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It is an interesting thing to note that, if a person cared to look up the statistics – or even just open up a telephone directory – they would find that such highly-held Pure-blood family names as 'Potter', 'Black', 'Pettigrew', 'Lupin', 'Malfoy', and many, many more are in fact extremely common among the populace. Well, at least among the non-magical populace. The magical population is so small by comparison (everybody was related to each other eventually) that it takes dedicated effort to have more than one nuclear family's worth of people all attached to the same name. Long-dead ancestors not included.

So it is a wonder that they are surprised when, one day (at the Sorting Ceremony of 1971, in fact)

“Black, Abraham,” was called out, and caused one boy to completely freeze where he stood – and he'd been taking a step up towards the Hat when he'd heard his family name called. To his knowledge, he was the only Black that was supposed to be in his year-group. Andy was a third year already, and Bella had started last year, while his own younger brother Reggie wouldn't be joining them until next year, at the same time as Cissy. So who was this person?

A boy with black hair that fell in slightly untidy waves to his shoulders (like he'd been due for a haircut, but it just hadn't happened yet, rather than because he wanted it that way) stepped up to where the Deputy Headmistress, Professor McGonagall, was waiting with the Hat and her List. The boy turned to sit on the stool, and a pair of bright green eyes looked out over the collected student body for a moment before the Hat fell over them.

A few moments later, the Hat called out “Gryffindor!” and the stranger with the famous family name smiled, unaware of what his presence at all – let alone in that house – would do to the political scene.

Then McGonagall called out “Black, Sirius,” and the boy in question hoped that lightning would strike twice, and he'd be able to go into that same house of red and gold, and away from the image that his family (and most particularly, his mother) had been trying to force him into.

“I'm of the opinion that your cunning would set you most comfortably in Slytherin, but I can also see just how uncomfortable you are with the idea, and never let it be said I send a child where they would waste away with unhappiness,” the Hat whispered in his ear, and then loudly declared “Gryffindor!” to all the school.

Sirius smiled as he removed the Hat, though he knew he'd likely get an extremely uncomplimentary howler from his mother for this, and walked over to the Gryffindor table, where only one person was clapping for him: Abraham Black. Everybody else in the hall was too stunned that two Blacks (bad enough one, but two ?!) had been sorted into Gryffindor. The boy also shifted over a bit on the bench when Sirius reached him. A clear invitation to sit together.

The two Blacks shared a smile that promised conversation as soon as they got the chance, but McGonagall had called the next name as soon as Sirius sat down.

By the end of the Sorting Ceremony, Slytherin had three new boys and three new girls, Ravenclaw had two new boys and three new girls, Hufflepuff had one new boy and five new girls, and Gryffindor had five new boys and one new girl.

Looks like you either get a dorm room all to yourself, or you'll be sharing with upper years,” Abraham Black commented to the solitary Gryffindor first-year who wasn't a boy.

The girl, a red-head called Evans, nodded her increasingly pale little face weakly.

Abraham smiled. “Well, don't worry,” he suggested. “You may be a girl and covered in cooties, but we'll take care of you anyway,” he promised.

Evans chuckled weakly. “And you may be a gross boy with cooties of your own, but... thanks,” she answered.

Abraham nodded, and then was distracted by a question from one of the boys he'd be sharing sleeping quarters with.

“So, you're a Black?” asked the pudgy-faced, blonde Pettigrew.

No, I'm A. Black,” Abraham answered with a smirk, pronouncing the 'A' differently. “Slight difference. Or A. M. Black if you want to get technical, though I'm definitely not a morning person.”

“What's the 'M' for?” asked the spectacled, brown-(and messy)-haired Potter curiously. “If you don't mind me asking that is.”

Abraham shrugged. “It's a Welsh name,” he warned.

“We probably couldn't pronounce it with six months lessons then,” Potter joked with a smile. “Tell us anyway, and see how bad we can butcher it?” he suggested sweetly.

“It's Myrddin,” Abraham said.

Eyes popped and stares fixed on him. Even Evans, the only girl and one raised in a non-magical household at that, knew the significance of that name!

“So,” Sirius said, speaking up at last. “Are we related?”

Abraham chuckled. “There are over a hundred people with the name 'Black' living in London alone. I don't think I'm related to all of them ,” he said pointedly, then shrugged. “If you want to find out though, I'm not against it. Just got no idea how you'd do it,” he said.

