Chapter 6


The Marauders and the girls made their way up to James’ room with Sirius in the lead that was rubbing his stomach and complimenting on what a good snack they had. James was behind him, complaining over his shoulder to Remus who was behind him about how long it took Sirius to be satisfied with all of that food. Peter was listening in the conversation adding his own comments every once in a while. The girls, however, weren’t so orderly fashioned as the boys and were in a circle gossiping about something in a whisper. Every once in a while they would erupt in giggles.

Sirius opened the door to James’ room and stepped in before stopping dead. James, who had not noticed quickly enough, bumped into him. Then Remus who was looking over his shoulder at Peter bumped into him and Peter, being stupid, bumped into them. By this time, Sirius was waving his arms frantically trying to remain balanced, and if it weren’t for the girls who were still giggling too much to notice the jam, he would have. These last bumps made all of the boys tumble over and fall into a dog pile on the floor, with Sirius on the bottom and Peter on top.

Now, Sirius is not one to complain, but being squashed by his best friends wasn’t something that he took lightly. So he screamed out that he was suffocating, which made James call out that he couldn’t breath, which made Remus shout at Peter to get off of him, which made Peter get up at once. And with Peter off, all of the Marauders were able to get back to their feet. Once upright and breathing normally, the entire group turned to Sirius with stern expressions.

“Why did you just stop in the middle of the doorway, Padfoot?” Remus asked rubbing his shoulders where Peter had succeeded in jamming both of his knees into while getting to his feet.

“Because either James has a twin or someone has come from the future!” Sirius proclaimed as he turned around and faced the boy who was now standing at the window looking at them all with wide, emerald eyes.

Everyone in the room leaned in closer to get a better look at the boy who seemed too shock to say anything.

Finally, Lily, being the brave one, stepped forward and said, “Are you Harry Potter?”

The boy nodded slowly.

“Wicked!” Sirius shouted out which proceeded in getting him smacked in the head by his companions.

“Do you know who we are?” Remus asked.

The boy, Harry, did not answer.

“I’m Remus Lupin, and this is James Potter, Lily Evans, Peter Pettigrew, Kaya Sasaki, Morwen Otis, and Tilly Miles.”

Sirius waved his arms in front of Remus’ face and Remus acted as if he didn’t notice. Sirius then started to jump up in down in front of Remus.

Remus let out a sigh and added, “And the crazy monkey you see here is Sirius Black.”

No one bothered to ask why Sirius just didn’t introduce himself instead of a making a fool of himself. Even if they wanted to they wouldn’t have had time since Harry started to mouth wordlessly at them as if not sure as to what to say.

Finally he settled on, “How?”

“Can you be more specific?” Tilly asked skeptically.

“Yeah, how are you here? How do we know your name? How are you going to get back?” Kaya listed off the possible “how’s” he could be asking.

“All of the above!” Harry answered.

James took it upon himself, as the only other Potter in the room, to answer his questions. “I have no idea how you are here. We know your name because of the book we are reading. And I have no idea how you are going to get back.”


“Yeah,” Sirius said enthusiastically as he grabbed the little ‘harmless’ book and showed it to Harry. “You see. The Prisoner of Azkaban! That’s me! Though I don’t want to be…”

“My third year of Hogwarts is recorded in a book!?” Harry asked awestruck.

They all nodded.

“What part are you on?”

“You barely got to Hogwarts!” Peter said speaking for the first time.

Harry thought for a moment and then smiled. “Let’s go on, shall we?”

“What about returning you back to the future?” Lily asked concerned.

“We can worry about that later. I won’t get this chance again!” They all shared a knowing look before nodding in understanding.

“Well, *I’m* reading.” Lily said and read the chapter title aloud, “Chapter Six – Talons and Tea Leaves.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione entered the Great Hall for breakfast the next day, the first thing they saw was Draco Malfoy, who seemed to be entertaining a large group of Slytherins with a very funny story.

James – If it has to do with what happened on the train…

Harry – It does.

James – Bloody Malfoy!

As they passed, Malfoy did a ridiculous impression of a swooning fit and there was a roar of laughter.
"Ignore him," said Hermione,

Harry – Easy for her to say.

Sirius – Every thing’s easy for her to say.

who was right behind Harry. "Just ignore him, it's not worth it. . ."
"Hey, Potter!" shrieked Pansy Parkinson, a Slytherin girl with a face like a pug, "Potter! The dementors are coming, Potter! Woooooooo!"

James – Bloody Parkinson!

Harry dropped into a seat at the Gryffindor table, next to George Weasley.

Marauders – They’re cool!

Harry – You guys are their idol.

Marauders - ::proud look::

"New third-year course schedules," said George, passing them over. "What's up with you, Harry?"
"Malfoy," said Ron, sitting down on George's other side and glaring over at the Slytherin table.
George looked up in time to see Malfoy pretending to faint with terror again.

Tilly – That little git!

"That little git,"

Tilly – See? He agrees with me!

he said calmly. "He wasn't so cocky last night when the dementors were down at our end of the train.

Remus – Bet he wasn’t.

Came running into our compartment, didn't he, Fred?"
"Nearly wet himself,"

All - ::snort::

said Fred, with a contemptuous glance at Malfoy.
"I wasn't too happy myself," said George. "They're horrible things, those dementors. . . ."

All - ::nod::

"Sort of freeze your insides, don't they?" said Fred.
"You didn't pass out, though, did you?" said Harry in a low voice.

James – I still don’t get that!

Remus – Oh, you will. And I bet it’s me who explains it all.

Harry – You’re right on that one.

"Forget it, Harry," said George bracingly. "Dad had to go out to Azkaban one time, remember, Fred? And he said it was the worst place he'd ever been, he came back all weak and shaking... They suck the happiness out of a place, dementors. Most of the prisoners go mad in there."

Peter – So why didn’t Sirius?

Harry – ::glare no one notices::

Kaya – Maybe he did and there’s a mad convict on the loose?

Sirius – That’s even worse!

"Anyway, we'll see how happy Malfoy looks after our first Quidditch match," said Fred. "Gryffindor versus Slytherin, first game of the season, remember?"

All excluding Harry - ::evil grins::

Harry - ::Grimaces no one notices again::

The only time Harry and Malfoy had faced each other in a Quidditch match, Malfoy had definitely come off worse. Feeling slightly more cheerful, Harry helped himself to sausages and fried tomatoes.

James/Sirius/Remus – OOH! What happened your first game?

Harry – In general? Well, a professor cursed my broom and tried to throw me off. With Malfoy? A house-elf cursed a Bludger to go only after me.

Others – WHAT!?

Harry – And even with that all I ended up catching the snitch both times. The first time I was fine, but the second time I broke my arm but the git of a professor we had that year removed them all from my arm.

Sirius – Oh no. Did you have to re-grow your bones?

Harry – ::nod::

Sirius – ::wince:: Poor, poor, Harry.

Hermione was examining her new schedule.
"Ooh, good, we're starting some new subjects today," she said happily.
"Hermione," said Ron, frowning as he looked over her shoulder, "they've messed up your schedule.

Girls – Highly unlikely!

Look—they've got you down for about ten subjects a day. There isn't enough time."
"I'll manage. I've fixed it all with Professor McGonagall."
"But look," said Ron laughing, "see this morning? Nine o'clock, Divination. And underneath, nine o'clock, Muggle Studies. And"—Ron leaned closer to the schedule, disbelieving—"look—underneath that, Arithmancy, nine o'clock.

Tilly – And *how* does she plan to get to all of her classes?

Lily – She *did* talk to McGonagall at the beginning of the year… maybe it was about her schedule and they really *do* have something worked out.

