CHAPTER FOUR - THE LEAKY CAULDRON
The next morning, as everyone gathered back in James’
room, Remus picked up the book again only to have it
snatched away within seconds.
“I’m reading today!” announced Lily happily as she
took her seat beside James.
Remus shrugged as he sat down as well. Lily opened the
book to the fourth chapter and was about to start when
James’ mum came into his room.
“James, Honey, I just wanted you to know that Tilly,
Morwen, and Kaya should be here by lunchtime.”
“Thanks Mum,” James answered as he smiled innocently
at her, which didn’t fool her a bit.
“What have you all been doing up here anyway?”
The Marauders all looked at each other and answered as
one, “Nothing.” That only worried her more.
Lily, being the innocent-looking one of the group,
stepped forward and said, “We honestly aren’t doing
anything, Mrs. Potter.”
With one last suspicious glance at them, she nodded
and said, “All right. If you say so.” And with that,
Lily opened the book back up and said, “Chapter
Three – The Leaky Cauldron.”
It took Harry several days to get used to his strange
new freedom. Never before had he been able to get up
whenever he wanted or eat whatever he fancied.
Lily – I still can’t do that at home.
He could even go wherever he pleased, as long as it
was in Diagon Alley, and as this long cobbled street
was packed with the most fascinating wizarding shops
in the world, Harry felt no desire to break his word
to Fudge and stray back into the Muggle world.
Marauders – Why would he?
Harry ate breakfast each morning in the Leaky
Cauldron, where he liked watching the other guests:
funny little witches from the country, up for a day's
shopping; venerable-looking wizards arguing over the
latest article in Transfiguration Today; wild-looking
Sirius – Warlocks? I thought we were called
Lily – You can use either or.
Sirius – Oh….
raucous dwarfs; and once, what looked suspiciously
like a hag,
Remus – It probably was.
who ordered a plate of raw liver
All – Ewww.
from behind a thick woolen balaclava.
Sirius – Doesn’t Hagrid have one of those?
Others – Yeah…
Sirius – So, what is it?
Others - ::shrug::
After breakfast Harry would go out into the backyard,
take out his wand, tap the third brick from the left
above the trash bit, and stand back as the archway
into Diagon Alley opened in the wall.
Lily – The first time I went to Diagon Alley, I
couldn’t figure out what brick to tap. It was rather
annoying. We eventually had to go get the bartender to
let us in.
Harry spent the long sunny days exploring the shops
and eating under the brightly colored umbrellas
outside cafes, where his fellow diners were showing
one another their purchases ("it’s a lunarscape, old
boy -- no more messing around with moon charts, see?")
or else discussing the case of Sirius Black
James – The “infamous” Sirius Black, get it
("personally, I won't let any of the children out
alone until he's back in Azkaban").
Sirius – Neither will I!
Others – ::stare::
Sirius – Oh… wait…
Harry didn't have to do his homework under the
blankets by flashlight anymore; now he could sit in
the bright sunshine outside Florean Fortescue's Ice
Cream Parlor, finishing all his essays with occasional
help from Florean Fortescue himself, who, apart from
knowing a great deal about medieval witch burnings,
gave Harry free sundaes every half an hour.
Sirius – Ooh! Next time we stay at the Leaky
Cauldron, let’s try to get free sundaes!
Marauders – Yeah!
Lily – I think he only gave free ice creams to Harry
because he’s *Harry*.
James – And I'm *James*.
Sirius - And I'm *Sirius*.
Remus - And I'm *Remus*.
Peter - And I'm *Peter*.
Lily - And you're *idiots*.
Once Harry had refilled his moneybag with gold
Galleons, silver Sickles, and bronze Knuts
Sirius – Unlike Remus who only likes to get the
galleons and Knuts.
Remus – Hey! I have my reasons.
from his vault at Gringotts, he had to exercise a lot
of self-control not to spend the whole lot at once.
He had to keep reminding himself that he had five
years to go at Hogwarts, and how it would feel to ask
the Dursleys for money for spell books,
Lily – They’d say no in a heartbeat! No doubt!
Sirius – I *hate* the Dursleys.
to stop himself from buying a handsome set of solid
gold Gobstones (a wizarding game rather like marbles,
in which the stones squirt a nasty-smelling liquid
into the other player's face when they lose a point).
Sirius – I *hate* that game.
James – That’s because you always lose at it.
He was sorely tempted, too, by the perfect, moving
model of the galaxy in a large glass ball, which would
have meant he never had to take another Astronomy
lesson. but the thing that tested Harry's resolution
most appeared in his favorite shop, Quality Quidditch
Supplies, a week after he'd arrived at the Leaky
Marauders – New broom!
Curious to know what the crowd in the shop was staring
at, Harry edged his way inside and squeezed in among
the excited witches and wizards until he glimpsed a
newly erected podium, on which was mounted the most
magnificent broom he had ever seen in his life.
Marauders – Ooh….
"Just come out -- prototype --" a square-jawed wizard
was telling his companion.
"It's the fastest broom in the world, isn't it,
Marauders – Aw….
squeaked a boy younger than Harry, who was swinging
off his father's arm.
"Irish International Side's Just put in an order
for seven of these beauties!" the proprietor of the
shop told the crowd. "And they're favorites for the
Marauders – Whoa….
