Chapter 5


Everyone moved closer to Lily as she took a deep breath and said, “Chapter Five – The… Oh my god.”

“What?” asked Sirius.

“It’s called The Dementor.” Lily finished, and everyone gasped in unison.

Remus looked uneasily around the circle. “You don’t think…”

“I sure hope not!” Tilly said shivering visibly.

“Read, Lily, so we will know,” James said.

Lily nodded and began the fifth chapter.

Tom woke Harry the next morning with his usual toothless grin and cup of tea. Harry got dressed and was just persuading a disgruntled Hedwig to get back into her cage when Ron banged his way into the room, pulling a sweatshirt over his head and looking irritable.

Sirius – I’ve always hated the day that we get on the train because it’s always so stressful.

James – That’s only because you always wake up late.

Sirius – The train leaves too *early*!

"The sooner we get on the train, the better," he said. "At least I can get away from Percy at Hogwarts. Now he's accusing me of dripping tea on his photo of Penelope Clearwater.

Peter – Who?

Lily – Let me read and you’ll know.

Peter – Oh, sorry.

You know," Ron grimaced, "his *girlfriend*.

Marauders – He actually *has* a girlfriend?

Girls – Apparently.

Sirius – Impossible!

She's hidden her face under the frame because her nose has gone all blotchy . . . ."
"I've got something to tell you," Harry began, but they were interrupted by Fred and George, who had looked in to congratulate Ron on infuriating Percy again.

Marauders - ::snort::

They headed down to breakfast where Mr. Weasley was reading the front page of the Daily Prophet with a furrowed brow and Mrs. Weasley was telling Hermione and Ginny about a love potion she made as a young girl.

Girls - ::giggle::

All three of them were rather giggly.

James – Mention a love potion and every girl gets rather giggly.

Peter/Remus/Sirius – Ain’t that the truth?

"What were you saying?" Ron asked Harry as they sat down.
"Later," Harry muttered as Percy stormed in.
Harry had no chance to speak to Ron or Hermione in the chaos of leaving;

Remus – I don’t think you can ever be chaos free when leaving the morning for King’s Cross.

Lily – Me either.

they were too busy heaving all their trunks down the Leaky Cauldron's narrow staircase and piling them up near the door, with Hedwig and Hermes, Percy's screech owl, perched in their cages. A small wickerwork basket stood beside the heap of trunks, spitting loudly.

Peter – Baskets spit?

Remus – It’s most likely Crookshanks.

Peter – Oh.

"It's all right, Crookshanks," Hermione cooed through the wickerwork. "I'll let you out on the train."
"You won't," snapped Ron. "What about poor Scabbers, eh?"
He pointed at his chest, where a large lump indicated that Scabbers was curled up in his pocket.

Peter – Yeah! What about poor Scabbers?

Mr. Weasley, who had been outside waiting for the Ministry cars, stuck his head inside.
"They're here," he said. "Harry, come on."
Mr. Weasley marched Harry across

James – That has got to be annoying, having someone watch your every move.

the short stretch of pavement toward the first two old-fashioned dark green cars, each of which was driven by a furtive-looking wizard wearing a suit of emerald velvet.
"In you get, Harry," said Mr. Weasley, glancing up and down the crowded street.
Harry got into the back of the car and was shortly joined by Hermione, Ron, and, to Ron's disgust, Percy.

All – As to all of ours as well.

The journey to King's Cross was very uneventful compared with Harry's trip on the Knight Bus. The Ministry of Magic cars seemed almost ordinary, though Harry noticed that they could slide through gaps that Uncle Vernon's new company car certainly couldn't have managed.

Sirius – Why would he have been able to manage?

Remus – Because Muggle Cars can’t manage that?

Sirius – Why not?

Remus – Because they’re *Muggle* cars.

They reached King's Cross with twenty minutes to spare; the Ministry drivers found them trolleys, unloaded their trunks, touched their hats in salute to Mr. Weasley, and drove away, somehow managing to jump to the head of an unmoving line at the traffic lights.

Sirius – Why is that unusual?

Remus – We’ve already been through this… Muggles, Sirius, they're Muggles!

Sirius – Oh! Right!

Mr. Weasley kept close to Harry's elbow all the way into the station.
“Right then,” he said glancing around them. "Let's do this in pairs, as there are so many of us. I'll go through first with Harry."

James – This is even starting to annoy me!

Mr. Weasley strolled toward the barrier between platforms nine and ten, pushing Harry's trolley and apparently very interested in the Intercity 125 that had just arrived at platform nine. With a meaningful look at Harry, he leaned casually against the barrier. Harry imitated him.

Sirius – I’ve always liked to take the barrier at a run!.

James – Me too.

Remus – Me three.

Peter – Me four.

In a moment they had fallen sideways through the solid metal onto platform nine and three-quarters and looked up to see the Hogwarts Express, a scarlet steam engine, puffing smoke over a platform packed with witches and wizards seeing their children onto the train.

Tilly – It’s always so crowded when I go onto the Platform.

Morwen – That’s because you always get on the Platform with only two seconds to spare.

Tilly – Hey! I live forty miles away! What do you expect?

Morwen – I expect you to leave earlier.

Tilly - ::sigh::

Percy and Ginny suddenly appeared behind Harry. They were panting and had apparently taken the barrier at a run.
"Ah, there's Penelope!" said Percy, smoothing his hair and going pink again. Ginny caught Harry's eye,

Tilly/Kaya – Awwww!

and they both turned away to hide their laughter as Percy strode over to a girl with long, curly hair, walking with his chest thrown out so that she couldn't miss his shiny badge.

All - ::roll eyes::

Once the remaining Weasleys and Hermione had joined them, Harry and Ron led the way to the end of the train, past packed compartments, to a carriage that looked quite empty. They loaded the trunks onto it, stowed Hedwig and Crookshanks in the luggage rack, and then went back outside to say good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

Kaya – Let me guess, it’s going to take forever because Harry is going to be pulled aside?

Mrs. Weasley kissed all her children, then Hermione, and finally Harry. He was embarrassed, but really quite pleased, when she gave him an extra hug.
"Do take care, won't you, Harry?"