Morwen – Are we right?

Harry – I ain’t saying nothing!

I mean, I know you're good, Hermione, but no one's that good. How're you supposed to be in three classes at once?"

All – Yeah!

"Don't be silly," said Hermione shortly. "Of course I won't be in three classes at once."

Tilly – Well, then-

Lily – Shhh!

Tilly – Sorry.

"Well, then—"

All – Wow. Freaky.

"Pass the marmalade," said Hermione.
"Oh, Ron, what's it to you if my schedule's a bit full?" Hermione snapped. "I told you, I've fixed it all with Professor McGonagall."

Sirius – In code that means “Shut up or I’ll hex you into next week.”

Lily – That’s possible. I know the perfect Charm to do just that!

Just then, Hagrid entered the Great Hall. He was wearing his long moleskin overcoat and was absentmindedly swinging a dead polecat from one enormous hand.

All – Ewwww.

"All righ'?" he said eagerly, pausing on the way to the staff table. "Yer in my firs' ever lesson! Right after lunch! Bin up since five gettin' everythin' ready...

Peter - ::nervously:: Getting *what* ready?

Hope it's okay...

Kaya – Hope Hagrid does okay.

Me, a teacher...

Morwen – Me too.


Tilly – Me three.

He grinned broadly at them and headed off to the staff table, still swinging the polecat.
"Wonder what he's been getting ready?"

Peter – My concern exactly.

Harry - ::glare::

said Ron, a note of anxiety in his voice.
The hall was starting to empty as people headed off toward their first lesson. Ron checked his course schedule.
"We'd better go, look, Divination's at the top of North Tower.

James – How much do you want to bet they’ll get lost?

Sirius – I *would* bet you, but I ain’t got no money.

It'll take us ten minutes to get there. . . ."
They finished their breakfasts hastily, said good-bye to Fred and George, and walked back through the hall. As they passed the Slytherin table, Malfoy did yet another impression of a fainting fit.

All - ::glare::

The shouts of laughter followed Harry into the entrance hall.
The journey through the castle to North Tower was a long one. Two years at Hogwarts hadn't taught them everything about the castle, and they had never been inside North Tower before.

Remus – Remember when *we* were looking for the North Tower?

James – Yeah, we got lost… twice… in the same day!

Sirius – We were lucky to run into what’s his name?

"There's—got—to—be—a—shortcut," Ron panted as they climbed their seventh long staircase and emerged on an unfamiliar landing, where there was nothing but a large painting of a bare stretch of grass handing on the stone wall.

Sirius – No!

"I think it's this way," said Hermione, peering down the empty passage to the right.
"Can't be," said Ron. "That's south, look, you can see a bit of the lake out of the window . . ."
Harry was watching the painting.

James – Distracted easily aren’t you?

Harry – I didn’t feel like listening to Ron and Hermione bicker… *again*!

A fat, dapple-gray pony had just ambled onto the grass and was grazing nonchalantly. Harry was use to the subjects of Hogwarts paintings moving around and leaving their frames to visit one another, but he always enjoyed watching it.

Sirius – Why? I found it rather boring myself.

Harry – I grew up with Muggles, what do you expect?

Sirius – I expect you to be use to it by now and find it boring!

Harry - ::sigh::

A moment later, a short, squat knight in a suit of armor clanked into the picture after his pony. By the look of the grass stains on his metal knees, he had just fallen off.

All - ::laugh::

"Aha!" he yelled seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione. "What villains are these, that trespass upon my private lands! Come to scorn at my fall, perchance? Draw, you knaves, you dogs!"

Sirius/Remus – And what exactly are wrong with dogs?

Lily – Will you quit it, you dog obsessed freaks!?

Harry - ::knowing look::

They watched in astonishment as the little knight tugged his sword out of its scabbard and began brandishing it violently, hopping up and down in rage. But the sword was too long for him; a particularly wild swing made him overbalance, and he landed face down in the grass.

All - ::laugh::

Marauders – Loser.

"Are you all right?" said Harry, moving closer to the picture.
"Get back, you scurvy braggart! Back, you rogue!"

Tilly – You ask if he’s all right and he calls you a rogue?

Harry - ::nod::

Tilly – Stu-u-u-u-pid!

The knight seized his sword again and used it to push himself back up, but the blade sunk deep into the grass and, though he pulled with all his might, he couldn't get it out again.

All - ::muttering:: Idiot.

Finally, he had to flop back down onto the grass and push up his visor to mop his sweating face.
"Listen," said Harry, taking advantage of the knight's exhaustion, "we're looking for the North Tower. You don't know the way, do you?"

Remus – You’re asking this guy?

Harry – Hey! We were desperate!

"A quest!" The knight's rage seemed to vanish instantly. He clanked to his feet and shouted, "Come follow me, dear friends, and we shall find out goal, or else shall perish bravely in the charge!" He gave the sword another fruitless tug, tried and failed to mount the fat pony, gave up, and cried, "On foot then, good sirs and gentle lady! On! On!"

Marauders – Good kick then, fat horse and stupid sir! Git! Git!

Others – ::laugh::

And he ran, clanking loudly, into the left side of the frame and out of sight.
They hurried after him along the corridor, following the sound of his armor. Every now and then they spotted him running through a picture ahead.

Kaya – I saw the painting of Violet do that once or twice, but other than that I always thought they stayed in their own portrait.

Lily – They do most of the time, but sometimes they like to walk around.

"Be of stout heart, the worst is yet to come!" yelled the knight, and they saw him reappear in front of an alarmed group of women in crinolines, whose picture hung on the wall of a narrow spiral staircase.
Puffing loudly, Harry, Ron, and Hermione climbed the tightly spiraling steps, getting dizzier and dizzier,

Remus – You’re getting closer to the Grim! The Grim!

until at last they heard the murmur of voices above them and knew they had reached the classroom.
"Farewell!" cried the knight, popping his head into a painting of some sinister-looking monks. "Farewell, my comrades-in-arms! If ever you have need of noble heart and steely sinew, call upon Sir Cadogan!"

Sirius – Ron says something sarcastic doesn’t he?

Harry - ::nod::

"Yeah, we'll call you," muttered Ron as the knight disappeared, "if we ever need someone mental."

Sirius – Am I good, or am I good?

They climbed the last few steps and emerged onto a tiny landing, where most of the class was already assembled. There were no doors off this landing, but Ron nudged Harry and pointed at the ceiling, where there was a circular trapdoor with a brass plaque on it.

Remus – The Grim! The Grim!

James - Shut up about that!

"'Sibyll Trelawney, Divination teacher,'" Harry read.

Lily – Thank god! I thought that horrid lady, Professor Vantra was still teaching for a second.

"How're we supposed to get up there?"
As though in answer to his question, the trapdoor suddenly opened, and a silvery ladder descended right at Harry's feet.

Lily – A bit traditional isn’t it?

Remus – Yup, the person who’s going to die has the ladder stop at *their* feet. You get the Grim, don’t you?

Harry – You’ll see.

Everyone got quiet.
"After you," said Ron, grinning, so Harry climbed the ladder first.

Remus – Or is it the person that enters the room first?

Lily – Probably both.

He emerged into the strangest-looking classroom he had ever seen. In fact, it didn't look like a classroom at all, more like a cross between someone's attic and an old-fashioned teashop. At least twenty small, circular tables were crammed inside it, all surrounded by chintz armchairs and fat little poufs. Everything was lit with a dim, crimson light; the curtains at the windows were all closed, and the many lamps were draped with dark red scarves.

Remus/Sirius – I hate that room, it’s always so hot!