A large witch in front of Harry moved, and he was able
to read the sign next to the broom:
THIS STATE-OF-THE-ART RACING BROOM SPORTS A
STREAM-LINED, SUPERFINE HANDLE OF ASH, TREATED WITH A
DIAMOND-HARD POLISH AND HAND- NUMbERED WITH ITS OWN
REGISTRATION NUMbER. EACH INDIVIDUALLY SELECTED BIRCH
TWIG IN THE BROOMTAIL HAS BEEN HONED TO AERODYNAMIC
PERFECTION, GIVING THE FIREBOLT UNSURPASSAbLE BALANCE
AND PINPOINT PRECISION.
THE FIREBOLT HAS AN ACCELERATION OF 150 MILES AN
HOUR IN TEN SECONDS AND INCORPORATES AN UNbREAKAbLE
BRAKING CHARM. PRICE ON REQUEST.
Marauders – I WANT ONE!
Lily – Peter, you can’t fly. Remus, you’re not on the
Quidditch Team. Sirius, you’re afraid of heights. And
James, you already have a perfectly decent broom
Marauders – So! It would still be cool to have one!
Price on request... Harry didn't like to think how
much gold the Firebolt would cost. He had never wanted
anything as much in his whole life –
Marauders – Buy it. Buy it. Buy it-
but he had never lost a Quidditch match on his Nimbus
Two Thousand, and what was the point in emptying his
Gringotts vault for the Firebolt, when he had a very
good broom already?
Marauders - ::groan::
Harry didn't ask for the price, but he returned,
almost every day after that, just to look at the
Marauders – I would!
There were, however, things that Harry needed to buy.
He went to the Apothecary to replenish his store of
Remus – I dislike Potions very much.
All – We know.
and as his school robes were now several inches too
short in the arm and leg,
Peter – That happens to Sirius every summer.
Sirius – I can’t help it that I grow and none of you
James – Oh, we grow, we just don’t grow three inches
Sirius – ::glare::
he visited Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions and
bought new ones. Most important of all, he had to buy
his new schoolbooks, which would include those for his
two new subjects, Care of Magical Creatures and
Lily - ::groan:: He fell for the trap of
Remus – Divination itself is not that bad. The teacher
Lily – Either way, the Divination I’ve been taught has
Remus – If only you could meet a real Seer…
Lily – Well, I haven’t ever met anybody who has
actually been able to make one true prediction, so I’m
sorry if I’m a bit skeptical.
Harry got a surprise as he looked in at the bookshop
window. Instead of the usual display of gold- embossed
spell books the size of paving slabs; there was a
large iron cage behind the glass that held about a
hundred copies of The Monster Book of Monsters.
All – Oh. *That’s* what Hagrid meant.
Torn pages were flying everywhere as the books
grappled with each other, locked together in furious
wrestling matches and snapping aggressively.
Harry pulled his booklist out of his pocket and
consulted it for the first time. The Monster Book
of Monsters was listed as the required book for
Care of Magical Creatures.
Sirius – I bet the Professor and Hagrid get along
Others - ::nod::
Now Harry understood why Hagrid had said it would come
in useful. He felt relieved; he had been wondering
whether Hagrid wanted help with some terrifying new
Lily – Remember the time that he wanted us to help
to help with the Lethifold?
Others - ::shudder:: How could we forget?
As Harry entered Flourish and blotts, the manager came
hurrying toward him.
"Hogwarts?" he said abruptly. "Come to get your
"Yes," said Harry, "I need --"
"Get out of the way," said the manager
impatiently, brushing Harry aside. He drew on a pair
of very thick gloves, picked up a large, knobbly
walking stick, and proceeded toward the door of the
Monster books' cage.
Peter – But he’s already got one.
Remus – Do you think the manager knows that?
Peter – Er- guess not.
"Hang on," said Harry quickly, "I've already got one
"Have you?" A look of enormous relief spread over
the manager's face. "Thank heavens for that. I've been
bitten five times already this morning --"
All – Ouch!
A loud ripping noise rent the air; two of the Monster
books had seized a third and were pulling it apart.
"Stop it! Stop it!" cried the manager, poking the
walking stick through the bars and knocking the books
apart. "I'm never stocking them again, never! It's
been bedlam! I thought we'd seen the worst when we
bought two hundred copies of the Invisible book of
Sirius – Cool! I want one!
Lily – But you wouldn’t be able to read it *or* find
Sirius – So?
Lily - ::sigh::
-cost a fortune, and we never found them.... Well...
is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Yes," said Harry, looking down his booklist, "I
need Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky."
"Ah, starting Divination, are you?" said the
manager, stripping off his gloves and leading Harry
into the back of the shop, where there was a corner
devoted to fortune-telling. A small table was stacked
with volumes such as Predicting the Unpredictable:
Insulate Yourself Against Shocks
Remus – Hey! That was our book last year! And they
still have it in stock!
Lily – That’s probably because no one has bought them.
Remus – Divination is not *that* bad. You just have to
meet the right Diviner.
Lily – Have *you* ever met a true Diviner?
Remus – No, most of them are like “It’s the Grim! The
Grim!” Load of rubbish coming from them, but I have
heard of loads of prophecies that have been made, so
there must be real Diviners out there somewhere,
Lily – I suppose… but I’m still not saying that I like
and Broken Balls: When Fortunes Turn Foul.
