The Same Compartment
Originally written by magicwingsforever
Edited by Indiana
When they first met, James Potter and Sirius Black didn't expect to be lifelong friends. They were just two boys sitting on the Hogwarts Express, shoved into the same compartment by some rowdy fifth years. Each of them kept to himself, and it wasn’t until James spotted Sirius’s broomstick advertisement booklet, tossed carelessly onto the seat, that the two of them began talking.
"What team?" James asked enthusiastically, pointing at the Quidditch players clutching world-class brooms on the cover.
Sirius snorted, glancing at the booklet and then to James. "Chudley Cannons, of course. I just went to see them, they were bloody amazing! You?"
James stared at Sirius, his eyes wide in amazement. "Same, my dad loves to take me to their matches! Gonna try out for the house team?"
Just like that, the two were friends.
When James joined Sirius at the Gryffindor table, they grinned widely at each other. "Guess you're not a slimy snake after all," James joked, high fiving his new housemate. The redhead from the train frowned at the two of them.
"Quiet!" she hissed. "You're missing the end of the Sorting!"
Sirius glanced around the table, then remarked, "I noticed your friend didn't make it into this house of the brave and courageous. You must be so devastated."
James smirked. "What's his name anyways? 'Slimy git'?"
The redhead glared at him. "His name is Severus," she muttered.
"Snivelly, you said?" Sirius laughed. "Such a strange name, seems like he is literally begging for someone to make him normal." When the strict lady from the front table stared at him icily, Sirius decided wisely to shut up. After all, he had the next seven years to prank Snivelly, right?
"Do you think she's kinda pretty?" James shouted to Sirius across the Gryffindor common room.
"Who, the redhead? That harpy?" Sirius answered absentmindedly, studying his new surroundings with a practiced eye. Suddenly, he bounded over to James's bed. "Oi, what do you think happened to him?" Sirius pointed at the bed next to his own. There sat a quiet boy, carefully arranging his belongings into one of the dressers with a studious air. He had a plain appearance, marred only by an angry red scar across his face. When he saw the two boys blatantly staring at him, he quickly closed the drawer and turned away.
His appearance ignited the curiosity of both Gryffindor boys. "Maybe he got them while fighting pixies with swords!" Sirius whispered.
James shook his head. "I dunno, I think he got into a scrap with a hippogriff."
"Or maybe a vampire bit him!"
"Come on, Sirius, a vampire bite would've been smaller."
"Yeah, but it could happen! Or maybe he was at the Quidditch World Cup game and some crazy fan burned him!"
The two stayed up late that first night of their reign at Hogwarts, discussing ideas that got wilder and wilder, too excited to sleep.
"I'm bored," Sirius declared loudly, waving his wand around and lazily turning the furniture in the common room various colors.
"Really? I never would've guessed," Remus said dryly, rubbing at his neon green pillow. "It's only the first day back from break, Sirius. Change my pillow back, then go to sleep."
"No," Sirius said stubbornly. "James and I had something planned for tonight, and it’s still young!"
"It's midnight, and James is stuck in detention. Just go to sleep already," Remus groaned.
Sirius suddenly sat up, startling the other boy. "Remus, let's break James out of detention! It was Snivellus's fault anyways, let's just go!" He jumped up, running his hand through his hair and beginning to pace back and forth across the room. "Let's see. James is in the Trophy room, with that one other guy, the short one, yanno?"
"Right, him! And Snivellus is in the dungeons writing lines with Slughorn... Filch is with James, right? Yeah, so... Remus, do you reckon we still have some dungbombs left from before break?"
The next morning, when Lily was glaring at them with contempt and Snivellus was giving off a repulsive smell, Sirius felt nothing but satisfaction.
"Peter, pass me the lacewing flies. I want to finish this potion in this decade," Sirius whined, trying to reach them and failing.
"Those are mine," Snape answered coldly. "Get your own." He quickly snatched the lacewing flies on the potions bench and knocked Peter's stuff off the table.
"He's one of us," Sirius said coldly. "If you want mercy from James and I, apologize right now."
Peter glanced at him, terrified to see the outcome. After a long time, Snape mumbled an apology.
"That was what I thought, Snivellus." Peter started a gave a weak smile of gratitude. From that moment, the group later infamously known as the Marauders was complete. They just didn't know it yet.
"Sirius, what the hell was going through your mind?! Snivellus could've been killed!"
"Isn't that our goal anyways?" Sirius shot back.
"Not to kill him, no!"
"He called Lily a goddamn mudblood! Did you see her face, Prongs?"
"Who’re you to play God?" His voice was cold, his eyes hard and unforgiving. "Hell, how are you any better than the rest of the Blacks?"
Incensed beyond belief, Sirius’s only answer was to punch James, hard.
With just a few days left of term, few people noticed that one of the Marauders was suspended. Sure, the annual end-of-the-year prank was a bit boring, but no one really noticed that Sirius Black was no longer in school.
There was a loud banging on his bedroom door in the middle of the night, and James groaned. "Later," he said tiredly.
"Oi, it's me, Prongs," a voice said from behind the door, uncharacteristically quiet. James suddenly sat up, all thoughts of sleep gone from his mind. "Padfoot?"
He opened his door to reveal a very wet Sirius. He was shaking, carrying just a small backpack and clutching his broomstick like it was his lifeline. "First, I'm so, so sorry for what I did with Snivell-Snape. With Snape. That was a shit idea," he muttered in the direction of his feet, looking up after a long moment with apologetic blue eyes. Droplets of water ran down his face, disappearing into his damp shirt.
"S' alright, I guess."
Sirius snorted. "I know you're still pissed about it... But my family finally kicked me out of the house." He gave a short, humorless laugh. "Hanging out with too many mudbloods and blood traitors, they said. And then Lucius Malfoy opened his damned mouth to talk, and... I dunno, Prongs, I just snapped. So... Do you reckon I can stay here for a bit?"
Thoughts of Snape's long scars (thank God he wasn't bitten) and Lily's disgusted face ran through James's mind, but he looked at Sirius again. He could only see the young, excited boy he had first met on the Hogwarts Express. He barely recognised the bitter, weary teenager that stood outside his door. Finally, after a short silence, James clapped Sirius on the back and pulled him into a brief, firm hug. "Of course you can, you're my brother." When James's mother saw Sirius at the kitchen table the following morning, she waved his explanations aside and folded him into a warm embrace. "You're family, Sirius," she said simply.
They fought together, back to back. Working as a team to defend the innocent, James and Sirius moved up the ranks of the Aurors quickly. Time seemed to pass in large increments, and the both of them looked back on their school days as if they had happened to someone else. Their work was hard, and arduous, but they managed to find happiness, even if it didn’t last for very long. Lily forgave James, and eventually they were married. They had an adorable son, Harry. Life was dangerous, but it was going well.
Until everything went wrong.