Chapter Three: The Second Reverse
The flash of darkness did not surprise Sirius at all.
Finding himself inside his fifteen-year-old body did.
Fifth year again at Hogwarts; this was the year that Sirius, James, and Peter confronted Remus about his furry little problem and became animagi to keep him company during the long nights of the full moon.
As it was the middle of the night and all of the boys in the dormitory were asleep, Sirius did not know ‘when’ exactly he had landed, so he began to think of his possible options.
He could be at the beginning of the year again, and then he could ‘force’ the issue with James and Remus—so they could become animagus well before Christmas break this time around.
Of course, this could be near the end of the year, and that would make this the year before his brother dedicated his short life to Voldemort and the Death-Eaters. Perhaps Sirius could run away this summer instead of next, and he and James could make all sorts of contingency plans for after graduation.
The sky outside of the lone window was beginning to brighten with a new day, so Sirius decided to rise from bed extra early in order figure out exactly when he was. He dressed quickly and silently and moved from the room, pausing only to watch the curtain-covered beds of his dorm-mates. Remus was in there, sleeping the sleep of the exhausted, as he did every night even if there was no full moon. Peter was there as well, possibly dreaming of having the ability to control any woman he chose.
Sirius shuddered. He’d have to get those thoughts out of his head right now if he wasn’t going to bounce back without achieving his goals this time.
The sun was barely over the top of the forbidden forest when Sirius left Gryffindor Tower, and he cautiously made his way to the library.
The very best thing about Hogwarts, Sirius decided, was that while the authorities wanted the students in their dorms by a certain hour so that they were in bed at a decent time, the library never really closed—so early-birds could study on the mornings of exams before breakfast.
The worst thing about Hogwarts, Sirius decided as he entered the astoundingly crowded library, was that exact same thing.
Apparently Sirius had landed just in time to take his OWLs again. Oh, joy and rapture!
Although, Sirius thought, this would potentially be a good place to land. After all, the Marauders had already figured the Animagus Spell, so that was off of his list. And this year was the year that James finally asked Lily to go out with him.
Sirius mentally cringed once he remembered how exactly that happened: Lily angrily confronted James and himself as they tortured Snivellous again right after the Charms OWL. Sirius never really understood Lily’s friendship with the troublesome boy, but it must have meant something special to her. She was overcome with misery after Snape called her a ‘mudblood’ when James lifted the hex on him, and she didn’t speak for days after that. She also avoided James and himself for most of sixth year, hiding in her dormitory after class hours unless she was dragged to meals. She had softened by the time Seventh Year rolled around, and she agreed to date James finally in that year.
Sirius entered the barely-used row of History texts and performed a Tempus spell to find out the exact date.
May Thirteenth—the day of the Charms exam. It was also three days before the full moon that month.
Sirius was certain that he would not need to actually review for his OWL exams, so he stayed in the library only to make a possible plan of attack for this visit back in time. He tried to think back and remember if Alice Greenway had ever acted oddly around him and James; if there was any indication that Peter had managed to attack her, but he honestly could not remember.
Perhaps it was because he was not aware of Peter’s proclivities when they were younger that Sirius never noticed any odd behavior on Alice’s part. Since the actual younger version of him didn’t know that Peter was trying Dark spells, he never looked for proof of attack while they were in school. In any case, Sirius was not sent back to deal with Peter; he was sent back to make sure that Harry was born and protected.
Harry’s actual birth was several years in the future, so Sirius figured that he was in this time to make sure James and Lily had a strong relationship. And that meant that, whether or not he deserved it, Snape should not get pranked after the exam this afternoon.
Sirius spent a few hours plotting in the library, thinking of and discarding possible plans. Soon enough it was time for food, and to meet with his friends, and all Sirius could think of was to just be straightforward and not to let his own ego get in the way of keeping James alive.
Sirius never took into consideration just how large and healthy his own ego actually was.
He met his friends in the Great Hall for breakfast, and he endured their teasing about being in the library so early, but he watched Remus and Peter grimace when it came time to take the first written examination that morning—Transfiguration, as it turned out—and he knew they were wishing that they had gone to the library for a short cram-session as well.
Sirius did well on his written examinations—he always did—and he enjoyed laughing in the halls with his friends before the Transfiguration Practical. He knew Charms was next, and he was determined to ignore Snape for the entire time.
In actuality, it was easy to avoid hexing Severus Snape totally. When the Slytherin student left the Testing Hall ahead of the Marauders, Sirius guided his friends away from the Black Lake and toward the rose gardens instead. Not one of them noticed, and soon enough they were all laughing at how easy the written exam had seemed and pondering how difficult the practical exam after lunch would be.