“Gringotts,” Lupin offered, finally joining the conversation. He tucked a lock of dark-blonde/light-brown hair behind one ear nervously when they all turned to him. “Gringotts does things like inheritance tests, for a fee, because they'd rather see the gold being in circulation rather than gathering dust. Most Pure-bloods don't get them though, in case the test reveals that they're actually not supposed to have inherited what they did, or that they have someone in their family line they'd rather not admit to.”

“How'd you know that?” Pettigrew asked.

Lupin shrugged and grabbed a bread roll. “Mum and Dad yell at each other a lot about whether they should or shouldn't a couple of times a year. We could do with discovering an inheritance, but if it turns out we've got something we shouldn't have... well, we can't really afford to lose much if that's the way it goes,” he said softly.

Pettigrew nodded. “Yeah,” he said softly. “I'd heard the Lupins had fallen on hard times. No one's saying why though,” he added.

Lupin shook his head. “And I'm not telling either,” he said firmly. “That's my family business. I've got to leave the castle for a few days every month though, because of it.”

“Alright, that's enough depressing stuff our first night here,” Abraham decided after they'd all sat in respectful silence for a moment and just gotten on with eating their meals. “Let's trade embarrassing stories about our experiences with accidental magic,” he suggested.

The response was a collection of smiles, some sheepish and others proud, and Potter (who's grin was definitely proud) offered to go first. (Apparently he'd accidentally turned a particularly hideous old couch into about thirty mallard ducks when he was five years old.)

 

~oOo~

 

A howler did arrive the next morning, just as Sirius had known it would. He'd winced at the sight of it, and braced himself for the worst. The letter didn't get further than a scathingly pronounced “Sirius Orion Black!” in what he recognised as his mother's voice before a bowl full of porridge was up-ended over the red envelope, and slammed down onto another plate before it could make a mess.

Sirius stared at the upside-down bowl in surprise, then looked up from the bowl to the person who had dealt with his mother's howler so efficiently.

“Thank you,” he said softly.

Abraham nodded and sat down. “You're quite welcome,” he said. “I've only been a part of the magical world for a year or two -” Abraham's story of accidental magic had been an incident that had brought the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to his home, so he'd known and been preparing for Hogwarts for a bit longer than most who weren't magically raised. “- but I find howlers completely uncouth.”

Sirius chuckled. “When I write home, can I use that?” he asked.

“I insist that you do,” Abraham answered with a cheeky grin of his own, and passed over a quill, a small pot of ink, and a sheet of parchment from his bag.

Sirius got to writing at once, clearly intending to send the return letter with the family owl that was waiting by him.

“Where have you been, Black?” Potter asked, his question clearly directed to Abraham, rather than Sirius.

“You weren't in the dorm when we all woke up,” Lupin added, just in case the green-eyed Black tried to dodge out of the question.

“Morning run,” Abraham answered simply, and started collecting together a bowl of fruit and oats for his breakfast. “Gets the blood pumping and kick-starts my metabolism.”

“What's a metabolism?” Pettigrew asked. “Sounds painful.”

Abraham chuckled. “Metabolism is the word for how fast your body uses the energy that you get from what you eat. A person with a fast metabolism is slow to gain weight, because they're using all the energy from their food faster, while a person with a slow metabolism gets fatter faster, because their metabolism stores the energy rather than burns through it.”

“And running in the morning is good for making your metabolism go faster? Is it trying to keep up with how fast you were going?” Sirius asked, curious enough to be momentarily distracted from his letter.

Abraham chuckled. “Something like that,” he allowed. “Do we have timetables yet?”

“You do now, Mr Black,” answered the voice of McGonagall from behind him.

The first-years looked up or turned to see the professor who was their head of house, and each of them gratefully accepted the sheets of parchment she offered them. Their first class would be Transfiguration – a class which Abraham left with a steely, determined glint in his green eyes. Not that anybody really noticed, all of them too busy complaining to each other about having been assigned homework already.

 

~oOo~

 

Sirius received another letter at breakfast the next morning. This one wasn't a howler. In fact, this one wasn't from his mother at all, but rather from his father.

“Sirius, I congratulate you on successfully muting your mother for an hour without the use of magic,” the boy read out to the rest of them. “I expect you home for Yule. We will talk then. Your father.”

“Doesn't seem to be a man who enjoys letter writing,” Abraham offered.

Sirius shook his head. “Father barely talks at all,” he said. “Mother, on the other hand, is perfectly capable of screaming like a banshee for hours on end without repeating herself once.”