It was stiflingly warm,

Remus/Sirius – More like boiling hot!

and the fire was burning under the crowded mantelpiece was giving off a heavy, sickly sort of perfume as it heated a large copper kettle. The shelves running around the circular walls were crammed with dusty-looking feathers, stubs of candles, many packs of tattered playing cards, countless silvery crystal balls, and a huge array of teacups.

Remus – Beware the tealeaves!

Ron appeared at Harry's shoulder as the class assembled around them, all talking in whispers.
"Where is she?" Ron said.
A voice came suddenly out of the shadows, a soft, misty sort of voice.
"Welcome," it said. "How nice to see you in the physical world at last."

Remus/Lily - ::groan:: Could she get anymore cliché?

Harry's immediate impression was of a large, glittering insect.

Harry – That pretty much describes her.

Others - ::nod::

Professor Trelawney moved into the firelight, and they saw that she was very thin; her large glasses magnified her eyes several times their natural size, and she was draped in a gauzy spangled shawl. Innumerable chains and beads hung around her spindly neck, and her arms and hands were encrusted with bangles and rings.

Kaya – I wonder what she looks like *without* all of the jewelry.

"Sit, my children, sit," she said, and they all climbed awkwardly into armchairs or sank into poufs. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat themselves around the same round table.

Remus – Cliques always do.

Sirius – What’s a clique?

Remus – A group of friends with three or more people.

Sirius – Can you have more than one clique.

Remus – Yeah…

Sirius – So, the Marauders are clique? The trio is clique? The Slytherins are clique? Quidditch teams are clique?

Remus – Yes, now enough about cliques and lets get back to the story.

Sirius – Right.

"Welcome to Divination,"

Remus – It’s the Grim! The Grim!

James - ::irritated::

said Professor Trelawney, who had seated herself into a winged armchair in front of the fire. "My name is Professor Trelawney. You may not have seen me before. I find that descending too often into the hustle and bustle of the main school clouds my Inner Eye."

Kaya – Vantra gave this same speech. Rather boring, it was.

Sirius – I don’t remember it. I was already asleep.

Tilly - *How* are you have one of the highest students?

Sirius – It’s my charm.

Girls - ::roll eyes::

Nobody said anything to this extraordinary pronouncement. Professor Trelawney delicately rearranged her shawl and continued, "So you have chosen to study Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts. I must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you. Books can take you only so far in this field . . .."

All - ::gasp:: What so ever will Hermione do?

At these words, both Harry and Ron glanced, grinning, at Hermione, who startled at the news that books wouldn't be much help in this subject.

Boys - ::snicker::

"Many witches and wizards, talented though they are in the area of loud bangs and smells and sudden disappearing, are yet unable to penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future," Professor Trelawney went on, her enormous, gleaming eyes moving from face to nervous face. "It is a Gift granted few. You, boy," she said suddenly to Neville, who almost toppled off his pouf. "Is your grandmother well?"

Remus - ::as Neville:: I think so.

Lily - ::as Professor Trelawney:: I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you dear…

"I think so," said Neville tremulously.
"I wouldn't be so sure if I were you dear,"

Others - ::shocked silence::

Remus/Lily - *So* cliché.

said Professor Trelawney, the firelight glinting on her long emerald earrings. Neville gulped. Professor Trelawney continued placidly. "We will be covering the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be devoted to reading the tealeaves.

Remus – The Gr-

James – The Grim, the Grim… We know, we know!

Next term we shall progress to palmistry. By the way, my dear," she shot suddenly at Parvati Patil,

Remus – ::as Trelawney:: Beware a red-haired man!

Sirius – Why red?

Remus – Because that’s what Vantra said our first lesson.

Sirius – Doesn’t mean she’ll say the exact same thing.

Lily – Yes it does.

"beware a red-haired man."
Parvati gave a startled look at Ron, who was right behind her, and edged her chair away from him.

Lily/Remus - ::roll eyes::

"In the second term," Professor Trelawney went on, "we shall progress to the crystal ball—if we have finished fire omens, that is. Unfortunately, classes will be disrupted in February by a nasty bout of the flu. I myself will lose my voice. And around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever."

Morwen – You know what, this sounds very familiar.

Kaya – Doesn’t it?

A very tense silence followed this pronouncement, but Professor Trelawney seemed unaware of it. "I wonder, dear," she said to Lavender Brown, who was nearest and shrank back in her chair, "if you could pass me the largest silver teapot?"
Lavender, looking relieved, stood up, took and enormous teapot from the shelf, and put it down on the table in front of Professor Trelawney.
"Thank you, my dear. Incidentally, that thing you are dreading—it will happen on

Morwen – Let me guess, Friday of October.

Friday the sixteenth of October."

Morwen – She *is* cliché. Vantra must have been her mentor. ::roll eyes::

Lavender trembled.
"Now, I want you to divide into pairs. Collect a teacup from the shelf, come to me, and I will fill it. Then sit and drink, drink until only the dregs remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the left hand, then turn the cup upside down on its saucer, wait for the last of the tea to drain away, then give your cup to your partner to read. You will interpret the patterns using pages five and six of Unfogging the Future. I shall move among you, helping and instructing. Oh and dear"—she caught Neville by the arm as he made to stand up, "after you've broken your first cup, would you be so kind as to select one of the blue patterned ones? I'm rather attached to the pink."

Lily – Why would Neville want a pink one anyway?

Others - ::shrug::

Sure enough, Neville had no sooner reached the shelf of teacups than there was a tinkle of breaking china.

James – How do you explain that, Lil?

Lily – James, that isn't the question you should be asking. What you should be asking is would he have broken the cup if she hadn’t said anything?

James – Erm… ::blink::

Professor Trelawney swept over to him holding a dustpan and brush and said, "One of the blue ones, then, dear, if you wouldn't mind . . . thank you . . .."
When Harry and Ron had had their teacups filled, they went back to their table and tried to drink the scalding tea quickly.

Sirius – I never liked that tea.

Kaya – Me either. It gave me a sore throat.

They swilled the dregs around as Professor Trelawney had instructed, then drained the cups and swapped over.
"Right," said Ron as they both opened their books at pages five and six. "What can you see in mine?"
"A load of soggy brown stuff,"

Tilly - ::giggle:: That’s what Lily said when we did this.

said Harry. The heavily perfumed smoke in the room was making him feel sleepy and stupid.
"Broaden your minds, my dears, and allow your eyes see past the mundane!" Professor Trelawney cried through the gloom.

Remus - ::as if he’s in pain:: Why must we never hear from a true Seers! They’re fascinating! Fakes like this though are… ::groans::

Harry tried to pull himself together.
"Right, you've got a crooked sort of cross . . ." He consulted Unfogging the Future. "That means you're going to have 'trials and suffering'—sorry about that—but there's a thing that could be the sun . . . hang on . . . that means 'great happiness' . . . so you're going to suffer but be very happy . . .."

Sirius – He needs his Inner Eye tested, if you ask me.

James – Nah. He just got that from Lily.

Tilly – And how are Lily and James meant for each other? I think Remus and Lily would be a cute couple, if you ask me.

Harry – That’s kind of a disturbing thought. My mother and my professor… er…

Others - ::giggles::

"You need your Inner Eye tested, if you ask me,"

Sirius – Great minds think alike!

said Ron, and they both had to stifle their laughs as Professor Trelawney gazed in their direction. "My turn . . ." Ron peered into Harry's teacup, his forehead wrinkled in effort. "There's a blob a bit like a bowler hat," he said. "Maybe you're going to work for the Ministry of Magic . . .."