"Here you are,,' said the manager, who had climbed
a set of steps to take down a thick, black- bound
book. "Unfogging the Future. Very good guide to
all your basic fortune-telling methods - palmistry,
crystal balls, bird entrails.”
But Harry wasn't listening. His eyes had fallen on
another book, which was among a display on a small
table: Death Omens - What to Do When You Know the
Worst Is Coming.
Remus – The Grim! The Grim!
Lily - ::giggle::
"Oh, I wouldn't read that if I were you," said the
manager lightly, looking to see what Harry was staring
at. "You'll start seeing death omens everywhere. It's
enough to frighten anyone to death. "
But Harry continued to stare at the front cover of
the book; it showed a black dog large as a bear, with
gleaming eyes. It looked oddly familiar...
Remus – It’s the Grim, I tell you! The Grim!
James – Shut *up*, Remus!
The manager pressed Unfogging the Future into Harry's
"Anything else?" he said.
"Yes," said Harry, tearing his eyes away from the
Remus – The Gri-
James - ::covers Remus’ mouth before he could
and dazedly consulting his booklist. "Er -- I need
Intermediate Transfiguration and The
Standard Book of Spells, Grade Three."
Harry emerged from Flourish and blotts ten minutes
later with his new books under his arms and made his
way back to the Leaky Cauldron, hardly noticing where
he was going and bumping into several people.
He tramped up the stairs to his room, went inside,
and tipped his books onto his bed. Somebody had been
in to tidy;
Sirius – House-elves are so helpful, aren’t they?
Lily – And really polite and sweet.
the windows were open and sun was pouring inside.
Harry could hear the buses rolling by in the unseen
Muggle Street behind him and the sound of the
invisible crowd below in Diagon Alley. He caught sight
of himself in the mirror over the basin.
"It can't have been a death omen,"
Remus - ::from behind James’ hand:: Hmph mph rmph!
(Translation: It’s the Grim!)
he told his reflection defiantly. "I was panicking
when I saw that thing in Magnolia Crescent.... It was
probably just a stray dog...."
Remus - ::and yet again from James’ hand:: HMPH MPH
James – SHUT UP!
He raised his hand automatically and tried to make his
hair lie flat
"You're fighting a losing battle there, dear,"
said his mirror in a wheezy voice.
James – The mirror always says that to me.
Peter – Because it’s true.
As the days slipped by, Harry started looking wherever
he went for a sign of Ron or Hermione. Plenty of
Hogwarts students were arriving in Diagon Alley now,
with the start of term so near. Harry met Seamus
Finnigan and Dean Thomas, his fellow Gryffindors, in
Quality Quidditch Supplies, where they too were ogling
the Firebolt; he also ran into the real Neville
Peter – So, there really *is* a Neville Longbottom?
Lily – That’s what it says.
a round-faced, forgetful boy, outside Flourish and
blotts. Harry didn't stop to chat; Neville appeared to
have mislaid his booklist and was being told off by
his very formidable-looking grandmother.
Peter – Sounds like my Grandmother.
Harry hoped she never found out that he'd pretended to
be Neville while on the run from the Ministry of
Sirius – Definitely sounds like your
Harry woke on the last day of the holidays, thinking
that he would at least meet Ron and Hermione tomorrow,
on the Hogwarts Express. He got up, dressed, went for
a last look at the Firebolt, and was just wondering
where he'd have lunch when someone yelled his name and
Sirius – Harry! Your hair is on fire! Hurry! Quick!
Put it out!
They were there, both of them, sitting outside Florean
Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor -- Ron looking incredibly
freckly, Hermione very brown, both waving frantically
"Finally!" said Ron, grinning at Harry as he sat
down. "We went to the Leaky Cauldron, but they said
you'd left, and we went to Flourish and blotts, and
Madam Malkin's, and --"
* * *
“James!” Mrs. Potter’s voice rang out through the
“The girls are here! They’re coming up right now!”
The occupants of the room shared a look and then
turned back toward the door to wait for their new
guests to join them. They didn’t have to wait long, as
the door swung open and in stepped three girls. Lily
jumped up and greeted them with a hug.
To get the stuffy old descriptions out of the way,
Morwen was the shortest out of the four of them. She
had the shortest hair (curly black) that went to her
chin and her cheeks were covered in light freckles
with black eyes. Peter fancied her and she found him
quite adorable as well. Kaya was the tallest with the
longest hair that reached her thighs and it was a very
dark brown color. Her parents were originally from
Greenland and she fancied Sirius who had shown no real
interest as of yet back. The last girl was Tilly who
was shorter than Lily but taller than Morwen, but she
had the brightest colored hair. It reached the middle
of her back and was bright strawberry blond with
freckles covering her pale skin from her head to her
toes. She fancied Remus for years, but Remus hadn’t
really let on whether or not he liked her back.
“So, what have you guys been doing?” Tilly asked as
she sat down beside Remus. James had finally removed
his hand from his mouth.
“We’ve been reading this book that looks like it’s
from the future.” James explained as Lily sat back
down beside him.
“You’ve been reading this whole time?” Kaya asked as
she sat down beside Sirius.
