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HP stories following Canon but PRE-OotP >> Friendship Forged by deemarie

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.
the usual disclaimer goes here. My thanks to JKR, Bloomsbury Press, Scholastic Press, Time Warner, et al, for allowing me to "borrow" the Potterverse and indulge my fantasies. Another note: Andrew should get credit for writing this so I have edited this to show his contributions.

For George, this story is just for you, because I love you dearly. Dee

Friendship Forged

By DeeMarie and Andrew MacRobb

Chapter 1

It certainly was noisy on the train. There were children scampering about the corridor outside the compartment where the shy boy was sitting. He was silently hoping that none of them would notice him sitting quietly. He was hoping in vain. Two boys, strikingly similar in appearance stopped outside the compartment and stared in at him. Remus Lupin quickly looked away, hoping they would move on. He heard the door slide open.

“Hey,” one of the boys said, “mind if we join you?” The door slid closed before Remus could answer and the two boys sat down opposite him. Remus continued to stare out the window at the passing scenery.

“What’s your name?” Remus was finally forced to face his companions. “I’m James, James Potter. This is my friend, Sirius Black.” Remus was surprised to find they weren’t brothers, their appearance was so similar, but now that he had the chance to see them, he could see their differences. The boy on the left, Sirius, was nattily dressed. His jet-black hair was slicked back. His piercingly grey eyes stood out in his well-tanned face. His smile suggested he thought himself slightly superior but not in an arrogant way. James, on the right, was dressed casually, his black hair slightly rumpled, as if it would never really lie flat. He had hazel eyes, just like Remus, but his were laughing. His smile was warm and friendly.

“Well, can you talk at all?” James joked.

“Sorry.” Remus said, taking the hand James had extended and shook it quickly. “I’m Remus Lupin.”

“Pleased to meet you, Remus. Mind if we stay? I’m afraid we’ve been giving the Prefects a bit of trouble. They want us to stay put for a while. Where are you from? I’m from Oxford, Sirius is from London.” It was hard for Remus to keep up with this. James delivered it rapid fire.

“I’m from Devon,” he said, reluctantly. Remus carried a secret. A devastating secret. It had kept him from admission to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry the year before. He should have been admitted then, but the former headmaster, Armando Dippet had vehemently objected to a werewolf attending. The then assistant headmaster, Albus Dumbledore had argued that precautions could be taken, but the headmaster had prevailed and Remus had given up any hope. He resigned himself to a life lived in the muggle world.

Last April, Headmaster Dippet had passed away. Dumbledore became the new headmaster. He had arrived at the Lupin home with a plan. For the first time since Remus had received his bite at the age of 9, he started to hope there could be a place for him in the Wizarding world. You see, Remus was special, he was empathic. It was why he was drawn to the werewolf in the first place. It was why he had been drawn too close.

Now he was on his way. He vowed to study hard, to prove to the new headmaster that his trust, the risk he was taking was worth it. Very few people knew Remus’ secret. The headmaster, the matron in charge of the hospital, and some of the staff; those who would be his instructors in the first year. Others would be informed as he progressed. Certainly none of the students must ever find out. It would mean a lonely existence, but Remus was used to that. He hadn’t any friends since the accident. He was born and raised on the outskirts of Dover but after he’d been bitten his parents had moved, their fear of the stigma attached to his affliction became to much for them to bear. They wanted to go where they wouldn’t be known.

Dire warnings from his parents had kept him from making friends. They had home schooled him. He excelled in his studies. His magical abilities were carefully cultivated in the hopes he would attend Hogwarts. His monthly transformations were handled discretely. His parents had hoped to show Headmaster Dippet that Remus could prove to be no danger. It had broken his mother’s heart when he had been refused. For months whenever she had looked at him, there had been such sadness in her eyes.

Now, on the Hogwart’s Express, there were two boys who seemed genuinely interested in him. It had been so long since he had anyone his own age to talk to. What if they found out? What if he let something slip? It was too great a risk.

“Any idea what house you’ll be sorted into? I’m sure to be Gryffindor,” James said, smugly. “Whole family has been for generations.”