All - ::snore::

He turned the teacup the other way up.
"But this way it looks more like an acorn . . .. What's that?" He scanned his copy of Unfogging the Future. "'A windfall, unexpected gold.' Excellent, you can lend me some . . . and there's a thing here," he turned the cup again, "that looks like an animal . . . yeah, if that was its head . . . it looks like a hippo . . . no, a sheep . . ."

Lily – Hippo means ‘great sadness’ and sheep means ‘secrets are around you’…

Harry - I think either would work well.

James – And how does Miss Anti-Divination know this?

Lily – Just because I don’t like the teacher, doesn’t mean I don’t think the subject isn’t interesting. I read my books, James.

James – Ah, so you secretly share the same vision as Remus then?

Lily – If you put it that way, then yes.

Professor Trelawney whirled around as Harry let out a snort of laughter.
"Let me see that, my dear," she said reprovingly to Ron, sweeping over and snatching Harry's cup from him. Everyone went quiet to watch.
Professor Trelawney was staring into the teacup, rotating it counterclockwise.
"The falcon . . . my dear, you have a deadly enemy."

Tilly – But everyone knows *that*!

Harry - ::weird look::

"But everyone know that,"

Tilly – Whoa-oa-oa-oa.

said Hermione in a loud whisper. Professor Trelawney stared at her.
"Well, they do," said Hermione. "Everybody knows about Harry and You-Know-Who."

Marauders – She does have an attitude!

Harry – She’s not that bad… anymore.

Harry and Ron stared at her with a mixture of amazement and admiration. They had never heard Hermione speak to a teacher like that before. Professor Trelawney chose not to reply. She lowered her huge eyes to Harry's cup again and continued to turn it.
"The club . . . an attack. Dear, dear,

Remus – This is not a happy cup.

this is not a happy cup . . ."

Remus – ::sigh:: Sounds like our first class all over again. Any minute now she should gasp and then scream.

"I thought that was a bowler hat," said Ron sheepishly.
"The skull . . . danger in your path, my dear. . . ." Everyone was staring, transfixed, at Professor Trelawney, who gave the cup a final turn, gasped, and then screamed.

Remus – Ah. There we go.

There was another tinkle of breaking china; Neville had smashed his second cup.
Professor Trelawney sank into a vacant armchair, her glittering hand at her heart and her eyes closed.
"My dear boy . . . my poor, dear boy . . . no . . . it is kinder not to say . . . no . . . don't ask me . . ."

All excluding James – Okay.

"What is it, Professor?" said Dean Thomas at once.

All - ::snort::

Everyone had got to their feet, and slowly crowded around Harry and Ron's table, pressing close to Professor Trelawney's chair to get a good look at Harry's cup.
"My dear," Professor Trelawney's huge eyes opened dramatically, "You have the Grim."

James – I knew it!

Remus – The Grim! The Grim!

James – This is serious!

Sirius – No. I’m Sirius.

James – No! What I mean is…

Lily – Harry, are you dead?

Harry – No.

Lily – Do you almost die.

Harry – Yeah.

James – See!

Remus – I almost die all the time, that doesn’t mean anything! She picks the most likely victim and says that she sees the Grim in their future.

Kaya – Why do you almost die, Remus?

Remus – Er… ::awkward silence::

Tilly – I happen to know a real Seer and they are *nothing* like Trelawney *or* Vantra!

All - ::gap:: You do?

Tilly – Yeah. Can’t say who though, you know, the secrecy.

All - ::nod::

"The what?" said Harry.

Remus – The Grim! The Grim!

Harry – I know now, I didn’t know then.

James – Of course you didn’t! Weren’t you scared?

Harry - ::pause:: No, not really. A bit shocked, I suppose, but scared? No.

He could tell that he wasn't the only one who didn't understand; Dean Thomas shrugged at him and Lavender Brown looked puzzled, but nearly everyone else clapped their hands to their mouths in horror.
"The Grim, my dear boy, the Grim!" cried Professor Trelawney, who looked shocked that Harry hadn't understood. "The giant, spectral dog that haunts the churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen—the worst omen—of death!"

All - ::fake gasp::

Harry's stomach lurched. That dog on the cover of Death Omens in Flourish and Blotts—the dog in the shadows of Magnolia Crescent . . .
Lavender Brown clapped her hand to her mouth too. Everyone was looking at Harry, everyone except Hermione, who had gotten up and moved around to the back of Professor Trelawney's chair.
"I don't think it looks like a Grim," she said flatly.

Lily – Now *that* sounds like Kaya.

Kaya – Thank you… I think.

Professor Trelawney surveyed Hermione with mounting dislike.
"You'll forgive me for saying so, my dear, but I perceive very little aura around you. Very little receptivity to the resonance of the future."

Lily – James, please! I’m not saying that the *study* of Divination is crap, I’m saying that Trelawney and Vantra are crap! You have got to see that she is a fraud!

James – Fine, she’s a stupid fraud!

All – Thank you!

Seamus Finnigan was tilting his head from side to side.
"It looks like a Grim if you do this," he said, with his eyes almost shut, "but it looks more like a donkey from here," he said, leaning to the left.
"When you've all finished deciding whether I'm going to die or not!" said Harry, taking even himself by surprise.

Sirius – A bit emotional, aren’t you?

Harry – I was just told that I’m supposed to die quite soon. I wasn’t in the best of moods I can tell you that.

Now nobody seemed to want to look at him.
"I think we will leave the lesson here for today," said Professor Trelawney in her mistiest voice. "Yes . . . please pack away your things . . .."
Silently the class took their teacups back to Professor Trelawney, packed away their books, and closed their bags. Even Ron was avoiding Harry's eyes.

Remus - ::shakes head:: I can’t decide if Ron is more like James or Sirius.

Peter – I think it’s a bit of both.

Remus – You may be right.

"Until we meet again," said Professor Trelawney faintly, "fair fortune be yours. Oh and dear"—she pointed at Neville—"you'll be late next time, so mind you work extra-hard to catch up."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione descended Professor Trelawney's ladder and the winding stair in silence, and then set off for Professor McGonagall's Transfiguration lesson. It took them so long to find her classroom that, early as they had left Divination; they were only just in time.

Harry – She really needs to relocate her classroom.

Harry chose a seat right at the back of the room, feeling as through he were sitting in a very bright spotlight; the rest of the class kept shooting furtive glances at him, as though he were about to drop dead at any moment. He hardly heard what Professor McGonagall was telling them about Anamagi (wizards who could transform at will into animals),

Tilly – Interesting subject, but not when you’re a bit distracted.

and wasn't even watching when she transformed herself in front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes.
"Really, what has got into you all today?" said Professor McGonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring around at them all. "Not that it matters, but that's the first time my transformation not got applause from a class."

James – Especially from us. We just love Animagi, don’t we?

Marauders - ::grins::

Girls - ::confused looks::

Everybody's heads turned toward Harry again, but nobody spoke. Then Hermione raised her hand.
"Please, Professor, we've just had our first Divination class, and we were reading the tealeaves, and—"

Lily - ::squeal:: Ooh! Another dose of McGonagall hatred of the subject!

"Ah, of course," said Professor McGonagall, suddenly frowning. "There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?"
Everyone stared at her.
"Me," said Harry finally.

Harry – Actually, I don’t die…

"I see," said Professor McGonagall, fixing Harry with her beady eyes. "Then you should know, Potter, that Sibyl Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favorite way of greeting a new class. If it were not for the fact that I never speak ill of my colleagues—”

All - ::chanting:: Speak ill! Speak ill! Speak ill!

Professor McGonagall broke off, and they saw that her nostrils had gone white.
She went on, more calmly, "Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic. I shall not conceal from you that I have very little patience with it. TTilly Seers are very rare, and Professor Trelawney—"
She stopped again, and then said, in a matter-of-fact tone, "You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you, that if you die, you need not hand it in."

