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Chapter Five
Slytherins and Gryffindors Friends?

September 3rd found Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny sitting in the Hogwarts library, their homework spread out before them.  They hadn't seen each other all day, as none of the Houses had had lessons together, so they had met up after dinner in the library to catch up.  They had a few essays to do, but had laid them aside to catch up on their gossip.

“ So, `Mione, how are you getting on in Hufflepuff?” Harry asked her.

“ It's not too bad.  I was more comfortable in Ravenclaw, where I was with more like minded people, but it's better than Slytherin any day.”

“ Slytherin's not so bad.  I got on better there than I am in Ravenclaw,” Ginny added, “ The people in my new House are all so intellectual.  Whenever I try and have a conversation with one of them, I end up feeling really stupid.”

“ You're not stupid, Gin.  You just think there's more to life than schoolwork and grades, unlike these two,” Ron said, gesturing to Harry and Hermione.

“ Hey!  I think about more than schoolwork,” Harry protested, “ Like pranks!”

“ That's true, Harry.  How are you getting on in Slytherin, by the way?  It must be awful!”

“ It's not so bad.  I think I made an impression at the Welcome Feast when I told Malfoy off.  He's been storming around for the last two days.”

“ I can't believe you're stuck with that Death Eater.  Have you made any friends?”

“ Well, just one, but it's tentative at the moment.”

“ Who?” Hermione asked in curiosity.

“ Severus Snape.”

“ SNAPE!  Harry, are you mental?”

“ No Ron, I'm not mental.  He's…different.  Not as cold and mean.  I think that came later after years of being a spy.  He's quite nice once you get him to open up a little.”

“ But…Snape!?”

“ Yes, Snape.  Ron, I need to have at least one friend in my own House, or it'll be a very long year.  He needs a friend and so do I, so I don't see where the problem is.”

“ Snape?!”

“ Oh, Ron, leave Harry alone.  If he wants to be friends with Snape, then let him.”

“ Ginny?  How can you defend that greasy git?”

“ Oh Ron, grow up,” Hermione exclaimed, exasperated.

“ Can we change the subject please?  Ron, how are you getting on with my parents and the Marauders?”

“ Fine, Harry.  They're really nice.  We're sort of friends at the moment, but it would be hard to penetrate their little group.  I think they'll be in here later, so I'll introduce you.”

Harry suddenly felt really nervous.  Sure, he had seen his parents and their friends across the Great Hall from quite a distance, and passed them a few times in the corridors between lessons, but he had never actually spoken to them.  The thought made him very worried.  What if they didn't like him?  What if they hated him for his House?  What if they didn't mind, but made him choose between them and Sev?  Would he abandon his new friend for his parents if he had to?  Thoughts flitted through his mind for what seemed an age before he was brought back to the present by an insistent shaking of his shoulder.  Looking across, he came face to face with a concerned looking Ginny.

“ Are you alright, Harry?  You spaced out here for a minute.”

“ Sorry, Gin.  I was just thinking.”

“ What about?”

“ My parents.  I was wondering if they would hate me.”

“ What for?!”

“ Well, any number of reasons.  They may not like my personality, or the fact that I'm a Slytherin.  They might doubt my loyalty…”

“ They won't.  Who couldn't like you, Harry?  You're the nicest, kindest person I've ever met.”

“ Thanks, Gin.  I just worry, you know?”

“ Because you don't like the idea of your parents disliking the person you've become.”

“ Yeah.”

Just then the people in question came waltzing through the library door.  Literally.  Sirius was watching the couple in amusement as they danced around the tables, gaining a stern look from the librarian.  After a few minutes, the spell wore off and both James and Lily turned to a smirking Sirius, scowls on their faces.

“ What?” the prankster asked.

“ Sirius, that wasn't funny,” Lily growled.

“ Yes it was.”

“ No it wasn't.”

“ Was.”

“ Wasn't.”

“ Was.”

“ Wasn't.”

“ Ok, I think that's enough, you two,” Remus interjected.  Sirius and Lily looked contrite for a few seconds before grinning at each other.

Just then, James got his eye on the four time travellers sitting on the corner of the library.  With a grin he bounded over to them and slapped Ron on the back.

“ Hey, mate, how's it going?”

“ Not bad, James.  What did Sirius do this time?

“ He pranked Lily and me.  We've been waltzing since the start of dinner.”

“ So that's why you didn't come to the Great Hall?”

“ Yeah, we were stuck in Gryffindor Tower.  We had to make an emergency trip down to the kitchens.”

“ Well, at least you would get plenty to eat.  Those house elves are insane.”

“ Too true.  So, are these your friends from your other school?”

“ Yeah, they are.”

“ Well, are you going to introduce us?”

Ron blushed bright red, and smiled at his friends sheepishly.

“ Sorry, James.  That's Hermione Sollers, my girlfriend from Hufflepuff.  This is my sister, Ginny.  She's a Ravenclaw.  And that's Harry Anguifer, our resident Slytherin.”

“ Hello everyone.  I'm James Potter, and these are my friends, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and my girlfriend Lily Evans.”

“ Hello.”

“ Hi.”

“ Hello.  Lily, I know your sister.  She was telling me about you yesterday.”