The group winced in sympathy.

 

~oOo~

 

“I don't understand why you hang out with that Slytherin, Evans,” Potter said when the only girl in the group sat down with them at dinner – having just left the company of one Severus Snape at the door. “I really don't.”

“We grew up together Potter,” Evans answered. “He's the one who told me I was a witch, not a freak, for being able to make things happen.”

“That doesn't explain how you can like his company,” Potter countered. “It might explain that you're used to it, but not how you can like it.”

Evans rolled her eyes. “Sev is a nice guy,” she said. “His dad's an abusive drunk, but Sev makes the best of it anyway. He's also smart and creative and helpful. Pass the broccoli?”

“Here,” Sirius answered, as he passed the bowl of green vegetable. “How's he helpful?” Sirius asked, properly joining in the conversation.

“Well, his mother comes from a Pure-blood line, and has lots of books about all sorts of things. Sev would bring some of those books to the park and teach me about some of the things that I'd have to be wary of, because I'm a muggle-born.”

“What sort of things?” Potter asked with a frown.

“Unpleasant things,” Evans answered shortly. “And the counters for them.”

“Good things to know,” Abraham said with a nod. “Maybe invite him to join us for study sessions?” he suggested. “If he's a half-blood, he probably isn't having the best of times in Slytherin.”

“What?” Potter yelped. “Why would we want the slimy little snake's company?”

Evans glared at Potter for that, and would have said something scathing, but Abraham beat her to it.

“Snakes aren't slimy. Common misconception,” he stated calmly. “They have smooth, dry skin. And we want his company because one: he's a friend of Evans and we aren't interested in isolating one of our own because of who their friends are,” he said, giving Potter a Look.

Potter backed down.

“And two,” Abraham continued, “because the magical singing hat talked about unity in its song the other day, in case you've forgotten. The houses aren't meant to create divides between the students, just make us easier for the teachers to manage.”

“And three,” Evans herself offered with a smirk. “Imagine the pranks you could pull on the Slytherins if you had an insider. Sev's already mentioned that he wouldn't mind seeing a few of the older students get their come-uppance for bullying the younger years.”

That was really the clincher, and all the other boys grinned in anticipation of having an ally on the inside. The next class they had with the Slytherins, Evans invited Snape to join her study group – and Potter, Lupin, Pettigrew, and both the Blacks welcomed the other boy enthusiastically.

 

~oOo~

 

The first time Lupin had to go home for family business, none of the school thought anything of it. Well, none of them did until he came back looking like he'd run the length of Scotland while he'd been gone, and even then only his friends noticed.

When he looked the same after the second time he left the castle for family business about a month later, the little group started to worry about him. The third time... Abraham could see who else among their group was putting the clues together the fastest. Clues that some of the others hadn't even begun looking for yet, and no one else had completely brought together. Lupin was one of those unfortunate enough to have been a victim of a werewolf attack during the full moon.

But then it was the winter break, and everybody went home. Abraham went home with an invitation to visit Gringotts with Sirius the day before they'd go back to Hogwarts. They were going to see if Abraham was related in any way to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.

The results were... well, frankly disturbing, as far as Sirius was concerned. Abraham just sighed, chuckled dryly, and asked if there was any chance this discovery could be kept quiet.

“What?!” Sirius yelped. “Why would you want to keep this quiet? You're related to or somehow in line to inherit from just about every family in the 'Sacred Twenty-Eight' of the Pure-blood Directory, and a bunch of other important names that aren't, including the Peverells, two of the four founders of Hogwarts, and Merlin himself!”

“Yes,” Abraham answered simply. “I know that.”

“You...?!” Sirius half-asked, eyes bugging out. Then his grey-blue eyes narrowed at Abraham. “I thought you said that you didn't think we were related.”
“No,” Abraham said. “I said that there were over a hundred people with the name 'Black' in London, and I didn't think I was related to most of them,” he corrected affably. “My gran was visiting once when I did a bit of accidental magic, and she told us about remembering her gran coming over to visit and entertain her and her brothers with her magic sometimes. It wasn't exactly hard to research backwards through the family history. Sideways though?” Abraham shook his head. “Didn't bother. It's one for the funny papers though, I suppose. Muggle-born wizard direct descendant of Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin!” he declared in a fake newscaster voice, though he kept it quiet for all the false grandeur. Then he turned back to the parchment and tapped on a name that was at the end of the Gaunt line that he was related to. “This is an interesting one though,” he said softly. “I think I'll look up this Tom Marvolo Riddle chap.”

