Part 1- The Gang
"Muuuummm, when can we leave?" Sirius whined, following a few steps behind his mother, who was busy making tea.
"Sirius, you and James are just going to have to wait until Raven and Remus get here." Mrs. Black said, finishing with a small sigh that meant she was beginning to get annoyed with her son. "And I think it would help if James got dressed first."
James, sitting at the table with a mug of hot chocolate in hand and still wearing his pajamas, turned one corner of his lip in a small smirk. He looked down at his current choice of clothing and decided Mrs. Black was right. He wandered up to Sirius's room to change into his robes.
Sirius slid into the chair next James's empty one and let out a heavy sigh.
"It's not that long, dear. I'm sure that you can wait just a little longer for the others to get here." She laughed shortly. "It's not as if you haven't been to Diagon Alley before. You'll get there, don't worry."
Sirius made a pitiful sound.
"Sirius, I suggest you clean up your act before your friends get here." Mrs. Black said sternly, setting a plate of waffles in front of him and one where James would be sitting upon his return.
"Mum, I don't even know Remus." He pointed out, digging into his food.
James wandered back in right then. "Thanks Mrs. Black." He said, sitting in his chair again. He reached over and got his fork before he cut into his waffles. "Fif if good." He said past a mouthful of food.
"You're welcome, James. And yes you do know him Sirius. He came to the Christmas party at the Potters' house."
Sirius looked as though he were trying to remember which one there had been Remus. "Oh - that really shy one? Why's he coming with us anyway?"
"He'll be going to Hogwarts too, and I thought it would be nice for him to meet a few other children his age before he went. He doesn't have any friends, Sirius."
"No wonder - he never says anything."
Sirius's older sister, Mya, chose that exact moment to walk into the kitchen. She snatched an apple, then walked over to the table. She roughed up Sirius's hair before she sat down, grinning and wriggling her brows. Her brown eyes twinkled mischievously, much like her brother's did.
"Sirius out of control again? How shocking." Mya smirked, earning a glare from Sirius. "At least James is acting normal. for once." she commented, casting a sideways glance at the bespectacled eleven year old.
He returned a sarcastic glare at her and stuck his tongue out, revealing a bit of chewed waffle.
"Don't pick on James, Mya."
"Yeah Mya, don't pick on me."
"Don't antagonize her." Mrs. Black said, as she was stirring her tea. "She doesn't need any help." She sat down in the only vacant seat left.
James and Sirius were about to come back with a witty remark (as they always did), but they were interrupted by a frantic knock on the front door. They both craned their necks to look out the entrance to the kitchen at the front door, even though they already knew who was on the other side. Sirius nearly fell off his chair trying to look around his mother, who was making way toward the door.
"Mum, I'm leaving now. Christine and I are going to go get our things for school together." Mya said, grabbing her small bag of money.
"Well thank you for telling me in such a timely manner." Mrs. Black rolled her eyes and opened the door.
A small black-haired blur hugged her quickly, dashed across the threshold, and into the kitchen before anybody said a word. Mrs. Black laughed and peered into the kitchen.
"Good morning Raven."
"Good morning Mrs. Black!" Raven exclaimed. "Hey Sirius, do you guys have any pumpkin juice?"
Meanwhile, over by the door, Mya was saying her farewells. She stood up on her toes and gave her mother a peck on the cheek with a short "Bye mum". She smiled at Raven's mother and nudged past her so she could set off for Christine Kensington's home a few streets over.
"Bye Mrs. Blake!"
"Are James and Sirius as excited as Raven?" Mrs. Blake asked with a tiny grin, arms folded in front of her, purse in her grasp.
"I haven't been able to calm Sirius down since he got his letter of acceptance." Mrs. Black replied with a sigh, motioning her head to Sirius, who was now sprawled on the floor laughing for some reason. "I pity those professors."
"As do I. As do I."
"So James and Raven have been bouncing off the walls then?" Mrs. Black asked, motioning for Mrs. Blake to come in.
"They've been fairly excited, but Raven didn't really start going nutters until last night. Elaine said James was being a lot calmer than she was expecting- but then, I suppose I can see why. He and Raven have been out on their brooms every day practicing their quidditch. Pity they can't play until they're second years. They're getting very good." She stepped into the house.
"Sirius has been practicing a little bit, but I haven't told him he can't be on the team until he's a second year. He'd rip everything to shreds."
"I imagine James and Raven would help him. They don't know either."
"They honestly think we can't hear them, don't they?" Sirius asked, casting a sideways glance at his two friends.
"They're adults. What more do you want?" Raven asked, sitting down with a goblet full of pumpkin juice.