“I’m bound for Slytherin,” Sirius said, contemplating his nails. “Family tradition. All the Blacks have been. Well, except for Andromeda, she’s been put into Ravenclaw. The family doesn’t talk about that. Well, Remus, any idea?”

Remus wished these two would leave. Yet he didn’t. It would be so wonderful to just let go of his secret and get to know them. They were sitting there, eyes aglow, eagerly awaiting his response. Remus sensed that if he did let go, if he opened up, he would have true friends. James’ grin widened. Remus’ heart burst.

“I want to be in Gryffindor,” it rushed out of him. “It was my dad’s old house. Mum was a Hufflepuff, and I wouldn’t mind if I were one, but I think my dad would be proud if I made his old house.” Remus smiled.

“Look, James,” Sirius said, “he not only talks, but smiles as well. Do you suppose he has a sense of humor?” Remus eyed the boy suspiciously.

“Don’t mind him,” James said, elbowing his companion in the ribs. “He sometimes feels he has to live up to the family’s reputation. His name may be Black, but he’s anything but.” Suddenly James’ attention was drawn to a group of students passing the compartment. The others looked. A group of girls were passing.

Sirius turned to James. “You really should ask her name, James. You’ve been staring at her every time you see her.”

“Who?” Remus asked.

“The red-head,” Sirius said, nodding toward the corridor. She certainly was the loveliest of the three girls in the corridor. She was laughing, her hair in braids, her green eyes sparkling. “He saw her on the platform and hasn’t stopped staring since. Eh, James? James?”

“What?” James said as the girls finally passed from view.

“Just go and ask her name,” Sirius said, sighing with exasperation.

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” Remus asked. “You did just that to me a few minutes ago.”

“But she’s…she’s a…a girl!”

“So?” Sirius responded.

James looked defiant. “Alright, if you’re so brave, you go and ask her name.”

“No way, mate,” Sirius laughed back, suddenly on the defensive.

“Why not? Chicken?” James teased victoriously.

“You saw her first, you prat. You go ask her name.”

“Not me, git, it was your idea.” Suddenly Sirius chortled. It was contagious. The three of them began to snigger. Then they broke out in full throated laughter. Remus hadn’t laughed like this in so long.

A wizened old witch had stopped and knocked on the compartment door. The boys wiped tears from their eyes as she opened the door. “Anything from the trolley, dears?”

Remus was amazed at the assortment of savories and sweets arrayed. He had a few sickles and knuts. Not much, enough to purchase a pasty and a chocolate frog or two. He was about to go to the cart when Sirius pulled a few galleons from his pocket.

“This is on me, chaps” he said. He went to the cart. Remus turned to James.

“Sirius is rolling in it, Remus. He’s always tossing it about. I tried arguing with him once. Let’s just say I won’t do that again,” James rubbed his jaw.

“Please,” Sirius said, dropping a mound of treats on the seat next to James, “It’s only money.” He tossed Remus a Cauldron Cake. “I have more than I know what to do with.” Sirius took a rather large bite of a Pumpkin Pastie as he settled on the seat next to Remus.

“How did you two become such good friends?” Remus asked. James and Sirius looked at each other.

“Indeed,” Sirius said. “How did that happen, James?” Remus settled back in his seat. He could tell this would be an interesting story. It would also keep them from asking him questions he didn’t want to answer.

“It’s not as if our fathers were friends,” James replied.

“Definitely not,” Sirius retorted. “Rivals in school,” he said to Remus. “Slytherin versus Gryffindor. And they don’t inhabit the same social circles.”

“My dad’s working class.” James told Remus. “We’re an old Wizarding family, to be sure, but dad’s a barrister.”

“Then how did you two meet?” James and Sirius smiled at each other.

“Quidditch,” they said simultaneously.

“Quidditch?” Remus asked.

“Our fathers are rabid fans,” James replied.

“They both support the same team,” Sirius added. “Caerphilly Catapults. I’ve been to every game since I could walk.”

“Me too,” James said. “Dad’s got connections through his clients so we are always in the top box. I met this reprobate there.”