Girls - ::giggle::

Hermione laughed. Harry felt a bit better. It was harder to feel scared of a lump of tealeaves away from the dim red light and befuddling perfume of Professor Trelawney's classroom. Not everyone was convinced, however. Ron still looked worried, and Lavender whispered, "But what about Neville's cup?"

James – I still don’t get that.

Lily – It was just a coincidence.

When the Transfiguration class had finished, they joined the crowd thundering toward the Great Hall for lunch.
"Ron, cheer up," said Hermione, pushing a dish of stew toward him. "You heard what Professor McGonagall said."
Ron spooned the spew onto his plate and picked up his fork but didn't start.
"Harry," he said, in a low serious voice, "you haven't seen a great black dog anywhere, have you?"

Remus - ::innocently:: Only a Sirius type of dog.

Sirius - ::roll eyes::

"Yeah, I have," said Harry. "I saw one the night I left the Dursleys."
Ron let his fork fall with a clatter.
"Probably a stray," said Hermione calmly. Ron looked at Hermione as though she had gone mad.
"Hermione, if Harry's seen a Grim, that's—that's bad," he said. "My—my uncle Bilius saw one and—and he died twenty-four hours later!"

James – How do you explain that?

Lily – Coincidence.


Lily – See. Even the cleverest witch of her age agrees with me.

said Hermione airily, pouring herself some pumpkin juice.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" said Ron, starting to get angry. "Grims scare the living daylights out of most wizards!"
"There you are, then," said Hermione in a superior tone. "They see the Grim and die of fright. The Grim's not an omen; it's the cause of death! And Harry's still with us because he's not stupid enough to see one and think, right, well, I'd better kick the bucket then!"

Harry – Poor Ron doesn’t know when he’s arguing a losing battle.

Morwen – It sounds so silly when you put it like that! ::giggles::

Ron mouthed wordlessly at Hermione, who opened her bag, took out her new Arithmancy book, and propped it open against her juice jug.
"I think Divination seems very woolly," she said searching her page. "A lot of guesswork, if you ask me."
"There was nothing woolly about the Grim in that cup!" said Ron hotly.
"You didn't seem quite so confident when you were telling Harry it was a sheep," said Hermione coolly.

All – True. True.

"Professor Trelawney said you didn't have the right aura! You just don't like being bad at something for a change!"

All - ::wince::

He had touched a nerve. Hermione slammed her Arithmancy book down on the table so hard that bits of meat and carrot flew everywhere.
"If being good at Divination means I have to pretend to see death omens in a lump of tea leaves, I'm not sure I'll be studying it much longer! That lesson was absolute rubbish compared with my Arithmancy class!"

Kaya - ::raises eyebrow:: What does she mean? She hasn’t had Arithmancy yet, has she?

Lily – She couldn’t have. She’s been with Ron and Harry the whole time, right?

Harry - ::nod:: That we know of.

Others - ::raise eyebrow::

She snatched up her bag and stalked away.
Ron frowned after her.
"What's she talking about?" he said to Harry. "She hasn't been to an Arithmancy class yet."

Kaya – My thought exactly!

Harry was pleased to get out of the castle after lunch. Yesterday's rain had cleared; the sky was a clear, pale gray, and the grass was springy and damp underfoot as they set off for their first ever Care of Magical Creatures class.

Peter – I like Care of Magical Creatures, I’m just not good at it.

Ron and Hermione weren't speaking to each other. Harry walked beside them in silence as they went down the sloping lawns to Hagrid's hut on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It was only when he spotted three only-too-familiar backs ahead of them that he realized they must be having lessons with the Slytherins.

All - ::groan::

Malfoy was talking animatedly to Crabbe and Goyle, who were chortling. Harry was quite sure he knew what they were talking about. Hagrid was waiting for his class at the door of his hut. He stood in his moleskin overcoat, with Fang the boarhound at his heels, looking impatient to start.
"C'mon, now, get a move on!" he called as the class approached. "Got a real treat for yeh today! Great lesson comin' up! Everyone here? Right, follow me!"

Peter – That’s not a good sign.

For one nasty moment, Harry though that Hagrid was going to lead them into the forest;

Peter - ::shiver::

Harry had had enough unpleasant experiences in there to last him a lifetime. However, Hagrid strolled off around the edge of the trees, and five minutes later, they found themselves outside a kind of paddock. There was nothing in there.
"Everyone gather 'round the fence here!" he called. "That's it—make sure yeh can see—now, firs' thing yeh'll want ter do is open yer books—”

Peter – How?

Harry - ::glare::

"How?" said the cold, drawling voice of Draco Malfoy.
"Eh?" said Hagrid.
"How do we open our books?" Malfoy repeated. He took out his copy of The Monster Book of Monsters, which he had bound shut with a length of rope. Other people took theirs out too; some, like Harry, had belted their book shut; others had crammed them inside tight bags or clamped them together with binder clips.

James – I want one of those to sic on Snape!

Sirius – Me too!

Remus – Me three!

Peter – Me four!

Harry – Me five!

James – Yeah, that sucks for you. You have him *and* Moony as a Professor…

Remus - ::glare::

Sirius – When *do* we get to see Moony’s class?

Harry – Probably next chapter.

"Hasn'—hasn' anyone bin able ter open their books?" said Hagrid, looking crestfallen.
The class all shook their heads.
"Yeh've got ter stroke 'em," said Hagrid, as though this was the most obvious thing in the world. "Look—"
He took Hermione's copy and ripped off the Spellotape that bound it. The book tried to bite, but Hagrid ran a giant forefinger down its spine, and the book shivered, and then fell open and lay quiet in his hand.

Sirius – And you were suppose to know that, how?

Harry - ::shrug::

"Oh, how silly we've all been!" Malfoy sneered. "We should have stroked them! Why didn't we guess!"
"I—I thought they were funny," Hagrid said uncertainly to Hermione.
"Oh, tremendously funny!” said Malfoy. “Really witty, giving us books that try and rip our hands off!”
"Shut up, Malfoy,” said Harry quietly. Hagrid was looking downcast and Harry wanted Hagrid’s first lesson to be a success.

Peter – Yeah! Leave Hagrid alone!

Harry - ::surprised::

“Righ’ then,” said Hagrid, who seemed to have lost his thread, “so-so yeh’ve got yer books an’-an’-now yeh need the Magical Creatures. Yeah. So I’ll go an’ get ‘em. Hang on…”
He strode away from them into the forest and out of sight.
“God, this place is going to the dogs,” said Malfoy loudly. “That oaf teaching classes, my father’ll have a fit when I tell him-“

All - ::glare::

“Shut up, Malfoy,” Harry repeated.
“Careful, Potter, there’s a dementor behind you-“

James/Lily - ::growl::

“Oooooooh!” squealed Lavender Brown, pointing toward the opposite side of the paddock.
Trotting toward them were a dozen of the most bizarre creatures Harry had ever seen. They had the bodies, hind legs, and tails of horses, but the front legs, wings, and heads of what seemed to be giant eagles, with cruel, steel-colored beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes.

Sirius – What in the world…

Kaya – What is that thing?

Harry – You’ll see.

The talons on their front legs were half a foot long and deadly looking. Each of the beasts had a thick leather collar around its neck, which was attached to a long chain, and the ends of all of these were held in the vast hands of Hagrid, who came jogging into the paddock behind the creatures.

Tilly - *Behind*? Shouldn’t he be in front to make sure that none of them try to rip you all apart?

Harry - ::shrug:: Rules really aren’t the same with Hagrid around.

