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Chapter 2: Thick Purple Potion
“Come on, Antonio,” Alana said lazily, bending down and scooping her cat onto her lap. He gave a contented meow and curled up against her, his fat keeping her warm.
She sighed indifferently and picked up her quill to make a few finishing touches to her summer essay for Muggle Studies.
“In short, the function of a microwave is to heat food for those whom are too lazy to use…an oven…” she said under her breath an hour later, as she wrote the very last sentence of her essay. Normally she loved doing research for the wacky inventions that Muggles had come up with, but her mood was particularly dark on that night. It was the last night of holiday, there had been two fresh attacks from Voldemort that day, oh – and her best friend was a raving lunatic.
After Sam’s little outburst earlier in the night, Alana’s mother had muttered a few choice words, poured herself a large glass of firewhiskey, and headed to bed. Alana’s father had ranted about Sam being so rude when they had always treated him as a third son, contradicted himself by saying that he understood why Sam was so scared, then gone to bed, leaving Alana to put Nathan to bed. One disastrous bath, two midnight snacks and many bedtime stories later, Alana had been free to let Antonio out of the basement and finish her summer work. It was now well past midnight, and while she knew she’d need to be up early in the morning she had no desire to sleep.
Alana pushed Antonio off of her lap and crossed her room to her shelf, which was now almost empty since most of her belongings were in her trunk waiting to go to Hogwarts with her. She didn’t even know why she bothered unpacking each June.
Bored, she silently crossed back across the room and opened her door as quietly as she could. The hallway was still and black as she stepped into it. The ability to walk down the stairs in the dark came only from the fact that she’d lived with her family in that house since she was born.
As she neared the kitchen she saw that the door was closed and a faint light was glowing beneath it. She had heard her father’s snores as she had passed her parents room, and Nathan and her mother never woke up at night. Cautiously she approached the door and crouched to look through the keyhole.
What she saw was a young man, of approximately twenty-four years of age, piling a sandwich to the ceiling with turkey, cheese and tomatoes. With a smirk, she got to her feet and twisted the doorknob to open the door.
“What, Joe, are you too good to knock anymore?” The young man glanced up. His face stretched into a huge smile as he abandoned his sandwich and swept his youngest sister into a huge hug.
“Al!” He gave her one last squeeze and released her, leaving her laughing and gasping for breath.
“Anyway,” Alana said once she’d caught her breath, “what brings you here so late? Run out of food?” she said, eyeing the monstrous sandwich he had whipped up.
“Nah,” he said as he put the final layer of food on. “I heard about Mr. Malcolm, though, and I thought I’d come see if everything is okay.” He lifted his eyes slowly. “You are okay, aren’t you?”
Alana quickly nodded and shot him a fake smile. It was good enough for him, though, and he nodded contentedly.
“And,” he added through a mouth full of turkey, cheese and ham, “tomorrow’s Hogwarts! I thought I’d come over and see you get on the train. I haven’t seen the train since I graduated!”
She smiled and nodded. “So, since you’re here…back window?”
With a devilish smirk Joe stuffed the remainder of his sandwich in his mouth and eagerly ran up the stairs, as quietly as he could, of course.
The pair entered Alana’s room, where Antonio eyed Joe angrily; he had hated Joe since he’d set his whiskers on fire, in his fifth year at Hogwarts.
Alana jumped onto her bed and, putting all of her weight into it, pushed the window beside of it open. She thrust her head through first, and then her feet, letting them touch the roof softly. Joe followed shortly after, bringing an old blanket and a huge bottle with him.
“Here,” he said, thrusting the bottle into Alana’s hands, “you’re sixteen now. It’s time you have a bit of danger in your life.”
She looked at the label on the bottle. It was firewhiskey. She shot him a grin and opened it. Alana took a swig, almost gagging as the vile, burning liquid slid greasily down her throat. With a brief coughing fit, she took another swig; the experience was no better than the former.
Between the two of them, the huge bottle was drained within twenty minutes. Alana ended up being a cheap drunk, which was proved as she draped herself across the roof, laughing hysterically. Scoffing, Joe had muttered a spell which calmed her down a bit.
“So, how’s Sammy doing?” he asked. Sam had been around since he was fifteen, and he thought of him as more of a brother than perhaps his own little brother.
Alana’s eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. She recounted the events of the previous day. Joe listened intently, nodding every so often. Once she was done, he merely shrugged.
“I don’t know what else you expect,” he countered. “It must be pretty scary for him and Madi.”
Alana glared at him slightly. She hadn’t thought of it like that. “Well, still…he didn’t have the right to blow up like that!”
“Maybe not,” he said slowly, “but you’re not ten anymore. He’s one of your best friends, right?”
“You have to learn to be understanding, not criticizing. Which, I hate to say, is your weakness.”
Alana rolled her eyes and leaned back against the side of the house. She and Joe had discovered how easy it was to get onto the roof from her bedroom window when she was very young. On nights when they couldn’t sleep they would sneak out the window and waste the night away talking. They never found the need to invite Beth along. The view from their roof was also lovely. Their garden, enhanced by magic, was monstrous. A small pond sat directly beneath the roof. And even from their high position, they could even see the lawn gnomes diving obnoxiously in and out of the ground. It was peaceful to say the very least.
