his hard face for a moment. What she didn’t see was a flicker of pain that was being squashed by anger, bitterness and denial. She only saw him blowing her off.

“I just wanted to ask how you were dealing with things, since I did a horrible job of it last year. But you’ve made it pretty clear you don’t want to be friends. It’s fine by me,” she finished coldly and walked away.

James Potter relished the feel of chilly November breeze throwing itself at his  face and running it’s swift fingers through his hair. He inhaled the intoxicating smell of damp ground and moist grass, grinning around at the turnout. It had been five years since this many spots were open at the same time on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, and almost the whole house had turned up to watch the tryouts. Professor McGonagall, in a rare moment of leniency that one could see only when it came to Quidditch, had given up her afternoon classes, so that students could conduct tryouts without interference from other houses. The large turnout didn’t seem to bother James in the least. He had never had a problem with nerves. He waved energetically at Sirius and Peter sitting on the benches. He saw the remaining older players sitting around in a group at one end of the field.

“Potter! Over here!” James turned to see Nelson Redford beckoning to him. He was surrounded by a few people who James guessed were also going to be trying out alongside him. Marlene was  already with them. James jogged up to that group, his heart racing in anticipation.

“Do you have a broom yet?” Nelson asked as James approached him.

“Not yet. But my Dad got on to the waitlist for the new Nimbus 1500. It’s bound to arrive anytime next week,” he said grinning as the others raised their eyebrows in awe.

“Today you can borrow Prewett’s Cleansweep Five for the tryouts,” Nelson offered, “You’re trying out for Chaser right?” James nodded. The existing team members had come to join their group, each one appraising the candidates mentally. Beaters Gideon Prewett and Owen Weasley gave him an encouraging nod of recognition which James returned with a grin.

“Has everyone who is trying out arrived?” Nelson called out, looking at the faces and referring to a parchment in his hand.

“Hey, I’m here,” a female voice panted next to James..

“And you are?” Nelson referred to his parchment again.

“Selwyn… Adhara Selwyn,” she wheezed. Marlene’s eyebrows shot up and James whipped around in surprise to see her catching her breath from running. She was the last person he had expected to show Gryffindor loyalty.

“You haven’t signed your name up for tryouts,” Nelson accused, frowning.

“I just decided to try out now,” she said, pulling her wavy hair into a knot at the back of her head.

He appraised her for a second, as if debating whether to let her try or not. “Alright then,” he said eventually, squaring his shoulders and proceeded to give them instructions. James listened intently, unusually focussed. He remained silent as they broke up and walked to the middle of the field.

“What about Lupin?” Nelson cut into his thoughts, glancing towards the stands, “Madam Hooch said he’s one of the better fliers in your class. Why hasn’t he given his name?”

“He went home yesterday. An emergency,” explained James.

“Oh I hope he feels better.” a voice said from James’ left. He turned to see Alice Rivers, a round-faced fifth year Gryffindor Prefect. She was their seeker, petite build and nimble on the broom. Before he could open his mouth to correct her, she continued. “Must be his recent Plasmovax bite.”

“His what?” James asked, startled.

“Didn’t you know?” she asked, mildly surprised, “I ran into him last month in the Hospital Wing. He was looking so weak and tired. He told me that he had been bitten by a Plasmovax.”

James was surprised at that piece of information. He couldn’t remember Remus mentioning a Plasmovax bite or being in the Hospital Wing last month. He would certainly have known about it. They spent all their time together.

“When was this?” he asked. Alice was slightly taken aback at his alacrity.

“Around the 12th I think,” she replied, looking at him funnily. James frowned slightly wondering why Remus hadn’t told them about it. It wasn’t a big deal, just a common Plasmovax bite. James’ deliberations were cut short as his wits were called about him. He pushed away those puzzling thoughts from his mind and directed his attention to the tryouts. It didn’t seem all that difficult to do the moment he kicked off the ground. When his feet left the ground, he abandoned every other thought and took with him just one thing - Quidditch.

The tryouts couldn’t have more tough. It had taken longer than usual as two rounds were held in order to narrow down from the many deserving candidates who had turned up. The final shortlist had consisted of James, Marlene, Adhara, a tall black girl Violetta Jorkins, a fifth year Samuel Towers. James was nervous for the first time in his life as the team members discussed in a huddle. He was mentally going through his performance, wondering if he had flown better or worse than the others. After a long huddle, the team finally came out with their decision. James Potter and Adhara Selwyn for Chasers and Violetta Jorkins for Keeper. James beamed, elated as people patted his back and offered hearty congratulations.

“Sorry you didn’t get selected, Marlene,” he said when she wished him luck.

“Oh no! You flew much better than me,” she said sincerely, wringing his hand with a dimpled smile and turning to join her friends.

“Congratulations!” Peter said enthusiastically, jogging towards him. “You out flew everyone. I had no doubt you’d snag a spot.” James looked pleased, drawing himself a little taller.

“Your hair looks ridiculous,” Sirius commented smirking, strolling over to him with his hands in his pockets, a few paces behind Peter.