"Don't ask him that- we'll be here for days." James yawned.
"You've done wonders with the place, Lesley." Mrs. Blake said as she stepped into the living room.
"Well, thank you Amelia." Mrs. Black replied, giving a small, joking curtsey. The two old friends went into the living room and sat down in armchairs on either side of the coffee table. Lesley began to serve the tea, and the two sat in a fairly quiet state, sipping their tea. They grinned as they watched Sirius practically run up the stairs to his room, Raven quickly follow behind, and James yawn and walk up after them.
"Come on James! Hurry up!" Sirius reprimanded.
"I'm coming." he yawned, and couldn't help but think he was friends with a lunatic.
To try and entertain themselves at least a little bit (it was recommended by their parents that they do that for fear that they might do something stupid and get hurt- like that time when they'd decided to find out how long they could hang upside down on their broomsticks.) Sirius dove under his bed and pulled out his Gobstones. He laid them out on the floor and set up the game while James and Raven watched.
"I'll go first." he said, picking up a marble, tossing it up, and catching it again. "Who wants to try and steal the champion crown from me?"
"I will." James said, feeling a little spurt of energy flood into his veins at the thought of beating Sirius. He plopped down across the game board from him, sure he could win this time. "Go on then- you go first."
Sirius shot his marble into the hoop, knocking out some of James' with great ease, sending them under his bed. He looked up at his opponent, smiled mischievously, and sat back up and pretended to sniff at the air. He turned to James and sniffed again.
"Is that the smell of victory?" Sirius grinned, then leaned forward and sniffed again. "Nah, it's just you, James. Take a shower."
"Smelling like victory is better than smelling like you." James replied, which left Sirius scowling, and Raven wondering just what that meant.
She looked on with only half-interest. She lay on Sirius's bed, sitting her head in her palms and looking over the edge of the bed at the game between her two friends. She kicked her feet back and forth slowly as she watched, occasionally blowing a troublesome stray hair out of her eyes.
Upon losing, James was doused in a smelly liquid emitted from the Gobstones. He closed his eyes, groaning, before he tugged off his glasses miserably and began to wipe them off on his robes. He put them back on and glared at Sirius.
"You rigged the game."
No longer able to stifle his laughter, Sirius burst out laughing and fell over sideways in stitches. "The look on your face! The look on your face!" he howled, rolling around on the floor.
"You have to admit, that was pretty funny." Raven replied to James's silent question when he turned his gaze to her as if to ask, 'It wasn't that funny, was it?' She began to giggle as well until it finally peaked at laughter and she fell off the bed in stitches.
James, though slightly angry with his friends for laughing at him, found their hysterics contagious. He smiled, which turned into a chuckle, and then a mild laugh before he burst into a full-fledged fit of laughter.
Sirius was turning purple from gasping for air, but somehow found the energy to pounce on James and begin a playful wrestling match.
"You're a git!" James laughed as he tumbled across the floor.
"Oh- that's it Potter!" Sirius laughed and then dove at his friend again.
Raven joined in, laughing and calling names just as rambunctiously as James and Sirius (her theory was that she had to beat up on them while she was still bigger.) She tackled Sirius and laughed when he cried mercy because she'd began to tickle his sides. James helped her, but soon they had to quit because Sirius was about to pass out from laughing so hard. They continued to laugh for quite some time afterward, lying on Sirius's dirty floor side-by-side. The laughing was a mainstay for a long while once they started telling each other jokes they'd heard from their siblings.
But it ceased immediately when the faint noise of knocking on the front door came to their ears. They looked at each other for a split second, and then Sirius was out the door and down the stairs before the fourth knock was even finished. He jerked the door open. "What a git." James said, shaking his head from where he still laid on the floor. "To think. he's one of my best mates."
"James. you smell foul." Raven said, scooting away from him a bit.
He sniffed his shirt. "Oh, you're right. I'd forgotten. maybe it'll help if I changed my robes it'd help. Get out for a minute."
"One minute, no more." She said before she went out into the hall to try and figure out how she'd entertain herself for one whole minute.
When she went back into Sirius's though, James still smelled awful. She held her hand under her nose to block the stench.
"Come on, let's go get you cleaned up. I can't take you seriously when you smell like that. come to think of it, I can't stay in the same room for too long either."
"Hi." Sirius grinned, still chuckling once in a while from his wrestling match beforehand.
"Hi." a pale boy with scruffy brown hair replied quietly, not looking at him at all.
"MUM! THE LUPINS ARE HERE!" Sirius shouted louder than was necessary.
Remus's mother jerked slightly at his shouting, but said nothing of his lung- power and her new hearing problem.