“What time is it?” Alana asked after she felt that she had successfully ignored him long enough.
Joe checked his watch. “It’s late,” he said shortly. “We should go back inside and get some sleep. You know mum will wake us up before the crack of dawn.”
It was true. Alana felt that her head hadn’t even hit the pillow when she was being shaken awake. Groggy, she opened her eyes to find that the sun hadn’t even fully risen yet.
“Come on, Alana,” said the voice of her mother. Her voice was far too cheery for that time of the morning. As Alana lifted her head, nausea overcame her and her head hammered. She swallowed nauseously and sunk back into the pillow. Silently, she made a note to herself: Never drink firewhiskey again.
After a few more minutes of staring at the ceiling, Alana crept out of bed and headed to the attic. It was where her brother’s old room was…where he’d be now.
“Ugh.” Alana burst through the attic door where she found her brother draped across his bed, arm hanging limply off of it. She shook his shoulder and collapsed exhaustedly to the floor.
“Hannngover,” she moaned, putting her head in her hands. Joe chuckled a bit and got out of bed. He went to the corner. He jumped on a floorboard and it flew up, revealing a stash of random odds and ends.
Intrigued and suddenly forgetting her throbbing temples, Alana scampered over to look inside the loose floorboard. She pulled out first a small corked bottle containing a shimmering gold liquid. With a gasp, she gaped at her brother.
“JOE! Where did YOU get Felix Felicis?”
He shrugged. “I got it back in my sixth year at Hogwarts. Ol’ Sluggy gives a bottle out to the sixth years on the first day of lessons. He always gives it to the person who makes the best potion by the end of class.”
Alana rolled her eyes. “Oh, so Lily Evans will be getting it then, I suppose?”
Joe chuckled. “You really hate those Gryffindors, don’t you?”
She nodded and shoved her hand back into the hole and pulled out another bottle. This potion was purple and thick.
“Aha,” he said, snatching it out of her hand. “There it is. Take a drink.” She eyed him suspiciously, but took the cork off and took a sip. For a minute nothing happened…then suddenly she felt one hundred percent better. Her head was no longer heavy and achy, and she felt as if she could actually move.
“You know,” she said, grinning, “you could have told me about this little potion stash years ago.”
“That takes the fun out of things,” he said, getting up and motioning for her to leave. She did, heading down the narrow flight of stairs so she could take a shower. Once she was done, she went back to her room to pick up random odds and ends that she may have forgotten to pack the previous day.
She hardly found any loose objects, and had dragged her trunk single-handedly down the stairs before breakfast was even completely done. The scent of pancakes teased her nose until she broke down and headed to the kitchen.
“Eww, mum,” she said as she stepped to the stove. “This is my big breakfast. Does it have to have MEAT in it?”
Alana’s mum merely rolled her eyes and shoved a plate, with only eggs and toast on it, into her hands. “Go pour yourself some orange juice and get over it,” she said, flipping a piece of bacon and chuckling.
Grumbling, Alana set her breakfast on the table and wandered to the refrigerator to find the orange juice. Once she’d found it in the overcrowded refrigerator, her father, Nathan and Joe had made their way down stairs. Not to mention that Joe had found his way to her toast.
She smacked his hand and pulled the half eaten toast out of it. Sticking her tongue out, she shoved the remainder of the toast in her mouth and sunk into her seat. Shortly afterward, her mum joined them at the table and the enjoyed a relaxing, quiet, uninterrupted meal.
Soon after breakfast, when a weak sun was glaring through the window and the dishes were washed and neatly stacked in the cupboards, a meek knock came at the door. Alana’s mum shrugged and Alana wiped her hands on a towel and walked out of the kitchen and to the door. Peeking through the side window, she found with a shock that Madi and Sam were standing on her doorstep.
She swung the door open to reveal them, Sam making Madi look ever tiny, and Alana shot them the meanest of looks.
“Um…” Sam lowered his gaze to the ground and cleared his throat awkwardly. “Well, Madi and I don’t have a ride to the Hogwarts Express…and…um…we were wondering if your mum could take us…like she always has.”
Of course. Being muggleborns, Sam and Madi’s parents had always just had Alana’s mum and dad take the twins to the station. It was usually a normal routine, and Alana hadn’t thought twice about it.
“Oh.” Alana nodded. “Sure, uh…come on in.”
She stepped aside and allowed Sam and Madi to step in. They slipped their shoes off and looked around the familiar house with an abnormal sense of nervousness. Apparently Sam had told Madi about the scene he had made the night before.
“Who is it?” called Alana’s mum from the kitchen.
“Uh, it’s Sam and Madi, mum!” Alana glanced at the two, shooting Madi an awkward smile but shunning Sam.
“Oh.” She sounded a bit shocked. “Okay then. Have them take a seat in the living room until it’s time to leave. Have they got their stuff?”
“Already in the trunk of the Ministry car, Mrs. Monroe!” Sam shouted.