“Your face looks weird,” James shot back, raising his hand to smoothen his hair which had become messed up while flying. Sirius grinned. As they walked up to the castle, Peter kept up a flow of words, comparing the other players to James and how none of them stood a chance once he had taken off.

“Give it a rest Peter,” Sirius said finally. James didn’t seem to mind the attention so much. He himself was busy reliving the tryouts in his head. Peter went red in the face but kept silent after that. James caught sight of a spider scurrying down the bannister and suddenly remembered something.

“Hey, did Remus ever mention getting bitten by a Plasmovax?” he asked.

“No,” Sirius replied as Peter shook his head, “Why?”

“He was apparently seen at the Hospital Wing getting treated for it last month,” James explained.

“When?” Sirius asked immediately.

“The 12th,” James replied, raising his eyebrows.

“But he was visiting his mum on the 11th and 12th,” spoke up Peter, “I remember because I was asked to rewrite my essay for McGonagall at the time.” Sirius’ face mirrored James’ bemused expression.

“Why would he lie to us?” James wondered out loud.

“Maybe he came back early on the 12th and got treated for the bite?” suggested Peter. This time James wasn’t so easily convinced. There was something fishy about Remus.

Back in the common room -

Not many people had congratulated Adhara on becoming Chaser. She was either unknown or unpopular among the Gryffindors. Her last-minute entrance was avidly conferred about among bemused spectators with many a raised eyebrow. She knew that the rustle of whispers going around as she crossed them were about her. She didn’t care that no one except Marlene came up to congratulate her. She wasn’t doing this for popularity or glory.


She turned to face Sirius, eyeing him coldly.

“Good job on making the team,” he said. Adhara felt her anger reduce a little at his conciliatory tone.

“Thanks,” she said stiffly, folding her arms across her chest.

“What brought about this sudden House loyalty in you?” he asked, smirking a little.

“It hasn’t anything to do with you, if that’s what you’re thinking,” she replied, put off slightly by his expression.

“Gryffindor versus Slytherin,” he said, eyebrows raised.

“What?” Adhara blinked, unnerved by the all-too-knowing expression in his eyes.

“First game of this season.” His smirk widened, “Gryffindor versus Slytherin. Selwyn versus Selwyn.”

“That’s right. You were wrong before, Sirius,” Adhara raised her chin defiantly, her hair falling forward to hide her forehead. “We do have something to prove. Watch me prove it.”

James lay awake that night, disturbed. He was still pondering over Remus. Something was not right about that situation. He could sense that Sirius shared his suspicions as well. What was going on with Remus? Was his mother really sick? If so, what was he doing in the Hospital Wing? Why would he not tell them he had come back? It struck James very odd that Remus had special permission to visit home every month. Maybe he wasn’t visiting his mother. Maybe he was ill and taking treatment. But why lie about it? Unless he was ashamed. But ashamed of what? James tossed and turned, trying to piece all the facts together. He kicked his pillow restlessly with his leg. His toe came in contact with something soft and silky. He suddenly sat upright. There was only one way to settle this.

“What do you expect to find?” Sirius whispered as he and James made their way down the corridor cautiously. The bright light of the moon made it easier for them to see where they were heading.

“I don’t know. But you agree something doesn’t make sense right?” he whispered back. Sirius, being taller, had to slightly crouch so that James’ feet were well hidden under the Invisibility Cloak.

“I’m the one who pointed it out first,” he said, indignantly.

“Do you want me to alert the Order of Merlin?” James said sarcastically.

“Yeah, and give the Minister love from me,” Sirius sniggered.

They came to a stop in front of the Hospital Wing. James pushed it open slowly so that it wouldn’t creak. A small gap was enough for both boys to slip in. They moved silently along the Wing. All beds were empty except for one, in which a 7th year Ravenclaw was sleeping soundly. James was disappointed.

“There,” whispered Sirius urgently, pointing to a bed at the far east of the wing. It was easy to miss as separators had been placed around it for privacy. James’ blood was pounding in his ears as they crept over excitedly and peered around the separators. Sure enough, Remus Lupin’s thin face came into view.

James stood transfixed for a few moments staring at the sleeping Remus, until Sirius tugged at his arm. they made their way out of the Hospital Wing. He started talking the second they reached the corridor.

“That bloody git!” Sirius whispered angrily, “He’s been pulling one over us all this time.” They hurried back to the Gryffindor Common Room, where Sirius pulled off the cloak roughly. The moonlight shone through the windows, casting light upon his face.

“I still don’t understand,” James said, flummoxed.

“What’s there not to understand? He’s been lying to us. Telling us his mother was sick, and that he had to go home, when all the while he has been right here at Hogwarts.” Sirius started pacing angrily across the common room. He stopped near the window, with his back to James, and looked out, exhaling in short, deep breaths. James was standing a few paces behind him, looking in his direction. A slight breeze caused the moon in all it’s full glory to emerge from behind a few stray clouds, flooding through the window and illuminating the common room. The same thought struck both of them at the exact same moment.