“Me? Reprobate? I seem to recall you caused as much trouble as I did.”

“Not nearly as much. And there was that incident with a snitch and a certain young lady’s robes…”

“All right!” Sirius laughed. “Let’s not bring that up. She didn’t press charges, did she?”

Remus couldn’t remember the last time he had enjoyed himself this much. James and Sirius regaled him with tales of their adventures all afternoon. All too soon the prefects were telling the students to get into their uniforms. They were approaching Hogwarts.

The train slowed. The three companions had ceased their conversation. Each was absorbed in their own thoughts. Remus had asked his parents how the sorting was done. Every child had. There was an unspoken rule among the alumni. The secret of the sorting was never revealed. Every student entertained more and more outlandish ideas of what was required. Remus, too, had his own ideas.

He kept going over spells in his mind, certain that he would have to perform spell after spell to determine his worthiness. The train lurched a final time and Sirius opened the door. They stepped out onto Hogsmeade Station’s platform.

“Firs’ Years!” a voice boomed across the platform. “Firs’ Years, follow me!” Remus turned to see the largest man he had ever seen calling out to the youngsters. Imposing, a bit frightening even, the man called again. “Come on, firs’ years, follow me.” Reluctantly, the children gathered about the huge man.

“Name’s Hagrid. Reubeus Hagrid. Keeper of Keys and Grounds here at Hogwarts. Follow me to the boats. They’ll take yer ‘cross the lake ter the school. Four ter a boat, mind yer. An’ no standin’. Don’ want ter be fishin’ any of yer out of the water ternite.” At that he smiled. The great bushy-haired, bearded man suddenly changed from a frightening figure to a gentle giant. There was a soft collective sigh of relief and the students followed Hagrid as he led them to the boats.

Remus, James and Sirius were joined by a small, mouse-like, blond boy. He was very quiet, quite cowed by Hagrid’s imposing presence. The trio hardly noticed him as the boat glided across the lake through a soft mist. One could just make out the boats surrounding each other. Remus wondered what spell was being used to guide them. Perhaps you had to determine that as one of the tests for sorting? As he was concentrating, the boat emerged from the mist and thoughts of spells were driven from his mind.

The lights and shadows that were the castle, the school, Hogwarts, were a sight to behold. A dark outline against an even blacker sky filled with stars showed the school to be huge. Quite the largest structure Remus had ever seen. He knew he would never learn all its secrets in that one moment that he beheld it. But he also knew that he would grow to love its confines, for the lights were warm and inviting, welcoming, calling out to each new student a greeting.

“Mind yer heads!” Hagrid shouted as he bent to go under the tunnel that was the boat entrance. Remus, James and Sirius had to bend too. Remus had noticed that of all the first years, they were the tallest.

The boats, discharged of their occupants, were lined up neatly at dock. Hagrid gathered the children at the base of the stairs. The students shuffled about nervously waiting for the next stage.

“Our Deputy Headmistress will be ‘long directly. Professor McGonagall’s ‘er name. Be respectful like. Yer’ll do fine, the lot ‘o yer.” Hagrid smiled at them again. The tattoo of high-heeled shoes sounded on the stair and Hagrid turned.

“Here’s the new lot of firs’ years, professor. Safe and sound,” he said.

“Thank you, Hagrid,” the professor replied, with a soft smile for the giant, a melodic Scottish accent to her voice. She turned to the students, the smile replaced with a stern, authoritarian glare.

“Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am Deputy Headmistress, Professor McGonagall. In a moment, I will take you to the Great Hall where you will be sorted into your houses. While you are here, your houses will be your home. Your behavior will determine points towards the awarding of the House Cup at the end of the year. Do well in your studies, show exemplary behavior and you will earn points. However, any rule breaking,” she paused and glanced about, lingering over James and Sirius, “and you will lose points. Is that clear?” Heads nodded.