“Yeah, and it’s really interesting!” Lily said and
began to explain the book. “It’s about this boy named
Harry Potter. And he is apparently James’ and my son
who is in his third year at Hogwarts. Voldemort killed
James and me but Harry survived so now he has to live
with my sister and her husband and son who treat him
like crap. Well, this year a convict has escaped from
Azkaban and this convict is none other than our very
own Sirius Black. Well, right now, Harry is at the
Leaky Cauldron with his friends and they just met up
with one another.”
“Wow,” the newcomers said as one.
“Well,” Morwen said, excited, “are we going to
continue or what?”
“Okay, I’m reading!” Lily said as she continued on
with the story.
* * *
"I got all my school stuff last week," Harry
explained. "And how come you knew I'm staying at the
"Dad," said Ron simply.
Sirius – How would his dad know?
Lily – Let me read and you may find out.
Mr. Weasley, who worked at the Ministry of Magic,
would of course have heard the whole story of what had
happened to Aunt Marge.
"Did you really blow up your aunt, Harry?" said
Hermione in a very serious voice.
Morwen – He blew up his aunt?
Remus – Yeah, when his aunt was saying all these bad
things about Lily and James he got really mad and did
wandless magic. That’s why he ran away and ended up at
the Leaky Cauldron.
Morwen – Oh.
"I didn't mean to," said Harry, while Ron roared with
laughter. "I just -- lost control."
"It's not funny, Ron," said Hermione sharply.
"Honestly, I'm amazed Harry wasn't expelled."
Tilly – Yeah, why wasn’t he expelled for that?
Sirius – Probably because of who he is. He’s the only
person ever to survive the Killing Curse *and* he
supposedly made Voldemort disappear.
"So am I," admitted Harry. "Forget expelled, I thought
I was going to be arrested." He looked at Ron. "Your
dad doesn't know why Fudge let me off, does he?"
"Probably 'cause it's you, isn't it?"
Sirius – See?
shrugged Ron, still chuckling. "Famous Harry Potter
and all that. I'd hate to see what the Ministry'd do
to me if I blew up an aunt. Mind you, they'd have to
dig me up first, because Mum would've killed me.
Sirius – Sounds like my mum.
Kaya – It never ceases to astound me how you, a boy
with such strict parents, ended up being the prankster
that you are.
Sirius – It helps when you have a little brother that
gets on your nerves twenty-four hours of the day.
Anyway, you can ask Dad yourself this evening. We're
staying at the Leaky Cauldron tonight too! So you can
come to King's Cross with us tomorrow! Hermione's
there as well!"
Hermione nodded, beaming. "Mum and Dad dropped me
off this morning with all my Hogwarts things."
"Excellent!" said Harry happily. "So, have you got
all your new books and stuff?"
Sirius – Of course they have. What, you think
they’ve spent their whole stay *only* looking for
"Look at this," said Ron, pulling a long thin box out
of a bag and opening it. "brand-new wand. Fourteen
inches, willow, containing one unicorn tail-hair.
Tilly – Whoa. Freaky. That is almost exactly what
my wand is.
Remus – What’s your wand?
Tilly – The same combination as that except with a
different unicorn hair.
Remus – Wow, talk about coincidence.
And we've got all our books --" He pointed at a large
bag under his chair. "What about those Monster Books,
eh? The assistant nearly cried when we said we wanted
Kaya – Monster Books?
Sirius – The Book of Monsters that act like a monster.
Kaya – Ah, I see.
"What's all that, Hermione?" Harry asked, pointing at
not one but three bulging bags in the chair next to
"Well, I'm taking more new subjects than you,
aren't I?" said Hermione. "Those are my books for
Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, the
Study of Ancient Runes, Muggle Studies --"
Marauders – But she’s Muggle-born! What she need
"What are you doing Muggle Studies for?" said Ron,
rolling his eyes at Harry. "You're Muggle-born! Your
mum and dad are Muggles! You already know all about
Marauders – See?
"But it'll be fascinating to study them from the
wizarding point of view," said Hermione earnestly.
Marauders - ::snort:: Yeah right!
Here is the second part of chapter four:
CHAPTER FOUR: THE LEAKY CAULDRON
"Are you planning to eat or sleep at all this year,
Hermione?" asked Harry, while Ron sniggered. Hermione
"I've still got ten Galleons," she said, checking
her purse. "It's my birthday in September, and Mum and
Dad gave me some money to get myself an early birthday
Sirius – How much you want to bet it’s a book?
Remus – I bet you ten galleons!
Sirius – Deal! ::shake hands::
"How about a nice book? said Ron innocently.
"No, I don't think so,"
Remus – Hah! Pay up, Padfoot.
Sirius - ::grumble::
said Hermione composedly. "I really want an owl. I
mean, Harry's got Hedwig and you've got Errol --"
"I haven't," said Ron. "Errol's a family owl. All
I've got is Scabbers." He pulled his pet rat out of
his pocket. "And I want to get him checked over," he
added, placing Scabbers on the table in front of them.
"I don't think Egypt agreed with him."
Scabbers was looking thinner than usual, and there
was a definite droop to his whiskers.
Peter – Poor rat.
"There's a magical creature shop just over there,"
said Harry, who knew Diagon Alley very well by now.
"You could see if they've got anything for Scabbers,
and Hermione can get her owl." So they paid for their
ice cream and crossed the street to the Magical
Tilly – I prefer Eye-Lopes Owl Emporium myself.
Morwen – That’s where I got my owl.