Alana rolled her eyes at his eagerness to somehow make up for the night before. He was pathetic, really he was, but it was hard to stop the hint of a smile from tugging at the corners of her lips.
Madi sat on the couch next to her twin brother, and Alana collapsed in the roomy armchair across from them. She started out cross-legged, then pulled her knees to her chest, then stretched her legs across the floor. She just couldn’t get comfortable with them staring at her with bug eyes, as if she was supposed to apologize to them.
“Well,” Alana said once she’d had enough, “I better, um, go upstairs to check on Joe.”
Immediately, Sam jumped up. “Joe’s here? Is he staying in the attic? Can I come upstairs and talk to him? Does he hat—” Sam stopped mid sentence, blushing.
“What?” said Alana, annoyed.
“Never mind,” he muttered. “But can I go talk to him?”
“Whatever,” Alana breathed, allowing Sam to exit the room in front of her. She snuck a glance at Madi before they slipped up the stairs. The girl seemed quite glad to be alone, frankly.
Before Alana had even reached the landing she heard a few loud whoops. Knowing that Sam had indeed found Joe, she couldn’t help but smile and hurry along the hallway to join in the little reunion.
She found the two at the end of the hallway, near the door to the attic. Joe was grinning and patting Sam on the back, like he was brushing him off. Noticing the knocked over flower vase at Sam’s feet, Alana realized that they must have collided. With this realization she had to suppress another grin, and even a chuckle.
“Um, do you think we should go downstairs?” Alana interrupted. “I think it’s almost time to leave.” The two boys shrugged and followed her down the steps just as Mrs. Monroe began to shout up the stairs at the top of her lungs that if they didn’t hurry up, they’d miss the train.
Alana ran down the stairs to meet her father and Nathan at the foot of them. Her father grinned slightly and gave her a tight hug. Nathan hugged her leg, whining about not getting to see her until Christmas. Nathan and Mr. Monroe never went to the train station. There was plenty of room in the car, but they didn’t do well in crowds.
Madi stepped out of the living room and looked Joe up and down. It had been a few years since she’d seen him. She shot him an award winning smile, and said, in a slightly huskier voice than usual, “Hi, Joe. It’s been a while.”
“Hi,” he muttered, not unkindly, and went back to his conversation with Mr. Monroe and Sam. Madi looked quite dejected, but kept the smile, now fake, upon her face.
“Okay, guys and girls, it’s time to say goodbye!” interrupted Mrs. Monroe suddenly. “We’re going to be late if you lot don’t hustle!!!”
“Honestly, mum,” Alana said softly. “We’ve got an hour. We’ll be fine…we always are.” She picked Antonio’s cage off the ground and gently petted him through the bars, to assure him that he was fine.
“Yes,” she said, waving them toward the door, “but you never know what may go wrong when using unreliable Muggle objects such as a CAR.”
Alana glanced over at Sam just in time to see his eye twitch a bit, but he managed to keep his cool. She was impressed. It was more than he’d ever managed to do in the past.
“Okay,” said Mrs. Monroe once they were all safely tucked away in the car. Alana sat in the front with her mum, and Joe, Sam, and Madi were all comfortably spaced out in the backseat. “Have we all got everything?”
“Yes,” Alana, Sam and Madi droned in unison. Mrs. Monroe grinned as she switched the car into gear. It jerked a few times at first, but she did fine once they were out on the main road and she got back into practice.
In what seemed like no time at all, the car was pulling up to the train station. They still had thirty minutes on their hands, but Alana could see a few people from Hogwarts that she recognized floating into the station at random. It wasn’t that she knew them personally, but she could tell who they were by the objects that they carried. Large trunks, owls and an occasional loose spellbook. Alana found that they were being extremely indiscrete this year, but none of the Muggles seemed to notice.
The group of five got out of the car and began unloading things out of the trunk. Mrs. Monroe was dying to do it with magic, but having a husband who worked in the Muggle department at the Ministry, she knew better.
Alana began sliding her trunk away from the car, Antonio’s cage perched awkwardly on top of it. Finally, Sam took pity on her and told Joe to carry her stuff.
Once they had all leaned undetected through the barrier to Platform 9 ¾, Alana couldn’t help but smile a little bit when she saw the sleek and shiny Hogwarts Express.
As was tradition, the group took a place near the train and talked until the clock said that there was only five minutes until eleven o’clock.
A bit teary eyed, as was accustomed to going back to Hogwarts, Alana hugged Joe and her mum goodbye.
As Sam, Madi and Alana stepped on the train, Mrs. Monroe trailed behind them, shouting various reminders. “Don’t forget to write! Remember to take a shower EVERY night, Sam….and put your shirts down the laundry chute so the house elves can wash them!”
At the last statement, Madi trudged, embarrassed, away from Alana and Sam and went to find her friends. Sniggering, Sam and Alana waved goodbye as the train picked up speed. Soon, Mrs. Monroe and Joe were nothing but a single blur.
A/N: hey guys! it took me a while, but here’s the second chapter! i’m having a blast with this, but more fun is yet to come! i hope you stick with me and hopefully review! thanks…bye!