“Very good,” she said. “I will now lead you to a small chamber off the Great Hall where you will have a moment to make yourselves presentable.” She led them up the staircase to a small room where they were lined up in pairs. The professor looked pointedly at a few of them and left the room. There were quiet murmurings and a few students were straightening their uniforms. Remus kept trying to remember what type of spell would be used to propel the boats across the lake. He was concentrating hard when the door opened again, startling him, driving the thought from his mind.

“We’re ready for you now,” Professor McGonagall said gently. “Follow me.” She led them into the Great Hall.

Remus was behind Sirius and James, next to the blond boy. He glanced about him. Hundreds of students lined the four long tables that ran the length of the hall. There was quiet laughter and talking. Remus looked to the head table. Professor Dumbledore sat in the middle. He had caught Remus’ eye and smiled. It made Remus feel better, more relaxed somehow. Remus looked up. The ceiling, he realized, must be enchanted. It reflected the brilliance of the stars Remus had seen from the boat. It was a quarter moon tonight. A mere three weeks until his transformations would begin again. He wondered what precautions had been arranged for him. The headmaster hadn’t been entirely clear on that matter.

“Line up here,” Professor McGonagall said as they reached the head table. The students arrayed themselves in front of a stool which bore a dirty, battered, old wizard’s hat. The hall grew quiet. Suddenly, the hat twitched and a rip on the brim opened and a voice began a song.

Another group of students
Arrayed before me stands
All nervously awaiting
I can tell by twitching hands.
Well, have no fear, dear children,
I am the Sorting Hat
And into four Great Houses
You’ll be placed, be sure of that!

If you’re brave and resourceful
To Gryffindor you’ll go
Those traits are valued highly
And your courage, it will show.
Intelligence is highly sought
By those in Ravenclaw
For as its founder, wise Rowena
Many years ago foresaw.

Those with loyalty unquestioned
To Hufflepuff are bound
These gems in the rough are prized
Once polished; more than sound.
For the last of our four houses
Ambitious must you be
Slytherin treasures craftiness
That is their decree.

So step right up, fair magic folk
Cast all your fear aside.
Be you witch or wizard,
It’s all right there inside.
I will see into your mind
To tell where you belong,
For I am Hogwart’s Sorting Hat
And I am never wrong!

Cheers erupted from the tables behind Remus. The first years let out a sigh of relief. All except Remus. The hat could see into his mind? It would know! Would it refuse him? Could Dumbledore be sure the Hat wouldn’t shout to the school he was a werewolf and refuse him? A cold sweat broke out between Remus’ shoulders.

“Aaronson, Jacob,” Professor McGonagall called. The sorting had begun. Remus looked to Dumbledore as the hat shouted “HUFFLEPUFF!” and a cheer went up. Dumbledore was watching the sorting.

“Ambery, Phyllis,” McGonagall said. Moments later, “RAVENCLAW!” More cheers.

“Black, Sirius.” Sirius straightened his shoulders and walked to the stool. McGonagall placed the hat upon his head. This seemed to take longer than expected. Even Dumbledore shifted in his seat. More than a minute had passed. There was a puzzled expression on Sirius’ face. Finally, the brim opened. “GRYFFINDOR!” No one was more shocked than Sirius. The Slytherins who knew Sirius and had been standing in anticipation were slack-jawed. Professor McGonagall removed the hat. Sirius just sat there, stunned. Remus glanced at the headmaster. There was a small smile playing about his lips.

“Mr. Black, I suggest you take a seat at your house table. I have a rather lengthy list to go through,” the professor said. That brought Sirius to his senses. He shook his head, regained his composure and sauntered off toward the Gryffindor table. As he passed James and Remus he murmured, “I expect the headmaster will receive a few howlers when the family hears about this.”

Several more students were sorted, then, “Evans, Lily.” James poked Remus. The red-haired girl sat on the stool.

“No need to ask her name now,” James whispered, never taking his eyes from her. “GRYFFINDOR!” the hat shouted. Lily grinned as the professor removed the hat. She started toward the table and paused in front of the boys. She smiled at James briefly and then continued on.

“I think you caught her attention, James,” Remus said. James followed her progress all the way to the Gryffindor table. Sirius was giving James a pointed look. James groaned softly.

