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Chapter 3: Train Ride, First Year.
New chapter image by Gwen! ILY!
Beta'd by the amazing Michelle (RandomnessIsInMyNature/theRandomSlytherin)
J.K Rowling is queen, and I bow down to her magical goodness.
11-year Amelie Harris stood nervously on the platform, her long dark hair draping messily around her shoulders. A small, black cat was purring inside a wicker basket, his claws scratching at the metal covering. She set it down on the floor and carefully poked some treats through the metal bars.
She looked up at her mother who was talking animatedly to a wizard she had never seen before. Amelie had inherited her green eyes from her mother, but her dark hair was from her father. Her mother used to have brown hair, but now it was a bright peroxide blonde. It was usually straight as well, but because of the rain, it was slowly turning frizzy. Florence Harris had an ‘all-year tan’ and her make-up was always perfectly applied.
The wizard she was talking to was very handsome, with tanned skin and blonde, flowing hair. Amelie’s mother was batting her fake eyelashes and flirting with him. Amelie hated it when she did that. It always meant that they would be married soon and Amelie would have to wear an uncomfortable dress and stand by an altar and…
“Amy, honey, come and meet Bartholomew. He’s an Auror. He works for the ministry,” her mother smiled, gesturing to the handsome man. She said the last few words with sickening importance, as if there was an excuse for her to sink her long, acrylic claws into him.
It wasn’t that Amelie hated her mother, because she loved her very much, it was just the way she used people. All of her ex-husbands had been wealthy men, but each marriage had ended horribly - either with a high profile divorce or in one case, a death (Amelie’s mother had managed to inherit a large country house and several millions pounds out of that one). This new, handsome man looked slightly awkward when he saw Amelie, but he smiled and held out his hand for Amelie to shake.
“Florence,” he said, through gritted teeth, to her mother, “you didn’t tell me you had a daughter. Isn’t she a pretty little thing?”
“Oh yes,” she replied, squeezing Amelie’s cheeks between her dainty, fake-tanned hands, “she is the centre of my world.”
“Really?” Amelie said, her voice muffled, “because that is what you said to Nathaniel in your vows. Or was that Charles? I can never remember which one.”
Amelie saw her mother’s eyes darken and her jaw clench. She looked like she was about to slap somebody, but Amelie was saved by Bartholomew. He pointed over her mother’s shoulder.
“Look, it’s Harry Potter!” He shouted, and most of the people on the platform turned around.
Amelie looked around her mother to see a tall man, with black hair, green eyes and glasses standing with his arm wrapped around a pretty woman with long, red hair. A little girl with wide, brown eyes was hanging off her mother’s hand and a boy with black hair and glasses was running around, chasing pigeons off the platform. Between the two adults stood a small, dark-haired boy wearing scruffy denim shorts and a Chudley Cannons t-shirt, looking as nervous as Amelie felt. Several paparazzi stood around them, taking photos of the family and the dark-haired boy looked slightly flustered.
“Hey James, turn and face me for a second…”
“Are you worried about the sorting task? Do you think it will be something scary?”
“Jimmy! How do you feel about your first day of school?”
“I…err…” the boy mumbled, wincing at the flashes of the camera.
Amelie’s mother ran over to ‘Bartholomew’, her heels clicking loudly on the stone floor.
“Why don’t you go and talk to him about work or something and then you can introduce me?” She asked excitedly, her eyes flicking between Harry Potter and Bartholomew. He looked uncomfortable, running a hand through his neat hair.
“I don’t actually work with him, Flo. I’m just an intern.”
“Oh.” Amelie’s mother took her hand of his arm, her face the perfect picture of disgust.
And another one bites the dust, Amelie thought. It’s a shame; I really bonded with Bart.
“Look! Amelie! It’s Ginny Potter! She used to play for the Holyhead Harpies, you like them, don’t you?” her mother said, jumping up and down with excitement.
“Nice of you to take an interest,” Amelie mumbled, turning away from the throng of people towards her trunk. The shouts and flashes of the camera were giving her a headache. She bent down to unfasten the latch on the cat’s basket, her hands fumbling with the leather strap. When she was done, her cat shot out quickly, running to the other end of the platform. Amelie groaned loudly, and began to traipse lazily after it.