James - ::as Harry:: Of course I won’t. If I did this would become the most boring book of all time.

Lily - ::as Molly:: I know that, but I just have to say that for good measure. Be sure to get into loads of trouble and to run into Sirius Black at least three times during the course of the book.

James - ::as Harry:: Yes, ma’am.

Sirius – Hey!

she said as she straightened up, her eyes oddly bright. Then she opened her enormous handbag and said, "I've made you all sandwiches... Here you are, Ron... no, they're not corned beef...

Tilly – Na-a-a-a-sty!

Fred? Where's Fred? Here you are dear..."
"Harry," said Mr. Weasley quietly, "come over here a moment."
He jerked his head toward a pillar, and Harry followed him behind it, leaving the others crowded around Mrs. Weasley.

James – And no one noticed the two of them slip away; I highly doubt that.

"There's something I've got to tell you before you leave-" said Mr. Weasley, in a tense voice.
"It's all right, Mr. Weasley," said Harry. "I already know."
"You know? How could you know?"
"I-er-I heard you and Mrs. Weasley talking last night. I couldn't help hearing," Harry added quickly. "Sorry-"
"That's not the way I'd have chosen for you to find out,"

Sirius – Hey! Look at it this way. You haven’t broken your word to that no-good Minister of Magic and Harry knows what’s going on.

said Mr. Weasley, looking anxious.
"No-honestly, it's okay. This way, you haven't broken your work to Fudge and I know what's going on."

Sirius – See, he agrees with me!

"Harry, you must be very scared-"
"I'm not," Harry said sincerely. "*Really*," he added because Mr. Weasley was looking disbelieving. "I'm not trying to be a hero, but seriously, Sirius Black can't be worse than Voldemort, can he?"
Mr. Weasley flinched at the sound of the name but over-looked it.

Kaya – Them flinching is getting on my nerves… and that includes you, Pete!

Peter – I can’t help it!

"Harry, I knew you were, well, made of stronger stuff than Fudge seems to think, and I'm obviously pleased that you're not scared, but-"
"Arthur!" called Mrs. Weasley, who was now shepherding the rest onto the train. "Arthur, what are you doing? It's about to go!"

Morwen – That is about the time that Tilly gets to the train station.

Tilly – Not quite, wait a minute.

"He's coming, Molly!" said Mr. Weasley, but he turned back to Harry and kept a lower and more hurried voice. "Listen, I want you to give me your word-"
"-that I'll be a good boy and stay in the castle?" said Harry gloomily.

James – Poor, poor, Harry. No exploring Hogsmeade.

Sirius – No detentions in the Forest.

Remus – No Quidditch Practice unsupervised.

James/Sirius/Remus – This year is going to be hell for him!

"Not entirely," said Mr. Weasley, who looked more serious than Harry had ever seen him. "Harry, swear to me you won't go *looking* for Black."

All – What?

Harry stared. "What?"
There was a loud whistle. Guards were walking along the train, slamming all the doors shut.

Morwen – Now?

Tilly – No, not yet…

"Promise me, Harry," said Mrs. Weasley, talking more quickly still, "that whatever happens-"
"Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?" said Harry blankly.
"Swear to me that whatever you might hear-"

Sirius – He isn’t telling him something…

"Arthur, quickly!" cried Mrs. Weasley.
Steam was billowing from the train; it had started to move.

Tilly – That’s when I usually come in and I usually have to throw my trunk on board and jump onto the train. That’s why I *always* have my luggage with me on the train.

Lily/Morwen/Kaya - *Oh*.

Harry ran to the compartment door and Ron threw it open and stood back to let him on. They leaped out of the window and waved at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley until the train turned a corner and blocked them from view.
"I need to talk to you in private." Harry muttered to Ron and Hermione as the train picked up speed.
"Go away, Ginny," said Ron.

Tilly – Ru-u-u-u-de.

"Oh, that's nice,” said Ginny huffily, and she stalked off.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off down the corridor, looking for an empty compartment, but all were full except one at the very end of the train.
This had only one occupant, a man sitting fast asleep next to the window.

James – But I’ve never seen an adult on the train before besides the witch with the snacks!

Others – Me either.

James – Read on, Lil, and we may find out that guy is.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione checked on the threshold. The Hogwarts Express was usually reserved for students and they had never seen an adult there before, except for the witch who pushed the food cart.

James – Exactly what I was thinking.

The stranger was wearing an extremely shabby set of wizard's robes that had been darned in several places. He looked ill and exhausted. Though quite young, his light brown hair was flecked with gray.

Tilly – Hmmm…. I think I may know who he is.

"Who d'you reckon he is?" Ron hissed as they sat down and slid the door shut, taking the seats farthest away from the window.

James - ::as Hermione:: Sirius Black. Oh My God! We have a murderer on board!

Sirius – Try ::as Hermione:: James Potter. Oh My God! We have a dead man on board!

Remus – Try ::as Hermione:: Lily Evans-Potter. Oh My God! We have dead woman on board!

Peter – Try ::as Hermione:: Kaya Sasaki. Oh My God! You finally entered the series!

Kaya – Try ::as Hermione:: Peter Pettigrew. Oh My God! Where the hell have you been?

Tilly – Try ::as Hermione:: Remus Lupin. Oh My God! Who the hell are you?

Remus – Hey!

Lily – One of you is right- er… not with what you said but with the person you said it to.

Others – Who?

Lily – Tilly was right.

Remus – What?

Lily – Listen.

R. J. Lupin," whispered Hermione at once.
"How d'you know that?"
"It's on his case," she replied, pointing at the luggage rack over the man's head, where there was a small battered case held together with a large quantity of nearly knotted string. The name Professor R. J. Lupin was stamped across one corner in pealing letters.

Lily – See?

Marauders excluding Remus – Remus is a teacher! Remus is a teacher!

Remus – But how?

James – Well, it’s Dumbledore, isn’t it?

Remus – I guess…

James – Just read, Lily.

"Wonder what he teaches?" said Ron, frowning at Professor Lupin's pallid profile.

Remus – Hey!