"Alright, dear, show them in!" Mrs. Black replied.
Remus was a boy about as tall as James, with long, shaggy, light brown hair that always hung in his sickeningly pale blue eyes. Raven and James thought he always looked depressed, and Sirius thought he looked a little psychotic.
Remus, however, viewed them as his ideal friends. He'd only had a handful of friends before "The Incident" as his mum and dad called it. But after "The Incident" he hadn't been allowed to play with them anymore. He'd only been four then, and he couldn't remember what a joy it had been to have a friend.
But when he'd first met James, Raven, and Sirius, he had instantly hoped that if he ever did manage to get friends at Hogwarts, it would be them. He doubted they'd be willing though- they were loud, witty, confident, and happy- while he was shy, quiet, dull, and lonely.
But to his surprise, the other boy smiled at him.
"Well come on then- can't have any fun standing here listening to that boring stuff grown-ups talk about!" Sirius said, taking off for the stairs, beckoning Remus to follow him.
For a moment, Sirius was sure that Remus wouldn't come with him. Though he had never said anything to his parents, he was fairly sure that Remus had some disease that made him unbearably shy or something of the like. He himself was an extrovert, and would tell you anything you wanted to know- and something you didn't want to know. He would voice his opinions openly, and people like Remus, who was so quiet and shy, bugged him.
"Alright." Remus said in a tone that was almost a whisper. He looked to his mother, who nodded hesitantly, and he ran up the stairs after Sirius before she could change her mind.
When they entered Sirius's messy room they found nobody, but shouts coming from the bathroom down the hall told the story that the others could be found in there.
"Hold still, James!" Raven exclaimed, trying to wipe James's face clean of the Gobstone stench with a washcloth soaked in Sudsy Sampson's Super Soap. "What, do you want to stink? Hold still! Sirius, hold him still!"
He obliged by holding James's arms behind his back while she scrubbed his face clean. Remus looked on with an amused grin, and he occasionally blew his bangs out of his eyes. James was jerking his head around, which was making it very difficult for Raven to do much of anything.
"Just hold still!" she snapped at James.
"The last time you told me to hold still my hair turned purple!" he replied huffily, jerking his head around and trying to avoid the wet cloth.
"We were three years old! How was I supposed to know that stuff turned hair purple?" she knit her brows and missed his face again. "I'm going to strangle you if you don't-" "Give me that!" James said, ripping himself free of Sirius and grabbing the washcloth out of Raven's hand in one fluid movement. "As if I can't wash my own face."
Feeling rather brave and hoping to lighten the mood, Remus spoke up. "Well you can never be too sure." he said, but James silenced him with sarcastic glare.
He took this as a good sign, and chuckled lightly.
"You're Remus, right?" James asked, looking at the newcomer while he wiped his face off with a dry towel.
"Yeah." He shuffled his feet a bit.
"I thought I'd seen you somewhere before." Raven said, then blew a piece of stray hair out of her eyes. "Christmas party at James' house, right?"
"Yeah." He repeated, wanting to smack himself in the head for not saying anything more interesting.
James was beginning to wonder if "yeah" was the only word Remus knew. Every time he'd ever spoken to him, he'd only said "yeah" and nothing more. He lifted a brow, and Raven whacked him in the shoulder.
"Huh? Wha-?" he asked, snapping out of his thoughts to see Raven leaning around the doorway. Remus and Sirius were gone.
"Are you coming with us or what?"
"Wha- oh, yeah."
They hurried to catch up with the other two, watching Sirius slide down the banister with ease born of practice. James hopped the banister, immediately wishing he hadn't done so from the very top of the stairs. Raven and Remus took the normal way down- very quickly.
They whipped around the corner and nearly stumbled when Sirius stopped abruptly. He smiled a large, cheesy smile that was as transparent as a highly polished window. His mother knew he was up to something, he could tell.
"Can we go to Diagon Alley now?" he asked hopefully, still smiling, his hands behind his back and half-twirling on the spot as if he were an innocent little child.
"Let me get my cloak." Mrs. Black said, slurping up the rest of her tea and getting up. Sirius threw his arms around her before dashing off to get his own cloak, James and Raven following behind to get theirs.
Remus was intelligently still wearing his. He snorted as he heard the argument going on upstairs drift down to his ears.
"Hey! That's *my* cloak!"
"No it's not!"
"Then why does it say 'Raven' on the inside of the sleeve, huh?"
"Whatever! Just take it!"
"Perhaps they should stop making unisex robes." Mrs. Blake observed, her arms crossed. The kids were back before she had even thought up her next sentence, which would have been something like, "But then I don't see how they could make them different" or something along those lines.