If James noticed a distinct lack of Lily Evans in his general vicinity, he never said a thing.
The rest of the OWL tests went on pretty much as Sirius remembered, and he was certain that he passed every one perfectly. Well, maybe not perfectly. He did manage to ‘mess up’ on a few of the Potions questions because he didn’t want to draw attention to his knowledge—moving through time did have its drawbacks, and Sirius had become proficient in brewing as he grew older, but he couldn’t let that show through in his exam results.
Soon enough, it was time for the full moon to come around, and Remus was feeling tetchy as usual. Sirius had taken to walking through the halls with his werewolf friend, helping him to burn off some extra energy before the Change.
The Headmaster, of course, knew of Remus’ condition—had known since Remus was a child—and he took the responsibility of making sure Remus was well away from the student population on the nights of the full moon. Remus’ temper was short on the day of the full moon, and he tried to keep away from other students. He was a prefect, and he didn’t want to alienate any fellow students by growling at them; his friends were used to the personality changes, so Sirius was quite unoffended by the short answers and brooding behavior.
James said he would wait for them beside the portrait door and they would move onto the darkened grounds together after Headmaster Dumbledore took Remus away for the night. Then the other Marauders would wait until moonrise and follow, allowing Peter to take his rat-form and trigger the Whomping Willow so that the Marauders could meet up with Remus in the Shrieking Shack and play until just before sunrise.
As they walked through the empty halls of Hogwarts Castle, Remus chattered on about the OWLs they had yet to take, and Sirius just let him talk. It would burn up some energy—not as much as running through the woods, but some—but Sirius’ attention was elsewhere.
He had just spotted Peter turning into an empty classroom, and Peter was supposed to be waiting with James in the Gryffindor Common Room.
Just as Sirius was about to steer Remus near that classroom to confront Peter, the door opened and a very nervous second-year girl wearing Hufflepuff colors ran from the room.
Sirius growled softly in anger, which Remus managed to not hear, and guided Remus roughly back to Gryffindor Tower.
He sat, stewing, the whole time after Dumbledore collected Remus and ignored James’ offer of Wizard Chess in favour of watching the portrait door until Peter returned. Which he did roughly an hour later, looking grumpy and disheveled, as if he had undergone some physical exercise that didn’t pan out the way he’d hoped. If one Hufflepuff doesn’t work out, thought Sirius grimly, then another would do.
Peter and James were oblivious to Sirius’ mood, however, and Peter began to complain openly about his performance during the Charms and Transfiguration Practical Exams. He wasn’t magically powerful like the rest of them, he said—a common argument, and one that Remus and James tried hard to refute. But it was true. Peter could barely make a feather float, even in Fifth year, and his transfigurations regularly fizzled after an hour or so. It was only sheer determination not to be left behind that allowed Peter’s animagus form to last long enough not to be eaten by Remus-as-werewolf.
Peter grumbled long and softly all along the trek to the Whomping Willow, and James had to shush him several time so that they weren’t found out by patrolling teachers. Sirius held his tongue as they moved from the front entrance and along the dark path past the greenhouses. He fell into step behind Peter and waited until he transfigured into a rat and triggered the trick knot, stilling the flailing tree. As usual, Peter was the first through the tunnel. They could hear Remus snarling in the passage. He sounded closer than usual, as if he had moved into the tunnel to greet them.
Once again, Sirius saw the horror that was Peter Pettigrew and what he would become, and anger and disgust filled his mind. Once Peter was well into the tunnel, Sirius wandlessly cast the Reveler Formulaire—without a wand, there was no flash of blue-white light to indicate a spell had been cast—and Peter suddenly transformed from rat to human just in time for an angry, pain-filled werewolf to meet him face to face.
Before James and Sirius could intervene, Remus had begun to tear Peter apart. James quickly withdrew from the passage to alert the professors with sparks from his wand, and Sirius was left to calm Remus—but it was no good. Sirius dodged body parts as he also fled the passage, trying to get as far from his friend as he could.
The aftermath was as horrific as the attack.
Remus Lupin, aged fifteen and three-quarters, was taken into custody as a dangerous creature. He was tried of course, because the Ministry of Magic was an honorable organization, and he was found guilty of murdering Peter Pettigrew while transformed into an uncontrollable beast.
Albus Dumbledore was removed from his position as Headmaster for allowing a werewolf to live so closely to normal students.
James was, of course, devastated. As far as he was concerned, he lost two good friends that night—and all because Peter couldn’t hold his animagus form.