Tilly – True.

“Gee up, there!” he roared, shaking the chains and urging the creatures toward the fence where the class stood. Everyone drew back slightly as Hagrid reached them and tethered the creatures to the fence.

Sirius – I want one!

James – You don’t even know what it does yet.

Sirius – I don’t care! I want one!

Hagrid roared happily, waving a hand at them. “Beau’iful, aren’ they?”
Harry could sort of see what Hagrid meant. Once you got over the first shock of seeing something that was half horse, half bird, you started to appreciate the hippogriffs’ gleaming coats, changing smoothly from feather to hair, each of them a different color; stormy gray, bronze, pinkish roan, gleaming chestnut, and inky black.

Lily – I’ve never seen one. Are they just spectacular?

Harry – In a way: yes. In another way: no.

“So,” said Hagrid, rubbing his hands together and beaming around, “if yeh wan’ ter come a bit nearer-“
No one seemed to want to. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, however, approached the fence cautiously.

Peter – Hagrid knows what he’s doing! No need to be afraid!

Others - ::nods::

“Now, firs’ thing yeh gotta know abou’ hippogriffs is, they’re proud,” said Hagrid. “Easily offended, hippogriffs are. Don’t never insult one, ‘cause it might be the last thing yeh do.”
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle weren’t listening; they were talking in an undertone

Remus – Uh oh. I have a bad feeling about this.

and Harry had a nasty feeling they were plotting how best to disrupt the lesson.
“Yeh always wait fer the hippogriff ter make the firs’ move,” Hagrid continued. “It’s polite, see? Yeh walk toward him, and yeh bow, an’ yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh’re allowed ter touch him. If he doesn’ bow, then get away from him sharpish, ‘cause those talons hurt.
“Right- who wants ter go first?”
Most of the class backed farther away in answer.

Remus/Sirius/James – Shoot, I would to!

Peter – ::bravely:: I wouldn’t. I would stay close just to make Hagrid’s first class a success.

Sirius - ::smiling:: That’s why you’re such a good friend, Pete.

Harry - ::confused and struggling::

Even Harry, Ron, and Hermione had misgivings. The hippogriffs were tossing their fierce heads and flexing their powerful wings; they didn’t seem to like being tethered like this.
“No one?” said Hagrid, with a pleading look.
“I’ll do it,” said Harry.

All - ::look at Harry:: Are you mad!?

Harry – I think I am.

James – You are going to die.

Lily – How can he die when he’s alive right beside us and apparently *not* thirteen.

James – I don’t know. He just is.

There was an intake of breath from behind him, and both Lavender and Parvati whispered, “Oooh, no, Harry, remember your tealeaves!”
Harry ignored them. He climbed over the paddock fence.
“Good man, Harry!” roared Hagrid. “Right then- let’s see how yeh get on with Buckbeak.”

Sirius – Beaky!

All - ::stare::

He untied one of the chains, pulled the gray hippogriff away form its fellows, and slipped off its leather collar. The class on the other side of the paddock seemed to be holding its breath. Malfoy’s eyes narrowed maliciously.
“Easy, now, Harry,” said Hagrid quietly. “Yeh’ve got eye contact, now try not ter blink . . .. Hippogriffs don’ trust yeh if yeh blink too much . . ..”

James – Tell me that and I will want to blink right away.

Harry – That’s what happens to me.

Harry’s eyes immediately began to water, but he didn’t shut them. Buckbeak had turned his great, sharp, head and was staring at Harry with one fierce orange eye.
“Tha’s it,” said Hagrid. “Tha’s it, Harry… now, bow…”
Harry didn’t feel much like exposing the back of his neck to Buckbeak, but he did as he was told. He gave a short bow and then looked up.

Lily – Was that a good enough bow?

Harry – If you read, you most likely will find out.

Sirius – You’re just as bad as Remus!

The hippogriff was still staring haughtily at him. It didn’t move.
“Ah,” said Hagrid, sounding worried.

Peter – Heh. That’s never a good sign.

“Right- back away, now, Harry, easy does it-“
But then, to Harry’s enormous surprise, the hippogriff suddenly bent its scaly front knees and sank into what was an unmistakable bow.

All - ::sigh with relief::

“Well done, Harry!” said Hagrid, ecstatic. “Right- yeh can touch him! Pat his beak, go on!”
Feeling that a better reward would have been to back away, Harry moved slowly toward the hippogriff and reached out toward it. He patted the beak several times and the hippogriff closed its eyes lazily, as though enjoying it.

Girls – Awww!

The class broke into applause, all except for Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were looking deeply disappointed.

Marauders – Stupid Slytherins.

“Righ’ then, Harry,” said Hagrid. “I reckon he might’ let yeh ride him!”

All excluding Harry – You aren’t actually going to try!?

Harry – What was I suppose to do? Say no?

All – Yes!

This was more than Harry had bargained for. He was used to a broomstick; but he wasn’t sure a hippogriff would be quite the same.
“Yeh climb up there, jus’ behind the wing joint,” said Hagrid, “an’ mind yeh don’ pull any of his feathers out, he won’ like that . . ..”

Remus – What are you suppose to hold on to then? Sounds like to me all there is are feathers.

Harry – You’d be right about that.

Harry put his foot on the top of Buckbeak’s wing and hoisted himself onto its back. Buckbeak stood up. Harry wasn’t sure where to hold on; everything in front of him was covered with feathers.
“Go on, then!” roared Hagrid, slapping the hippogriff’s hindquarters.

Lily – Ack! Grab onto something quick, Harry! Don’t fall off!

James – Now who’s the one that thinks Harry is going to die?

Lily – I don’t think that Harry is going to *die*, I just think that he may get hurt!

Without warning, twelve-foot wings flapped open on either side of Harry; he just had time to seize the hippogriff around the neck before he was soaring upward. It was nothing like a broomstick, and Harry knew which one be preferred;

Tilly – ::sarcastic:: Let me guess: the hippogriff?

Harry - ::sarcastic:: Oh yeah, the broomstick is just *so* boring.

James - ::oblivious:: Hey! Broomsticks are *not* boring!

Others - ::sigh::

the hippogriff’s wings beat uncomfortably on either side of him, catching him under his legs and making him feel he was about to be thrown off; the glassy feathers slipped under his fingers and he didn’t dare get a stronger grip;

Lily - ::praying:: Don’t fall… don’t fall… don’t fall…

James – Lily, it’s going to be okay! Look: Harry, do you fall?

Lily - ::glaring at Harry who had opened his mouth to answer:: Don’t tell us! We just have to wait.

James – Er… okay…

instead of the smooth action of his Nimbus Two Thousand, he now felt himself rocking backward and forward as the hindquarters of the hippogriff rose and fell with its wings.

Sirius - ::shifting in his seat:: That sounds really uncomfortable.

Harry – You’ll get used to it.

Sirius – Why would I need to get used to it?

Harry – Er… Read, please?

Buckbeak flew him once around the paddock and then headed back to the ground; this was the bit Harry had been dreading; he leaned back as the smooth neck lowered, feeling he was going to slip off over the beak, then felt a heavy thud as the four ill-assorted feet hit the ground.

Sirius – Fun! Can we do it again?

Harry – You just wait. You’ll get your turn.

Kaya - But Sirius, I thought you were afraid of heights?

Sirius - Oh yeah... ::pouts::

He just managed to hold on and push himself straight again.
“Good work, Harry!” roared Hagrid as everyone except Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle cheered.

Morwen – That means even the *other* Slytherins cheered.

Lily – See? Not all Slytherins are bad.

James – And I still say they are, but I will not act on my theories any longer.

Lily – That’s why I love you.