There wasn't much room inside. Every inch of wall was
hidden by cages. It was smelly and very noisy because
the occupants of these cages were all squeaking,
squawking, jabbering, or hissing. The witch behind the
counter was already advising a wizard on the care of
double-ended newts, so Harry, Ron, and Hermione
waited, examining the cages.
A pair of enormous purple toads sat gulping wetly
and feasting on dead blowflies.
Lily – I don’t like toads.
Tilly – I think they’re cool.
Lily - ::glare:: Yeah, that’s why you put one in my
bed in first year.
Tilly – I said I was sorry!
A gigantic tortoise with a jewel-encrusted shell was
glittering near the window. Poisonous orange snails
were oozing slowly up the side of their glass tank,
and a fat white rabbit kept changing into a silk top
hat and back again with a loud popping noise. Then
there were cats of every color,
Lily – Cats are better.
Tilly – I don’t know, I think that if we could bring
dogs to Hogwarts, I would bring one of them instead.
Remus/Sirius – Really?
Tilly – Uh huh. Dogs are loyal and smart. Cats are
Lily – Yes, cats are cocky, but they’re still
a noisy cage of ravens, a basket of funny
custard-colored fur balls that were humming loudly,
and on the counter, a vast cage of sleek black rats
that were playing some sort of skipping game using
their long, bald tails.
The double-ended newt wizard left, and Ron
approached the counter.
"It's my rat,"
Sirius - ::cough:: Wormtail. ::cough::
Peter - ::glare::
he told the witch. "He been a bit off-color ever since
I brought him back from Egypt."
"Bang him on the counter,"
Peter – Don’t *bang* him!
said the witch, pulling a pair of heavy black
spectacles out of her pocket.
Ron lifted Scabbers out of his inside pocket and
placed him next to the cage of his fellow rats, who
stopped their skipping tricks and scuffled to the wire
for a better took.
Like nearly everything Ron owned, Scabbers the rat
was secondhand (he had once belonged to Ron's brother
Percy) and a bit battered. Next to the glossy rats in
the cage, he looked especially woebegone.
Peter – Poor rat.
Lily – Stop saying that!
"Hm," said the witch, picking up Scabbers. "How old is
"Dunno," said Ron. "Quite old. He used to belong
to my brother."
"What powers does he have?" said the witch,
examining Scabbers closely.
"Er --" The truth was that Scabbers had never
shown the faintest trace of interesting powers.
Sirius – Sounds a bit like Peter, doesn’t it?
James – Yeah it does.
Remus – Interesting.
Peter – Hey!
The witch’s eyes moved from Scabbers' tattered left
ear to his front paw, which had a toe missing and
"He's been through the mill, this one," she said.
"He was like that when Percy gave him to me," said
Kaya – That’s what they all say.
"An ordinary common or garden rat like this can't be
expected to live longer than three years or so,"
Lily – That doesn’t fit out. If this Ron kid has
had the rat ever since he has been at Hogwarts and
he’s a third year then this should be the year that he
dies. But he said that his brother had the rat
*before* him so that means that he hasn’t only been
living for three years, that means he’s been living
for more. So, that ain’t a common or garden rat there.
James – Thanks for that insight.
Lily – No problem.
said the witch. "Now, if you were looking for
something a bit more hard-wearing, you might like one
She indicated the black rats, which promptly
started skipping again. Ron muttered, "Show-offs."
"Well, if you don’t want a replacement, you can
try this rat tonic," said the witch, reaching under
the counter and bringing out a small red bottle.
"Okay," said Ron. "How much -- OUCH!"
Sirius – IT’S A BITING BOTTLE!
Remus – Er- I doubt it, Sirius.
Sirius – But it hurt him!
Remus – I don’t think that it was the bottle that hurt
Sirius - ::pout::
Ron buckled as something huge and orange came soaring
from the top of the highest cage, landed on his head,
and then propelled itself, spitting madly, at
"NO, CROOKSHANKS, NO!" cried the witch, but
Scabbers, shot from between her hands like a bar of
soap, landed splay-legged on the floor, and then
scampered for the door.
Peter – Run, Scabbers, run!
"Scabbers!" Ron shouted, racing out of the shop after
him; Harry followed.
It took them nearly ten minutes to catch Scabbers,
who had taken refuge under a wastepaper bin outside
Quality Quidditch Supplies. Ron stuffed the trembling
rat back into his pocket and straightened up,
massaging his head.
"What was that?"
"It was either a very big cat or quite a small
tiger," said Harry.
Sirius/Remus/Peter – Stupid cat.
Morwen – You don’t like cats, do you?
Sirius/Remus/Peter – Nope.
"Probably getting her owl."
They made their way back up the crowded street to
the Magical Menagerie. As they reached it, Hermione
came out, but she wasn't carrying an owl.
All excluding Lily – Oh no.
Her arms were clamped tightly around the enormous
All excluding Lily – She *bought* it?
"You bought that monster?" said Ron, his mouth hanging
"He's gorgeous, isn't he?" said Hermione, glowing.
Marauders – NO!
That was a matter of opinion, thought Harry. The cat's
ginger fur was thick and fluffy, but it was definitely
a bit bowlegged and its face looked grumpy and oddly
squashed, as though it had run headlong into a brick
wall. Now that Scabbers was out of sight, however, the
cat was purring contentedly in Hermione's arms.
Lily – It sounds adorable!