“Of all the names...” Sirius said with a sigh and a shake of his head. “Why aren't you more interested in the names that haven't been seen outside of legends and Nature's Nobility?”

“That's the wizarding genealogy book, right?” Abraham asked.

“Yes, you barmy git. It's the wizarding genealogy book,” Sirius answered with a resigned sigh.

“I'll get to them, I promise,” Abraham said, though he was chuckling as well, so Sirius wasn't sure how serious the other Black was being.

 

~oOo~

 

When Lupin was excused for his first full moon since they'd returned to school, Abraham gathered the group of friends together and carefully broached the subject with them. If they reacted negatively to the news, he didn't want them to display that reaction in front of Lupin. There was really no need for it.

He needn't have worried.

“Poor Lupin,” Evans said softly, the first to find her voice after Abraham shared his discovery with them.

“There must be something we can do for him, right?” Potter asked.

“There's no cure for lycanthropy,” Pettigrew pointed out.

“Yet,” Snape corrected. “Slughorn is already saying I'm a genius with potions, Lily too. I'm sure we could figure something out.”

“Even if it were just something to make the transformations less painful for him, and so that he stays him when he's transformed, rather than losing his mind to the wolf,” Evans agreed. “That would be a starting point.”

“What else could we do though?” Sirius asked. “To be there for him? I mean, it's got to be pretty lonely for Lupin, probably being shut away in a cage all on his own once a month.”

“Werewolves go nuts for even the smell of people,” Pettigrew pointed out.

“That's just people though,” Abraham countered with a smile. “If we could turn into animals though...” he suggested.

“You mean, like McGonagall?” Potter asked, a light sparking in his hazel eyes. “I like that idea.”

“And McGonagall likes you,” Sirius pointed out. “You're her favourite student, with how quickly you get all the spells down.”

Potter chuckled. “Well, I was turning furniture into animals when I was five,” he pointed out with a grin.

“Which just proves my theory that school is a place where children get sent to make them stupid,” Abraham quipped with a nod.
“Uh, what?” Pettigrew asked, confused.

“Well think about it,” Abraham said. “A lot of our so-called 'accidental' magic, we did on purpose. We're told it's impossible to do magic without a wand, but we already did before. Potter turned a piece of furniture into not one animal, but a whole flock of birds. That's supposed to be advanced transfiguration that we're not going to get to do until after we pass our Ordinary Wizarding Levels at the end of fifth year. Evans brought dead flowers back to life, which is impossible according to some of the theories they're teaching us,” he explained.

“Actually, that's a good point,” Pettigrew said softly.

“All in favour of discarding theory in all areas but potions?” Sirius asked, and raised a hand.

Every other member of the group raised a hand as well.

“And even then, questioning it closely,” Snape agreed.

“We're still going to have to know the theory though,” Evans pointed out as they lowered their hands. “Or we'll get T's on our written homework.”

“We'll take every limitation as a personal challenge then,” Abraham suggested with a toothy grin.

It was agreed.

 

~oOo~

 

Abraham had been privately working on becoming an animagus since leaving his first transfiguration class, so he had a bit of a leg up on his friends when they sat down with intent to research how it was done. Not much of a one, but a bit all the same.

“What you're planning is impossible!” Lupin protested in a whisper. They'd gathered in the library, told him they knew about his furry little problem, and what they intended to do about it.

“That's a dirty word,” Abraham countered softly. “Nothing's 'impossible'. It might be inconceivable, but not impossible.”

“My accidental magic, which I did on purpose, was 'impossible',” Lily added.

“Being told that something is impossible is the grown-up's way of making sure we don't show them up by doing something that they can't,” Sirius agreed.

“For instance, it's 'impossible' that a Slytherin and a Gryffindor should be friends,” Snape offered with a dark smirk.

“We're going to prove them all wrong,” Potter said firmly. “It'll be the greatest prank on the magical world ever. That a group of seven first-year students would be able to do things that grown witches and wizards couldn't.”

“Do you think of anything but pranks?” Snape asked.

Potter shrugged. “Yes,” he allowed, “but it's more fun to think of who's noses will be put out of joint by me doing something, than who will applaud it. Uh, unless my parents fall into the former category instead of the latter. Then things stop being fun very quickly.”

The group laughed at him, and he quickly joined in.