"That's obvious," whispered Hermione. "There's only one vacancy, isn't there? Defense Against the Dark Arts."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione had already two Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, both of whom had lasted only one year. There were rumors that the job was jinxed.

Sirius – If there’s one person who can keep that tradition going; it’s Remus!

Remus – Not funny.

Sirius – I thought it was.

"Well, I hope he's up to it," said Ron doubtfully. "He looks like one good hex would finish him off, doesn't he?

Sirius – He always looks like that after…

Marauders - ::warning look::

Sirius – ...he’s been ill.

Anyway..." He turned to Harry, "What were you going to tell us?"
Harry explained all about Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's argument and the warning Mr. Weasley had just given him. When he finished, Ron looked thunderstruck, and Hermione had her hands over her mouth. She finally lowered them to say, "Sirius Black escaped to come after *you*? Oh, Harry... you'll have to really, really careful. Don't go looking for trouble, Harry-"

James – Why do people keep saying that?

"I don't go looking for trouble,” said Harry, nettled. “Trouble usually finds *me*.”

Marauders – Ain’t that the truth?

"How thick would Harry have to be, to go looking for a nutter who wants to kill him?" said Ron shakily.
They were taking the news worse than Harry had expected. Both Ron and Hermione seemed to be more frightened of Black than he was.

Tilly – It’s only because he’s a Potter.

James – Hey! I resent that.

Kaya – No, you resemble that.

"No one knows how he got out of Azkaban," said Ron uncomfortably. "No one's ever done it before. And he was a top-security prisoner too."
"But they'll catch him, won't they?" said Hermione earnestly. "I mean, they've got all the Muggles looking out for him too..."

Remus – Like they’ll catch him.

"What's that noise?" said Ron suddenly.
A faint, tiny sort of whistle was coming from somewhere. They looked all around the compartment.
"It's coming from your trunk, Harry," said Ron standing up and reaching into the luggage rack. A moment later he had pulled the Pocket Sneakoscope out from between Harry's robes.
It was spinning very fast in the palm of Ron's hand and glowing brilliantly.

All - ::look at Remus::

Kaya – Are you untrustworthy, Remus?

Remus – Not that I know of.

James – Maybe a certain dog is in the corridor of the train.

Marauders - ::grin::

Girls - ::blank looks:: Huh?

"Is that a *Sneakoscope*?" said Hermione interestedly, standing up for a better look.
"Yeah... mind you, it's a very cheap one," Ron said. "It went haywire just as I was tying it to Errol's leg to send it to Harry."
"Were you doing anything untrustworthy at the time?" said Hermione shrewdly.
"No! Well . . . I wasn't suppose to be using Errol. You knew he's not really up to long journeys . . . but how else was I supposed to get Harry's present to him?"

Peter – So, it’s a good Sneakoscope?

Tilly – Apparently so.

Peter – Then who or what is untrustworthy in the compartment?

All - ::shrug::

"Stick it back in the trunk," Harry advised as the Sneakoscope whistled piercingly, "or it'll wake him up."
He nodded toward Professor Lupin.

Sirius – No it won’t. Remus can sleep through anything. A Knight Bus ride, a train ride…. But he always wakes up right when something bad is going to happen… like get a visit from Snape.

Ron stuffed the Sneakoscope into a particularly horrible pair of Uncle Vernon's old socks, which deadened the sound, then closed the lid of the trunk on it.
"We could get it checked in Hogsmeade," said Ron sitting down. "They sell that sort of thing in Dervish and Banges, magical instruments and stuff. Fred and George told me."

Remus – That’s my favorite shop… next to Honeyducks and Zonko’s of course.

Others – Of course.

"Do you know much about Hogsmeade?" asked Hermione keenly. "I've read it's the only entirely non-Muggle settlement in Britain-"

Lily – That’s true.

"Yeah, I think it is," said Ron in an offhand sort of way, "but that's not why I want to go. I just want to get inside Honeyducks!"

Marauders – Go Ron!

"What's that?" said Hermione.
"It's a sweetshop," said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his face, "where they've got *everything*.... Pepper Imps- they make you smoke at the mouth-and great fat Chocolate full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, and really excellent sugar quills, which you can suck in class and just look like you're thinking what to write next-"

Sirius – Those are very useful.

Others - ::nod in agreement::

"But Hogsmeade's a very interesting place, isn't it? In Sites of Historical Sorcery it says the inn was the headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion,

Lily – That’s true.

and the Shrieking Shack's supposed to be the most severely haunted building in Britain-"

Marauders - ::gap::

Remus – I knew people thought it was haunted, but I never thought it would become *that* popular!

Morwen – I don’t see why you’re surprised. That place gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Remus – Heh.

"-and massive sherbet balls that make you levitate a few inches off the ground while you're sucking on them," said Ron who was plainly not listening to a word Hermione was saying.
Hermione looked around at Harry.
"Won't it be nice to get out of school for a bit and explore Hogsmeade?"

Marauders/Lily – Poor Harry.

Tilly – Why poor Harry?

Lily – He can’t go.

Kaya – Why not?

Lily – His aunt and uncle didn’t sign the permission form and Fudge wouldn’t.

Morwen/Tilly/Kaya - ::gap::

"'Spect it will," said Harry heavily. "You'll have to tell me when you've found out."

All – Poor, poor, Harry.

“What d’you mean?” said Ron.
"I can't go. The Dursleys didn't sign my permission form, and Fudge wouldn't either."
Ron looked horrified.
"*You’re not allowed to come*? But-no way-McGonagall or some will give you permission-"

All – Yeah, right.

Harry gave a hollow laugh. Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor House, was very strict.
"-or we can ask Fred and George, they know every secret passage out of the castle-"

Marauders - ::looking interested:: Really?

Lily – Reading…

"Ron!" said Hermione sharply. "I don't think Harry should be sneaking out of school with Black on the loose-"

Marauders – Shush, Hermione!

"Yeah, I expect that's what McGonagall will say when I ask for permission," said Harry bitterly.
"But if *we're* with him," Ron said spiritedly to Hermione, "Black wouldn't dare-"
"Oh, Ron, don't talk rubbish," snapped Hermione. "Black's already murdered a whole bunch of people in the middle of a crowded street.