“ You know my sister?  How?” the redhead asked her son.

“ I met her the other day.  We had to go to Diagon Alley yesterday morning to get our school supplies, and she was one of the adults going with us.”

“ Hang on,” Sirius said, a frown on his face, “ If you went yesterday morning, then how did you speak to her?”

Harry immediately realised what he had said, and to whom.  The previous morning they were supposed to be under the silencing spell, and saying that he had been speaking to Lily's sister was as good as announcing that he had been responsible for the prank.  Frantically thinking of a way out, he was alarmed when a suspicious look passed across the Marauder's face.

“ Um…well I broke the spell.”

“ And how did you do that?  Even Dumbledore couldn't break it.”

“ Well, I'm very powerful.”

“ Sheesh, you've been in Slytherin for two days and you're already sounding like one of them.”

“ Hey!  There's nothing wrong with Slytherin.  Why don't you like us, anyway?  Not everyone in my House is evil.”

“ In our experience, no Slyth can be trusted.  Most of your House are Death Eaters.”

“ Sirius, that's a generalisation.  Some of the Slytherins are alright.  I mean, sure, Malfoy's a git, and a Death Eater, but I'm not.”

“ How do we know that?” James asked.

Harry gave his father a hurt look.  He was a little annoyed that the Marauders didn't seem to like him, purely on the basis of his House.  He knew he would have to change their mind.  He thought back to his own first four years at Hogwarts when he had held the same prejudices.  He felt ashamed thinking about it.  Must be my stint as a Hufflepuff, he thought, it's made me more loyal and trusting.  Not that that's necessarily a good thing.  Looking back to the waiting Marauders, he held out his arm and lifted up his sleeve, showing a bare left forearm.  The five fifth years gasped when they saw the lattice of thin scars marring his skin, a reminder of his days in captivity.

“ Are you satisfied now?” Harry asked the gaping students.

“ Um, yeah,” Sirius answered, “ But where did you get those scars?”

“ If you don't mind us asking,” Remus hastily added, not wanting to be rude.

“ Well, if you must know, I got them from a Dark wizard.”

“ Really?  Who?”

Harry looked at Peter, who had asked the question, and frowned a little bit.

“ Well, let's just say that I don't like Dark Lords in general.”

“ Really?!  Wow.”

“ James!  I hardly think `wow' is an appropriate response.  What happened, Harry?  You don't have to tell us, of course,” Lily said.

“ No, it's fine.  I want to be your friend, and if it'll get you to trust me, then I'll tell you.”

“ Don't feel you have to prove yourself,” Remus told him, “ We all have secrets we don't want everyone to know about.”

“ Thanks, Remus, but I'll tell you.  I trust you will keep it to yourselves, though?”

“ Of course.”

“ Sure.”

“ Anything you say.”

“ If you want.”

“ We wouldn't betray your trust.”

“ Alright.  At the end of last year I was captured after a battle…”

“ You were in a battle?” James asked, confused.

“ Don't worry, I'm on the right side.

“ It's not that.  It's just that you're so young.”

“ I did say I was powerful.  I'm useful in a battle.”

“ Oh.”

Before he continued, Harry sent a quick mental message to his three friends.

~Do you mind if I tell them you were captured?  I won't give them details~

Ron, Hermione and Ginny all nodded in agreement, so Harry continued.

“ Anyway, last year all four of us were captured after the battle, and taken prisoner.”

“ Really?  What was it like?” Peter asked.

“ Not fun.  We got split up.  Hermione and Ron were taken to one place, and Ginny and I were taken to another.  Ron and `Mione were forced to work, and lived in terrible conditions.”

To prove their points, the two in question lifted up their robe sleeves, revealing the tattooed numbers on their forearms.  The Marauders just stared in shock, but Lily let out a small sob of horror.  Ron decided to pick up the story.

“ `Mione and I were not too bad.  We got used to it after a while, and they never really hurt us, although we did see a lot of horrible things.  Harry and Gin weren't so lucky.”

“ It wasn't to bad for me,” Ginny continued, “ I was never hurt physically.  In some ways, it was worse for me than it was for Harry.  I had to sit and watch as they tortured him, the Muggle way, without magic…”

At this point Ginny started to sob, the tears allowing her to release some of the pain she had been keeping to herself since their rescue only months before.  Although all of them seemed to have bounced back after their ordeals, they all had mental scars that would take a long time to heal.  Harry pulled the sobbing girl into his lap and she buried her face in his shoulder as he gentle stroked her back, mumbling nonsense words into her ear.  After a few minutes, Harry looked up at the shocked and horrified faces of the Gryffindors and decided to rest his case.

“ It was a really bad time for us.  We were there for over two months.  I have scars all over my body from it, but the worst are on my back where they peeled my skin off.  But they're covered by a tattoo now, so they're not as noticeable.  Just remember, I will never, ever, join Voldemort, even if I am a Slytherin.  So, do you think we can be friends?”

Harry held his hand out to the Marauders, who were watching him in respect.  Slowly, James stepped forward and shook his hand firmly, the others soon following suit.

“ Gryffindors friends with a Slytherin?  Now I've seen everything,” Sirius said, causing everyone to smile.

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