 

~oOo~

 

On the train back to London after the final exams of their first year, the group were sitting together in a compartment they had managed to claim for themselves. They'd had a generally successful year, by any standards. All of them but Lupin had successfully achieved the animagus transformation – and all without having to once go to McGonagall, or any other teacher for that matter. To be fair though, they had only just got it after the last of their end-of-year tests. As well as that, in a mere, measly year, Evans and Snape had come up with a potion that made Lupin's transformation less painful for him. Rather than simply curing him of his lycanthropy, the pair had decided to try and convert the cursed form of the werewolf into an animagus form of a normal wolf, and they were doing it in stages. First, make the transformation comfortable. Second, make it so that Lupin was in charge rather than werewolf instincts. Third, make the transformation optional during the full moon, and so on until Lupin could take on the form of a wolf as easily as Potter could take on the form of a young stag. (The boy was privately hoping that his antlers would get bigger as he grew older.)

Fortunately for them, Lupin was more than willing to be a test-subject for all their potions, and report back to them on the results after each full moon he'd spent in seclusion. There were various successes and failures – and if Lupin came back looking like he'd been put through the proverbial wringer, then it was marked as a failure, even if the potion otherwise worked as desired. They were definitely getting somewhere though.

“We should come up with nicknames for our animagus forms,” Abraham said once they were sure that they were secure and the train was on its way back to London. “A sort of code-name, so no one else knows what we're talking about.”

“Then the nicknames also need to be able to relate back to our real names, so that if anybody asks, we can explain them,” Evans pointed out.

“Or our physical appearance, or something else that's easily explained,” Abraham countered, then smirked. “Red.”

Evans flushed a slightly peeved and somewhat embarrassed pink at the name that was offered for her. It would be able to be explained by her hair, but also related to her animagus being a red squirrel – the only squirrel native to the UK.

“Appropriate,” she allowed grudgingly. “And definitely better than Ginger.”

The boys all chuckled.

“And we can't leave Lupin out of the nickname-giving,” Sirius added, giving their werewolf friend a gentle noogie as he said it. “Wouldn't be fair to leave him out, and he's gonna be a wolf animagus by the time we graduate anyway, right?”

“Sooner,” Snape promised firmly.

Lupin smiled gratefully at that, and nodded his silent thanks to the only Slytherin member of their group.

“Thanks... uh, you know what? I can't think of a single name that relates to you and a grey crowned crane,” Lupin admitted – and hadn't that animagus form surprised everybody, Snape included.

“Prince,” Evans supplied.

Snape nodded. “It's my mother's maiden name,” he said softly. “Snape is my alcoholic, abusive muggle father's name. I hate it, and I hate him.”

Evans wrapped a comforting arm around her friend's shoulders.

“Prince it is,” Potter agreed. “And if you want, I don't mind inviting everybody here to my family's estate during the hols, if you want to come.”

“Will it be safe for me?” Lupin asked.

Potter pulled what the group had come to recognise as his 'thinking face'. “Should be,” he answered. “If you don't mind me telling my folks about your furry problem, they can make a safe-room for you... uh... Romulus?”

Lupin shook his head, amused. “Telling your parents fine,” he agreed. “But the nickname isn't.”

“Romulus for a nickname sucks,” Abraham corrected with a grin.

“So you do better!” Potter said with a huff, and crossed his arms to sulk a little.

“Ease up, Prancer,” Abraham answered with a smirk.

“Oi!” Potter objected as the rest of the compartment burst into laughter.

Prancer being one of Santa's deer – and Potter's animagus form was a deer, a roe specifically – but the name also vaguely described Potter's rich-kid strut. They hadn't been able to break him of the strut, and had ultimately given up when he walked pretty much the exact same way as a deer.

“You're stuck with it now mate!” Sirius howled gleefully, a hand around his stomach which was beginning to hurt from laughing so hard.

“Laugh it up, Cur!” Potter growled, and tackled his friend.

“I'm not a cur!” Sirius objected as he wrestled right back. “I'm an irish wolfhound! Besides 'Cur' sounds like something my mother would use to insult me. I don't need that from my friends.”

“Fido then?” Evans suggested with a giggle. “And we can say that it's because you're named for the dog star.”

Sirius grumbled, but detached himself from Potter all the same. “Fido, I can live with,” he allowed, and re-claimed his seat. “But we skipped Lupin.”

“Rome,” Abraham said softly.

“How do you figure?” Lupin asked.