Sirius – No I haven’t!

Kaya – Hey, we believe you!

Sirius – Thanks… and they’ll know the truth soon enough!

Do you really think he's going to worry about attacking Harry just because *we're* there?"
She was fumbling with straps of Crookshanks' basket as she spoke.

All excluding Lily – Oh no.

"Don't let that thing out!" Ron said, but too late; Crookshanks leapt lightly from the basket, stretched yawned, and sprang onto Ron's knees; the lump in Ron's pocket trembled and he shoved Crookshanks angrily away.
"Get out of here!"
"Ron, don't!" said Hermione angrily.
Ron was about to answer back when Professor Lupin stirred.

Tilly – He isn’t going to wake up, so you ought to just answer back.

They watched him apprehensively, but he simply turned his head the other way, mouth slightly open, and slept on.

Girls - ::teasingly:: Drool!

Sirius – Nope. Remus sleeps with his mouth open all the time and all our time at Hogwarts, he has never drooled once.

James – It’s because he’s always dehydrated.

Girls - ::blank looks::

Remus – Just read, Lil.

The Hogwarts Express moved steadily north scenery outside the window became wilder and darker while the clouds thickened. People were chasing backwards and forward past the door of their compartment. Crookshanks had now settled in an empty seat, his squashed face turned toward Ron, his yellow eyes on Ron's top pocket.

All excluding Lily – Evil cat.

At one o'clock; the plump witch with the food cart arrived at the compartment door.
"D'you think we should wake him up?" Ron asked awkwardly, nodding toward Professor Lupin. "He looks like he could do with some food."

Remus – I would like some food, thank you very much.

Hermione approached Professor Lupin cautiously.
"Er-Professor?" she said. "Excuse me-Professor?"
He didn't move.

James – He wouldn’t.

"Don't worry, dear," said the witch as she handed Harry a large stack of Cauldron Cakes. "If he's hungry when he wakes, I'll be up front with the driver."
"I suppose he *is* asleep?" said Ron quietly as the witch slid the compartment door closed. "I mean- he hasn't died, has he?"

All - ::snort::

Sirius – Great first impression, Rem.

Remus – Yours wasn’t much better.

"No, no, he's breathing," whispered Hermione, taking the Cauldron Cake Harry passed her.
He might not be very good company, but Professor Lupin's presence in their compartment had its uses.

James – Let me guess… because he’s a teacher?

Remus – Most likely.

Midafternoon, just as it had started to rain, blurring the rolling hills outside the window, they heard footsteps in the corridor again, and their three least favorite people appeared at the door: Draco Malfoy, flanked by his cronies, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.

All – Slytherins.

Draco Malfoy and Harry had been enemies ever since they had met on their first train journey to Hogwarts.

James – Like Snape and me, naturally.

Malfoy, who had a pale, pointed, sneering face, was in Slytherin House; he played Seeker on the Slytherin Quidditch team, the same position that Harry played on the Gryffindor team.

James – WHAT!? He’s supposed to be Chaser!

Lily – James, calm down, so he’s not Chaser, who cares?

James – I care! He’s supposed to take after me!

Lily – Think of it this way, he could have been like Hermione instead.

James - ::pause:: Good point, please continue.

Lily – Thank you.

Crabbe and Goyle seemed to exist to do Malfoy's bidding. They were both wide and muscularly; Crabbe was taller, with a pudding-bowl haircut and a very thick neck; Goyle had short, bristly hair and long, gorilla-ish arms.

Sirius – Sounds a bit like Avery and Nott.

"Well, look who it is," said Malfoy in his usual lazy drawl, pulling open the compartment door. "Potty and the Weasel."
Crabbe and Goyle chuckled trollishly.

Tilly – Is trollishly even a word?

Lily – It is now.

"I heard your father finally got his hands on some gold this summer, Weasley," said Malfoy. "Did your mother die of shock?"

All - ::glare::

Ron stood up so quickly he knocked Crookshanks' basket to the floor. Professor Lupin gave a snort.

All excluding Remus - ::laugh::

Remus - ::blush::

"Who's that?" said Malfoy, taking an automatic step backwards as he spotted Lupin.
"New teacher," said Harry, who got to his feet, too, in case he needed to hold Ron back. "What were you saying, Malfoy?"
Malfoy's eyes narrowed; he wasn't fool enough to pick a fight right under a teacher's nose.

Sirius – Even if he is asleep.

"C'mon,” he muttered resentfully to Crabbe and Goyle, and they disappeared.
Harry and Ron sat down again, Ron massaging his knuckles.
"I'm not going to take any crap from Malfoy this year," he said angrily. "I mean it. If he makes one more crack about my family, I'm going to get hold of his head and-"

Sirius – Do this? ::makes a violent gesture in midair::

Ron made a violent gesture in midair.

Sirius – Thought so.

"Ron," hissed Hermione, pointing at Professor Lupin, "be *careful* . . ."

Remus – Like I’d care, I make the same gesture about Snape every year.

James/Sirius – It’s true.

But Professor Lupin was still fast asleep.

Peter – Not to mention the fact that he’s still asleep.

The rain thickened as the train sped yet farther north; the windows were now a sold, shimmering gray, which gradually darkened until lanterns flickered into life all along the corridors and over the luggage racks. The train rattled, the rain hammered, the wind roared, but still, Professor Lupin slept.

All - ::snicker::

"We must be nearly there," said Ron, leaning forward to look past Professor Lupin at the now completely black window.
The words had hardly left him when the train started to slow down.

Remus – I have a strange feeling that they aren’t supposed to be stopping yet…

"Great," said Ron getting up and walking past Professor Lupin to try and see outside. "I'm starving. I want to get to the feast..."
"We can't be there yet," said Hermione checking her watch.

Sirius – So why are they stopping?

Others - ::shrug::

"So, why're we stopping?"

Sirius – My question exactly.

The train was getting slower and slower. As the noise of the pistons fell away, the wind and rain sounded louder than ever against the windows.
Harry who was nearest the door got up to look into the corridor. All along the carriage, heads were sticking curiously out of their compartments.

Morwen – I wonder what’s going on?

Peter – Maybe they’ve broken down?