Amelia Blake smiled weakly and pulled her daughter aside. "I have to go now, Raven." She said, pulling her cloak on.
Raven's gray eyes were twinkling with smiles. "Of course you do- we're all going mum." She said in a "that's a bit obvious" voice.
"No, no. You misunderstood- I have to go pick up a muggle girl to take her to Diagon Alley so she can get her school supplies." Amelia muttered, straightening Raven's robes.
"But- mum- you promised-"
"I know I did. but this poor girl won't get her school things unless I take her. Mrs. Lupin and Mrs. Black will take you to Diagon Alley with your friends. I'm going to take a young girl named Lily Evans around so she can get her school supplies."
"There goes that whole 'promises aren't made to be broken' speech, eh?" she muttered, and went over to wait with the others.
"I will not be talked to that way, young lady." Amelia said, small flames burning in her eyes.
Remus, Sirius, and James looked from Amelia to Raven.
"Sorry mum." Raven replied quietly. She thought for a moment, her arms crossed in front of her. A sudden smile lit up her features. "Can we meet in the alley then?"
The others looked at Amelia.
"I'm afraid not. You'll get there long before little Lily and you'll be at other shops than us. But it is still a possibility, I suppose."
She sighed. The others looked to Raven quickly, and realizing there would be no response there, they looked back to Amelia.
Amelia was about to speak again, when the clock struck eleven. Her words died in her mouth, and she walked over to a place away from the windows. She held up her wand and prepared to apparate.
"Have a good time." She said, then disappeared into thin air with a pop.
A few moments later, while everyone was making sure they had everything, the front door boasted a knock. It was opened to reveal none other than Elaine Potter, James's mother. She stepped in lightly and smiled.
"Hello. I'm here to meet with Amelia." She said, her voice soft and pleasant. "So I can go with her to pick up-"
"She's already left." Lesley said, straightening her cloak and digging in its pockets for a piece of butterscotch candy.
"Oh. well. I hope you all have a wonderful time. I'm off to pick up the muggle boy I'm taking around today. I'll see you later, James."
James, who hadn't even realized she was there, walked over to her. "Leaving so soon, mum?"
Elaine made a move for the door, lingered for a moment, and hugged him. She promised to watch him get his wand, stepped out the door, and waved goodbye to him. James smiled and turned back to the others. Raven felt a tinge of jealously toward him for the first time in her life.
"Well then, here we go! Remus, you have a few tissues in your pocket, right?" Mrs. Lupin asked.
"Yes mum." He said, a little embarrassed. He sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve without even realizing he'd done it.
"Then use them." She said quietly.
Mrs. Black dug out her floo powder, tossing some in the fireplace. The flames turned colors and crackled loudly. She took Sirius and James tightly in her arms, stepped into the fire, and shouted out in a loud, clear voice, "THE LEAKY CAULDRON!"
Mrs. Lupin took a fistful of floo powder and threw it into the fire. She took Remus and Raven into her arms as tightly as she could, and stepped into the fire. Stifling a laugh at first, she promptly shouted out, nearly deafening Remus and Raven, "THE LEAKY CAULDRON!"
They tumbled out of the fireplace of The Leaky Cauldron no more than a few seconds later, and were met by the scene of Mrs. Black sweeping soot off of Sirius's robes. Sirius was coughing, and Remus was trying to clean himself up. Instead, he had succeeded in thoroughly smearing soot all over his face rather than cleaning if off, despite his intentions.
Mrs. Lupin chuckled and began wiping Remus's cheek with a tissue. Remus tried to pull away as his mother did this, and wrinkled his nose when Mrs. Lupin threatened to lick the tissue for "heavy maintenance." Remus blew his bangs out of his eyes irritably and Mrs. Lupin shook her head. He needed another haircut.
Raven and James began dusting each other off, as they usually did after traveling by floo powder with each other. She sneezed and he gave her a disgusted look. She furrowed her brows.
"What? Do I have something in my teeth?"
James shook his head. "No... nevermind."
"Well, come on. Let's go get your things!" Mrs. Black said. She turned to a customer who was sipping from a tankard at the table nearest them, rather happy with herself. "It's their first time to Hogwarts."
The customer nodded with a smile. "I wish ye luck, lads and lass." He said in a thick Irish accent. Sirius blinked at him, and Mrs. Black swept him out the door with the others to the brick wall in the back of The Leaky Cauldron.
"Right then." Mrs. Lupin began counting bricks on the wall, and after a moment's contemplation, tapped one.
The bricks immediately began moving and shifting. They twirled this way and that, slowly forming an opening in the wall to let them into the world- famous wizard alley.
Chapter 2: Diagon Alley
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