Others - ::gag::

“Okay, who else wants a go?”
Emboldened by Harry’s success, the rest of the class climbed cautiously into the paddock. Neville ran repeatedly backward from his, which didn’t seem to want to bend its knees. Ron and Hermione practiced on the chestnut, while Harry watched.

Peter – ::confidently:: They’ll get it right.

Remus – Yeah, especially *together*. ::snicker::

Sirius - *No*, Harry likes Hermione, not Ron.

Remus – And I beg to differ.

Kaya – Yeah, Harry can’t like Hermione because he has to get with Ginny.

Sirius – Ginny? Bah. She just has a silly crush on him that will go away with time.

Tilly – Did James’s crush go away with time?

James – I’m different. I’m hardheaded and don’t know how to take no for an answer, but besides that—He’s thirteen. He’s getting with nobody.

Morwen – Maybe not in this book, but he will get with somebody eventually, but I don’t think it’ll be Hermione or Ginny.

Tilly – Who else is there?

Morwen - ::shrug:: I just think it’ll be somebody else.

Lily – Could we possibly continue reading?

Others – Oh, right. Sorry.

Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle had taken over Buckbeak. He had bowed to Malfoy, who was now patting his beak, looking disdainful.
“This is very easy,” Malfoy drawled, loud enough for Harry to hear him. “I knew it must have been, if Potter could do it. . . . I bet you’re not dangerous at all, are you?” he said to the hippogriff. “Are you, you great ugly brute?”

Morwen – Didn’t Hagrid say that hippogriffs have quite the amount of pride?

Others - ::nod::

Morwen – Uh-oh.

James – I think that’s a bit of an understatement.

It happened in a flash of steely talons; Malfoy let out a high-pitched scream

Marauders – Malfoy screams like a girl! ::laugh::

Harry - ::grinning:: You should have heard it.

Girls - ::roll eyes::

and next moment, Hagrid was wrestling Buckbeak back into his collar as he strained to get at Malfoy, who lay curled in the grass, blood blossoming over his robes.

Kaya – Oh my Merlin! Is he alright?

Harry - ::bored:: He’s fine.

“I’m dying!” Malfoy yelled as the class panicked. “I’m dying, look at me! It’s killed me!”
“Yer not dyin’!” said Hagrid, who had gone very white. “Someone help me- gotta get him outta here-“
Hermione ran to hold open the gate as Hagrid lifted Malfoy easily. As they passed, Harry saw that there was a long, deep gash on Malfoy’s arm; blood splattered the grass and Hagrid ran with him, up the slope toward the castle.

Lily – Fine!? He doesn’t sound fine!

Harry – He’s fine. Don’t worry about him.

Lily – I’m not worrying about him! I’m worrying about Hagrid!

Very shaken, the Care of Magical Creatures class followed at a walk. The Slytherins were all shouting about Hagrid.
“They should fire him straight away!” said Pansy Parkinson, who was in tears.
“It was Malfoy’s own fault!”

All – Yeah!

snapped Dean Thomas. Crabbe and Goyle flexed their muscles threateningly.
They all climbed the stone steps into the deserted entrance hall.
“I’m going to see if he’s okay!” said Pansy, and they all watched her run up the marble staircase. The Slytherins, still muttering about Hagrid, headed away in the direction of their dungeon common room; Harry, Ron, and Hermione proceeded upstairs to Gryffindor Tower.

Peter – Why do they put the Gryffindors at the very top and the Slytherins at the very bottom with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws in between? Is that supposed to mean something?

Others - ::blink:: Perhaps…

“D’you think he’ll be all right?” said Hermione nervously.
“’Course he will. Madam Pomfrey can mend cuts in about a second,” said Harry, who had had far worse injuries mended magically by the nurse.

Remus - ::nodding:: Cuts aren’t a problem. Just a flick of the wand and there you go. Unless…

Others excluding Harry – Unless what?

Remus – Unless Malfoy decides to pull a Slytherin on us and be all dramatic and everything.

Harry – Sometimes you’re too smart to be a Marauder.

Remus - ::grins:: Heh. And sometimes that’s not a good thing.

“That was a really bad thing to happen in Hagrid’s first class, thought, wasn’t it?” said Ron, looking worried. “Trust Malfoy to mess things up for him. . . .”

All - ::grumble:: Stupid Malfoy.

They were among the first to reach the Great Hall at dinnertime, hoping to see Hagrid, but he wasn’t there.

Tilly – They *wouldn’t* fire him, would they?

“They wouldn’t fire him, would they?” said Hermione anxiously, not touching her steak-and-kidney pudding.

Morwen – Tilly! You’re doing it again!

Tilly – So-o-o-o-ry!

“They’d better not,” said Ron, who wasn’t eating either.
Harry was watching the Slytherin table. A large group including Crabbe and Goyle was huddled together, deep in conversation. Harry was sure they were cooking up their own version of how Malfoy had been injured.

James – Bloody Slytherins. They’re completely useless…

Sirius – Unless, of course, you need a mindless band of Death Eaters or somebody to prank…

Peter – Then they’re bloody useful, but other then that…

Remus – They’re just a bunch of scumbags with nothing to do.

Girls - ::roll eyes:: Marauders…

Harry - ::grinning::

“Well, you can’t say it wasn’t an interesting first day back,” said Ron gloomily.

Morwen – That’s a nice way of putting it.

They went up to the crowded Gryffindor common room after dinner and tried to do homework Professor McGonagall had given them, but all three of them kept breaking off and glancing out of the tower window.
“There’s a light on in Hagrid’s window,” Harry said suddenly.

Peter – Go visit him then! Hagrid needs his friends right now!

Lily - ::nervously:: But it’s nearly dark…

Sirius – What’s going to happen to him while he’s on the Hogwarts grounds?

Lily - ::pointed look::

Sirius - ::truthfully hurt:: Oh…

Ron looked at his watch.
“If we hurried, we could go down and see him. It’s still quite early. . . .”
“I don’t know,” Hermione said slowly, ad Harry saw her glance at him.
“I’m allowed to walk across the *grounds*,” he said pointedly. “Sirius Black hasn’t got past the dementors yet, has he?”

James – Exactly, and besides, the only reason he wants to get passed the Dementors is probably to speak with Dumbledore. You know, to tell him what really happened.

Sirius – Hey! That is a good idea! Maybe I *am* trying to do that.

Kaya – If you didn’t think of it now, I don’t think you’ve thought of it then either…

Peter – If Remus thinks your guilty in the future, wouldn’t Dumbledore think you’re guilty as well?

Sirius - ::down heartened:: I suppose you’re right…

So they put their things away and headed out of the portrait hole, glad to meet nobody on their way to the front doors, as they weren’t entirely sure they were supposed to be out.

James – You could have taken my Invisibility Cloak if you were truthfully nervous.

Sirius – ::gloomily:: I wish they weren’t…

James – We don’t blame you, Sirius. Apparently something horrible happened. After all, Moony isn’t one to jump to conclusions, you know that. It has to be something really horrible for him to think that you did it.

Remus - ::nods:: James is right, Sirius. I wouldn’t ever suspect you of something such as murder unless I had a really good reason to.

Sirius – That’s what I’m afraid of. I mean, what if I actually *did* do all of that stuff? I don’t think I would be able to live with myself…

Marauders excluding Sirius – ::comforting pats::

The grass was still wet and looked almost black in the twilight. When they reached Hagrid’s hut, they knocked, and a voice growled, “C’min.”
Hagrid was sitting in his shirtsleeves at his scrubbed wooden table; his boarhound, Fang, had his head in Hagrid’s lap.

Tilly – Isn’t that Hagrid’s puppy now?