Lily – Impossible! They have charms and enchantments covering the train to *stop* it from breaking down.

Sirius – Then what’s happening?

Lily - ::shrugs:: Who knows?

The train came to a stop with a jolt, and distant thuds and bangs told them that luggage gad fallen out of the racks. Then, without warning, all the lamps went out and were plunged into total darkness.

All – That isn’t right…

"What's going on?" said Ron's voice from behind Harry.
"Ouch!" gasped Hermione. "Ron, that was my foot!"
Harry felt his way back to his seat.
"D'you think we've broken down?"

Lily – Impossible!

"Dunno . . ."
There was a squeaking sound, and Harry saw the dim black outline of Ron, wiping a patch of clean window and peering out.
"There's something moving out there," Ron said. "I think people are coming aboard..."

Tilly – That isn’t supposed to happen…

Remus – I’m getting a real bad feeling about this.

The compartment door suddenly opened and someone fell painfully over Harry's legs.
"Sorry-d’you know what's going on? -Ouch-sorry-"
"Hullo, Neville," said Harry, feeling around in the dark and pulling Neville up by his cloak.

Peter – Poor kid.

"Harry? Is that you? What's happening?"
"No idea-sit down-"
There was a loud hissing and a yelp of pain; Neville had tried to sit on Crookshanks.

All excluding Lily – So?

"I'm going to go and ask the driver what's going on," came Hermione's voice. Harry felt her pass him, heard the door slide open again, and then thud and two loud squeals of pain.
"Who's that?"
"Who's *that*?"

Girls - ::giggle::

Marauders – What’s so funny?

Girls – N-n-nothing! ::giggle::

Marauders - ::roll eyes:: Girls!

"What are you doing?"
"I was looking for Ron-"
"Come in and sit down-"
"Not here!" said Harry hurriedly. "*I'm* here!"

All - ::giggle::

"Ouch!" said Neville.
"Quiet!" said a hoarse voice suddenly.
Professor Lupin appeared to have woken up at last.

Sirius – It’s a miracle!

Remus – Hey! I ain’t that bad.

Harry could hear movements in the corner. None of them spoke.
There was a soft, crackling noise, and a shivering light filled the compartment. Professor Lupin appeared to be holding a handful of flames. They illuminated his tired, gray face, but his eyes were alert and wary.

James – You tend to do that a lot, Remus. You look one thing, but your eyes tell a totally different story. It’s rather creepy.

Remus – Heh. That’s me.

"Stay where you are," he said in the same hoarse voice, and he got slowly to his feet with his handful of fire held out in front of him.
But the door slid slowly open before Lupin could reach it.


Remus – I doubt it’s Death Eaters, Sirius, Voldemort is dead, remember?

Sirius – Oh yeah, I forgot, heh.

Standing in the doorway, illuminated by the shivering flames in Lupin's hand, was a cloaked figure that towered to the ceiling. Its face was completely hidden beneath its hood.

Sirius – ::pale:: Oh Merlin… I know what that is.

All – A Dementor. ::shudder::

Harry's eyes darted downward, and what he saw made his stomach contract. There was a hand protruding from the cloak and it was glistening, grayish, slimy-looking, and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed in water...

James – I’ve never seen a hand of one, but now I’m glad that I haven’t.

All - ::agree::

But it was visible only for a split second. As though the creature beneath the clock sensed Harry's gaze, the hand was suddenly withdrawn into the folds of its black cloak.
And then the thing beneath the hood, whatever it was, drew a long slow, rattling breath, as though it were trying something more than air from its surroundings.

All – Oh *no*!

An intense cold swept them all. Harry felt his own breath catch in his chest. The cold went deeper than his skin. It was inside his chest, it was inside his very heart...

All - ::shiver::

Harry's eyes rolled up into his head. He couldn't see. He was drowning in cold. There was a rushing in his ears as though of water. He was being dragged downward, the roaring growing louder...

Sirius – What’s happening?

Tilly – I’ve never been affected *that* badly by a dementor.

Remus – I have, once, but that was the first time I came into contact with it.

Tilly – But why?

Remus – I think *I* will explain it later in the book.

And then, from far away, he heard screaming, terrible, terrified, pleading screams. He wanted to help whoever it was, he tried to move his arms, but couldn't... a thick white fog was swirling around him, inside him-
"Harry! Harry! Are you all right?"
Someone was slapping his face.

Sirius - ::as Harry:: No! You’re slapping my face for goodness sake!

Harry opened his eyes; there were lanterns above him, and the floor was shaking-the Hogwarts Express was moving again and the lights had come back on. He seemed to have slid out of his seat onto the floor.

Lily - ::worried:: Is he alright?

Ron and Hermione were kneeling next to him, and above then he could see Neville and Professor Lupin watching. Harry felt very sick; when he put his hand to push his glasses back on, he felt cold sweat on his face.

Lily – Poor Harry!

Ron and Hermione heaved him back onto his seat.
"Are you okay?" Ron asked nervously.
"Yeah," said Harry, looking quickly toward the door. The hooded creature had vanished. "What happened? Where's that-that thing? Who screamed?"

Kaya – Yeah, who was it?

Remus – No one screamed.

"No one screamed," said Ron, more nervously still.

Remus – See?

Kaya – But then-

Remus – It will be explained later in the book.

Harry looked around the bright compartment. Ginny and Neville looked back at him, both very pale.
"But I heard screaming-"
A loud snap made them all jump. Professor Lupin was breaking an enormous slab of chocolate into pieces.
"Here," he said to Harry, handing him a particularly large piece. "Eat it. It'll help."

All - ::nod::

Tilly – If anyone knows their stuff, it’s ol’ Remus here.

Remus - ::blush:: Heh. It’s the only cure for after-effect of Dementors.

Harry took the chocolate bar but didn't eat it.
"What was that thing?" he asked Lupin.
"A dementor,"

All - ::shiver::

said Lupin, who was now giving chocolate to everyone else. "One of the dementors of Azkaban."
Everyone stared at him. Professor Lupin crumpled up the empty chocolate wrapper and put it in his pocket.
"Eat," he repeated. "It'll help. I need to speak to the driver, excuse me . . ."
He strolled past Harry and disappeared into the corridor.

