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Title: To Find a Safe Place
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Gen
Rating: G
Characters: Remus Lupin, Minerva McGonagall, Poppy Pomfrey
Word Count: 977
Summary: Remus is sure that he shouldn't be at Hogwarts. Written for Martine of Ravenclaw over at [livejournal.com profile] hogwartsishome.

When Remus first arrives at Hogwarts, he is terrified. He keeps thinking I shouldn't be here I shouldn't be here I'm dangerous I shouldn't be here. He is also quite sure that he will be a Hufflepuff; all he's got going for him, he thinks, is that he works pretty hard.

When the Sorting Hat places him in Gryffindor, and he sits down next to a dark-haired boy who is making rude gestures at an older girl over at the Slytherin table, he is flummoxed. He's not brave. He's not chivalrous. He's not got nerve. He's pretty sure that the hat put him in Gryffindor because he's not patient or just enough for Hufflepuff to take him in.

The next day, he gets two pieces of mail at breakfast. The first is a letter from his mother, telling him how proud she is of him for being in Gryffindor. The second is a note from Professor McGonagall. Please meet me and Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing at 7p tonight, it reads. He knows what it is about.

He carries the letter from his mother in his pocket, like a talisman against fear; he wants to make them proud, so very much. In Transfiguration, he is so nervous that he nearly forgets everything that his mother has told him about wand movements and proper enunciation; somehow he manages to turn most of his match into a needle, although the silvery shank of the needle still produces a feeble fire when struck. When he walks down the corridor to the hospital wing later that night, his feet feel like lead, and his stomach is roiling like a pot of overcooked stew.

"Mr. Lupin," Professor McGonagall greets him. Madam Pomfrey smiles broadly at him as she puts away a series of bottles; her face is like the sun, and Remus draws strength from it. "I'm sure you know why we've asked you to come up here."

Remus nods.

"Madam Pomfrey will be in charge of your care at the full moon while you are here. She'll tell you know what will happen."

Madam Pomfrey takes over. "First, I want you to know that there will always be someone here who will be able to assist you at the full moon. If for some reason I am not here, either Professor McGonagall or Professor Dumbledore will be here with you; if, Merlin forbid, there is a complete breakdown of all order and sanity, the heads of house are all aware of your condition, and you may go to any of them."

Madam Pomfrey continues explaining, every sentence brief but kind. He won't be penalized for missing class; they will pretend that he is visiting his sick mother; he will come up here the day before the full moon begins, to check in with Madam Pomfrey, and then when the full moon begins he will be up here again. If it's winter, he'll have an early dinner here. He doesn't bother telling them that he can't eat before a full moon, when the moon is pulling on him and making his stomach twist up into his heart, making him dizzy and light-headed and giddy.

"And now," Professor McGonagall says, "it's time for the field trip portion of our evening."

"F-field trip, professor?" Remus is confused. And then he realizes that the hospital wing is certainly not equipped to handle a werewolf, even a young one, and that if he were in here his howls would be heard throughout the castle. He feels himself drooping. He had liked the idea of being up in the hospital wing at the full moon, with someone to watch over him and to keep him safe. People worried so much about werewolves hurting other people, but everyone seemed to ignore the werewolves themselves.

Professor McGonagall walks them out, Madam Pomfrey following. "We have a special place for you to go at the full moon. It is a safe spot, a secure spot, and you will not be bothered there."

And he will not bother anyone there, either, is the unspoken utterance hiding behind Professor McGonagall's words. He feels like a wilted cabbage.

She steers them out of the castle, over the lawn, towards a gnarled, angry-looking tree. As they approach, it starts to move; its branches make heavy clubs.

"Immobilus," McGonagall says, wand thrust forward; the tree freezes. "You will come up to my office next Saturday for a private lesson on this charm. It's a little above first year level, but if your performance in Transfiguration earlier was indicative, you should be fine." She winks at him.

Remus is taken aback. He has not known Professor McGonagall for very long, but winking seems out of character for her. He is wary, and watches her carefully as she leads them to the base of the tree, and shows him a knob in the trunk that, when pressed, turns into a tunnel. They go down the tunnel, Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomrey holding lit wands; Professor McGonagall says that she will teach him this spell, too, when he comes to her office. Finally, they reach the end of the tunnel. They are in a little shack with bolted, boarded windows and some simple, plain furniture.

"The Shrieking Shack," Professor McGonagall says. "On the outskirts of Hogsmeade. We've put around a rumor that it's severely haunted, and that there's a curse on the place. You'll be safe here."

This time, he knows that she means those words, and those words alone. He'll be safe here. He thinks of the stories of silver bullets and stakes, and they hit him in a way that they never have before. He'll be safe here. No one can kill him here. He swallows, hard, and straightens his shoulders. He's a Gryffindor, he should try to be a good one.

"Thank you, Professor," he says. She places a hand on his shoulders, and they walk back into the passageway.

Title: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Gen
Rating: G
Characters: Sirius Black, Lily Potter, Harry Potter, James Potter
Word Count: 422
Summary: Sirus Black is always glad to be home for Christmas. Written for Chelsea of Ravenclaw over at [livejournal.com profile] hogwartsishome.