Kaya - ::raising one eyebrow:: Are we reading the same
"Hermione, that thing nearly scalped me!" said Ron.
"He didn't mean to, did you, Crookshanks?" said
"And what about Scabbers?" said Ron, pointing at
the lump in his chest pocket. "He needs rest and
relaxation! How's he going to get it with that thing
Remus – He isn’t going to get any.
"That reminds me, you forgot your rat tonic," said
Hermione, slapping the small red bottle into Ron's
hand. "And stop worrying, Crookshanks will be sleeping
in my dormitory and Scabbers in yours, what's the
problem? Poor Crookshanks, that witch said he'd been
in there for ages; no one wanted him."
Lily – Poor kitty!
Sirius - ::roll eyes::
"Wonder why," said Ron sarcastically as they set off
toward the Leaky Cauldron.
They found Mr. Weasley sitting in the bar, reading
the Daily prophet. "Harry!" he said, smiling as he
looked up. "How are you?"
Sirius – Just fine, thanks!
James – Er—he wasn’t asking you.
Sirius - ::disappointed:: Oh.
"Fine, thanks," said Harry as he, Ron, and Hermione
joined Mr. Weasley with their shopping.
Mr. Weasley put down his paper, and Harry saw the
now familiar picture of Sirius Black staring up at
"They still haven't caught him, then?" he asked.
Kaya – I say he’s innocent.
Marauders – We do too.
Tilly – I think there’s more to it than him just being
innocent… Where’s Remus by the way?
Marauders/Lily - ::shrug::
Remus – Neither Peter or I have been mentioned yet.
Morwen – Well, I have a feeling that we won’t know the
whole story till the very end.
Lily – If you let me read you’ll be able to see, won’t
"No," said Mr. Weasley, looking extremely grave.
"They've pulled us all off our regular jobs at the
Ministry to try and find him, but no luck so far."
"Would we get a reward if we caught him?" asked
Ron. "It'd be good to get some more money --”
"Don't be ridiculous, Ron," said Mr. Weasley, who
on closer inspection looked very strained. "Black's
not going to be caught by a thirteen-year-old wizard.
It's the Azkaban guards who'll get him back, you mark
Sirius - ::shudders:: I sure hope not.
At that moment Mrs. Weasley entered the bar, laden
with shopping bags and followed by the twins, Fred and
George, who were about to start their fifth year at
Hogwarts; the newly elected Head Boy, Percy; and the
Weasleys' youngest child and only girl, Ginny.
Girls - ::wince::
Morwen – That’s got to suck.
Tilly – Trust me, it does.
Ginny, who had always been very taken with Harry,
seemed even more heartily embarrassed than usual when
she saw him, perhaps because he had saved her life
during their previous year at Hogwarts. She went very
red and muttered "hello" without looking at him.
Tilly – That’s so sweet!
Kaya – And it would be another messy black haired
Potter with another red headed girl!
Tilly/Kaya – So cute!
Others - ::blink::
Percy, however, held out his hand solemnly as though
he and Harry had never met and said, "Harry, how nice
to see you.”
"Hello, Percy," said Harry, trying not to laugh.
Sirius – James! ::takes his hand:: How are you, ol’
James - ::shaking hands:: Just fine.
Sirius – Remus! ::takes his hand:: How nice to see
Remus – ::shaking hands:: Nice to see you as well.
Sirius – Peter! ::takes his hand:: It’s been too long!
Peter - ::shaking hands:: Yes it has!
Sirius – Tilly!-
Lily – Could I read?
Sirius – Heh, sorry, Lily. Got a bit carried away.
"I hope you're well?" said Percy pompously, shaking
hands. It was rather like being introduced to the
"Very well, thanks --"
"Harry!" said Fred, elbowing Percy out of the way
and bowing deeply. "Simply splendid to see you, old
"Marvelous," said George, pushing Fred aside and
seizing Harry's hand in turn. "Absolutely spiffing."
"That's enough, now," said Mrs. Weasley.
"Mum!" said Fred as though he'd only just spotted
her and seizing her hand too. "How really corking to
see you --"
Marauders - ::laugh::
Girls – Oh no! A new generation of Marauders! God help
Marauders – We aren’t *that* bad!
Girls – Sure you aren’t.
"I said, that's enough," said Mrs. Weasley, depositing
her shopping in an empty chair. "Hello, Harry, dear. I
suppose you've heard our exciting news?" She pointed
to the brand-new silver badge on Percy's chest.
"Second Head Boy in the family!" she said, swelling
Morwen – Wait… ::counts on fingers:: They’ve
already mentioned seven of the Weasleys… There’s more?
Remus – Nine in total.
Morwen - ::gap:: I’m not even going to comment.
"And last," Fred muttered under his breath.
"I don't doubt that," said Mrs. Weasley, frowning
suddenly. "I notice they haven't made you two
"What do we want to be prefects for?" said George,
looking revolted at the very idea. "It'd take all the
fun out of life." Ginny giggled.
Tilly – Thank goodness!
James – What?
Tilly – Ginny didn’t turn out to be a perfect Head
Girl! She’s got a sense of humor!
James – Lily’s Head Girl.
Tilly – So are you. Does that mean you don’t have a
sense of humor?
James – Of course I have a sense of humor!
Tilly – All right then.