“And now I’ll never hear the end of it.”

“He is a bit like a dog worrying a bone,” Remus joked.

“More than a bit,” James joked back. “He’s a bulldog, no a mastiff!” Professor McGonagall cleared her throat loudly. The two boys instantly returned their attention to the sorting.

All too soon Lourdes, Michelle had been sorted into Hufflepuff and the professor said, “Lupin, Remus”. Remus took a deep breath and swallowed. He had to will his feet to move. He mounted the stool and shut his eyes preparing for the worst.

“So, you’re sure I’ll announce your affliction to the whole school, eh?” the hat’s voice sounded in his mind. “Well, let me just say, that’s not my job. Didn’t you listen to the song? My job’s to sort you. If you didn’t belong here, the quill wouldn’t have written your name in the book. (Cheeky thing she is, too.) Besides, the headmaster thinks you belong here. I’ll not go against him. So, if you don’t mind, I think that I’ll do my job now. And I must say you make this very easy, lad. GRYFFINDOR!” The last shouted to the room. A cheer erupted and Remus jumped from the stool.

He turned and smiled at Dumbledore who nodded. Remus made his way to Sirius’ side and shook hands with the still stunned Black. The sorting continued. Remus had to ask. “Are you disappointed, Sirius?”

A smile lit Sirius’ face. “Disappointed? No, I’m rather glad this happened. Mum and Dad will be positively livid! Best thing that ever happened to me.” Remus wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue that statement. Apparently, Sirius and his parents didn’t get along. He decided against asking about that right at the moment.

Remus turned back to the sorting. There were still quite a number of students left. It would be quite a while before they got to James. Remus settled back in his chair. This was going well. He felt comfortable. As long as no one questioned him too closely, he could probably make it through. He would have friends. No one really close, but he would be able to talk with James and Sirius, he was sure of that. He could study and develop his talent. This just might work.

“Pettigrew, Peter,” the professor said. Remus’ attention was drawn toward the dais. So that was the boy’s name. The mousy student sat upon the stool. Again the sorting took a while. The boy twitched and fidgeted while the hat took its time. “GRYFFINDOR!” went cry. Remus thought there was a bit of reluctance in the voice, but he couldn’t be sure. The hat did say it was never wrong.

“H-hello,” Peter said as he sat across from Remus. That was all he said for the rest of the sorting.

“Potter, James.” Sirius and Remus sat on the edge of their seats. James wanted Gryffindor so badly. Would the hat put him there? Sirius had been so sure of Slytherin. It seemed to take forever for James to get to the stool. The professor lowered the hat. It barely touched his head. “GRYFFINDOR!” The two boys let out their breath as those at the table began to cheer. James ran over. He shook Sirius’ and Remus’ hands.

“Never doubted it for a minute, Sirius,” James said. “Knew I’d be Gryffindor.” There were still a few students left. The sorting went on. “Hope this goes quickly,” James whispered. “I’m starving.” And it did. That is until, “Snape, Severus,” was called. A very tall, arrogant young boy with long dark hair walked haughtily up to the stool. “What a greasy git,” James said. Remus wasn’t sure if James realized he had said this out loud. He wasn’t sure if his voice had carried. For the boy on the dais’ head had snapped toward James as if he had heard the comment. He sneered at James. Then with kingly bearing, he sat upon the stool. Professor McGonagall must not have heard the remark, she hadn’t reacted. She placed the hat on Snape’s head. “SLYTHERIN!” it shouted. Hat off, the boy stood, sneered again in James’ direction and with all the dignity he could muster, strode off toward the Slytherin table to their cheers.

“I don’t think he liked what you said, James,” Sirius said. “Although, how he heard you, I can’t begin to fathom.”

“Dark arts, Sirius,” James said. “It’s the only explanation.” James’ brow furrowed. “Dad’s been warning people about the rise in wizards going over to the dark arts. There’s something going on.”

“Yasmin, Ahmed,” a small boy was sorted into Ravenclaw and the sorting was completed. Silence once again descended upon the hall. The headmaster stood. He glanced about the room. The students waited patently. The previous headmaster would have at this point given a welcoming speech. Dumbledore smiled.