“Sirius,” James started slowly, “is today full moon?”

“No,” replied Sirius quietly. He turned to face James, comprehension dawning in his eyes. “But yesterday was.”

“And the 11th of last month?” James asked, already knowing the answer. Sirius raised his eyebrows in affirmation.

“Do you think-?”

“Could Remus be-?”

They spoke at the same time and stopped short. In the silence that followed, everything clicked into place. It was the only thing that made sense.

Lack of proper sleep coupled with the cold weather caused James and Sirius to oversleep the next day.  Peter had to literally drag their sheets away in order to wake them up.  

It was a weary eyed, yawning twosome that made their way to breakfast that morning. They had stayed up till three in the morning recounting everything they knew in light of everything they had just realized, and discussing when they should break it to Peter. Soon after breakfast they pulled Peter away from the crowd and filled him in on what they supposed was the truth. Peter’s face changed from one of curiosity to that of horror, his eyes bulging out and chubby cheeks sagging slightly as his mouth hung open.

“We’re going to talk to him now. You coming?” Sirius asked.

Peter, still in a state of shock, glanced fervently between them. His first instinct was to distance himself as much as possible from both the situation and Remus. If indeed he was a werewolf, it would be potentially dangerous to be hanging around him. But the kind face of Remus floated into his mind. Remus had always been there for him and helped him in classes. It didn’t seem fair to abandon him because of what they had discovered. Besides, James and Sirius wanted to talk to Remus first, and he might not be part of their group anymore if he protested. Gulping, he nodded his head twichily, following James as he led the way to the infirmary.

Sirius walked in first, looking around cautiously. This was generally the time Madam Pomfrey took her breakfast. If all was happening as usual, then it would be another half an hour before she returned. He signalled to the others wordlessly to follow him quietly. They reached the far end where Remus was supposed to be lying.

“Well, hello there Remus!” said James jovially, emerging from behind the separator. Remus, who was reading a book, jumped violently, causing his book to fly out of his hand and hit the jug of water kept on the bedside table.

“Fancy seeing you here!” Sirius said heartily. Peter waved at him from behind with a meek grin. Remus’ eyes widened, darting between the three of them.

“H...Hey…” he stuttered.

“Move over will you?” James pushed his leg away, sitting down by his bed. Sirius took the other side of Remus. Peter stood warily at his bedside.

“We got Exploding Snap,” said Sirius, pulling out a pack from his pocket, “We can squeeze in a quick game before Pomfrey comes back.”

“Huh? How - Er - don’t you have to get to class?“ Remus asked in bewilderment.

“Remus, pal, what kind of friends would we be if we cared about mundane things like classes when our friend was lying sick, scared and alone in the Hospital Wing,” James said, widening his eyes in mock-indignance.

“That’s right mate!” supplied Sirius, “Here, deal the cards,” he threw the deck of cards to James who caught it deftly.

“I came back last night… had a bit of fever…” Remus started to explain fervently.

“Yes we heard you got bitten by a Plasmovax last month,” dismissed Sirius.

"Tricky bugs those,” James commented lightly, dealing the cards among the four of them. Remus stared at them in fearful confusion.  

"I know what you can do,” Sirius sat up, his voice cheerful, “Cover your body with the paste of crushed dung beetles and-”

“-Hang upside down from a tree, naked,” finished James with flourish.

“On full moon,” added Sirius quietly, looking hard at Remus. The air suddenly changed as Remus blanched visibly. The dark circles under his eyes became more prominent.

“It’s true isn’t it?” Remus lifted his eyes to James’ face whose hazel eyes narrowed accusingly. In that split second he knew they had figured it out. His heart was pounding against his chest as he nodded slightly, not trusting himself to speak.  Peter’s eyes were darting between them and he seemed to be holding his breath.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Sirius demanded. Remus looked down at his hands. He should have known it had been too good to last. They were going to desert him, and he couldn’t blame them.

“What are we waiting for?” Sirius repeated.

Remus closed his eyes, bracing himself to bear the pain of losing the only friends he had ever had. In that split second he wished he had never come to Hogwarts.

“James, mate, it’s your turn to play!”

Remus’ head snapped up. He looked on incredulously as his friends started a game of Exploding Snap around him as if nothing had happened.

“Don’t…” there was a catch in his voice. Remus cleared his throat and continued, “don’t you - er - want to… know?” he asked, almost whispering.

“Nah!” Sirius said carelessly, “You’ll tell us when you want to.”

“Besides, it doesn’t make a difference even if you don’t,” James shrugged, examining his hand of cards interestedly.

Remus opened his mouth to speak, but unable to make a sound. James and Sirius saved him the trouble by discussing their cards, apparently more interested in the game on hand.


I need feedback folks, Reviews are oxygen!

Love my faithful readers - NB, HB, 2AB, ARK (you know who you are!). My wonderful beta Felpata Lupin, for everything that's right about this story!

Track This Story:    Feed


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!