Marauders Gen [with brief allusions to pairings, which may or may not include Remus/Tree]
PG, 450 words
Because the Marauders would be territorial. On Peter, James, Sirius & Remus.
There is a tree on the western edge of Hogwarts’ lake. It is not the oldest, nor the largest, but it is a fine tree all the same.
There are four boys who hang off its branches, in the months of spring as it pushes blossom out into the world. As though they are monkeys, they swing around the trunk, on daring days flinging themselves beyond into the water, only to be returned by an indignant tentacle. Such adventure is normally followed with reprisals from a woman far wiser than they, who always seems to know just the right moment to walk out of the great castle doors.
The tree has secrets. It hides treasure in cavernous roots, placed furtively by a rat with twitching whiskers, who is sometimes a boy that does not know how to sit on a branch for more than five minutes without tumbling to the ground.
Lazy days bring flopped boys, spread-eagled in roots and lying under spheres with fluttering wings. And sometimes a floating branch appears, carrying a boy firmly attached to the top. His hair is like thistles, and he yells in exaltation to the setting sun.
The summer months are long, but there is always promise of a new autumn, new colour, and the boys’ return once again.
There has been a boy who has run to the tree and pounded at it as though a certain spot hit just the right way could reveal a hiding place. The tree reveals nothing, only mutely recognises the star-names the boy hurls out in muffled, choking gasps.
The same boy comes back again, in the same secrecy, and this time he disappears in amongst the leaves with one who will cover him in earthy kisses. The tree groans in the wind.
This last boy is the one who understands the tree. He has run his hands against its grain with loving murmurs, and accepts its fruit each summer, to be handed to the others in a mess of pulpy delight. Sometimes he sits alone, staring intently at leaves he holds between his hands, muttering words to himself over and over again.
These boys are defenders, protectors, and the tree has grown used to their sounds, and does not mind the boy who carves into its bark the name of a girl with eyes like grass in summertime.
The tree is seven years thicker, and waits patiently for its boys once more. It is ready to let go of its emerald tints so that the red shines through. But though the great gardens fill with children once again, there is no sign of them.
The wind sighs through its branches and reluctantly the tree lets the leaves fall, though it knows there is no longer anyone to catch them.