“Well, I’m starving. Tuck in everyone!” He clapped his hands and the feast appeared. For a moment everyone sat in stunned silence. Dumbledore sat, took up his knife and fork. “Go on, go on,” he encouraged, and he began to pile food onto his plate. It didn’t take the students long to follow his lead. Soon there was laughter and conversation abounding in the hall.

Remus loaded his plate with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. There were sweet peas and bubble and squeak. Fresh greens abounded. Pork chops and roast chicken were passed down the table. They drank pumpkin juice and iced fruit aides. It was quite the best meal Remus had ever had.

“You first years had better slow down,” said an older boy down the table. “There’s still pudding.”

“Y-you mean th-there’s m-more?” squeaked Peter. The older boy laughed and nodded. Sure enough, plates emptied, and more appeared laden with cakes and puddings. By the time the plates were cleared the student’s stomachs were groaning as loudly as the tables had been when fully laden. Sounds of contented stomachs abounded. Remus sat back, sated. A smile played about his lips. He had deftly fielded question asked. James and Sirius had dominated most of the conversation. They were proving to be quite popular.

Once again the headmaster rose to his feet. He cleared his throat to gain the hall’s attention. It wasn’t loud, but it had the desired effect. Quiet settled. Dumbledore smiled.

“Welcome! Welcome to another, a new year at Hogwarts. Most of you remember me as your Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. For our First Years, I am Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, your new Headmaster.” The smile faded from his face. His appearance changed from one of vibrancy with his still auburn tinged white hair and beard to an aging man whose responsibilities seemed to begin to be weighing in on him. Yet there was a sparkle that never left his bright blue eyes.

“Let us take a moment now to remember our former headmaster, Armando Dippet, who served this school for many years, faithfully and to the best of his abilities.” A respectful silence settled over the company. Remus could not bring himself to mourn the man. “Headmaster Dippet,” Dumbledore continued, “will be missed.”

The smile returned. “Let me introduce our new staff members. Our new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, you should all be familiar with.” He turned to a rather elegantly dressed elderly wizard, and motioned for him to stand. “May I present the author of your textbook, the honorable Quentin Trimble.” There was quite a round of applause from the students. The grey haired wizard gave an elegant bow and returned to his seat.

“He’s going to teach us?” James asked, incredulously.

“What’s wrong with that?” Remus asked.

“Have you read the text yet?” Remus had to admit he hadn’t.

“It’s a bit simple. He doesn’t go into specifics at all,” James said. “If my dad’s right, then we’re going to need more than what we can learn from his book.” The applause had died and Dumbledore was ready to continue.

“As always, the Forbidden Forest is exactly that, Forbidden. Hogsmeade weekends will begin in November for third years and above. There is a list of proscribed magical items. It is posted outside the office of our new caretaker as Mr. Pringle retired at the end of last term.” Murmurs of surprise and delight at Apollyon Pringle’s retirement coursed down the tables. “May I present our new caretaker, Argus Filch.” Dumbledore extended his hand toward the door to the Great Hall.

If Apollyon Pringle was a menacing figure, Argus Filch was meanness personified. A sneer was his smile. Beady black eyes surveyed the students. As they turned to him, shoulders hunched, he cradled a scruffy tabby cat in his long thin arms. The students realized the change was not for the better.

“Times change,” Dumbledore continued, “Rules change, I hope the changes I bring will make Hogwarts better, will make you better.” Suddenly, the headmaster let out an enormous yawn. “Well, I certainly need to seek out my bed. Prefects, if you will kindly escort the First Years, I bid you all a very good night.”

A/N This is how I envision the story of their meeting taking place as seen through Remus eyes. Now we don't know all that much about the Marauders. We can only guess as to their personalities. Forgive me if I've gotten them wrong. I've tried to stick as closely as possible to canon. Yet, I had to give them life, so I've borrowed some personality traits from three rather good friends here at GP. You know who you are, dear boys. Thanks for your inspiration!

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