James – But you just said…
Morwen – Just nod your head and agree with her. Tilly
never does make much sense.
James – Okay… ::nods uncertainly::
"You want to set a better example for your sister!"
snapped Mrs. Weasley.
"Ginny's got other brothers to set her an example,
Mother," said Percy loftily. "I'm going up to change
Sirius – Why would he need to change?
All - ::shrug::
He disappeared and George heaved a sigh. "We tried to
shut him in a pyramid," he told Harry. "But Mum
Remus – So close, yet so far!
Others - ::snicker::
Dinner that night was a very enjoyable affair. Tom the
innkeeper put three tables together in the parlor, and
the seven Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione ate their way
through five delicious courses.
Sirius – Five!?
James – Five.
Remus – Not even Peter eats that much.
"How're we getting to King's Cross tomorrow, Dad?"
asked Fred as they dug into a sumptuous chocolate
"The Ministry's providing a couple of cars," said
Everyone looked up at him.
All – ::look::
"Why?" said Percy curiously.
"It's because of you, Perce," said George
seriously. "And there'll be little flags on the hoods,
with HB on them."
"-- for Humongous Bighead," said Fred.
All - ::snort::
Everyone except Percy and Mrs. Weasley snorted into
"Why are the Ministry providing cars, Father?"
Percy asked again, in a dignified voice.
"Well, as we haven't got one anymore,"
James/Sirius - ::evil grins::
said Mr. Weasley, "-- and as I work there, they're
doing me a favor --"
His voice was casual, but Harry couldn't help
noticing that Mr. Weasley's ears had gone red, just
like Ron's did when he was under pressure.
Kaya – He’s hiding something.
"Good thing, too," said Mrs. Weasley briskly. "Do you
realize how much luggage you've all got between you? A
nice sight you'd be on the Muggle Underground.... You
are all packed, aren't you?"
"Ron hasn't put all his new things in his trunk
yet," said Percy, in a long-suffering voice. "He's
dumped them on my bed."
Marauders – Tattletale.
Sirius – James, if you turn out to be like that, I
will make it my duty to stuff you into the teachers
wardrobe and magically lock you in!
James – If I turn out like that, I will make it my
duty to let you.
"You'd better go and pack properly, Ron, because we
won't have much time in the morning," Mrs. Weasley
called down the table. Ron scowled at Percy.
All - ::scowl::
After dinner everyone felt very full and sleepy. One
by one they made their way upstairs to their rooms to
check their things for the next day. Ron and Percy
were next door to Harry. He had just closed and locked
his own trunk when he heard angry voices through the
wall, and went to see what was going on. The door of
number twelve was ajar and Percy was shouting.
"It was here, on the bedside table, I took it off
"I haven't touched it, all right?" Ron roared
Sirius – I would have. And I would have put a huge
smudge on it just to spite him.
"What's up?" said Harry.
"My Head Boy badge is gone," said Percy, rounding
James – Hey! What are you rounding on him for? He
didn’t take it!
"So's Scabbers' rat tonic," said Ron, throwing things
out of his trunk to look. "I think I might've left it
in the bar --"
"You're not going anywhere till you've found my
badge!" yelled Percy.
Tilly – Bo-o-o-o-ssy.
"I'll get Scabbers' stuff, I'm packed," Harry said to
Ron, and he went downstairs.
Harry was halfway along the passage to the bar,
which was now very dark, when he heard another pair of
angry voices coming from the parlor. A second later,
he recognized them as Mr. and Mrs. Weasleys'. He
hesitated, not wanting them to know he'd heard them
arguing, when the sound of his own name made him stop,
then move closer to the parlor door.
Tilly – No-o-o-o-sy.
"--makes no sense not to tell him," Mr. Weasley was
"Harry's got a right to know. I've tried to tell
Fudge, but he insists on treating Harry like a child.
He's thirteen years old and --"
"Arthur, the truth would terrify him!" said Mrs.
Weasley shrilly. "Do you really want to send Harry
back to school with that hanging over him? For
heaven's sake, he's happy not knowing!"
Morwen – I have a feeling that Sirius’ name is
going to be brought up any minute now….
"I don't want to make him miserable, I want to put him
on his guard!" retorted Mr. Weasley. "You know what
Harry and Ron are like, wandering off by themselves --
they've ended up in the Forbidden Forest twice! But
Harry mustn't do that this year! When I think what
could have happened to him that night he ran away from
home! If the Knight Bus hadn't picked him up, I'm
prepared to bet he would have been dead before the
Ministry found him."
Sirius – I better not be brought up in *this*
"But he's not dead, he's fine, so what's the point?”
"Molly, they say Sirius Black's
All - ::lean in::
mad, and maybe he is, but he was clever enough to
escape from Azkaban, and that's supposed to be
impossible. It's been three weeks, and no one's seen
hide nor hair of him, and I don't care what Fudge
keeps telling the Daily Prophet, we're no nearer
catching Black than inventing self-spelling wands. The
only thing we know for sure is what Black's after-“
Sirius - ::muttering:: I’m not after Harry, I’m not
after Harry, I’m not after Harry…
"But Harry will be perfectly safe at Hogwarts."
"We thought Azkaban was perfectly safe. If Black
can break out of Azkaban, he can break into Hogwarts."
"But no one's really sure that Black's after
There was a thud on wood, and Harry was sure Mr.