Lily – Wouldn’t he dead by now, then?

Sirius – No, magical dogs live longer than Muggle dogs.

Lily – Oh… I suppose that makes sense.

One look told them that Hagrid had been drinking a lot; there was a pewter tankard almost as big as a bucket in front of him, and he seemed to be having difficulty getting them into focus.

Kaya – Drinking is a nasty habit.

Lily – You sound like my sister.

Kaya – Sister or not, it is.

Lily – I suppose…

Kaya - ::shocked:: Lily, don’t tell me you drink!

Lily – I had a couple of drinks on my sixteenth birthday, but that’s to be expected!

Kaya – ::suspiciously:: Have you had any after that?

Lily – Perhaps… maybe… yes…

Kaya – Lily!

Lily – Kaya! Look, I do what I want to do, right? I want to drink, let me drink. As long I don’t get completely drunk and do tons of things I don’t remember, I don’t see what the problem is.

Kaya – The problem is that it kills brain cells!

Lily - ::roll eyes:: Reading…

“’Spect it’s a record,” he said thickly, when he recognized them. “Don’ reckon they’ve ever had a teacher who lasted on’y a day before.”
“You haven’t been fired, Hagrid!” gasped Hermione.
“Not yet,” said Hagrid miserably, taking a huge gulp of whatever was in the tankard. “But ‘s only a matter o’ time, i’n’t it, after Malfoy…”

Remus – Malfoy is a bloody git. It’s not your fault, it’s his.

Sirius – Language, Remus, we have ladies present.

Remus – I completely forgot. ::turns to Sirius:: Please forgive my rude words.

Sirius - ::glare::

“How is he?” said Ron as they all sat down. “It wasn’t serious, was it?”

Sirius – No, I’m Sirius.

Others - ::groans::

“Madam Pomfrey fixed him best she could,” said Hagrid dully, “but he’s sayin’ it’s still agony… covered in bandages… moanin’…”
“He’s faking it,” said Harry at once. “Madam Pomfrey can mend anything. She regrew half my bones last year. Trust Malfoy to milk it for all it’s worth.”

Remus - ::groans:: I knew he would play this game.

Harry – Yeah, he’s nothing but a snobby brat. I hate him. He’s nothing but a Death Eater in training.

Lily – Is he Death Eater material like this father or Death Eater material like Snape?

Harry – I’m… not sure…

Lily – For all we know, he could be having an inner struggle with his life style like Snape had. It’s very, very possible.

Harry – I guess it’s possible, but I won’t be holding my breath for it to happen.

Lily – And I don’t expect you to.

“School gov’nors have bin told, o’ course,” said Hagrid miserably. “They reckon I started too big. Shoulda left hippogriffs fer later… done flobberworms or summat… Jus’ thought it’d make a good firs’ lesson… ‘S all my fault…”
“It’s all Malfoy’s fault, Hagrid!” said Hermione earnestly.

All – Yeah! Hagrid shouldn’t have the blame!

Sirius – Harry, you, Ron, and Hermione should testify! Tell them what really happened!

Lily – Yeah! Hagrid shouldn’t get in trouble for this—he didn’t do anything!

James - ::growling:: We should have known that Malfoy would screw this up for him. He’s just like Snape except with followers.

Morwen - ::shuddering:: Don’t say it like that! You make him sound like You-Know-Who!

Tilly - ::miserably:: That’s all we need… another Voldemort trying to kill off everyone who has an opinion.

Kaya – An opinion?

Tilly – Yeah, if you don’t agree with how he sees things you’re more or less dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re pureblood or a squib, he’ll let you join his ranks either way as long as he has followers.

Remus – It’s horrible.

Peter – I hate it. I wish he would just *die!*

Harry - ::looking at Peter strangely:: Yeah… perhaps we should continue with the story.

Others - ::nod solemnly::

“We’re witnesses,” said Harry. “You said hippogriffs attack if you insult them. It’s Malfoy’s problem that he wasn’t listening. We’ll tell Dumbledore what really happened.”

All – Yeah!

Peter – See, it’ll be okay, Hagrid!

“Yeah, don’t worry, Hagrid, we’ll back you up,” said Ron.
Tears leaked out of the crinkled corner of Hagrid’s beetle-black eyes. He grabbed both Harry and Ron and pulled them into a bone-breaking hug.

Remus/Sirius – ::wince:: Ouch.

Kaya - ::amused:: Have you two been in that position before?

Remus – Yes, and I immediately couldn’t breathe.

Sirius – It’s bad when he hugs one person, but when he hugs two it’s like he thinks he has to squash them to hug them correctly.

Remus – We both had bruises for days…

Remus/Sirius - ::shudders::

Harry - ::snickers::

“I think you’ve had enough to drink, Hagrid,” said Hermione firmly. She took the tankard from the table and went outside to empty it.
“Ar, maybe she’s right,” said Hagrid, letting go of Harry and Ron, who staggered away, rubbing their ribs. Hagrid heaved himself out of his chair and followed Hermione unsteadily outside. They heard a loud splash.

Morwen - ::confused:: Was that from Hermione dumping out the alcohol?

Harry - ::shakes head:: Nope.

“What’s he done?” said Harry nervously as Hermione came back in with an empty tankard.
“Stuck his head in the water barrel,”

All - ::snort::

Sirius – Does that actually sober you?

Others - ::shrug::

Tilly – Perhaps it only works on half-giants!

Remus – Er… I don’t think that makes much sense…

Tilly – ::shrugs:: It was just a guess.

said Hermione, putting the tankard away.
Hagrid came back, his long hair and beard sopping wet, wiping the eater out of his eyes.
“Tha’s better,” he said shaking his head like a dog and drenching them all. “Listen, it was good of yeh ter come an’ see me, I really-“

Lily – What? What did they do wrong?

Tilly – Maybe… Ron decided to try the mead?

Kaya – Tilly! That’s not funny!

Lily/Tilly - ::giggles:: We think it is!

Kaya - ::pouts::

Hagrid stopped dead, staring at Harry as though he’d just realized he was there.

Remus – Oh… right… Sirius is supposed to be after his blood.

Sirius – After his blood? I’m not a vampire! That’s Snivellus!

Marauders/Harry - ::snickers::

Lily - ::shakes head:: So rude…

“WHAT D’YEH THINK YOU’RE DOIN’, EH?” he roared so suddenly that they jumped a food in the air. “YEH’RE NOT TO GO WANDERIN’ AROUND AFTER DARK, HARRY! AN’ YOU TWO! LETTIN’ HIM!”

Sirius - ::angrily:: It’s not like I’m going to suddenly burst into the cabin and kill him!

Peter - ::timidly:: I don’t know, Sirius… if what that article said is true—though I don’t believe it!—then you probably would.

Sirius - ::groan:: Ugh… you’re right… Damn this book!

Remus – Sirius, language. If this becomes too much for you, we can go for another walk to calm down again, how’s that?

Sirius - ::sigh:: Fine. Let’s continue.

Harry - ::looks confused:: Walk?

Girls excluding Lily - ::shrug::

Hagrid strode over to Harry, grabbed his arm, and pulled him to the door.
“C’mon!” Hagrid said angrily. “I’m takin’ yer all back up ter school, an’ don’ let me catch yeh walkin’ down ter see me after dark again. I’m not worth that!”

Morwen – Not worth being caught after dark or not worth being killed after dark?

Kaya – Probably both.

Others - ::nod::

Lily – That’s the end of the chapter! Anybody want to volunteer to read?

Others - ::silence::

Lily - ::sigh:: Nobody?

James – I guess I will.

Lily - ::smiling:: Thank you!