And that was another problem: James and Sirius were sanctioned for being unregistered animagi and James’ family blamed Sirius’ influence and forbade James from spending time with the ‘son of a Dark Family’. If they weren’t in school, Sirius had no way of getting in contact with James at all. His owls were turned away and his floo calls were ignored.
After a year of incarceration, Remus was given the Dementor’s Kiss, and Sirius graduated from Hogwarts a solitary man.
As for James and Lily, well James never recovered from Peter’s death and Remus’ arrest, so he lost interest in pretty much anything. He quit the Quidditch team and dropped out of the Chess Club. He threw himself into his studies but stayed away from personal friendly interaction. When Lily offered condolences, James just brushed her off.
After graduation, James gained an internship with a wizarding law firm and Lily went off to Spain to study Potions. Sirius finally had a clear thought and joined his grandfather in France and worked to join the Auror Corps there while Wizarding Britain trembled under the threat of Voldemort. Voldemort gained power rather quickly, and terror reigned over the Magical populace. Once the Wizarding World at large had taken off the blinders, they could see that Magical Britain was on the verge of a horrible war, and the International community was asked to help the dire situation.
Three years after graduation, and two years after serving as a successful Auror with the International Wizarding Confederation, Sirius returned to Britain to aid with the fight against Voldemort. He was happy to work with Frank Longbottom as a replacement partner, as Alice was at home recovering from childbirth. They made a good pair, but Sirius privately longed for James as a partner instead. He worked well with Frank, but he and James seemed at times to share a brain. They rarely had to speak their thoughts aloud before acting, and their take-down rate of Dark Wizards was second to none.
It was an alert of an attack at the Longbottom home that led to Sirius’ downfall this time around. He and Frank rushed to the house to try and save Alice and baby Neville, but they were too late. Sirius’ cousin Bellatrix and her crazy husband were there already, and they had been applying the Cruciatus to Alice for some time. Frank charged in to save his wife and was hit with a slicing hex across his neck. Sirius was hit from behind and he fell dazed to the floor. His last sight was of Rabastan LeStrange raising his wand toward baby Neville Longbottom, and then unconsciousness took him.
Sirius didn’t really notice when he reappeared in front of Lady Magic, but She was rather angry to see him there.
When wasn’t She angry to see him there?
“This is going to be a thing with you, isn’t it?” Really, if the situation wasn’t so dire, Her expression would be laughable.
She was middle-aged this time around, wearing a sparkly black pants suit and looking very ‘Executive Administrator’. Her slightly grey hair was cut short to just below Her ears, which only made Her face appear more severe. And Her eyes were as dark and angry as ever.
Sirius ducked his head a little in shame, but really…he felt no shame in killing Peter again, only in harming Remus in the process. “I’m sorry, really I am. And if I thought that Pettigrew could be turned around, I’d leave him out of it. But he was a bad one from way back and I’m not sure how I managed not to see it the first time around.
“I mean, shouldn’t there have been some sort of indication that Peter was Dark? He was always a follower, and he used us to protect him from other bullies, but he had an agenda that did not lend itself to being a useful member of society.”
The Lady began to pace slowly around Sirius as if he was a specimen to be studied. Sirius had the distinct feeling that She was reconsidering using him to help in Her cause, which really wouldn’t be such a surprise. After all, Sirius had managed to screw up every time She sent him back.
“You are still my best choice for this mission,” she said as she paused in front of him. “I have faith that you will eventually see your way through these messes you keep making.”
Her eyes narrowed and she pointed a sharp-nailed finger at him, making him jump back in response. “Do not test me, though! There is a limited amount of times I can send you back! Magic is dwindling in the world and My powers are not unlimited!”
Sirius turned serious eyes to Her and held out his hands in supplication. “I know! I know that I’m supposed to be doing something to help You! But I remember what Peter did; how he betrayed Lily and James and made Harry an orphan! I might have been wrong to go after him, but ultimately he needed to be stopped.
“And he was the one to perform the ritual to bring Voldemort back to a body, endangering Harry once again. I just have the feeling that if I can stop him before he takes the Mark, before he fully commits to being in Voldemort’s service, then Harry will grow up protected and safe. Please, can You understand that?”
“Of course I can understand that,” She said with a sigh. “Why else do you think I’ve allowed you such leeway so far? But you must be careful! This last time you were killed because you were distracted; never mind the fact that Harry was not born because James Potter never courted Lily Evans in that timeline because of your actions. I’ll give you time to consider a plan of action. Please be considerate of the time available to you this time.”