Weasley had banged his fist on the table.
Peter – Eep. He’s mad.
"Molly, how many times do I have to tell you? They
didn't report it in the press because Fudge wanted it
kept quiet, but Fudge went out to Azkaban the night
Black escaped. The guards told Fudge that Blacks been
talking in his sleep for a while now. Always the same
words: 'He's at Hogwarts... he's at Hogwarts.' Black
is deranged, Molly, and he wants Harry dead. If you
ask me, he thinks murdering Harry will bring
You-Know-Who back to power. Black lost everything the
night Harry stopped You- Know-Who, and he's had twelve
years alone in Azkaban to brood on that...."
Sirius - ::jumping to his feet:: No I haven’t! I am
NOT a Death Eater and NEVER will be! And I will NEVER
want to kill my best friend’s son!
Remus – Sirius, calm down. I agree with Tilly. We
don’t know the whole story and we probably won’t until
the end of the book, so just chill.
Sirius - ::grumbling:: How can I when this stupid book
keeps saying that I’m a murderer.
There was a silence. Harry leaned still closer to the
door, desperate to hear more.
"Well, Arthur, you must do what you think is
right. But you're forgetting Albus Dumbledore. I don't
think anything could hurt Harry at Hogwarts while
Dumbledore's headmaster. I suppose he knows about all
Remus – Course he does. Why wouldn’t he?
"Of course he knows. We had to ask him if he minds the
Azkaban guards stationing themselves around the
entrances to the school grounds. He wasn't happy about
it, but he agreed."
All - ::pale::
Tilly – THAT’S IT!
Others - ::jump:: What’s it?
Tilly – Remus is probably at Hogwarts to help contain
the Dementors! I mean, he is the best person at the
Patronus I’ve ever seen.
Others excluding Remus – Yeah, maybe…
"Not happy? Why shouldn't he be happy, if they're
there to catch Black?"
"Dumbledore isn't fond of the Azkaban guards,"
said Mr. Weasley heavily.
"Nor am I, if it comes to that... but when you're
dealing with a wizard like Black, you sometimes have
to join forces with those you'd rather avoid."
Sirius - ::wince::
"If they save Harry then I will never say another word
against them,” said Mr. Weasley wearily. "It's late,
Molly, we'd better go up...."
Harry heard chairs move. As quietly as he could,
he hurried down the passage to the bar and out of
sight. The parlor door opened, and a few seconds
later, footsteps told him that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley
were climbing the stairs.
Kaya – Poor kid. That’s got to be a lot to
The bottle of rat tonic was lying under the table they
had sat at earlier. Harry waited until he heard Mr.
and Mrs. Weasley's bedroom door close, then headed
back upstairs with the bottle.
Fred and George were crouching in the shadows on
the landing, heaving with laughter as they listened to
Percy dismantling his and Ron's room in search of his
"We've got it," Fred whispered to Harry. "We've
been improving it."
The badge now read Bighead Boy.
All - ::laugh::
Harry forced a laugh, went to give Ron the rat tonic,
then shut himself in his room and lay down on his bed.
So Sirius Black was after him.
Sirius - ::muttering:: No he’s not.
This explained everything. Fudge had been lenient with
him because he was so relieved to find him alive. He'd
made Harry promise to stay in Diagon Alley where there
were plenty of wizards to keep an eye on him. And he
was sending two Ministry cars to take them all to the
station tomorrow, so that the Weasleys could look
after Harry until he was on the train.
James – Must be horrible.
Harry lay listening to the muffled shouting next door
and wondered why he didn't feel more scared. Sirius
Black had murdered thirteen people with one curse;
Morwen/Tilly/Kaya - ::gap::
Remus – Yeah, that was mentioned earlier.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley obviously thought Harry would be
panic-stricken if he knew the truth. But Harry
happened to agree wholeheartedly with Mrs. Weasley
that the safest place on earth was wherever Albus
Dumbledore happened to be. Didn't people always say
that Dumbledore was the only person Lord Voldemort had
ever been afraid of?
All - ::nod:: Uh huh.
Surely Black, as Voldemort's right-hand man, would be
just as frightened of him?
All – Yeah.
And then there were these Azkaban guards everyone kept
talking about. They seemed to scare most people
senseless, and if they were stationed all around the
school, Black's chances of getting inside seemed very
Sirius – ::shudder:: Definitely… unless they don’t
know *all* of the passages yet…
No, all in all, the thing that bothered Harry most was
the fact that his chances of visiting Hogsmeade now
looked like zero. Nobody would want Harry to leave the
safety of the castle until Black was caught; in fact,
Harry suspected his every move would be carefully
watched until the danger had passed.
All – Poor, poor, Harry.
He scowled at the dark ceiling. Did they think he
couldn't look after himself? He'd escaped Lord
Voldemort three times; he wasn't completely
All - ::shocked:: Three times!?
Unbidden, the image of the beast in the shadows of
Magnolia Crescent crossed his mind. What to do when
you know the worst is coming...
Tilly/Morwen/Kaya – Huh?
Remus/Lily – Divination.
Tilly/Morwen/Kaya – Oh.
"I'm not going to be murdered," Harry said out loud.
"That's the spirit, dear," said his mirror
All - ::laugh::
Lily – That’s the end of Chapter Four.
Remus – On to Chapter Five?
All – Yeah!