Sirius walked into James and Lily's house for dinner on Christmas Eve, pushing the door open quietly with the intention of surprising them. The surprise failed when he burst out laughing at their tree. It was decked in gold and red glass ball ornaments, charmed to give off a soft glow, and it looked like James had transfigured a Muggle angel topper to look like a house elf. Sirius walked over to the tree, and the topper started singing "Good King Wenceslas" when he got within three feet of it.

Lily came out of the kitchen, which was emanating delicious smells in addition to pretty gingers. "That part was my touch," Lily said, holding a squirming Harry in her arms. Harry was reaching out for his godfather, his face reddening as he struggled. Finally, Lily set him down, and he crawled haltingly over to Sirius. Sirius scooped him up.

"Well, hello there, tiny Prongs," he said to the baby. "How are you enjoying your first Christmas?"

He was rewarded with a fist to the jaw.

"Young pugilist, are you?"

Harry crowed in acquiescence.

"Sirius!" James's voice came down from the second floor; he clomped down the stairs, the black cat that Lily adopted right before they went into hiding streaking ahead of him. "You made it, mate!"

"'Course I did. Couldn't not give Harry his Christmas present, could I?" He grinned mischievously.

"Oh---Sirius---you didn't---"

"Don't worry, Lily, the broom will wait for his first birthday. Nah, I've got it in my pocket." He shifted Harry to his other arm, and pulled a small gold-wrapped package out of his pocket. "Here, can you put it back to normal size? I put a shrinking charm on it."

James took the package, un-shrunk it, and placed it under the tree with the other presents. Sirius noted that they were also all wrapped in red and gold.

"I swear," he said, "why didn't we ever do up a tree in the Gryffindor common room like this, eh? McGonagall would've gone bonkers for it."

"Because Mary would've sneezed everywhere, remember?" Lily said, walking back into the kitchen. "Get in here, you guys, I need to let the roast set and finish up the veg and I want to hear all your stories of the outside world, Sirius."

Sirius grinned and followed her into the kitchen, bouncing Harry in the air and making him laugh. "Of course, boss. All the stories are yours."

It was good, he thought, to be with family for Christmas.

Title: Little Moments of Understanding
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Gen; romance if you squint.
Rating: G
Characters: Lily Evans, James Potter, Remus Lupin, with a touch of Lily/James
Word Count: 1558
Summary: Lily knows that James Potter is a well-meaning fellow. He's just such an idiot sometimes.
Author’s Note: Written for Kerri for the [livejournal.com profile] hh_sugarquill Christmas fic exchange. The prompt was "when Lily realized that she didn't hate James". This got a bit into privilege and stereotyping, so I hope it's not too heavy for you. I've always thought that wizarding views of Muggles would be very important to Lily, and that it would be difficult for her to date someone who didn't try to really understand the Muggle world.

Lily had never hated James Potter. `Hate' was far too strong a word for it, although her feelings were certainly not of the kinder type. He wasn't a horrible person; just sort of a prat. He was arrogant, and he was privileged, and he didn't know that he was either of those things. There was the whole Quidditch thing, of course, the way he (and the others) sometimes strode about as if being on the Quidditch team made you a king of Gryffindor Tower---but that, Lily could forgive as the spoils of talent. Pride in hard work, she thought, that was a good thing, even if over-applied in this case.

No, what cemented a building antipathy into dislike was approximately one half of the times she heard the word `Muggle' escape his lips. She had to admit, he wasn't so bad on this; he seemed generally supportive of Muggle-borns and Muggle rights, and he certainly wasn't like the group that Sev hung out with. She couldn't really identify any particular incidents that bothered her. Somehow, though, he just seemed so damn patronizing. There was something about the way he talked about visits to Muggle London that made her hackles stand up. It was mostly well-intentioned curiosity, she knew. The problem was just that the curiosity came out wrong, came out as seeing the Muggle world as a place for wizarding tourists to play, and to shake their heads pityingly at the strange, silly Muggles living without magic.

The Muggle world, Lily thought, was not a playground for the only trickster sons of well-off, doting wizarding parents to visit. It was a place for living in. So when Potter started flirting with her in fifth year, she shut him down. She thought that maybe she was being hyper-sensitive about it, but she got the feeling that he didn't understand what being a Muggle-born meant to Muggle-borns, and she couldn't imagine dating someone who didn't understand something that fundamental to her existence. Even if he was sort of cute, and a good Quidditch player, and pretty good at Transfiguration to boot.

All through fifth year, she rebuffed him; sixth year started no differently. That year was a heady one, right from the start. NEWT classes were smaller, faster, and far more intense than OWL classes. Lily had been considering pursuing Healing after Hogwarts, and so had a full docket of classes. After the first month, she felt a little bit like she was drowning.

She had started to partner with Remus in most of her classes. He used to partner with Pettigrew, and she would partner with Sev or with Mary McDonald---but now Pettigrew and Mary weren't taking much in the way of NEWTs, and Sev, well, that was out of the question. Remus had always been a kind and caring person. She felt a sort of kindred spirit with him, as if they were both fighting to show that they were more than their backgrounds. Besides, you spent so much time patrolling with your fellow prefects that you kind of had to become friends with them.