Sirius – You’re going to go tattle on Harry now, aren’t you, Lupin?

Remus – Since when did you call me Lupin?

Sirius – Since this book started to call you Lupin. It’s rather catchy I hope you know.

Remus - ::roll eyes::

"Are you sure you're okay, Harry?" said Hermione watching Harry anxiously.
"I don't get it.... What happened?" said Harry, wiping more sweat off his face.
"Well-that thing-the dementor-stood there and looked around (I mean, I think it did, I couldn't see its face)-and you-you-"

Remus – Passed out. It’s quite simple actually. Nothing to be ashamed of.

"I thought you were having a fit or something," said Ron, who still looked scared. "You went sort of rigid and fell out of your seat and started twitching-"
"And Professor Lupin stepped over you, and walked toward the dementor, and pulled out his wand," said Hermione, "and he said, 'None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks. Go.'

Sirius – Thank goodness for that.

Remus – But, wait, that means that the older me thinks that the older you is *actually* guilty!

Sirius – Hey, you’re right. What would make you think that?

Remus - ::shrug:: I don’t know.

But the dementor didn't move, so Lupin muttered something and a silvery thing shot out of his wand at it, and it turned around and sort of glided away...."

All – Patronus.

"It was horrible," said Neville, in a higher voice than usual. "Did you feel how cold it got when it came in?"
"I felt weird," said Ron shifting his shoulder uncomfortably. "Like I'd never be cheerful again..."

Remus – That’s their specialty, little buggers.

Ginny, who was huddled in her corner looking nearly as bad as Harry felt, gave a small sob; Hermione went over and put a comforting arm around her.

Girls – Poor girl.

"But didn't any of you-fall out of your seats?" said Harry awkwardly.
"No," said Ron, looking anxiously at Harry again. "Ginny was shaking like mad, though..."

Remus – I really wish we had the previous books so it would tell us a bit of *her* past. I think it would be quite interesting.

Others – Why!?

Remus – You’ll see!

Harry didn't understand. He felt weak and shivery, as though he were recovering from a bad bout of flu; he also felt the beginnings of shame. Why had he gone to pieces like that, when no one else had?
Professor Lupin came back. He paused as he entered, looked around, and said, with a small smile, "I haven't poisoned that chocolate, you know...."

Sirius – Way to lighten the mood, Remus.

Remus - ::innocent grin:: I try.

Harry took a bite and to his great surprise felt warmth spread suddenly to the tips of his fingers and toes.

Remus – Of course.

"We'll be at Hogwarts in ten minutes," said Professor Lupin. "Are you all right, Harry?"
Harry didn't ask how Professor Lupin knew his name.

Sirius – Probably thought you only knew it because he was famous…

Remus – When the truth was that I was friends with his dad and probably knew him before…

Peter – The horrible incident that none of us must speak of!

Sirius/Remus/Peter - ::wipe a fake tear from eye::

"Fine," he muttered, embarrassed.
They didn't talk much during the remainder of the journey. At long last, the train stopped at Hogsmeade station, and there was a great scramble to get outside; owls hooted, cats meowed, and Neville's pet toad croaked loudly from under his hat.

Tilly – U-u-u-u-gly!

It was freezing on the tiny platform; rain was driving down in icy sheets.
"Firs' years this way!"

Sirius – So Hagrid’s still there.

Others – Apparently.

Sirius – How many years has he been doing that?

Peter – Twenty-eight years.

Sirius – Oh, that’s right.

called a familiar voice. Harry, Ron, and Hermione turned and saw the gigantic outline of Hagrid at the other end of the platform, beckoning the terrified-looking new students forward for their traditional journey across the lake.
"All righ', you three?" Hagrid yelled over their heads of the crowd. They waved at him, but had no chance to speak to him because the mass of people around them was shunting them away along the platform.

James – It’s always like that.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione followed the rest of the school along the platform and out onto a rough mud track, where at least a hundred stage coaches awaited the remaining students, each pulled, Harry could only assume, by an invisible horse, because they climbed inside and shut the door, and coach set off all by itself, bumping the swaying in procession.

Kaya – What does pull the carriages?

Remus – Thestrals.

Kaya – What is that?

Remus - ::sigh:: It is an unlucky winged horse that possesses the power of invisibility. Only those who have seen someone die can see them.

The coach smelled faintly of mold and straw. Harry felt better since the chocolate, but still weak. Ron and Hermione kept looking at him sideways, as though frightened he might collapse again.

James – He ain’t going to just collapse, people!

As the carriage trundled toward a pair of magnificent wrought iron gates, flanked with stone columns topped with winged boars, Harry saw two more towering, hooded dementors, standing guard on either side.

Sirius - ::shiver:: I *hate* those things.

Morwen – Don’t we all.

Others - ::nod::

A wave of cold sickness threatened to engulf him again; he leaned back into the lumpy seat and closed his eyes until they had passed the gates. The carriage picked up speed on the long, sloping dive drive up to the castle; Hermione was leaning out the tiny window, watching the many turrets and towers draw nearer. At last, the carriage swayed to a halt, and Hermione and Ron got out.

Peter – And Harry, right?

Lily – I’m pretty sure.

As Harry stepped down, a drawling delighted voice sounded in his ear.
"You *fainted*, Potter? Is Longbottom telling the truth? You actually *fainted*?"

James - ::growling:: Screw you, Malfoy!

Sirius – Watch the temper, James, we have a Professor in the room.

Remus - ::glare::

Malfoy elbowed past Hermione to block Harry's way up the stone steps to the castle, his face gleeful and his pale eyes glinting maliciously.
"Shove off, Malfoy," said Ron, whose jaw was clenched.
"Did you faint as well, Weasley?" said Malfoy loudly. "Did the scary old dementor frighten you too, Weasley?"
"Is there a problem?" said a mild voice. Professor Lupin had just gotten out of the next carriage.

Sirius – Dun du-du dun! Lupin to the rescue!

Remus – Will you stop calling me Lupin?

Sirius – But it’s catchy!

Remus – I *don’t* care!