She weaved through the crowd, calling its name. She reached the end of platform, looking in every nook and cranny for it. Instead she found the small, dark-haired Potter boy hiding in an alcove, stroking the black cat.
“Gwenog, there you are,” she said, reaching down to take the kitten out of the boy’s hands.
“Gwenog? As in Gwenog Jones of the Holyhead Harpies?” His voice was confident and loud, echoing around the alcove. He had freckles and a scrawny, lanky build.
“Yeah. You support them?”
He scoffed at her, pointing to his t-shirt.
“You think? My sister Lily supports them though - my mum used to play for the team.”
“So you’re Jimmy,” Amelie said happily, sitting down against the brick wall, Gwenog in her lap.
“I hate it when people call me that,” he muttered grumpily, pouting slightly.
“You mean you hate when paparazzi call you that,” she clarified, “is that why you are hiding here?”
The boy seemed to take offence from this and puffed out his chest, “I don’t hide from anyone. My dad is Harry Potter.”
“So I’ve heard,” Amelie said, “Thanks for looking after the cat.”
“No problem. What’s your name?”
“Thanks Jimmy,” Amelie laughed. James pinched her on the arm and she yelped in pain.
“No fair! I was just making a joke!” She cried, rubbing her arm.
“It wasn’t very funny,” James replied sulkily, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
A large belt of steam sounded loudly throughout the platform, and there was suddenly a flurry of movement in the crowd: mothers hugging, trunks shifting, owls hooting. Amelie stood hurriedly; clutching Gwenog in her hands and ran towards her mother, James close on her heels.
After locking the cat securely in her basket and dragging her trunk onto the train, she returned to see her mother eyeing up another young man wearing a dragon skin suit. Bartholomew looked slightly dejected, leaning grumpily against a wall nearby.
“That man over there is Mr. Jiggers of Slug & Jiggers Apothecaries. They are known all over the world! Do you reckon he is single?” She asked breathlessly, waving seductively at the man, who waved awkwardly back.
“See you later, Mum,” Amelie said tediously, leaving Florence Harris to saunter over to her next marital victim. Amelie looked over at the Potters, who were having a very emotional goodbye, the paparazzi having a field day. She felt a pang of jealousy and returned to see her mother carelessly flirting with a man she didn’t know, but would no doubt marry in a couple of weeks.
She stepped back onto the train and walked down the aisle, peeking into every compartment for a free space to sit. She saw a group of sinister Slytherins, looking haughty and ominous (Amelie walked quickly passed that compartment). She had finally reached the end of the train when she heard someone calling her name. James Potter was standing behind her and gesturing to a door on her right, his messy hair flopping in his eyes.
“You can sit with us, if you want to,” he smiled at her.
She nodded in agreement and walked towards the door. She would, no doubt, do something very clumsy in front of James and his famous cousins. On true form, Amelie walked straight into the very clean door, her head ringing. She staggered backwards and James caught her. He was surprisingly strong, despite his gangly frame.
When Amelie finally managed to enter the compartment, James introduced her to Teddy and Victoire. Both were very beautiful and both slightly intimidating. Victoire had long, blonde hair and strikingly blue eyes, which contrasted with her pale skin (Amelie’s mother had told her that the Potters had Veela relatives). Teddy had light brown hair, dark eyes and handsome, chiseled features.
“Ted, Victoire, this is Amelie.”
Victoire stood gracefully and hugged Amelie tightly. Amelie patted her half-heartedly on the back, not knowing how to respond to such an enthusiastic welcome. Teddy chuckled behind her.
“Don’t worry about the door,” Victoire whispered in her ear, “I did it my first time too.”
Amelie stared at her, wondering how someone so elegant and beautiful could do something so ungainly and awkward. She muttered weakly about clean glass and sat down next to James, who had taken out a copy of the Quibbler.
“You read the Quibbler?’ Amelie asked James, surprised.