She was especially glad that she shared a table with Remus in Potions, when she had to studiously avoid even glancing at Sev, and to ignore the constant spatting between him, Potter, and Black. She and Remus plodded on, chopping, dicing, slicing and stirring, with only occasional mishaps. The most spectacular mishap of sixth year happened one cold day shortly before the Christmas holidays. One of the Hufflepuffs in the class had accidentally exploded the cauldron of Hiccoughing Solution he was working on. They spent the last five minutes of class cleaning up, Lily carefully extracting and vanishing the solution from her bag, and Remus trying to figure out how it was that his quill had started hiccoughing. Over at the table that Potter and Black shared, she could hear laughter. She instinctively pricked her ears, years of running interference between Sev and the Gryffindor boys coming into play.

"I swear, Pads, it was---oh, it was just so funny. Seriously. They've got some of the weirdest toys. They've got these little ones, they look like jaws, got teeth and everything, and you turn a little peg in the side and all of a sudden the things start chomping around. It's like they're trying to approximate an animation charm. You see grown adults playing with the things!"

Lily tried to draw her attention away from the conversation, but as always happened when someone started talking about Muggle culture, she felt compelled to keep listening.

"Do the things actually bite you if they get at you?"

"Nah, the jaws just keep closing up and down, they don't latch on. Wonder what would happen if you went into one of the stores and actually charmed the the thing? I imagine the Muggles would be pretty confused if the little jaws got all bulldoggish."

Lily felt her face pass into a frown, and saw one move over Remus's face as well. She didn't know if it was because he knew she must have heard, or if he too was not pleased with the words that had just come out of his friend's mouth. There it was, though, a downwards twitch of his thin lips.

"James," Remus said, beckoning Potter and Black over. They walked towards Remus and Lily's table. Lily crouched down to shift some of the things in her bag, hiding her face behind her hair. She was happy not to look at Potter right now.

"Yeah, Moony?"

"Please don't take this the wrong way---I don't mean it personally---but you might not want to talk that way."

"Huh? About what?" Potter sounded confused. Lily lifted her bag to the table and kept packing it, glancing at the boys. Potter certainly looked confused.

"Muggles. I mean, they're people, James."

The confused look stayed on Potter's face. "Of course they're people. What else would they be, centaurs?"

"It just---it made them sound quaint, and that's not particularly respectful, is it? And the jaws thing, if someone didn't know you they'd think you supported Muggle-baiting."

"I---the hell, Remus?!" The confusion, now, was replaced by shock and not a small touch of anger.

"I know you didn't mean it to sound that way. It's just, you know, I mean, you wouldn't want someone talking about you that way. You wouldn't want to hear Muggles contemplating playing tricks on you that would really scare you. I mean, imagine if you didn't know magic existed, and then some toy came to life and started attacking you."

"I---" Potter stopped. Lily never knew if it was because she was there, but he stopped. "Yeah. Sorry, mate. Thanks."

Remus shrugged. Lily had stopped glancing now, and was watching the entire proceedings with interest. Remus, she thought, must have done a lot of thinking on this. She should talk to him later about it. And Potter---Potter had accepted criticism without complaint, which astounded her.

Remus picked up his bag and hiccoughing quill, and started to move towards the door. Lily slung her bag over her shoulder, catching up. Remus glanced at her, and she gave him a smile; he smiled back. They started to file out, Potter and Black close behind. As they walked out of the classroom, Potter caught up to them.

"Hard to get your world views challenged a bit, isn't it, Potter?" she asked him quietly.

"Er---" he replied. He looked over at her, and although he'd been looking at her, and quite a bit, over the past year, something in his face let her know that he was finally seeing her. His face went bright pink, and she could see the gears turning in his head as he realized exactly why she, of all people, would not have been impressed by his comments to Black. He swallowed. "Er, hey, Lily, what do they actually say when they, you know, when they tell Muggle-borns?"

She hadn't expected that one. She looked back at him, brows raised. "Well, a lot of things. I imagine it depends on who goes, and what the family is like."

"Could you tell me sometime?"

She contemplated it for a half-moment. "Find me sometime in the common room when I'm not working. I might not be too busy later, if I get through all the Charms reading."

"It's a date!" Potter said, breaking out in a grin.

"No, Potter, it's helping Remus give you a sorely-needed lesson on understanding the vast majority of the human populace."

His grin disappeared and was replaced by a chastised look. "I guess I deserved that."

"Yeah," she said simply. "It might seem like a little prank to you, and if you charmed a bunch of wind-up jaws to chase that Mulciber git around the castle I'd cheer you on, but Remus was right. That could really scare someone who thought magic didn't exist. You'd---James, imagine if all of a sudden magic stopped existing. You'd think you'd gone crazy. You couldn't trust anything about the world."

"Wouldn't be fun," he mumbled.


"'m sorry."

She patted his arm and smiled. "It's okay."


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