Malfoy gave Professor Lupin an insolent stare, which took in the patches on his robes and the dilapidated suitcase. With a tiny hint of sarcasm in his voice, he said, "Oh, no-er-*Professor*," then he smirked at Crabbe and Goyle and led them up the steps into the castle.

All - ::glare::

Tilly – Hey! I just thought of something! If you are a Professor then you can give or take points! Meaning, you could give Gryffindor back all of those points that you lost for us over the years!

Remus – Hey, you’re right!

Tilly – Of course I am.

Hermione prodded Ron in the back to make him hurry, and the three of them joined the crowd swarming up the steps, through the giant oak front doors, into the cavernous entrance hall, which was lit with flaming torches, and housed a magnificent marble staircase that led to the upper floors.
The door into the Great Hall stood open at the right; Harry followed the crowd toward it, but barely glimpsed the enchanted ceiling, which was black and cloudy tonight, when a voice called, "Potter!

James – Oh, the familiar call of my last name at the beginning of term.

Lily – All that’s missing is the name Black following it.

Granger! I want to see you both!"
Harry and Hermione turned around, surprised. Professor McGonagall,

All – Ooh! They’re in trouble!

Transfiguration teacher and head of Gryffindor House, was calling over the heads of the crowd. She was a stern-looking witch who wore her hair in a tight bun; her sharp eyes were framed with square spectacles. Harry fought his way over to her with a feeling of foreboding: Professor McGonagall had a way of making him feel he must have done something wrong.

Sirius – I get that feeling all the time.

Remus – That’s because you’ve always done something wrong.

"There's no need to look so worried-I just want a word in my office," she told them. "Move along there, Weasley."
Ron stared as Professor McGonagall ushered Harry and Hermione away from the chattering crowd; they accompanied her across the entrance hall, up the marble staircase, and along a corridor.

Sirius – They’re heading to her office.

Kaya – How would *you* know?

Sirius – I’ve been there enough times that I could walk there in my sleep.

Once they were in her office, a small room with a welcoming fire, Professor McGonagall motioned Harry and Hermione to sit down. She settled herself behind her desk and said abruptly, "Professor Lupin sent an owl ahead to say that you were taken ill on the train, Potter."

James – You tattled, Remus!

Remus – Hey, I’m a teacher, I was just looking out for him! And doing my job!

James – Whatever… ::muttering:: tattletale.

Remus - ::glare::

Before Harry could reply, there was a soft knock on the door and Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, came bustling in.
Harry felt himself going red in the face. It was bad enough he'd passed out, or whatever he had done, without everyone making all this fuss.
"I'm fine," he said, "I don't need anything-"
"Oh, it's you, is it?" said Madam Pomfrey, ignoring this and bending down to stare slowly at him. "I suppose you've been doing something dangerous again?"

Remus – That’s what she says to me *every* time I go to the hospital wing.

Sirius - ::mocking:: That’s because you’ve always done something dangerous.

"It was a dementor, Poppy," said Professor McGonagall.
They exchanged a dark look, and Madam Pomfrey clucked disapprovingly.
"Setting dementors around a school," she muttered, pushing back Harry's hair and feeling his forehead. "He won't be the last one who collapses. Yes, he's all clammy. Terrible things, they are, and the effects they have on people are already delicate-"

James/Lily – He’s not delicate!

"I'm not delicate!" said Harry crossly.

James/Lily – See?

"Of course you're not," said Madam Pomfrey absentmindedly now taking his pulse.
"What does he need?" said Professor McGonagall crisply. "Bed rest? Should he perhaps spend tonight in the hospital wing?"
"I'm *fine*!" said Harry, jumping up. The thought of what Draco Malfoy would say if he had to go to hospital wing was torture.

Remus – I know how you feel, Harry, I know exactly how you feel.

"Well, he should have some chocolate at the very least," said Madam Pomfrey, who was now trying to peer into Harry's eyes.
"I've already had some," said Harry. "Professor Lupin gave me some. He gave it to all of us."
"Did he, now?" said Madam Pomfrey approvingly. "So we've finally got a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies?"

James/Sirius – ::singing:: Go Remus, it’s your birthday, not really, but go anyway!

Remus - ::roll eyes::

"Are you sure you feel all right, Potter?" Professor McGonagall said sharply.
"*Yes*," said Harry.
"Very well. Kindly wait outside while I have a quick word with Miss Granger about her course schedule, then we can go down to the feast together."

Lily - ::curiously:: Wonder what’s wrong with her schedule?

Remus – She did say that she was taking a lot of classes while they were at Diagon Alley…

James – Maybe she’s being told to drop a few.

Lily – I have a feeling she won’t be too pleased about that.

Harry went back into the corridor with Madam Pomfrey, who left for the hospital wing, muttering to herself. He had to wait only a few minutes; then Hermione emerged looking very happy about something,

James – Never mind, that crushes my theory.

followed by Professor McGonagall, and the three of them made their way back down the marble staircase to the Great Hall.

Lily – I wonder what that was about.

It was a sea of pointed black hats; each of the long House tables was lined with students, their faces glimmering by the light of thousands of candles, which were floating over the tables in mid-air. Professor Flitwick, who was a tiny little wizard with a shock of white hair, was carrying an ancient hat and a three-legged stool out of the hall.
"Oh," said Hermione softly, "we've missed the Sorting!"

James – Somehow, we always miss the sorting.

New students at Hogwarts were sorted into Houses by trying on the Sorting Hat, which shouted out the House they were best suited to (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin). Professor McGonagall strode off toward her empty seat at the staff table, and Harry and Hermione set off in the other direction, as quietly as possible, toward the Gryffindor table. People looked at them as they passed along the back of the hall, and a few of them pointed at Harry. Had the story of his collapsing in front of the dementor traveled that fast?

All – Yup.

He and Hermione sat down on either side of Ron, who had saved them seats.
"What was all that about?" he muttered to Harry.
Harry started to explain in a whisper, but at that moment the headmaster stood up to speak, and he broke off.

Kaya – You *always* brake off your conversation when Dumbledore is about to speak.