“Occasionally. We know the editor. Sometimes some of the stories are a bit rubbish though. Did you hear the thing it said about Gilderoy Lockhart actually being a woman?”
‘But you can’t blame the journalist, have you seen him lately?’ She said.
The rest of the train journey passed comfortably (apart from a bit spent awkwardly avoiding Teddy and Victoire kiss). Amelie was introduced to Fred and Roxanne, twins in their second year, who turned Victoire's hair a violent shade of orange. She had docked points from Gryffindor before they had even arrived at school. Victoire had returned breathless from chasing the twins down the corridor to find that Teddy had endearingly changed his hair to the exact same colour.
The lunch trolley arrived, and Amelie bought chocolate frogs and other sweets. James managed to buy (and eat) almost half the trolley, stuffing his face with pies and cakes.
“I’ll be right back,” Amelie said, about half an hour away from Hogwarts, “I’m going to change into my robes.” She picked up her bag and walked towards the door, being careful to open it before going out.
There were people everywhere. Their faces were pushed up against the glass windows of their compartments, staring at Amelie with wide, jealous eyes. She walked cautiously down the corridor, her bag clutched in her hands as people continued to stare.
“How come she gets to be friends with the Potter boy?” She heard one girl whisper behind her, “she isn’t even pretty.” Amelie’s face flushed with anger, turning around to confront the girl.
“Well apparently, you are stupid enough.”
The girl looked shocked and insulted, her mouth hanging open.
“And you don’t suit the goldfish look,” Amelie finished, pushing past the girl and continuing down the corridor. She smiled inwardly to herself as she heard gossiping and whispering.
“You can’t talk to me like that,” the girl continued, jabbing her finger into Amelie’s chest, “you are just a first year.”
“She can talk to you however she wants.”
Amelie turned and saw Teddy and Victoire walking down the corridor, the entire crowd turning silent as they approached. Amelie saw James behind them, and she flashed him a large grin. He gave her the thumbs up.
“All of you get back to your compartments before I give you all detention,” Teddy shouted of the heads of the muttering crowd, Head Boy badge gleaming on his chest.
Amelie found it strange how James and his cousins had defended her, even though she had only met them a few hours ago. She had never known her father, and with her mother off gallivanting with various husbands and lovers, she had never really known what having a family was like. Amelie reminded herself of the Potters heartfelt goodbye at the station, and she remembered how jealous she felt. No one had ever been like that with her.
After she had changed, she walked back to the compartment, where James was sitting alone.
“Ted and Victoire have gone on rounds,” he said.
Amelie nodded and sat down next to him, smoothing out her new school skirt. The rain was pouring down now, slashing against the windows.
“Where did you learn comebacks like that?” he asked impatiently, turning around to face her.
‘Err…well,’ Amelie did not really want to tell James about her mother’s obsession with marriage (and divorce), seeing as she had only met the boy a few hours ago. She looked at him, his pale face eager and excited.
“I’ve grown up with a lot of stepbrothers and sisters who hate you because your mother is replacing their own. And by a lot, I mean a lot. You have to be prepared,” she answered timidly, her dark hair falling in front of her face. She expected James to stand up and leave, believing he would think her the daughter of some sort of tart, too nonsensical to be associated with. She was surprised when he put his arm around her shoulder.
‘I’ll let you call me Jimmy,’ he said.
‘No you won’t,’ Amelie replied amusedly and slightly relieved, “you’ll hate it.”
“That’s true,” he laughed, “don’t call me it again.”
“OK, Jimmy!” Amelie said, giggling.
“You asked for it!”
James leapt on Amelie, pushing her off the seat and onto the floor where they began an intense tickling match, their laughter loud and hysterical. Victoire Weasley stood watching from the doorway, a small smile gracing her perfect features. Teddy Lupin wrapped his strong arms around her waist and rested his head on top of hers.
“They are so mature for 11-year olds,” she remarked sarcastically.
Slug and Jiggers is on the Lexicon. What a funny name. Hope you liked this chapter, it's not my favourite, but think it's an important 'moment'. Thanks to everyone to has read and reviewed this story so far - it made me feel very special!
Edit 20/9/2009: Typos and chapter image.