“Remus and Romulus, raised by the wolf, were the founders of Rome,” Abraham explained. “And what does a wolf do out in the wild? He roams his territory.”

Heads bobbled in agreement.

“Rome it is then,” Lupin agreed, and settled back in his seat.

“What about me?” Pettigrew asked. “I'm a rat.”

“And in the Chinese Zodiac, there isn't much that's better,” Abraham comforted his friend. Then smirked. “Try and grow a beard over summer, if you manage it, we'll call you Whiskers.”

Peter scowled. “I'm not going to be able to grow a beard over summer. Not even a few hairs,” he said. “And I don't want to be called Whiskers. Sounds like something we should be calling Professor Dumbledore.”

“Nah,” Abraham scoffed. “Call him Dumb-Old-Dork. Or Bumble Bee, Bumbles for short.”

“Merlin!” Evans squeaked, wide-eyed at the disrespect.

“Yes?” Abraham answered with a smirk. His animagus form was a merlin, a small falcon that was also sometimes called a pigeon hawk. That 'Merlin' was the Anglicised version of his middle name, well...

“Oh you!” Evans blustered and waved a hand at him. “How can you insult Professor Dumbledore like that?” she asked. “He's the greatest -”

“- Old fogey of his generation,” Abraham finished, cutting across her as politely as he could. “I mean, really, let's face it. He's perpetuating a lot of the problems that we've all decided to take a stand against this year.”

“Do you really mean that?” Lupin asked quietly.

“Well, let's look at some examples of what he does when faced with the issues. House rivalries?” Abraham started, and raised an eyebrow at his friends.

“Favours Gryffindor publicly, but also fails to discipline Slytherin,” Snape answered.

“Bigotry?” Abraham pressed.

“Publicly? Bugger-all,” Potter answered. “Privately, he works on a case-by-case basis, collecting favours,” he added, and lay an apologetic, comforting hand on Lupin's shoulder.

“The war?” Abraham asked lowly.

“He has something to do with the war?” Pettigrew asked, surprised.

“He should, with the positions he holds in the government,” Sirius told his friend. “But he doesn't do anything. I'm sold,” he told Abraham. “Professor Dumbledore is officially 'Bumbles' in my book. Unless I'm talking to his face. Now, we still haven't picked a nickname for Pettigrew yet!”

“Small Fry,” Snape declared.

“How the heck does that fit?” Potter asked. “I mean, I get it for the animagus form, but not for our dear mate,” he said with a gesture to Pettigrew.

Pettigrew who, currently, was the biggest of them. Whether he would still be the biggest by the end of their school career was unknown, but presently he fit descriptions like 'stocky', 'husky', and 'big-boned' very well.

“Because it's inverse,” Evans said. “There was a boy with red hair, a few years older than us, in our neighbourhood,” she continued with a nod to Snape. “His friends all called him 'Blue'.”

“Kind of like the idea that 'Little John' from the Robin Hood stories was actually very big,” Abraham agree with an understanding nod. “I like it. What do you think, Small Fry?” he asked Pettigrew.

The boy chuckled and shook his head. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I can live with that.”

“Now, we have one other serious matter to discuss,” Abraham said firmly, and nodded to Sirius.

“Yeah,” the other Black said. “My little brother is coming to Hogwarts next year. I love him, but he's had a year of exposure to our mother without me there to act as a buffer for him.”

“Well, next year he'll have plenty of exposure to us without any of your mother's poison dripping in his ear,” Potter declared. “Whatever house Regulus ends up in, we'll make him one of us.”

“You alright with that?” Sirius asked Lupin seriously. “Reggie is a nosy little bugger, however dear he is. He can keep secrets, but he sniffs them out like nobody's business.”

Lupin smiled in gratitude for the consideration. “Maybe if we got to meet him over the summer?” he suggested.

Potter beamed. “The more the merrier!” he declared happily.

Evans bit her lip. “Could I invite my older sister?” she asked softly. “She was very upset that she wouldn't be allowed to learn magic when we found out I was a witch. She... didn't take it well.”

“Didn't I just say the more the merrier?” Potter answered with a crooked smile. “I'll bet she'll have all sorts of great ideas that we wouldn't even think of, because she isn't being stifled by what Hogwarts is teaching us is and isn't possible.”

Evans had apparently been tense for the answer, because she relaxed as she smiled back at him. “Thanks,” she said softly. “Now I just have to convince her to go for it,” she added in weak realisation.