Professor Dumbledore, though very old, always gave an impression of great energy. He had several feet of long silver hair and beard, half-moon spectacles, and an extremely crooked nose. He was often described as the greatest wizard of the age,

Morwen – Which he is.

but that wasn't why Harry respected him. You couldn't help trusting Albus Dumbledore,

Remus – You can’t help it!

and as Harry watched him beaming around at the students, he felt really calm for the first time since the dementor had entered the compartment.
"Welcome!" said Dumbledore, the candlelight shimmering on his beard. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to say to you all and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get out of the way before you become by out excellent feast...."

Sirius/James – Bring out the food!

Dumbledore had cleared his throat and continued, "As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business."

All – Hate them!

He paused, and Harry remembered what Mr. Weasley had said about Dumbledore not being happy with the dementors guarding the school.
"They are stationed at every entrance on the grounds," Dumbledore continued, "and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises- or even Invisibility Cloaks," he added blandly, and Harry and Ron glanced at each other.

Marauders – Dang it!

"It is not in the nature of the dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the prefects, and our new Head Boy and Girl, to make sure that no student runs afoul of the dementors," he said.
Percy, who was sitting a few down from Harry, puffed out his chest again and stared around impressively.

Marauders - ::cough:: Show off ::cough::

Dumbledore paused again; he looked very seriously around the hall, and nobody moved or made a sound.
"On a happier note," he continued, "I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year.
"First, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts."

James/Sirius - ::clap::whistle::whoop::holler::anything you can do while cheering someone on::

Remus – James, Sirius, that’s enough.

James/Sirius - ::pout::

There was some scattered, rather unenthusiastic applause. Only those who had been in the compartment on the train with Professor Lupin clapped hard, Harry among them.

James – Hey, at least Harry likes you! That’s a plus!

Professor Lupin looked particularly shabby next to all the other teachers in their best robes.
"Look at Snape!"

Marauders - ::glare::

Ron hissed in Harry's ear.
Professor Snape, the Potions master, was staring along the staff table at Professor Lupin. It was common knowledge that Snape wanted the Defense Against the Dark Arts job, but even Harry, who hated Snape, was startled at the expression twisting his thins sallow face. It was beyond anger: it was loathing.

Remus – Didn’t expect anything else.

Harry knew that expression only too well; it was the look Snape wore every time he set eyes on Harry.
"As to our second new appointment," Dumbledore continued as the lukewarm applause for Professor Lupin died away. "Well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs.

Kaya – How many does he have left at the moment?

Tilly – Lets see… Head, torso, left arm, right leg… Four.

However, I am delighted to say that this place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his game keeping duties."

All - ::gap::

Harry, Ron, and Hermione stared at one another, stunned. Then they joined in with the applause, which was tumultuous at the Gryffindor table in particular. Harry leaned forward to see Hagrid, who was ruby-red in the face and staring down at his enormous hands, his wide grin hidden in the tangle of black beard.

Sirius – We should’ve known! Who else would have assigned them a biting book?

"We should've known!" Ron roared pounding the table. "Who else would have assigned us a biting book?"

Tilly – Frea-ea-ea-ea-ky.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione were the last to stop clapping, and as Professor Dumbledore started speaking again, they saw that Hagrid was wiping his eyes with the tablecloth.
"Well, I think that's everything of importance," said Dumbledore. "Let the feast begin!"

Boys – Yay!

The golden plates and goblets before them filled suddenly with food and drink. Harry, suddenly ravenous, helped himself to everything he could reach and began to eat.

Tilly – Hu-u-u-u-ngry!

It was a delicious feast; the hall echoed with talk, laughter, and the clatter of knives and forks. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, however, were eager for it to finish so that they could talk to Hagrid. They knew how much being made a teacher would mean to him. Hagrid wasn't a fully qualified wizard; he had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year for a crime he had not committed. It had been Harry, Ron, and Hermione who had cleared Hagrid's name last year.

James – I wonder how.

Remus - ::thoughtfully:: Wonder if it has to do with Ginny.

Lily – Why?

Remus – If she’s a second year now, then she was a first year last year and something apparently happened to her, and since Hagrid was *cleared* last year, then maybe the two events tie in with each other.

Lily – Ah, I see.

At long last, when the last morsels of pumpkin tart had melted from the golden platters, Dumbledore gave word that it was time for them all to go to bed, and they got their chance.
"Congratulations, Hagrid!" Hermione squealed as they reached the teacher's table.
"All down ter you three," said Hagrid, wiping his shining face on his napkin as he looked at them, "Can't believe it... great man, Dumbledore...

All – Amen to that!

came straight down to me hut after Professor Kettleburn said he'd had enough... It's what I always wanted..."

Morwen – When we get back to Hogwarts, can we tell Hagrid that his dreams are going to come true?

James – No. Because we don’t know if this is fiction or fact.

Overcome with emotion, he buried his face in his napkin, and Professor McGonagall shooed them away.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione joined the Gryffindors streaming up the marble staircase and, very tired now, along more corridors, up more and more stairs, to the hidden entrance to Gryffindor Tower. A large portrait of a fat lady in a pink dress asked them, "Password?"

James – Phoenix!

Sirius – Lethifold!

Remus – Spider!

Peter – Toad!

Tilly – Do you know what I’ve noticed; Gryffindor always has the most common passwords.

Kaya – You’re right. What’s it this year? Feast?

"Coming through, coming through!" Percy yelled form behind the crowd. "The new password's 'Fortuna Major'!"

All - ::gasp:: A change!

"Oh no," said Neville Longbottom sadly. He always had trouble remembering the passwords.

Peter – Me too.

Through the portrait hole and across the common room, the girls and boys divided toward their separate staircases. Harry climbed the spiral staircase with no thoughts in his head except how glad he was to be back. They reached their familiar, circular dormitory with its five four-poster beds, and Harry, looking around, felt he was home at last.

Tilly – Aw! Sweet!

Sirius – I’m hungry… lets get a snack or something.

Others – Okay.

The group got up and sat the little book down on the dresser. As they left the room, no one noticed the book glow scarlet, nor did they notice the boy that suddenly appeared sitting on James’ bed. A boy with messy black hair, green eyes, glasses, and a lightening shaped scar.